DDT “JUDGEMENT 2018 ~DDT 21ST ANNIVERSARY~” Preview

DDT “JUDGEMENT 2018 ~DDT 21ST ANNIVERSARY~”, 25/03/2018
Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan

0. Under Match: Mizuki Watase, Rekka, Daiki Shimomura, Nobuhiro Shimatani & Takato Nakano Vs Mad Paulie, Hoshitango, Tomomitsu Matsunaga, Gota Ihashi & Cherry
0. Under Match: Kouki Iwasaki & Shinichiro Tominaga Vs Kenshin Chikano & Akira Jo
0. Under Match – Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match: Yuka Sakazaki & Syoko Nakajima Va Rika Tatsumi & Maho Kurone
1. Gauntlet Tag Match: LiLiCo & Makoto Oishi Vs Reika Saiki & Lady Beard Vs Akito & Shunma Katsumata Vs Toru Owashi & Kazuki Hirata Vs Antonio Honda & Ethan Page Vs Naomi Yoshimura & Keisuke Okuda
2. World Crazy Wrestler No. 1 Decision Battle In DDT: Joey Ryan Vs Colt Cabana
3. Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match – Special 6-Woman Tag Match: Miyu Yamashita, Maki Ito & Mizuki Vs Saki-sama, Yoshiko-sama & Azusa Christie
4. Iron Man Heavymetalweight Title: Super Sasadango Machine (c) Vs Jiro Kuroshio
5. KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles: KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masahiro Takanashi (c) Vs Kota Umeda, Yuki Ueno & Koji Takeda
6. Weapon Rumble 5 Way Tag Loser Gets Anal Blast Match: Sanshiro Takagi & Ippanjin Munenori Sawa Vs Mike Bailey & MAO Vs Yuko Miyamoto & Soma Takao Vs Isami Kodaka & Fuminori Abe Vs Michael Nakazawa & Chinsuke Nakamura
7. Dramatic Dream Match: Danshoku Dino, Keisuke Ishii & Ken Ohka Vs Great Muta, Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo
8. KO-D Tag Team Titles – Uchikomi! Presents: HARASHIMA & Naomichi Marufuji (c) Vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi
9. KO-D Openweight Title: Konosuke Takeshita (c) Vs Shuji Ishikawa

For an audio preview I appeared on an episode of the Wrestling Omakase podcast to talk about the show. We also review the “SAKI AKAI PRODUCE ~ DDT COLLECTION” show on the same episode. You can listen to it here.

The DDT UNIVERSE live broadcast begins on 1:30pm JST with the first pre-show match beginning at 2:00pm JST and the main show beginning at 3:00pm JST. So for other time zones the main show begins at 7:00am GMT (remember the clocks will have gone forward one hour in this time zone), 2:00am ET and (Saturday) 11:00pm PT. For those with access to AbemaTV the event will also air live for free on the DDT channel (VPN needed for those outside Japan). There will be either muted audio or replacement music for the entrances and video packages because of this.

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DDT is back in Sumo Hall once again for its biggest event of the year. “JUDGEMENT 2018” is being held to mark DDT’s 21st anniversary and is providing a stacked card to celebrate. The headline match is a rematch of a 2016 Sumo Hall main event but there is plenty to talk about from top to bottom. We have grudge matches, we have generational battles, we have wrestling demons, we have anal explosions, we have title matches, we have joshi, we have crazy foreign wrestlers and we have the other sub-brands jumping in to get involved. The only way this show gets any more insane is if DDT goes the Pop Team Epic route and holds an identical 5 hour show immediately after this 5 hour show ends but with different a commentary team.

0. Under Match: Mizuki Watase, Rekka, Daiki Shimomura, Nobuhiro Shimatani & Takato Nakano Vs Mad Paulie, Hoshitango, Tomomitsu Matsunaga, Gota Ihashi & Cherry

The first match of the day is between rookies and veterans. The rookie team consists of DNA and BASARA wrestlers. Mizuki Watase’s big matches in DNA for the last few months have been against wrestlers like Koji Kanemoto & Minoru Tanaka. Taiwanese wrestler Rekka recently formed a short lived team with Chinese wrestler Choun-Shiryu that fell apart over their national differences. Daiki Shimomura has been bottom of the pile and taking loss after loss on most shows. His Gran MilliMeters partner Nobuhiro Shimatani has been the same except he has spent his time trying to win over DAMNATION so he can join their group. BASARA’s Takato Nakano is approaching the first anniversary of his debut match in April.

