wrestling / Video Reviews

Puro Fury: DDT Osaka Octopus 2016

December 30, 2016 | Posted by Arnold Furious
6.5
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Puro Fury: DDT Osaka Octopus 2016  

DDT Osaka Octopus

 

December 4 2016

 

I almost didn’t watch this show because the five hour run-time is incredibly off-putting to me. There’s no reason for shows to run so damn long. It’s infuriating me to the point where major shows are becoming a turn-off because they run so long. I’m starting to become more and more interested in smaller shows because they tend to last two hours and my attention doesn’t wander. Before the show gets underway we have hijinks regarding the Ironman Heavy Metal title, which was won by a TV presenter, who lost the title by getting slapped in the I Bloody Love The Graps, Me by Toru Owashi.

 

We’re in Osaka, obviously. It’s the Edion Arena. 2355 in the house. That doesn’t strike me as enough people to run a five hour show but hey, I don’t own a professional wrestling company so what do I know. IWA-MS shows went on forever and they’re no longer relevant. Timekeeping is important, damn it.

 

DDT King of Dark Championship

Mizuki Watase, Rekka & Nobuhiro Shimatani (c) vs. Kouki Iwasaki, Guanchulo & Daiki Shimomura

Shimatani is the current King of Dark Champion, which means if he pins someone they become champion and get stuck on the pre-show until they win. The DDT talent factory continues to astound. Shimomura is 18 years old. His first match was in March. Iwasaki is a virtual veteran with two years experience. Shimatani is a legitimate half pint. He’s one of the shortest wrestlers in the world. Rekka looks like a total scumbag. He has sleazy gear and sleazy hair and a sleazy face. Shimatani trying to get a pin on Iwasaki shows his ambition, and also his stupidity. Go after one of the two less gifted opponents! Predictably Iwasaki beats the champ and he’s stuck with the King of Dark belt.

Final Rating: *

 

We’re now 30 minutes into the show, mostly announcements and shit. A few more videos air and the card is run down in depth.

 

Akito, Keisuke Ishii & Yuki Ueno vs. KUDO, Soma Takao & Naomi Yoshimura

Ishii just beat Takao for a title in All Japan. So they’re naturally opposed. The big story is DDT’s super rookie Yoshimura. He walks into this match looking like a goddamn star. Where are they finding these guys? Ueno is also a rookie but he’s a lot smaller. Both guys are technically proficient, another wonder of the DNA system. The more established guys kick back and let the kids have their moment. It’s noticeable that none of them work particularly hard, although KUDO and Akito can’t help but be entertaining. Akito rolling through KUDO’s diving double knees is impressive. For what it is the match is way too long, rumbling past 11 minutes without a care in the world. The Ueno vs. Yoshimura stuff in this match is wonderful. It’s not particularly clean but it’s so fluid and the impacts feel amplified somehow. Ueno’s frogsplash looks completely out of control and Yoshimura’s clubbing lariat is wonderful. Yoshimura kills Ueno with a powerbomb and that’s the end of that chapter. Ueno is sneaky good. Yoshimura is going to be a killer.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Saki Akai & Ladybeard vs. Aja Kong & LiLiCo

This is mostly done for chuckles because Aja is the only good worker in the match. LiLiCo and Ladybeard have tremendous gimmicks but they’re not good in the ring. Saki is improving but that’s only because she was at the bottom of the heap when she debuted. She’s got a few tricks up her sleeve now on the mat and that makes her watchable. The bumping in this match is highly suspect, given the inexperience of the ladies (and bearded men masquerading as ladies). Aja eventually pins Saki because anything else would be ridiculous.

Final Rating: *1/4

 

DDT Ironman Heavy Metal Championship Battle Royal

Before we start off Toru Owashi avoids challengers backstage but he’s so tired he falls asleep with a pork bun on his chest. The bun is proclaimed the winner and is the reigning champion. The bun enters first, in a ceremonial take-away box. First actual entrant is Kazuki Hirata and he’s very confused as to why he’s alone in the ring. Eat the bun, Kazuki! He goes to but the bun overpowers him and gets him in an armbar. Good grief, man, suck it up! Masa Takanashi is in second. He also fails to eat the bun. It’s like watching the Upper Class Twit of the Year competition. Kenshin Chikano from Dove Pro enters third. #4 is Mad Paulie. He strolls in, eats the bun and wins the title. The battle royal must continue until everyone has been eliminated though and in next is Kuishinbo Kamen. He’s from Osaka, where people are a bit…different. If you’ve never seen his goofy matches before it might be quite the culture shock. Next in is Dai Suzuki and Kamen continues to mess around with the hip tosses. Paulie gets piled on and Suzuki gets the pin. Next in is Kikutaro. He fails to do the 619 in hilarious fashion. Wrestlers that do the 619 generally suck. Toru Owashi is supposed to be in next but he’s still sleeping backstage. He wakes up and submits Suzuki with I Bloody Love the Graps, Me to reclaim the strap. We head into dancing territory but YOSHIHIKO is here! Comedy eliminations ensue. Including Hirata Canadian Destroying himself in Ibushi-esque fashion. Kamen and Kikutaro don’t care for the gag and just throw YOSHIHIKO out of the ring. That means it’s just them and Owashi left and Toru has suffered an unfortunate bout of narcolepsy. I love that the commentators whisper while he’s asleep. Owashi nods off during a spot and Kamen pins him to win the title. If you’ve ever seen a Kamen-Kikutaro comedy match you’ll know how good they are. This is no exception, although they’re both getting on a bit now. Kamen ends up getting the pin and he’s officially the champion.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Post Match: they do the posing but Kikutaro turns on his friend and hits the Shining Wizard to win the belt.

