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Vader vs Keiji Muto (NJPW G-1 Climax 08/10/91)

NJPW G-1 Climax August 10 1991 Vader Keiji Muto 4* Tokyo

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#1 Loss

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:50 PM

Talk about it here.

#2 Tim Cooke

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:26 PM

Top 5 New Japan heavyweight match of the 90's (with the other four being 8/11/91 Chono vs Mutoh; 8/15/95 Mutoh vs. Hashimoto; 1/4/96 Vader vs. Inoki; and 8/2/96 Hashimoto vs. Choshu). This is the archetype for the Sting vs. Vader matches, with Vader dominating and Mutoh getting small comebacks which popped the crowd big. Vader brings out a release german suplex as a counter to Mutoh's handspring elbow, a powerbomb, and a couple of stiff lariats. Lots of nearfalls, including getting the most out of the mid match nearfalls since Vader was taken very seriously as a threat to Mutoh by the fans at Sumo Hall. Strong MOTYC.

#3 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 08:21 PM

I'm not really a fan of either of these guys, but I thought this was a good match. I dug a lot of the shots Vader gave Mutoh in the early going and I thought the stretch run was really good. The finish could've been timed a bit better, but it didn't take the gloss off what was a well put together match. It seemed a little on the short side to be a top 5 heavyweight match, but I haven't seen a lot of 90s New Japan and from what people say about their longish heavyweight bouts the length of this may have trimmed a lot of the dead spots. I often dislike the set-up and execution of spots in Vader's matches as they seem really telegraphed, but the release german and the rest of his spots were cool, and Mutoh was fairly likeable for a change.

#4 NintendoLogic


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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:31 PM

I thought the handspring elbow counter was more of an uranage than a release German. Regardless, I'll echo the praise for this match. Vader totally looked like WCW Vader, and Mutoh was kind of foreshadowing Hansen/Kobashi with all the pin attempts he was going for at the end. Mutoh's no-selling comebacks were pretty annoying, but this was great otherwise.

#5 Phil Austin

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 03:57 AM

This was marvellous. Just two of the best putting on a real great precursor to the Sting/Vader matches of the 1990s. Wonderful

#6 Ditch

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:32 PM

This works on every possible level. I can see fans who aren't familiar with puro getting into it without a problem, since big vs little is a universal concept and they use 'universal' moves. Good crowd, good pace, good action, feels important, and when it's over they both look good.

#7 Loss

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 08:58 PM

I agree that this is proto-Sting/Vader. Excellent match. My favorite parts of Vader/Sting matches are always Vader taking Sting's offense and playing pinball. So it stands to reason that him doing the same for Muto would be my favorite part of this match. I love the David vs Goliath dynamic, and how into each nearfall the crowd got, with the two count off of Vader's splash being my favorite. This tournament continues to impress me. While Chono is getting upsets and showing his toughness by hanging with a badass, Muto is in his block doing the exact same thing. Great way to set up the final.

#8 Childs

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:34 AM

I can only add to the praise for this one. The first half of this was your basic athletic guy doing stick and move vs. monster heavy hitter. They executed that part well, with Vader really laying in his shots. But the match took off in the stretch run, with some tremendous counters (Vader catching Muto mid-handspring and throwing him on his head was a highlight) and nearfalls. Muto earned a credible win without making Vader look anything less than beastly. I watched four matches from this show. Chono-Bigelow was surprisingly good. Hash-Choshu was quite a spectacle because Choshu ate a hellacious beating without ever really rallying. But the crowd gave Vader-Muto a whole different level of reaction, which was a testament to how good they were this night.

#9 PeteF3

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 05:00 PM

Despite not being a fan of his at all, Mutoh has forced his way into strong Wrestler of the Year contention. Absolutely fantastic desperate, hit-and-run tactics from Mutoh, who takes some sick offense from Vader, in front of a psychotic crowd. The near-falls don't feel self-conscious here at all, even when both guys eat the other's finishers and kick out. You just get more involved in the match, wondering what could possibly put the other away. There was so much big offense here right from the start that the match length feels just right. With no feeling-out process or slowdowns, it stands to reason that such a match isn't going to go 25+. This won't win MOTYC over the big All-Japan six-man but it's a top 5 contender.

