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Found 39 results

  1. Neat match that was really made by the surprisingly good selling. Irie has some good power spots, and him punching through HARASHIMA's guard and annihilating him with THE POUNCE sounds great in a vacuum but the way HARASHIMA just throws himself with crazy bumps really adds to them. They do some crowd brawling early on but they throw good strikes and it is more them slamming each other into the barricade and the apron then one wrestler "dragging" the other halfway across the arena to get him back into the ring which looks more like they're holding hands than actual dragging. HARASHIMA responds to Irie's power offence wih vicious knee strikes and stomps. Finishing stretch is a little too nearfall heavy but it was very exciting and fun. HARASHIMA slipping through Irie's attempted Fire Thunder Driver was an amazing spot and they executed "will he or will he not fall down" selling about as good as they could've.
  2. Interesting story behind this match. As of a few hours before, this was supposed to be Sakaguchi vs Kota Ibushi for the KO-D Openweight Title but Ibushi was out with High Fever so HARASHIMA took his place instead due to his high ranking in the DDT Election that year (3rd place). Yukio Sakaguchi, who is the son of former NJPW President Seiji Sakaguchi, is the defending champion of the KO-D Openweight Title and has already beaten KUDO (Peter Pan) and Daisuke Sasaki (DDT Who’s Gonna Top). Sakaguchi was rather new to wrestling at the time, well compared to HARASHIMA anyway, with him being three years into his career in wrestling and was 42 years old at the time so there was a lot against him but he took to wrestling like a glove and was on a high and he wasn’t ready to let that slip. This was an excellent match considering they weren’t opponents only a few hours before. A match built around grappling and stiff striking which meant Sakaguchi’s MMA career came into play here. Sakaguchi controlled the majority of the match but HARASHIMA put up a fight hitting some nasty kicks. One thing HARASHIMA brought into play here was his excellent facial expressions. They were on point and add a tone to the match. A highly unique match, especially in DDT and a great one at that. ****1/2
  3. Fun CAPTURE-esque spectacle. All the strikes were just brutal and the shootstyle floor brawling a suitably crazy moment. I wasn't sure how Toba would work in this kind of main event singles match but the whole thing comes out fine. He certainly knows how to throw that spinning backfist as an exclamation point. Sasaki muscling Toba around to drop him on his head was suitably gritty. Stiff as fuck brawl, DDT should go back to this stuff.
  4. DAISAKU is a kickboxer dude who has worked CAPTURE, so can handle himself against a stiff monster. Doesn't matter though cause S.U. Power just crushes him. Daisaku puts on a good fight but is put to sleep in about 3 minutes. Very brief but very painful looking. Amazing promo after the match and Super Uchu Power struts away as the theme from Terminator 2 blasts from the speakers. All hail the Super Cosmic Force!
  5. Another wonderful slice of DDT pro wrestling with touches of BattlARTSian greatness. This wasn't quasi-shootstyle like the tag from the night before, altough it's still quite the stiff-fest. No idea what went into Takagi here, because he has an unusually mean edge and decides to work a rough no nonsense style, even approximating a poor mans Otsuka in his sections against Toba. Speaking of Toba, I think he is a guy mostly everyone with a little japan wrestling knowledge knows as the fun boxing guy from DDT, but is it crazy to say he might actually be an underappreciated indy great? All the involving him where once again manly as fuck and he mixed in some cool unique spots aswell as taking punishment and setting himself up as a foil to make Sasaki & Takagi look badass. Loved his crazy flying apron kick. Mikami was the weak link but still pretty good. He threw some poor punches which especially stick out in a match with Toba in it, but he also had some insane bumps and dives and hit some 2000 sleaze indy level brutal looking high spots, such as a rib crunching twisting senton. All the reckless looking headdrops – which basically saw Takagi muscling Mikami up and driving him headfirst into the mat were pretty nasty too. Sasaki once again handles himself in this kind of stiff main event. Brilliant finish. Crazy to see the DDT crew at one point did a stiff heavyweight potatoefest as good as anyone else.
