Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Great Muta

The Great Muta

Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan
Keiji Muto
Height & Weight:
243 Ib

Titles Won:

  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
  • IWGP Tag Team Championship (6 times) – with Hiroshi Hase (2), Masahiro Chono (2), Shiro Koshinaka (1) and Taiyō Kea
  • NWA World Heavyweight Championship
  • NWA World Television Championship
  • WCW World Tag Team Championship – with Vampiro
  • GHC Heavyweight Championship
  • GHC Tag Team Championship – with Naomichi Marufuji
  • WWE Hall Of Fame (2023)

He is best known for his work as The Great Muta in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) during the 1980s and 1990s, and from his runs in other American, Puerto Rican, and Mexican promotions. He was the president of All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) from 2002 to 2013 and representative director of Wrestle-1 (W-1) from 2013 to 2020.

Considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Muto is also one of the first Japanese wrestlers to gain an international fanbase. “The Great Muta” gimmick is one of the most influential in puroresu, emulated by many wrestlers, including Satoshi Kojima (as The Great Koji), Kazushi Miyamoto (as The Great Kazushi), Atsushi Onita (as The Great Nita), and Seiya Sanada (as The Great Sanada).

Others copied or modified some of the moves that he popularized or innovated, such as the Shining WizardMoonsaultMuta Lock and the Dragon screw leg whip. He took part in what was generally considered to be one of the bloodiest professional wrestling matches at the time against Hiroshi Hase, leading to the creation of the “Muta scale”, which rates the bloodiness of matches relative to this one’s 1.0 value.

Muto is one of the three wrestlers to win the three major championships of puroresu (AJPW’s Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, NJPW’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and Noah’s GHC Heavyweight Championship) after Kensuke Sasaki and Yoshihiro Takayama.

He is the only of them to also win the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, making him a nine-time world champion. He is a thirteen-time world tag team champion: five AJPW World Tag Team Championships, six IWGP Tag Team Championships, one GHC Tag Team Championship and one WCW World Tag Team Championship. In total, he has held 31 championships. In 2013, Muto founded W-1, where he also wrestled semi-regularly. He made special appearances for the American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), as part of a TNA/W-1 talent exchange.

In 2023, he officially retired from the ring as The Great Muta and Keiji Mutoh. On the day before WrestleMania 39, he was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Ric Flair.

Notable Feuds

vs. Sting

vs. Ric Flair

vs. Lex Luger

vs. Masahiro Chono

Other Notable Achievements

AJPW F-1 Tag Team Championship – with Kannazuki

Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (3 times)

World Tag Team Championship (5 times) – with Taiyō Kea (1), Arashi (1), Joe Doering (1), Masakatsu Funaki (1) and KENSO (1)

Akiho Yoshizawa Cup (2010) – with Masakatsu Funaki and S1 Mask

Champion Carnival (2002, 2004, 2007)

Giant Baba Six Man Cup (2002) – with George Hines and Kaz Hayashi

January 2 Korakuen Hall Heavyweight Battle Royal (2011)

January 3 Korakuen Hall Junior Heavyweight Battle Royal (2011)

World’s Strongest Tag Determination League (2001) – with Taiyō Kea

World’s Strongest Tag Determination League (2007) – with Joe Doering

World’s Strongest Tag Determination League (2009) – with Masakatsu Funaki

NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship

NWA Southeastern United States Junior Heavyweight Championship

NJPW Greatest 18 Championship

G1 Climax (1995)

Super Grade Tag League/G1 Tag League (1993, 1994) – with Hiroshi Hase

G1 Tag League (1997) – with Masahiro Chono

G1 Tag League (1998) – with Satoshi Kojima

G1 Tag League (1999) – with Scott Norton

MVP Award (2001)

Singles Best Bout (2001) vs. Yuji Nagata on August 12

Tag Team Best Bout (2001) with Hiroshi Hase vs. Jun Akiyama and Yuji Nagata on October 8

Tokyo Sports Match of the Year (1999) with Genichiro Tenryu on May 3, 1999

Match of the Year (2011) with Kenta Kobashi vs. Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano, All Together, August 27

Performance Award (1998)

Rookie of the Year (1986)

Special Award (1989)

Tag Team of the Year (1990) with Masahiro Chono

Tag Team of the Year (2005) with Akebono

Wrestler of the Year (1995, 1999, 2001, 2008)

TNA Global Impact Tournament (2015) – with Team International (Angelina Love, Bram, Drew Galloway, The Great Sanada, Khoya, Magnus, Rockstar Spud, Sonjay Dutt and Tigre Uno)

WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship

WWC World Television Championship

Wrestle-1 F-1 Tag Team Championship – with Kannazuki

Wrestle-1 Championship

Wrestling Observer Newsletter Award: Best Wrestling Maneuver (2001) Shining Wizard

Match of the Year (2001) vs. Genichiro Tenryu on June 8, Tokyo, Japan

Most Improved Wrestler (2001)

Wrestler of the Year (2001)

Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1999)

5 Star Match (1987) with Shiro Koshinaka vs. Akira Maeda and Nobuhiko Takada on March 20

5 Star Match (1991) vs Big Van Vader at NJPW G1 Climax Day 3 on August 9

Bahamut Championship – with Sugi-chan