DDT Max Bump
April 29 2018
I’m here for your main event of the evening but I did quickly stop off to watch HARASHIMA best Yuko Miyamoto in defence of DDT’s Extreme title. It was a very solid match but there was no wacky stipulation! Call it ***1/2
KO-D Openweight Championship
Konosuke Takeshita (c) vs. Shigehiro Irie
I’ve been away from DDT for a while due to streaming issues on DDT Universe and I’m only now returning because it feels like the end of an era. Takeshita, DDT’s young ace, has held the KO-D Openweight belt for over a year. It’s a defining reign for the youngster (who is still only 22 years old).
Irie is a former champion but his repeated failures to re-capture the belt make this shot seem more important than the ones that came before. Plus he’s had a few excursions to the United States and it feels like he’s grown up by doing that. Irie has been good for years but at 30 years old he’s now entering his prime.
Takeshita is silky smooth, his in-ring years ahead of where it should be for a kid his age. A criticism of him would be that despite being on top of DDT for a year he’s not got the charisma of Kento Miyahara, who transformed during his AJPW Triple Crown run. A marked contrast to Irie, who wears every emotion on his intriguing face. The match is a back and forth affair with incumbent ace meeting his match in a driven Irie. Again my only major beef with Takeshita is that he doesn’t draw me in to his matches. You have to pay attention to pick up on his nuances. Whereas Irie draws me in by turning up and then doing wacky big man spots. His pounce in this is wonderful and the Cannonballs beautiful. Rather than duelling they take it in turns to unload big moves, which gives it almost a ‘WWE’ vibe.
They switch from that to a more traditional Japanese duelling style but do so with clotheslines. Each man unwilling to budge.
This is all about the grinding down process. Each man getting progressively more worn out. From Takeshita fading in a choke to Irie not having the strength to kick out and just putting his foot on the rope. Where in the past Irie would have just stayed down here he refuses to take the big move, fighting out and putting his own body on the line. Takeshita trying to play the smart game and counter the obvious clubbing aggression of the challenger. Takeshita survives the top rope Cannonball but gets creamed with a lariat and the 405 day reign is over. Irie is the new champ! This was really good. Not great but good enough for a recommendation.
Final Rating: ****
After the match Keisuke Ishii comes out to challenge, which Irie mistakes for his old TDF buddy congratulating him. Dick move from Ishii. Hope he gets battered.
Shigehiro Irie is a lovely lad. Seeing him win a major title was genuinely a nice experience. I’ve heard criticism of DDT crowds going cold on Takeshita and that felt the case here. Having a title run that long necessitates a degree of creative support. The blame is on both DDT and Takeshita in that respect. He’s been booked as a straight shooter. He has had a variety of opponents to keep it fresh (from old rival Endo to Mike Bailey to Colt Cabana to Dino) but the fact nothing dragged me back to DDT after the Endo rivalry speaks volumes. The fact I’ve come back for Irie does too. Takeshita is 22 years old and a great wrestler so this isn’t it for him as a big star but I’ll be interested to see how he’s rebuilt.