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Kazusada Higuchi: The New King of DDT

2 years ago

Kazusada Higuchi: The New King of DDT

As Konosuke Takeshita hits the stratosphere abroad, a new kingpin has commanded reverance back home, proving DDT is more than just a playground for court jesters and wannabe heavyweights

By: Jamie Johnson

DDT has a new king reigning over its promotion. Kazusada Higuchi has begun paving his path to greatness with a King of DDT tournament victory that simultaneously crowned him as the KO-D Openweight Champion. Following Tetsuya Endo’s relinquishment, extra impetus was thrust onto the already-anticipated King of DDT single-elimination tournament, as the winner would take home the championship rather than becoming the next challenger. The imperious Higuchi became a first-time KO-D Openweight Champion in undeniable fashion. After defeating Yukio Naya in a brutal first round match, he swept aside the current DDT Universal Champion, Masahiro Takanashi, in the second round. It was then on to the final night where, inside a well-attended Korakuen Hall, he tussled with Jun Akiyama before finally defeating Naomi Yoshimura in an intense, emotive, and quintessentially puroresu main event. This was his crowning moment.

Respect of a Legend

Higuchi ascended to the top of DDT, sweeping aside a host of impressive names, in brutal and joyful displays of his physical style and all-around toughness. It was a historic victory that became more impactful in the aftermath of the triumphant pinfall over Yoshimura. With the reality of his victory sinking in, instead of the referee wrapping the belt around his waist, it was Jun Akiyama who did the honors. At DDT Judgement 2021, when the legendary Akiyama retained his KO-D Openweight Championship against Higuchi, he demanded that his defeated opponent put the title around his waist. Higuchi reluctantly obliged, putting the championship belt around his adversary in a show of respect to the man who had just beat him. When it was his turn to wrap the belt around Higuchi, Akiyama did so without fuss, without his entrance music and without the design of admiration. He simply walked to the ring, put the belt around Higuchi’s waist, respectfully bowed, and walked out of Korakuen Hall. This is the sort of storytelling that makes people fall in love with wrestling. Simple, yet effective. It calls back to what has gone before and creates an arced story, with Higuchi earning the respect of a wrestling legend, and turning the tables on him in the process. It was as if the old guard were passing the baton to the younger talent rising through DDT. The promotion is a hotbed of special talent, many of them young and with heaps of potential, yet it is often mistaken as solely a place for the ‘weird and wacky’ of pro wrestling. Over time, the likes of Konosuke Takeshita, Jun Akiyama, HARASHIMA and now Kazusada Higuchi have proven that DDT is so much more than just a funhouse.

King Runs the Castle

The DDT castle has a new king that will wave the flag, literally and figuratively. As KO-D Openweight Champion, Higuchi will lead the promotion. If the symbolism of Akiyama showing his respect for Higuchi wasn’t enough, the President of DDT, Sanshiro Takagi, then entered the ring and gave the DDT flag to the new champion. Higuchi is very literally flying the flag for DDT.

Just like he did at CyberFight Festival, before the match that resulted in Tetsuya Endo relinquishing his title due to a concussion, Higuchi waved the DDT flag high above his head. President Takagi has clearly entrusted DDT to Higuchi. In the absence of the company Ace Konosuke Takeshita, and Tetsuya Endo, the man who took the Ace spot when Takeshita left for an AEW excursion, the keys to the kingdom have been firmly placed in the hands of the then leader of Eruption. The prevailing image of the King of DDT tournament was the crowning of a new leader, in a fitting ceremony of brutal and hard-hitting wrestling. Surrounded by his Eruption factionmates, Yukio Sakaguchi, Hideki Okatani and Saki Akai, they looked like a new dynasty — the Stewarts succeeding the Tudors, as it were. Shockingly, less than a week passed before Eruption stood tall at the end of the tournament finals because Higuchi left the group he had led. On exit he joined forces with Naomi Yoshimura, who himself walked away from the Disaster Box faction, including his tag partner HARASHIMA. This was an unexpected twist in the tale. Eruption will continue as a formidable trio, as Higuchi seeks a different path to more glory, alongside the very man he defeated to become KO-D Openweight Champion.

Defending His Throne

Something that won’t be a twist is Tetsuya Endo challenging for the championship upon his return. Higuchi made it clear that he intended to defend his crown against the man who had no option but to voluntarily relinquish it. His wish will be granted at Wrestle Peter Pan, on August 20th, as Higuchi puts the title on the line in the main event of DDT’s annual showpiece event. They have an interconnected history in DDT, with this change of course from Endo to Higuchi just the latest instalment. The throne of the champion will have an asterisk against it until he can defeat Endo. To be a king, you must first kill a king. Once Endo returns from injury he will be rejuvenated and with a desire to regain the title he never lost, cementing himself as a four-time KO-D Openweight Champion. Higuchi will stand in his way as he looks to further legitimise his spot at the very top of DDT and make a strong first defence in a reign that could define both him and the promotion.

Long Live Higuchi

It’s clear for as far as the eye can see that Kazusada Higuchi is the new leader of DDT. He has defeated an impressive list of wrestlers, young and old, and has begun his KO-D Openweight Championship reign with the mark of someone who will have a long, fruitful and defining time at the helm. Takeshita has moved to pastures new (though he hasn’t left forever, as he returns in August for Wrestle PeterPan), and Endo has had his supremacy of the main event scene challenged. DDT is now Kazusada Higuchi’s kingdom. He might not be a faction leader anymore, but he leads an entire promotion instead. He brings with him all the promise of a dominant champion, one that will fly the flag for his promotion and elevate him to a lofty position in the everwidening world of puroresu.

Written by:

I'm a college student in the UK who writes about wrestling for a variety of outlets, with a special focus on DDT, NOAH, and AJPW for Monthly Puroresu. I also write about TV for Cultured Vultures and enjoy playing cricket and attending live wrestling shows around England.