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Found 53 results

  1. DDT Universal Title Match: Yuki Ueno (c) vs. Yukio Sakaguchi The student defeats the master with his own specialty - submissions. Sakaguchi put Ueno through the ringer with his offence. Relentless strikes and submission attempts with Ueno hanging on by a thread at several points in the match. Ueno said in a press conference that his win wasn't necessarily because he was more skilled than Sakaguchi and the match showed that. He was out skilled but Ueno showed great heart and conviction in everything he did. And that's how he scored the victory. This was a pretty great title defence for Ueno. Yukio Sakaguchi was so good at the ripe age of 47. ***3/4.
  2. KO-D Tag Team Title Match: Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi & Yukio Sakaguchi) (c) vs DDT Sauna Club (Konosuke Takeshita & MAO) - DDT Effort, Friendship And Victory In Nagoya 2021 - 23/02/2021 I thought this was excellent. The rating on cagematch raised a few eyebrows, but I'm in no way disappointed with the outcome. Whether it was Higuchi pairing off with MAO or Eruption’s incredible teamwork, this was purely quality. MAO sold for Higuchi’s back based attacks really well, bumping around while using his charisma to shine as an underdog. Sakaguchi was the right partner to compliment Higuchi’s work too. Even outside of the wrestling itself, Sakaguchi made Higuchi step on the gas even more with a few words and a slap. And that he did - just when the match seemed to be peaking, Takeshita and Higuchi match up and ramp up the intensity ever so more with an outstanding, bombastic closing stretch that saw Higuchi pick up the win after plenty of hard suplexes and throws. ****1/4
  3. Another neat HARASHIMA title match. I really like the way he uses matwork to establish the pace of his matches and the matwork itself is always interesting, I can't really think of a proper comparison for it. He demolishes Higuchi's leg here, kicking away at it and twisting it in all sorts of ways. Higuchi looked good as well, he did a solid job of selling the damage and had some great power spots which was enough for HARASHIMA to get them to a very strong match. HARASHIMA is probably the best ace in Japan right now. ***1/2
  4. Great great match, a true hidden hidden gem. Even knowing that Toba can be really great, MIKAMI being pretty good around this time and GENTARO very talented, this far exceeded expectations. Mostly because the psychology in the match was super, and everyone played their role to perfection. MIKAMI comes into this with a cast on his wrist, and he does a really great almost Misawa-ish wounded ace performance here. He really sold that shit to absolute perfection, being wary of it the entire match, being unable to follow up his own moves etc. Toba is great here throwing wild strikes, and then GENTARO & YOSHIYA swoop in with a fantastic Anderson Brothersesque performance isolating Toba. These guys were really zoning in on Tobas leg, and while the legwork wasn’t sold in a major way (the main story was Mikamis wrist) it was really good and Toba got ragdolled hard, he is so tiny that even something like a Shinbreaker can be made to look brutal. Thought Gentaro looked just amazing here, and Yoshiya was fun as a Taue-ish big dude booting peoples heads off and acting like a dick. Toba punching Yoshiyas lights out was really fun, and then we get to the awesome finish. Really tremendous stuff, it’s insane how things like this fell under the rug when this kind of smart+brutal pro wrestling is a direction Japanese wrestling should’ve kept going in.
  5. Wonderful matchup, the kind that exemplifies the charm of 90s indy sleaze. Everyone here is a unique character with their own style, and they mesh really well. Rider was in his goofy Seikendo suit and working a mix between highflyer and submission wrestler while almost knocking himself out on dives, Funakoshi a mysterious MUGAesque technician, Exciting Yoshida a goofy IWE tribute heel, and of course our boxing gloved hero Toba. Toba really is the MVP in this match potatoeing everybody and always getting the best out of everyone, when you are facing Toba you are guaranteed to get punched in the face, so everyone fires back with unusual piss and vinegar. I especially loved Nishino crushing him with sick running headbutts. Phantom Funakoshi always looks like a real worker in these matches, working fun MUGA vs. Seikendo exchanges against Super Rider and channeling Fujiwara when he was facing Toba, I’d love to see more of him. Exciting Yoshida was a bit weird, he kept trying to no-sell Toba and getting punched and spin kicked in the face, and also did a bunch of banana peel heel spots, then again he also worked a sick headbutt exchange at one point so I can’t hate the guy. There’s also more shootstyle floor brawling involving Toba and a crafty finish between Super Rider and Funakoshi. Neo Winger blew, but wasn’t in the match much. Really everything you can ask for from a match up full of random indy dudes from forgotten sleaze feds (how often do you get Nihei Gumi, Seikendo, DDT and SPWF representatives in one match?).
