Current Watch List:
- Akito (c) Vs Shiori Asahi for the DDT Extreme title (DDT)
- Gorgeous Matsuno, Brahman Shu & Brahman Kei (c) Vs KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masa Takanashi for the KO-D Six-man tag team championship (DDT)
- Sanshiro Takagi & Jun Kasai Vs Keisuke Ishii & Shigehiro Irie Vs Daisuke Sasaki & Suguru Miytake Vs MIKAMI & Shuji Ishikawa in a Super TLC match (DDT)
- Super Sasadango Machine Vs Kazushi Sakuraba (DDT)
- Konosuke Takeshita & Tetsuya Endo (c) Vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi for the KO-D Tag Team championship
- HARASHIMA (c) Vs Kota Ibushi for the KO-D Open Weight championship (DDT)
- A.J. Styles vs. Will Ospreay (RPW)
- Rocky Romero vs. Josh Bodom (RPW)
- Trauma I & Trauma II vs. Aeroboy & Jegue (Chilanga Mask)
- Hechicero vs. Judas El Traidor (Chilanga Mask)
- Metaleon & Negro Navarro vs. Dragon Celestial & Veneno (IWRG)
- Electro Boy & X-Fly vs. Atomic Star & Eterno (IWRG)
- Astral, Eléctrico, Shockercito vs Demus 3:16, Mercurio, Pierrothito (CMLL)
- Hombre Bala Jr., Pegasso, Stigma vs Cancerbero, Puma, Virus (CMLL)
- Guerrero Maya Jr. vs Felino in a lightning match (CMLL)
Akito (c) Vs Shiori Asahi
DDT Extreme Title
The rules of the match were that the stipulation or gimmick changed every 60 seconds via random draw. Couldn’t catch all of the rule changes but at one point grabbing above the waist appeared to be illegal. The match turned into a tag team match with each guy’s second at one point. The final stipulation was no rope break, playing off of Akito’s recent Korakuen Hall defense. Akito got Asahi in a submission in the ropes (which is how he won the prior match) but Asashi escaped and kicked him in the head. He followed up with a nasty looking pile driver type move in the the ropes. Asahi spiked Akito’s head in the ropes a second time before going for the pin while holding onto the ropes (which was now legal) for leverage. The ever changing stipulations kept the match interesting and they did a good job in not reseting every period. It still felt like one match which wasn’t an easy task. Fun, if nothing else.
Gorgeous Matsuno, Brahman Shu & Brahman Kei (c) Vs KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masa Takanashi
KO-D Six-Man Tag Team Championship
Typical Brahmans match. Long brawl around the arena to start. What appeared to be the head of a pig was used in various capacities. They did the bowling ball suitcase spot on Takanashi. After the bowling ball spot, the face team took over and it turned into more of a normal match, but not before getting their revenge with the bowling ball and suitcase. Sort of your prototypical DDT match in the way it mixed comedy and actual wrestling. They went from bowling bowls to normal triple teams to powder being thrown to a submission reversal ending (cross arm bark reserved into a choke) between Sakaguchi and Mastuno for the finish. Like the prior match, this was about ten minutes and easy to watch. The opening brawl was a bit tedious but once they got into the ring it was fun. Matsuno is a funny looking guy. He looks like you could break him in half just by touching him. The champs celebrated by downing some champagne in the ring post match while the ring crew attempted to set up the Super TLC Match.
Sanshiro Takagi & Jun Kasai Vs Keisuke Ishii & Shigehiro Irie Vs Daisuke Sasaki & Suguru Miytake Vs MIKAMI & Shuji Ishikawa
Not much heat for this. It was worked more like a WWE style stunt show than a Big Japan death match. Basically the flow was set up a spot, pay it off, and then move onto the next spot while those involved in the previous spot are selling. There were three major bumps to remove teams from the match. The first was a fall from atop a tall ladder to a table on the floor outside the ring. The second was Ishikawa driving himself an opponent through a table with a pile driver off the apron. The finish came when one guy was on top of two tables that were stacked together and got hit with a frog splash off of the ladder. Takagi and Kasai were then able to grab the prize at the top of the ladder (seemingly an invite to participate in DDT’s first “Street Fight” show this April). The match was what it was. They didn’t go overboard on dangerous spots and the ones they hit looked fine, but it had the usual rhythm issues that matches like this have.
