The Great Muta vs. Sting
March 21, 1991
Starrcade 1991 in Tokyo Dome

Reviewed by Joe Gagne (VOW Author Page / Five Star Match Game)

Gifted by Reuel Castillo (VOW Author Page / @CapoCastillo)

I’m guessing this was gifted due to Keiji Mutoh hanging it up in 2023 and Sting’s retirement just a few months away. When these two feuded over the NWA TV title in 1989, you got the sense they could be lifetime main event rivals if only they didn’t work in (a) different companies and (b) different continents. They did always seem to find their way back to each other eventually, whether it was on Japan supershows, latter-day WCW, or one of Mutoh’s final matches in NOAH.

A bit of background on this show – it was a combined New Japan/WCW show at the Tokyo Dome that actually aired in edited form on U.S. PPV. It wasn’t an inconsequential show either, as the Steiner brothers won the IWGP tag titles and the controversial finish to the Ric Flair/Tatsumi Fujinami main event lead to a rematch at the inaugural Superbrawl. It was a tantalizing look at Japanese wrestling at the time, wrestling that was more physical than anything we were seeing in the states. I wanted to see more but it never even occurred to me that was possible. It may as well have taken place in another dimension.

Muta vaults into the ring and it’s a reminder of how athletic and crisp he used to be, especially after two plus decades of no-knees-bald-Shining-Wizard Keiji Mutoh. Sting is donned in his patriotic Great American Bash ’90 gear, his best look, and I will not hear any arguments at this time.

It’s not a great match (it’s too short but oddly still has some dead spots), but it is a lot of fun. There’s a real reckless energy to both guys. Sting gorilla presses Muta to the floor and follows up with a barely in control dive to the floor. Muta takes a monkey flip on his face. Sting hits a crazy top rope backdrop suplex. Sting misses a graceless elbowdrop (I think?). Finally Muta mists Sting during a Stinger splash attempt and hits a twisting crossbody for the win.

Afterwards Sting attacks Muta and puts him in the Scorpion Deathlock and the crowd boos him. Poor guy can’t win. I swear I remember an article (possibly in PWI Weekly) where Sting said he was disappointed in Muta for using the mist. But given Sting was turned on and beat up multiple times in his career this seems a minor transgression.

As for who gifted this to me, I’ll say Jesse Collings, since he and I did some audio on the Stinger this year.