The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh vs. Tatsumi Fujinami
on October 13th, 1986

Event: New Japan Pro Wrestling
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Attendance:  Unknown

Mutoh pushes Fujinami back to start the match into the ropes, punches by Mutoh and he throws Fujinami out of the ring. Elbow by Mutoh and he Irish whips Fujinami into the guard rail. Mutoh grabs a chair and hits Fujinami in the head with it before returning to the ring. Fujinami gets back into the ring, tie-up, Mutoh pushes Fujinami into the corner and punches him repeatedly. Punches and kicks by Mutoh, scoop slam, and he hits an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets two. Mutoh grabs Fujinami in a headlock, Irish whip by Mutoh but Fujinami shoulderblocks him down. Dropkick by Mutoh, *clip* and now Mutoh is nailing a tombstone piledriver. Mutoh goes up top and hits the moonsault, cover, but Fujinami barely gets a shoulder up. Knee drop by Mutoh, cover, but again it gets two. Kicks by Fujinami, Irish whip, and Fujinami hits a dropkick of his own. Fujinami picks up Mutoh and drops Mutoh with a suplex, cover, but it gets two. Backdrop suplex by Fujinami and he applies a cross armbreaker, but Mutoh gets a foot on the ropes. Fujinami grabs Mutoh but Mutoh punches him back and throws Fujinami into the corner. Irish whip by Mutoh and he hits the Space Rolling Elbow. Backbreaker by Mutoh, he goes up top again, Fujinami moves out of the way but Mutoh lands on his feet when he goes for the moonsault. Fujinami grabs Mutoh and applies a backslide, and it gets the three count! Your winner: Tatsumi Fujinami

Match Thoughts: I can't emphasize enough how quickly Mutoh was moving along by New Japan standards. Fujinami was already a two time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and had held many other titles, he was one of the higher ranking wrestlers in the company at the time. Mutoh didn't just wrestle him, he took it to him, and Fujinami only won with a veteran clever move when Mutoh was stunned after missing the moonsault. This is the earliest match I have seen with Mutoh showing a lot of charisma and being "on fire" so to speak as he pounded Fujinami with his fists and chairs with a lot of aggression. The match was probably pretty badly clipped but I really enjoyed it, I can imagine this quick series with Fujinami was a bit of a coming out party for Mutoh becoming seen as a legitimate threat and rising star in the company. Score: N/A

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