  6. Here's your 2000 indy MOTY. No kidding, this was just awesome and shockingly better put together than you'd expect. Really makes me wish there was more footage of the DDT crew doing BattlARTS style matches. I liked the opening matwork between Sasaki and Rider a lot. It felt very raw and unrehearsed, but they still whip out some cool transitions. Watching Sasaki here made me extra sour he spent the rest of his career as a go-through-the-motions bleeder because his stuff was inspired and he hit everything with a lot of snap. He looked like a rich mans Yuji Nagata here, a slick pro style wrestler who can hang doing stiff shootstyle. Ishii was in CAPTURE mode here - basically trying to crush his opponents with every single move he did. He opens this with one of the nastiest lariats I've ever seen against skinny thaiboxer Toba and basically doesn't let up after that. Even his basic "throw guy into corner to set up a tag" looked really violent. Toba is the DDT guy who works as basically a boxer which works very well in this kind of sleaze shootstyle match. He does exactly what you want, by punching guys in the face hard a lot and getting ragdolled around. I was also really impressed with Super Rider here - he made some brief Sasaki legwork that could easily have been filler compelling by selling vulnerability. He would then shoot for takedowns and submissions to protect himself, and also maul opponents on the ground. I also loved his Volk Han like ragdoll throw on poor Toba. The Ishii/Sasaki pro style section was probably the weakest point in the match but still had enough neck compression and potatoe shots to keep you entertained, with Sasaki doing some cool things that he would later drop - presumably because his athleticism declined. I liked how Ishii, when reversing a basic suplex, immediately went for the kill by dropping Sasaki on his head. The finish is between Super Rider and Takashi Sasaki, which is a match up only the most hardcore tape nerds (i.e. me) would anticipate and it totally delivers with Rider whipping out some genuinely awesome reversals. So there you have it, great ultra stiff quasi-shootstyle action that was actually well put together while retaining some of that sleazy underbelly of pro wrestling rawness. Maybe a low end nomination when it comes to all-timer discussion, but golly I loved checking this out. The whole thing is on the DDT Universe streaming service.
  7. Never been a big KUDO fan. He doesn’t have the charisma of HARASHIMA but I do think that he is still a good wrestler because of his intensity and good offence, and he very much delivered here. Some of his comebacks were extremely well timed and thus allowed all the babyface heat he gained in the match to shine through most effectively. The fire he showed in his offence was so awesome. HARASHIMA was fantastic in this. And whilst KUDO did great fighting from beneath, HARASHIMA stood out with his outstanding heel work. Closed fists for some of the strike exchanges, smiling in such a dickish manner whilst brutalising KUDO’s ribs, being an absolute bully. The peaked at the absolute right time with no over dramatic near falls, keeping it to a minimum. There was tons of struggle in the match, allowing the tension of a switches of momentum to happen. The crowd bought into what the story was telling. Great match held up by two fantastic performances. ****1/2
  8. Excellent match. CIMA is a great heel, aggressively attacking the leg of Takeshita with his smug facial expression. He dominated the entire match with Takeshita being helpless because of the injured leg. Takeshita selling was a spotty in the middle parts of the match but generally good and they incorporated it at the end which is good to see. Shocked at the result but great match. ****1/4
  9. Takeshita has really grown from beautiful wrestling prodigy into a bully role seamlessly, and he decides early on to try and destroy Endo's brain. His STF is really great too. Tetsuya works pretty much pure babyface, which, though he's historically great at being a dick, is obviously a great use of his athleticism. If I had to criticize, there's a point this gets to where Endo is selling his brain damage so well, that returning to kind of a traditional big move-trading structure for the last part of the match seems a little wasteful, but that's just nitpicking. This is well worth everyone's time. ****1/4 That's three Takeshita matches I have at 4 plus stars in 5 days. DDT rules.
  10. First time posting here so why not about a match with all-time fav Dick Togo. I finally signed up for DDT and am running through some fun-looking stuff for this year, and I hadn't heard all that much about this match, which was handily my second favorite on the card. Oyama is an MMA guy in his first, as far as I can tell, wrestling match, and he's the story here. I thought he was quite impressive, more so even in his head/neck selling than his grappling. Togo is his usual masterful self and KUDO is a fine change of pace for Oyama. There's a Takayama/Oyama rapid punch exchange at the end because of course there is, and maybe Oyama's worked punches aren't great at this point, but this is still overall a terrifically fun match. ****
  11. Cool, somewhat experimental junior style big match. This was Mikami as a slick junior before he started the Ladder thing, here he was just as prone to bust out slick armbar transitions aswell as fast springboard huracanranas. I really liked how they started out simple working headlocks and hammerlocks and slowly morphed into more tricked out stuff. Mikami looks damn good, technically sound and unpredictable on the mat, while pre-deathmatch kickpadded Sasaki is a perfectly good second rate Ikeda spin kicking him in the throat. The match turns into a style mix where they land stiff kicks and work flash armbars building towards AJPW style headdrops and Mikamis big flying moves. It's pretty much the ideal indy style match as they take from various styles and produce something that feels sound and fresh. The finishing run is great as they just kill eachother. Not only do they bust out the big moves, but there's also some thudding strike exchanges. When a springboard dropkick and lariat feel just as deadly as the big Emerald Frosion style finisher the execution is on point. Really cool to check this out, I would really like this type of indy wrestling to make a comeback.
