The Many
Faces of Mutoh
Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono vs. Shinya Hashimoto and Hiro Saito
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Challenge on April 27th, 1990

Event: New Japan Pro Wrestling TV Taping
Location: Tokyo Bay NK Hall in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
Announced Attendance:  Unknown

The crowd is really excited to see Mutoh after his long excursion to America. Mutoh and Hashimoto start things off. They circle each other to start, tie-up, Hashimoto pushes Mutoh into the ropes and he kicks him in the leg before backing off. Tie-up, side headlock by Mutoh, Hashimoto Irish whips out of it and they collide with no result. They go off the ropes again, Mutoh rolls away from Hashimoto and delivers a back kick. Mutoh tags in Chono, Chono and Hashimoto tie-up and they go into a Test of Strength. Hashimoto pushes Chono to the mat, he picks up Chono and applies an arm wringer. Hashimoto tags in Saito and Saito hits a pair of arm drags while keeping a hold on Chono's arm. Saito pushes Chono back into the corner, and he tags in Mutoh. Irish whip by Mutoh to Saito and he hits a back bodydrop. Cross kneelock by Mutoh, he tags in Chono, and Chono applies a single leg crab hold. Chono puts Saito's leg across the second rope and jumps down onto it, Chono pushes Saito into the corner but Saito rakes his eyes. Chops by Saito and he chokes Chono. Saito tags in Hashimoto, and Hashimoto stomps Chono in the chest. Hashimoto throws Chono into the corner and tells Mutoh to tag in. Mutoh does, tie-up, side headlock by Hashimoto but Mutoh muscles out of it. They grapple for position, arm wringer by Hashimoto and he kicks Hashimoto in the chest. Hashimoto goes off the ropes and forearms Mutoh into the corner. Hashimoto tags in Saito, stomps by Saito in the corner and he chops Mutoh in the chest. Irish whip by Saito and he hits a back bodydrop. Saito picks up Mutoh, Irish whip again and this time he delivers a dropkick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Saito picks up Mutoh and tags in Hashimoto, and they both slam Mutoh's knees into the mat. Mutoh rolls out of the ring to recover but returns after a moment, Hashimoto grabs Mutoh's leg and drops an elbow on it. Hashimoto twists on Mutoh's knee but Mutoh gets out of it with a kick to the face. Mutoh tags in Chono, and Chono kicks Hashimoto in the chest. More kicks by Chono and he applies a sleeper hold with a body scissors. Hashimoto slides out of the ring but Chono follows him out and kicks him before throwing him back in. Chono tags in Mutoh, double Irish whip to Hashimoto and they hit a double back elbow. Mutoh applies the Muta Lock to Hashimoto, but Saito quickly breaks it up. Cattle Mutilation by Mutoh but again Saito breaks it up. Mutoh tags in Chono, Irish whip by Chono but Hashimoto kicks him in the chest and tags in Saito. Chono kicks Saito as he charges in and goes for a suplex, Saito reverses it, but Chono lands on his feet and hits a pair of dropkicks. Irish whip by Chono and he hits another one, sending Saito out of the ring. Mutoh picks up Saito at ringside and slides him back into the ring. Chono rams Saito into the corner and makes the tag to Mutoh.

Snapmare by Mutoh, he goes off the ropes and hits the Flashing Elbow followed by a leg drop. Cover, but Saito kicks out at two. Mutoh picks up Saito, Irish whip, but Saito kicks Mutoh when he goes for a back bodydrop. Backdrop suplex by Saito, he picks up Mutoh, Irish whip, but Mutoh ducks the lariat and hits a dropkick. Mutoh tags in Chono, but Saito manages to tag in Hashimoto. Kicks to the chest by Hashimoto and he chops Chono to the mat. Hashimoto picks up Chono and hits a spinning back kick. Elbow drop by Hashimoto, cover, but it gets two. Hashimoto picks up Chono, he gets Chono on his shoulder and slams him to the mat. Cover, but Mutoh breaks it up. Hashimoto picks up Chono again and makes the tag to Saito. Side Russian leg sweep by Saito, cover, but it gets a two count. Saito picks up Chono and hits a scoop slam, another cover, but again Chono kicks out. Irish whip by Saito and he elbows Chono in the chest. Cover, but it is also unsuccessful. Saito tags in Hashimoto, and Hashimoto kicks Chono in the ribs. More kicks by Hashimoto and he points to Mutoh. Hashimoto picks up Chono and nails the jumping DDT. Hashimoto stares down onto Chono, he goes off the ropes but Chono catches him with a forearm strike. Both wrestlers are slow to get up, Hashimoto tags in Saito but Chono makes the hot tag to Mutoh. Mutoh comes off the top turnbuckle onto Saito, punches by Mutoh and he hits a jumping back kick. Mutoh then punches Hashimoto down in the corner, but Saito has recovered and hits the Saito Suplex. Cover, but Chono breaks it up. Inside Cradle by Saito, but it gets a two count. Saito goes for another suplex, but Mutoh reverses it and lands on hop of him. Hashimoto runs in and kicks Mutoh, leading to Chono running across the ring and attacking Hashimoto. All four men are in the ring, Saito holds Mutoh for Hashimoto, but Mutoh ducks and Hashimoto accidentally kicks Saito. Mutoh picks up Saito and hits the rib breaker while Chono applies the STF to Hashimoto. Mutoh goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault onto Saito, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners and new champions: Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono

Match Thoughts: What a hot crowd, they were vocal through the entire match, even when it slowed down in parts. This type of match doesn't really play to Saito's limited strengths and his parts did drag a bit, but the Hashimoto sections were so awesome that it made up for it. The feud between Hashimoto and Mutoh was already in full effect and continued for most of the decade. While Mutoh's last IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship win came across as more of a lucky fluke, this one they truly earned and it was a big moment in his career. It established that now that he was back from America he wasn't a whipping boy anymore and was going to be a force to be reckoned with starting immediately. Overall it was a very good match, not a classic but entertaining. Score: 6.5

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