The Great Muta in New Japan Vol. 3
review by Ryan Mancuso

Hello once again, I am back with volume 3 of the Great Muta Anthology. In this volume, Muta faces both old rivals in Masahiro Chono and Power Warrior and new rivals in The Great Kabuki and Hakushi. There is the first time when Keiji Muto and The Great Muta appeared in the same match. Time to start the review:

The final part of the mini-movie kicks off the tape. It starts off with Muta's dead body in a desert. The sun beams down and it brings him back to life. It does more than that because his fingernails are now claws, his teeth are fangs, horns are popping out of his forehead and he just has demonic look. Muta is back in the cave to look for Lord Zedd. He finds the monster and slams the back of Lord Zedd's head to a wall. Muta does the throat slash gesture and flips him off. Muta kills Lord Zedd by jamming his claws into his midsection. Muta drags the lifeless body of Lord Zedd out of the scene. If the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers had Muta, then their troubles would have been resolved a long time ago. After that, another music video airs of Muta in action.

IWGP Heavyweight Title: The Great Muta © vs. The Great Kabuki

This is from June 15, 1993 at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. This was billed as a battle between father and son because NWA promoters billed Muta as Kabuki’s son and New Japan ran with that. I did not care for this match too much. The stuff they were doing outside of the ring was much better than when both men were inside the ring. The positive is that they did not have a long match and kept things moving. Even with that, their in-ring stuff felt slow at times.

This got chaotic early with Muta accidentally nailing the referee in the corner with a knee to the midsection. He sprayed Kabuki with the mist and nailed him with the IWGP Heavyweight Title belt. As a result, Kabuki got busted open. After a missed handspring elbow in the corner, Kabuki got in control. He slammed Muta into the ringpost, and Muta got busted open badly. Not as bad as the Hase match, but there was plenty of blood from his forehead coming out. Muta grabbed a chair from the floor and entered the ring. Kabuki sprayed the mist in Muta’s eyes. He would also spray the mist in the referee’s eyes. Kabuki grabbed the chair and repeatedly nailed Muta with it. Another referee entered the ring, but Kabuki nailed him with the chair as well. The bell was ring and Kabuki has been disqualified. The fans jeered big time at the DQ result. Kabuki got on the microphone after the match and told his "son" that he will kill him the next time they fight each other.

Keiji Muto & Masahiro Chono vs. Riki Choshu & Genichiro Tenryu

This is from April 4, 1994 at the Hiroshima Green Arena. You are reading things right because this match started out as Keiji Muto teaming with Chono against the all star team of Riki Choshu & Genichiro Tenryu. The match was too short to be anything special, but it was significant because it was the first time that both Keiji Muto and The Great Muta appeared in the same match. The match started out with Choshu & Tenryu just throwing Muto out of the ring. They did not even want Muto in the same ring with them. Tenryu kept taunting Muto on the microphone, and even asked for Muta to come out. Muta left the ring and headed to the locker room. Now, it was a handicap match with Chono facing two men. Chono grabbed a chair to even the odds and even jabbed Tenryu with it. Chono fought hard and valiantly, but the odds were too much for him. It looked like Choshu & Tenryu would finish off Chono, but Muta showed up. Tenryu tried to meet him at the entrance ramp, but Muta nailed him. Choshu also got knocked down by Muta.

Chono was able to recover to nail Choshu with a Yakuza kick and get a near submission with the STF. Tenryu got monster heel heat for breaking up Chono's STF with an elbowdrop off the top rope. Tenryu used a powerbomb on Chono, and Choshu covered for the 3. After the match, Muta went insane. He sprayed Choshu and Tenryu with the mist many times. He even nailed Tenryu with a stretcher a few times. Antonio Inoki was at ringside to see what was going on, and Muta even sprayed him with the green mist. Inoki was ready to attack, but the young wrestlers held him back. That mist attack set up their match at the Fukuoka Dome a month later.