On the veteran team Mad Paulie has become a little bit calmer ever since he discovered dancing. He loves to dance along to Shuji Ishikawa’s karaoke. Because of this he acts a little bit nicer to his opponents but he is still dangerous to wrestle. Gota Ihashi embarrassed himself on the big stage when he got to team with Kota Ibushi and Riki Choshu on a show produced by Choshu. They won their match but Choshu ripped apart Ihashi with criticism during a post show interview. Ever since then Ihashi has been trying to regain his confidence and even wants to discover if the power of Choshu is inside of him. It isn’t. The real power is the friends you make along the way and Choshu has been friends with Ibushi for years so the entire journey is a waste of time in the first place. Hoshitango, Tomomitsu Matsunaga & Cherry have been filling up the DDT pre-show matches throughout the year.

0. Under Match: Kouki Iwasaki & Shinichiro Tominaga Vs Kenshin Chikano & Akira Jo

The focus of this match is between Kouki Iwasaki and Akira Jo. The two are feuding against each other in DNA where the homegrown wrestlers are defending themselves against the Naomi Kingdom, which Jo is a part of. Shinichiro Tominaga comes over from Ganbare☆Wrestling as a proud “amateur” pro wrestling card carrier. Kenshin Chikano has a DDT appearance here and there. He had a little more of a presence in BASARA last year when BASARA had a summer long rivalry with Dove Pro Wrestling.

0. Under Match – Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match: Yuka Sakazaki & Syoko Nakajima Va Rika Tatsumi & Maho Kurone

Tokyo Joshi Pro gets fully represented with two matches this time around. The pre-show match is between two of their long standing tag teams the Miraclians and the Dragon Bombers. The Apricots have been teaming together for as long as Yuka Sakazaki & Syoko Nakajima have been around. They have a few achievements between them but the one they share together is becoming the first ever TOKYO Princess Tag Team Champions. On the surface the Dragon Bombers look like an odd pairing but Rika Tatsumi and Maho Kurone have won over fans with their personalities. Kurone’s entire zombie character is immediately eye catching and her behaviour at shows is often fun to follow. Tatsumi got some media attention when she admitted to fancying another Tokyo Joshi wrestler Mizuki and openly questioned the No Relationships rule used by the promotion because it only refers to having boyfriends and not girlfriends. She is currently preparing for the biggest match of her life in May when she main events Korakuen Hall. She recently pinned Nakajima to build up her momentum. Either repeating it or pinning Sakazaki would only increase it further.

1. Gauntlet Tag Match: LiLiCo & Makoto Oishi Vs Reika Saiki & Lady Beard Vs Akito & Shunma Katsumata Vs Toru Owashi & Kazuki Hirata Vs Antonio Honda & Ethan Page Vs Naomi Yoshimura & Keisuke Okuda

The show kicks off proper with a wacky Gauntlet Match for Tag Teams. When LiLiCo was last in DDT she was defending the now forgotten KO-D 10-Man Tag Team Titles with Makoto Oishi and three others. That was in November. Now she’s back in training with Oishi to enter the gauntlet. Oishi has planning his next steps ever since NωA split up. He demanded to join T2Hide so he could take over the group and even won the right to be a member. But he instead turned it down so he could go do literally anything else. Reika Saiki & Lady Beard are connected together outside of wrestling as the idol duo DEADLIFT LOLITA. This is their first time teaming together for a wrestling match. Shunma Katsumata became the breakout wrestler from NωA when he joined ALL OUT and went through a crazy Hardcore Match where he used thumbtacks. Akito has been by Katsumata’s side during this encouraging him to come out of his shell. Toru Owashi & Kazuki Hirata are still the same except for the times when Hirata gets deported and replaced by a suspiciously similar looking foreign substitute. They might still be feeling burned by Oishi rejecting them. Ethan Page has been loving his stay in Japan which probably explains why he acts different here compared to how he normally elsewhere. DDT brought him in with big hopes that he will be their next big Canadian star. Antonio Honda is with him to make sure that happens. Finally, Naomi Yoshimura & Keisuke Okuda have been terrorising DNA with their Naomi Kingdom unit. Their troublemaking is now spreading to DDT and they are very interested to be in the same ring as LiLiCo and Saiki.

2. World Crazy Wrestler No. 1 Decision Battle In DDT: Joey Ryan Vs Colt Cabana

Everything about this match is a little funny. Two of America’s most known and successful comedy wrestlers will face off one on one inside one of Japan’s most prestigious wrestling arenas… and there’s been zero build up for it. That’s not to say either of them have done nothing in DDT at all. In January Joey Ryan competed at the D-Oh Grand Prix. He seemed to be more concerned about convincing the audience to throw paper tape at him for his entrances than he was with winning matches. Colt “Boom Boom” Cabana challenged for the KO-D Openweight Title on Christmas Day but failed to win it. He then spent New Year’s Eve pretending to be Abdullah The Butcher. Both are fighting for the right to be called the DDT’s craziest gaijin wrestler.

