DDT Goes Hollywood
Date: March 30, 2023
Location: Ukranian Cultural Center, Los Angeles, California
Commentators: Dave Prazak, Veda Scott
This is DDT Pro, a rather interesting Japanese promotion that produced Konosuke Takeshita. The company has quite a bit of good, pure wrestling but also has a tendency to lean into the insane, including a female blow up doll being incredibly popular. I’ve looked at one of their shows before and remember having some fun so hopefully it continues here. Let’s get to it.
Note that I’m coming into this mostly blind. Please forgive me for any mistakes involving history, continuity, characters etc.
37Kamina vs. Chris Brookes/Yoshihiko
37 is Mao (“A f***** up wrestler for a f***** up world!”) and Shunma Katsuma. Yoshihiko is the Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion (parody of the WWF Hardcore Title on a heavy amount of steroids, to the point of well over 1,000 reigns in the title’s history) and….yeah she’s a female sex doll. To be fair, she comes out to the Undertaker’s Corporate Ministry theme (just go with it) so it’s a bit better. Brookes and Katsuma (a foot or so shorter) start things off, with the latter offering to play this entirely straight for one night only.
That results in a handshake being offered and pulled away before Katsuma grabs a wristlock. The rope walk with a bunch of springboards just annoys Brookes, who slaps the leg out to crotch Katsuma down. Brookes gets knocked into the corner though and it’s off to Mao….and Yoshihiko. Mao gets caught in a hard lockup and goes to the ropes for the early break.
We actually get a test of strength with Mao taking her down for some near falls but Yoshihiko bridges up. Yoshihiko grabs a headlock but a pull of the hair (of which there is none) gets Mao out of trouble. Mao sends her outside and rams her into the apron over and over, followed by a HARD powerbomb from the apron to the floor. A brainbuster gets two and it’s back to Katsuma to rake the eyes across the top.
Stomping to the head has Yoshihiko in more trouble but she manages to counter a double suplex into one of her own. That’s enough for the tag off to Brookes for the house cleaning. Brookes grabs a double Octopus hold (ok then) but everything breaks down and Yoshihiko comes back in.
Yoshihiko’s hurricanrana sends Katsuma into a cutter from Brookes but Katsuma fires off kicks to the head. Mao comes back in and gets O’Connor rolled for two (by Yoshihiko) and 37 gets double suplexed. Brookes comes back in to knock 37 to the floor and launches Yoshihiko onto them, setting up the dive. Back in and a double top rope backsplash gets two on Mao, with the kickout sending Yoshihiko to the floor.
Yoshihiko comes back in to slug it out with Mao before a very spinning headscissors into a standing hurricanrana gives Yoshihiko two (the bell rang but the referee had to wave it off). Mao hurricanranas both of them and hits a springboard 450 in the vicinity of Yoshihiko for….one.
A poisonrana into a bridging German suplex plants Mao but Katsuma frog splashes in for the save. Brookes breaks that up until Mao hits a spinning kick to Brookes’ head. Back in and Mao knees Yoshihiko in the face for two as this needs to wrap up. A Blockbuster gives Mao the pin on Yoshihiko (making Mao the Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion) at 18:23.
Rating: C+. This is going to be one of those matches where you either get the joke or hate it and I can easily see both ways. Yes, it’s a total joke and they were doing moves to themselves, but that’s what these fans came to see. It’s a funny joke and some of the athleticism to make it work (as much as it can) is impressive, but it went on a good bit too long here. If this isn’t your thing, I certainly won’t argue as it really isn’t mine either, though it was amusing at times.
Post match Katsuma rolls Mao up for two but Brooks grabs a Jay Driller to pin Mao and win the title for himself. Then Yoshihiko hits three straight Canadian Destroyers to get the title back.
Takagi Army vs. Pheromones
That would be Sanshiro Takagi/Michael Nakazawa vs. Danshoko Dino/Yuki Ino. Takagi has needed help against the Pheromones and wanted help from AEW, who sent Nakazawa (they have a history) over. The Pheromones come out to rather bouncy music and come to the ring in bathrobes to reveal….a lot of pink. Takagi and Ino start things off, with Ino posing on the ropes and exposing some nipple.
Ino takes him down and exposes the other nipple, setting up the tag off to Dino. Nakazawa (in polo shirt, khakis and headset) comes in as well and gets wristlocked over to the ropes. Dino takes Nakazawa down and removes his trunks to reveal a thong. That is sat down onto Nakazawa before Ino comes back in. A slam lets Ino sit down crotch first onto Nakazawa’s face….and then he unzips his gear to reveal a jockstrap (and nothing else) so he can drop down again.
