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Over WrestleMania Weekend, DDT Pro Wrestlers Battle Big Names From Game Changer Wrestling

Here’s What You Can Expect (In The Words Of The DDT Stars, Themselves!)


FOUR YEARS AFTER taking over NYC and its streets, DDT Pro Wrestling does Hollywood in the only way it can. As part of The Collective, Dramatic Dream Team (DDT Pro), is returning to the U.S. to bring back its essence and wild uniqueness to North America. The promotion will present two highly anticipated shows: DDT Goes Hollywood (March 30) and GCW vs. DDT (March 31).  And, if President Sanshiro Takagi, has his way, this two-day overseas tour will be the first of many of its kind. 

I had prepared a lengthy dissertation as to why you should buy your tickets to the show before they are all gone; but instead, I’ll let the DDT roster coming to Hollywood do the honors themselves:

“It’s been two months since my last visit [to the U.S.’, so I hope to hear ‘welcome back’ chants, okay? MAO is back!  I’m going to run wild! Look forward to the DDT style.” – MAO, who will be teaming with his ShunMAO partner, Shunma Katsumata, to take on Chris Brookes and Yoshihiko at DDT Goes Hollywood; then reuniting with his Moonlight Express partner, Mike Bailey, in a match versus the East West Express, Nick Wayne and Jordan Oliver, at GCW vs. DDT.

“I’m very glad to be able to take part in DDT’s Hollywood show!  I’ll turn America into a sauna, so please give me your support!  I hope you feel my NEPPOWER!” – Shunma Katsumata, who also teams with his frenemy, Chris Brookes, and Mizuki Watase to take on Second Gear Crew at GCW vs. DDT.

“I’ve been dreaming of wrestling in America ever since I was Universal champion! My dream! Wait for me, and please remember my overflowing NEPPOWER! Neppower is my fighting spirit!” – Yuki Ueno, who will be facing Konosuke Takeshita at DDT Goes Hollywood, following their time limit draw at Itabashi Green Hall back in January; and Joey Janela at GCW vs. DDT.

Saki Akai

“DDT’s first Hollywood show! Everyone couldn’t come over, so I’ll do my best for the rest who couldn’t make it over to show the joys of DDT! Please enjoy the world of DDT☺️ My long limbs and kicks! And how graceful I am ♡” – Saki Akai, who will be facing Vertvixen at DDT Goes Hollywood and DARK Sheik at GCW vs. DDT.

“I won my very first KO-D openweight championship at the New York show in 2019, so [the U.S.] is a special country to me.  This time, I’ll make sure to be at the Hollywood show as Universal champion and make it a success with my high-flying moves and these big buttocks of mine that are disproportionate to my upper half,” – #AndNew DDT Universal champion, Tetsuya Endo, who will be facing Joey Janela at DDT Goes Hollywood; in an effort to avenge his loss during the 2022 D-Oh Tournament, he teams with Jun Akiyama to take on Tony Deppen and Homicide at GCW vs. DDT.

Jun Akiyama

“I hope that American pro wrestling fans can see how intense our wrestling is.  Even in my 31st year as a wrestler, I’ll show you that I can still be aggressive,” – Jun Akiyama, who will be teaming with Eddie Kingston at DDT Goes Hollywood, and will be teaming with his BURNING mate, Endo, to take on Tony Deppen and Homicide at GCW vs DDT.

“America will be my first time overseas, so I’m very excited. I’ll tap out whoever my opponent may be. What I hope you remember is … my Cobra Twist and everything about me!” – KANON, who is teaming with DAMNATION T.A.’s Charisma (Daisuke Sasaki) to take on Eddie Kingston and Jun Akiyama at DDT Goes Hollywood.

Yuki Ino

“SEXY!! OH! SEXY!! SEXY!!!” Pheromones’ Yuki Iino, who along with Danshoku “Dandy” Dieno, will be facing DDT’s Peter Pan, President Sanshiro Takagi, and DDT/AEW star Michael Nakazawa at DDT Goes Hollywood; at GCW vs DDT, the Pheromones will be unleashed when they take on BUSSY (Allie Katch and EFFY).

