The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Great Muta vs. Masahiro Chono
NWA Heavyweight Championship Challenge on January 4th, 1993

Event: New Japan "Fantastic Story at the Tokyo Dome"
Location: Tokyo Dome, Japan
Announced Attendance: 63,500

This match is for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (held by Great Muta) and the NWA Heavyweight Championship (held by Masahiro Chono). Tie-up to start, Chono gets Muta into the ropes but he gives a clean break. They circle each other, tie-up, Muta goes for the arm but Chono applies a hammerlock. Muta pushes Chono back into the corner and connects with a backflip kick. Back in the middle of the ring, tie-up, side headlock by Muta and he hits a side headlock takedown. Chono reverses it with a headscissors and Muta rolls out of the ring to re-group. Back in the ring, side headlock by Muta, Chono Irish whips out of it but Muta shoulder blocks him down. Muta goes off the ropes and rolls under a Chono kick before connecting with a dropkick. Side headlock takedown by Muta and he keeps the hold applies, Chono Irish whips out of it but Muta shoulder blocks him down. Muta goes off the ropes but Chono catches him with a samoan drop. Chono goes off the ropes and connects with a Yakuza Kick, and Muta rolls out of the ring. After a moment he returns to the ring, kicks by Muta, snapmare, he goes off the ropes and hits the Flash Elbow. Muta gets onto Chono's back and goes for the cross armbreaker, but Chono reverses it into a knee lock. Back up, kicks to the leg by Chono and they go into a Test of Strength. Takedown by Chono and he applies a leg lock. After a moment Muta makes it to the ropes and Chono has to break. Muta kicks Chono in the ribs and tosses him out of the ring. Muta joins him and throws Chono into the guard rail before sliding him back into the ring. Muta goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving chop to the head. Muta throws Chono out onto the ramp and goes out after him, he goes off the ropes and hits a face crusher on the ramp. He then walks most of the way up the ramp before running back and nailing Chono with a lariat, sending himself crashing into the ropes in the process. Muta rolls into the ring and waits for Chono, but Chono punches him before he gets in the ring and goes up to the top turnbuckle. Muta recovers and joins him however, hitting a superplex down to the mat. Muta picks up Chono and hits a backdrop suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Muta picks up Chono and delivers a German suplex hold, but again Chono gets a shoulder up.

Chono slowly gets up in the corner and Muta comes in with a cartwheel back elbow smash. He then goes up top and goes for a moonsault, but Chono moves out of the way and slaps on the STF! Muta crawls to the ropes however and forces the break. Chono goes off the ropes and hits a Yakuza Kick, but Muta comes back with a dropkick and both men are slow to get up. Chono recovers first and hits a second Yakuza Kick, but again Muta returns with a dropkick. Chono goes off the ropes a third time with a Yakuza Kick, but once again Muta fires back with a dropkick. Chono is up first and hits a fourth kick to the head, Muta is momentarily hurt but he still manages to snap off a dropkick. Off the ropes again goes Chono with a Yakuza Kick and he hits a second one, sending Muta out onto the apron by the ramp. Chono approaches Muta and tries to suplex him back into the ring, but Muta reverses it and suplexes him onto the ramp. Muta picks up Chono and puts him against the ropes to go for his cartwheel back elbow, but Chono moves and Muta crashes hard on the edge of the apron. Chono picks up Muta and hits a backdrop suplex on the ramp. Chono gets back into the ring and waits for Muta, but Muta recovers quickly and dives over the top rope back into the ring with an elbow smash onto Chono. Muta is up first and goes for a suplex, but Chono lands on his feet and rolls him up for a two count. Chono goes up to the top turnbuckle, he waits for Muta to get up and hits a diving shoulder block. Cover, but it gets a two count. Chono picks up Muta and nails a powerbomb, cover, but Muta gets a shoulder up. Irish whip by Chono and he hits a second samoan drop. He then slaps on the STF in the middle of the ring, but after a moment Muta reaches the bottom rope. Chono is up first, he picks up Muta, Irish whip, reversed, and Muta delivers a Frankensteiner for a two count. Muta goes up to the top turnbuckle and goes for the moonsault, but Chono gets his knees up and knees Muta right in the face. Chono goes up to the top turnbuckle and goes for a second diving shoulder block, but Muta moves out of the way. Muta picks up Chono, backbreaker, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault, but Chono kicks out at two! Muta immediately jumps up and climbs the turnbuckles again, a second moonsault, and this time he picks up the victory! Your winner and new NWA Heavyweight Champion: Great Muta

Match Thoughts: A really fun match between two of the greats of New Japan. They used their time (about 20 minutes) just about perfectly as they keep things moving and it seemed to end at just the right time. They did very little submissions that didn't lead to anything and kept it focused on strikes and big moves. This is the first Great Muta match I can remember that he didn't attempt to use any weapons or use the mist during the match, perhaps because it was for the NWA Heavyweight Championship, but it gave the match a different feel. The action on the ramp was perfect as it allowed them to mix it up and also helped explain why they were so hurt later in the match even though they hadn't done a lot of high impact moves up to that point. My only small complaint is that Chono seemed to be in a position where he couldn't win... he had hit the powerbomb and twice had the STF applied in the middle of the ring, but none were successful and in 1993 that was pretty much all he had to put people away. Perhaps a third STF would have done the trick but that would have been a bit excessive. Overall though I really enjoyed the match, the crowd stayed into it throughout and it was entertaining from start to finish. Score: 8.0

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