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Konosuke Takeshita and Yuki Ueno: Long Way Home

11 months ago

Konosuke Takeshita and Yuki Ueno: Long Way Home

Konosuke Takeshita and Yuki Ueno stood for very different things at Wrestle Peter Pan.

By R. Faliani 

DDT Pro-Wrestling recently celebrated their biggest show of the year: Wrestle Peter Pan, which combined the best efforts of DDT’s homegrown talent with foreign grapplers in an unforgettable card. Of course standing tallest among them all, Konosuke Takeshita.

Takeshita, the de-facto Ace of DDT before going up to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) full-time, is on top of the world. For a wrestler like Takeshita, that limelight felt almost predetermined, although his ascent has raised eyebrows among even the top students of the game. When Takeshita betrayed his one-time DDT senior Kenny Omega by finding a more cutthroat and ambitious version of himself, the flashy and eccentric Ace all but disappeared from Wrestle Universe to compete with America’s very best – using any means possible to secure his position atop AEW.

Takeshita’s change of attitude revealed new malicious behaviour. He quickly set his target: Surpass and destroy Omega. With the Blackpool Combat Club (BCC) having strength in numbers and Don Callis in his ear, Takeshita changed his entire persona seemingly overnight. He became a bad motherf***er, and with Callis acting as his manager – still a key for Japanese talent on American episodic TV, as we wrote in “Region Break” for the ’23 Special Edition magazine –  Takeshita started proving his weight in gold, almost immediately.

He carried himself like a star who was dropping his bags off back at home.

Gone were the days of fun in saunas with his friends and associates. Apparently, this new Takeshita was here to stay, whether hardcore DDT fans like us can get into it or not . All of this took the DDT Universal Champion (and Takeshita’s former buddy) Yuki Ueno seemingly by surprise. When Takeshita showed up for a fleeting appearance at Wrestle Peter Pan, Ueno would of course challenge his 37Kamiina homie.

For Ueno, this was supposed to be a fun bout between friends, while discovering the depths of this new Takeshita. For Takeshita, this was just another Sunday.

After the match was set for Ryogoku Sumo Hall, Ueno had a relatively good run in DDT while Takeshita became drunk on glory of stardom in AEW. To wit: After Takeshita was announced for Wrestle Peter Pan, he asked for his name to be spelled as “KONOSUKE TAKESHITA”. Such was this storm of ego, that many were able to see through Takeshita, except for Ueno. He still thought of Takeshita as his best friend. He still thought some good was hidden inside his new persona. When Takeshita left DDT, many wrestlers rose to the occasion. Kazusada Higuchi called himself “The Flagbearer”. Tetsuya Endo was the one that actually got to beat Takeshita for the KO-D Openweight Championship. Yuji Hino wanted to showcase DDT’s heavyweight division in an attempt to spice things a little bit, and Chris Brookes was slowly becoming DDT’s best foreign wrestler.

All this considered, Ueno has appeared to struggle mightily. He’s had the added pressure of being the most capable wrestler in 37Kamiina, without the ability to elevate its image as perhaps Takeshita could. We’re not saying that all the 37Kamiina members can’t move on without the AEW star, but Takeshita is forcing their hand to grow up and grow up fast. Without Takeshita, Ueno looks a little lost. And with a wink and a grin, Takeshita points at Ueno’s seeming inability to break out as he once had.

Despite DDT’s special flavor of wrestling, the there’s an ocean of sharks outside Shin-kiba 1st RING.

Knowing this, Ueno understood he was facing a different KONOSUKE TAKESHITA, the one who knocked out Tomohiro Ishii at Forbidden Door. Ueno appeared at Wrestle Peter Pan not as a rival to Takeshita, but as the defender of DDT to an incurable egomaniac.

What followed was a classic beatdown.

Ueno fought for his life against this new Takeshita, but at the end of the day he couldn’t face reality.  After Takeshita’s brutal victory, he wanted to shake Ueno’s hand and let all of this go down the bridge, while the other 37Kamiina members came to help Ueno out of the ring. And Toi Kojima, Takeshita’s chosen rookie, was the one to reject Takeshita’s hand and stand for his faction. With the news about their Special 6-Man Tag match, it seems obvious that Takeshita is no longer a friend of The37Kamiina. What happens next has us puzzled, but a Takeshita and Daisuke Sasaki fight against his former partners lends credence to his “Zero f***s given” attitude over in AEW. To fight against Takeshita, Ueno needs to work out the kinks in his game. The past is gone, the future is blind.

To beat this new Takeshita, Ueno must take the long way home.

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.