“I won a young guys’ league in DDT to go to Hollywood. I have to show I’m the number one in the young guys.  I learned Shorinji-kempo, which is a Japanese martial art. So, I want you to see my kick and punch.” – Takeshi Masada

If you haven’t done so, get your tickets before they sell out … these are two shows you won’t want to miss!


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DDT Pro’s MAO and Shunma Katsumata Come To Prestige Wrestling

DDT Pro’s MAO and Shunma Katsumata Come To Prestige Wrestling


IT HAS BEEN (almost) four years since Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) last came to America. Now that travel bans have been lifted, and DDT Pro is set to “Go Hollywood” over WrestleMania Weekend., fans in California are being treated to a sneak peak of what to expect in March. That’s because MAO and Shunma Katsumata make their Prestige Wrestling debut at this Saturday’s VENDETTA event.

Those who are unfamiliar with #ddtpro, MAO, and/or Shunma will be introduced to “the honest to goodness anything goes DDT style; the perfect example of what personifies the core of DDT wrestling,” as MAO so eloquently put it!

MAO, who is no stranger to wrestling in the U.S.—who can forget his Weapon’s Rumble Match against DDT’s President Sanshiro Takagi at DDT is COMING TO AMERICA?—as well as Europe, is very excited to re-introduce his “F****d Up Wrestling For A F****dUp World.” His previously scheduled tour (with his Moonlight Express partner, Mike Bailey) was derailed due to the global pandemic.

At Prestige, MAO will be wrestling against Kevin Blackwood in what will be a fast-paced, hard-hitting match. It’s a bout that I can guarantee you will not want to miss. And you can catch it streaming live via at 7 p.m. PST, 10 p.m. EST.

For his part, DDT’s “Happy Boy,” Shunma Katsumata, is traveling outside of Japan for the first time in his life … and he could not be more excited!  “It will be a whole new world for me to experience,” said Katsumata. “In preparation for this trip, I have been watching YouTube videos of California to get a feel for the area.”

He continued: “As the Genki member Sauna KAMINA (#T37K), I want the fans in the U.S. to see and understand how happy I am every time I step in the ring and how much I truly enjoy wrestling.” 

But do not be fooled by all the happiness you might see … because Shunma Katsumata will tap into his hardcore alter ego when the situation calls for it. And, in his no-holds-barred match with Sonico, I would not be surprised to see him “LEGO” and “NEPPOWER” himself to victory!

To see more of MAO and Shunma Katsumata, make sure to subscribe to #wrestleUNIVERSE. And stay tuned to this blog for a more in-depth spotlight of both wrestlers on the road to DDT Goes Hollywood!

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YUKI UENO’S FIGHTING SPIRIT: The DDT Universal Champion On Konosuke Takeshita, Cara Noir, And Upcoming Title Defenses

Yuki Ueno, bloody-faced

YUKI UENO’S FIGHTING SPIRIT: The DDT Universal Champion On Konosuke Takeshita, Cara Noir, And Upcoming Title Defenses

Yuki Ueno, bloody-faced

Text & Photos by Issa Marie

“ALL YOU HAVE to do is watch my matches to know exactly who I am.”

So says two-time DDT Pro-Wrestling Universal champion, Yuki Ueno.

The 37KAMIINA standout successfully defended his title against Cara Noir at DDT’s Who’s Gonna TOP? 2022.  That match, which we highly recommend every reader to go out of their way to watch, perfectly embodied Ueno’s fighting spirit.

Headed into a first-time showdown with the former PROGRESS Wrestling champion, Ueno’s attitude was one of enthusiasm. “I am excited to be able to have a match with Cara Noir,” he told PWI. “We have some similarities in our styles, and our physiques, but we come from two different worlds, and that adds a greater level of enjoyment when you wrestle someone who is not familiar to you.”

Yuki Ueno vs. Cara Noir

That is very much not the case for his next title defense against Koju Takeda. This current version of Ueno’s former partner is full of Pheromones!

Yuki Ueno will face “Shiningball” Takeda on October 23 at Korakuen Hall.  (Make sure to subscribe to WRESTLE UNIVERSE, taking advantage of that two-week free trial, to watch what should be an essential battle.)

When asked what made him unique, Ueno turned the question back around to your truly. What did I think made him so unique? I responded: “Your Fighting Spirit!” Surprised by my answer, with the biggest smile, Ueno agreed.