Nakazawa is so serious that he pops up and takes off his own shirt but Ino just strips off the singlet. A spear cuts off Ino’s comeback and it’s back to Takagi, who dropkicks him down. Dino comes back in to help knock Takagi down, allowing the Pheromones to go back to back and rub their….oh I think you get the idea, over Nakazawa’s face. Fans: “WE WANT A*******!”
Ino goes to the top and Takagi sticks his fingers inside of him before putting said fingers in Dino’s face. Nakazawa hits a top rope shoulder for two but misses a charge to go straight into Ino, who is still on top. Takagi gets the same treatment and hold on, as the Pheromones have an offer for Nakazawa. He seems interested, even if he doesn’t understand.
With Ino laid on the mat, Dino pulls out a robe and offers something we can’t hear. Apparently it’s going to be magic, and yes the audience wants to see it. Then Dino kicks him low and sends him face first between Ino’s legs, with the jock strap being the thing that disappears. The jockstrap goes over the referee’s face and the robe is pulled away. The referee calls for the bell at 11:04 for….does it matter?
Rating: F. I’m not going to explain about the lack of humor here (I’m sure some found it funny) but this was in the gross out style of comedy and I’ve never found it funny. It was a bunch of body stuff and nothing more, with Nakazawa somehow being one of the more serious things here. I don’t care for it and that isn’t going to change so we’ll move on.
Post match Dino kisses the referee and a towel appears to cover Ino as he leaves. It’s officially a no contest.
Takeshi Masada/Kazusada Higuchi vs. Andrew Everett/Nick Wayne
Wayne and Masada (the rookie prodigies) start things off with Wayne snapping off a hurricanrana. A double tag brings in Higuchi and Everett (who is dressed like Andre The Giant/The Giant) despite being pretty average size (if not smaller). Everett stands there so Higuchi can chop him, only to have Higuchi block a chokeslam attempt.
Taguchi chops him in the corner and it’s back to Wayne vs. Masada. Wayne takes him down by the arm and cranks away before Everett comes back in. Higuchi is back in as well and runs Everett over before knocking Wayne off the apron. A running powerslam gets two but Everett hits a springboard moonsault to drop Higuchi.
It’s back to Wayne for a breather until Higuchi grabs a brainbuster. Masada comes in and has to avoid Wayne’s cutter before knocking Wayne back down. Everett and Higuchi get to chop it out with Everett grabbing him by the throat. They go up top with Higuchi having to fight off a chokeslam attempt. Instead Everett hits a superkick but Higuchi blocks another chokeslam. The claw slam gives Higuchi the pin at 11:04.
Rating: C+. Maybe it was getting away from….whatever it was earlier but this was a fine change of pace. Wayne certainly has some skill for a seventeen year old but he absolutely needs seasoning. Everett’s chokeslam stuff got annoying fast as it wasn’t exactly a funny gag in the first place. Not a great match, but at least it was wrestling instead of that other stuff.
Respect is shown post match.
Vert Vixen vs. Saki Akai
They look at each other a bit before going into the forearm exchange. Akai hits a running knee to drop Vixen, who is right back with a running Downward Spiral for two. They fight over a suplex with Akai getting the better of it to send her outside. Akai dives onto Vixen before bringing her back inside, where Vixen hits a quick Stunner. The Blue Thunder Bomb gives Vixen two so Akai grabs a choke. Vixen is right in the ropes, allowing Akai to knock her down for two. An abdominal stretch flipped over into a slam finishes Vixen at 6:10.
Rating: C-. This was just kind of there and it didn’t have time to work. Maybe they were cut short on time or something but Akai beat her up, took a few moves and then won without much trouble. It felt like something that would be put on a TV show to get Akai over rather than something on a featured show like this. Not bad or close to it, but I’m not sure why they did it this way.
Respect is shown post match.
Joey Janela vs. Tetsuya Endo
Endo’s Universal Title isn’t on the line and Janela is in a Bam Bam Bigelow shirt. They take turns flipping out of wristlocks (Janela isn’t so graceful) before Janela hits a hard chop. A chop off goes to Endo and he dropkicks Janela to the floor. Janela cuts off a suicide dive and neckbreakers him over the middle rope to take over. A brainbuster on the floor knocks Endo silly and it’s a neck crank into a neckbreaker back inside.