3. Tokyo Joshi Pro Offer Match – Special 6-Woman Tag Match: Miyu Yamashita, Maki Ito & Mizuki Vs Saki-sama, Yoshiko-sama & Azusa Christie

For the first time Tokyo Joshi gets a main card spot on a Sumo Hall show. Miyu Yamashita has regained her position as the ace of the promotion when she won back the TOKYO Princess Of Princess Title on 4th January. Since then she has been fighting off challengers like Veda Scott, Yuna Manase and Maho Kurone. Teaming with her is one of the scariest egos ever to grace a DDT ring. Pop idol turned pro wrestler Maki Ito often becomes intense when she wrestles. Her petite figure doesn’t stop her from throwing headbutts and giving her opponents the middle finger. She also formed her own team/fan club called the Ito Respect Army and brought in Mizuki as Member #001. Mizuki doesn’t mind and is happy to make a friend. They even recorded a music video together. It’s just that this friend can act like a psychopath when she doesn’t get her way.

Their opponents are NEO Biishiki-gun, the snooty aristocratic unit led by the snootier and even more aristocratic Saki-sama. Her biggest move over the last year was abducting one of the weakest wrestlers in Tokyo Joshi, Azusa Takigawa and brainwashing her into becoming Azusa Christie. Azusa is now a devoted nun who worships Saki-sama as if she was God. This change has seen her gain more success than she ever had previously and she along with Saki now holds the TOKYO Princess Tag Team Championships. Ever since her inclusion, NEO Biishiki-gun have been the dominant force in Tokyo Joshi and now they have a new girl joining them for this show. In February Saki-sama brought out a shy woman who was hiding her face behind a teddy bear and introduced her as an old friend from her childhood. Maki Ito confronted this girl and threatened her until the bear was lowered and the face was revealed. The girl is Yoshiko-sama and she isn’t afraid to fight back! Her teddy bear is named Charlotte by the way.

4. Iron Man Heavymetalweight Title: Super Sasadango Machine (c) Vs Jiro Kuroshio

I’ve had trouble trying to keep up with the Iron Man Heavymetalweight Title this year. Super Sasadango Machine won it the first week of January and asked to defend the belt against Jiro Kuroshio at Sumo Hall. His wish was granted but on one condition. Sasadango would need to defend the title at least twice a week every week up until the show takes place. Sasadango quickly found a solution to this problem. He set up an office in Nagoya and invited celebrities, spokesmen and other various business people to try and win the belt from him. In return they would get to promote their projects on DDT’s social media. It worked for the most part but there were some title changes I missed from people I don’t know and from there I lost track. As of writing I think he is still the champion and his title match with Kuroshio is all set.

But things are never just normal with this championship. There are always people hunting after the belt and I’ll be shocked if this match just stays between Sasadango and Kuroshio. Heck I’ll be shocked if a title change does not happen right before the match takes place! Also I don’t think Kuroshio would be just satisfied with doing just this match. Remember, he has a pinfall victory over Konosuke Takeshita from the D-Oh Grand Prix. There has to be some sort of follow up to that.

5. KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles: KUDO, Yukio Sakaguchi & Masahiro Takanashi (c) Vs Kota Umeda, Yuki Ueno & Koji Takeda

On the one hand Shuten-dōji finds themselves in the familiar position of the KO-D 6-Man Tag Team Titles match on DDT’s big supercard. On the other hand their opponents this time includes what used to be one of their own! Kota Umeda returned from a long injury absence last November and is making up for lost time in both DDT and DNA. He built up a quick but intense rivalry with another rookie Yuki Ueno. He also joined the rest of DNA in their feud with the Naomi Kingdom. It was during this time that Umeda started to figure something out. As the fourth member of Shuten-dōji he was often left out of their 6-Man Tag Title matches. The only times he got to step in was to cover for one of the other wrestlers if they were hurt. This had to change.

Shuten-dōji reached the point where they were disappointed by their current position. They wanted to face the best trios DDT could throw at them but in the end it is they who are the best trio. That was when Umeda stepped up to them. He wanted to challenge his brothers for the titles and to do so he is teaming with his rival Ueno as well as another rookie Koji Takeda. The response from Shuten-dōji was mixed. Masahiro Takanashi found it funny. He thought Umeda’s new unit looks so bad that they should be called Pigging 2018 after the consistently worst unit to compete in the DDT General Elections year after year. But KUDO & Yukio Sakaguchi took this seriously. They would allow Umeda to challenge them but he would no longer be a part of Shuten-dōji if he does so. Umeda was willing to pay that price. Now Umeda is leading his generation team against his former family and in the process became a fierce enemy to Sakaguchi in particular. It might get worse when the title match takes place.

