DDT is weird, OK. But it’s the best possible weird. The purpose of What To Expect When Expecting To Watch DDT is to give newcomers to the wonderful world of Dramatic Dream Team a little idea of what they can expect to see on any given show. If you’re already a DDT fan, then you know what I’m talking about, so you can just read a long for fun. Click here for previous instalments of What to Expect When Expecting.
One of my favourite things about watching a DDT event is never-ending variety of match types. Unlike WWE, which sticks to its straightforward ladder matches, table matches, street fights, and “I Quit” matches, DDT’s “gimmick” matches are fantastically creative and entertaining. Here a just a few examples of a DDT gimmick match. I’m not even going to explain the rules of these matches, the titles themselves are the perfect description. Your imagination can do the rest:
- Anti-Noise Death Match
- Submission Rule Nervous Breakdown Death Match
- Summer Craft Homework Death Match
- Karate Rules
- No Low Blow Triple Threat Match
- The World of Kiss Rule
- Gay Or Straight Match
- Idol Lumberjack Match
The list goes on, and over time I’m sure I’ll talk about some, if not all of these wonderfully ridiculous matches. The match I’d like to talk about today is one that I’ve only just seen recently for the very first time. It’s called an Achoo Prevention Death Match and it involved two of my absolute favourite DDT wrestlers, Super Sasadango Machine and Antonio Honda.
Now, the thing about these DDT gimmick matches is, because I’m not a Japanese speaker, I often have to figure out the rules of the match simply by the name of the match, and by watching and working it out myself. Usually before the match the wrestlers, the referr, or Amon Tsurumi, the GM of DDT do explain the rules to the audience, but that doesn’t really help me. Though you can get the gist of what is going on by the gestures and mannerisms of the wrestlers, particularly when the match involves someone as animated as Antonio Honda. You might think that not completely understanding the rules of the match before it begins would hamper ones viewing pleasure, but at least in my case, trying to figure out just what the heck is going on is part of the fun.
Having said all of that, the Achoo Prevention Death Match that I watched had a very simple to follow stipulation. Before the match, Honda and SSM were invited to the ring by DDT General Manager Amon Tsurumi. Honda and SSM looked to be in terrible condition as they were both uncontrollably sneezing and shivering, perhaps due to a bad case of the flu. As I mentioned before, I’m sure situation was explained very clearly by Amon, but I’m just guessing here. Whatever the case, Honda and SSM were put in a match with the stipulation being if you sneeze, you lose. Like the age-old expression goes, “You sneeze, you lose.”
When we cut to the match later in the show, Honda and SSM aren’t wearing their usual ring gear. Well, technically they are, but over their gear they’ve got on a few extra layers to keep them warm. Honda has on sweatpants, a black hoodie and a very stylish leather jacket, while SSM has a blue hoodie and green winter vest. The logic here is that by losing a piece of clothing throughout the match, the chances of the wrestler sneezing increases. So whichever wrestler can remove his opponent’s clothes first, causing that wrestler’s sneeze defense level to lower, will most likely get the win. That’s how sneezing works in japan, I guess. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing how absurd this match sounds, but when I’m watching the match it makes absolute perfect sense.
You might be inclined to think that two men trying to undress each other in order to make the other person sneeze doesn’t make for the most gripping, hotly contested pro wrestling match. And with any other wrestlers, it probably wouldn’t work. But when you’ve got Honda and Super Sasadango involved, you can rest easy knowing you’re in for a good time. It really just comes down to the incredible comedic timing of the two, their creativity, and ability to tell a story – as bizarre and offbeat as that story may be – with their actions and expressions. They make it work. And not just that, they make it very entertaining to watch. The finish in particular was a great touch, and my favourite moment of the match. Without spoiling too much, I’ll just say this, he may not look it, but I for one am convinced that Super Sasadango Machine is a genius.
SSM, Honda, and a lot of the wrestlers in DDT are what make these crazy gimmick matches work. DDT wrestlers, for the most part, are not just solid workers, they’re also incredibly creative and know how to make the most out of any given match type. Unlike, say in WWE, where the gimmick more often than not detracts from the match. In DDT, gimmick matches, like the Achoo Prevention Death Match, allow the wrestlers to show off their creative chops and entertain the audience in unexpected ways. It’s just one of the many things that make watching a DDT show such a joy.