#10 Zenjo


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Posted 11 May 2013 - 10:42 PM

Super match, action packed and really exciting. Some nice stiff shots as Mutoh stands up to Vader and gives the monster all he can handle. I loved how they played off the Vader vs Fujinami finish. All 4 nights were in Sumo Hall so that would be fresh in many of the fans minds. Vader falls victim to another cradle and the celebration afterwards was like Mutoh had won the G1 itself. Cushion were thrown in the ring and the fans go crazy. What a tournament!

#11 Kevin Ridge

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 06:49 PM

This is unexpected as I just figured this whole tournament was done pro shot. Muto does his handspring eblow outside to Vader and I feel let down. Vader should have done his release German suplex on the floor. This turned into a really fantastic match. Vader and Vader that you expect. Muto survived the onslaught and gets the pinfall on a reversal. Just a well done match.

#12 BackToBionic

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 02:05 AM

I loved how they played off the Vader vs Fujinami finish. All 4 nights were in Sumo Hall so that would be fresh in many of the fans minds.

Not to be pedantic (ok...it is) but that match (the first night) was in Nagoya. :P

#13 soup23

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:31 AM

What a super stiff match. I have always wanted a great match that occurred on my birthday and I have found it with this one. Vader mauls Mutoh but he hangs in there and uses his flash to offset it. The crowd going apeshit at the end throwing the seats was an awesome visual. The type of handheld where you are still able to feel all the stiffness and struggle of the match.

#14 garretta

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 06:09 PM

I would call this a David and Goliath-style classic, but Mutoh never lets himself be the underdog here; it's more of a match of equals where one of the equals has a hundred and fifty pounds on the other.


Amazingly, Vader loses by fluke in two out of three matches in the tournament, but looks as strong as ever, with both Fujinami and Mutoh receiving brutal beatings for their trouble. I hadn't really seen enough of him before this yearbook to weigh in on whether he was one of the great superheavyweights of all time, but now that I have, he definitely belongs in the top two or three (Prime Andre might not have done as much athletically, but his aura and reputation were so fearsome that it's hard to rank anyone over him.)


I'm not sure about this bout being one of the top five Japanese heavyweight bouts ever, but right now it's a frontrunner for Japanese singles bout of the year.


Did Mutoh ever wrestle Vader in the Muta paint? I'd love to see if the difference in gimmick, slight as it might be, led to a different type of match between these two.


Love the throwing of the seat cushions during Mutoh's postmatch celebration. Anyone who believes that Japanese fans can't get excited over matches needs to take a look at this bout and consider themselves educated differently.


I'm really looking forward to the Mutoh/Chono final. How many more classics can one tournament produce?

#15 Jetlag

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 03:02 PM

This was good. Vader lays a Vader-sized beating on Mutoh, who fights back with athletic type moves, e.g. dropkicks, spin kicks, dives and so on, which was unusual for the time. I didn't think Mutoh was anywhere close as good as Sting as he didn't really have the selling or transitions down pat, but the match was fun enough and Vader beat him up in such ways that not much selling was needed. My favourite bit was the punch combo threw when Mutoh had him in the headlock aswell as the illegal punch right before the finish, that was such a dick move.

#16 JKWebb

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Posted 02 July 2017 - 09:06 PM

Yeah, this is pretty awesome. I loved how Muto bumped for that near-knockout blow from Vader toward the beginning. It doesn't have the war for the ages feel the Sting series has, but damn it's stiff. New Japan owns July & August of 1991, and so does Vader. GREAT match. War for the ages may be a odd way to phrase it, because they go at it. I guess I mean it's more clash of the titans than David/Goliath. I think this is another MOTYC for me.

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