  6. Fun mini epic which was pretty much built around showcasing Phantom Funakoshi. Phantom is an SGP guy who wrestles kind of like a junior version of Osamu Nishimura. He throws a great dropkick and always forces guys to do some matwork and I really dug him here, grounding MIKAMI with judo sweeps and attacking his arm and shoulder. MIKAMI was kind of the ace of DDT at this point - squashing other low ranked guys within minutes - so I thought the match had an intelligent layout initially allowing Funakoshi to dominate with his technical skill and then forcing Mikami to take an unexpectedly big bump before he could get the advantage using his athleticism. Mikamis brief bursts of offense are impressive but you will want Funakoshi to score the upset here.
  7. Minoru Tanaka vs. Shunma Katsumata A brilliant match built around Minoru Tanaka attacking the leg of Shunma and working it over the whole match. Tanaka was superb I thought. His initial assault on the leg and the following kicks to the knee joint were great. There were tons of extra snap in his dropkicks and his submissions were pretty snug. Shunma proved his versatility once again by working really well on defence. His Brock Lock submissions were great hope spots and allowed Shunma time to make a comeback. I loved the selling of the leg as well. Shunma is very audible in his screams and the intimate atmosphere increases it tenfold. The finish to the match was an excellent way to end the match. Not only was the drama in the figure four milked for all its worth but Tanaka following it up with heavy kicks to the left knee and then transitioning into the rolling knee bar was so ruthless. Tanaka is a Fujiwara student at heart, and it showed. Credit to Shunma for an excellent performance from beneath. ***3/4
  8. Eruption (Kazusada Higuchi, Saki Akai & Yukio Sakaguchi) vs. THE HALFEE (Katsuzaki Shunosuke, Moehiko Harumisawa & Washi Sakurai) - DDT Ganbare Pro Hermit Purple 2020 21/03/2020 This looked really good on paper. Eruption have been super solid since their formation in January of 2020. And their opponents mirror them in terms of styles, individually anyway. Sakaguchi and Shunosuke/Shuichiro Katsumura have the MMA influence, Harumisawa/Moeka Haruhi are the slender women of their team and Sakurai/Shuhei Washida are the burly big men of the respective groups. Something they were eager to explore in the opening exchanges. The GanPro team THE HALFEE were on the defensive for most of the match with Eruption asserting their dominance with some systematic tag work. The crowd rallied behind the regulars who responded with quick stretches of offence and some of that underdog flair. They utilized the styles match ups really nicely, as well as blending the pairings together. Sakurai, who was the young guy of the team, impressed me a ton. He and Higuchi were probably the best together out of the lot. His selling was really good, and while his offence was naturally basic, being only two years in, he used it really well. The match went at a super fast pace, making the whole match feel exciting and thrilling to watch. Great use of time and wrestlers involved. ***3/4
  9. Hardcore Tag Team Match: Ryuji Ito & Shuji Ishikawa vs. HARASHIMA & Togi Makabe Holy shit. HARASHIMA blonde. I don’t like it. He looks like a scummy dude from Freedoms. I guess that makes sense in the match though. The match is a pretty action packed brawl. They waste no time using the chairs and assorted weapons around the ring. HARASHIMA gets bloody fast and the deathmatch duo takes advantage - I know I said I don’t like the hair but a bloody face plus the hair is always a great look. Ito smashing a chair into the forehead was a total dick move, and he doesn’t redeem himself with those chair shots to the back either. Makabe puts in a shift as well. He is known for not always being up to his best but he knows he is in Budokan and he wrestles like it. He lays in the forearms when against Ishikawa, who replies with headbutts. HARASHIMA was a superb underdog, taking the brunt of the offence then working for the comeback. His selling of the weapon shots was great. He levels Ito and Ishikawa with weapon shots of his own. His offence was full of aggression and poise. Damn, he was good in this match. This was such a good match. ***3/4
  10. 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.
  11. Kings Road/WWE main event parody match better than a lot of serious attempts at such things. Neat opening exchange, and you realize these guys are good at filling time and getting their match over, Dino actually is better at things like working a sleeper hold or emoting during a strike exchange than most wrestlers, even aside from all the effective butt comedy. HARASHIMA really laces him up with kicks in a way not many comedy workers would be content taking them, and there is really amusing "distraction" spot that works better than most outside distraction spots because it's self aware. Funny to think that this main event drew more people to Korakuen Hall than NOAH does these days and was probably better than any NOAH main event in like half a dozen years too.
