Ric Flair Likely To Announce Great Muta For WWE Hall Of Fame And Induct Him

The first entrant in the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2023 was announced on last night's "WWE Raw," and it now seems likely that the second entrant will be announced on tomorrow's edition of "The Bump." Per a report from PWInsider, Ric Flair is expected to announce Keiji Muto, aka the Great Muta as the next member of the class during his upcoming "The Bump" appearance;Fightful Select has also confirmed Muto's imminent entry into the Hall of Fame, while the Wrestling Observer has noted that Flair either "asked to induct Muta or has been asked to induct Muta." Should the announcement be made, Muto, who faced WWE star Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event of Pro Wrestling NOAH's New Year's event show as part of his recent retirement tour, would become the latest puroresu icon enshrined in the Hall, following Antonio Inoki, Tatsumi Fujinami, Rikidozan and Jushin "Thunder" Liger.

Though he never wrestled in WWE, Muta made a lasting impression on American audiences during his WCW days, most notably in 1989. Not only did Muta defeat Sting for the World Television Championship that year, he also aligned himself with Terry Funk as part of Gary Hart's J-Tex Corporation to feud with Sting and Flair in the company's hottest program. The rivalry culminated that October in a Thunderdome cage match at Halloween Havoc. He also wrestled two televised singles matches against Flair, one for the NWA World Heavyweight title and another at Starrcade 1989. After returning to Japan in early 1990, Muta made occasional appearances for WCW throughout the decade, including winning the WCW Tag Team Championship with Vampiro at New Blood Rising. He finally defeated Flair in singles action during the 1995 G1 Climax tournament in Tokyo.

The 2023 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on March 31, immediately after "WWE Smackdown."