Originally published at DDT Never Mind in Yoyogi 2021: Konosuke Takeshita vs. Yuji Okabayashi
DDT Never Mind in Yoyogi 2021 Report: Konosuke Takeshita vs. Yuji Okabayashi
By: Mark Buckeldee
Welcome to this POST Wrestling report for DDT’s NEVER MIND in YOYOGI 2021. Never Mind is a regular DDT show name, although this was the first time that the show has not taken place at Korakuen Hall. Instead, this was in the much bigger Yoyogi National Stadium 2 in Tokyo. The attendance was 1234 fans. This was a traditional DDT big show, as the run time including the dark matches went over 5 hours. As such, I recommend that you use this review as a guide.
On a related note, I have recently launched a DDT-specific podcast called DDTeach! This monthly podcast is designed to introduce new fans to DDT and can be found on Twitter @DDTeachPod.
A. Toru Owashi & Yukio Naya vs. Antonio Honda & Hideki Okatani – A short, fun showcase for Hideki Okatani
B. DDTeeeen!! Offer Match: Ilusion vs. Vent Vert Jack – An okay, moves heavy indie match between teenagers
C. Maku Donurato vs Sanshiro Takagi – A comedy hardcore match with a perverted Ronald MacDonald
1. Soma Takao & Shota vs. Akito & Yuki Ishida – A good, fun opener with tons of fire from Ishida
2. KO-D 6-Man title match: Danshoku “Dandy” Dieno, Yuki “Sexy” Iino & Yumehito “Fantastic” Imanari (c) vs. Shinya Aoki, Yumiko Hotta & Super Sasadango Machine – The usual lewd comedy match from the pheromones, not good
3. Shuji Kondo vs. Kazuki Hirata – A fun comedy match with Kondo being a bully and Hirata being Hirata
4. Yukio Sakaguchi, Kazusada Higuchi & Saki Akai Vs Minoru Suzuki, Chris Brookes & Maki Itoh – A great action-comedy match full of anger, humor, great interactions, and just a wonderful time. Some intergender elements that will not appeal to everyone. A top-notch mid-card tag match – RECOMMENDED
5. Tetsuya Endo, Jun Akiyama, Yusuke Okada & Yuya Koroku Vs Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Ueno, MAO & Toui Kojima – A really good, action-packed tag match full of fire and athleticism. Another good showing for Koroku and Kojima – RECOMMENDED
6. DDT Universal Title: Daisuke Sasaki (c) Vs Masahiro Takanashi – A decent but very messy match with decent leg work, some big random high spots, and clunky interference
7. KO-D Tag Team Titles: HARASHIMA & Naomi Yoshimura Vs Yuji Hino & Bodyguard – A good heavyweight tag match built around Yoshimura stepping up, slightly underwhelming at times
8. KO-D Openweight Title: Konosuke Takeshita (c) Vs Yuji Okabayashi – A fantastic match. A well-built war, full of great details, big action, and the story of Takeshita nearly losing due to his pride – RECOMMENDED
Toru Owashi & Yukio Naya vs. Antonio Honda & Hideki Okatan
Okatani showed good fire and held his own in a logical argument with Owashi, although this time logic was not the same as common sense. Honda hurt his knee during a double team with Okatani, leading to the traditional Gon the Fox spot. This time Gon visited Meiji Jingu temple. As usual, the punchline was a penis pun. Okatani helped Honda with the inevitable eye-poking, getting a two-count on Naya after a double suplex. Naya kicked Okatani in the face and hit a running knee lift for a near fall before a Backdrop suplex put Okatani away.
Yukio Naya pinned Hideki Okatani vis backdrop suplex (9:08)
This was a short but fun undercard tag match. Okatani had a good showing in terms of fire, execution, and character.
DDTeeeen!! Offer Match: Ilusion vs. Vent Vert Jack
Ilusion is nineteen years old, and Vent Vert Jack is sixteen. There was an energetic Lucha-influenced start, and it was clear that these two were young and a little green. There were lots of flashy moves, the highlight being Vent Vert Jack’s double springboard Plancha to the outside. He also used a modified crossface that made Ilusion scramble for the ropes. Vent Vert Jack also got near falls with a running knee and a flashy DDT before winning the match with a Meteora.
