Results 1 to 95 of 95

Thread: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

  1. #1
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

    Zero's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Shimane, Japan
    Posts
    12,394
    Rep Power
    3557941
      Country                    Japan

    Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota



    So in recent years a considerable storyline has emerged in the WC HOF where Manami Toyota always seems to fall just short of things. As a noted fan of hers and Joshi in general I am happy to see her get love in a place that by and large doesn't watch Joshi all that much and with so much going on these days it's hard to blame anybody for having enough modern wrestling to watch. So after Ed boldly hated on Toyota after she fell one vote short of getting in and claimed that people should talk about her more, I will attempt to do that with a couple of goals in mind for this thread:

    1. Most importantly, watch a bunch of 90s Joshi which everyone should do more of.

    2. Give us all a chance to have a proper look at not just Toyota but her opponents at the time. One of the most annoying talking points of Joshi is similar to what happens with Lucha, where everything gets lumped into one particular style when actually many wrestlers had different wrestling styles including Toyota herself. Hopefully we can talk about other Joshi stars at the time as well and how they look. You may find someone more appealing to you than Toyota herself even if you follow along fully!

    3. Not really bury you with stuff, at one match a week it will be a fair pace to engage this journey of arguably the best woman to ever wrestle where you essentially have a whole week to watch. And even if engagement is limited.

    There aren't necessarily any "rules" or anything like that but there are a couple of general guidelines you can expect from this thread:

    1. This will almost certainly be handled in chronological order. I want things to be nice and steady and for you to be able to follow the journey of Toyota through her career moreso than this just be some random greatest hits collection. I intend to go from her most famous rookie match to her title wins to her retirement show. (As pictured above)

    2. Not all the matches are going to be here best and that's ok! I am basically focusing on all her matches with importance and extra meaning for her. These can include singles, tag matches, title matches, interpromotional, long and short alike. Maybe it'll be a title match, or it could be a setup match to a big match that stood out. There's almost no limit to how many matches this could go for.

    3. All the matches I look at in this thread will be available online. There are other great matches that aren't and maybe I'll mention stuff at some point but the point is for people to watch Joshi and give it a fair shot.

    4. My "reviews" are more or less gonna be split more into background of the match, participants and so on and then my overall opinion rather than a lot of play by play so feel free to read my tidbits before watching the match if you like!

    5. Every Tuesday, I will post the next match in the series, to helpfully condense her career the best I can.

    -

    Finally, a brief description of Toyota's style would be that she goes through different phases in her career in the ring, but her most known in the West is that which earned her the Wrestler of the Year and Match of the Year in the Observer, the only woman to ever win the award, which was someone who wrestled extremely fast paced matches, threw big bombs and devastating suplexes at her opponent and nearly killed herself many times through reckless abandon both in her moves and her Daredevil style of bumping but as you will see, her story isn't quite as cut and dry, but we will get there and you can hopefully make your own decisions!

    Ok, I will post the first match later today as we start back at start and see baby Toyota in action! Please enjoy and follow along with me as we look at one of pro wrestling's all time greats, Manami Toyota. And feel free to state your piece on her or anything related to her company at the time. Hopefully fun will be had.

  2. #2
    All About That Ace
    GeneralSecretary's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Hollywoo
    Posts
    17,367
    Rep Power
    7232810
      Country                    Palestinian Territory

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    This is really cool, I'll do my best to follow along. The pace of this seems very doable & you're always very informative when it comes to these non-mainstream aspects of wrestling.

  3. #3
    WAKE UP

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    35,125
    Rep Power
    3502420

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    I'm always down for following these threads even if I'm not always replying and chipping in. I'm firmly in the camp who thinks she is massively overrated by anyone who thinks she's a GOAT candidate, feels like one of those ideas that came up in the 90s when people traded tapes and only saw the top stuff and some still cling to despite the amount of footage showing everything else, but in fairness I haven't re-visited any of her stuff in years. She was definitely a talented worker and had a lot of great matches in her peak, and her influence is undeniable. I'll be along for the ride.

  4. #4
    Wordle Playing Admin

    Ed's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Dudley, England
    Posts
    42,100
    Rep Power
    10225137
      Country                    England

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Great idea for a thread and a way to make a case for someone for the HOF. I've always got an open mind and an eagerness to watch stuff I've never seen before so I'll be watching whatever you put forward and will tell you what I think.
    ​​​​​ ​​​
    Ed's Favourite Threads
    Ed Reviews Everything l Ed's Kings Road Journey

    Ed's Top Matches of the Year Lists
    2016 l 2017 l 2018 l 2019 l 2020 l 2021


  5. #5
    Urgent exit required.
    Shake's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Korakuen Hall Safe Standing Section
    Posts
    21,778
    Rep Power
    4433662
      Country                    Jamaica

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    This is all alot of effort to go to just for her to not make the HOF again, my man!

    Will chip in here and there.

    Reckon current day Joshi isn't the same without Toyota, to a degree, and probably think that you miss out on a lot of inspired girls if you take away her work during her peak. Was there another big face type underdog character that rivalled her during this time?


