Former IWGP Heavyweight Champion and Japanese wrestling legend Keiji Mutoh has announced his retirement from wrestling. The 59 year old veteran has been wrestling since 1980 and has help many major world titles over his 42 year career.
Also known as The Great Mutoh, Keiji Muto retires next year at Cyberfight Festival 2022, one of Pro-Wrestling NOAH’s biggest shows of the year. He most recently held their world championship, the GHC Championship in 2021 and was one of the oldest world champions in history.
As one of the greatest Japanese wrestlers of all time, his retirement is a sad one but one to help celebrate the incredible career of the Great Mutah. He announced he will wrestle in five more matches before he retires, similarly to when Jushin “Thunder” Liger retired in NJPW in 2020.
Mutoh revealed that he did not want to retire despite being nearly 60 years old (although that never stopped Ric Flair), but the doctor forced him to due to injuries sustained over the past 42 years. He has been out of action since January this year due to hip injury.
Pro Wrestling NOAH’s English Twitter account revealed when questioned that Keiji Mutoh’s injured hip is in much worse condition than first thought. When asked if this retirement was “final”, they replied by saying “Yes, Mutoh’s hip has deteriorated so much that he will probably need a hip replacement if he continues and a hip replacement means he will never be able to wrestle again.“
Keiji Mutoh’s injuries are so bad that they forced him to retire, which is never how a wrestler wants to go out. Luckily he has 5 more matches in him, which will likely not be too strenuous as to cause him to much pain in his hip.
His opponents for his final matches are currently unknown. It is unlikely Keiji Mutoh will wrestle in NJPW as part of his final matches, ending his career with NOAH.