After nearly forty years of in-ring competition, the legendary Keiji Muto has officially hung up his boots and retired from professional wrestling.
Muto competed in his final match against former IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito at NOAH’s Keiji Muto Grand Final Pro-Wrestling “Last Love”. The special event took place on Tuesday 21st February at the hallowed Tokyo Dome.
After losing to Niato in the main event, Muto then challenged one of his long-time rivals and NJPW legend, Masahiro Chono to an impromptu match, which he also lost.
The show also featured several other highly-anticipated inter-promotional matches. The co-main event saw IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada going one-on-one with GHC Heavyweight Champion, Kaito Kiyomiya in a first-time-ever bout. The other matches saw stars from TJPW, DRAGONGATE, AJPW, and DDT.
Keiji Muto Announced His Retirement Tour In 2022
Muto announced he was hanging up his boots in June of last year. Following his announcement, he embarked on a retirement tour that saw him get back in the ring with some of his greatest opponents.
At NOAH’s New Year’s Eve show, the Great Muta wrestled WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura. At Wrestle Kingdom 17 he teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shota Umino against Los Ingobernables de Japon. Then at Great Muta Final “Bye-Bye” he teamed with AEW’s Sting and Darby Allin to take on AKIRA, Hakushi & Naomichi Marufuji.
Muto also known as the Great Muta is widely regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He began his wrestling career in New Japan Pro Wrestling but he became one of the first Japanese stars to achieve international fame when he spent a year in WCW between 1989 and 1990. During his time in the company, he was known as The Great Muta and captured the NWA World Television Title from Sting before going on to challenge Ric Flair several times for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
The Great Muta went on to capture that title from compatriot Masahiro Chono in early 1993 before losing the gold to Barry Windham at WCW’s SuperBrawl III show in February of the same year.
Muto held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in New Japan Pro Wrestling, the All Japan Triple Crown Heavyweight Title three times as well as NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Championship in addition to countless other accolades that make him one of the most decorated Japanese wrestlers in history.
His influence in wrestling has also been seen outside of the ring as he has served as President of All Japan Pro Wrestling and founded the Wrestle-1 promotion in 2013 when AJPW suffered an exodus of stars following Muto’s departure.