Match Point: Jun Akiyama vs. Kazusada Higuchi (3/28/21)

Jun Akiyama vs. Kazusada Higuchi

Jun Akiyama stands on top of DDT as a dominant KO-D Openweight Champion. When Akiyama faced off against Tetsuya Endo for the title, he was favored to win given the winning track record of D-Oh Grand Prix winners and their subsequent title matches. However, there is a dark mark on Akiyama’s record, one that he wishes to fix in his first defense at DDT Judgement 2021. In order to examine it, one would have to look back at the D-Oh Grand Prix.

After a loss early on to Endo, Akiyama had rallied back to be one of the front runners of the tournament. In the main event of Night Four of the D-Oh Grand Prix, he took on Eruption‘s Kazusada Higuchi. In the shortest match of the night, Higuchi managed to upset Akiyama, pinning him with the brain claw. This did not deter Akiyama as he would go on to win the tournament and, later on, the KO-D Openweight title.

During the celebration, Akiyama wasted no time in calling out Higuchi as his first challenger for the title. Wishing to right the wrong of that day, Akiyama laid down the challenge. Thus, the match was set for Judgement 2021, DDT’s 24th-anniversary show.

This will mark Higuchi’s first title match while being a part of the Eruption stable. During this time, he has gone through drastic changes, primarily by embracing his background in sumo. This brought him pretty major success, netting him both tag titles in the company, as well as scoring major upsets over the likes of Konosuke Takeshita and HARASHIMA.

In recent months, the Junretsu stable has been able to score some victories over Eruption. The most telling match occurred at Daydream Believer 2021, where Junretsu vs. Eruption ended in a double count-out. At Judgement 2021, Kazusada Higuchi and Jun Akiyama won’t have their stablemates to rely on. Will a double champion be crowned or will the reign of the head coach of DDT continue on?

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