The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh vs. Riki Choshu
on May 24th, 1990

Event: New Japan Pro Wrestling TV Taping
Location: Tokyo Bay NK Hall in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
Announced Attendance:  Unknown

They circle each other to start, tie-up, side headlock by Mutoh but Choshu hits a backdrop suplex. Mutoh rolls out of the ring to re-group, but Choshu goes to the ropes and sails out onto him with a pescado. Choshu gets back in the ring, as Mutoh gets on the apron Choshu grabs him and hits a vertical suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Mutoh hits a back kick which stuns Choshu, and he follows up with a dropkick. Choshu rolls out of the ring, and this time it is Mutoh that hits the pescado. Both wrestlers get back in the ring, Irish whip by Mutoh from the corner and he hits the Space Rolling Elbow. Snapmare by Mutoh and he hits the Flashing Elbow followed by a second elbow drop. Mutoh applies the Muta Lock, but he releases the hold after a moment while keeping Choshu's legs tied up. Mutoh yanks back on Choshu's leg and begins twisting his ankle. Figure four leglock by Mutoh, but Choshu is able to roll over to reverse it, and Choshu stomps Mutoh in the back. Choshu picks up Mutoh, Irish whip, and he delivers a back elbow. Choshu goes for the Scorpion Deathlock but Mutoh blocks it. Mutoh applies a single leg crab hold into a cross kneelock, Mutoh then picks up Choshu and punches him repeatedly in the head. Choshu picks up Mutoh however and hits a wheelbarrow suplex. Cover, but it gets two. Snapmare by Choshu and he applies a headscissors. Mutoh manages to get out of it and he slides out of the ring to re-group. He returns after a moment, kick to the stomach by Mutoh but Choshu hits a headscissors takedown and keeps the hold applied on the mat. Mutoh gets out of it after a moment and applies a side headlock on the mat, Choshu struggles to his feet and he gets out of it with a knee crusher. Kicks to the knee by Choshu and he goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Mutoh blocks it again. Choshu picks up Mutoh and goes for a backdrop suplex, but Mutoh lands on top of him for a two count. Mutoh goes off the ropes and nails the face crusher. Back kick by Mutoh and he kicks Choshu in the ribs. Dropkick by Mutoh and he he kicks Choshu against the ropes. Irish whip by Mutoh but Choshu avoids the dropkick attempt. Choshu goes off the ropes but this time Mutoh is able to connect with the dropkick. Another dropkick by Mutoh, and Choshu falls out of the ring. Mutoh gets a running start and jumps out of the ring with a crazy tope suicida, splatting them both to the floor. Mutoh is up first with Choshu slowly following, Mutoh grabs Choshu as he gets on the apron and hits a vertical suplex back into the ring. Rib breaker by Mutoh, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault. Cover, but Choshu barely gets a shoulder up. Mutoh grabs Choshu from behind and hits a German suplex hold, but again Choshu gets a shoulder up in time. Mutoh applies the Octopus Hold but Choshu rolls out of it. Irish whip by Mutoh but Choshu kicks him in the ribs and levels him with a Lariat. Choshu slaps on the Scorpion Deathlock finally, but Mutoh won't submit and Choshu releases the hold. Choshu waits for Mutoh to get up and hits a second Lariat. Cover, but Mutoh kicks out at two. Mutoh struggles to his feet and Choshu delivers a third Lariat, cover, and this time Mutoh is not able to kick out in time. Your winner: Riki Choshu

Match Thoughts: This match is quite fascinating. Mutoh's popularity after his return to New Japan the month prior was through the roof. Choshu was still the man in New Japan in 1990 (in fact he would win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship later that year), as even though he was towards the end of his main event career he was still firmly there and one of the most respected wrestlers in New Japan along with Fujinami and of course Inoki. So the crowd was roaring for the upset, and Choshu without a doubt gave Mutoh everything in this match to show how much Mutoh had grown... and yet still wasn't quite on his level yet. Mutoh did a great job selling the leg, so you knew once he was crippled by the Scorpion Deathlock that it was just a matter of time at that point. My only real complaint about the match is that while Mutoh sold his leg being hurt, Choshu never showed any ill effects from Mutoh's leg attacks, even the figure four. Overall a really good match that showed Mutoh's level of growth as he continued climbing up the ladder. Score: 7.5

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