DDT New Year's Gift Special 2014
review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 3rd, 2014
I have done hundreds of reviews in the last ten years, more than I can count. But I have never reviewed an event by DDT, a puroresu promotion that has been around for over 15 years. Why is that? The main reason I suppose is that it is primarily a comedy promotion and while I enjoy some comedy, since I don't understand Japanese or understand some parts of the culture, some of the humor goes over my head. But since I am trying to review all the events of 2014, I am going to give DDT a shot. Here is the full card:
- Antonio Honda and Daisuke Sasaki vs. Makoto Oishi and Masa Takanashi
First few matches are pretty clipped but it gets better as the event goes on. On to the matches!
Antonio Honda and Daisuke Sasaki vs. Makoto Oishi and Masa Takanashi
Match Thoughts: Only the hot tag and onward was included, so hard to judge the match as a whole even though it seemed acceptable. This was a pretty straight-forward tag match but they worked well together. Just your average match, nothing offensive though. Score: 5.0
KUDO, Yasu Urano, and DJ Nira vs. Toru Owashi, MIKAMI, and Gorgeous Matsuno
Match Thoughts: I imagine this will not be the first time I don’t understand what is going on. I am not sure what the deal is with Matsuno except that he is old. I mean I know this was an upset but some of the interactions were unusual. Really too clipped up to form an opinion, but there was some solid action even if some parts left me befuddled. Score: 5.5
Hikaru Sato and Guanchulo vs. Kazuki Hirata and Tomomitsu Matsunaga
Match Thoughts: All these matches being joined at the hot tag is really making it hard to get into, but I understand with TV there are time constraints to consider. But it does make it more difficult to really get a feel for how the match was. This was all straight action, which was a plus, even if Guanchulo seems a bit goofy and he went down pretty easy at the end. I am going to just stop mid-stream giving a score to matches I get less than half of, but I think this is the last heavily clipped match on the show. Score: N/A
Konosuke Takeshita vs. Yukio Sakaguchi
Takeshita picks up Sakaguchi and hits a single armed suplex hold, but it gets two. Takeshita quickly goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it also gets a two count. Takeshita picks up Sakaguchi and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Sakaguchi elbows out of it. Knee by Sakaguchi and he gets the cross armbreaker applied, but Takeshita quickly gets a foot on the ropes. Sakaguchi gets up near the corner, and Takeshita hits him with a running big boot. Spinning suplex by Takeshita, cover, but Sakaguchi kicks out. Takeshita picks up Sakaguchi and hits a German suplex hold, but Sakaguchi gets the shoulder up again. He goes for another German suplex but Sakaguchi drives him back into the corner. Slaps by Sakaguchi and he hits a jumping knee in the corner. Snapmare by Sakaguchi, he goes off the ropes and hits the PK. Cover, but Takeshita gets a shoulder up before the three count. Sakaguchi picks up Takeshita, Takeshita elbows Sakaguchi but Sakaguchi returns fire and they trade blows. Kicks by Sakaguchi and a high kick sends Takeshita to the mat, cover, but it gets a two count. Sakaguchi picks up Takeshita and hits another knee, cover, but Takeshita kicks out. Sleeper by Sakaguchi, Takeshita gets out of it but Sakaguchi quickly applies a Cobra Clutch as Takeshita reaches for the ropes and Takeshita quickly taps out. Your winner: Yukio Sakaguchi
Match Thoughts: At first I thought this was going to be a shoot-style match, then they started doing pescados and swandive moves and I quickly determined it was not. Sakaguchi is the veteran here as Takeshita is only 18, and Sakaguchi does have extensive MMA experience so it is not just a gimmick. I actually thought the “wrestling” portions seemed out of place, Sakaguchi’s swandive attempt in particular was really awkward and I wish he had just stuck to what he was good at. The shoot-style sections were good but it was disjointed when some of the pro-wres action interjected. Not bad, just for such a short match it would have been better if they picked one style or the other. Score: 5.5
Michael Nakazawa vs. Sanshiro Takagi
