The Great Muta Makes Appearance During WWE Payback Main Event

Japanese wrestling icon Keiji Mutoh, better known as The Great Muta, made a surprise appearance at WWE Payback in his second appearance for the promotion following his WWE Hall of Fame induction. Mutoh retired after a legendary 38-year career this past February but as part of his retirement tour, the star faced Shinsuke Nakamura at Pro Wrestling NOAH’s The New Year 2023 event on January 1st in Nakamura’s first match outside of WWE in seven years.

Fast forward eight months and Nakamura saw a revitalization in the company which led him to competing in his first-ever main event at a WWE Premium Live Event against Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship. Prior to the bout starting, Muta was shown in attendance to support his former foe in this momentous occasion of his career – with Michael Cole referencing the two’s bout in NOAH earlier in the year.

The three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion had a hard-fought battle with Rollins, focusing predominantly on the champion’s injured back which Nakamura had taunted Rollins about in the lead-up to their title clash. Nakamura pulled out an impressive offense, including a Landslide off the middle rope, and was dominant for the majority of the bout. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t enough for the 43-year-old to capture his first WWE world championship.

Rollins swung the momentum back in his favor with a Pedigree and quickly followed with a reversal of a second Landslide from Shinsuke into The Stomp to retain his title. Nakamura looked on in anger from ringside, suggesting their rivalry might not be over just yet, as the show went off the air with Seth celebrating with his belt.