Vent Vert Jack pinned Ilusion via Meteora (7:54)
This was an okay indie match, full of flashy moves and high spots with decent execution but lacking in many areas. A decent start for these two but there was a clear difference between these guys and the DDT rookies.
Sanshiro Takagi vs. Maku Donaruto
Maku Donaruto is a Japanese Ronald McDonald with a high libido and few inhibitions. Sanshiro Takagi came out dressed as Colonel Sanders. Donaruto hit a wonky springboard Moonsault before using a cane inappropriately. After several groin-based attacks, Donaruto was attacked with a plastic crate and a barbed wire bat. Donaruto countered a powerbomb on a Plastic crate by hitting Takagi in the head with the crate. A ladder to the groin set up a plastic crate assisted Swanton by Donaruto for a near fall. Takagi pinned Donaruto after two stunners, some shenanigans with a sex toy, and a pump handle slam onto a plastic crate.
Sanshiro Takagi pinned Maku Donaruto via Pump Handle Slam (7:54)
This was a dodgy, slow-paced comedy brawl with questionable humor. If you hate pheromones matches, then you will hate this match.
Soma Takao & Shota vs. Akito & Yuki Ishida
Takao and Shota have recently become a regular team called ROMANCE DAWN. The name is a reference to One Piece, as it was the name of the manga’s first chapter.
Ishida started against Shota and looked competitive before falling foul of a hip toss. Romance Dawn isolated Akito, with Shota and Akito having a good test of strength – monkey flip sequence that led into a series of flashy pinning combinations. Akito hit a gourd buster, which allowed Ishida and Takao to tag in. Ishida used his spirit and fire to take down Takao, earning a two count with a suplex before falling victim to a diving DDT from Takao. Even when Shota tagged in, Ishida looked strong, with Takao having to break up a Boston Crab. Romance Dawn used a code breaker-Back cracker combination to get rid of Akito and then pinned Ishida with a top rope Frankensteiner and Frog Splash Combination.
Shota pinned Yuki Ishida via Frog Splash (8:35)
Yuki Ishida is fast becoming a highlight of the DDT undercard, as he is growing before your eyes and has great fire. He got a lot here while Romance Dawn also got to look credible with how they dealt with Akito. This was a good, fun opener and Romance Dawn was a fun team, once again showing that Takao is best used in tag matches.
KO-D 6-Man title match: Danshoku “Dandy” Dieno, Yuki “Sexy” Iino & Yumehito “Fantastic” Imanari (c) vs. Shinya Aoki, Yumiko Hotta & Super Sasadango Machine
The match started with a PowerPoint presentation from Sasadango Machine about Shinya Aoki’s crush on Yumiko Hotta. The plan was to give her a red belt as a gift. Hotta and Aoki teamed up, which backfired when Aoki refused to let go of Hotta’s hands. Iino’s Sexy elbow earned a two count. Dieno got involved and Aoki got worked over while Sasadango machine tried to shield Hotta’s eyes. Aoki tagged in Hotta, who beat up Dieno and Imanari. Unfortunately, her chops led to Iino stripping. Even kicking Iino in the groin could not stop Iino from removing his singlet.
Aoki saved Hotta from getting shoved into Iino’s rear. However, when Hotta was on the attack she got distracted by Aoki giving her the red belt. It backfired as Hotta hit both Imanari and Aoki with the belt. Aoki, Sasadango Machine, and Hotta were attacked with a fire extinguisher used in a non-regulation fashion. Iino and Dieno started rubbing their backsides in people’s faces before Pheromones made Sasadango tap out. I am not describing what they used, but it was definitely disturbing. After the match, Hotta wore Aoki’s red belt present and they left the ring holding hands.
Yuki Iino submitted Sasadango Machine via simulated sex act (9:57)
Well, that was an experience. A Pheromones special with extra lewdness, hold the wrestling. It was the usual mess, and the Hotta comedy only went so far. Hotta was involved in the best parts but this was another Pheromones match. For most people, this will mean skippable.