6. Weapon Rumble 5 Way Tag Loser Gets Anal Blast Match: Sanshiro Takagi & Ippanjin Munenori Sawa Vs Mike Bailey & MAO Vs Yuko Miyamoto & Soma Takao Vs Isami Kodaka & Fuminori Abe Vs Michael Nakazawa & Chinsuke Nakamura

Well this has been crazy. Originally DDT was going to hold its Falls Count Anywhere specialty match but Sumo Hall management and the Japan Sumo Association finally put their foot down and told them no. The potential risk of audience injuries and building damage is too high for them to accept. Unfortunately for them they weren’t prepared for DDT’s Plan B. Sure DDT will keep it in the ring but now there are explosives involved. At least it’s still safer than Sami Callihan playing with a pinata.

It all begun when Sanshiro Takagi was reunited with an old friend. In a moment that they absolutely swear was not like anything else that happened that same week involving former DDT talent, Munenori Sawa returned to DDT to save Takagi from a beatdown. They embraced, tears were shed and one of DDT’s wackiest tag teams from the last decade were back in business. Although Sawa had retired from pro wrestling to become a salaryman, he would still show up near a wrestling ring every now and then. Takagi threw out a challenge. He and Sawa would face anyone in a Falls Count Anywhere Match at Sumo Hall. They attracted a lot of offers. Yuko Miyamoto wanted to get involved and as the current DDT Extreme Champion he surely qualifies. Soma Takao joins Miyamoto as part of Smile Squash. The call was also answered by Isami Kodaka & Fuminori Abe from BASARA. Kodaka is a hardcore wrestler and Abe is pretty much Munenori Sawa Jr. so the stipulation suits them fine.

The challenge led to an old enemy of Takagi’s resurfacing. Michael Nakazawa sent a video saying he would enter with a friend from “New York”. That friend is Chinsuke Nakamura! The Pauper Of Strong Style made his presence felt when he threw Takagi over the top rope and out of the ring. He celebrated this accomplishment by pointing to the RyogokuMania sign held above Korakuen Hall. The loudest response of all was from MAO fresh off of his split from NωA. MAO thinks now is the time DDT gets a new face for Street Wrestling and it should be him. He’s bringing Speedball Mike Bailey back to team with him. However MAO may be too crazy judging by that time he ran over Takagi with a van to win a Falls Count Anywhere match. He then threatened to blow up Shin-Kiba 1st RING with fireworks.

So the match was set and tensions grew to a dangerous level between Takagi and MAO. Takagi’s response to getting hit by a vehicle was to start shoving fireworks into other wrestlers’ butts to give them an Anal Explosion. MAO responded in kind until it was the major focus by everyone involved in the upcoming match. That was when the ban came and the match had to be cancelled. During that announcement all of the teams came together and threw together a replacement match. The BASARA team wanted to use weapons. MAO demanded that someone should get an Anal Blast. Everyone agreed to a Weapons Rumble match. As the match progresses, new weapons would be brought out Royal Rumble style. Plus whoever loses the match must subject themselves to an Anal Explosion! This means everybody is happy except for the Japan Sumo Association. Serves them right.

7. Dramatic Dream Match: Danshoku Dino, Keisuke Ishii & Ken Ohka Vs Great Muta, Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo

One of the first announcements for this show made back in January was the involvement of The Great Muta. DDT eventually announced that he would be teaming with DAMNATION to take on Danshoku Dino and his friends. Daisuke Sasaki would use the news to announce that he is in charge and Muta would be fighting under his leadership. There was no response from Muta about this. Sasaki then started taunting Dino by spitting cola and coffee at him Poison Mist style. Again there was no response from Muta. But Sasaki’s actions did bring Dino to his breaking point. The attacks made Dino transform into The Great Homo! Under his own Muta-style personality, Dino would constantly attack Sasaki and Tetsuya Endo. Endo moreso than Sasaki. He would spit Poison Milk Mist at them and attack their backsides with a spike. The only way he could be stopped was when Sasaki transformed into Nerima Sting to combat him. This finally made Muta stir. The demon was not pleased by this nonsense especially from Dino.

