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 - Damien Keith

The Great Muta is easily the most recognized and arguably the most talented Japanese wrestler ever to compete in the United States. Muta revolutionized the way most Americans viewed the sport during his run with NWA in the late 80’s. Muta is also one of a very select few wrestlers that can lay claim to truly being a ‘world’ champion. From his classic feud with Sting, to his multiple world titles won around the world, the Great Muta is a wrestling legend and will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest wrestlers ever to compete in Japan and well as the United States.

Keiji Mutoh, or if you prefer, the Great Muta, was trained by the legendary Hiro Matsuda at the New Japan Wrestling Academy, and made his wrestling debut on October 5, 1984. Mutoh’s first stint in New Japan wasn’t all together special. He wrestled mainly in tag teams, often teaming with Masahiro Chono and Shiro Koshinaka. Although Mutoh and Koshinaka were able to capture the IWGP (New Japan) World Tag Team Titles, their run was brief and he decided to try his skills elsewhere. Mutoh soon emerged in Puerto Rico at the World Wrestling Council, a federation that would form the basis of his alter ego, the Great Muta. Mutoh, dubbed as the Super Ninja, had a well-balanced blend of speed, technical ability, agility and eye pleasing moves that quickly won over the lucha libre crowd. While in Puerto Rico, Mutoh would win the WWC Puerto Rican title as well as the WWC TV Title.  But the young Mutoh also quickly found out what the WWC was most famous for, their blood baths. Mutoh received a baptism in blood by the likes of Carlos Colon, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody and TNT. His stay in the WWC was brief, yet brutal, but it gave him notoriety in the United States, where he would travel to next. 

Mutoh had a brief run in Florida, where he won the Florida Heavyweight title, until a reversal of the decision returned it to Barry Windham and in the Von Erich’s back yard, World Class Championship Wrestling. Stilled dubbed as the Super Ninja, Mutoh was managed by Gary Hart and teamed with the Great Kabuki. Mutoh soon caught the eye of Jim Crockett, the NWA (National Wresting Alliance) promoter at the time. Crockett wasted no time and signed Mutoh immediately. Mutoh’s career was about to take off. With the 90’s fast approaching, Jim Crockett knew it was time to create some new stars to carry the NWA into next decade. Lex Luger and Sting were the front-runners, but Luger was occupied in a feud with the World Champion Ric Flair, leaving Sting with basically nothing to do, until Gary Hart arrived.  More...

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