How Keiji Muto Inspired One Of The Rock’s Signature Moves

The Rock delivering a People's Elbow

When you think of legendary moves in professional wrestling, there are always a certain handful that pop up. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin’s Stunner. Bret Hart’s Sharpshooter. Randy Orton’s RKO. Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music. Sting’s Scorpion Deathdrop. You get the gist.

The Rock‘s People’s Elbow also typically joins the discussion, with the move – as well as his patented Rock Bottom – having aided ‘The Brahma Bull’ to multiple iconic victories in WWE. Although it’s a favourite for fans to imitate, not even The Rock came up with the manoeuvre; technically, it was Keiji Muto who provided the inspiration for the move.

As revealed by the English-language Twitter account for Pro Wrestling NOAH, it was Muto’s Flashing Elbow that paved the way for The Rock’s People’s Elbow. Both are similar in that they’re both snap elbow drops performed with an added touch of flamboyance.

The Rock Is One Of Many Inspired By Keiji Muto

The 59-year-old Keiji Muto is a generational performer, being one of only four combatants to win the three top prizes in Japanese wrestling (IWGP, GHC, and Triple Crown Heavyweight Championships). Whether under his birth name or as his Great Muta alter ego, Muto is a legend in every respect of the word, but this isn’t the only reason for his critical acclaim.

Keiji Muto was renowned for changing the game, leading him to invent and/or popularise a range of moves, from the Shining Wizard and the top-rope Moonsault to the Muta Lock and the dragon-screw leg whip. Many of these are now used on a regular basis today, with the likes of AJ Lee, Vader, and The Hurricane having used variants as their own finishing moves.

Muto is currently enjoying a series of matches leading to his retirement from the ring on February 21st, the most recent of which saw him wrestle in Fukuoka, Japan for the final time; there, he teamed with Ninja Mack and Satoshi Kojima to defeat Naomichi Marufuji, HAYATA, and Jack Morris.