WWE to induct Japanese legend Great Muta into Hall of Fame

The Great Muta technically by no means carried out for WWE. But his accomplishments and mystique can be immortalized by the world’s largest professional wrestling promotion eternally.

The legendary Japanese wrestler can be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this 12 months, sources confirmed with ESPN on Wednesday. An official announcement is anticipated later Wednesday on WWE digital sequence The Bump by outdated Muta rival Ric Flair. PW Insider was the primary to report the information.

Muta, who additionally wrestled underneath his actual title Keiji Muto as a distinct character, was considered one of Japan’s largest wrestling stars of the Nineties and 2000s. He is a four-time former IWGP Heavyweight champion, the designation used for New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s high title, and former GHC Heavyweight champion with Pro Wrestling NOAH.

Muta additionally had a number of runs in WCW, WWE’s former high competitor, and was one of many first Japanese wrestlers to attain star standing within the United States. He had notable feuds with Sting and Flair and was additionally a member of the NWO Japan, the wildly fashionable WCW group’s offshoot in Japan, which grew to become a cult favourite in that nation.

As a personality, Muta was recognized for his haunting face paint, spraying “poison mist” in opponent’s faces together with his mouth, his Muta Lock, Shining Wizard and moonsault signature strikes; and “The Muta Scale,” a pro-wrestling colloquialism to find out how a lot blood a wrestler had shed in a match. The latter was impressed by one of many bloodiest matches in wrestling historical past: Muta vs. Hiroshi Hase in 1992.

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The WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Mar. 31 in Los Angeles, at some point earlier than WrestleMania 39.

Muta, 60, had a retirement tour final 12 months into early this 12 months, notably performing in opposition to present WWE star Shinsuke Nakamura on Jan. 1. WWE permitting considered one of its wrestlers to carry out elsewhere is a rarity, however that was how important Muta and his retirement run was. Muta’s remaining matches included a tag match involving Sting and AEW wrestler Darby Allin, New Japan headliner Tetsuya Naito and a brief, surprising efficiency in opposition to longtime Muta pal and rival Masahiro Chono.