Keiji Muto is a Japanese retired professional wrestler and professional wrestling executive.
112 Facts About Keiji Muto
Keiji Muto is known for his work as The Great Muta in World Championship Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling during the 1980s and 1990s, and from his runs in other Japanese, American, Puerto Rican, and Mexican promotions.
Keiji Muto was the president of All Japan Pro Wrestling from 2002 to 2013 and representative director of Wrestle-1 from 2013 to 2020.
Keiji Muto took part in what was generally considered to be one of the bloodiest professional wrestling matches at the time against Hiroshi Hase, leading to the creation of the "Muta scale", which rates the bloodiness of matches relative to this one's 1.0 value.
Keiji Muto is one of the five wrestlers to win the three major championships of puroresu with Kensuke Sasaki, Yoshihiro Takayama, Satoshi Kojima, and Yuji Nagata.
Keiji Muto held the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, making him an overall nine-time world champion.
Keiji Muto is a 13-time world tag team champion: five AJPW World Tag Team Championships, six IWGP Tag Team Championships, one GHC Tag Team Championship, and one WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Keiji Muto made special appearances for the American promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling from 2014 to 2019, as part of a talent exchange with W-1.
In June 2022, Keiji Muto announced that he would retire in 2023.
Later in 2023, Keiji Muto was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Keiji Muto was an accomplished amateur wrestler and a judo black belt with experience in many national competitions prior to being trained by Hiro Matsuda in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dojo.
Keiji Muto debuted on October 5,1984, against Masahiro Chono.
In 1985, Keiji Muto was sent on his first learning excursion to the United States.
Primarily wrestling in Championship Wrestling from Florida as the "White Ninja", Keiji Muto teamed with Kendo Nagasaki.
Keiji Muto returned to New Japan in 1986, where he was nicknamed "Space Lone Wolf", a space-age type character that was briefly revived in 2005 by NOSAWA Rongai.
In March 1987, Keiji Muto won the IWGP Tag Team Championship with Shiro Koshinaka, before losing the titles to Akira Maeda and Nobuhiko Takada six days later.
In January 1988, Keiji Muto went on another excursion, this time in Puerto Rico for the Capitol Sports Promotions under his new ring name, "The Super Black Ninja".
Keiji Muto first appeared as "Great Mota" in the NWA's World Championship Wrestling territory on the March 18,1989, edition of Saturday Night.
Keiji Muto eventually lost the championship to Arn Anderson on January 2,1990, which aired on the January 12,1990, edition of Power Hour, and some time after the Clash of the Champions X on February 6, Keiji Muto would return to New Japan, going between his real name and his Muta gimmick as he pleased.
Keiji Muto quickly rose in the ranks upon returning to New Japan in March 1990.
Keiji Muto revived his Great Muta moniker at the WCW and NJPW-jointly promoted Starrcade in Tokyo Dome event on March 21,1991, where he defeated Sting.
Keiji Muto lost to Scott Norton but defeated Tatsumi Fujinami and Big Van Vader in his block to advance to the final against Chono, which turned out to be an epic thirty-minute match in which Muto was bested by Chono and, together with Hashimoto, the three celebrated in the ring, then afterwards they were officially labeled "The Three Musketeers" of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
In October, Keiji Muto paired with Hiroshi Hase to participate in the 1991 Super Tag League, where they lost three of their tournament matches and won three, narrowly missing the chance to qualify for the knockout stage.
On January 4,1992, Keiji Muto headlined the Super Warriors in Tokyo Dome event as Great Muta by teaming with Sting for the first time ever to defeat The Steiner Brothers at the Tokyo Dome.
Keiji Muto participated in the 1992 G1 Climax for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Barry Windham in the opening round in Shizuoka on August 6 and Steve Austin in the quarterfinals on August 10, before losing to the eventual winner Masahiro Chono in the semi-finals on August 11.
Keiji Muto resumed teaming with Hiroshi Hase in the fall of 1993 and the duo wrestled the Steiner Brothers in a losing effort at Battlefield on January 4,1994.
