DDT “JUDGEMENT 2017 ~ DDT 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOX OFFICE” Preview

DDT “JUDGEMENT 2017 ~ DDT 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOX OFFICE”, 20/03/2017
Saitama Super Arena

0. Iron Man Heavymetalweight & King Of Dark Titles – DDT Pro Wrestling 20th Anniversary Memorial Celebration Dramatic Rumble: Kotatsu (I/c) Vs Gota Ihashi (D/c) Vs Tomomitsu Matsunaga Vs Mad Paulie Vs Guanchulo Vs Hoshitango Vs Gorgeous Matsuno Vs Trans-Am ★ Hiroshi Vs Ken Ohka Vs MIKAMI Vs Poison Sawada JULIE Vs GENTARO Vs Tomohiko Hashimoto Vs Rion Mizuki Vs Bambi Vs Yoshihiko
0. DNA Offer Match: Rekka, Daiki Shimomura & Yuki Ueno Vs Nobuhiro Shimatani, Naomi Yoshimura & Dai Suzuki
0. Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match: Yuu, Mil Clown & Itoh Maki Vs Reika Saiki, Rika Tatsumi & Azusa Takigawa
1. Super Joshi Pro Wars 2017: Saki Akai, Meiko Satomura & Syoko Nakajima Vs Aja Kong, Cherry & Miyu Yamashita
2. Kou Shibusawa 35th Anniversary “Nobunaga’s Ambition ~Our Warring States~” Sengoku Warlords Match: Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Sanshiro Takagi), Shingen Takeda (Keiji Muto) & Yukimura Sanada (Isami Kodaka) (w/ Matsu-hime (Kimika Tokuta)) Vs Katsuie Shibata (Daisuke Sekimoto), Kenshin Uesugi (Jun Akiyama) & Nobunaga Oda (Kota Ibushi) (w/ Oichi (Mai Iriya))
3. Special 8-Man Tag Match: Toru Owashi, Kazuki Hirata, Antonio Honda & Lady Beard Vs Jaguar Yokota, Keisuke Ishii, Masahiro Takanashi & Yuni
4. Shungo Oyama Pro Wrestling Challenge Match: Yoshihiro Takayama & Dick Togo Vs KUDO & Shungo Oyama
5. Shigehiro Irie Triennial Special Single Match: Shigehiro Irie Vs Mike Bailey
6. PRO WRESTLING TEES Presents “DDT Is DDT” 20 Years Entertainment Culmination! The Best In The World Bad Guy Decisive Battle: Danshoku Dino Vs Joey Ryan
7. KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles – 3 Way Match: Kazusada Higuchi, Kouki Iwasaki & Mizuki Watase (c) Vs Soma Takao, Akito & Yasu Urano Vs Makoto Oishi, Shunma Katsumata & MAO
8. DDT Extreme Title – Sekichu Presents Hardcore Match: Jun Kasai (c) Vs Daisuke Sasaki
9. KO-D Tag Team Titles: Masakatsu Funaki & Yukio Sakaguchi (c) Vs Shuji Ishikawa & Tetsuya Endo
10. KO-D Openweight Title – Good Com Asset Presents: HARASHIMA (c) Vs Konosuke Takeshita

The show airs live on DDT UNIVERSE om Monday 2:00pm JST, 5:00am GMT, 1:00am ET and Sunday 10:00pm PT.

I was also a guest on the Japanese Audio Wrestling podcast last week to preview the show. The episode can be heard here.

Twenty years. Who would have thought DDT would last twenty years? Sanshiro Takagi’s brainchild was created in 1997 when he, MIKAMI and NOSAWA Rongai quit a promotion called Pro Wrestling Crusaders to form their own wrestling league. From there Dramatic Dream Team was born and it created a bizarre path for itself as time went by. From parodying WWE to experimenting with the elements of pro wrestling that have existed for so long that they were taken for granted, DDT became home to some of the most bizarre gimmicks and ideas in the business. But it had something else going for it. Among the island of misfit toys were some gems that have since gone on to be major players on the scene. The parodies and knock offs eventually transformed into more creative endeavours that can now stand on their own. The buildings being booked became bigger. The roster developed into something that the next generation of wrestlers now choose to be there rather than use it as a backup plan.

