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DDT Jun Akiyama 30th Anniversary (18th Sept) Review

2 years ago

DDT Jun Akiyama 30th Anniversary (18th Sept) Review

DDT Jun Akiyama 30th Anniversary (18th Sept) Review

By Jamie Johnson

On the night that the ‘Black Swan’ emigrated to DDT, we celebrated the historic 30 year (and counting) career of Jun Akiyama. With more flowers than a florist on Valentine’s Day, DDT welcomed Akiyama’s 30th anniversary and put on a Korakuen Hall show filled to the brim with exciting tag team matches.

Chief among them, the main event. Pitting Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Tetsuya Endo and Akiyama himself against Yuji Nagata, Konosuke Takeshita and Shunma Katsumata, the match delivered a fitting celebration of the living-legend’s remarkable career.

It was a great trios match, packed with excitement, great nearfalls, stunning exchanges and clever tributes and moments to honour Akiyama’s career so far. The closing stretch between Akiyama and Katsumata was fantastic, twisting and turning between close nearfalls, impressive moves and even a few high spots. 

It’s not easy to fittingly tribute a career as legendary as that of Akiyama’s, but the main event managed just that in a match featuring some nice callbacks and fun moments. Even before the bell, with Akiyama being serenaded by adoring cheers and Kenta Kobashi presenting him with a bouquet of flowers, this was the perfect occasion.

There was a good combination of wrestlers in the ring too: harking back to Akiyama’s prior days in AJPW through Yoshinobu Kanemaru, to NOAH and NJPW through Yuji Nagata, while also featuring his most recent work in DDT itself through teammate Tetsuya Endo and adversary Konosuke Takeshita.

It was handshakes all round in the post-match, as the cheering crowd rose to their loudest point of the night to join in the celebrations.

As well as being the 30th Anniversary of Akiyama’s career, this show was also notable for the DDT debut of British wrestler, ‘Black Swan’ Cara Noir. He has one of the most distinctive characters in pro wrestling, making his entrance to the divine Swan Lake music and delivering an equally beautiful ballet-esque performance before his match. 

Noir is unique and he’s capable of being a star in DDT, and Japanese wrestling as a whole for that matter. However, he’s more than just a character. In-ring he wrestled with flair and flashy offence, diving over the top rope, hitting pinpoint kicks and winning the match with a sudden submission.

This was a good warm-up for his DDT Universal Championship match against Yuki Ueno next week. The opening exchanges between Noir and Ueno were very good and laid the groundwork for what promises to be a wonderful title match.

After the match, the Universal Champion spoke in English to say that Noir was “strong and beautiful” before offering a handshake that Noir refused in flamboyant fashion. Importantly, the crowd looked engaged in the ‘Black Swan’s work from the second he made his slow, dramatic way to the ring to the moment he bowed to the crowd and left Korakuen Hall.

As fellow Monthly Puroresu Staff Writer James Carlin remarked, seeing Cara Noir in Korakuen Hall isn’t something anyone expected. Although, it’s certainly a joy to behold.

I don’t think Cara Noir stole the show from Jun Akiyama, but he will certainly be on the minds of DDT fans from this moment forward. It was a powerful debut for a spectacular wrestling star. DDT fits Noir like a glove.

The night will be remembered for its celebratory main event, delivering the “sternness” that Jun Akiyama has become synonymous with, starting with his days as AJPW’s unofficial ‘Fifth Pillar’ in the 1990s. It also showed a lighter side, through its funnier moments like Kanemaru inadvertently spraying his whiskey into the face of Akiyama and Endo using his famed Exploder Suplex.

This was an enjoyable show from top to bottom (if you ignore the Pheromones vs. Takagi’s Army match that is), with a vocal crowd and some good tag matches inside wrestling’s most renowned venue.

Full Show Results:

  • Yusuke Okada def. Yuya Koroka
  • Pheromones (Danshoku Dieno, Yuki Iino, Yumehito Imanari and Koju Takeda) def. Sanshiro Takagi, Antonio Honda, Kazuki Hirata and Toru Owashi
  • Yukio Naya, Akito and Soma Takao def. HARASHIMA, Yukio Sakaguchi and Hideki Okatani
  • Damnation T.A (Daisuke Sasaki, MJ Paul, Kanon and Minoru Fujita) def. Kazusada Higuchi, Yuji Hino, Yuki Ishida and Makoto Oishi
  • Cara Noir, Chris Brookes and Masahiro Takanashi def. Yuki Ueno, MAO and Toi Kojima
  • Naomi Yoshimura def. Takashi Masada
  • Jun Akiyama, Tetsuya Endo and Yoshinobu Kanemaru def. Konosuke Takeshita, Yuji Nagata and Shunma Katsumata

Rapid Fire Takeaways:

  • Yusuke Okada vs Yuya Koroka was a straightforward opener, a ‘rookie’ fighting from underneath with great fire against a stronger and more experienced opponent.
  • The third match of the night was a great trios match, packed full of stinging strikes and powerful moves. Yukio Naya shone brightest and picked up the win with a painful looking submission.
  • Cara Noir’s presentation was fantastic. He knows his own character perfectly and the camerawork made it all work. He’ll be a great fit for DDT!
  • Noir was the undeniable star of the match, setting himself up nicely in-front of the Japanese audience for his match with Yuki Ueno. The crowd took an instant liking to him.
  • The semi-main had similarities to the opener, with Takeshi Masada having to fight resiliently to challenge Naomi Yoshimura. It was good to a certain level, but not a semi-main level match.
  • The crowd were able to cheer during this show and they made full use of that liberty when Jun Akiyama made his entrance. It was a lovely moment seeing Kenta Kobashi hand a bouquet of flowers to Akiyama, someone who he shares a long and storied history with.
  • It was a great match event! Every bit as exciting and enjoyable as you would expect, and a fitting nod to Akiyama’s 30th Anniversary in wrestling.