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Chris Brookes & Yuki Ueno: Slow-Motion Replay

8 months ago

Chris Brookes & Yuki Ueno: Slow-Motion Replay

By: R. Faliani

In one month, we will see the KO-D Openweight title match between reigning champion Chris Brookes and his challenger Yuki Ueno. It will be in the main event of DDT Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year, Ultimate Party. Even considering the appearance of global stars like Hiromu Takahashi or Chris Jericho, the idea of both men main-eventing DDT’s most important show since Wrestle Peter Pan in the same year holds a significance that many title matches in other promotions would kill for. DDT has always been famous for its identity. The over-the-top comedy, the charismatic heroes and dramatic villains, the fantastic title matches that push Puroresu to its limits, and of course, the good vibes.

In the modern wrestling scene, it’s hard for a company to have that kind of energy, and it’s extra hard for a company to maintain its values. Yet the main event of this promising show is the exception to that rule, which is common for brands even under the CyberFight banner. This title match between Brookes and Ueno is not just a great match on paper, but a story about the new blood of DDT finally grabbing that brass ring and raising the promotion to new heights. These are the wrestlers who carried the company through the pandemic era, and they are now finally at the top of the mountain looking to change the world of pro wrestling once again.

Three years have passed since Brookes and Ueno battled at Ultimate Party 2020. In that time, we’ve seen everything from both men. In Ueno’s case, it’s the story of a man who, despite having everything to take over DDT as its undeniable Ace, just couldn’t seem to finish the job. Brookes has played the role of a misfit, a guy who was not supposed to be here, winning almost every belt in DDT and carrying the flag for the company worldwide. A guy whose fate was in his own hands, and put his all into getting what he wanted. Both men have come a long way. Ueno currently stands in limbo. Despite being motivated and focused in this title match, we could argue this is his final chance at glory. If Ueno loses at Ryogoku, other promising young wrestler like Naomi Yoshimura or Yukio Naya can stand against the champ and defy him.

In this situation where the company needs to build its future stars, Ueno has the chance to carry the flag for DDT’s new blood. Meanwhile, Brookes has taken known DDT rookie Takeshi Masada under his wing. Brookes is one of the few foreign wrestlers to have carried the KO-D Openweight Championship around their waist. He’s a creative mind, and a wrestler pushing for the industry to grow in places where the energy and passion of wrestling can’t seem to connect. He’s the undeniable King of DDT, and his journey has been a dream. In this context, this title match sounds like a fight for the future of DDT, and it certainly is. With everything that happened at “Who’s Gonna Top” it’s obvious that DDT is undergoing a transition. Who knows if talents like Konosuke Takeshita or MAO will last much longer in DDT’s wrestling universe, considering their relevance in the wrestling business and the accolades they have achieved since last year? That’s where both Brookes and Ueno stand. They’re the ones DDT can believe in to represent the company, but only one of them will carry the flag.

Photo c/o: Masahiro Kubota

Yet, despite the personal undertone of this match and the importance it has for DDT’s future as a promotion in an ever-changing industry, we can’t seem to see any animosity between both men. Unlike other big title matches in other companies, one of the most important aspects of DDT’s presentation is its treatment of title matches. Even if the biggest prize in the company is on the line, you will never see anything but respect and drive from both wrestlers. This makes DDT an environment where everyone’s looking to surpass their level and evolve constantly. The title matches are showings of strength, value, and sometimes, even friendship. Both Brookes and Ueno will go through hell against each other, but it’s undeniable they will grow from this match. Three years ago, Brookes and Ueno were both invited to DDT’s Ultimate Party, but now they will have the honor of the hosts, and the ones taking the promotion to new heights in the eyes of the world.

Photo c/o: Masahiro Kubota

Three years ago, Brookes challenged Ueno to a DDT Universal Championship match, as he was looking to prove his worth in the eyes of DDT’s wrestling universe. Now the roles have reversed: Ueno is looking for redemption for all the times he lost his chance at glory these past few years, and has challenged Brookes for the KO-D Openweight belt at the same event. Ueno needs this victory more than anyone because if he tops Brookes, his next challenger will potentially be his former 37Kamiina partner, Takeshita. But Brookes will defend his dramatic dream with everything he has, so both men must be prepared for anything. Just like Ultimate Party 2020 was a battle of willpower for Brookes, a man who was looking to write his name on DDT’s history, Ultimate Party 2023 stands as the final chance for Ueno to carry DDT on his back, and write his name on the KO-D Openweight Title lineage. This title match, and the road to the biggest event of the year for the promotion, seems like a slow-motion replay of something we already know, and we hope it ends like the last time.

Written by:

Hello, I'm from Argentina. I see wrestling with a different perspective thanks to the many content creators in my community. Everything changed when I first watched Go Shiozaki vs Kazuyuki Fujita in 2020. The unsettling nature of the match clicked with me, and it inspired my first video essay. That match made me understand something: I was a content creator –Gyro - and I want to broadcast different ideas: the battles of wrestling ideologies, the importance of Joshi & Puroresu and the dramatic stories surrounding it. I love Puroresu with such passion, I love how it gives me an empty canvas and tells me to draw my idea about it. I have not yet finished high school as a 17-year-old, but am currently preparing to venture into college. I actually learned English by watching wrestling and talking to different people over the years. I am still perfecting the language, and these experiences will help me even more.