And it all leads to here. “JUDGEMENT 2017” the 20th Anniversary celebration for DDT is taking place in Saitama Super Arena. This is a plan years in the making. Originally DDT wanted to run the building in 2011 but there was no room on the Arena’s schedule to make it happen. In 2015 DDT booked the Community Hub section of the building for “SAITAMA SUPER DDT 2015”. Finally this year is the year they are running the full building. If that isn’t aiming high, remember that back at the 15th Anniversary show, Takagi announced his intentions to run the Tokyo Dome for the 20th Anniversary! Sadly that never came to pass but hey, Saitama Super Arena isn’t anything to sneeze at.

So let’s get to the card itself. DDT is following the format that a lot of others now use for their biggest show of the year. Cram as much as they can and give everyone a spot somewhere. This is going to be a long show, ladies and gentlemen. The Future attempts to replace the present, an angry warrior looks set to take on DAMNATION, furniture will fly in a charismatic death match, a 3 Way determines who deserves the trios championship, a viral video clip results in a World Wrestling War, two top singles wrestlers battle it out to move up the ranks, an MMA fighter shifts over to pro wrestling, a joshi legend teams up with a child, there’s a match filled with superstar samurai and much more is on the cards. So let’s dig in.


0. Iron Man Heavymetalweight & King Of Dark Titles – DDT Pro Wrestling 20th Anniversary Memorial Celebration Dramatic Rumble: Kotatsu (I/c) Vs Gota Ihashi (D/c) Vs Tomomitsu Matsunaga Vs Mad Paulie Vs Guanchulo Vs Hoshitango Vs Gorgeous Matsuno Vs Trans-Am ★ Hiroshi Vs Ken Ohka Vs MIKAMI Vs Poison Sawada JULIE Vs GENTARO Vs Tomohiko Hashimoto Vs Rion Mizuki Vs Bambi Vs Yoshihiko

We start off with a staple match on these major shows, a Royal Rumble for the Iron Man Heavymetalweight Title. However this time there is an added caveat in the mix. The King Of Dark Title is also on the line, hence why this match is on the pre-show. The current Iron Man Champion is Kotatsu, a literal table. Kotatsu has been unstoppable since becoming the champion. Its defensive capabilities is beyond anything seen from previous champions. As you’d expect from a Japanese table it is tough to break. But it has a soft side too. It has a quilt attached around itself that is so comfortable, anyone who sits next to it falls asleep. The current King Of Dark Champion is Gota Ihashi who recently reclaimed the title for the 6th time. The rest of the field is filled with many names from DDT’s past. MIKAMI had been with DDT for most of its existence and was the Jr. Heavyweight star in the group for many years. Poison Sawada JULIE had many forms but is best remembered as the dark snake magician. GENTARO was a dominant tag wrestler, teaming with Takashi Sasaki as the Akarangers. Tomohiko Hashimoto was one of Koichiro Kimura’s disciples and was part of a unit called B52 Special. Rion Mizuki was an ikemen wrestler who briefly has a Saint Seiya gimmick. Bambi wrestled in DDT under a mask as “Showa”. And then there is the usual lot involved too. It is possible that one of the titles will not change hands depending on the result of the match. It’s a complicated situation that the referees are trying to figure out.


0. DNA Offer Match: Rekka, Daiki Shimomura & Yuki Ueno Vs Nobuhiro Shimatani, Naomi Yoshimura & Dai Suzuki

Earlier this year DDT New Attitude reinvented itself into Fighting Gig DNA. It is still a development brand for DDT’s less experienced wrestlers but the plan is for the group to grow and become its own brand of wrestling. Naomi Yoshimura has quickly become a standout to me. He has the fewest matches out of the six wrestlers but the biggest ego and a powerful body to match. His generation counterpart Yuki Ueno is almost the opposite. Ueno takes a beating every match but he takes it in his stride. Daiki Shimomura and Nobuhiro Shimatani are friends/rivals who recently formed a team together called Gran Millimeters. Dai Suzuki just began a 7 match series where he must win or tie one match or else he must retire. He’s 0-1 so far. Rekka is the most experienced of the bunch by far, joining DNA from New Taiwan Wrestling. Everybody involved in this match are hungry and unsatisfied at just being in the pre-show. They are determined to have an exciting match because of this.


0. Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match: Yuu, Mil Clown & Itoh Maki Vs Reika Saiki, Rika Tatsumi & Azusa Takigawa

The last of the pre-show matches involved Tokyo Joshi Pro. DDT’s spin-off women’s brand has been around for four years now and has a colourful cast of idol wrestlers. Yuu is the current queen of the ring, holding the TOKYO Princess Of Princess Title. Her judo talent quickly pushed her heads and shoulders ahead of the rest of the roster. Mil Clown is a trickster from the Magical Country. She came to Tokyo Joshi to take the place of twin sister Yuka Sakazaki when she took a break to find herself. Itoh Maki is a former singer from LinQ and is convinced she is the cutest wrestler ever. Reika Saiki is the powerful Muscle Idol and a member of the Cheer♡1 cheerleader squad. Rika Tatsumi is becoming known for her Dragon Sleeper. It is no coincidence that her ring name was inspired by Tatsumi Fujinami. Finally Azusa Takigawa is the wrestler who is determined to get married. Her use of Zexy Magazine as a weapon in matches got some attention online this year including a request from the magazine’s publisher to stop doing it.


1. Super Joshi Pro Wars 2017: Saki Akai, Meiko Satomura & Syoko Nakajima Vs Aja Kong, Cherry & Miyu Yamashita

Tokyo Joshi’s influence continues into the main show. The two most established wrestlers from the brand are being put in with DDT’s two mainstay women as well as two joshi legends. Miyu Yamashita has been with Tokyo Joshi since its very first show back in January 2013 with Syoko Nakajima coming in a few months later. Yamashita was the first ever Princess Champion while Nakajima is a Tokyo Princess Cup winner and has been in the final for all three tournaments. Saki Akai and Cherry have a not so friendly relationship in DDT. Cherry was the token women’s wrestler for the DDT family until Akai the celebrity came in. Cherry has been jealous of her success and popularity ever since. Then there is the famed rivalry between Meiko Satomura and Aja Kong. I got to see their Sendai Girls match live last April and it was amazing to watch. Maybe Yamashita and Nakajima can impress the right people in this match and get an opportunity to spread their wings.


2. Kou Shibusawa 35th Anniversary “Nobunaga’s Ambition ~Our Warring States~” Sengoku Warlords Match: Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Sanshiro Takagi), Shingen Takeda (Keiji Muto) & Yukimura Sanada (Isami Kodaka) (w/ Matsu-hime (Kimika Tokuta)) Vs Katsuie Shibata (Daisuke Sekimoto), Kenshin Uesugi (Jun Akiyama) & Nobunaga Oda (Kota Ibushi) (w/ Oichi (Mai Iriya))

It’s surprising to see a match of this magnitude apparantly take place so early on the show but this is going to be a highlight for sure. To celebrate game director Kou Shibusawa’s 35th year in the business, DDT is teaming up with Koei Tecmo to put on a star studded match promoting the Nobunaga’s Ambition phone game. If you don’t know about that series then maybe you are more familiar with Dynasty Warriors or Romance Of The Three Kingdoms. Chances are if the Yellow Turban Rebellion is mentioned somewhere then this match relates to it. To get the most out of this match I suggest you grab a Playstation controller and mash Square over and over. It’s how I played through Dynasty Warriors 8.

To the teams themselves. On one side you have the Big President Sanshiro Takagi, the BASARA samurai Isami Kodaka and the Pro Wrestling Master Keiji Muto. On the other side there is the hard bodied Daisuke Sekimoto, the wise man Jun Akiyama and the nutjob who thinks showering in fireworks during a trip to London is a good idea Kota Ibushi. So far so good but to make things more interesting each wrestler is playing a different character from the historical video game series. There are also actresses involved, Mai Iriya is playing Sekimoto’s character’s wife and Kimika Tokuta is playing Muto’s character’s daughter. Ibushi turned down WWE for this and I couldn’t be happier. Twitter videos also show he has a blunderbuss as part of his costume because you know, giving Ibushi a gun is such a good idea.


