The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh vs. Nobuhiko Takada
on January 4th, 1996

Event: New Japan at the Tokyo Dome
Tokyo, Japan
Attendance: 64,000

This match is for Mutoh's IWGP Heavyweight Championship.  This is a New Japan vs. UWF-I match.  Handshake to start, Takada goes for a series of kicks, but none hit the mark.  The two trade attempted strikes but neither can get a good hit on their opponent.  Takada lands a few kicks, but Mutoh catches his leg and pushes him into the ropes.  Instead of a clean break, Mutoh gives Takada a little slap as he backs off.  Mutoh catches Takada's leg again and takes him down with a waistlock.  Takada rolls through it, Mutoh goes for the cross armbreaker, but he can't lock it on.  Takada slides to the mounted position, but Mutoh stays in the guard.  Short strikes to Mutoh's side by Takada, but Mutoh rolls him over.  The two struggle for position, with Mutoh getting the better of it.  Takada manages to apply a front face lock, but Mutoh gets back to his feet.  Takada goes for the cross armbreaker, but Mutoh blocks it.  Mutoh goes for the figure four, but Takada kicks him off.  Mutoh goes for a double leg takedown, but Takada blocks it and gets to the ropes.  Kicks by Takada (neither really landing), Mutoh tries a kick, but he misses as well.  Takada finally gets Mutoh down and applies a side headlock.  After trying for several minutes, Takada finally gets on Mutoh an arm submission, but he can't fully lock it on to get Mutoh to submit.  Mutoh manages to get to the top position and hits Takada with a flurry of headbutts and kicks.  Elbow drop by Mutoh and a series of knee lifts.  Rolling koppou kick by Mutoh, then a back bodydrop.  Mutoh quickly goes to the top rope for the moonsault and then applies an arm submission.  He goes for the cross armbreaker, but Takada makes it to the ropes.  The two trade punches on their feet, but Takada manages to suplex Mutoh down.  Leg lock by Takada, but Mutoh manages to get to the ropes.  Kicks by Takada meet Mutoh as he tries to get up, and the referee administers a ten count for Mutoh.  Once he is up, Takada greets him with more kicks, but this time Mutoh catches his leg and gives him a dragon screw leg whip.  Mutoh quickly applies the figure four, but Takada makes it to the ropes.  Again Mutoh goes for the leg and dragon screw leg whips him again.  Another figure four by Mutoh, but Takada takes his leg out of the hold and applies an ankle lock, and the two roll to the ropes.  Takada gets in a series of knee lifts, tosses Mutoh to the mat, and applies a cross armbreaker.  Mutoh rolls through it though and gets his foot on the ropes.  Both men back up, Takada connects with a series of kicks, sending Mutoh down to the mat.  Cross armbreaker applied again by Takada, Mutoh struggles, but he can't take the pain and taps out.  Your winner and new champion:  Nobuhiko Takada

Post match:  Takada is presented with the IWGP Championship.  Takada calls out Hashimoto, and they have words.  Backstage, the celebration for Takada continues.

Match Thoughts:  This was a shoot-style match done much better then the first match on the tape.  For the first 10 minutes they struggled on the mat, then Mutoh manages to get in a handful of pro wrestling moves, but Takada's submissions and kicks are too much.  While I can't say that I am the biggest fan of shoot-style wrestling, I am still able to tell when it is done well.  While Mutoh did look a little out of place at times, he adapted well to the new style.  Score:  7.5

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