The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh vs. Genichiro Tenryu
on April 13th, 2002

Event: All Japan Champion Carnival
Tokyo, Japan
Attendance: 16,000

Genichiro Tenryu vs. Keiji Mutoh
This match is for the vacant Triple Crown Championship.  Mutoh starts the match with a single leg takedown on Tenryu, but Tenryu prevents him from capitalizing and manages to get back to his feet.  Tie-up, Mutoh gets Tenryu into the ropes and gives a clean break.  Tie-up again, waistlock by Mutoh, reversed into an armbar by Tenryu, Mutoh rolls out of it and gets Tenryu with a single leg takedown, Tenryu tries to get the armbar, can't, and Mutoh slaps on a leg submission.  Tenryu reverses it into an ankle lock but Mutoh makes it to the ropes.  Tie-up, side headlock by Tenryu and a takedown with the headlock still applied.  Mutoh slowly gets back to his feet, Irish whip, and a shoulder tackle knocks Mutoh down.  Shining Wizard by Tenryu and then he mimics Mutoh's kiss to the crowd.  Mutoh gets up quickly, as he does not appreciate having his move and kiss to the crowd stolen.  Mutoh goes out to the ramp to think things over and recuperate.  Back in the ring now, Tenryu catches Mutoh with a jab and some chops, Irish whip, but Mutoh half-hits a dropkick.  A much better dropkick by Mutoh sends Tenryu out of the ring, and Mutoh follows him out with a pescado.  As Tenryu rests against the guardrail Mutoh hits a wicked Shining Wizard, smashing Tenryu back onto the guardrail.  Mutoh applies a cross armbar on the outside, Tenryu taps, but since it is on the outside it doesn't count.  Dropkick by Mutoh to Tenryu's arm, sending him into the guardrail yet again.  Mutoh gets back into the ring, and as Tenryu enters Mutoh dropkicks him in the arm twice.  This sends Tenryu back outside again.  Tenryu gets back into the ring and immediately is dropkicked in the arm again.  Dragon screw leg whip by Mutoh and he applies a wrist lock on Tenryu's injured arm.  He reverts it into a cross armbar, but Tenryu makes it to the ropes.  Both men are up quick, but Tenryu sidesteps the Mutoh dropkick.   Chops and jabs by Tenryu, but Mutoh snaps off another dragon screw leg whip.  Arm submission by Mutoh again and the cross armbar is applied, but again Tenryu quickly makes it to the ropes.  Kick by Mutoh to the arm of Tenryu and he hits his quick elbow drop.  Chop by Mutoh, Tenryu returns with a knee to the gut, but Mutoh regains the advantage with a rake of the eyes. 

Irish whip by Mutoh out of the corner, he goes for his handspring elbow strike, but Tenryu catches him with a clothesline to the back of the head.  Chops by Tenryu in the corner, Irish whip, and a clothesline by Tenryu in the opposite corner.  More chops, another Irish whip, and a running chop by Tenryu.  Scoop slam by Tenryu, he goes to the top and nails the elbow.  Cover, but a two count.  Tenryu picks up Mutoh and gets a powerbomb, cover, but Mutoh kicks out.  Tenryu goes for a clothesline, but Mutoh catches him with a Frankensteiner as he charges in.  Cross armbar applied by Mutoh, but Tenryu is by the ropes and easily gets out of it.  Mutoh goes for the single leg takedown, but Tenryu resists it with several punches to the head.  Enzigieri by Tenryu, followed by jabs to the face and chops in the corner.  Irish whip, and Tenryu hits the running chop in the opposite corner.  Multiple chops in the corner by Tenryu, he hits the spider suplex from the top rope, but misses the elbow drop.  Mutoh dropkicks Tenryu in the arm as he tries to get to his feet and slaps on another cross armbar.  Tenryu is again by the ropes though and the referee calls for the break.  Tenryu jabs on Mutoh but Mutoh catches with a dropkick to the leg.  Shining Wizard by Mutoh, then another one, and then another one.  Damn.  Cover, but Tenryu somehow kicks out at two.  Frustrated, Mutoh picks on Tenryu, backbreaker, goes to the top rope, but Tenryu rolls out of the way of the moonsault.  Rolling kick by Mutoh to Tenryu's arm, but Tenryu fires back with a lariat.  Tenryu charges again, but Mutoh halts him with a dropkick to the knee.  Tenryu comes back quickly with a clothesline, Mutoh blocks it, but Tenryu fires back with another one.  Cover, but a two count.  Tenryu picks Mutoh up, goes for his brainbuster, but Mutoh knees him in the head.  Mutoh connects with an overhead kick.  Shining Wizard by Mutoh, he goes for another moonsault, and again Tenryu moves out of the way.  Tenryu hits Mutoh with a jab, but Mutoh snaps off a back suplex.  Mutoh delivers a backbreaker, goes to the top for his third try at a moonsault, but Tenryu gets his knees up.  Lariat by Tenryu, cover, but a two count.  Tenryu picks Mutoh up, goes for the brainbuster, Mutoh tries to knee out of it again but can't, Tenryu drops Mutoh hard, a cover, and a three count.  Your winner and new champion:  Genichiro Tenryu

Post match:  Hansen comes in to congratulate Tenryu as he celebrates with his new championships.  Interview with Mutoh is shown, he seems quite tired.  He has trouble walking, but of course he always has trouble walking, that has little to do with the match itself.  The commentators close out the show with some very insightful comments.  They stay on the air until the arena is empty as we see the ring being taken apart. 

Match Thoughts:  If you ever needed to see an example of what ring psychology is, all you need to do is pop in just about any Mutoh match.  The guy gets criticized a lot for a variety of things, but Mutoh brought his working boots today.  Mutoh doesn't just wrestle, he tells a story in the ring.  In case you didn't read all the play by play, the story went like this:  Mutoh concentrates on the arm the first 10 minutes, but can't get Tenryu to tap out.  When that didn't work, he hit three consecutive Shining Wizards, his finishing move.  Again, Tenryu kicks out of the pin.  Mutoh realizes he can only put Tenryu away with his big move, the moonsault.  He tries for it three times, never nails it, and subsequently loses the match.  Just brilliant. By 2002 these two were past their primes and physically limited, but really this was a great match.  Score:  8.0

Back to Reviews

Visit Puroresu Central!