Yuki Ueno

From his debut match against current KO-D champion, Kazusada Higuchi, in 2016, Ueno has captivated the fans with his spirit—his ability to “turn raw emotions into power” (his words).  “Regardless of the size or experience my opponents have, every time I step into the ring, I give it my all,” he said.

And he has done so consistently. Indeed, one need look no further than Ueno’s epic matches against 37KAMIINA ally Konosuke Takeshita or last year’s feud with Daisuke Sasaki. Ueno’s personal favorite bout happens to be the 2021 D-Oh Grand Prix final against Takeshita. “Having the opportunity to wrestle Take, my classmate, in a setting where we both were on equal terms at the time, the A-Block winner going against the B-Block winner was truly special,” he recalled. “I hoped that at the end of Who’s Gonna TOP? 2022, Take and I would stand side-by-side as champions.”

Unfortunately for Ueno, Takeshita was not able to overcome Higuchi in his final DDT match before embarking on another U.S. tour.

There are no immediate plans for the Universal champ to travel abroad. However, if given the opportunity, he wants to defend his title as much as he can. Though he does not have an explicit list of opponents, he would like to take his “Fighting Spirit” to Thailand and England.

Yuki Ueno vs. Daisuke Sasaki



2022年9月25日で行われたDDTプロレスの「Who’s Gonna TOP 2022」後楽園ホール大会でカーラ・ノワール選手に王座防衛に成功しました。あの闘志溢れる上野選手の姿を是非読者の皆様に見て頂きたいものです。



ですが、次の対戦相手はなんと昔DNA時代でよく組んでいたフェロモン溢れるの竹田“シャイニングボール”光珠選手のと!10月23日後楽園ホールで行われる「God Bless DDT 2022」にて防衛戦で激突することになる。




Yuki Ueno vs. Cara Noir


上野選手が個人的に好きな試合は、2021年のD王グランプリ決勝の竹下戦だと言われました。「Aブロックの優勝者がBブロックの優勝者と対戦するという、お互い対等な立場だった設定で同期の竹ちゃんと試合をすることになったのは、本当に特別なことでした。Who’s Gonna TOP? 2022年後楽園大会の最後には、竹と私はチャンピオンとして並んで立つことを望んでいました。」残念ですが、竹下選手と樋口選手のKO-D無差別級王座戦の結果は樋口選手の勝利となって、リング上のチャンピオン並びの姿はまだ先の話になります。


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CFF22 Special Interview DDT

CyberFight Festival '22 Official Poster

CFF22 Special Interview DDT

Dramatic Dream Team’s Yuki Ueno and Naomi Yoshimura are leading the charge in the battle for DDT supremacy at CyberFight Festival. This DDT Pro eight-person match will feature some of the biggest names and most wildly popular wrestlers on the company’s roster. With a mixture of power, speed, high-flying acumen, and great senses of humor, could this match be the sleeper hit of the entire event?

Yoshimura teams with HARASHIMA, Masahiro Takanashi, and Chris Brookes, while Ueno tags with MAO, ASUKA, and Shunma Katsumata. With a representative from each side present, get ready to learn more about DDT as the only thing they both agree on — is how much many people are underestimating DDT.

Karen Peterson: Many PWI readers are still learning about DDT. Please start with a short self-introduction.

Yuki Ueno: I’m Yuki Ueno. I’m in a faction named The 37 KAMIINA alongside Konosuke Takeshita [currently on an international excursion in AEW], Shunma Katsumata, MAO, and Toui Kojima. We’re the hottest, trendiest, and most fun group in all of Japan! DDT is the best wrestling company in the world, because it’s a treasure chest of powerful and entertaining wrestling!

Naomi Yoshimura: My name is Naomi Yoshimura. I belong to the DISASTER BOX faction, and I work in DDT Pro-Wrestling.

Peterson: What does CyberFight Festival mean to you? What are your feelings about this big annual show with all your sibling promotions?

Ueno: This is a solid opportunity to show people the heart of DDT. Many say that [DDT] is child’s play and a goofy circus, but I think that is due to a lack of knowledge of the [depth and ability of those] of our company. It isn’t about comparing DDT to other promotions, but about the individuality of DDT. The challenge about every promotion coming together in an event like this is finding balance—because there are clashes of pride. The key aspect is making the climb and elevating the entire company together, not tearing one another down. This once-a-year event really lights the fire under all of us in CyberFight.