The Great Muta vs. Masahiro Chono

This is from September 23, 1994 at the Yokohama Arena. This was the beginning of Chono’s heel turn where he would start wearing the black and show off amazing charisma. For the most part, this was a dull heatless match. Nothing technically bad during the last 10 minutes of the match, but the crowd was still mostly silent. Yokohama fans are known for being very quiet in wrestling matches. This is a good example because when they did not respond even when they did try to get the match going with Chono bleeding from a Muta repeatedly hitting him in the head with a wooden hammer. The finish came when Muta put Chono on a table, and tried a moonsault off the top turnbuckle. However, Chono rolled out of the way and Muta hit chest-first into the table. Chono rolled him up with a grounded crucifix cradle for the pin.

The Great Muta vs. Hakushi

This is from April 29, 1996 at the Tokyo Dome, and this was one of Hakushi’s first matches in Japan since leaving the WWE in early 1996. Muta’s new head gear was awesome because it looked like the demonic creature he morphed to during the mini-movie. I thought this was easily the best match of this volume. I did not think it was a great match, but there were enough moments to remember from. It moved at a good pace to where any stalling they did felt short and was forgettable. Hakushi looked great in this. He took some nasty bumps to make Muta look good and did the sick blade job that a lot of Muta matches are familiar with. Muta did his share of the work as well, but I thought Hakushi did more to make this match worth watching. With that said, here is my play-by-play:

Right before the bell rings, Hakushi has a long wooden board with something written on it. The bell rings and they circle around each other. They tie up and Muta has a waistlock. He goes for a full nelson, but Hakushi positions himself to the ropes for the break. Both men are hesitant to tie up until Muta blows the green mist into the air. From there, Muta charged in and nailed Hakushi with a few kicks to the midsection. He whips Hakushi to the corner and connects with the handspring elbow. A spin kick knocks Hakushi over the top rope and onto the floor.

Hakushi recovers and gets on the apron. Muta charges in, but Hakushi catches his hand and does his rope walk. Hakushi comes down with a chop to Muta's head. Hakushi slams Muta on the mat, climbs the second turnbuckle and uses a Vader bomb. From there, he chokes Muta with his boot in the corner. After choking him, he goes to the opposite corner and runs at Muta with the Bronco Buster minus the riding part. Hakushi continues to choke Muta, but releases so that he could apply a nerve hold. Muta escapes and rakes the eyes. Muta knocks Hakushi down with a shoulderblock. He chops at Hakushi and chokes him on the ropes. Hakushi is on the apron and Muta knocks him off with a shoulderblock. Hakushi takes a hard bump on the floor because he goes flying over the guardrail and ring announcers table.

Muta exits the ring and picks up Hakushi. They get on a table and Muta piledrives Hakushi through a table. Muta takes Hakushi’s wooden board and smashes it over his knee. Muta takes a piece of the broken board and attacks Hakushi with it. Hakushi has been busted open badly and Muta jumps off the apron to continue to attack Hakushi with the board. Hakushi finally reenters the ring. Muta takes him down and uses his flash elbowdrop. Muta rakes at Hakushi’s wound. He takes Hakushi’s belt off him and chokes him with it. In a great visual, Muta is inside of the ring and hanging a bloody Hakushi over the ropes. Muta lets go and Hakushi falls onto the floor.

Muta goes outside of the ring, and writes something like "Die" in kanji with Hakushi’s board. He wrote that using Hakushi’s own blood. Both men are back in the ring. Muta goes for a vertical suplex, but Hakushi lands on his feet. From this position, Hakushi uses a backdrop suplex. Hakushi whips Muta off the ropes and goes for a dropkick. Muta halts his momentum and Hakushi only connects with air. Muta stomps at Hakushi and picks him up to drop him with a backdrop suplex. Muta covers, but Hakushi is out at 2. Muta goes for another backdrop suplex, but Hakushi lands on top of Muta for a 1 count.