Super Sasadango Machine Vs Kazushi Sakuraba
Long Powerpoint presentation from Super Sasadango Machine prior to the match. The crowd seemed to get a kick out of it. Sakuraba dominated the first minute with mat work and kicks. Needing to turn the tide, Sasadango reached into his bag and pulled out a banana peel. When Sakuraba went for his patented doubled stomp, Sasanago Machine placed the banana peel on his own forehead causing Sakuraba to slip. He immediately followed up with his variation brain buster and an honest-to-goodness near fall reaction out of it. Great spot! He later placed a banana peel on the mat which Sakuraba also slipped on (didn’t have the impact of the first one, though). After that, with Sakuraba working for a Kimura, the lights dimmed, the two wrestlers froze in their position, and a narrated video played. I have no idea what was going on here. This ate up half of the 7 minute match. They eventually unfroze and went through some slow motion action that Sasadango Machine got the better of. When the video stopped and the lights went back up, Sakuraba slapped Machine and immediately locked on the Kimura for the win. Nothing else I can add.
Konosuke Takeshita & Tetsuya Endo (c) Vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi
KO-D Tag Team Championship
Okay match but not without its issues. I don’t want to say for certain (because I am terrible at guessing what others will like) but I could see some people liking this a lot. In terms of positives, I liked the body slam segment near the start of the match. Endo looked good both on offense and in eating Okabayashi’s stuff. The ending was done reasonably well without a lot of overkill and a couple of okay false finishes. On the other end, Sekimoto’s worst tendencies took over his performance. He did his annoying no selling stuff and his offense tended to be uninteresting. I get that he is trying to play big powerhouse, but he moves around the ring in such an non-engaging way. Hashimoto, Choshu, Stan Hansen and guys like that tried to convey an equally tough persona but did so in a far more engaging and effective way. Sekimoto was out there robotically moving around and added very little to the match, while detracting at several points. The no selling stuff added nothing and just served to interrupt any flow they might have been able to build. Sekimoto and Okabayashi had a couple of okay double teams, but nothing special. The match was never that heated and just felt flat overall. I could see some liking it if they aren’t bothered by Sekimoto and place a premium on stiffness. They certainly wrestled plenty stiff. For me, it was just okay because the structure was a little messy. They never really got going or got any big time heat. Just a flat match, despite all they attempted to the contrary.
HARASHIMA (c) Vs Kota Ibushi
KO-D Open Weight Championship
Rather easily the best match on the show. They built the early to middle portion around dueling stomp/knee based offense. That’s HARASHIMA’s speciality and he was rather great at focusing nearly every offensive move around knees and stomps. I love how when he would move in on Ibushi, he’d stomp him right in the mid-section. No wasted movement during those segments and he stayed right on Ibushi. The match was also very stiff – perhaps more so than the tag title match that proceeded it. Ibushi’s straight punches were truly great looking. In 2015, he has all of a sudden developed into one of the more entertainingly hard hitting wrestlers in Japan.
About midway through the match, Ibushi invited HARASHIMA to join him on the ramp. It is something that they have done in the build up to this title match and something Ibushi does in DDT frequently. It was a bit of a flow killer. Rather than brawl to the stage which would have been fine, they just walked over there, did their thing (which included an Ibushi moonsault) and then walked back. Had the match stayed in the ring the entire time and perhaps replaced that segment with more “feeling out” stuff early on, I think I would have had this in the very good/great range rather than merely “good”. The segment added little or nothing to the match and wasn’t handled the best way (ie. walking instead of brawling to the stage).
I liked the ending, although Ibushi popping to stop HARASHIMA’s springboard double stomp up after taking two or three of HARASHIMA’s signature moves felt like a disconnect from the way he was selling right before that.
In terms of execution of moves, this was up there with anything in current New Japan or whatever. Nothing was blown and everything looked brutal. HARASHIMA’s knees and stomps were awesome and as mentioned, Ibushi’s straight punches looked great. Had they tightened up the structure a little (marginally better transitions, getting rid of or at least altering the stage segment, ect.), the match would have been a lower end MOTYC possibly. The match is worth watching nonetheless and the best thing from the show (besides Sakuraba slipping on banana peels). My favorite DDT match of the past year or so was HARASHIMA’s title defense versus Masa Takanahashi. This match wasn’t better than that one, but its one of the better DDT matches over that same time frame.
