Introduced to most American pro wrestling fans earlier in 2022 via some fantastic AEW matches, Konosuke Takeshita has been wrestling for the better part of a decade at this point in his young career. Going from a skinny track and field star to the ace of his promotion and a breakout star for AEW took less time than one might expect, but that’s how Takeshita gets things done. A 10-year career featuring over 900 matches is impressive enough, but there are plenty of hallmarks to that career that are worth noting.

From dream matches with current and past champions, to a trip to America that put him on the map for many wrestling promotions and fans worldwide, 2022 has been a milestone year in the career of "The Future," a man with a portfolio full of standout moments. In a year like this one, where we are getting match of the year candidates almost every weekend, the ability of any wrestler to stand tall among the pack only puts a brighter spotlight on the fact that they must be someone special. With that in mind, we’d like to present some facts that only hardcore fans know about the Cinnabon-loving DDT superstar, Konosuke Takeshita.

Takeshita’s debut match featured a veteran WWE superstar

In 2012, at DDT’s "Peter Pan" show — their biggest of the year — Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega faced off for the KO-D Openweight Championship. On the undercard, however, former DDT Extreme Champion El Generico faced a debuting 17-year-old, Konosuke Takeshita. Takeshita was already hyped heading into the fight, as one might infer from the fact that a high school kid was facing a talented and decorated indie wrestler. To be fair, Takeshita was technically also a former champ in DDT, having won and lost the Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship (similar to WWE’s 24/7 title) on the same night just two weeks earlier.

The match was competitive for a debut, and Takeshita — a sinewy, strong kid back then — showed flashes of what he would become when he debuted to American crowds 10 years later. He ate some brutal offense, including a number of chops that turned Konosuke’s chest into a tray of hamburger meat and Generico’s Brainbustah finisher, an avalanche brainbuster onto the top turnbuckle you have to see to believe. Still, Takeshita never looked overwhelmed, and despite some missteps he presented himself as a worthy challenger to the mysterious masked luchador. Takeshita would go on to use El Generico’s trademark Blue Thunder Bomb as one of his signature moves. All in all, despite the vast difference in experience, both men put on a fantastic match worthy of DDT’s biggest stage.

Takeshita won Rookie of the Year while still in high school

Takeshita is still a young man, but he was basically a child when he began training to become a pro wrestler. Takeshita has credited an interaction with wrestler Danshoku Dino as a 12-year-old as the beginning of his pro wrestling fandom. His journey from a skinny, six foot tall track and field athlete in high school to DDT’s ace and a multi-time champion in that promotion is a fascinating one, but there were limitations on his in-ring training due to his continuing high school career. Even with less ring time than many other newcomers, however, f4wonline reports "In 2013, while still in high school, Takeshita was named Rookie of the Year in Japan [by Tokyo Sports] and lost by four points in the Observer balloting [for Rookie of the Year] that year to current New Japan star YOH." Per prowrestlingpost.com, Dave Meltzer believes Takeshita might have won if DDT were more well known.

Past winners of the Rookie of the Year Award from Toyoko Sports include Shinsuke Nakamura, Jun Akiyama, Shinjiro Ohtani, and Masato Tanaka — great company for the young Takeshita.

The fact that Takeshita showed so much promise as a 16-year-old trainee for DDT was incredible in its own right, but he did have a lot to work with. Aside from his own natural talent and size, he was paired with several of the promotion’s biggest stars in an effort to make him look even better and promote him as "The Future." This gamble would pay off in the years to come, as Takeshita has only improved in the ring and grown into a fantastic performer.

He really did write his college graduation thesis on the German suplex

During Takeshita’s Fyter Fest match against Jon Moxley back in July 2022, immediately after Mox kicked out of a pin after a German suplex, AEW announcer Excalibur said, "Konosuke Takeshita is a man that wrote his graduate thesis on the German Suplex. He is as close to a master of that hold as you can be." An odd thing to state, to be sure, but a little digging proves that Takeshita did, in fact, write his graduate thesis on the German suplex.