Shuji Kondo vs. Kazuki Hirata
Kondo jumped Hirata during his entrance. Hirata’s attempt to dance to Tokyo Go was immediately shut down by Kondo, who dominated Hirata. He fought back with a headscissors, although Kondo no-sold his Axe Bomber. Hirata’s strategy involved reading a letter that was accompanied by accordion music. Kondo tore up the letter and hit the Lansarze spear, but Hirata kicked out. Hirata tried the Magnum Tokyo gyrating Frankensteiner, except Kondo blocked it. Owashi and Yoshihiko made the save, with Yoshihiko hitting Kondo with a Frankensteiner. Hirata finally got his chance to do the Tokyo Go dance. Kondo stomped along to the music, but Hirata countered a Lansarze with the One-shot miracle cradle for a huge near fall. Hirata kicked out of one King Kong Lariat to a big pop, but Kondo pinned him after another Lariat. After the match, Kondo raised Hirata’s hand before Lariating him again.
Shuji Kondo pinned Kazuki Hirata via King Kong Lariat (9:40)
This was the kind of DDT comedy that I enjoy. It was short and basic, but the near falls were great. They kept it short and simple, got to the good bits and everyone had a fun time. Well, I did. Hirata did not.
DDT had a big announcement for Judgement at Ryogoku Kokugikan on March 20th: Andreza Giant Panda. Well, Andreza is physically big.
Yukio Sakaguchi, Kazusada Higuchi & Saki Akai Vs Minoru Suzuki, Chris Brookes & Maki Itoh
This was a double return match, as Sakaguchi was returning after an absence due to spinal stenosis and this was Suzuki’s first DDT match since 2017. Brookes joined Itoh on her usual entrance while Suzuki had a separate entrance. Suzuki refused a Neo Itoh Respect Army shirt.
Suzuki and Sakaguchi channeled their shoot fighting background before Akai tagged herself in. Suzuki ignored Akai so she started hitting Suzuki full force to earn his respect. Instead, she earned his anger and Brookes tagged in to save his opponent. Akai tagged in Higuchi, but not before kicking Suzuki in the face.
After some Eruption double teams on Brookes, Suzuki attacked Sakaguchi on the outside. Brookes threw Sakaguchi into the ring, earning Suzuki’s wrath. Suzuki tagged Itoh in with a slap to the face, but he would not let Itoh use her “who is the cutest” attack, preferring to apply a kneebar to Sakaguchi. Itoh got upset so she called Suzuki the cutest in the World. He did not appreciate that.
Itoh took out her frustrations on Sakaguchi, headbutting his spine. Higuchi tagged in and ran roughshod over Brookes. They traded chops before Brookes escaped a Brain Claw and hit a springboard cutter. Itoh tagged in and took it to Higuchi, blocking a chop with a head. In a battle of the DDT Universe’s hardest heads, Itoh used her brain and stomped on Higuchi’s foot. Akai tagged in while Higuchi had Itoh up for a suplex, hitting a crossbody suplex for a two count.
Itoh held her own against Akai until she ran into a kick to the face, and we got back to Suzuki vs Sakaguchi. Suzuki absorbed two Penalty Kicks, but he was knocked down by a third. Eruption used teamwork to save Sakaguchi from a Choke Sleeper. Akai got rid of Brookes with the Quetzalcoatl. After a single-leg crab by Suzuki, Sakaguchi overcame Suzuki with kicks. Sakaguchi missed a running knee and was pinned after Suzuki hit the Gotch Style Piledriver.
Minoru Suzuki pinned Yukio Sakaguchi via Gotch Style Piledriver (20:38)
This was great. Exactly what I want from a DDT mid-card tag match on a big show.
I appreciate that some people would feel squeamish or uncomfortable during the intergender elements of this match, especially between Suzuki and Itoh. The central story of Sakaguchi and Suzuki rekindling their issues from years ago was great, full of good grappling, great striking, and a lot of anger.
Akai challenging Suzuki was fantastic, and Itoh did well against Sakaguchi and Higuchi. Speaking of Higuchi, he and Brookes did well in their limited roles. I loved how they mixed in the comedy. Suzuki is incredibly underrated when it comes to comedy wrestling, and this was another good example. I was grinning from ear to ear during this one.
