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Charles (Loss)

[1999-01-04-NJPW-Wrestling World in Tokyo Dome] Keiji Muto vs Scott Norton

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This seems like one of the more nondescript 1/4 shows especially with this headlining. I remember reading the PWI and being shocked that Norton was in this spot. Anyway, Muto makes short work of him in the finishing stretch here with a moonsault and figure four.

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The instant Norton loses the match he gets relegated right back to the rank and file by the looks of things.

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Not particularly good, though heated. Muto seems to be trying to overcompensate for his rapidly expanding bald spot, which seems like it will an issue for him until he gives in and shaves it all.

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IWGP Heavyweight Champion Scott Norton vs Keiji Mutoh - NJPW 1/4/99

 

NWO JAPAN EXPLODES~! It is funny on the same night WCW runs Hogan vs Nash as the big NWO Civil War blowoff, New Japan runs a main event of NWO Japan vs NWO Japan at the Tokyo Dome. I was really fascinated by this. Basically Chono finally wins the IWGP Championship in the August of 1998 but is forced to vacate when he is injured. Scott Norton wins the championship over Yuji Nagata of all people, but I don't think Inoki wanted anybody doing the job to Norton. Norton beats Hashimoto by countout and Nakanishi. My gut says the build was to do Chono vs Mutoh and have that lead to the NWO Japan Civil War that dominates 1999 and leads to Chono vs Mutoh at 1/4/00. Basically, my understanding is that Mutoh takes over NWO Japan in Chono's absence and turns it babyface. Chono returns in February of 1999 and is pissed and this is when he forms Team 2000, which is his new heel stable that feuds with Mutoh. What is interesting is they never run a Mutoh vs Chono during this title reign. Mutoh defends against Don Frye and Kojima of Team 2000, but not Chono. They were saving that match for 1/4/2000. I think Norton was just a lame duck champion to get them to Mutoh, but keep the theme of NWO Japan vs NWO Japan.

 

It is so weird hearing "NWO" in the Japanese accent over the loudspeakers at the Tokyo Dome. Mutoh has "I Am Boss" on his tights. Does Hollywood or Big Sexy know? Mutoh targets the arm, short arm scissors, double wristlock and goes for cross armrbeaker, but the announcers point out Scott Norton's arm wrestling background. Wow Japanese commentary is good. Norton starts to steamroll Mutoh. Mutoh definitely went to the Bruiser Brody school of selling. Norton chops Mutoh so hard that he has to bump. Norton hurts his knee doing shoulderbreaker. Ruh roh. It may be 1999, but Mutoh is partying like it is 2001. 2001 Mutoh match develops 8 million dropkicks to the knee, 8 million dragon leg screws and 8 million figure-4s. I am a total mark for 2001 Mutoh so I loved this. Norton surprises me by being a really effective seller. I think Mutoh and Norton varied where and how Norton took the dragon leg screws and dropkicks to the knee. Norton had some good hope spots like his lariats on the third one Mutoh ducks and hits the dropkick to the knee. Nice! Norton's desperation powerbomb was sick, and the way he collapsed was great. I liked Mutoh getting the moonsault only getting two and then hitting a springboard dropkick to the knee to set up the figure-4 submission. A surprisingly brisk and fun match. Best Scott Norton match I have ever watched and safely better than the Fingerpoke of Doom or Hashimoto vs Ogawa from the same night. ***3/4

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