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[2003-02-23-AJPW] Shinya Hashimoto vs Great Muta


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I posted this because I just finished watching this as part of a project I'm doing. I wanted to see what people's take on this was, as I feel it could be somewhat divisive. It is all sorts of smoke and mirrors work by Muta - mist, chairs, blood, finisher spam - but it does make the little that Hashimoto brings in terms of offense really fun.


So yeah, what do people think about this match?

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  • 1 year later...

I watched this on a whim. As far as I know, this match doesn't have much of a reputation (good or bad), so I wasn't sure what to expect going in.


We begin with the obligatory Muta stall-o-rama. On the plus side, he makes a little kid in the front row cry. Things pick up when Hash loses his patience and chases Muta to the outside. In an impressive spot, Muta uses one of Hash's seconds as a springboard to hit a Shining Wizard. He then rams Hash into the post, busting him open. A bloodied Hash's selling once they get back in the ring is out of this world. It makes Muta's beatdown a million times more compelling than it would be otherwise. His punch-drunk comeback was also nicely done. They do lose me a bit in the closing stretch with all the Shining Wizard spam, although Hash hitting one of his own was pretty cool. Hash gets the pin with a brainbuster and wins the Triple Crown.


They probably should have trimmed off a few minutes, but I really enjoyed this overall. I wouldn't go so far as to call this a hidden gem, but it was a very pleasant surprise. For those who enjoyed the Muta/Tenryu match in WAR, this was in the same vein.

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  • 1 month later...

Or when All Japan really turned into a mid-90's WAR-like freakshow, only with New Japan guys passed their prime. I'm not sure the "new" Great Muta was as singular as the orginal one, although the mask looks creepy as hell. But I thought he did too much Shining Wizard, like old Mutoh would. As far as Hash goes, I dunno, not overly familiar with his 00's work, but he really never seemed the same after the Ogawa debacle. Match goes way too long, 16 minutes would have been enough, so we get a lot of Muta stalling and, it has to be said, kinda lame-ass brawling and Hash not doing much. It does picked up when blood gets flowing, as it usually does in Muta matches, but it lacks the real crazyness of old to me. Hash doesn't do much but his selling his excellent. It eventually develops into a good little match, but like its been said, a bit too much SW galore which by this point was getting old already. Hash winning the Triple Crown really wasn't anything it could have been against Kawada. Decent match I guess, but there was something missing. I thought the Tenryu match the previous year was better than this, although Tenryu fits the Muta bullshit bill much better than Hash anyway.

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  • GSR changed the title to [2003-02-23-AJPW] Shinya Hashimoto vs Great Muta
  • 4 years later...

AJPW Triple Crown Champion Great Muta vs Shinya Hashimoto - AJPW 2/23/03

These two drew a sellout at the Budokan with ZERO undercard support, we are talking absolutely nothing. I think that is more impressive than the match itself. All Japan as a place for New Japan refugees + Kawada and Tenryu could have been great. Long term they would have needed more than just Kojima for their future but for the first half of the 2000s they actually were fine in terms of star power. The big thing going into this is re-adjusting yourself when watching Great Muta vs Keiji Mutoh. Gone are all the basement dropkicks, dragon leg screws, figure-4s and it is replaced by chairs, blood and mist. Yes the Shining Wizard and Moonsault are still there but you need to re-align yourself. The selling is another thing that took me a while to figure out. Great Muta sells with more of a register. My thought process is he supposed to be a horror movie monster. You can stun him but he keeps coming back for more. It used to feel like random no-sells but once you see Great Muta the Monster through that lens as opposed to Keiji Mutoh the Man his selling makes a lot more sense. 

A match that gets a lot more entertaining as it goes on. I am a Mutoh/Muta defender for the most part, but I forget some time how brutal his stalling as Great Muta can be. Lots of looking under the ring, powdering, making kids cry. The crowd was 100% there for these. They traded missed elbow drops and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy. These 16000 people were pumped for this match. Hashimoto finally gives chase. Muta whips him into the railing. Muta kicks a Young Boy in the stomach and he tries to use him as a stepping stool to hit a Shining Wizard. Either he lost his balance or the Young Boy Collapsed but Muta fucking ate it on the Shining Wizard one of those, it seemed cool in your mind but looked dumb in execution. 

Match picks up here as Muta slams into a post and crowns him with a chair to busts Hashimoto open. Muta is a great garbage brawler and this was pretty good. Choking with the cord, jabbing a pen into the wound, biting the wound all great shit. Hashimoto gets some kicks as a hope spot. Muta grabs a chair. Mists Hashimoto, the blood and green mist combo never gets old, always looks cool as fuck. He uses the chair to hit a sick Shining Wizard. Chair much more stable than Young Boys. Muta misses a moonsault. Hashimoto has his opening. Muta counters the Brainbuster into a DDT. Muta is back to hitting Shining Wizards and gets the Moonsault, but Hashimoto kicks out. Hashimoto BLOCKS the Shining Wizard with his forearm. HASHIMOTO SWEEPS THE LEG~! Perhaps the greatest sell of a Legsweep ever as Muta sells like he was shot in the back of the leg. Match is just worth watching for this. I vaguely remember Hashimoto falling in love with this Inverted Triangle submission, but Muta makes the ropes, this felt out of place. Hashimoto blocks the Mist with forearms and hits his own Shining Wizard! BRAINBUSTER! 

Sue me, but this was pretty fun. Dumb as fuck but pretty fun. If this was JIP to Muta busting out Hashimoto I could be convinced to go like **** as the finishing stretch was great Hashimoto as a Karate/Kung-Fu warrior taking on the evil horror movie villain who just keeps coming back. With the beginning, I think I will go ***3/4, but the last ten minutes or so is good craic.  

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