Should also mention that the backstage segment after the show with Ibushi offering his hand to a dejected HARAHSIMA was well done. HARASHIMA gave him several fist bumps rather than shaking hands. HARASHIMA sold his dejection really well and the two just stood around looking at each other for a minute before HARASHIMA indicated that he would be back for the title. Good stuff that made the title seem ultra important. Of course, in true DDT fashion this was interrupted by Michael Nakazwa chasing his bride and breaking up the solemn scene in a true slapstick manner. Very little in wrestling makes me laugh out loud, but that did. Great comedic timing.
A.J. Styles vs. Will Ospreay
This match broke the mold in several positive ways. The most major and obvious way was that Ospreay took the bulk of the offense early on to the point it was Styles that made the initial comeback/transition mid-match. I expected that Osprey would work as the underdog against the new IWGP champion (3 days removed from Styles’ title win), make a mid-match comeback, get a token near fall kick out or two, and that would be it. That’s how most of these Styles (or someone similar to him) special attraction matches versus a promotion’s young star often go. They flipped the script a bit and I thought the match was memorable because of it. Ospreay’s offense wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough and he had enough to make the match structure they went with work out. Styles pulled out a few moves I have never or rarely seen from him, two of which I’d personally prefer over a couple of his signature moves. The story the announcers told was that Ospreay watched the Styles/Daniels/Joe 3-way from TNA at 14 years old and that’s when he decided to become a pro wrestler. The idea was Styles was Ospreay’s inspiration. Putting aside the mind blowing realization that we are all so old now that guys are inspired to get into wrestling based on TNA matches that happened less than a decade ago, I think that story blended in nicely with what they did in the ring. Ospreay did a couple Styles’ like moves and wrestled a bit like a younger Styles, which made it work. It also lent credence to the idea that Ospreay could get the early jump on Styles because of course he knew what Styles was going to do since he looked him to him for years.
The Styles Clash teases (and the heat they got) also added value to the match since it is now over as a dangerous move in the UK given what happened to Lion Heart.
Not a MOTYC, but worth watching. This was a much different Styles performance than you get in New Japan but it was as good as some of his New Japan stuff in an entirely different way. Osprey impressed me too, as he has the limited times I’ve seen him.
Rocky Romero vs. Josh Bodom
Rocky looked good and Bodom had his moments, but wasn’t too great. New Japan should really give Romero a small juniors singles push before finding him a new tag partner. Its not like there is a long list of contenders. Liked Romero’s tope a lot and he threw some good kicks as well. Okay opener.
Trauma I & Trauma II vs. Aeroboy & Jegue
Good match. Trauma II and Jegue started off with relatively lengthy and entertaining mat work. Things became more heated when Aeroboy and Trauma I got in. Aeroboy had another nice showing, with lots of arm scissor and arm drag variations. Jegue was hit or miss. He looked off doing basic stuff like leg sweeps but also hit some nice stuff here and there. Really enjoyed the finish. Aeroboy scored an elimination with a cross arm breaker before he was eliminated himself to even things up. Trauma II’s submission he used to win (which I won’t even try to describe) looked nutty and painful. The middle portion of the match was’t anything special and was somewhat uneven, but the beginning and ending were good. Good match overall.
Hechicero vs. Judas El Traidor
Opening mat work was as good as expected. Hechicero is always good but there is nothing like watching him in these singles matches up close. You really get an appreciation for the smoothness of his mat work and the intricacy of his holds and submissions. There were a couple of rough spots during the match but they generally recovered well. Judas El Traidor (one of the best names in wrestling by the way) was okay, but not the quality of opponent I’d ideally like to see in a Hechicero singles match. Slightly above average, but not as good as the Trauma tag match.
Metaleon & Negro Navarro vs. Dragon Celestial & Veneno
Pretty good. Navarro and Celestial worked well together which is not too surprising. Navarro worked hard and was the best in the match, though Dragon Celestial was not too far behind and nobody was outright bad. Given this was a quarterfinal in the El Protector tournament, it was kept short by IWRG standards (10 minutes) which helped. Average-ish match.
Electro Boy & X-Fly vs. Atomic Star & Eterno
They worked a weapons brawl. The match had its moments but didn’t do much for overall. X-Fly’s brawling was the best part of this. There was more intensity and creative spots than in a comparable AAA brawl but still not my thing.