Pro Wrestling NOAH
Muta The World
June 27, 2021
NOAH Studio
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: FITE

GREAT MUTA IS WRESTLING! GET READY FOR ME TO DROP THOSE STAR RATINGS!!!! “Ahem” possibly not. Real talk, I know, and concede I’ve been extremely generous with most of my Mutoh ratings. I don’t apologize, and I defend them, maybe more than I definitely should. That said I sincerely don’t know what to expect going into this match. Great Muta always gets presented differently than Mutoh and I have no idea if I’m going to get into it tonight. I’m going to enjoy rooting for Kenoh but I have major doubts he’ll win. With that said to pretend I’m not intrigued to a certain degree would be a bigger lie than “Oh yeah, I’ll totally listen to your podcast this weekend, honest”. I apologize to at least more than ten of you out there after that confession.

Truth be told I think this card has quite a bit of fun on it. I’m really looking forward to having a good time. We got a good mix of matches, we got a junior title defense, a semi-main tag that could legit be excellent, then we got the main event that’s going to be… something. It’s Muta The World, I am your Magic Writing Girl, and enough jibber jabbing let us get to the review! Wrestling awaits!

Yoshiki Inamura def. Kinya Okada

Come on, you know I’m going to be into this if you’ve been reading my reviews. It’s a bit over ten minutes, and it’s a pretty straightforward and a basic format match, but solidly wrestled, makes sense, and gives you what you expect. Okada hits some hard kicks, Inamura gets to use his power, both have moments of giving and taking, and in the end, I thought this was a good opener. A solid three-star affair and not in the “I’m being generous” mold. Inamura, that impress slab of beef, hits a nice hard running shoulder tackle at one point I would’ve totally been fine with the finish. Not something I often say but Inamura hits a goo done, and I wouldn’t of mine. Not much more I can say. Solid, straightforward, short, I liked it. ***

Kotaro Suzuki, Ikuto Hidaka def. Kai Fujimura, Yasutaka Yano

Again straight forward, simple, solid. I’m a broken record here. I love watching young wrestlers develop. Fujimura has an excellent dropkick he hits on Suzuki in this match and it’s probably the one spotlight of this match I can give. The truth is this match was fine for what it wanted to be which is a nice way of saying “Nothing great, but they didn’t do anything wrong.” which isn’t me being mean. It just means nothing really stuck with me in this match, but if you want to be someone who watches the development of Fujimura and Yano in full by all means watch. Their futures are bright and I can’t wait until they fully blossom. **1/2

Shuhei Taniguchi def. Muhammad Yone, Akitoshi Saito & Masao Inoue

FUNK! The prize for winning this four-way is to be declared the king of the Funky Express. It’s the elimination, so the last man standing gets the keys to the throne, and becomes king. Not leader, king. Get that right. Also, why can’t a Muhammad Yone Chia Pet exist? Okay, the actual match. The truth and reality are, while I always admit Funky Express is a guilty pleasure of mine, it is a rare point in time when I can look at a match involving them and go “you need to check this out. This is not one of those rare points in time. It’s . . okay. I guess I might have enjoyed it a bit when it got down to Saito versus Taniguchi but I think that might just be me being ridiculously nice. In fact, I did get myself into “please end the match” territory as they wrestled. Not much to this, unless you are really invested in who ends up king. Skip this. Correct call at least. Long may Taniguchi reign I suppose. **

YO-HEY, NOSAWA & Eita def. Yoshinari Ogawa, Seiki Yoshioka & Yoya Susumu

This, this I could end up liking. AND BAM OGAWA AND EITA LIGHT THINGS THE HELL UP. They alone bring the energy of this show up in just a matter of moments of going straight at each other at the early moments in this match and I was all in on it. Ogawa in general is awesome and I enjoyed him in this match. At one point he goes on a body slam frenzy and I absolutely love it. Ogawa freaking rules. Everyone works well and this is an overall good match, the most energized thing on the show at this point., a different feel of urgency. After the fifteen-minute mark, Yoshioka and YO-HEY have an awesome spirited stretch with each other, it’s fast, hard-hitting, and awesome. To reiterate, they are fast. This is just very damn good wrestling, especially the closing stretch with Yoshioka/YO-HEY (plus appearances of the other team members) and it felt far better than anything else on the show so far. *** 1/2