Tetsuya Endo, Jun Akiyama, Yusuke Okada & Yuya Koroku Vs Shunma Katsumata, Yuki Ueno, MAO & Toui Kojima
Endo had recently formed a new stable called BURNING. That is the name of a legendary stable created by Jun Akiyama and Kenta Kobashi, with Kobashi allowing Endo to use the name. They have a new stable theme which was a messy and noisy remix of Kobashi’s Grand Sword entrance themes. They should go back to the drawing board with that one.
Endo and MAO started the match with a display of athleticism. Kobashi & Akiyama were not doing that back in their hay day. Koroku and Kojima came in, trying to out grapple each other. Katsumata somehow got the upper hand on Akiyama and the T37K teamed up on Akiyama on the outside as they saw Akiyama as the biggest threat.
Katsumata did well against Endo, although the BURNING leader got the better of Kojima. Okada brought his usual aggression and energy against Kojima as BURNING isolated Kojima. Koroku and Kojima showed a lot of fire as they traded elbows and forearms, ending with a Koroku backdrop suplex.
Okada and Ueno tagged in, with Ueno using his picturesque dropkick and a Blizzard Suplex. Akiyama stopped Ueno from hitting a Frog splash, which let Okada hit a superplex. Endo tagged in but Ueno worked together with MAO to cool down the hot tag. BURNING came in and worked over MAO, with Endo getting a two count on a Shooting Star Press.
MAO used a Moonsault Press and the match broke down before Mao hit a spinning Enziguri and tagged in Kojima. Endo walked through Kojima’s chops, but Kojima earned a two count with a crossbody. After an impressive triple dive by Katsumata, Ueno, and Mao, Kojima hit a leg Lariat for a two count. Endo hit a Full Nelson German Suplex and the Torture Rack Bomb, but Kojima’s partners broke up the pin. That was followed up by Endo’s Shooting Star Press as he pinned Kojima.
Tetsuya Endo pinned Toui Kojima vis Shooting Star Press (16:40)
This was another great undercard tag match. I expect a lot of good matches between these two stables in 2022. There was some great action, and the likes of Kojima, Koroku, and Okada had great showings. Again, I look forward to watching more from them in 2022. This was an all-energy tag match, with some good heat. My main complaint was that Endo gave Kojima a little too much in the finishing stretch.
DDT Universal Title: Daisuke Sasaki (c) Vs Masahiro Takanashi
Takanashi was supported by a host of friends from ChocoPro, including Baliyan Akki, Minoru Fujita, Antonio Honda, and Hoshitango. Sasaki had a new Spanish Guitar intro for his usual rusty gate music.
Takanashi used his trickery early on, nearly stealing a quick win with a pinning combination. MJ Paul got involved to help Sasaki, dragging Takanashi out of the ring. Sasaki hit Takanashi’s leg with a chair before continuing to target the limb inside the ring. Takanashi locked in a Figure Four Leg lock, forcing Sasaki to reach the ropes.
Takanashi went for a Takatonic on the apron, but Sasaki hit a Dragon Screw in the ropes. Sasaki then superplexed Takanashi to the outside and then hit a diving elbow drop off the top rope onto Takanashi, who was sitting behind the timekeeper’s table. Sasaki mostly landed on the table and only dealt Takanashi a glancing blow, but they still did a count-out tease for Takanashi.
Takanashi’s leg gave out and Chris Brookes showed concern, although this was a trick to let Takanashi get the upper hand. MJ Paul interfered, although Fujita got rid of him. Takanashi hit a modified Lariat, but Sasaki avoided the Takatonic. They exchanged crossface submissions and pinning combinations, which led to a near fall for Takanashi.
Sasaki escaped the Takatonic but his new crossface variation was countered by Takanashi for another near fall. A prawn hold led to a ref bump and Sasaki kicked Takanashi between the legs. Sasaki used a La Mistica style crossface, with Takanashi being forced to reach the ropes. He then hit a modified Dominator before locking in the modified crossface, forcing Takanashi to tap out. After the match, Sasaki challenged Minoru Fujita for a DDT Universal title match.