The weapon appears to be pictures being shown on the big screen that Nakazawa does not want people to see, and he gets embarrassed as Takagi forces Nakazawa to watch. They don’t show us at close range so I am not sure exactly what the video is showing. Anyway at ringside Takagi gets a table and sets it up. He then rolls Nakazawa onto the table as the countdown finishes, and foam wings are brought down to the ring. This gives Nakazawa times to recover, he puts Takagi on the table, puts on the wings as he gets on the top turnbuckle, and hits a diving body press down onto Takagi. Nakazawa rolls Takagi back in the ring but he can’t follow him as his wings get caught in the ropes. He finally gets them off, cover by Nakazawa but it gets a two count. Nakazawa waits for Takagi to get up as the countdown goes down, and the next weapon is…. Nonoko! She gets into the ring and poses on the top turnbuckle, she then flaunts around the ring. Nakazawa reaches for her, giving Takagi time to drop him with a Stone Cold Stunner. Nonoko then waits for Nakazawa to get up and bumps him with her breasts, cover, but Takagi gets a two count. Takagi picks up Nakazawa and hits a Death Valley Driver, cover, but Nakazawa gets a shoulder up. Takagi applies an abdominal stretch while Nonoko sits just out of Nakazawa’s range to taunt him. The countdown goes down and the next weapon is…. Minoru Suzuki! Suzuki comes down with his normal black towel over his head, but he takes it off and shows he is wearing a headband that matches Nakazawa’s headband. Nonoko approaches Suzuki but he grabs her and slaps her out of the ring. Nakazawa then holds Takagi, Takagi moves but Suzuki hits Nakazawa anyway. Suzuki applies the sleeper to Takagi and then drops him with a Gotch-style piledriver. Assisted Low Fly Flow by Nakazawa, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winner: Michael Nakazawa
Match Thoughts: Hmmm. If I knew better what some of the weapons were that may have helped, so maybe it was an inside joke or a DDT-thing that I am not privy to. I mean for a hardcore comedy match I guess it was fine. It was sub-par at best until Suzuki showed up which was quite a surprise to say the least, and he was definitely the best “weapon” that was used in the match. But it was all leading up to that point, everything else was pretty much just silly and meaningless. I personally chuckled only once so as a comedy match it didn’t do much for me, perhaps I was not the target audience. But Suzuki did save the match a bit. Score: 5.0
Danshoku Dino, Irie, Ishii, Soma, and YOSHIHIKO vs. Kota Ibushi, Omega, Ihashi, Endo, and Akito
Akito comes in the ring and attacks Dino, but Soma comes to his rescue. Double Irish whip to Akito but he avoids their charge. Akito pushes Dino into Soma, which gets Dino excited and he starts bumping Soma. Akito comes up and hits a Killswitch onto Soma, and then hits a dropkick onto Dino who was still humping Soma. Ibushi and Omega come in the ring, Soma superkicks Ibushi but Ibushi rolls through the suplex attempt and Omega delivers a jumping knee. German suplex hold by Ibushi to Soma, but it is broken up. Omega grabs Soma, he picks him up and with Ibushi they hit the PK Kokoro. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Takao Soma is eliminated.
Ishii comes in the ring and he trades elbows with Omega, chop by Omega and he gives Ishii and Irish whip, but Ishii hits an armdrag. Ishii goes for a senton but Omega gets his knees up. Powerbomb attempt by Omega but Ishii reverses it with a headscissors. Ishii goes for a heel kick but Omega catches him, Ishii pushes Omega towards his corner and YOSHIHIKO comes out of the corner with a headbutt. YOSHIHIKO goes for a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and finally gets it after many rotations. YOSHIHIKO goes for the Canadian Destroyer but Omega blocks it. YOSHIHIKO stays on Omega’s shoulders as Ishii kicks Omega repeatedly, Omega goes off the ropes but Ishii knees Omega in the stomach. Running kick to the face by Ishii and YOSHIHIKO is finally able to hit the Canadian Destroyer onto Omega. Ishii then picks up Omega and throws him over the top turnbuckle. Kenny Omega is eliminated.
Endo comes in the ring, and he trades elbows with Ishii. Back kick by Ishii and he kicks Endo in the side of the head. Ishii picks up Endo and goes for a suplex by the ropes, but Endo reverses it and puts Ishii onto the apron. Elbows by Endo but Ishii pushes him off and returns to the ring. Endo puts Ishii on the apron again, and this time is able to connect with a jumping kick, sending Ishii crashing to the floor. Keisuke Ishii is eliminated.
YOSHIHIKO comes in the ring with a diving headbutt to Endo, and Endo tags in Ibushi. Ibushi stomps on YOSHIHIKO, he picks him up and goes for a vertical suplex but YOSHIHIKO slides down his back. YOSHIHIKO sets up YOSHIHIKO with a backdrop suplex, Ibushi tries to block it but YOSHIHIKO nails the suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Dino comes in the ring to help YOSHIHIKO set up Ibushi, and YOSHIHIKO drops Ibushi with a piledriver. Cover, but Ibushi gets a shoulder up. Back up they trade strikes, Ibushi grabs YOSHIHIKO and spikes him with a Falcon Arrow. Ibushi goes up to the top turnbuckle but Dino comes in the ring and helps up YOSHIHIKO. YOSHIHIKO gets onto the top turnbuckle with Ibushi, and he hits a reverse hurricanrana from the top turnbuckle to the floor! Both Kota Ibushi and YOSHIHIKO are eliminated.
