The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima
on January 4th, 2007

Event: New Japan "Wrestle Kingdom at the Tokyo Dome"
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Attendance: 28,000

Tenzan and Mutoh start things off. Mutoh quickly dropkicks Tenzan as the bell rings, dropkicks him in the knee and hits a Shining Wizard! Tenzan rolls out of the ring, Kojima tries to get in but Mutoh gives him a Shining Wizard as he is still in the ropes, causing him to fall back out. After a moment Tenzan gets back in, tie-up, side headlock by Tenzan, but Mutoh Irish whips out of it. Shoulderblock by Tenzan and he hits a series of Mongolian Chops. Chop to the chest by Tenzan, Irish whip, reversed, and Mutoh hits a hiptoss. Snapmare by Mutoh but Tenzan gets up quickly and headbutts him in the chest. Suplex by Tenzan but Mutoh rolls out of the ring to re-group. After a moment he gets back in and tags in Chono. Tenzan tags in Kojima, Chono and Kojima tie-up, Kojima pushes Chono into the corner and he forearms him before backing off. Tie-up again, Chono gets Kojima into the ropes and gives him a few body blows. Single leg takedown by Chono and he drops an elbow on Kojima's leg, but Kojima applies a cross armbreaker. Chono quickly gets to the ropes but Kojima kicks Chono into the corner. Scoop slam by Kojima and he tags in Tenzan. Tenzan goes off the ropes and he hits a headbutt while Kojima hits a slingshot elbow drop from the apron. Chono tags in Mutoh, front facelock by Tenzan on Mutoh but Mutoh punches out of it and begins working on Tenzan's leg. Snapmare by Mutoh and he delivers the Flash Elbow. Mutoh tags in Chono, Irish whip to Tenzan and they hit a double shoulderblock. Chono picks up Tenzan and hits a dragon screw leg whip before applying the figure four. Kojima tries to break it up, but Mutoh runs in and applies the STF on Kojima. The referee finally gets him off as Chono kicks Tenzan while he is in the ropes. Chono picks up Tenzan and chops him in the corner before tagging in Mutoh. Kicks in the corner by Mutoh and he hits a dragon screw leg whip.

Figure four by Mutoh but Tenzan gets a hand on the bottom rope. Mutoh tags in Chono and Chono promptly throws Tenzan out of the ring. Kicks to the leg by Chono on the outside and he slides Tenzan back in. Headbutts by Chono and he tags in Mutoh. Dropkick by Mutoh, he picks up Tenzan, Irish whip, but Tenzan kicks him and hits a Mongolian Chop. Tenzan tags in Kojima, who chops Mutoh repeatedly in the corner. Irish whip by Kojima and he hits a running forearm followed by a snapmare and the top rope elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima goes off the ropes but Mutoh dropkicks him in the knee. Kojima blocks the Shining Wizard however and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Kojima puts Mutoh onto the top turnbuckle and hits the Frankensteiner, cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima picks up Mutoh, Irish whip, but Mutoh rolls out of the way of the lariat attempt and delivers a dropkick. Chono is tagged in and he hits a shoulderblock from the top turnbuckle. Irish whip by Chono to the corner and he hits a Shining Yakuza Kick. Chono goes for a brainbuster but Kojima reverses it into a brainbuster of his own. Elbows by Kojima and he hits a rolling elbow strike. Kojima goes off the ropes but Chono catches him with a Yakuza Kick. Chono goes off the ropes but Kojima kicks him and hits the Koji Cutter. Kojima tags in Tenzan, who hits a series of Mongolian and regular chops to Chono. Irish whip by Tenzan and he lariats Chono in the corner. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle while Chono is in the corner and drives him head-first into the mat. Cover, but Chono gets a foot on the bottom rope.

Irish whip by Tenzan, reversed, and Chono hits an atomic drop. Chono goes off the ropes but Tenzan connects with a heel kick. Side slam by Tenzan, cover, but Mutoh breaks it up. Kojima comes in, and with Tenzan they hit a Koji Cutter/Anaconda Vice Slam onto Mutoh. Lariat by Kojima on Chono, cover by Tenzan, but it gets a two count. Anaconda Vice by Tenzan on Chono while Kojima keeps Mutoh well tied up, but Chono gets a foot on the ropes. Double Irish whip to Chono and they hit an assisted Koji Cutter. They go for a double TTD onto Chono, but Mutoh catapults off the referee's back to hit a Shining Wizard onto Kojima. Dragon screw leg whip by Mutoh on Tenzan and he hits a Shining Wizard on him. Kojima nails Mutoh with a lariat however, but Chono kicks down Kojima. Stomps by Chono on Tenzan, he goes off the ropes but Tenzan catches him with the Mountain Bomb. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving headbutt, cover, but Mutoh breaks it up. Koji Cutter by Kojima onto Mutoh, Tenzan holds Chono for Kojima and Kojima nails the lariat. Kojima does a pescado out of the ring to Mutoh, he gets back in the ring while Tenzan hits the TTD onto Chono. Cover, but Tenzan raises his shoulder before the three count. He picks up Chono again, scoop slam in front of the corner and he nails the moonsault. Cover, but Chono barely gets a shoulder up. Mutoh is back in the ring, Kojima holds him for Tenzan, but Mutoh somehow simultaneously elbows Kojima while catching Tenzan's leg and he hits a dragon screw leg whip. Hashimoto chops by Mutoh onto Kojima and he hits the DDT. Chono then chops on Tenzan and hits a DDT on him as well. Chono and Mutoh wait for Tenzan go get up and they hit a Shining Wizard/Yakuza Kick combination. Chono applies the STF on Tenzan while Mutoh applies the figure four on Kojima, and Tenzan taps out! Your winners: Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono

Match Thoughts: Mutoh is without a doubt my favorite wrestler in the world, but it is hard for me to watch him wrestle with his knees in the condition they are. He and Chono were pretty beat up coming into the match but they tried their best to hang with Kojima and Tenzan. I'd disagree with the ending if it wasn't for the Hashimoto tribute after the match... not because I think Kojima and Tenzan need the rub (they both have singles wins over their respective foils) but because Chono and Mutoh were just obviously not on the same physical level of Kojima and Tenzan. This was a fitting last hurrah for Chono and Mutoh and I hope that is what it is... Chono is interested in promoting and Mutoh is the president of All Japan so they are not going anywhere, but they both need to step back a bit more then they already have as they are in the twilights of their careers. As for the match, it wasn't bad, but it was pretty slow in parts as the crowd stayed mostly quiet until the end. The last few minutes were fast paced and fun, but it just took too long to get there. A fitting main event since it was done for Hashimoto, but otherwise this would have been a disappointing in-ring way to end a very solid event. Score: 6.0

Post-Review Note: I did this review before Mutoh had such a great year in 2008. So disregard that "last hurrah" note....

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