  12. I assume in 2008 when BattlARTS was running wild people didn't care much for HARD HIT, but I find it neat to go back and check out these indy shootstyle matches. This was a quite good undercard match and wouldn't have looked out of place on one of the smaller U-Style shows. I've never seen Ishikura before, but apparently he's an MMA fighter who's been around since the 90s. Baby Irie is capable and this was a fun power vs. skill matchup. Ishikura seemed the superior shooter so Irie had to try and push him out through sheer pudginess.
  13. Not a forgotten or super obscure match, but I still found myself stunned by how good this was. I imagine if Kota booked more shootstyle shows and did this kind of match more often we'd all be Kota fans. That aside, I thought this was Satos best performance ever. He was pushing hard and capable of carrying a servicable Kota to some very good mat exchanges. The best thing about this was the unique twist they did on the wrestler vs. shooter formula by having Kota rely on pinfalls and Sato outclassing him and giving up no points. It easily could've ended up looking like a goofy spectacle but thanks to both guys throwing some hideous suplexes and not pussying around with their strikes it ended up being a really fun fight. I also loved how Sato early on answered Ibushi attempting some ground striking by quickly shutting him down with a massive palm strike. Defenitely needed more of that streak in the rest of his career.
  14. DDT Extreme Title Best Two Out Of Three Falls Hardcore Match: Daisuke Sasaki (c) vs Yuko Miyamoto First Fall: Great starting out point with Yuko Miyamoto dominating proccedings, making great use of the ladder at the start to gain the advantage, using it to attack the fingers, in which he'd then rip on them afterwards and backdropping Sasaki on his hip. Sasaki used the chairs to get some of the momentum back and hit some of his big moves and get the La Mistica Cross Facelock for the win Second Fall: Miyamoto went right back to the ladders to again get the advantage and hit some of that sick offence like his moonsault knees into the stomach. Sasaki tries some counters that helped him the last fall but he missed the elbow and Miyamoto kept hitting flash pins until he gets the win. Great short fall. Third Fall: I admired Daisuke Sasaki being willing to go all in on the brain truma and all the bumps he takes in this last fall. Miyamoto nailed Sasaki with a chair shot, he slammed his head into he stiff tables multiple times and takes a brutal Fire Thunder Driver through the same table. Sasaki stuck it out though and kept in it. Sasaki was "cheating" (choking is cheating in this context) the entire match but he channeled some great babyface charm with his selling and willingness to absorb as much as he does and keep on ticking. Miyamoto was great as well, alongside Sasaki. He puts his all into every big move and has great timing when cutting off Sasaki's hope spots. Great final peice to an overal great match. Over three falls, all different from each other, with great esclation from smart weapon use at the start into high level big bumps and offence for the final fall. Sasaki blanded his cheating antics with great babyface drive - he had great techinique, great selling and great hopespots. Miyamoto was very good as well. He didn't put a foot wrong in any regard. There was a few things that could've been devloped more like the finger work that lasts maybe 3 minutes, however, it wasn't needed a whole lot. Great outing. ****1/4
  15. This is for the Interim KO-D Openweight Title after Dick Togo was unable to defend the official title or something. I dug this a ton. Honda especially has developed into one of my favourite wrestlers, even without the Togo match and he brings a ton to this match with his babyface performance and driving determination. His punches were awesome. There was a real scrappyness to them. Some missed, some caught him but it was all intentional in Honda's style of punching. I've never seen GENTARO before but I've heard good things. He was pretty smooth. His offence felt very Dick Togo-ish almost lol. I liked it but there was a lack of something big. No real spark to his offence despite everything looking good and being perfectly functional. That's maybe the only thing that hurts this matches quality. Awesome post match scenes though. Just shame Honda's win was for the Interim title and not the proper. ****
  16. HARASHIMA defends the KO-D Openweight Title Another MOTYC from DDT Sweet Dreams 2014. This is just slightly lesser than their Peter Pan match because the match has a more forgettable start but I think the finishing stretch is in some ways superior. HARASHIMA being busted open by an Irie headbutt then Irie pounding the daylights out of HARASHIMA before HARASHIMA found an escape by kicking Irie in the face was a great end to the match. The first few minutes are unmemorable but the rest of the match is more than adequate. ****1/4
  17. Talk about it here. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1c95nm_yankee-nichokenju-isami-kodaka-yuko-miyamoto-c-vs-golden-lovers-kota-ibushi-kenny-omega-vs-tetsuya_sport?search_algo=1
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. 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
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