A threatening message was sent to DDT HQ. Dino has been given the Poison Curse! No matter where Dino goes, Muta would possess everyone around him and make them spit the Poison Mist in Dino’s face. Nowhere was Dino safe. Employees, trainees, referees, wrestlers, fans, models, TV hosts. All of them spat the Mist at Dino under Muta’s power. Dino would get attacked again and again and again and again and again! Has Muta’s plan brought Dino back to the brink enough to summon The Great Homo? Keisuke Ishii and Ken Ohka are there to help Dino but the three of them are clearly outmatched. The only thing they don’t have to worry about is Muta doing a Moonsault but that’s what Endo is there for.

8. KO-D Tag Team Titles – Uchikomi! Presents: HARASHIMA & Naomichi Marufuji (c) Vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Kazusada Higuchi

For many in DDT there is one task that seems impossible and that is beating HARASHIMA. The backbone of DDT is often the biggest mountain to climb and some wrestlers have become obsessed with doing it. The latest wrestler in this position is Kazusada Higuchi. HARASHIMA has been a thorn in his side ever since Higuchi’s first year in DDT. HARASHIMA gave Higuchi his first loss, beat him twice in KO-D Title matches and also won the KO-D Tag Team Titles from him with Naomichi Marufuji. The team known as HarashiMarufuji have held the titles ever since. They even survived a title defence held inside a factory! If they were ever to be beaten, Higuchi would have to find somebody really strong to team with him.

Oh crap. Daisuke Sekimoto wants to get involved.

Sekimoto & Higuchi joined forces for the annual New Year’s Eve cross promotion Tag Team Tournament and made it all the way to the final. They made such a good impression together that they are reuniting to go after HARASHIMA & Marufuji. Sekimoto and HARASHIMA have a history together but there is respect between them. HARASHIMA and Higuchi however do not like each other ever since HARASHIMA knocked out Higuchi during a singles match earlier this month. When Higuchi came to he went on a rampage chasing after HARASHIMA. A defeat to Marufuji too in the run-up to this match hasn’t helped. Higuchi will have to keep his emotions in check against these two.

9. KO-D Openweight Title: Konosuke Takeshita (c) Vs Shuji Ishikawa

This is the rematch 19 months in the making. Konosuke Takeshita and Shuji Ishikawa main evented “RYOGOKU PETER PAN 2016” with the KO-D Openweight Title on the line. Ishikawa came out on top that night and held onto the belt for almost the rest of 2016. HARASHIMA won the title from him in December that year but the championship made its way back to Takeshita at “JUDGEMENT 2017” just over one year ago. Since then Takeshita has firmly kept the belt in his grasp and fought all-comers, breaking the DDT record for most title defences in a single reign with 10 successful defences at this time. Freshly graduated from college, Takeshita has been having a great year as the champion. It’s getting tough though. A lower back injury has plagued Takeshita throughout February and gave him a big target that can be exploited. So it’s been a tough year but a great year none the less.

However you can argue Shuji Ishikawa’s last 12 months have been just as good if not better. He goes on a tear in All Japan and wins the Champion Carnival, then the Triple Crown, then the Real World Tag League with Suwama and then AJPW World Tag Team Titles also with Suwama. When he refocused his efforts in DDT at the beginning of 2018, Ishikawa ends up winning the first ever D-Oh Grand Prix tournament almost unbeaten. His only loss in the competition was against his DAMNATION leader Daisuke Sasaki. The goal of the Grand Prix was to establish DDT’s leading star for the rest of the year and Ishikawa proved there is no one more deserving of it than him.

Ishikawa has gone out to prove he has a range of other talents too. Ever since he won the Grand Prix, Ishikawa has performed karaoke in the ring to celebrate his big victories in DDT. Mad Paulie has joined in the fun by dancing along to his songs. Sasaki & Endo aren’t as eager to join in so they just grin and bare it while he sings. With the big title match on the horizon, Sasaki gave Ishikawa a serious order. Ishikawa cannot sing karaoke and Paulie cannot dance again until Ishikawa beats Takeshita at Sumo Hall to become the KO-D Champion. This gave Ishikawa an idea. Takeshita is injured. If he gets so injured that he cannot defend the title at Sumo Hall then Ishikawa will become the champion by default. Then for the main event Ishikawa can sing karaoke inside the ring all night long! So for the last month Ishikawa has intentionally tried to injure Takeshita in their preview matches. It briefly worked when Takeshita had to miss a show to recover but he came back and in their most recent match together pinned Ishikawa.

So there you have it. The strongest champion in DDT’s history is hurt but still capable of beating whatever is being thrown at him. DDT’s strongest challenger is almost unstoppable and is powered by the desire to show off his vocal talents. Their 2016 match is well worth the watch in preparation for this.

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