Sting rushed to the Great Muta’s FINAL – Japan and the U.S, a friendship transcended rivals
Photo & Text exclusively by Tokio Tsukada
The Great Muta put an end to nearly 40 years of professional wrestling, and on January 22, 2023, he held a retirement match at Yokohama arena with a full house. Keiji Mutoh, a.k.a. Great Muta, looked back and said “The Great Muta has fought top-notch wrestlers in Japan and the United States such as Antonio Inoki, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and Sting. I will show you an art, a final art, that will surpass these great matches.”
The Great Muta and Sting are rivals who fought in WCW and then moved to Japan to fight at the Tokyo Dome. Sting finally stood in the ring as Great Muta’s partner for his final match for friendship transcended long-time rivals. Sting is also a great admirer of Muta by saying, “Many great wrestlers came to the U.S. from Japan. But among them, The Great Muta deserves a special mention.” Sting, who sends his encouragement to his longtime rival, adjusted his busy schedule in the U.S. and came to Japan for the first time in over 20 years.
In his final match, he teamed with Sting and Darby Allin, against Hakushi, Akira, and Naomichi Marufuji. Muta, who had wounds all over his body from the joints, took a touch from Sting’s Scorpion deathlock, followed by a dragon screw and finally a Shining Wizard to win the match. After the match, Muta took out a stupa and hit Hakushi with it.
He finished the match by writing “Fin” on the stupa with Hakushi’s blood. In the interview room with the press, Muta, his knees screaming, in the wheelchair said, “Bye Bye everybody, no more Muta. Good bye Muta.” He urged Sting to “Say something.” Sting was very complimentary, saying, “Muta is always number one. He helped me a lot. Maybe Sting is final in Japan.”
Sting, who said this would probably be his last time in Japan, must have had the thought of retirement on his mind. He was led out of the interview room by Darby Allin pushing his wheelchair. His knee, injured by years of moonsaults, is now replaced by an artificial joint, and he can barely walk. How could he wrestled in the ring and finished with this condition? The countdown has begun for his other face, Keiji Muto’s retirement match on February 21 at the Tokyo dome.