  12. Some quick background on the parties involved: Sanshiro Takagi is the original ace and founder of DDT. He's a huge fan of WWE and of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and thus his "Stone Cold" Sanshiro Takagi character with the matching black boots and black trunks, plus the shattering glass and Stone Cold like vest. Poison Sawada JULIE is a former New Japan and Malenko dojo trainee and he is also the founder of Union Pro-Wrestling. Before DDT he was mostly an indy guy who fought Mummies in various smaller organizations. He is the founder of one of DDT's biggest historical factions, Jakai Tensho. His character revolves around him getting bitten by a snake and have supernatural snake powers to control opponents. This maybe where the Osirian Portal from CHIKARA got a lot of inspiration for their character from. Super Uchu Power is Koichiro Kimura is another guy who's been around forever and has a background in some martial arts and he even fought Rickson Gracie at Vale Tudo Japan 1995 and he also got a chance to compete in RINGS and in various Japanese indy organizations such as W*ING, FMW, etc. Tomohiko Hashimoto is judoka who was trained by Kimura (Super Uchu Power) and was another pro-wrestler who also ventured into MMA. Hashimoto spent many years working Japanese indies and was highly influenced by Big Van Vader. He was even a member of Team Vader in Japan. If you're a fan of the Japanese indies, than you'll get a kick out of this as its fun in its setting and context, but far from being an all-time classic or anything. Hashimoto and Uchu are two of the more underrated Japanese indy guys, however Hashimoto was still somewhat green here. Uchu was great before he got eliminated as he was destroying everything and everyone in sight. Unfortunately, Uchu went out second, but in its storyline context, it made sense as the feud was between Takagi who was the babyface ace of the promotion and Sawada who was the top heel. The second half of the match featuring mostly Takagi and Sawada I thought was nothing special. Takagi having to bust all of his top notch offense to dispatch Sawada can be seen as overkill, but it made sense as it was the end of an ongoing rivalry at their biggest show.
  13. This ends up being the de facto block final, and it is very hype. I love a battle of two big guys where one is slightly bigger and slightly higher rated and they actively play into that. The striking towards the end here actually feels like a slugfest - two brawlers trying to win a fight, not just trading shots to see who has the most fighting spirit or whatever. I might be the biggest Higuchi fan around, but his selling ability and athleticism are always impressive as the big man in a match, and in a rare opportunity as the smaller man they really shine. This is my favorite match in the excellent group stage of this tournament. ****1/2
  14. I really like the character Sasaki has developed, the kind of heel that will slap you not cuz he's a coward with a sudden burst of confidence that'll immediately disappear, but because he's thinking two steps ahead for the exact right way to distract you and get the advantage. And I think Higuchi is drastically underrated - a high energy big man who sells well and occasionally busts out a cool headscissors reversal, too. Sasaki's La Mistica is as gorgeous as ever. ***1/2
  15. Jiro gives an incredible, optimistic babyface performance here, and the crowd eats it up (as did I). He pulls out some fun stuff on the mat, and his commitment to his jacket is my favorite love story in wrestling. The last few minutes here might seem like overkill, but just when it seems like the typical finish where the underdog has busted out everything he can to no avail, we get a twist, so I think that overkill kind of works. I'm probably in the minority here but I liked it even better than the also quite good Bailey/Ishikawa match on the same card. ****
  16. KO-D Openweight Championship: Konosuke Takeshita © vs. Tetsuya Endo Neither of these guys are interesting characters, but they were working very hard to captivate the Sumo Hall crowd, trading stiff offense and taking hard bumps. It's like watching two Hirooki Goto's go at it. The match was based around mutual neck work, and I thought they did a swell job of selling the damage. The middle finger spot would have worked better for Endo, given his role in the match (working underneath). But that is only a minor complaint. Good match! ****
