Sunday, August 21, 2022

Random Match Review: Kazusada Higuchi (c) vs. Tetsuya Endo - KO-D Openweight Title Match - DDT: Peter Pan (August 20th, 2022)

This year, subscribing to Wrestle Universe and having access to DDT, NOAH, and TJPW shows as they happen and after they happen has been one of my best investments. Long gone are the days of scrambling for daily motion and google drive links. 

With that in mind, I’ve been able to keep up with these promotions, particularly DDT, like never before. In the process of that, Kazusada Higuchi has become one of my favorite people to watch. 

I looked back through some of my match rating archive lists and found that I had watch stuff of his several years back and gave favorable ratings, but this year and being to view DDT and his work less sporadically turned me into a full fledged fan. It was perfect timing for that to happen as well, to be honest. 

The lead in to this match was both traumatic and triumphant. On one side, you have Higuchi. A guy who’s been waiting for that moment to step up and grab the proverbial brass ring, so to speak. He capitalized on Endo getting concussed by Katsuhiko Nakajima at Cyber Fight Festival and made his way to the finals of the King of DDT tournament in July. There, he defeated his now partner, Naomi Yoshimura, to become the new KO-D champion and achieve his ultimate destiny. 

Now, a few months have passed and Endo is cleared to compete so naturally he wants the title back that he had to vacate. The story truly wrote itself. It wasn’t quite so predictable, though. This match would determine if Higuchi was just a transitional champion or if they are really going to go with him. An emotional story on both sides of the ring with both men having a lot on the line. 

They exhibit this story well. Higuchi comes out and looks like an absolute beast of a champion. He carries the DDT flag to the ring and waves it around. This guy truly has stepped into this role with both feet and has not disappointed. 

As the match begins, it becomes clear that they are going to keep Higuchi strong as Endo struggles to even get the least bit of momentum. He does string together some nice pieces of offense that stun Higuchi, but that’s all they are. They stun him. They don’t shift the momentum or turn the tide. Whether it was the sasuke special or the multiple german suplex reversals. You get glimpses of hope, but largely, Higuchi has his number and delivers an epic performance. 

The finish to the match sees Endo laying on the mat and Higuchi challenge him to stand. He tells the ref to stop counting and tries to fire Endo up, but also murder him at the same time. Some of the stiffest lariats you’ll see all year come out of this exchange and we get one last fighting spirit fire up from Endo before the former champion is finally put down with the Brain Claw.

Higuchi retains after a fantastic match. But things aren’t over here. Higuchi is handed the championship by the living legend Kenta Kobashi and is asked who he wants to defend against on September 25th. The answer is simple… Konosuke Takeshita. 

This is Takeshita’s first event back since his US excursion and he slowly walks to the ring and comes face to face with Higuchi. Takeshita’s response to this challenge? Simple. “Let’s fight.” 

September 25th, it will happen. Higuchi and Takeshita are 1-1-1 against each other in the three matches they’ve had over the past few years, but the stakes have never been this high and I can’t wait. See y’all then. 

Match rating - ****

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