Irie and Akito get in the ring, and they trade leg kicks. Elbow by Irie sends Akito into the corner, Irish whip, but Akito moves when Irie charges in. Akito hits a dragon screw ankle whip, he picks up Irie but Irie fights him off. Vertical suplex by Irie, cover, but it gets a two count. Irie goes off the ropes but Akito avoids the seated senton. Akito picks up Irie and hits the Karelin Lift, cover, but it only gets two. Ankle lock by Akito, but Irie gets a hand on the bottom rope. Akito goes off the ropes but Irie catches him with a side slam, cover, but it gets two. Irie picks up Akito, drops him in front of the corner and goes up to the top turnbuckle, nailing the Flying Sausage. Cover, but Endo breaks it up. Dino comes in the clear Endo out of the ring, Irie goes for a lariat but Akito pulls the top rope down so Irie lands on the apron. Akito goes off the ropes but Irie blocks the attack and rams Akito onto the turnbuckle (while still out on the apron). Irie goes up to the top turnbuckle and picks up Akito, but Akito slides down his back and both men end up on the apron. Kneebreaker by Akito but Irie hits a lunging elbow strike, which sends them both off the apron. Shigehiro Irie and Akito are eliminated.
This leaves just Dino and Endo. They face off and begin by trading strikes. Dino goes for a kiss but Endo blocks it and hits a superkick followed by a jumping heel kick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Endo picks up Dino and tries to put him on his shoulders but Dino elbows out of it and kisses Endo. Brainbuster by Dino, he picks up Endo and hits a second brainbuster. Dino goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the moonsault, cover, but Endo kicks out. Dino picks up Endo and nails the Danshoku Driver, cover, but again Endo gets a shoulder up. Dino waits for Endo to get up and punches him, Endo spins behind his back but Dino elbows him off. Dino goes off the ropes but Endo catches him with a German suplex hold for a two count. Scoop slam by Endo and he hits a second turnbuckle moonsault, he goes up top again but Dino has recovered and joins him. They trade punches, Endo slips out and goes for a powerbomb but Dino blocks it. Kick by Endo, he gets Dino on his shoulders and hits the spinning slam out of the Argentine Backbreaker. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Endo picks up Dino, slams him in front of the corner, goes up to the top turnbuckle but Dino rolls out of the way of the corkscrew moonsault. Gaydo Clutch by Dino, but Endo kicks out at two. Dino grabs Endo and applies the Gaydo Clutch again, and this time he picks up the three count. Your winners: Danshoku Dino, Shigehiro Irie, Keisuke Ishii, Takao Soma, and YOSHIHIKO
Match Thoughts: YOSHIHIKO is a blow-up doll, just in case you weren’t aware. This was better comedy, I must admit that YOSHIHIKO in small doses does crack me up, and Ibushi is the perfect pair for him since he doesn’t mind killing himself. Beyond that thought the match was a bit short for this type of match, generally it was three minutes or less between eliminations which really isn’t enough time for the wrestlers to really get anything going. So not bad, this match type generally just needs more time and the first six minutes of the match or so were cut. Score: 6.0
(c) HARASHIMA vs. Super Sasadango Machine
Stomps by Sasadango Machine, and the Bakarayo! Machine Gun Chops by Kojima is called. Sasadango Machine puts HARASHIMA in the corner, hits the chops, Irish whip, and he hits the jumping elbow. Sasadango Machine flips HARASHIMA to the mat, goes up to the top turnbuckle but HARASHIMA moves and Sasadango Machine can’t complete the move. HARASHIMA throws Sasadango Machine off the top turnbuckle to the floor and HARASHIMA hits a running boot in the corner. Now it is HARASHIMA that hits Kojima’s move, but Sasadango Machine rolls out of the way of the elbow drop so he doesn’t get the point either. Next move called – Danshoku Nightmare. Sasadango Machine starts to take off his pants but HARASHIMA kicks him from behind. HARASHIMA picks up Sasadango Machine, snapmare, and he begins taking off his pants. He does so and then squats onto Sasadango Machine, earning him the point. The score is now 2-2. Dino doesn’t like being imitated and tries to slap HARASHIMA, but HARASHIMA ducks it and kisses Dino, then Dino sits on Sasadango Machine’s face before leaving the ring. Next move called – Argentine Backbreaker. HARASHIMA picks up Sasadango Machine and puts him on his shoulders, putting him in the Argentine Backbreaker. HARASHIMA gets another point and now he is up 3-2. Next move called – I have no idea but Sasadango Machine started eating some food at ringside and he was rewarded a point. So it is back to being tied at 3. Sasadango Machine elbows HARASHIMA and gets him by the arms as the next move is called, but they talk and decide to skip that one.
