The Great Muta in New Japan Vol. 2
review by Ryan Mancuso
Hello again, I am back with volume 2 of the Muta Anthology. It features Muta fighting Shinya Hashimoto, Hiroshi Hase, Masahiro Chono, Hulk Hogan and The Hellraisers. Let’s start this review:
Before the matches aired, another part of the mini-movie aired. This time Muta and the Lord Zedd look-a-like creature are fighting. Muta gains the early advantage, but the creature wins this battle when he beat Muta to the point where blood was coming out of his mouth. I think the monster just killed Muta. After that, another music video aired with highlights of Muta in action.
IWGP Heavyweight & Greatest 18 Club Titles: The Great Muta © vs. Shinya Hashimoto
This is from September 23, 1992 at the Yokohama Arena with Muta defending two titles against Hashimoto. While it was a solid match, but I felt it was also very disappointing. First, Muto (with or without paint) and Hashimoto have put on much better matches before. Also, I felt the match was not structured well. The match made you think it was going somewhere between 20 to 30 minutes with the way they were moving in the early portion of the match. When the finish happened less than 15 minutes, it felt abrupt. The one thing that I liked about the match was that they were able to tell a story about how Hashimoto kept preventing Muta from doing his heel tactics such as ducking the mist attack. Once Muta nailed Hashimoto with the mist, the match was his because he started to pick up the pace of his attacks. Muta retains his titles with the moonsault press.
The Great Muta vs. Hiroshi Hase
This is from December 14, 1992 at Osaka Prefectural Gym. This was the match that gave birth to the level of blood loss that a wrestler suffers in a match. It is known as the famous "Muta Scale." I thought the Hase blade jobs were insane, but Muta took it on another level. There was plenty of blood loss from Muta in this match. Muta wore red face paint before the match, came off during the match and looked like he put the red face paint back on by the end of the match. Hase's body was covered in Muta's blood. The ring mat looked like Muta was trying to paint a picture with his blood.
The blade job definitely added to the story of the match. This match was the culmination of the prior Muta vs. Hase showdowns where Hase was the one who got busted open badly. It was a simple story, but one that worked perfectly. This time Hase was more aggressive and was not going to allow Muta to get the jump on him. Hase would rake Muta's eyes over the ropes and push down the referee so that he could get a chair to nail Muta with. The blade job happened when Muta brought in the instrument used to tighten the ring ropes when setting up the ring. Muta dropped the weapon and Hase got it. Hase nailed Muta with it, and blood was pouring everywhere. The drama of the match was so great that Muta being repetitive with his moves actually added to the match. It gave the match a sense of desperation from Muta in that if this one move is working then why try anything else. After some close nearfalls, Muta got the victory when he used the moonsault. After the match, Muta and Chono made a silent agreement for a double title match at the January 4, 1993 Tokyo Dome show with the IWGP and NWA World Heavyweight titles on the line.
IWGP Heavyweight Title and NWA World Heavyweight Title: The Great Muta © vs. Masahiro Chono ©
This is from January 4, 1993 at the Tokyo Dome. This was the third Japan Supershow that aired on US PPV for WCW. By the way, the NWA World Heavyweight Title belt in 1993 was not the belt that is currently used in TNA. Instead, the belt they used was the big gold belt that Flair wore many times and the World Heavyweight Title currently used on Smackdown. This was a good match with a forgettable first half, but a great second half. Plenty of use of the entrance ramp where Muta using his ramp sprint lariat for the first time. Muta would take Chono down with a face buster. Then, he would walk to close the entrance way and sprint towards Chono with a lariat. They continued use with the ramp when Muta suplexed Chono on the ramp. Muta put Chono on the ropes and went for a handspring elbow on the ramp. However, Chono moved out of the way. The final ramp use was Chono folding Muta's neck like an accordion with a backdrop suplex. The end had plenty of nearfalls with big moves like Chono's STF and Muta’s moonsault getting a lot of heat. Muta won both titles when he used two consecutive moonsaults for the victory.
The Great Muta vs. Hulk Hogan
This was from May 3, 1993 at the Fukuoka Dome. This was a controversial match because Hulk Hogan did this match as WWE Champion. WWE’s top rival WCW had a very healthy relationship with New Japan during the 1990’s. As you can imagine, they were not too happy seeing their champion wearing their belt and wrestling on a show for an ally of their rivals. Hogan did not make things better when he did an interview on New Japan TV where he said the IWGP Heavyweight Title was more prestigious than the WWE Title.
This match was very different from most Hulk Hogan matches. For those who have seen Hogan wrestling in Japan, they know what I am talking about. For those who haven’t, Hogan wrestles a lot different. First, Hogan is not afraid to take it on the mat and actually wrestle. It may not be the best mat wrestling you have ever seen, but it is refreshing to see him try it. Another thing is that Hogan in Japan usually does moves that you never see him do. He was doing a vertical suplex and backdrop suplex. I have to admit that I popped big time when I saw him do an enzuigiri in this match. Finally, Hogan uses a different finish in Japan. Ever since Hogan KO’ed Antonio Inoki with the Axe Bomber in 1983, it has been his finisher in Japan. It is not the legdrop that finishes opponents off, but the Axe Bomber.
