Kazusada Higuchi & Yuki Ishida vs. Takeshi Masada & Kota Umeda (DDT What are You Doing Tour in Kumamoto 5/28/23)

Match Reviews

This still features one of the gnarliest strike exchanges of the year between Umeda and Higuchi. It’s very rare to find someone who can match Higuchi blow for blow, and even rarer to have someone potentially overshadow him in that regard. I would say that Umeda may be the only one to achieve it in 2023 with his kicks in this match. The old cliche feels so true with him, those kicks sound like shotgun blasts. There’s not a single whiff on his part in the whole match too. Umeda’s just laying those in with abandon and it’s used to especially good effect during the heat segment on Ishida in the first half of the match.

This loses a little something on the rewatch though. A part of that comes from Umeda being more of a supporting player to the story this match is trying to tell, despite being a clear #2 worker in the match. I enjoy Masada, especially for being a rookie at this point, but he can’t help but bring this down a little bit when he’s the focus of the match. He has his own (more thigh-slappy, worked) kicks that do the trick but they do pale in comparison to Umeda’s. The final stretch of the match too focuses almost entirely on Masada and Ishida working together, and while they’re certainly not bad together, it feels like a real step down from what I desperately wanted to see more of.

Rating: ****

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