So DDT’s yearly round robin tournament, the D-Ou Grand Prix is finished for another year and for the most part it was a lot of fun. You had a lot of different types of competitors involved, from your comedians such as Joey Ryan, to MMA guys and hardcore brawlers. The result was a lot of unique matches and here’s a list counting down ten of the very best. (You can find all of these matches on the DDT Universe)
- Jiro Kuroshio vs. Masahiro Takanashi from night two
This was a really good showing for both of these guys. Takanashi for all his fancy work can be a little soft sometimes but not here, as he finds unique and cruel ways to work over Kuroshio’s arm. Lots of believable near falls in the closing stretch, and without any finisher spamming too.
- HARASHIMA vs. Konosuke Takeshita from night four
There were a lot of over the top Indy style main event matches during this tournament. The type were there’s more big spots then you’d expect to see from the Tokyo dome and 20 minutes of endless finisher spamming. Here there’s none of that, just a simple story worked to perfection. The story deriving from Takeshita tweaking his knee and HARASHIMA working it over. It’s simple stuff but it leads to one of the best main events the tournament produced
- Konosuke Takeshita vs Keisuke Ishii from night seven
They go fairly long here but it doesn’t feel like they do at all. Ishii had a good tournament, with the theme of his tournament being of wrestlers underestimating him, often to their own demise. Takeshita does not make that mistake but Ishii still proves he has the goods to go up against the top guy. They build things up nicely with several explosive sequences keeping the flow going. Fun finish as Ishii goes for the upset.
- Jiro Kuroshio vs. Tetsuya Endo from night four
Kuroshio is the underdog with a chip on his shoulder and a love for showboating, Endo meanwhile is all business. It’s a battle of one-upmanship throughout, as Kuroshio does everything he can to stay in it. Lots of near falls and a good build make this one to watch
- Daisuke Sasaki vs Shuji Ishikawa from night five
You may have seen a Gif floating around for this match, you know the one were Ishikawa takes three chair shots to the head! Sasaki as always spams the crossface, and he’s probably the second biggest fan of removing the turnbuckle padding in Japan (Obviously Yano being the no.1 fan). This is a lot of crazy fun though, with all sorts of chair-inspired carnage. If you’re a fan of old attitude era American street fights then you should give this a watch.
- HARASHIMA vs. Jiro Kuroshio from night three
Kuroshio was arguably the most consistently good performer in the whole tournament, his matches always being amongst the top two or three of the night. He sells great here, you almost feel sorry for him as HARISHIMA brings the brutality. Kuroshio is just too sly to not get back into it though, and once he’s on top he turns back into his cocky and showboating self.
- Mike Bailey vs. Yukio Sakaguchi from night five
One of the big positives of this tournament was the variety on display. You had comedy matches, junior style matches, big Hoss fights, Hardcore matches and thanks to Sakaguchi some MMA style encounters, his match here with Bailey being the best of them. The great thing about Bailey is he can work almost any style of match (well maybe not a big Hoss fight), this is the kind of fight where the match can end at any second, so don’t tune out because they haven’t reached a ‘closing stretch’ cause there won’t be one.
- Mike Bailey vs. Shuji Ishikawa from night one
The match that had a lot of DDT fans talking and easily stole the show on night one. This David & Goliath tale looks like it might turn into at squash early on, but Bailey fights back with his speed and innovation to put a hurting on the (much) bigger Ishikawa. Credit to both of these guys for making this match work as well as it did.
- Shuji Ishikawa vs Kazusada Higuchi from night seven
What’s that? You like watching big dudes beat each other up? Well then you need this match in your life! Nothing fancy here, just big chops, lariats, powerbombs, piledrivers and all that good hearty stuff. Higuchi had a good if mostly quiet tournament, but he’s one of the most underrated guys out there on the Japanese Indies and he puts in a star performance here.
- HARASHIMA vs. Shuji Ishikawa from the Final
HARISHIMA needs to create space to stand a chance against Ishikawa, pity for him the ropes are in a state of disrepair. Ishikawa just mauls him over like a bear. HARISHIMA’s heart keeps him in it but despite everything he throws Ishikawa’s way, Ishikawa just keeps on coming like some horror villain. HARISHIMA’s facial expressions sell the story towards the end in this brilliant tournament finale.
What are your thoughts on this years Grand Prix? Do you plan on watching or have you already seen it? Agree/Disagree with this list? Comment below! Also if you enjoyed this list don’t forget to like and share.