Katshuiko Nakajima, Manabu Soya, Haoh, Nioh & Tadasuke def. Masa Kitamiya, Kaito Kiyomiya, Daisuke Harada, Hajime Ohara & Junta Miyawaki

Kaito Kiyomiya/Soya interactions were really good and I was into them. Let’s not lie to each other, you want more Kitamiya and Nakajima and you get it, and it’s awesome, and they go at each other with that energetic grudge vibes still in effect. We get another Kitamiya hard headbutt, and yes it draws blood, and yes it makes me cringe. Those are the highlights, but that’s not to demean everyone else in this match who does a good job of carrying their ends of the bargain as well. This is a damn good multi-man match and this along with the previous match picked the show up. Again, Nakajima versus Kitamiya interactions are the highlight and my favorite thing in the match but overall you won’t do wrong with this match as a whole. Good work didn’t feel long, and the action kept going. Oh and bald Nakajima? Yeah, he can stay around for a while.  ***1/2

Post-match Kitamiya and Nakajima continue to debate each other… through physical interaction. Tadasuke  (Along with Haoh) challenges Ohara and Harada. While not officially accepted, this will probably be the direction.

GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship
HAYATA def. Atsushi Kotoge (c)

While I’m not the biggest HAYATA fan (not even close) I went into this match with a clear mind and a willingness to be fair in how I viewed this match. The very first ten minutes are pretty damn slow and I found uninspiring. I was borderline bored. When HAYATA was able to take charge after Kotoge’s dominance ended, can’t believe I’m saying this, things got better. Kotoge also comes to life a bit more after the ten-minute mark and the match felt it had some urgency from both competitors. Things start to pick up and began to chip away at my annoyance of the first ten minutes of the match that was causing me to sink into the bog of uninterestedness.

While in the first ten minutes the match felt like “Okay let waste time until we got to actually put forth effort” everything after that had urgency and felt as if both men understood the importance of what was at stake. Kotoge dominated a lot of the match but HAYATA always came back with enough offense/counters/answers to feel like he was in the match and had an equal chance. HAYATA hit his big moves. The moonsault, which only got two, and tried to hit headache but got caught in a Styles Clash in a very good spot. He hits it soon after but not even Headache was enough to finish the champion. I bite into the killswitch being the finish by Kotoge and it is not. I then confessed to myself I’m digging this match now. You can recover from unimpressive starts, and it was a testament to them they did so. It takes two high elevation DDTS but HAYATA ends up winning the title and I’m not even mad. In fact, congrats to both men for taking a match I was quickly falling out of interest in, winning it back, and then winning me over completely. This was very damn Good. Capital  G. I can’t put it in the four range due to my dislike for the first ten, but they battled back and in the end, I’m glad I watched this. “applauds”. *** 3/4

Naomichi Marafuji & Masato Tanaka defeated Takashi Sugiura & Kazushi Sakuraba

A precursor tag for Marafuji defending against Sugiura in the near future. In a match like this, the objective should be you’ll want to see the title defense coming up. The interactions between Marafuji and Sugiura should be enough to hook you, but not enough that you get your fill before they even lock up. That is the objective, anything Tanaka and Sakuraba are able to achieve in this match is a bonus that enhances. I almost want to apologize for the first ten minutes of the previous match. The first ten minutes of this match had me zoning out and looking up the history of bridge collapses. No, I don’t know why I choose that.