Keiji Muto successfully defended the title against Hiroyoshi Tenzan on June 14 and Hawk Warrior on July 13, before winning the G1 Climax in August, beating Hashimoto in the finals to become the first of two men to win the G1 Climax as IWGP Heavyweight Champion as Kensuke Sasaki would achieve this feat in 2000.
Keiji Muto held the IWGP title throughout the rest of the year.
Keiji Muto finally lost the title to Takada at Wrestling World on January 4,1996.
The latter half of 1996 had Keiji Muto pitted against Masahiro Chono's Ookami Gundan, which eventually blossomed into a war with the Chono-led nWo Japan.
Keiji Muto further raised confusion by playing both sides of the feud; fighting as a member of New Japan under his real name, and as The Great Muta in nWo Japan, before being The Great Muta full-time for several months in 1997.
The full turn came in September 1997, when Keiji Muto, after teasing a turn on his nWo teammates, double-crossed Kensuke Sasaki and Kazuo Yamazaki, sealing away the Muta name and formally joining nWo Japan as himself.
On January 4,1998, Keiji Muto headlined Final Power Hall in Tokyo Dome as he unsuccessfully challenged Kensuke Sasaki for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Towards the end of 1998, Keiji Muto took the leadership of nWo Japan, after Chono suffered a neck injury and was out of action, turning the nWo into a face stable.
At Wrestling World on January 4,1999, Keiji Muto defeated one of Chono's right-hand men, Scott Norton to win his third IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Keiji Muto successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Kensuke Sasaki at St Valentine's Day Massacre, Team 2000 member Don Frye at Strong Style Symphony, Genichiro Tenryu on May 5 and Satoshi Kojima on July 20.
The war between Chono and Keiji Muto was lost by Keiji Muto at the 2000 Wrestling World event as he was defeated by Chono.
Keiji Muto took an extended hiatus to rehabilitate his damaged knees after that, focusing instead on one last run in America for WCW, thus marking the dissolution of nWo Japan as it merged into Chono's Team 2000.
Shortly after, Keiji Muto began appearing for All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he debuted at King's Road New Century by defeating Taiyo Kea.
Keiji Muto would begin appearing in both New Japan and on a part-time basis All Japan, which led to Keiji Muto creating a new stable with Don Frye and Shinjiro Otani which later came to be known as BATT.
At Super Force Group Declaration, Keiji Muto defeated Hiroshi Hase, then a member of All Japan, which led to Hase joining BATT as well.
Keiji Muto wrestled his last match as a member of the New Japan roster at Wrestling World on January 4,2002, where he alongside his teammate Hiroshi Hase defeated Osamu Nishimura and Tatsumi Fujinami.
Less than a month later Keiji Muto teamed with Saito in the Pat O'Connor Memorial Tag-Team Tournament at Starrcade.
Keiji Muto was entered into a match with United States Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger to determine the Number One Contender for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Keiji Muto went on to wrestle several house shows that month before returning to Japan.
Keiji Muto finished out his short run facing Larry Zybysko on successive house shows, then returned to New Japan.
Keiji Muto wrestled Sting again on the house show circuit, as well as Steve Austin.
Keiji Muto returned to WCW on May 21,1995, to defeat Paul Orndorff at Slamboree '95.
Keiji Muto returned to television on the July 11,2000, episode of Thunder and teamed with The Jung Dragons against Three Count and Tank Abbott.
Keiji Muto won the WCW World Tag-Team Championship with Vampiro at New Blood Rising against KroniK.
On January 11,2002, following the end of a year-long cross-promotional angle with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Keiji Muto shocked the Japanese wrestling world by defecting to All-Japan as a full-time competitor, taking Satoshi Kojima and Kendo Kashin with him.
Three days later, at Grand Champion Carnival, Keiji Muto faced Genichiro Tenryu in a match for the vacant Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship after Kawada was forced to vacate the title due to injury.
Keiji Muto then entered the Real World Tag League alongside Animal Warrior but failed to advance in the tournament.