 

New Wrestling Aidoru (Makoto Oishi, MAO & Shunma Katsumata) vs. Shigehiro Irie, Yasu Urano & Yuni

Yuni is 8 years old. That’s not a typo. He’s 8. He’s a child. Jim Cornette would hate this. Shunma looks about ten years old though so that almost levels it up. At least Irie holds Shunma in place to allow Yuni to hit the majority of his spots. Shunma gets sensational heat for hitting a backbreaker on a kid. All the NWA lads get heat for roughing up a child. Even in the wacky world of Japan nobody likes a child abuser. Irie is somewhat wasted here, despite being one of the companies top talents after his American excursion this year. The way he protects Yuni is sensational. He’s a great big brother. Irie batters MAO with a lariat for the win. The child’s involvement was distracting and I’d rather they’d have done this on a smaller show. Irie looked like a star though.

Final Rating: *1/2

 

Yoshihiro Takayama & Kazusada Higuchi vs. Masakatsu Funaki & Yukio Sakaguchi

Nice to see Higuchi is creeping up the card after his MOTYC title shot at Ishikawa. Sakaguchi has had his run at the top and did ok with it. You get the feeling he has epic top tier matches in him but here he’s treated like a punch bag. Funaki is keen on giving some of that abuse back Higuchi’s way and I dig that big lads beatdown vibe the entire match has. Tak, who I wrote off two years ago as completely washed up and finished, contends on the big boy striking nicely here. Matches where he does strikes with the odd throw mixed in is fine. When Funaki is trying to clock him with a koppou kick the match is not as good. Sakaguchi and Higuchi do enough cool stuff to make me want a singles match. Their striking is great and Yukio slipping out of holds is amazing. They could legitimately have a ****+ singles match right now. The strikes are so fucking amazing. Yukio ends up knocking Higuchi out with a knee in the corner and that’s it, done. I still want that singles match. The interaction between Higuchi and Sakaguchi was easily my favourite work on this entire show.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Takoyaki, Ladder and Chairs Match

Sanshiro Takagi, Kota Ibushi & Gota Ihashi vs. Antonio Honda, Dick Togo & Takashi Sasaki

Takoyaki is battered fish. This is such a DDT stipulation. How insane is it that Ibushi is back? How much more insane is it that Ibushi and Ihashi are working a match in the UK next year? How great is it to have Dick Togo and Kota Ibushi in the same ring in 2016? Togo is a master of psychology. His first spot is tripping over Gota because he’s too fat to skip over on the drop down. Having this as a comedy TLC is a bit disappointing although given some of the participants it’s perhaps not a shock. The structure is super goofy with Togo taking the battered fish seriously as a weapon by feeding it to Ihashi when it’s still hot. There are smidges of wrestling smattered throughout but they’re not important to the match. It seems more important to the guys to set up big spots and then comedy their way out of them. At least Kota Ibushi gets to take Sanshiro’s bicycle off a sweet jump. Takagi finds strapping a table to his back allows some innovative and humorous spots. He creates a table, by lying down, for Ibushi to hit his powerbomb on and that finishes. This was goofy as fuck and Gota Ihashi was a key part of that. Again, there are guys here I want to see colliding in more serious matches.

Final Rating: ***

 

DDT Extreme Championship

Danshoku Dino (c) vs. Jun Kasai

The promo video of this showcases how completely fucking insane Kasai is. He’s 42 years old and he’s still in his peak and death match wrestling like the craziest motherfucker in the world. Then there’s Dino. He’s a sex pest. It’s a strange combination of guys. This is a “Doyama Hardcore Match”. Doyama is in Osaka and it’s known for having a big gay community. So it’s not the kind of hardcore that Kasai normally enjoys. If you catch my drift. Dino molests Jun. Then he molests a fan. Then he molests a table. I’m shocked nobody has ever called the cops on Danshoku Dino. Plus if he’s in jail for sexual deviancy you win on forfeit. Kasai takes a different route: wedging bamboo skewers up the champ’s butt. Dino pulls them out and shoves them in Kasai’s mouth in a truly disgusting spot. The bamboo skewer horrors continue with both guys getting jabbed in the skull. Kasai gets kinky and pins Dino with the Danshoku Driver. This was revolting. I’m not sure I would watch wrestling if this was wrestling.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Post Match: Kasai puts on Dino’s tights and lays a liplock on Takayama! He passes out! Holy shit.

