Jun Akiyama, Konosuke Takeshita, & Tetsuya Endo vs. Yuki Ueno, Naomi Yoshimura, & Kazusada Higuchi (DDT 8/1/21)

Match Reviews

If you’re wondering about the odd line ups, the gimmick is that the six wrestler’s names were randomly drawn by members of the crowd to determine who teamed with whom. As such, we have a Happy Motel with Jun Akiyama in place of Antonio Honda. Meanwhile on the other end, we have a Nautilus reunion with Kazusada Higuchi. All in all, a powerful line up of talent here.

Now, even with this line up, this isn’t quite the balls to the wall action-filled match. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be. There’s so much intrinsic comedy and character lore at play here that makes for a very rich viewing experience. The Happy Motel side of the match is the one played for laughs here. Takeshita and Endo have spent the last few years as fierce rivals, while Takeshita is soon to challenge for Akiyama’s title–a title that he won from Endo. Endo even comes out in his pre-DAMNATION gear to show his dedication to making the trio work for the night.

The shining star of this match is Jun Akiyama. The legend embracing both sides of the DDT’s tonal spectrum is joyous. Opening the match by aping the signature Antonio Honda give up spot showed Akiyama’s capacity for comedic work in DDT. This alone would have been enough to provide a lighthearted moment in the match but Akiyama has a few more good bits in here too. His exaggerated and comedic selling of being the face in peril getting chopped to death by Higuchi and Yoshimura is great. He’s also fun doing the triple punch spot with Happy Motel.

Outside Akiyama’s wonderful performance, there’s some great action in here too as you’d expect from the names involved. Of particular note are Soup’s interactions with both Higuchi and Ueno. One can only hope there’ll be a really great and substantial Soup/Ueno rivalry down the line. And Higuchi, once again proves to be one of the best in the world by matching the high intensity and even playing along with the comedic side with his cheeky disobedience of the referee to chop away at Akiyama. That Akiyama and Higuchi can have one of the best matches of the year and then switch up the tone for a smaller show like this is a testament to their talents as pro wrestlers.

Probably my favorite DDT six-man tag of the year, one that embodies the company’s best qualities in a single match. Well worth the watch.

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