Shortly after his title loss, Keiji Muto entered the 2003 Champion Carnival, defeating John Tenta in the quarter-final but lost to Arashi in the semi-final.
Keiji Muto found success in 2004 by entering that year's Champion Carnival, which he won by defeating Takao Omori in the semi-final and Kensuke Sasaki in the final on April 20.
Keiji Muto picked up a major win against Osamu Nishimura at Battle Banquet.
In November, Keiji Muto teamed with Nishimura to participate in the 2004 Real World Tag League but could not advance in their block.
In 2005, Keiji Muto defeated his pupil Hiroshi Tanahashi of NJPW at Realize.
In November, Keiji Muto teamed with Akebono as they entered the 2005 Real World Tag League, making it to the final against Team 3D, which they lost.
On March 10,2006, Keiji Muto revived his Great Muta moniker as he unsuccessfully challenged Satoshi Kojima for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.
Keiji Muto failed in the 2006 Champion Carnival and continued his feud with Voodoo Murders throughout the year.
Keiji Muto made his British debut on January 12,2007, wrestling for Real Quality Wrestling at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, England, where he defeated RQW Heavyweight Champion Martin Stone in a non-title match.
In March, Keiji Muto participated in the 2007 Champion Carnival, competing in Block A and finishing with 6 points total; Keiji Muto defeated Toshiaki Kawada in the finals on March 30, winning the tournament for a third time.
At Pro-Wrestling Love In Yokohama, Keiji Muto unsuccessfully challenged Minoru Suzuki for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.
Keiji Muto had won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in NJPW earlier in 2008 and successfully defended the title in All Japan against Hirooki Goto at Pro-Wrestling Love in Ryogoku Vol.
Keiji Muto closed out the year with an unsuccessful stint in the 2008 Real World Tag League alongside Ryota Hama.
Keiji Muto would spend the entire year representing All Japan in matches against Voodoo Murders, Tokyo Gurentai and F4.
In November, Keiji Muto teamed with Masakatsu Funaki to participate in the 2009 Real World Tag League.
Keiji Muto returned to All Japan as Great Muta at Pro-Wrestling Love in Ryogoku Vol.
At All Together, Keiji Muto teamed with Kenta Kobashi to defeat Takashi Iizuka and Toru Yano in a tag team match.
On June 7,2011, Keiji Muto announced his resignation as the president of All Japan Pro Wrestling, remaining in the promotion as an active wrestler and a member of the Supervisory Board.
Keiji Muto's decision stemmed from a real-life incident where Yoshikazu Taru assaulted Nobukazu Hirai backstage at an All Japan Pro Wrestling show, which led to Hirai suffering a stroke after competing in a match.
Keiji Muto took the blame for the incident, which led to All Japan suspending not only Taru, but Kazuhiko Masada, Masayuki Kono and Minoru Tanaka who were present when the attack took place.
Keiji Muto reunited with Kenta Kobashi at All Together to defeat Akiyama and Takao Omori.
Keiji Muto returned to NJPW as a member of the All Japan roster at Wrestling World on January 4,2004, to team with Bob Sapp to defeat Cho-Ten.
Keiji Muto would wrestle only one match for NJPW in 2005 at Nexess VI, where he defeated Ron Waterman.
Keiji Muto then appeared at Wrestle Kingdom I in 2007 where he reunited with former partner and rival Masahiro Chono to defeat Tencozy in a "Super Dream Tag match" pitting NJPW and AJPW wrestlers together.
On January 4,2012, Keiji Muto made a return to New Japan at Wrestle Kingdom VI in Tokyo Dome, where he defeated Tetsuya Naito in a singles match.
Keiji Muto returned to New Japan again a year later at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in Tokyo Dome, now working as The Great Muta in a tag team match, where he and Toru Yano defeated Suzuki-gun.
On February 19,2020 Keiji Muto made an appearance at the Tiger Hattori Retirement Show, appearing alongside fellow NJPW alumni Riki Choshu, The Great Kabuki, and Hiroshi Hase.
On January 4,2023, at Wrestle Kingdom 17 night 1, Keiji Muto competed in his final NJPW match, teaming with Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shota Umino to defeat Los Ingobernables de Japon.