The next move called is a thrust to the throat, which Sasadango Machine quickly does and gets a point. Sasadango Machine is ahead 4-3 by my possibly incorrect count. Sasadango Machine waits for the next move to be called, which is an Enzigieri. Sasadango Machine quickly does and hits another point. Sasadango Machine is now ahead 5-3. The next move is called and it is a Gutbuster, Sasadango Machine attempts to hit it but HARASHIMA wiggles away and hits the Gutbuster for the point. So it is now 5-4. Somato by HARASHIMA but he doesn’t pin Sasadango Machine, as even I heard this, the next move is “Slow Motion.” So they have to move in slow motion. HARASHIMA very slowly goes for the cover as the referee slowly counts, but they cut away to a montage about Sasadango Machine as the referee is about to make the three count. When we come back, Sasadango Machine barely gets his shoulder up before the three count. Sasadango Machine waits for HARASHIMA to get up, HARASHIMA blocks a Sasadango Machine punch but Sasadango Machine stomps him on the foot and pokes him in the eyes and chest. Low blow by Sasadango Machine (we are still slow motion) and he hits a second low blow. Roll-up by Sasadango Machine, cover, but just as it is almost three, now it is HARASHIMA’s turn to get a montage video play for him. As we get back to the action, HARASHIMA barely kicks out. Back up, punches by HARASHIMA and he kicks Sasadango Machine in the side of the head (still in slow motion). HARASHIMA charges Sasadango Machine and hits the Somato, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner and still champion: HARASHIMA
Match Thoughts: Obviously part of the humor was lost to me since I don’t understand Japanese and I had to see them do the move before I knew the move that was called. But I will say that the crowd seemed to really really enjoy it, and I myself find the slow motion wrestling funny so the last few minutes were entertaining even if it didn't seem to fit into the gimmick of the match. But the entire match humor you will probably only get if you follow DDT as just from an in-ring perspective it was really plain. Score: 6.0
Danshoku Dino, MIKAMI, Makoto Oishi, Toru Owashi, Yukio Sakaguchi, Super Sasadango Machine, Shigehiro Irie, Keisuke Ishii, Takao Soma, Masa Takanashi, Tomomitsu Matsunaga, YOSHIHIKO, Gorgeous Matsuno and Kazuki Hirata vs. HARASHIMA, Kota Ibushi, Kenny Omega, KUDO, Yasu Urano, Hikaru Sato, Antonio Honda, Gota Ihashi, Daisuke Sasaki, Konosuke Takeshita, Tetsuya Endo, Akito, DJ Nira and Guanchulo
Match Thoughts: This 28 man match was only six minutes long, so I am not going to do play by play, but HARASHIMA won again with the Somato. This was just an extra match at the end for the crowd, as the event was billed as one team against the other team so the event ended with both teams facing off. So for the live crowd it was a nice “extra” touch but it wasn’t really much of a match per se. Score: 5.0
Best Match: HARASHIMA vs. Super Sasadango Machine. For a card with a lot of comedy this was the best comedy match. Some of it certainly went over my head and will yours as well, but the slow motion/cut to montage to show wrestler getting ready for the match/using inspiration to kick out bit was quite funny and had both myself and the crowd laughing. And really that’s all you can hope for during a comedy match.
MVP: HARASHIMA. He won the only title match, and got the “big” pinfall for his team on the extra match so by default the is the MVP. He also had the most match-time of anyone on the card so he was able to leave a lasting impression.
Overall: This is the hardest type of event for me to review because I am not the target audience, if I was not trying to review every event of 2014 I would not have watched this event. But it did have its moments I thought were funny, I enjoy YOSHIHIKO and the title match had its moments for sure. If you already are “into” DDT I think this event has a lot to offer but if you are into serious matches (which DDT of course does sometimes have) you can safely skip this one.
Grade: D+Back to DDT Event Reviews
review completed on 1/27/14