Konosuke Takeshita vs. Toi Kojima (DDT Sweet Dreams! in Osaka N1 1/9/22)

Match Reviews

I’m always a fan of small little matches that focus on a single idea and just commit to it. While not a perfect example, I think that this match does it well enough to be worth recommending. It’s certainly not perfect. The ideal version of this match is a little bit shorter, a little more explosive, a little more vicious. Otherwise though, it tells a real simple underdog story of Toi Kojima trying to topple the man at the top of the mountain.

Kojima’s very clear about the near impossibility of the challenge and attacks early, before the bell even rings, trying to squeeze out as much of an advantage as he can. Of course, it doesn’t work for too long as Soup is hardly ever in any real danger of losing this match. The nailbiters on that front probably include a sudden roll up Kojima’s able to snag in the closing moments but otherwise, Soup’s firmly in control here.

This is the dynamic I enjoy Soup best in. As this obstacle to overcome, I think he does well. His offense all lands pretty well, he’s able to hit some pretty gross power moves, and he approaches things with just the right tone of dismissive pettiness throughout. A great example of this is Soup smothering Kojima in the corner as the younger man tries desperately to elbow his way out. Perhaps the best one comes late in the match when Kojima throws himself onto a downed Soup, just wildly throwing elbows that the Openweight Champ doesn’t even really bother to register. Even as he’s getting bombarded with blows, Soup’s able to reach up and just shove Kojima aside in a real smug and dominating fashion.

There’s some things in this I wish were better. The pace could be tighter and while Kojima’s chops are wonderful, the rest of his offense could use a little more weight behind it. But on the whole, this is a tidy and satisfying watch all the way through that tells its story well. Even the post-match is great with Kojima still trying to take a pound of flesh by throwing wayward shots at the passive winner.

Keep on fighting, young man. You’ll get there someday.

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