The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh and Shiro Koshinaka vs. Nobuhiko Takada and Akira Maeda
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Challenge on March 20th, 1987

Event: New Japan Pro Wrestling
Location: Tokyo Korakuen Hall
Attendance: Unknown 

This match is for the vacant IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Koshinaka and Takada start things off. Koshinaka avoids Takada's kicks to start the match. Tie-up, arm drag takedown by Koshinaka and he applies a wristlock. Takada returns to his feet, kicks by Takada but Koshinaka backs off. Takada grabs Koshinaka's arm and tries to take him to the mat, but Koshinaka quickly get a foot on the ropes and Takada kicks him as he releases the hold. They get into a Test of Strength, and Takada suplexes Koshinaka. Back up, tie-up, and Koshinaka tags in Mutoh. Mutoh and Takada circle each other, Mutoh goes for a double leg takedown but Takada blocks it. Takada gets in the top position but Mutoh gets into the ropes and again Takada kicks Mutoh as he releases the hold. Mutoh goes for a kick but Takada gets out of the way. Takada lands a few kicks and pushes Mutoh back into his corner, tagging in Maeda. Maeda and Mutoh circle each other, Maeda grabs Mutoh's wrist and goes for a cross armbreaker, but Mutoh gets out of it and applies a cross kneelock. Maeda gets out of the hold, and Mutoh tags in Koshinaka. They trade kicks, Koshinaka goes off the ropes but Maeda catches his hip attack attempt and hits a German suplex. Cover by Maeda but Koshinaka kicks out. Snapmare by Maeda and he tags in Takada. Takada and Koshinaka trade chops, snapmare by Koshinaka and he applies a headscissors. Koshinaka tags in Mutoh, and Mutoh comes in the ring with a diving kneedrop. Mutoh grabs Takada's wrist but Takada applies a keylock. Mutoh gets out of the hold and applies a waistlock, but Takada shakes him off. Kicks by Takada but Mutoh avoids the spinning back kick and delivers a dropkick. Backdrop suplex by Mutoh, he picks up Takada and goes for a vertical suplex, but Takada blocks it and drops Mutoh onto the apron before kicking him down to the floor. Mutoh gets back on the apron but Takada kicks him again. Belly to belly suplex by Takada and he tags in Maeda. High kicks by Maeda and he hits a snap suplex. Cover, but it gets two. Maeda picks up Mutoh and delivers a capture suplex, but again he gets a two count. Maeda applies the crossface chickenwing, but Mutoh makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Back kick by Maeda but Mutoh lands in his corner and tags in Koshinaka.

Single leg takedown by Maeda and he tags in Takada. Vertical suplex by Takada and he gives Koshinaka a snapmare. Takada goes for the crossface chickenwing, but it is blocked. Takada applies the cross armbreaker, but Koshinaka gets a foot under the ropes. Takada picks up Koshinaka and delivers a series of kicks, scoop slam by Takada and he tags in Maeda. Maeda picks up Koshinaka and applies a side headlock, elbow by Maeda and he kicks Koshinaka into the corner. Koshinaka avoids the spinning back kick however and applies a crab hold, but Takada breaks it up. Belly to belly suplex by Maeda and he tags in Takada. Snapmare by Takada and he applies a cross kneelock. Koshinaka tags in Mutoh, Mutoh picks up Takada and delivers a vertical suplex. Irish whip by Mutoh into the corner and he goes for the Space Rolling Elbow, but Takada avoids it and tags in Maeda. Knees by Maeda and he kicks Mutoh, but Mutoh spins out of it. Tie-up, and Mutoh tags in Koshinaka. Koshinaka kicks Maeda and hits a backbreaker, he goes for a crab hold but Maeda makes it to the ropes. Knee by Maeda and he tags in Takada. Tombstone piledriver by Takada, cover, but it gets a two count. Takada applies the Scorpion Deathlock, but Koshinaka makes it to the ropes. Takada lets go and re-applies the hold, but again Koshinaka gets to the ropes to force a break. Takada picks up Koshinaka and floors him with a high kick, then a spinning back kick. Takada tags in Maeda, Maeda picks up Koshinaka and kicks him twice in the head. Back up, dragon suplex hold by Maeda but Mutoh quickly breaks it up. Irish whip by Maeda to Koshinaka and he floors him with a jumping heel kick, cover, but Mutoh breaks it up. Maeda tags in Takada, running kick by Takada and a cover, but Koshinaka kicks out. Takada chops Koshinaka but Koshinaka rolls him up in a small package for a two count. Koshinaka tags in Mutoh, dropkick by Mutoh, backbreaker, and he nails the moonsault. Cover, but Takada barely gets a shoulder up. Mutoh and Koshinaka drop Takada with a spike piledriver, cover by Mutoh but it gets a two count. Mutoh grabs Takada, Takada kicks him back but Mutoh quickly tags in Koshinaka. Irish whip by Koshinaka but Takada avoids the dropkick and tags in Maeda. Maeda picks up Koshinaka and throws him into the corner before hitting a hiptoss followed by a jumping heel kick. Backslide by Koshinaka, but it only gets two. Maeda tags in Takada, backdrop suplex by Takada to Koshinaka but it gets a two count. Mutoh runs in but Takada throws him out of the ring, but Koshinaka quickly rolls up Takada and picks up the three count! Your winners and new champions: Keiji Mutoh and Shiro Koshinaka

Match Thoughts: Really good match, admittedly I am not really into shoot-style but this was presented as mostly a traditional pro wrestling match. I didn't mind the win coming across as a fluke because Koshinaka had been a Jr. Heavyweight wrestler up to this point and Mutoh was still relatively young, and it popped the crowd pretty nice since no one was really expecting it. I actually liked that team UWF was beaten in a very pro-wrestling way.... Mutoh distracts Takada, and Koshinaka rolls up Takada before he could really get his mind back onto the legal man. The action was generally solid, the strikes were crisp and the submission holds for the most part were made to look dangerous. It took the match awhile to get going, as it really didn't start rolling until the control segment on Mutoh, but from there on out it was a pretty hard hitting and entertaining match. Not a classic or anything but definitely worth watching, plus it has historical value as this was Mutoh's first IWGP championship. Score: 7.0

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