Keiji Muto Selects NJPW Star As His Final Opponent

Keiji Muto's retirement road has been a bit confusing. While many thought Pro-Wrestling NOAH's Great Muta Final Bye Bye show would be his retirement match, it will only mark the end of the Great Muta persona, not Muto himself. For Muto, the end of his in-ring career won't be until February 21 when Keiji Muto Grand Final Pro-Wrestling 'Last' Love ~Hold Out~ takes place inside the Tokyo Dome. For that show, Muto has selected a truly ungovernable opponent.

While Muto didn't compete at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in Yokahama Arena, a show that pitted stars of New Japan Pro-Wrestling against stars of Pro-Wrestling NOAH, he did make his presence known. In the main event of the evening, Tetsuya Naito of L.I.J. defeated Kenoh of KONGO, winning the five-match series between the warring factions in the process. After the match, Naito passionately closed the show before staring down Muto, who was ringside doing commentary. In response, Muto entered the ring and challenged Naito to a match inside the Tokyo Dome on February 21.

Never the type to rush into things, Naito returned to the ring but refused to give Muto a direct answer. Instead, "El Ingobernable" simply said that he would, "leave February 21 free on [his] schedule," effectively accepting Muto's challenge for his retirement show.

This development comes after Naito and Muto participated in Muto's last NJPW match on January 4 at Wrestle Kingdom 17. While Muto's team got the victory, neither Muto nor Naito was part of the deciding fall. Fittingly, Naito will face the person who did get the winning fall in that match, "Roughneck" Shota Umino, ahead of his return to the Tokyo Dome main event at NJPW's The New Beginning in Sapporo on February 4.