  17. NEO Biishiki-gun (Saki-Sama & Martha) vs. Aasa Maika & Riho I was excited when this was announced, but with it taking place at a Beer Garden show I was worried there would be too much comedy, or even drinking, and luckily none of that was here. Just a straight up wrestling match. Aasa takes a good beating and Paradise Lock (!!); she is just a wonderful FIP. Riho was the workhorse, and brought this match to the next level with her high-flying offense and set-ups. Biishiki-gun were compelling characters as always. Great match. ****
  18. I've been going through this year's DDT recently, cherry picking interesting-looking things here and there and I haven't been watching every single one of these slightly different tag matches, but I figured I'd check this one because it's for the vacant titles and good god-damn am I glad I did. Higuchi is especially good here, as he gets his arm worked over and sells it really nicely throughout. There's an especially nice subtle spot where he catches Takeshita with a powerslam of sorts but has to let go with one of the arms midway through. The go all out on a fast, intense finishing stretch, including both Irie and Higuchi diving onto Takeshita to try and incapacitate him long enough so can't interfere in a pin attempt. This wildly exceeded my expectations; it's my favorite DDT I've seen so far this year and one of my fav tag matches anywhere. ****1/2
  19. After several weeks worth of delays our 2016 yearbook is out, and I like to think that it is the best thing we have ever put out. We had over a dozen contributors this year covering a wide range of topics from the history of inter-gender wrestling to the year in DDT to IWRG's match of the year, the history of wrestling tournaments, WWE financials, and so much more. We have two different PDF versions of the newsletter up, and one is essentially pre-press quality and so is A-okay for anyone who wants to print their own for whatever reason, or just wants a crisper experience. Any suggestions for future issues, feedback, and general comments would be very much appreciated as always. YEARBOOK CAN BE FOUND HERE *WWE IN 2016: NEW ERA, BRAND SPLIT, AND THE PRESIDENTIAL SWERVE BY ANDREA GREGOVICH *WWE FINANCIAL YEAR IN REVIEW WITH CHRIS HARRINGTON *THE RISE OF WRESTLING TOURNAMENTS BY DAVE MUSGRAVE *THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF THE CRUISERWEIGHT DIVISION BY TODD MARTIN *THE YEAR IN LUCHA LIBRE WITH THECUBSFAN *2016’S MOST INDELIBLE MOMENTS BY PAUL COOKE *ALL IS SEMBLATIVE OF A WOMAN’S PART: A MODERN AND HISTORICAL LOOK AT INTER-GENDER PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING BY BEN CARASS *THE 2016 PODMASS WITH JOE GAGNE *A 2016 PRO-WRES OVERVIEW WITH BRYAN ROSE *WARRIORS BY ALAN COUNIHAN *THE INDIE PURO YEAR IN REVIEW WITH IZZAC *TO PROVE ONE’S VALOUR: THE STORY OF ISHII & TANAHASHI’S 2ND G1 CLASSIC BY RYAN CLINGMAN *THE DRAGON GATE YEAR IN REVIEW WITH ANDREW PUGH *THE DDT YEAR IN REVIEW WITH JAME ‘O DOHERTY Thanks everyone.
  20. Takeshita, much like Okada, is a tall young guy. Thus DDT pushes him pretty hard. Much like Okada he isn't very good at pro wrestling. He just has no clue what to do. His early leg selling was eye rolling and on the bad side of melodrama. When you sell something as much as he sold the leg and then just drop it after two minutes it looks ridiculous. If he'd sold it less I would've been completely fine with it but this way it just looked comical. I liked Umeda on offence, he threw a lot of cool kick variations and had real intensity behind them, always looking to hurt Takeshita, who on the other hand would do a move, then try to remember where the hell he is for about fifteen seconds, and then do another move, and that really was every control segment of his, move weird pause move weird pause, it looked completely unnatural, I imagine stunt doubles used in fight scenes in D-level movies would make for better pro wrestlers than him. Match went too long considering it was between two guys at their experience/skill level and was very rough around the edges with plenty miscommunication especially once it got closer to the finish. I'm sure Takeshita could be able to find a job outside of wrestling via being tall and pretty and I hope he chooses to do so. **
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