This was a really fun match with Hogan doing stuff I had never seen him do before. I have to admit that I was always curious as to how a Muta vs. Hogan match would go down. As far as match quality goes, the Hase and Chono matches on this volume were much better than this one. There are occasions when something is so unique or bizarre that I want to do play-by-play over a higher quality match. On this tape, this match is one of those occasions. Here is my play-by-play:
As soon as the bell rang, Muta sprayed the green mist. He gave the throat slash gesture, thumbs down and the middle finger. Hogan showed off some rare wrestling skills because he took down Muta with an arm scissors. Muta exited the ring and surprised with what Hogan showed. Muta reentered the ring, and Hogan took him down again with a drop toehold. They had a test of strength with Hogan using an armbar. Muta backs Hogan into the corner, and drives his shoulder into Hogan’s midsection. Muta backed off and even took a swipe at Hogan’s manager, Jimmy Hart. Hogan backed Muta into the corner and gave him some payback with the shoulder. Hogan whipped Muta to the opposite corner and charged in with a lariat. Hogan whipped Muta off the rope and went for an elbow. Muta rolled under the elbow and dropkicked Hogan. Muta connects with another dropkick and Hogan falls out of the ring.
Muta threatens to dive out, but Hogan moves away quickly. Hogan reenters and they tie up. Muta with an eye rake, snapmare and flash elbowdrop for a 2 count. Hogan stands back up and takes Muta down with a drop toehold. Hogan transitions into a hammerlock and rolls Muta on his back. Muta quickly escapes and exits the ring. Muta crawls under the ring and tries to surprise Hogan from the other side. However, Hogan turned around to make that attempted attack useless.
Muta reenters the ring. He kicks and chops at Hogan. They go on the floor and start brawling. Hogan picks Muta up and uses a vertical suplex on the floor. Hogan throws Muta over the guardrail and slams his head in the front row seats of the Fukuoka Dome. They get back over the guardrail, and Hogan uses a backdrop suplex on the floor. Hogan reenters the ring and yells "Ichiban!" to the crowd. Muta beats the referee's count and reenters the, but quickly rolls back to the floor.
Hogan follows out. He uses an eye rake and punches. Hogan tries to whip Muta into the ring post, but Muta reverses it and Hogan lands head first on the ring post. Hogan is back in the ring, and Muta rejoins him. He nails Hogan with the wooden hammer that rings the bells. Muta uses a snapmare and chinlock. Muta keeps the chinlock on for a while, but releases it so that he could throw Hogan on the ramp. Muta runs close to the entrance way. From there, he does a sprint where he catches Hogan with a lariat. The momentum knocks both men over the top rope and into the ring.
Muta sends Hogan to the corner, but Hogan comes back using a backrake. Hogan goes nuts with punches and eyerakes. Hogan goes for a kick, but Muta catches it. Hogan counters with an enzuigiri. Hogan covers, but Muta miraculously kicks out at 2. Hogan whips Muta into the corner, but Muta reverses it. He charges in with the handspring elbow. Muta sends Hogan down and climbs the top turnbuckle. Muta connects with the moonsault, but Hogan kicks out at 2. Muta dropkicks Hogan out of the ring. Muta sends Hogan into the guardrail.
Muta grabs the ladder used to set up the lighting. He climbs up the entrance ramp. From there, he swings off and nails Hogan with a kick. Muta picks up a chair and nails Hogan in back. Muta throws Hogan back into the ring. Muta tries to use the chair, but the referee is stopping. Hogan takes advantage by nailing Muta with the Axe Bomber. Hogan grabs the chair, but the referee tries to stop him. Hogan shoves the referee down and is about to nail Muta with it. However, Muta sprays Hogan with the mist.
Muta climbs the top turnbuckle and goes for a missile dropkick. Hogan moves out of the way. It seems that Hogan was not blinded by the mist because Muta got him in the chest more than the eyes. Hogan runs off the ropes and connects with his famous legdrop. Hogan covers, but Muta amazingly kicks out at 2. Hogan whips Muta off the ropes, and nails Muta with the Big Boot. Muta does not go down. Both men run off the ropes, and Hogan connects with the Axe Bomber again. Hogan covers and the referee counts 1, 2, 3! The match is over and Hogan wins.
The Great Muta & Hulk Hogan vs. The Hellraisers
This is from September 23, 1993 at the Yokohama Arena. This was a dream match with Muta and Hogan teaming up for the first time ever against one of the most dominant teams in New Japan at the time with The Hellraisers. Unfortunately, this dream match was not much. I was hoping for more brawling rather than just a run-of-the-mill tag match. It was weird seeing Hogan and Hawk take it to the mat. The big double team move from Hogan and Muta was them doing to the double Big Boot. Hogan got the win when used the Axe Bomber on Power Warrior.
Final Thoughts: Just like the first volume, I thought this was another good volume of the Muta Anthology. Muta vs. Hase was an excellent match. It was not just because of the blood, but it added to the match. Muta vs. Hase had lots of drama and a great backstory with Hase being the aggressive wrestler for once. Muta vs. Chono double title match was really good as well. I thought Muta vs. Hogan was a really fun match, but it may not be for everyone. Muta vs. Hashimoto was decent, but disappointing. Muta & Hogan vs. Hellraisers was the only match on there that I did not like at all. Overall, I would recommend checking this out with Muta vs. Hase being must see material.
Final Score: 7.0 [Good]
Ryan Mancuso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org