The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
on October 13th, 2008

Event: New Japan "Destruction"
Location: Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
Announced Attendance: 9,000

This match is for Mutoh's IWGP Heavyweight Championship. They circle each other to start but break cleanly when they first approach to tie-up. Waistlock by Nakamura, but Mutoh rolls through it and goes for the arm of Nakamura. Nakamura gets back to his feet and reverses positions with Mutoh and he applies a knee lock. Mutoh rolls out of it however and both wrestlers are back on their feet. Mutoh takes down Nakamura but Nakamura applies a waistlock. Mutoh gets a foot on the ropes and Nakamura gives a clean break as Mutoh rolls out of the ring to re-group. Mutoh returns after a moment, side headlock by Mutoh and he takes Nakamura to the mat while maintaining the hold. Irish whip by Nakamura but Mutoh hits a shoulderblock. Mutoh goes for the Flash Elbow but Nakamura moves out of the way and kicks Mutoh in the arm. Keylock by Nakamura and he lets go to stomp Mutoh in the arm. Knee to the arm by Nakamura and he applies an armbar before knocking Mutoh to the mat and applying a keylock. Kick to the arm by Nakamura but Mutoh catches his leg. Nakamura knees Mutoh before he can hit a dragon screw, but Mutoh catches the next kick too and hits it anyway. Dropkick to the knee by Mutoh and he hits another dragon screw before applying a kneelock. Nakamura gets a hand on the ropes, dropkick to the knee by Mutoh and he hits a third dragon screw leg whip. Figure four by Mutoh but after a minute or so Nakamura makes it to the ropes and Mutoh breaks the hold. Mutoh knees Nakamura into the corner and hits another dragon screw. Mutoh charges Nakamura but Nakamura hits a lariat. Kicks to the chest by Nakamura, Irish whip, and Nakamura delivers a powerslam. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakamura picks up Mutoh and hits a backdrop suplex, he drags Mutoh back up and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Nakamura drags Mutoh to his feet and knees him in the stomach, he applies a full nelson, Mutoh muscles out of it but Nakamura takes him to the mat with an armbar. Mutoh gets a foot on the ropes, kicks to the arm by Nakamura but Mutoh dropkicks Nakamura in the knee. Another dropkick to the knee by Mutoh but Nakamura kicks him in the back. Dragon screw leg whip by Mutoh but Nakamura does a cross armbreaker takedown and tries to lock on the hold.

Mutoh keeps his hands locked to block the hold from being applied, Nakamura finally gets it locked in but Mutoh is too close to the ropes and he gets the break. Nakamura picks up Mutoh and yanks on his arm, he goes off the ropes but Mutoh back bodydrops him out to the apron. Nakamura goes to get back in the ring but Mutoh hits him with a Shining Wizard. Nakamura falls back out to the apron, Mutoh grabs him from the inside and delivers the dragon screw neck whip. Nakamura gets up in the corner and Mutoh hits a Shining Wizard followed by a dragon screw and another Shining Wizard. Shining Wizard from behind by Mutoh but Nakamura blocks the next one and goes for the cross armbreaker takedown. Mutoh powerbombs Nakamura to the mat to get out of it and hits the final Shining Wizard, cover, but it gets a two count. Mutoh picks up Nakamura, backbreaker, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault. Cover, but Nakamura kicks out! Mutoh hurt his leg on the moonsault, he still gets up and goes for a Shining Wizard but Nakamura catches his leg and applies a knee lock. Mutoh struggles but eventually he gets a hand on the bottom rope. Kicks to the leg by Nakamura, Mutoh catches one but Nakamura rolls down to the mat and re-applies a knee lock. Again Mutoh makes it to the ropes, Nakamura picks up Mutoh and hits a dragon screw. Back up, Nakamura goes for another one, Mutoh blocks it but Nakamura picks him up and nails the Landslide. Cover, but Mutoh gets a shoulder up. Mutoh quickly applies the cross armbreaker but after a few seconds Mutoh manages to get his hands linked to lessen the pressure. He finally gets it fully locked in, but Mutoh quickly gets to the ropes and forces a break. Nakamura picks up Mutoh and goes for another Landslide, but Mutoh knees Nakamura in the face. Nakamura staggers away and then charges Mutoh, but Mutoh catches him with the Frankensteiner for the three count! Your winner and still champion: Keiji Mutoh

Match Thoughts: This was a different match from the one they had in April, and while it wasn't quite as entertaining as that one it was still very good match. Mutoh had the same game plan he always has, the same one that has won him many matches and titles over the years: attack the knee to get them down, hit a few Shining Wizards, and win with the moonsault. And for the first 15 minutes it looked like that would work, but then Nakamura kicked out of the moonsault and Mutoh injured his own leg. Now it was no longer a Mutoh match but Nakamura's turn, and he almost had the match won with the knee lock and the cross armbreaker. But just when Mutoh looked like he was out of tricks he went deep into his vault and pulled out the Frankensteiner, a move he hasn't won a match with in many many years. Nakamura hadn't trained for it, had no defense for it, and was too tired from the earlier assault to kick out of it. If the match had ended with the moonsault it still would have been good, but would have offered nothing different then the same formula we saw six months prior. By switching up the ending it gave the match a new twist, which greatly benefited it. It was a little slower then their earlier match and didn't have as much of the "holy shit" factor as the crowd exploded when Mutoh gets the three count, but it was still a fitting main event. Score: 7.5

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