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[1991-03-21-NJPW-Starrcade in Tokyo] Sting vs Great Muta

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This was an okay match that was lacking heat. I hated how many attempts both guys made to hit their finishers. Muta looked like an idiot repeatedly going for the moonsault when it hadn't worked. There is an aura that always accompanies these two facing each other, and that's present here, but they have had better matches than this.

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This was a solid match that started pretty hot with dives to the outside. I would have preferred if they would have built to them. Sting doing a top rope belly to back suplex. The finish I liked in the states not on a Dome show.

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Really good start to this match and then it dies down. These two do have really solid chemistry due to past experience and are pretty clearly on the same page throughout, which isn't always the case in these crossover type matches. Both the moonsault and Stinger Splash are attempted twice and are countered twice, though at least they're countered in different ways each time. Muta catches Sting with the mist and then hits a reverse cross body for the pin. I think Sting did want a really good match here, but Muta wasn't always as willing to go along--plus he blew some weird stuff like that almost-horrifying monkey flip bump. I'm actually surprised Sting did a job here considering this is a match that was presumably aired back home. He did get some protection with the mist to the face. Sting lays Muta out with the deathlock after the match to retain some heat.

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No wasting time from Muto as he hits the handspring elbow and attempts a moonsault within the first minute. Except a couple dives to the outside both guys keep missing their signature moves in the ring. Like nobody is hitting a move from the top ropes. Muto finally connects with one and gets the win. Muto overdoing it on the moonsault attempts. Match was rushed. Sting just randomly attack Muto after.

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I agree that the psychology was a little wonky for this match and not a ton made sense at time but there is just something about these two in the ring together that always feels like a comic book coming to life. This is nothing that I would call great or even good but it certainly was fun to me and I think these two together are a great special attraction match for a card.

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Guest TheGreatPuma

This is a personal all time fav match of mine for various reasons. I can watch it numerous times over and over again.

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I'm guessing they wanted to get across that Sting and Muta knew each other so well that even their signature moves wouldn't work against each other. Of course, each of them trying one within the first few minutes was weird to see, but if that's the story of the match, at least they didn't waste any time getting to it. It was good to see Sting try a few moves that he wouldn't over here, most notably the over the top rope dive and the back superplex.

 

Who were the Americans at ringside for Sting? I know one was Rick Steiner, and another looked like Brian Pillman. Does anyone have a clue who the third one was? (To answer my own question, it was either Tim Horner or Tom Zenk.)

 

The finish was a bit strange, first because at least part of this was shown in the States as Pete alluded to, and second because there was no rematch to build to; the next time Sting showed up at a WCW/NJPW joint card was in September, and he was Muta's tag team partner, not his opponent (they beat Hiroshi Hase and Akira Nogami). I could understand Muta getting the win because the card was in Japan, and I could understand him having to use the mist in order to protect Sting here. What I have trouble with is Sting's attack on Muta. Maybe it was done for the American audience too, but it makes Sting look like a sore loser, and since Muta's not coming back here for any rematches, there's really no financial reason for it.

 

They probably couldn't have had a card like this without booking this match, but what we saw wasn't really worth the time and effort. These two guys' best matches with each other lay a year and a half in the past.

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I thought this was fun, it's not great, but it's enjoyable enough. Especially if you're a fan of these guys. They did some serious make-up on Sting for the post-match promo that I thought looked pretty good. I agree/like the comic book comparison.

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Coming back to add that Sting was high on the aggression during this month. You had the match with Larry Z and now this, where he attacks Muta at the end (and he has to be pulled off). I noticed the post-match promo that I liked was not included in the YB. I had the same feelings on the match itself. I've been watching some of the later 90's Sting stuff (particularly the red and black era), and it's unfortunate he didn't wrestle with high intensity during most of that run. He was so over, and I think if he had brought this kind of intensity out, he could have gotten over even more at that time.

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Really strange match. At first I thought they didn't have a lot of time so they were just getting their shit in. Then they started stalling between bursts of real offense, then came the "nobody can hit a signature move" part. Certainly fun in parts, but not great as a whole.

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The Great Muta vs Sting - NJPW 3/21/91

 

I really enjoyed this, but I am starting to think I am the only person that enjoys Muta. Obviously a lot of history going back to their iconic 1989 feud, which I really should re-watch it has been ages since I first saw it. This is my first time watching this match at the Dome. They have another big match in '92 where Muta is defending his IWGP Championship against Sting. I thought this started off fast and furious. Muta jumps Sting and loved the back handspring elbow early. Looked good. Sting countering with the press slam to the outside, crazy bump, and then out of control over the top rope suicide dive was great. Sting was on top for most of the match. I thought did a damn good job. Muta fucking up the monkey flip made for a surprisingly interesting spot. Muta does not sell in this gimmick, which makes sense for the gimmick but it is weird for the match. I wanted him to heel it up more like he did in his '92 IWGP Championship run. I loved the finish stretch. I love missed moves. It makes when they hit them all the better. Both guys know the Stinger Splash and Moonsault can win the match so they keep going for it, but the other guy knows the same thing so they keep countering. Really smart and interesting. Loved the missed back handspring elbow which leads to the missed Stinger Splash which leads to Muta eating knees on a moonsault. Fabulous sequence. Muta goes for the Moonsault again (really puts over the move) and Sting is able to hit a Super Back Suplex. Great spot. Missed top rope elbow drop by Sting. Simultaneous Lariats. Simultaneous dropkicks. They are doing a great job putting over the narrative how well they know each other. Sting is able to apply the Scorpion Deathlock as his nearfaal. Muta makes the ropes. Absolutely love the finish proper. Sting comes hurling in for the Stinger Splash and Muta MISTS HIM! Reverse crossbody picks up the win for Muta. The beginning is hot, the middle meanders, but the finish run is absolutely red piping hot! ***3/4

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Charisma and face paint! This match looks good on paper and on pure aesthetics. This has a hot start, but it's not long until the wheels fall off and this starts to feel unfocused. I liked the finish at least. Muta catches Sting with mist as he's going for the Stinger Splash. It was a smart way to protect both guys.

★★¾

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