3. Special 8-Man Tag Match: Toru Owashi, Kazuki Hirata, Antonio Honda & Lady Beard Vs Jaguar Yokota, Keisuke Ishii, Masahiro Takanashi & Yuni

Another mish-mash multi-person tag match. The focus here is on two people with around a 45 year a age difference between them. Jaguar Yokota wrestled for DDT once before back in June 2003. Teaming with her is the 3rd grade elementary student Yuni. The kid convinced DDT to train him as a wrestler and he’s had a few matches since his debut last December. During his time away from the ring he’s been bouncing on his bed trying to learn stylish moves like the Sky Twister Press. Yokota and Yuni have met and trained together in the build up to this match. They get along and Yokota warns she won’t forgive anyone who tries to bully Yuni in the ring. Joining their team are Keisuke Ishii and Masahiro Takanashi. Ishii has had a banner year since winning the AJPW Jr. Heavyweight Title. Takanashi is firmly suited in his role for Shuten-dōji and can catch anyone with his pinning manoeuvres. Their opponents are Toru Owashi and the three people who annoy him. Kazuki Hirata wants nothing more than to dance on the biggest stage (sadly his music will be blocked on DDT UNIVERSE). Both Antonio Honda and Lady Beard are warming up their vocals and will probably be more interested in telling stories and singing karaoke rather than wrestling.


4. Shungo Oyama Pro Wrestling Challenge Match: Yoshihiro Takayama & Dick Togo Vs KUDO & Shungo Oyama

Former MMA fighter Shungo Oyama has fought many big names in PRIDE, K-1 and HERO’S. He’s fought Wanderlai Silva, Peter Aerts, Renzo Gracie (and a few others from that family), Dan Henderson, Cro Cop and Carlos Newton. He even once fought Sean O’Haire in a kickboxing bout! When his MMA career ended DDT sent him an invite to try out pro wrestling. It’s an idea he considered but put off for years because he was coming off of injuries and did not want to disrespect pro wrestling with a lacklustre performance. But he came round on the idea and figured it is better to do it now then never at all. He sent a strong message to Yoshihiro Takayama in February when they met in a DDT ring. Takayama tried attacked Oyama but was quickly put in a Sleeper Hold and choked unconscious. KUDO is encouraged by Oyama’s appearance. His advice to him is if he can see success then he can win. Takayama isn’t going to take it lying down though. He warns that all Oyama did was wake up the fighter inside him and he’s now hungry for blood! Takayama’s tag partner Dick Togo wants to remind everyone that even though Oyama is strong he is still a pro wrestling rookie. Togo is eager to teach him a lesson!


5. Shigehiro Irie Triennial Special Single Match: Shigehiro Irie Vs Mike Bailey

This is an interesting match up. Shigehiro Irie and “Speedball” Mike Bailey have both been recovering from set-backs after losing title matches to HARASHIMA. They are both on the cusp of hitting the main event level again but are taking different paths to reach it. Irie has been relying on excursions to the United States of America. The first trip saw him return to Japan much stronger and more confident than ever before. He was already planning a return to America when he fought HARASHIMA on Christmas Day but he wanted to bring the KO-D Openweight Title with him. That did not happen. Still, Irie loves spending time in America and did not take his latest trip for granted.

Bailey’s climb to the top is coming from his time teaming with Happy Motels and wrestling in DNA. He won the DNA Grand Prix on his own in October and then won the KO-D Tag Team Titles with Konosuke Takeshita in December. But Irie isn’t impressed. He’s given him the thumbs down after their matches together. Expect the winner of this match to start banging on the door for a title shot in the future.


6. PRO WRESTLING TEES Presents “DDT Is DDT” 20 Years Entertainment Culmination! The Best In The World Bad Guy Decisive Battle: Danshoku Dino Vs Joey Ryan

Where do I even begin with this? DDT put together the most DDT match they could think of to promote DDT UNIVERSE to a global audience. On November 2015, Danshoku Dino and Joey Ryan faced off in a 6-Man Tag. Their interactions went viral and the aftermath has been following them ever since. When Dino was given 500,000 yen to find his dream opponent for Saitama Super Arena he went for the obvious choice. Triple H! Unfortunately he’s too busy trying to drain the European wrestling scene of its talent for NXT so Dino went for the next obvious choice. Joey Ryan! And to make the match even more appealing to a global audience, Super Sasadango Machine is creating a special PowerPoint presentation in Japanese, English, Spanish and Chinese for the match.

Everything surrounding the match was well and good until a few days ago when a certain powerful figure in the world of politics got involved. “Donald Trump” stepped in and declared the match a World Wrestling War between Japan and America. This is a serious situation that calls for a dangerous stipulation. Using the SWOT Analysis on Dino, Trump determined that Dino Vs Ryan should be an Anal Explosion Death Match! If such a match goes ahead then any scenes of graphic content will be censored on DDT UNIVERSE with this NSFW image.

