Great Muta’s Return to IMPACT Generates Great Buzz and Great Possibility

Get ready, The Great Muta is coming!  In what might be the last time IMPACT fans will ever see Keiji Mutoh wrestle in a ring, IMPACT Wrestling has announced a new IMPACT+ event called A Night You Can’t Mist for June 8th.  The event will be main evented by Great Muta, though an opponent has yet to be named.


The Great Muta is an all time great, but after having double knee replacement, and being 56 years old, there’s no telling how much he has left in the tank.  Muta stepped down from his position as Wrestle-1 President, being replaced by former WCW wrestler and Japanese legend Kaz Hayashi, and even appeared for New Japan last month at the G-1 Supercard event at Madison Square Garden.   All of that, plus this IMPACT event, feels like Muta’s having one last hurrah.

Muta’s history in IMPACT is a bit odd, as he actually debuted with the promotion twelve years ago in a backstage segment with Christian Cage, but that was only as a favor to set up a working relationship with (then named) TNA and All Japan Pro Wrestling.  Muta was working as the head of All Japan at the time.  It would take seven more years for Muta to debut in TNA, this time while he was the head of his own promotion, the previously mentioned Wrestle-1.

His first match under the TNA/IMPACT banner was a Wrestle-1/TNA event in Ryogoku Hall in Tokyo, Japan called Outbreak.  Muta (under his real name) tagged with former Triple Crown Champion Taiyo Kea and then TNA/IMPACT talent Rob Terry to take on the team of Desperado (Masayuki Kono and Rene Dupree) and TNA/IMPACT talent Samoa Joe.  Muta was obviously on the winning side.

The second match would be at an TNA/IMPACT event later that same year at 2014’s Lockdown.  He tagged with then Wrestle-1 ace, and current NJPW star Sanada, and Wrestle-1 talent Yasu to take on Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and Chris Sabin in a winning effort.  This was only his third U.S. appearance since 2008.

He’d then appear on the #524 edition of IMPACT,where he’d defeat Robbie E at the famed Manhattan Center.  The bout was quick, coming in at a less than a minute, but it was still the first time he’d appear on the flagship show for the promotion.  He’d appear on other episodes of IMPACT building up to that year’s Bound for Glory.

At 2014’s Bound For Glory, Muta teamed with Japanese icon Tajiiri to take on The Revolution’s James Storm and Sanada; then known as The Great Sanada.  Muta continued his stretch of success in the American promotion by beating James Storm and Sanada.

Lastly he appeared one final time in 2015 on a One Night Only taping.  The event was called Global IMPACT, and it hailed from the IMPACT Zone.  This would mark Muta’s debut in the legendary sound-stage.  He’d serve as a member of Team International, defeating Mr. Anderson of Team USA during the night’s USA vs. The World event.  This was the tie-breaker of the night, giving Team International the win.

It’d be awesome if we got some legendary moments from Muta like a revisiting of a classic feud.  While I’d mark out for Sting, the odds of his contract allowing him to come back to IMPACT are slim.  Plus, he’s already said the only person he’d come out of retirement for is The Undertaker.

Jushin Liger makes the most sense for Muta to face if we’re going to revisit a classic match up. To my knowledge, the two have only faced off once one on one, and with Liger retiring next year this will be the last chance for this match to ever happen stateside.   Most of Muta’s rivals are all retired at this point, so there isn’t another Japanese legend really that could fill that role.

As far as IMPACT stars goes, Brian Cage, Eddie Edwards, Moose, Rich Swann, and Johnny Impact all make sense, assuming they’re all healthy.  For icon vs. icon status, Rob Van Dam vs. Muta sure has some weight to it, as that match has never happened before.  Though Muta is notorious for not wanting to get beat, and RVD isn’t inclined to put people over now either.  Last thing you want is a draw.

As far as someone who’d bring a unique match up possibility, Ken Shamrock’s name comes to mind.  He’s taking more dates, has an iconic fighting/wrestling career in Japan and would mark a big enough of a name to warrant a major or main event spot.

If Muta’s willing to eat a loss, Dezmond Xavier, Sami Callihan, Killer Kross or Ace Austin would be the way to go.

It’s unsure which way they’ll go for this major event or who else will be on the card (as I assume it won’t just be Muta working with IMPACT) but one thing’s for sure; this event is going to be one for the ages.

Welcome back to IMPACT, Muta.  You have our permission to tear down the whole 2800 Arena on your way out.