He graduated from Nippon Sport Science University, so it isn’t unbelievable that he’d be able to do a deep dive into one of the more well-known moves in the history of the sport of pro wrestling, or that he’d be so well-versed in its history, considering his mastery of the move. In an interview with Chris Brookes on wrestle-universe.com, Brookes and Takeshita go into more detail on the thesis. The essay — 20 pages in length — featured references to both Takeshita and masters of the move like Daisuke Sekimoto and Yoshihiro Takiyama, as well as the differences in their applications of the suplex. When asked how he was graded on it, Takeshita simply replied, "A." It’s a terrific bit of trivia, but also offers a bit of background into how deeply dedicated Takeshita is to the sport of professional wrestling. As Chris Brookes stated in their interview, "You might be the first person in the history of the world who’s wrote their university thesis on the basis of a professional wrestling move."

Takeshita competed against some big names in his first year as a pro

Part of the reason Konosuke had so much success early in his career was the caliber of opposition DDT was putting across the ring from him, as well as his tag team partnerships. The first year of Takeshita’s cagematch.net match listing is a who’s who of Japanese professional wrestling talent, and the fact that DDT was putting this kid in the ring with that level of performer said a lot to the confidence they had in him.

Takeshita partnered with Kota Ibushi as well as fellow newcomer Tetsuya Endo early in his first year as a pro. Singles matches against Ibushi and Endo would come later, and Takeshita also shared the ring with Kenny Omega, Tatsumi Fujinami, and Danshoku Dino — the man who inspired Takeshita to get into the business. While official ratings of his early matches are hard to come by, user reviews on Cagematch are generally positive and point out that Konosuke held his own in many of those contests. The strong competition certainly helped mold Takeshita into the performer we see today, and he has seen top level talent share the squared circle with him ever since, from Hiroshi Tanahashi to Jon Moxley, Hangman Adam Page, and even Maki Itoh!

His favorite match of his career features one of the greatest tag teams ever

With the list of talent Konosuke Takeshita has faced over the years, one would think it would be difficult for him to narrow down one match as a favorite. In a decade as a professional, he’s had over 900 matches against some world class competition, after all. But, in his interview with the "All Real Wrestling Podcast," Takeshita had a definitive answer to that question. "My turning point [was] me and Tetsuya Endo vs Kenny and Ibushi, the Golden Lovers," Takeshita said.

That match occurred on September 28, 2014, at a DDT event titled "DDT Dramatic General Election 2014 Final Voting Day — Last Hope Special," and saw the team of Takeshita and Tetsuya Endo, representing their faction "Happy Motel," take the DDT KO-D Tag Team Titles off the champions, the "Golden Lovers" Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi. While it took place early in the careers of Endo and Takeshita, the match had an impact on Konosuke. Given that one of Takeshita’s highest-rated matches since then involved him and former partner Tetsuya Endo, one can only wonder what a current-day rematch between these four superstars would look like.

Two of AEW’s greats have tweeted praise and support to Takeshita

While diving into Takeshita’s history makes it easy to root for this new-to-Americans talent, one could wonder whether top North American talent would agree that Konosuke Takeshita is "The Future" of the sport, as his nickname would suggest. Fortunately, two top AEW talents have already voiced their support of the talented young superstar.

In May of 2022, All Elite Wrestling was busy promoting their upcoming Forbidden Door pay-per-view event with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Kenny Omega, a former DDT talent, threw a little shade while also talking up another DDT alum, tweeting, "All this talk about the Forbidden Door and [Takeshita] slides in through the mail slot and shows you all up. I can’t help but smile from home knowing that [DDT] still owns [you] …" Historically, DDT is not as well respected as New Japan Pro-Wrestling, so Omega representing his former employer while also having worked for NJPW and co-founding AEW makes him the perfect person to speak on all three promotions.

Shortly after Takeshita’s first run in AEW in August 2022, he sent out a tweet saying he was leaving America and thanking fans and AEW for "being so nice to me." Veteran Chris Jericho quote-tweeted him, adding that Takeshita is a "future world champion." As "The Ocho," Jericho’s opinions on future talent are to be respected, and Takeshita will hopefully live up to the praise that these two Canadian talents have heaped upon him.

