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Keiji Mutoh to leave All Japan Pro Wrestling, chaos ensues

The unpredictable nature of new All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) owner Nobuo Shiraishi has led to the departure of top star Keiji Mutoh, who in retaliation is trying to find financial backers to buy the company back or start a new wrestling promotion of his own.

Keiji Mutoh - now regretting the sale of All Japan Pro Wrestling to Nobuo Shiraishi
Keiji Mutoh - now regretting the sale of All Japan Pro Wrestling to Nobuo Shiraishi
Photo by Harry Li of Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

As we reported just over three months ago, All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), the second biggest wrestling promotion in Japan has been taken over by the corporation Speed Partners and ever since then chaos has ensued, thanks to the unpredictable nature of new owner Nobuo Shiraishi.

Firstly, he kickstarted a public war of words with his opposite number at New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Takaaki Kidani, with his ridiculous goal of overtaking the rival promotion within a year and eventually buying them out, and dissing of their talent roster by saying the only good wrestlers they had were shooters Shinsuke Nakamura and Yuji Nagata.

Then came a strange incident after the March 17th AJPW Tokyo Sumo Hall show where Shiraishi got into an argument with the phoney Kenso, a wrestler he had publicly said on multiple occasions that he should fire for not being real quality, and started shoving him in front of the fans, before Hikaru Sato stopped him with a takedown.

Shiraishi then caused more controversy with his accusation that NJPW fixed matches and how they have to get rid of that practice from the sport of pro wrestling, which pissed off puroresu legend Riki Choshu and numerous others.

The volatility continued with his firing of All Japan president Masayuku Uchida, in yet another bizarre move, as they had been working closely together and Uchida had been teaching him the business. Former president Keiji Mutoh was expected to replace him in the role, but on June 1st Shiraishi executed a bait and switch by appointing himself, not Mutoh, as acting president.

The inevitable consequence of this double cross is that Mutoh will be leaving the company at the end of the month. He may not be the only wrestler to do so, as a lot of contracts are coming up for renewal at the same time, so an exodus of talent could be likely.

Indeed, Mutoh is now looking for financial backers to buy AJPW back from Shiraishi and if that is unsuccessful, to start a new wrestling promotion of his own with the other disgruntled All Japan wrestlers that want out, according to Dave Meltzer on his latest Wrestling Observer Radio show.

If Mutoh isn't able to pull that off, then expect him to work selected dates as a special attraction for NJPW or the Inoki Genome Federation, who would both be more than willing to use his services.

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