NJPW: Keiji Muto vs. Nobuhiko Takada (January 4, 1996)

I want to try to review all the Wrestle Kingdom main events while they’re free on New Japan World.

What’s funny is that I’m most familiar with Takada from his days in HUSTLE as an M. Bison cosplayer. Anyway…

The first half of the match is similar to the UWF shoot style that Takada specializes in. Lots of grappling and attempts at kimuras and arm bars. But then Muto just gets frustrated and starts stomping Takada. After that, it gets good. Muto does his special elbow and a moonsault to soften Takada up for the kimura, but Takada won’t let him get it all in. Takada fires back with stiff kicks and a back drop suplex. He hooks in a nasty leg/ankle lock that Muto really has to fight to break. Then Muto comes back with a dragon screw and a figure four, and Takada has to reach the ropes. Another dragon screw, and Takada just barely stops the figure four from getting locked back in. They end up knotted in a dueling ankle lock/figure four hybrid and both roll into the ropes.

Muay Thai knees. Takada avoids another dragon screw, takes Muto down, and locks in an armbar. Muto gets the ropes. Takada gets him down again and cranks the armbar. After much drama, Muto finally taps.

Winner – Nobuhiko Takada

Rating – Good

I would totally watch this match again, but I’d skip the first half and just get to the good stuff. That portion is probably my favorite piece out of all these matches so far.


Winner – 

Did He Hook the Leg, Man? –