Oh and Pro Wrestling Tees is sponsoring the match. Buy DDT shirts here. You picked a hell of a match to sponsor, lads.


7. KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles – 3 Way Match: Kazusada Higuchi, Kouki Iwasaki & Mizuki Watase (c) Vs Soma Takao, Akito & Yasu Urano Vs Makoto Oishi, Shunma Katsumata & MAO

Things will calm down for the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles match. Three units clash and each side has its own story to tell. Team DNA are the champions going into the match. Kazusada Higuchi is the top man in DNA and has progressed far enough to fight for the KO-D Title a few times already. Kouki Iwasaki is a solid wrestler who is currently picking fights with Kazushi Sakuraba in DNA. Mizuki Watase has gotten his wrestling career back on track after a whirlwind romance with TV celebrity and former champion LiLiCo last year.

Smile Squash are the stronger of the two challenging teams. With Soma Takao recently joining the unit they’ve been on a strong run in tag matches. Akito is happy to team with him but Yasu Urano is pretty suspect of the situation. Takao himself admits he joined Smile Squash to wrestle with HARASHIMA and learn what it will take to beat him someday. Urano wonders why should a guy like that get to join the unit? Regardless, this team contains three skillful wrestlers with momentum on their side.

Last but not least is NωA. Their success in the ring is difficult to find but out of all the teams in the match they are the most tightly knit unit. They sing together, dance together and wrestle together. They released two CDs which nobody else on the show can boast.


8. DDT Extreme Title – Sekichu Presents Hardcore Match: Jun Kasai (c) Vs Daisuke Sasaki

Now we’re getting into the big matches. The last three bouts are going to carry the heavy end of the show so I have high hopes for them. The Hardcore Match is being sponsored by Sekichu and the weapons laid out around the ring will all be provided by them. Daisuke Sasaki is mostly over his infatuation with Candice LeRae but the idea that a championship can impress her may still be in his head. But if he has moved on from her he is now focused on getting rid of Jun Kasai. He stole Kasai’s goggles a month ago but Kasai got back at him by stealing his leather jacket. The items were given back to each other but the fighting continued. Sasaki is confident he will win. So much so he is already thinking of using his match winnings to buy a 65 inch TV to replace his 50 inch one. Is Sasaki charismatic enough to overcome Kasai’s violent streak?


9. KO-D Tag Team Titles: Masakatsu Funaki & Yukio Sakaguchi (c) Vs Shuji Ishikawa & Tetsuya Endo

DAMNATION’s presence continues on to the KO-D Tag Team Titles Match. Nobody has gotten Yukio Sakaguchi more riled up than Tetsuya Endo lately. Endo beating Sakaguchi in a singles match last month only made the bad blood between the two worse. Now Endo has his eyes the tag titles and he’s brining along Shuji Ishikawa to help. He’s also winding up Masakatsu Funaki by calling his Hybrid Wrestling style a thing of the past. Sakaguchi threatens that he will fill Saitama Super Arena with Endo’s blood!


10. KO-D Openweight Title – Good Com Asset Presents: HARASHIMA (c) Vs Konosuke Takeshita

The backbone of DDT defends his place on top against the future of the company. HARASHIMA is the most successful KO-D Openweight Champion in DDT history with 9 title reigns and around 28 successful title defences over the course of 10 years. Konosuke Takeshita left his mark on history by becoming the youngest ever KO-D Champion, winning the title on his 21st birthday. Takeshita wants nothing more than for HARASHIMA to be at his absolute best when they wrestle. He wants to beat HARASHIMA at his best so he can rewrite the history books and cement his place as the strongest wrestler to ever step foot in DDT. HARASHIMA assures him that he is constantly getting better every time he steps in the ring. He hears Takeshita’s claims that he is the future of DDT but HARASHIMA doesn’t think the generation shift will happen under his watch. HARASHIMA is thrilled to see DDT on the big stage like this after 20 years. He thinks beating Takeshita in the main event is a good way to kickstart the 21st year. The future of DDT is at stake. Is it time for The Future to take over?

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One Response to DDT “JUDGEMENT 2017 ~ DDT 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOX OFFICE” Preview

  1. […] celebrate the 20th episode of Burning Spirits, we decide to preview DDT’s huge 20th anniversary show by running down all the matches and giving our predictions for each match. Thanks for sticking with […]

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