Keiji Muto and Scott Norton met in an all nWo main event in 1999.
nWo Japan’s dominance continued to run through 1998. While Kensuke Sasaki would rebuff Keiji Muto’s challenge on January 4, 1998, it was only a matter of time before nWo seized IWGP Heavyweight gold, and that time came in the summer, when Masahiro Chono defeated champion Tatsumi Fujinami to lift the title for the one and only time.
Yet Chono’s reign would be cut short as neck injuries mounted, and he was forced to take time away from the ring to recover. A tournament was held to determine a new IWGP champion, a tournament that Scott Norton defied expectation to win. Norton’s efforts and accomplishments in NJPW through the 1990s were exemplary, but few expected him to come out on top of the tournament and in so doing, become the top ranked member of the New World Order.
Norton’s win had made him the first non-Japanese IWGP champion in seven years, and meant he became the first non-Japanese to ever headline on January 4 in the Tokyo Dome. Opposite him was the man who believed himself nWo Japan’s leader in Chono’s wake, Keiji Muto.
An all nWo main event ensued, with Chono on guest commentary ringside. After Muto scored victory, he would embrace his teammate Norton before saying this was a match that proved nWo superiority, but Chono was notably absent from the in-ring celebration; a sign perhaps of things to come.
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