Yoshimura: CyberFight Festival is our once-a-year celebration where all four companies—DDT, Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling, Ganbare ☆ Pro-Wrestling, [and NOAH]—come together as one. Honestly, I cannot wait! Personally, I think DDT is the most interesting of the four. When it comes to levels of entertainment, strength, fun, and awe, DDT is consistently at the top in all of these categories. I want to show that to our audience!

Peterson: What are you most looking forward to with your match at CFF ’22? Which match (that isn’t your own) are you most excited to watch?

Ueno: This match is a collection of wrestlers who work exceptionally hard and compete against one another on a regular basis. Everyone is very familiar with each other’s moves, and we’re prepared to take everyone to another level with our performance in this huge match. As our match is solely DDT wrestlers, we can truly highlight the very best of DDT and prove who is the cream of the crop in our company. I can guarantee you’re going to want to keep your eyes on everyone in this match because everyone wants to win. The other match I am looking forward to is (Toui) Kojima’s because he’s the last member of 37KAMIINA*. I have high expectations for Kojima, especially after the way he showed his resolve at the press conference. I believe that with a strong frame of mind, one bolsters their physical performance, so I want him to keep that in mind during their fight. I want to see [Kojima and Koroku] show the world what they are made of!”

[*Kojima teams with Yuya Koroku against NOAH’s Okada & Fujimura]

Yoshimura: Both HARASHIMA and Takanashi are veteran wrestlers in DDT. And, paired with Chris (Brookes) and myself, we’re four guys who joined DDT with great respect for the company. We’re teaming up to face The 37 KAMIINA’s Ueno, (Shunma) Katsumata, and MAO—three guys who represent present-day DDT—plus VENY (ASUKA), who is active all over the world. I believe our match at CyberFight Festival is the best way to truly experience what DDT has to offer. We will showcase the wide range of wrestling in DDT. It will be bright, fun, fierce, and hard-hitting, too! The three matches [on my radar] are Kenoh vs. Daisuke Sasaki, DDT (Endo, Akiyama, & Higuchi) versus NOAH (Nakajima, Kotoge, & Inamura), and Okada & Fujimura (NOAH) versus Kojima & Koroku (DDT).

Peterson: After CFF, what are your goals for the rest of the summer?”

Ueno: I want to win the KO-D (King Of DDT) Tournament and become the strongest in all of DDT. After which, I’d like to challenge for the KO-D openweight championship. I think the greatest obstacle, though, is my physical strength. Winning such a challenging tournament would be a great way to prove to everyone how much I’ve grown.”

Yoshimura: After CyberFight Festival concludes, the next big thing is the start of The King of DDT. I’ve had some success as a tag team wrestler, but I have yet to break through as a singles wrestler. So, this year, I’m going to do my best to win. We also have Wrestle Peter Pan on August 20, which is one of our biggest events, so I want to focus my attention there, too.

Peterson: Do you have any interest in wrestling abroad? Where would you like to go? Who would you like to have as an opponent in the future?

Ueno: Honestly, I don’t have a strong desire. I developed as a wrestler in DDT, and I want to become the top, so that is where my focus is currently. I am willing to do whatever it takes to make DDT a household name and throw all my energy into making this a reality. One day, I would like to face HUB [veteran Japanese freelancer]. He’s the wrestler I’ve aspired to be most like. I find him to be the ultimate in strength and coolness factor!

Yoshimura: I’ve had matches in L.A., Ohio, Chile, Canada, and South Korea. There’s a creative and interesting approach to wrestling abroad. I would love to revisit matches with previous opponents, and also invite them to come and wrestle in Japan. If I am looking at domestic opponents, the one who stands out in my mind is my mentor, Zeus [formerly of All Japan, now president of Osaka Pro Wrestling].

Do you have any special messages you’d like to send to the international fans?

Ueno: DDT’s greatest power is our strength and ability to truly have fun! I hope more people will take notice of DDT and me! I hope you’ll support us, too!

Yoshimura: I want to showcase all the fun we have in DDT—not just within Japan, but I want it to reach everyone all over the world. We have so many wonderful wrestlers in DDT. Just give us one try and find out for yourself!

