The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Great Muta vs. Antonio Inoki
on May 1st, 1994

Event: New Japan "Wrestling Dontaku"
Location: Fukuoka Dome
Attendance: 53,000

This was Inoki's First match in his Retirement Countdown. They jockey for position to start the match with Muta on top of Inoki with an armlock. Muta switches to the leg and ankle, and applies a single-leg crab hold. Inoki eventually reverses it into his own ankle lock and Muta gets to the ropes to break the hold. Muta rolls out of the ring to think things over, and decides to get a table so he can play on the ladder at ringside. Muta comes back to ringside when Inoki gets out on the apron and he looks around under the ring before finally getting back in. They circle each other, Inoki kicks Muta in the legs, but Muta replies by spitting green mist in his face twice. Muta throws Inoki out to the ramp and hits a vertical suplex before running all the way up the rampway. Muta then runs back, hitting Inoki in the back of the head with a lariat before flying over the top rope back into the ring. Muta goes back out to get Inoki and throws him into the ring. Muta gives Inoki a backdrop suplex and heaves him out of the ring to the floor. After following him, Muta throws Inoki head-first into the guardrail, gets up on a table with Inoki and piledrives Inoki into it (it doesn't break, being a strong Japanese table). Muta goes back into the ring under the referee's orders, but eventually comes back out and throws Inoki into the ring post. Again he throws Inoki into the ring post before rolling back into the ring. Inoki follows him, and Muta greets him with a series of kicks to the head. More kicks by Muta and he chokes Inoki with his knee. Inoki tries to get up, but he falls back down and Muta slaps on a sleeperhold. Muta releases the hold and hits Inoki with a back kick. Inoki rolls out of the ring and gets up on the ramp, but Muta decides to come out instead of waiting in the ring. Muta throws Inoki off the ramp and then throws him into the guardrail. While the referee argues with Muta, Inoki connects with an enzigieri to the back of Muta's head. Inoki gets back in the ring with Muta following, but Inoki greets Muta with a diving kick. Inoki punches Muta repeatedly before throwing him back out of the ring. Muta grabs Inoki while he is on the apron and takes him outside the ring area, throwing him into a railing. Muta then tries to use the ladder, but is unsuccessful so he settles with choking Inoki with it. The referee finally gets them back into the ring, and Muta connects with a series of strikes on Inoki. Inoki suddenly applies the sleeperhold on Muta, but Inoki releases the hold after a few moments. Inoki picks up Muta, but for the third time he gets the mist to the face. Muta hits a backbreaker on Inoki, goes to the top turnbuckle, and nails the moonsault. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Muta picks up Inoki again, another back breaker, and again he hits a moonsault. Cover again, but again Inoki manages to kick out at two. German suplex hold by Muta, but that also only gets a two count on Inoki. Now Muta resorts to the Dragon Suplex hold, but once again Inoki barely gets his shoulder up as the crowd continues getting louder and louder. Muta waits for Inoki to get up and goes for the handspring elbow strike, but Inoki steps out of the way. Inoki quickly applies the sleeperhold, keeps it locked on for about four seconds before releasing it, cover, and he gets the three count! Your winner: Antonio Inoki

Match Thoughts: This was a fairly decent and typical Muta match until the end, which I absolutely hated. I don't mean Inoki kicking out of everything and winning the match... he was Inoki, he did that sort of thing, and since this was the start of his retirement I fully expected him to win. But for Muta to be knocked out after being in the sleeperhold for literally less then five seconds makes no sense at all considering that Inoki had done very little damage to Muta. Why not just let Muta go to sleep all the way? I can think of 100 ways I'd rather have had Inoki win, as this way made Muta look extremely weak rather then making Inoki look really strong. Other then that the match was pretty slow until the last few minutes or so, as most the match seemed to drag along. Everyone knows I love Muta, and I still do, but this was not his best showing which is disappointing since it was his only chance at wrestling the great Antonio Inoki one on one. Score: 5.0

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