Daisuke Sasaki submitted Masahiro Takanashi via leg trapped crossface (17:48)
Daisuke Sasaki matches rarely click for me. There were some spectacular ideas but the match itself was disjointed. Takanashi’s leg selling was good, but the interference and Sasaki’s lazy attitude meant that I struggled to engage with the match. I would not call this a bad match, it just failed to be engaging.
KO-D Tag Team Titles: HARASHIMA & Naomi Yoshimura Vs Yuji Hino & Bodyguard
Hino won the opening lock-up against Yoshimura. He also won a shoulder tackle exchange before Bodyguard and HARASHIMA tagged in. Bodyguard had the power advantage, easily knocking down HARASHIMA. Hino and Bodyguard isolated HARASHIMA with chops and power moves. HARASHIMA hit a John Woo dropkick and tagged out.
Yoshimura took down Bodyguard before getting caught with a spear. HARASHIMA and Hino tagged in, but Hino caught HARASHIMA’s springboard crossbody. HARASHIMA relied on speed and big kicks to hold his own against Hino. HARASHIMA won a strike exchange and earned a two-count with a Falcon Arrow before tagging in Yoshimura.
Hino fought back and had a chop exchange with Yoshimura, who brought out his A-game. Despite that, Hino still won and put his arms behind his back to make Yoshimura prove his worth. Yoshimura showed intelligence but Hino blocked a Judo throw and hit a backdrop suplex to cut off Yoshimura. Bodyguard tagged in, earning two counts with a diving elbow drop and a thrust kick. After a high kick, he locked in a modified camel clutch, but HARASHIMA made the save.
Bodyguard and Hino hit multiple corner Lariats on Yoshimura. HARASHIMA broke up another pin attempt, this time after a short arm Lariat by Bodyguard. Yoshimura dodged a double Lariat and HARASHIMA took out Hino, with Yoshimura hitting a Judo throw and a Lariat on Bodyguard for a near fall. A Shouten Kai by Yoshimura earned him a two count before Yoshimura out Lariated Bodyguard to win the match.
Naomi Yoshimura pinned Bodyguard vis Lariat (18:17)
This was good but it should have been better. I liked the match on paper more than in execution. Yoshimura looked great when he had time, but he did not get a lot until the closing stretches, and Bodyguard’s execution and selling meant that Yoshimura’s high spots felt subdued. The sequence with Hino was great but Yoshimura did not feel as strong as I felt he should have done. It felt like a missed opportunity, especially after a slightly underwhelming D-Ou GP 2021 II for Yoshimura. That is not to say that this was a bad match, but Bodyguard dragged things down. Hino and HARASHIMA were good, and the match had its moments, but it was a bit slow. If this is the end of Bodyguard in DDT, then it was an ultimately unsuccessful experiment.
KO-D Openweight Title: Konosuke Takeshita (c) Vs Yuji Okabayashi
This started with them charging into each other and throwing big strikes, with Okabayashi getting the first down. They engaged in a test of strength, with Okabayashi winning that as well. Takeshita used a headlock to control the pace and regain composure. When Okabayashi looked like he had some momentum Takeshita used a surprise DDT and then hit a DDT on the floor. Okabayashi managed to fight back with a desperate spear.
The Big Japan man used big chops to punish Takeshita, earning a one-count after a scoop slam. Okabayashi controlled Takeshita with a Surfboard stretch, forcing the Champion to get a rope break. Another scoop slam was followed by Okabayashi using the WAR Special and the Stretch Plum, but Takeshita again reached the ropes.
Takeshita tried to suplex Okabayashi out of the ring, but instead, he was suplexed into the ring for a two count. When Takeshita tried to fight back, he had to rely on intelligence, hitting a surprise backdrop suplex to gain some breathing room. After some forearms, Takeshita hit his Misawa-style Jumping Lariat. Okabayashi countered a DDT attempt and they traded chops and forearms, with Takeshita using a Frankensteiner to set up a tope con Hilo. A Blue Thunder Bomb earned Takeshita a two count.
