DDT Pro-Wrestling: DDT goes Philadelphia
April 4, 2024
The Auditorium at Penns Landing Caterers
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Watch: TrillerTV

Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos def. Bryan Keith & Shota

So the Triller stream seemingly cut out the start of this match, so I can’t really rate it that much, but it looked pretty fun from what I saw, with lots of high-flying action, etc, and the crowd was hype.

Tetsuya Endo def. Andrew Everett

I’ll always have fond memories of DDT in 2019, especially the original Coming to America show, which really set the high bar for a “traveling circus” type. It doesn’t feel like five years ago, so I still have this frozen image of Endo as the young prince, challenging Sasaki for the crown. He’s grown older since then, and there’s something of an early grizzled look to him, but he can still pull out a shooting star press as beautifully as any wrestler.

This was a full-on MOVEZ fest and at ten minutes didn’t outstay its welcome. A great showcase for both wrestlers.

Chiitan def. Dan The Dad

I’m an unapologetic Dan the Dad mark, and I was happy to see him in this match. I don’t think he’s ever worked for DDT, but he had a run in Ganbare last year and perfectly fits the ethos of the wider DDT-sphere. Chiitan is a famous (?) Japanese mascot, so you’ll already have an idea of whether this is for you or not. Funnily enough, this had a pretty dangerous moment when Chiitan smacked the coffee mug out of Dan’s hands, and it flew out the ring bouncing over the ringside photographer. Those things are hard!

Yoshihiko def. Kazuki Hirata

This is another match where you’ll know if you like it before you watch it. Do you like watching men wrestle blow-up dolls? You’ll love this. I think at this point, we’ve seen enough Yoshihiko matches to know what they are all about. I’m not sure Hirata did anything particularly unique, but these matches are really great for getting the crowd hype.

DDT Universal Title No Rules Match
MAO (c) def. Billie Starkz

This was abysmal on many levels. Firstly, this was a complete booking mismatch. Starkz is fine, and I’ve enjoyed her matches on the indies, and the next day she gave a good performance in TJPW against Hyper Misao, but she’s still very much in the learning process of her career. It’s simply booking malpractice to pair her off with MAO, who is DDT’s burgeoning star, ready to break out into the main event scene, after a year of versatile and hard-hitting matches. NJPW isn’t going to book Yota Tsuji vs Anna Jay, so why is DDT doing this?

Secondly, intergender hardcore matches are always going to be hard to get right. No crowd (well, most crowds) don’t want to cheer for a man beating a woman with weapons. MAO realized this and attempted to play heel by flipping the bird to the audience, but given his natural talent, no one really wanted to boo him.

Thirdly, this match just plain sucked. Like the very worst of Sabu, it was a match that just went from spot to spot with little connecting fabric. If someone asked you to name the match on the card that featured the biggest carry job, you’d probably have to think a bit before saying Hirata vs Yoshihiko.

Finally, the ending. Are we doing this, guys? A draw followed by a rock-paper-scissors match? For what end? We know that those in the Khan-verse generally don’t do jobs outside the promotion, but this is kind of taking the proverbial. I suppose you could argue with MAO playing heel you didn’t want a downer ending, but the draw was much more of a downer for the live crowd than anything.

DAMNATION T.A (Daisuke Sasaki & KANON) def. Nick Wayne & Takeshi Masada

This just didn’t work. You’d think that Sasaki and Kanon’s Damnation stable, with a gimmick of being social dropouts, would get over with a WrestleMania weekend crowd (sorry, it was irresistible!), but it was hard to communicate this, and you’ve got to say that KANON’s whole look doesn’t really communicate much in that way either. This just didn’t do much for me, and there were a few sloppy spots too along the way.

Konosuke Takeshita def. Shunma Katsumata

Shunma comes out fighting furiously in this match! I love it. Have we ever seen this side of him in TJPW? I loved this match, Shunma the scrappy underdog and Takeshita the bully. Obviously, Take wins, but this was enough of a back-and-forth match to keep you invested. Shunma even refuses to shake Take’s hand at the end. Yes! Enough of the angry match followed by “I respect you.” I hope we get to see more of this side of Shunma going forward.

Yuki Ueno def. Mike Bailey

I have mixed thoughts on this. Technically this was a superb match that managed to start on high gear and, rather than building to a crescendo, kept up the pace throughout, with both men pulling out everything in their arsenal. If you’re the sort of person who rates according to objective metrics, you’d easily be putting this at 4+. I liked it, but I also feel that at this point, as much as I enjoy Mike Bailey (I still have his matches with Trey Miguel and Josh Alexander as some of my all-time favorites), and as talented as he is, I sometimes feel as though his move set, perhaps because it’s so spectacular, can get a bit over saturating. I don’t want to downplay the match too much, though, cause this was great stuff and worthy of the main spot.

Final Thoughts 

Overall, apart from the middle, DDT goes Philadelphia was a breezy, fun show to watch. With most matches around 5-10 minutes and clocking in at just under two hours, it’s a good introduction to many of the DDT crew for those who are looking to broaden their horizons. Check out the main, Endo vs. Everett, and give Yoshihiko vs. Hirata a go, too.

WrestleMania Weekend 2024 Coverage at Voices of Wrestling