A full event CyberFight Festival 2022 report will be available at POST Wrestling after the show concludes, and a feature in the November 2022 Issue of PWI will be available in August.

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CyberFight Festival 2022 Preview

CyberFight Festival '22 Official Poster

CyberFight Festival 2022 Preview

CyberFight Festival 2022 will be broadcast live on WRESTLE UNIVERSE on Sunday, June 12. CFF ’22 will emanate from the Saitama Super Arena starting at 2 p.m. (Japan local time) and boasts a massive 13-match card including title matches, individual promotion exhibition matches, battles for company pride, a special announcement from Keiji Muto, and a festival atmosphere with a variety of matches to enjoy!

This special CyberFight Festival coverage will be available in part on POST Wrestling and in Pro Wrestling Illustrated. I will be covering the event for both outlets, with a full event report over at POST Wrestling after the conclusion of CFF ’22 and an additional write-up in the November 2022 issue of PWI.

Full Announced Match Card

[Numbers in parentheses represent the number of falls and time limit, respectively.]

  • Opening Match KICKOFF: DDT Tag Team Match (1/15): Muscle Sakai & Yukio Naya vs. Soma Takao & Kazuki Hirata
  • Opening Match 2: 10-Woman Tag (1/15): Hyper Misao, Yuki Aino, YuuRi, Pom Harajuku, & Haruna Neko vs. Nao Kakuta, Mahiro Kiryu, Moka Miyamoto, Arisu Endo, & Kaya Toribami
  • Opening Match 3: DDT vs Ganbare☆Pro-Wrestling (1/15): Yukio Sakaguchi, Saki Akai & Hideki Okatani (DDT) vs. Ken Ohka, Yuna Manase & Mizuki Watase (GanPro)
  • 1st Match: NOAH vs DDT (1/20): Kinya Okada & Kai Fujimura (NOAH) vs Toui Kojima & Yuya Koroku (DDT)
  • 2nd Match: TJPW 6-Woman Tag (1/20): Miyu Yamashita, Maki Itoh, & Julia Nagano vs. Hikari Noa, Suzume, & Yuki Arai
  • 3rd Match: DDT 8-Man Tag (1/30): Yuki “Sexy” Iino, Danshoku “Dandy” Dieno, Yumehito “Fantastic” Imanari, & Akito vs. Sanshiro Takagi, Kendo Kashin, Shinya Aoki & Yumiko Hotta
  • 4th Match: Princess of Princess Championship Qualifier 4-Way Match (1/30): Rika Tatsumi vs. Mizuki vs. Yuki Kamifuku vs. Miu Watanabe *The winner of this match will challenge for the Princess of Princess championship at the Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling Ota-ku Sogo Gymnasium at Summer Sun Princess (July 9).
  • 5th Match: NOAH 10-Man Tag (1/30): Takashi Sugiura, Kazuyuki Fujita, Masa Kitamiya, Daiki Inaba, & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Michael Elgin, Hijo de Doctor Wagner Jr., Rene Dupree, Simon Gotch, & Timothy Thatcher
  • 6th Match: DDT 8-Man Tag (1/30): HARASHIMA, Naomi Yoshimura, Chris Brookes, & Masahiro Takanashi vs. Yuki Ueno, Shunma Katsumata, MAO, & ASUKA
  • 7th Match: NOAH 6-Man Tag (1/45): Rob Van Dam, Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA vs. Kaito Kiyomiya, Daisuke Harada, & YO-HEY
  • 8th Match: NOAH vs DDT (1/45): Tetsuya Endo, Jun Akiyama, & Kazusada Higuchi vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Atsushi Kotoge, & Yoshiki Inamura
  • 9th Match: NOAH vs DDT (1/45): Kenoh (NOAH) vs. Daisuke Sasaki (DDT) *This match will have a Hardcore/No-DQ stipulation.
  • Semi-Main Event: TJPW Princess of Princess Championship (1/30): Shoko Nakajima (c) vs. Yuka Sakazaki
  • Main Event: NOAH GHC World Championship (1/60): Go Shiozaki (c) (NOAH) vs. Satoshi Kojima (NJPW)

As a special preview for CyberFight Festival, several wrestlers have sent special messages to PWI readers. Stay tuned to find out who will be dropping by!