 

KO-D Tag Team Championship

DAMNATION (Daisuke Sasaki & Tetsuya Endo) (c) vs. Konosuke Takeshita & Mike Bailey

Lots of big talents in this. Bailey has had a solid run already for DDT. Takeshita is coming off his biggest run at the top of the card so far in his career. His biggest run prior to that was tagging with Endo, so this makes perfect sense. The timing is good in this match as everyone is, at the least, decent and they’ve developed a sense of familiarity and chemistry. The strikes are good and the dives are better. Everyone has a role and they slot into it nicely. Sasaki has had such a great year, beyond my wildest dreams in terms of expectations for him, and again he’s so strong here. He controls the pace and the psychology. The way DAMNATION go after Takeshita because they’re more familiar with him is clever. They know they can take him, Bailey they’re less sure about. When Bailey gets the hot tag the match changes completely because Mike is all about the balls-to-the-wall flips and kicks. His offence is perfect for a hot tag. Takeshita’s presence when beating up his former partner, in Endo, is impressive. His title run seems to have given him pointers in how to carry himself and he looks more of a star for the experience. Some of Sasaki’s interactions are a little clunky, as he’s always been a bit rough around the edges, but it’s not as noticeable as it used to be. He’s definitely improved. The stretch is exciting as it’s tough to say who’s winning. The momentum swings back and forth. They perhaps overegg the stretch a bit as there are no tags and a ref bump. They eventually get their ducks in a row and Takeshita pulls off the win with a German suplex on Sasaki. This needed a little more structure late on and a little less early on but it was still the best match on the show.

Final Rating: ****

 

K-OD Openweight Championship

Shuji Ishikawa (c) vs. HARASHIMA

Since HARASHIMA’s big run with the KO-D strap in 2014-2015 the belt has been jobbed around a lot. The average title reign is about six weeks. Shuji has had the strap since the end of the summer so he’s about due to drop the title. He shouldn’t, because his run has been awesome, but here we are. HARASHIMA has held this title eight times already. His continued return to the main events is predictable and repetitious but he’s a good worker so I don’t have any major issues with this. Ideally Shuji would retain here and the run would continue until either Higuchi was ready or Irie takes the belt. That’s your future title picture. HARASHIMA had an excellent run but it feels like that’s in the past. The match itself falls a bit flat because this has been a long, long show. Which is the biggest issue with having stupidly long shows, your main events will suffer. HARASHIMA doesn’t let himself get drawn into Shuji’s match. There’s no strike duels where HARASHIMA can’t get anywhere. He picks and chooses his spots. When it is a fair fight Ishikawa creams HARASHIMA. Shuji is so good at using his size and dismantling opponents. Which is why it makes sense for him to retain here and carry on as champion until someone can go toe to toe and overcome him (see Higuchi and Irie). This narrative is contained within this match with Shuji hurling HARA over the top rope with a powerbomb onto Young Boys. I’m honestly not as into this as HARASHIMA versus smaller strikers who he takes out with his wiles (like KUDO). Shuji feels like a big deal as champion and HARASHIMA doesn’t bring enough to the table to win, in my opinion. The end makes sense with Shuji failing to nail his finish, HARA slipping out and nailing Ishikawa with a series of quick kicks until the springboard Somato finishes. The match didn’t quite click. It sometimes worked and sometimes it didn’t. The result is middling.

Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Post Match: HARASHIMA is asked who’d he like to wrestle on Christmas Day and replies with Irie. Man, why couldn’t it be Shuji vs. Irie? That would have been *perfect*. Sigh.

 

As people are filing out Kikutaro is shown sitting up to a table to have a sleep. He nods off and the table is on top. The table, named Kotatsu, wins the title. Table carrying celebrity Hyota Echizenya, whose table was used in Takagi’s match, goes to pick the table up and accidentally pins it. Shin Champion!

 

 

6.5
The final score: review Average
The 411
For a big show this felt slightly underwhelming for DDT. Maybe I was hoping for a different outcome to the direction they’ve gone in with the main event scene and that disappointment has effected my enjoyment of the show as a whole. Or perhaps the sheer length of this show unsettled me from the start. 2016 has been a year where shows seem to be getting too long for their own good. Unless it’s a ‘big’ show it shouldn’t run over three hours. DDT have developed such a massive roster that they have to run these unspeakably long shows in order to get everything in. I think I enjoy DDT’s small shows more because they’re so easy to digest. This is becoming an increasingly big problem across wrestling, not just in a few niche promotions. WWE is partially to blame as they’ve started running longer and longer shows to get everything in. For WrestleMania this year I needed two cans of Monster to make it to the main event unscathed and I still nodded off. Needed to watch this show over three days to get it all in.
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