Takeshita is a multi-time champion in his home promotion

While only recently appearing on the radar of American fans, Konosuke Takeshita has already won an obscene amount of championship gold in his home promotion of DDT. He’s held their top title, the KO-D Openweight Championship, five times for a total of 864 days, including a 405-day run on his second championship reign. Takeshita has also held the KO-D Tag Team Championships four times — twice with longtime partner and later rival Tetsuya Endo, once with "Speedball" Mike Bailey and, most recently with Shunma Katsumata as part of The 37KAMIINA, a stable born from the fantastically named group "DDT Sauna Club" after the addition of Toi Kojima.

Along with the top singles and tag belts, Takeshita was a five-time KO-D Six Man Tag Team Champion, and a four-time DDT Iron Man Heavy Metal Champion. For those keeping score, this young man has been in the business for a relatively short time and has held gold on 18 separate occasions, with six of those reigns going over 100 days. Not bad for any performer’s entire career, and Takeshita likely still has his best days in the squared circle ahead of him.

Takeshita has a frozen dessert named after him

It’s pretty well known that Konosuke Takeshita is a Cinnabon fiend. Where those carbs are going based on his physique is anyone’s guess, but his Twitter feed is riddled with photos of Takeshita downing the sugary snacks, and he occasionally gets some replies from Cinnabon’s Twitter account as well. Fightful has a wonderful recap of that love story. But it’s a little less well-known that Takeshita actually had a treat named after him — a frozen dessert with the unquestionably amazing and wonderfully punny name of "Cone-osuke Takeshita."

Title Belt Frozen Desserts creates vegan, non-dairy frozen treats to sell at local pro wrestling events, and the August 6, 2022 show presented by North Carolina-based DEADLOCK Pro Wrestling fit the bill. While Takeshita’s namesake flavor takes the prize for best ice cream based pun, fellow AEW regulars Dante Martin ("Top Flight Airplane Cookie") and Emi Sakura ("Choco Pro Chip") were also featured in the frozen snack lineup, and on the match card that night. Although Konosuke did end up victorious in his match against Andrew Everett that night, the real winners were anybody who got to experience the magic of "Cone-osuke Takeshita."

He made the decision to wrestle in the US on his own

Because of his young age when he began his career with DDT, one might assume that the company holds a certain amount of control over what Konosuke does with his life outside of the squared circle. Indeed, many professional wrestlers from Japan are sent overseas to complete their training and development as performers, from Tetsuya Naito and Shinsuke Nakamura to the Great Muta and Kazuchika Okada — often with career altering results. While these "excursions" are commonplace in both NJPW and DDT, Takeshita has said that he alone made the call to come to America and try to earn a living through wrestling. In an interview with Eric Novak on the "All Real Wrestling Podcast," Takeshita said through a translator that he "came here on his own. It’s not like AEW told him to come or wanted him to come here. He wanted to come here himself."

Michael Nakazawa, translating for Takeshita, continued, "It wasn’t DDT that told him to go, it was Takeshita himself who wanted to come here. DDT knew how badly he wanted to come here and prove himself to the American fans. That’s why he made the excursion." The decision was a success, as evidenced by Takeshita’s many well received matches on AEW’s different programs.

Despite rumored interest from WWE, Takeshita says AEW is home to his future in American pro wrestling

Clearly, Konosuke Takeshita is his own man when it comes to the direction of his career from this point forward. An impressive showing with AEW has made American promotions aware of his presence, and early in 2022 rumors began making the rounds that WWE was interested in Takeshita as a future superstar. On Wrestling Observer Radio (via WrestleTalk), Dave Meltzer said, "WWE is looking for a big Japanese guy as we speak, and this guy’s got some size, and he’s young, and he’s got a good body, and he’s a fantastic wrestler. So somebody there may stumble upon him and be interested, because he’s exactly what they’re looking for."

While that may have been the case, WWE was not what Takeshita was looking for. In an interview with Cultaholic from August 2022, Konosuke himself said, "To be honest, now I’m not interested in WWE. My next goal is more fights in AEW I hope." Takeshita got his wish in the form of a tag team match with Jun Akiyama against Eddie Kingston and Ortiz on the "Rampage" before Full Gear.