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King of DDT Preview

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This weekend DDT will be running a show on both Saturday and Sunday at Korakuen Hall to determine who will be the 2018 King of DDT. The winner of the tournament receives a shot at the company’s top prize, the KO-D Openweight Championship, at the biggest show of the year, Ryogoku Peter Pan. Thirty-one men (and one woman) started this single-elimination tournament and we are now down to eight. This is a tournament which has its roots in 2004 but has been an annual staple since 2009. Becoming the ‘King of DDT’ signifies that you are the next big thing in the promotion.

Subscribe to DDT Universe where you can watch both these shows live at 11pm EDT on Saturday & Sunday.

Here are the winners since 2009:
2009: Kota Ibushi
2010: HARASHIMA
2011: KUDO
2012: Kenny Omega
2013: HARASHIMA
2014: Isami Kodaka
2015: Yukio Sakaguchi
2016: Shuji Ishikawa
2017: Tetsuya Endo

Here are the tournament matches set for this weekend:
Saturday
Mike Bailey vs MAO
Tetsuya Endo vs Kazuki Hirata
HARASHIMA vs Yukio Sakaguchi
Daisuke Sasaki vs Keisuke Ishii

Sunday
Bailey or MAO vs Endo or Hirata
HARASHIMA or Sakaguchi vs Sasaki or Ishii
Finals

Mike Bailey
2x & Current KO-D Tag Team Champion with MAO
Speedball began wrestling with DDT in the fall of 2016, just missing an opportunity to compete in that year’s tournament. In 2017 he was eliminated in the first round my eventual winner, Tetsuya Endo. Being an expert in taekwondo, he combines his premier striking ability with high-flying, often using the Shooting Star Knee Drop.

MAO
Current KO-D Tag Team Champion with Mike Bailey
Former KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion
A homegrown guy, MAO started with DDT in the fall of 2015. He was discovered off of YouTube videos of backyard wrestlers. His high-risk move set has made him a standout of late and has caused his stock to rise. This is his highest profile match to date so expect him to rise to the occasion with something crazy.

Daisuke Sasaki
Former KO-D Openweight Champion
Former DDT Extreme Champion
4x KO-D Tag Team Champion
3x KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion
Although he’s been all over Japan, DDT has been Sasaki’s home since late 2007. He competed in both the 2011 and 2012 ‘Best of the Super Juniors’ and has held every championship in DDT, including the tag titles with Kota Ibushi. Trained by Dick Togo, Sasaki is an extremely sound wrestler who can do it all.

Keisuke Ishii
Current Independent Junior Heavyweight Champion
Former DDT Extreme Champion
Former AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Champion
Former KO-D Tag Team Champion
6x KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion
Initially denied entry into AJPW, Ishii found his home with DDT in 2008. Always a threat, but yet to breakthrough, Ishii is one of DDT’s most technically sound wrestlers. He currently holds the Independent Junior Heavyweight Championship which is defended in DDT’s affiliate promotion, Ganbare Pro.

Tetsuya Endo
2017 King of DDT
4x KO-D Tag Team Champion
2x KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion
Endo is one of DDT’s brightest young stars. He’s a homegrown DDT, debuting in 2012. He turned his back on former tag team partner, Konosuke Takeshita in 2016, going dark and joining Daisuke Sasaki’s DAMNATION. This lead to him winning the 2017 ‘King of DDT’ by defeating the ace, HARASHIMA, in the finals. Without question, Endo is destined to be one of the next top stars in the company.

Kazuki Hirata
3x KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion
Mostly a comedy wrestler, Hirata only made his way into this tournament due to an injury to Konosuke Takeshita. He is another homegrown guy, beginning with DDT in 2010. He competed in the 2016 tournament where he was eliminated by Endo, the man he meets again this weekend. Hirata is a good time but shouldn’t be underestimated. When he is motivated, he can really show off his skills.

Yukio Sakaguchi
2015 King of DDT
Former KO-D Openweight Champion
2x KO-D Tag Team Champion
7x KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion
Son of wrestling legend, Seiji Sakaguchi, and former MMA star, Sakaguchi didn’t begin his pro-wrestling career until the age of 38. He debuted with DDT in 2012 where he’s found a bunch of success. He’s done it all in a very short amount of time, holding nearly every title in the company. Having a background in MMA, Sakaguchi’s style is no surprise. He employs a lot of grappling and strikes, adding an aura of realness to his matches.

HARASHIMA
2010 & 2013 King of DDT
9x KO-D Openweight Champion
2x & Current DDT Extreme Champion
8x KO-D Tag Team Champion
The ace of DDT for nearly a decade, HARASHIMA has held the KO-D Openweight Championship twice as long as the next closest wrestler. HARASHIMA began his career with DDT back in 2001. He’s been on a slide over the last eighteen months, losing the title to Konosuke Takeshita and losing last year’s ‘King of DDT’ to Tetsuya Endo in the finals. We’re seeing a similar story in NJPW with Hiroshi Tanahashi right now. Will HARASHIMA be able to rebound? You can’t count him out. Many believe this man to be the most overlooked ace in any company.

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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