Like the previous match thankfully, after the ten-minute mark things pick up, in particular, Tanaka kicks things up a notch to get the match proper going. We get some spirited forearm smashes with Sugiura and Tanaka and it fucking ruled. It ruled so hard. In fact, this match makes me want to see Sugiura and Tanaka go at it one on one in the future from that forearm smash battle alone. We’d eventually get back to the Sugiura/Marafuji interactions that are needed to get our interest invested. They had some good back and forth with each other. They gave us some good well-worked exchanges but at the same time didn’t go overboard with stuff they can save for the big singles match. The match started to get much better than I thought it was going to be. .and then Marafuji got a roll-up pin to win the match. Not the call I would’ve gone with. Would’ve given Sugiura a good pinfall to plant seeds into the minds of fans he could be the next GHC Heavyweight Champion and that Marafuji would need to up his game to prevent it from happening. My disagreement from the ending aside, the match was similar to the first match in which it won me back from the brink of not giving a damn. Kudos. ***1/2

The Great Muta def. Kenoh

How the hell do I rate this? I feel my teenage memories battling against my adulthood of grim reality. Okay, let me get what I want to write out of the way immediately. Kenoh lit his leg on fire and then kicked The Great Muta. Let me write that in all caps. KENOH LIT HIS LEG ON FIRE AND KICKED THE GREAT MUTA. I loved that spot. Kenoh rules. I loved that Kenoh clearly worked his ass off to work around Muta’s limitations and make this match a worthwhile main event. Kenoh is great, and he did everything he could. The biggest problem though isn’t Muta’s limitations. And this is one of those arguments that’s going to make me sound awful. I needed MORE violence. Muta wanted to make Kenoh bleed, wanted to kill him. Yes I know that’s figurative and not literally, but the point is we got choking, we got mist, we got two fire spots (Muta flash papered Kenoh but it wasn’t as good as KENOH LIGHTING HIS LEG ON FIRE! OKAY IT WAS HIS KICK PAD BUT STILL). We got Muta stalling, we got Muta choking, we got a chair introduced. We needed things kicked up a notch, a higher level. I needed a different level of intensity, malice, cruelty. What we got was this match, and Kenoh lighting his leg on fire.

Kenoh worked his ass off though. He did. I knew he wouldn’t win. In fact, (this is the absolute truth), I had already written Great Muta defeated Kenoh before the match even started. I wanted Kenoh to win, but I really knew they weren’t going to have The Great Muta wrestle on a show name after him, and then proceed to give him the loss. When he was champion, which is a whole other debate obviously, I could defend him winning because I felt he needed a few wins before someone dethroned him for good. Under this gimmick, and with no title, having Kenoh defeat him was the right call in my eyes. Wrestling and right calls though go together like Millenials and homeownership, it’s a nice dream but rarely accomplished.  I repeat, Kenoh lit his leg on fire and kicked The Great Muta though. If you get nothing else out of this match, just know that fact. I often rated Mutoh matches higher than most, and perhaps if I critique myself that was with nostalgia/rose-colored glasses. That’s a self-call out, hell I’ve been indirectly called out for it. Fair, valid, I own it. Here though, even with those glasses, I can’t go too high. Kenoh worked his butt off though and I won’t punish that.

This is the most blatant Lady’s three you’ll ever see me give anything. It probably doesn’t deserve it, but they belong to Kenoh, he deserved this damn victory, my three stars do nothing for him, but at least he gets something. ***

Final Thoughts

Four matches in the high three stars range. That’s…. not bad. It makes for good viewing, and it made me happy. Nothing amazing, nothing I’ll revisit at the end of the year, but it made for a good morning. It took a moment of Mutoh being Muta once more, but the nostalgia glasses have finally fallen off my face and shattered. I enjoyed things about the match, but all those things I enjoyed were because of Kenoh. I needed more violence, I needed a bit more time, I needed some blood (yes, that sounds barbaric I own it) I needed… something. Kenoh tried to give it to me, and I’m a softy and I frivolously reward him for it. He lit his leg on fire and kicked The Great Muta, it’s a cool moment, but that alone does not make a great match.