Takeshita looked for the Plus Ultra, but Okabayashi escaped and hit a big powerslam. That was followed by a Boston crab, with Takeshita crawling to the ropes. Takeshita used a back body drop to escape a Powerbomb before fighting back with big forearms. Okabayashi fired back with big chops. Takeshita dodged one Lariat and blocked a second before a third Lariat turned him inside out. Okabayashi went for the Golem Splash, but Takeshita intercepted it and hit a superplex. Okabayashi hit an effortless vertical suplex, only for Takeshita to hit one of his own. Unwilling to be seen to be weak, Okabayashi hit another suplex despite the damage. They fought over a vertical suplex, and while Okabayashi won, Takeshita fired back with one of his own.
Takeshita nailed Okabayashi with the Jumping Knee, a move that Takeshita recently learned from Jun Akiyama. They traded more big chops and forearms, with Takeshita using elbows to knock down Okabayashi. A Brainbuster earned Takeshita a near fall. A Zahi knee strike was countered by an Okabayashi Powerbomb and a Lariat for a near fall. Another Okabayashi Lariat nearly decapitated Takeshita, earning another near fall. Okabayashi hit the Golem Splash, but Takeshita got the knees up.
A tired and battered Takeshita looked for a German Suplex, but Okabayashi elbowed his way out. Takeshita hit a Dragon Suplex before hitting Okabayashi with a Zahi knee strike in the corner. Takeshita used a corner-to-corner dropkick. Okabayashi hit a Powerslam off the top rope for another near fall before locking in the Argentine Backbreaker. Takeshita escaped using a headlock before locking in the Plus Ultra, although Okabayashi escaped with his signature Pissari pose. Okabayashi chopped Takeshita who refused to let go of the chopping arm and hit an incredibly loud forearm. Takeshita repeatedly tried to out Lariat Okabayashi out of pride, constantly falling short before Okabayashi finally flattened him. Takeshita saw sense and the wrestlers traded desperate German Suplexes before Takeshita finally knocked Okabayashi off his feet with a full-speed Lariat.
That Lariat earned a double down and Takeshita hit another Lariat, only for Okabayashi to kick out at one. After desperate headbutts and a double Lariat Takeshita used the Jumping knee and the Zahi for a big near fall. Okabayashi powered out of the straight jacket German Suplex, but Takeshita hit a Deadlift German Suplex for a near fall. Takeshita then locked in the Plus Ultra, but Okabayashi struggled to his feet. This made Takeshita transition into a Manjigatame style Plus Ultra, forcing Okabayashi to tap out.
Konosuke Takeshita pinned Yuji Okabayashi via Plus Ultra (37:17)
This was fantastic, I greatly preferred it to their match at Ota Ward Gymnasium in November. This was over 35 minutes long, but it flew by. The build felt more interesting and logical, with the clever use of the headlock and the surfboard. As it went on the match got more violent and felt like a battle of attrition. I loved the vertical suplex sequence, which was an interesting way to do a suplex no sell sequence while having more emphasis on making the suplexes look good. They sprinkled in lots of different elements, like Takeshita relying on his future (the jumping knee) and his past (the corner-to-corner dropkick). This really sucked me in, and I was living and dying by the near falls. Takeshita being desperate to out Lariat Okabayashi worked as it felt like he got wrapped up in his sense of pride and not letting DDT seem weak, which is an established flaw of HARASHIMA’s. Okabayashi showed why he is so well respected, and Takeshita yet again felt like he was evolving into a true ace. I can honestly see Jun Akiyama’s influence, as it felt like there are more classic All Japan elements playing into his big matches. The only real negative was the finish, as the Plus Ultra does not really work as a finishing move.
As a show, this was a great example of DDT’s strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, the main event was great and there were two really good multi-man tag matches that felt completely different. There were some good comedy elements and the rookies looked good every time they had an opportunity. On the other hand, the show was too long. The pheromones and Make Donaruto matches will be divisive, and the Universal Title match was only decent. Some of the booking choices were a little questionable in terms of who won and who got to look strong.
Ultimately, this was a good DDT show with some great stuff and some bad stuff. If you want to see more from DDT, I suggest that you use this review as a guide to cherry-pick the good stuff. The post main event credits scene was a good summary of DDT’s 2021.