Konosuke Takeshita has received a big push in AEW since debuting last year, and it’s not hard to see why.
The prodigy from DDT was considered a huge “get” by the hardcore fans, who were enamored after watching his work in DDT.
While not the biggest promotion in Japan, DDT has helped develop some of the world’s best wrestlers – Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi are the two that spring to mind immediately.
So, I was very excited to see a match ranked so highly by Cagematch and Dave Meltzer when I heard about Kazusada Higuchi vs Konosuke Takeshita at DDT Who’s Gonna Top? 2022.
The match took place on September 25th, 2022 and saw DDT’s KO-D Openweight Championship on the line between these two huge stars of DDT.
It was looked at as one of the best matches of 2022, and the best of both men involved’s career – but was it that good?
Kazusada Higuchi vs Konosuke Takeshita
At DDT Who’s Gonna Top? 2022, Kazusada Higuchi defended his KO-D Openweight Championship against AEW’s Konosuke Takeshita.
I didn’t know much about the story of the encounter going into the match, but as it went on, I didn’t feel I needed it.
The two positioned themselves very clearly in the match – Haguchi as the monster champion, while Takeshita was the babyface ace who could not quite get the job done.
It was an absolute war, with neither man having any regard for anybodies safety in this match. An uncomfortable amount of head butts in the match reminded me of Katuyori Shibata, so that brought the rating down slightly.
The most uncomfortable part of the match had to be the headbutt. The two men battled on the outside, and Higuchi had his opponents arms in his hands, as they surrounded the ring post.
However, Takeshita yanked at his arms, pulling Higuchi’s head into the ring post, with a sickening thud.
As his arms were controlled by his opponent, Higuchi had no protection, and launched face-first into the steel.
One small detail that was great about the ending was the pinfall. As Higuchi covered Takeshita following the jumping headbutt, you could see Takeshita try to kick out.
He lazily lifted his leg, giving his all to try and lift it fast enough to kick out of the pin.
However, Takeshita simply had no energy, and it caught me off guard when the kick was not enough for him to avoid losing the match.
Kazusada Higuchi retain his KO-D Openweight title, in a match that was rated as Konosuke Takeshita’s best match of his career so far.
But was it that good? The match was rated 9.36 on Cagematch, while Dave Meltzer awarded it a 4.5 star rating in the Wrestling Observer.
For my money, it was not as good as it is made out. It was a good match, which told a simple, intriguing story about both men in the ring, but it dragged in parts when it shouldn’t.
The match felt it went 30 minutes or more, so I was shocked when I saw that it clocked in at just over 18 minutes.
I’m still not sold on Takeshita. I can see why people like him, but something about does not click with me.
He’s technically proficient and has some incredible moves. His jumping top-rope hurricanrana was a delight, as were his dives, kicks and knees in the match.
I just can’t rank him up at the level of the top stars. He’s only 28 and has time to develop, but at the moment he is not as good as many make him out.
I’d rank this match at a 3.5 stars – good, one to look out for, but not a “can’t miss” bout by any stretch of the imagination.
Maybe if i wasn’t blind going in, and knew more about the story of the match, it would have ranked higher.
Here are the full star ratings for this match:
- Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.5 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 9.36
- Atletifo Rating – 3.5 Stars
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.