The legendary Keiji Muto recently hung up his boots after nearly four decades of in-ring competition.
Debuting in October 1984, Muto has wrestled for all of the top Japanese promotions. This has led him to become a four-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, a three-time Triple Crown Champion in All Japan Pro-Wrestling, and a one-time GHC Heavyweight Champion in Pro Wrestling NOAH.
After a lengthy and highly-decorated career, the multi-generational wrestler embarked on a retirement tour. The tour saw him wrestle as the Great Muta against WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura, team up with AEW star Darby Allin and former WCW rival Sting.
His final match came against NJPW’s 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.
Following his final outing Muto spoke at the post-event press conference revealing the reason behind his surprise challenge to Chono.
This is something I really wanted to do. After all, I had my debut match with (Masahiro) Chono, and I wanted to end the show with him. I’m amazed he was able to move (like that). It was a great feat. He was pumping adrenaline. I was very happy. He lived up to my expectations […] Many wrestlers don’t get to have retirement matches like this, but I was really happy in my wrestling career.”
William Regal Paid Tribute To Keiji Muto
After the emotional send-off, several stars sent Muto messages of tribute and praise. One of those stars was William Regal. The Villain took to social media to drop the retiring legend a message.
“. @muto_keiji Thank you my old friend and foe.”
Regal clashed several times with both Muto and the Great Muta throughout the years. In 1995 he fought Muto in the joint WCW and NJPW World In Japan event and in 1997 he took the Great Muta in G1 Climax.
H/T POST Wrestling