Keiji Muto’s Retirement at the Tokyo Dome
Exclusive photo & Text by Tokio Tsukada, courtesy by Pro-Wrestling NOAH
Keiji Mutoh, who had always declared that professional wrestling was a marathon without a finish line, finished his 38-year career on February 21, 2023 at the Tokyo Dome. Muto had a spectacular career in Japan and the U.S., fighting superstars such as Inoki, Hogan, Sting, and Flair, and he left behind a legacy of memorable matches. The memories of these glorious fights will always linger in the hearts of fans.
One time, in an interview, Muto, who was nearing 60 years old, said: “You can’t win a fight with your memories.” Yes, Muto, who has artificial joints and cannot walk in everyday life, continued: “I know many wrestlers who never had a retirement match. I am happy that I can have a retirement match, and I still want to show my best art at the end of my career.”
The opponent for the retirement match was difficult to find. Finally, Muto picked Tetsuya Naito of New Japan Pro-Wrestling. But he was not in good condition, having suffered a flesh tear during The Great Muta character’s retirement in January while teaming up with Sting. He was slow in the early rounds and clearly had a bomb in his knee. He did the Shining Wizard and tried several times to do a moonsault, which he had sealed, but stopped with regret. The moonsault would destroy his knees and a doctor had strictly prohibited him from doing it.
At various points in the match, he performed the late Shinya Hashimoto’s signature DDT, and Chono’s signature STF. Muto, Hashimoto and Chono are called the three musketeers of New Japan Pro-Wrestling Tohkon (Wrestling fighting spirit), He and the fans reminisced about the past 38 years.In the end, Keiji Mutoh was defeated by Tetsuya Naito’s devastating Destino finisher, but his overwhelming presence captivated the fans. Afterward, Muto said he still had some unfinished business, and invited Masahiro Chono, his friend and debutant, to the ring for a surprise match that turned the Dome into a crucible of excitement for the fans.
This performance at the Dome was more than any other famous match in the past; it was the way of life of Keiji Muto, and it created fresh memories in the minds of the fans that will last for years to come. Please enjoy some photos of the occasion below. Thank you.
Copyright note: The two images seen in the display and directly below belong to Pro Wrestling NOAH.
Also Read: Exclusive Photos Of The Great Muta’s Last Match With Sting
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