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CFF22 Special Interview DDT vs. GanPro

CyberFight Festival '22 Official Poster

CFF22 Special Interview DDT vs. GanPro

Ahead of CyberFight Festival 2022, several wrestlers from CyberFight are inviting everyone reading PWI to watch this special showcase event. As Dramatic Dream Team’s (DDT) Hideki Okatani and Ganbare Pro-Wrestling’s (Gan☆Pro) Yuna Manase prepare to square off in a clash for company pride, they took some time to sit down and answer a few questions!

Okatani and Manase will participate in a six-person tag match. Their match is part of a long-standing rivalry between the companies, and will also feature Yukio Sakaguchi & Saki Akai from DDT and Ken Ohka & Mizuki Watase from Gan☆Pro. The match will be the third opening showcase match on the extensive 14-match card!

Peterson: Many PWI readers are still learning about Gan☆Pro and DDT, please start with a short self-introduction.

Yuna Manase: My name is Yuna Manase and I belong to Ganbare Pro-Wrestling! My favorite wrestling moves are the lariat and the brainbuster. It’s a pleasure to meet everyone!

Hideki Okatani: I’m Hideki Okatani from DDT, and I belong to the unit Eruption. DDT has a wide range of wrestling spanning from comedic to very serious. We also do matches in unique locations [like the Tokyo Dome Baseball Field, local zoos, and waterparks].”

Peterson: What does CyberFight Festival mean to you? What are your feelings about this big annual show with all your sibling promotions?

Manase: If I don’t show everyone the power of Ganbare Pro-Wrestling here, I don’t think there will be another chance. I want to prove to [CyberFight] that we’ll keep fighting, and our fight against wrestling society starts with Eruption!

Okatani: [CFF22] is a great opportunity for us to mix with wrestlers in CF’s other promotions. I’m thrilled to see all the inter-promotional matches and rivalries! This is a prime chance for new fans to discover us, as well.

Peterson: What are you most looking forward to with your match at CFF ’22? Which match (that isn’t your own) are you most excited to watch?

Manase: Previously, Gan☆Pro fought against Eruption two years ago, but that was before I was a member. For us, this is a match we need to win. Not only do I want to defeat Eruption, but so much so that we’re the winners of CyberFight Festival.

Okatani: I really want people to see how deep the competitive bad blood runs between our companies! Aside from our match, the competitive DDT/NOAH six-man match [Tetsuya Endo, Jun Akiyama, & Kazusada Higuchi vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Atsushi Kotoge, & Yoshiki Inamura] features wrestlers who truly symbolize each promotion.”

Peterson: After CFF, what are your goals for the rest of the summer?

Manase: I have some unfinished business with Stardom’s Unagi Sayaka. Recently, she dropped by Gan☆Pro unannounced and said a few cheeky things. We have a match at WRESTLE SEKIGAHARA on July 10. I am also the Ice Ribbon International Ribbon tag champion with Totoro Satsuki.

Okatani: I intend on entering and winning the D-Oh Grand Prix*. 

[*The D-Oh Grand Prix is DDT’s annual round-robin tournament. Its winner receives the opportunity to challenge for the KO-D Openweight championship. The current champion is Tetsuya Endo.]

Peterson: Do you have any interest in wrestling abroad? Where would you like to go? Who would you like to have as an opponent in the future?”

Okatani: “I definitely have an interest (in wrestling abroad). I’ll go to literally any promotion in any country in the world that invites me! I have a particular interest in Orange Cassidy.”

[Note: Ms. Manase was not asked this question, as she was provided a different set of questions during her interview.]

Peterson: With CyberFight Festival being the biggest event of the year, and its being broadcast around the world, do you have a special message for the international fans?”

Manase: I live in Japan, and it’s an island country, so I cannot see you very easily! I want to meet everyone and speak together in person. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing my best. I’ll be waiting for you!

Okatani: For those who are unfamiliar with DDT, please consider watching and check us out! I guarantee you’ll become obsessed with DDT!

Keep an eye out for this Saturday’s POST Dream Slam Weekly for an exclusive audio interview with Yuna Manase prior to her match at CyberFight Festival! A full event report will be available at POST Wrestling after the show concludes.