Endo manages a forearm in the corner and knocks Janela outside, setting up the Sasuke Special (that’s harder to block). Janela blocks a torture rack bomb back inside and hits a package piledriver for….nothing as Endo is next to the rope. Endo catches him going up and it’s a super C4 for two (Janela kicked out faster than usual there).
This time it’s Endo getting caught up top with Janela hitting a super brainbuster for two of his own. They’re both staggered so they slug it out, with Janela running into a raised boot. They trade German suplexes until Endo grabs a poisonrana. Janela hits a lariat though and they’re both down for a needed breather.
Endo follows him to the apron where he has to escape a Death Valley Driver. Instead it’s a Canadian Destroyer to plant Janela on the apron, followed by a spinning torture rack bomb for two back inside. The Burning (shooting) Star press is finally enough to finish Janela off at 15:30.
Rating: C+. Good fight here but it went longer than it needed to and started to drag by the end. Janela is someone who is much more about presentation and charisma than what he can do in the ring, though Endo helped bring him up here. You knew Janela would get in a big spot here and it could have been far worse.
Respect is shown post match (again).
Eddie Kingston/Jun Akiyama vs. Daisuke Sasaki/Kanon
Kingston and Kanon start things off and they go to the mat with neither having an advantage. With that broken up, Kingston slaps on a headlock which goes nowhere. Instead it’s off to Akiyama, who gets taken to the floor for a DDT from Kanon. With Sasaki distraction the referee, Kanon pulls out a wrench to choke away and it’s Sasaki coming in to kick away.
Akiyama tries to fight back but gets knocked down, only to avoid Sasaki’s top rope elbow. Kingston comes in for the rapid fire chops and the Stretch Plum goes on. That has to be let go as Kanon comes in, only to get kicked in the head. Kanon spins Kingston into the a choke but that’s broken up rather quickly.
A chop knocks Kanon out of the air and Akiyama hits a crossbody for two. Everything breaks down and Sasaki and Kingston head outside, leaving Kanon to hanging DDT Akiyama for two. Back in and Kingston exploder suplexes Sasaki as Akiyama does the same to Kanon. Akiyama’s running knee gets two, followed by another exploder for the pin at 10:44.
Rating: C+. Another hard hitting match here and you can see the good Kingston shining through. Granted it helps when he is teaming with one of his idols (again) but it’s nice to see the version with all that talent out there. Sasaki and Kanon seem to be more of a regular team and likely a big deal, but a legend like Akiyama and a higher profile star like Kingston aren’t likely to lose here.
Konosuke Takeshita vs. Yuki Ueno
Like anyone else could main event. These two are friends and run the ropes to start until both try dropkicks, leaving them down. Back up and Takeshita hits a heck of a chop but Ueno forearms his way out of trouble. The chinlock goes on for a bit but Takeshita fights out rather quickly. The Blue Thunder Bomb is countered into a headlock takeover, with Takeshita grabbing a headscissors.
Ueno headstands his way out, only to get pulled into a short piledriver for a cool counter. Takeshita neckbreakers him down but tries another, only to get hit in the face. With Takeshita on the floor, Ueno hits a big slingshot corkscrew dive to take him down in a crash. Back up and Ueno flips out of a German suplex (the angle made it look like he got dropped on his head at first) before grabbing his own bridging German suplex for two.
Takeshita misses the running knee and gets Canadian Destroyed, only to come back with the Blue Thunder Bomb for a close two. Ueno gets knocked outside for a breather before they go up top, with Ueno snapping off a super hurricanrana. Back up and they slug it out until one heck of a discus lariat gives Takeshita…one. The running knee is blocked again and Ueno’s flipping DDT gets two. Ueno hits a running knee to the back of the head and a dropkick drops Takeshita again. Takeshita is right back with a kneeling piledriver into a wheelbarrow suplex into the running knee to finish Ueno at 14:56.
Rating: B. For a match where there was almost no reason to believe that Takeshita was going to lose, they managed to turn it into a competitive back and forth match. Takeshita is one of the better things about AEW today and it was great to get to see him as the biggest star in DDT. Solid main event here, with Takeshita being the main event distraction.
Post match Takeshita addresses the crowd and puts over Ueno, even giving him the ring to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. This one didn’t quite click as well as some others, as while there was some good action, it wasn’t exactly great stuff. It doesn’t help that the first two matches feel like they are out of a completely different promotion (or universe in one case). It’s not a bad show by any means, but there are better wrestling shows you can pick, especially this weekend. In the case of that second match, there must be some kind of documentary on the mating habits of fruit flies somewhere to check out instead. Anyway, a disaster, but a pretty mediocre show overall.
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