Hakushi uses a superkick and bodyslam. He gets on the apron and tries to climb the turnbuckles. However, blood loss seems to be taking effect because Hakushi nearly falls off the apron. Hakushi regains some composure and jumps to the top turnbuckle. He does a little prayer and goes for a diving headbutt. It seemed that extra time it took for Hakushi to try his move backfired because Muta gets out of the way. Muta whips Hakushi to the corner and uses the handspring elbow. He takes Hakushi down with the face crusher. Muta climbs the top turnbuckle and goes for the moonsault. However, Hakushi gets out of the way. Muta must have known that was going to happen because he landed on his feet after the moonsault.

Muta connects with a spin kick. He puts Hakushi on the turnbuckles and disgustingly bites at his wound. Muta takes Hakushi down with a top-rope hurricanrana and immediately covers. Hakushi shows a lot of toughness because he kicks out at 2. Hakushi rolls to the floor and Muta follows. Muta whips Hakushi into the guardrail. Muta picks up something from under the ring and nails Hakushi with it. Both men get back inside the ring. Hakushi fires off a few superkicks. Muta goes for his mist attack, but Hakushi must have seen it coming because he was able to duck.

Hakushi sends Muta to the floor. He chokes him with a cloth and nails Muta a few times with a chair. Hakushi reenters the ring and dives out to the floor with a Space Flying Tiger Drop. Muta rolls back into the ring. Hakushi is on the top turnbuckle and connects with a diving shoulderblock. Hakushi continues his high flying by finally succeeding in his diving headbutt. Hakushi covers, but Muta is out at 2. Hakushi goes for his Praying Powerbomb. He lifts Muta up, but Muta sprays him in the eyes with the green mist. Muta quickly capitalizes with a spin kick. He climbs the top turnbuckle and connects with a diving chop to Hakushi's head. Muta climbs to the top again and uses the moonsault. Muta covers and the referee counts to 3 to end the match.

The Great Muta vs. Power Warrior

This is from January 4, 1997 at the Tokyo Dome. This show saw the battle of the alter egos of Keiji Muto and Kensuke Sasaki. Too bad this wasn’t a Muto vs. Kensuke match because this match was not good. There was too much stalling to the point where I didn’t care too much for the action. It seemed the crowd was the same way because they did not respond much until the end. Muta used a piledriver through a table on Power. Muta buried Power under many chairs, but Power got up to attack Muta. Power looked like he was going to piledrive Muta through a table. Instead, he just dropped Muta face first on the table. A few minutes later Muta did his ramp spring lariat.

In a creative spot, Muta went for the mist attack. However, Power had a chair in his hands and blocked it with the chair. He proceeded to nail Muta with that chair. When Muta did succeed with the mist attack after the powerbomb, it was done to where no one could see because of the short distance between them. Muta put a table on the mat, placed Kensuke on the second-turnbuckle and used a hurricanrana on the table. Muta tried to moonsault Kensuke on the grounded table, but Kensuke got of the way and Muta hit the table. Kensuke picked Muta up and used the Northern Lights Bomb on the table for the pin.

After the match aired on the tape, there was a behind the scenes extra of the mini-movie made for this anthology. It seems that the movie was made in September 1993 in Los Angeles, California at a special effects studio. They did more filming in 1994 for the demonic version of Muta. We get to see Keiji Muto look at the monster costume that would rival him, the stage they would use, the demonic version of Muta and other stuff like that. Also, we get to see Muto put on the face paint to become Great Muta. It was a cool little extra to watch.

Final Thoughts: The quality of the Muta Anthology took a nosedive from Volume 2 to Volume 3. Muta vs. Hakushi was easily the best match on here. There was plenty of bizarreness from the match, and Hakushi worked hard to make the match work. Muta vs. Kabuki had plenty of blood, and wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The novelty of Keiji Muto becoming The Great Muta within the match was cool as well. The matches with Power Warrior and Chono were just too slow for my liking. The only match that I could recommend from this tape is Muta vs. Hakushi. Not a must-see match, but something that is different enough to check out. Everything else is not worth checking out.

Final Score: 5.0 [Not So Good]

Ryan Mancuso can be reached at

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