In 2007, while Keiji Muto was in Orlando, Florida, in order to establish a working agreement between All Japan and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, he made an appearance for the company, under his Great Muta gimmick, at the Destination X pay-per-view, in a segment with Christian Cage.
In February 2009 Keiji Muto was featured in multiple interview segments, taped in Japan, where he spoke of his student Akira Raijin, who had just begun working for TNA.
On July 10,2013, Keiji Muto announced the foundation of a promotion named Wrestle-1, bringing over many of the former wrestlers of All Japan Pro-Wrestling that left in June.
On March 2,2014, Keiji Muto put his career on the line at Kaisen: Outbreak, Wrestle-1's first event in Ryogoku Kokugikan.
On September 22, Keiji Muto suffered his first direct loss since March 2012, when he was submitted by Masayuki Kono in a four-on-three handicap match, where he and the Novus stable faced the Desperado stable.
On March 27,2017, Keiji Muto announced he was stepping down as the president of Wrestle-1 with Kaz Hayashi taking over the position.
On November 9,2019, Keiji Muto made a surprise special appearance at All Elite Wrestling's Full Gear as one of the judges for the AEW World Championship match, in the event of a draw.
On February 12,2021, Keiji Muto successfully won the GHC Heavyweight Championship in a match against Go Shiozaki at Pro Wrestling Noah's Destination 2021 event in Nippon Budokan.
Keiji Muto made another successful defense against Masa Kitamiya on April 29 at Noah: The Glory 2021.
On June 12,2022, at CyberFight Festival 2022, Keiji Muto announced his intention to retire from professional wrestling in 2023.
At the event, Nakamura defeated Keiji Muto, who was wrestling under his Great Muta persona.
On January 22,2023, at The Great Muta Final "Bye-Bye", Keiji Muto wrestled his last match under his Great Muta persona, teaming with Sting and Darby Allin to defeat Hakushi, Akira and Naomichi Marufuji.
Keiji Muto innovated the Muta Lock, named after him, and the Shining Wizard.
Keiji Muto is known for using the Figure-four leglock and the Moonsault as finishing moves as well as the Asian mist.
Keiji Muto was originally billed as the son of Japanese wrestler Great Kabuki, who used a similar gimmick, but the connection is rarely mentioned nowadays.
Keiji Muto's appearance is highlighted by his lavish, exotical entrance costumes, which are taken off to reveal a horrifically painted face, later replaced by an organic-looking mask after Muto shaved his head.
Keiji Muto debuted it in Michinoku Pro Wrestling in 2001, but it later migrated with him to All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he used it when teaming with Shinzaki.
Keiji Muto finally completes it with Buddhist monk paraphernalia like carrying an ojuzu and meditating in the ring.
Keiji Muto had stated that NJPW founder Antonio Inoki insisted on wearing a helmet to the ring in order to attract sponsorship from a Japanese motorcycle helmet manufacturer.
Keiji Muto has appeared in a vast number of media appearances in Japan, including many commercials and films.
In 1995, Keiji Muto starred in the Japanese thriller Yajuu Densetsu: Dragon Blue, as Ryusaki, a suave detective who joins forces with a beautiful young spiritualist named Mazuki to solve a bizarre case of killings from a mystical sea creature.
Keiji Muto has worked extensively with Japanese clothing company A Bathing Ape, helping them to produce a number of t-shirts featuring his likeness and the All Japan Pro Wrestling logo.
Keiji Muto was responsible for organizing Bapesta Pro Wrestling, a previously annual wrestling event sponsored and promoted by Bape.
Keiji Muto appears as a gang member in the 2017 video game Yakuza Kiwami 2, alongside Genichiro Tenryu, Masahiro Chono, Riki Choshu and Tatsumi Fujinami.
Outside of professional wrestling, Keiji Muto owns a yakiniku restaurant, opened in 2015, called "Yakiniku Dining 610" which was inspired by Keiji Muto's early "Space Lone Wolf" gimmick.