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The Great Muta: Guide To The Legend’s Last Matches 

The Great Muta final NJPW match

Legendary Japanese wrestler The Great Muta will retire after completing his final matches in the first week of 2023. 

It is a testament to the legend of The Great Muta that both WWE and AEW have offered up talent to compete against him during his swansong. He will also share the ring with some of his biggest former foes from NJPW. 

We look at Muta’s final three matches and moments of his career that have helped forged them. 

The Great Muta’s Final Matches

Miracle New Year Dream Match

The Match: Great Muta vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 

The Event: Pro Wrestling NOAH The New Year (1/1/23)

The History: The Great Muta will wrestle in a singles match against WWE wrestler Shinsuke Nakamura on January 1, 2023.  It is an unprecedented case of WWE allowing one of its stars to compete for another promotion. 

Muta – wrestling under his real name – won his 4th and final IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Shinsuke Nakamura in NJPW in April 2008. He captured the title after a top-rope moonsault. The two men feuded over the gold for the rest of 2008 with Muta coming out on top. Nakamura said although he’s faced Muto, he’s never faced the Great Muta character so it’ll be a different experience. 

WrestleKingdom 17  

The Match: Keiji Muto, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino vs. “Los Ingobernables De Japon” Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI

The Event: NJPW WrestleKingdom 17 (1/4/23)

The History: A decade after the Great Muta debut, he was in NJPW and did things that would make Terry Funk, Mick Foley, or Rob Van Dam wince. He had a No Rope Explosive Barbed Wire Barricade Explosive Land Mine Double Hell Deathmatch.  

During his time in NJPW, Muta also feuded with both Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito who will be in the ring for his final NJPW match. Muto’s teammate Tanahashi defeated him for the IWGP Championship at WrestleKingdom 3, 2009. This marked the end of his reign since winning the gold from Nakamura. WrestleKingdom 17 will also mark the 10-year anniversary of Muto defeating Naito at WrestleKingdom 7. 

Muta’s Career Will Finish Full Circle With Sting – Sort Of! 

The Match: Great Muta, Sting & Darby Allin vs. Unannounced

The Event: Pro Wrestling NOAH: Great Muta Final Bye-Bye (1/22/23)

The History: In 1989 – then five years into his career – Keiji Muto launched The Great Muta character. Muta was presented by Gary Hart in NWA’s World Championship Wrestling. He wowed audiences with a full face of paint and mystical spitting mist. His move set of kicks and aerial attacks drew cheers from crowds despite him being a heel.  

His early feuds with Ric Flair and Sting in NWA and WCW introduced the US audiences to the Japanese style and put him on the map. He won his first major title when he defeated Sting for the NWA World Television Title. 

It’ll be 33 years since Sting and The Great Muta began their feud when they compete in a ring for the final time. Muta and Sting will team with Darby Allin against an unannounced team. Part of the Pro Wrestling NOAH event Great Muta Final Bye Bye, it’ll be Muta’s final match.

What To Expect From The Matches 

Hopefully some spitting. Forget what your parents told you – spitting is cool. The Great Muta spat directly into other wrestlers’ faces his whole career and it was very cool. 

He spat at his rivals, mates, first-time opponents, and referees. He created the most grotesque image of Flair when he sprayed him with green mist after a bloody match against Funk.

Muta even used his mist to extinguish a fire on an electrified cage sparked by a pre-match pyro as Flair and Funk became embroiled in the Sting and Muta feud.  

This happened before the Thunderdome match as he teamed with Terry Funk to take on Ric Flair and Sting. Can’t get much cooler than that. 

Header photo – NJPW. Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  You can rewatch all 2021 NJPW events and plenty more tremendous wrestling content from New Japan Pro-Wrestling on; The King of Sports Streaming.


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