    ~
    ~ THE KING OF KINGS ~~
    Spoiler:






  6. #6
    The Only 2x WC HOF
    Shock's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    25,329
    Rep Power
    7006537
      Country                    Scotland

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Awesome stuff Zero. Subbing, can't wait to read up on this and maybe check out a few matches of hers along the way.

  7. #7
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

    Zero's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Shimane, Japan
    Posts
    12,394
    Rep Power
    3557941
      Country                    Japan

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Quote Originally Posted by Commie Uncle View Post
    This is really cool, I'll do my best to follow along. The pace of this seems very doable & you're always very informative when it comes to these non-mainstream aspects of wrestling.
    Thank you. Let's hope I can deliver and be equally informative for everyone's sake.

    Quote Originally Posted by King Steventon View Post
    I'm always down for following these threads even if I'm not always replying and chipping in. I'm firmly in the camp who thinks she is massively overrated by anyone who thinks she's a GOAT candidate, feels like one of those ideas that came up in the 90s when people traded tapes and only saw the top stuff and some still cling to despite the amount of footage showing everything else, but in fairness I haven't re-visited any of her stuff in years. She was definitely a talented worker and had a lot of great matches in her peak, and her influence is undeniable. I'll be along for the ride.
    My pick for best women's wrestler of all time would actually be Jaguar Yokota in terms of just an in-ring basis. There's good and bad with Toyota and I'm not here to overwrite all her flaws, but I do think she kinda got a bad rap for some of them that virtually everyone was guilty of that her being the top tape trading era star she became a big target for. I disagree with many and think 92 is her peak performance wise but we'll see how it goes and what conclusions we all come to at the end of this. The bottom line is she's a worthy legend and I do think she has a good case to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    Great idea for a thread and a way to make a case for someone for the HOF. I've always got an open mind and an eagerness to watch stuff I've never seen before so I'll be watching whatever you put forward and will tell you what I think.
    Thank you! Hopefully we all have fun with Toyota matches where both the good, the fun and at times the insane will happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shake View Post
    This is all alot of effort to go to just for her to not make the HOF again, my man!

    Will chip in here and there.

    Reckon current day Joshi isn't the same without Toyota, to a degree, and probably think that you miss out on a lot of inspired girls if you take away her work during her peak. Was there another big face type underdog character that rivalled her during this time?
    HOF or no, I want to watch more Toyota either way.

    Toyota's influence is very big, obviously being a mentor to a lot of the IR girls and even still I feel like Mayu is her true successor in many ways from her moves to how she wrestles and that reckless abandon. Look no further than the Aces of virtually every major Joshi company besides TJPW & Sendai right now and you can draw a valid line back to Toyota in some form. Interestingly Toyota's inspiration and idol was Kazue Nagahori, a member of the Red Typhoons and midcarder rather than a legend like she would become.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    Awesome stuff Zero. Subbing, can't wait to read up on this and maybe check out a few matches of hers along the way.
    Hopefully you enjoy the thread. As always you are the man.

  8. #8
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

    Zero's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Shimane, Japan
    Posts
    12,394
    Rep Power
    3557941
      Country                    Japan

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    So to start this I'm going to give a brief goings over of the goings on in AJW at this time period so we look at things in proper context, specifically of the time period we're in as we kick things off. During the time of Toyota's debut, 1987 we were coming off the most popular period of women's wrestling in history buoyed by the popularity of the Crush Gals, Chigusa Nagayo & Lioness Asuka who were extremely popular not just to wrestling fans but to all of the entertainment world complete with numerous tv appearances and releasing many top 10 charting music singles in Japan. AJW ratings on tv were at an all time high and that part did continue although the Crush Gals were mostly broken up before Toyota debuted and focused on singles action. In and around this time Zenjo (the popular nickname for All Japan Women's Wrestling) had a rule that said all wrestlers are forced to retire at age 26. It's amazing to think such a dumb rule existed nevermind not just from an ethics standpoint, but a business one as many wrestlers besides the Crush Gals like their rival Dump Matsumoto or popular tag team the Jumping Bomb Angels were lost despite having much more to offer. There's a lot to get into behind the scenes and this thread isn't about all that as there is a lot of dirt to uncover, but I just want to set the stage for late 1989 where we are going. A new era is on the horizon and Toyota is very young, but also proving herself a bit as one to watch in a couple of years. Toyota was about 2 years into her career and was regarded as mostly a rookie, but after a big time showcase with her fellow class in an opening tag match largely regarded as stealing the show at WrestleMarinapad (one of AJW's biggest yearly shows) Toyota was about ready to make the step up to becoming a real player in AJW. And with the Crush Gals retiring that year, the stage was set for a new era in Zenjo, Bull Nakano dropping the white belt in just November and the Red Belt was vacated at this point due to Lioness' retirement with the new champion set to be crowned on January 4th. At this point in time Toyota and Yamada had made it to the final match of AJW's tag league and Toyota had won her first title! Interestingly I believe this is misnamed on Cagematch as an IWA World Title match when in reality it was the AJW Title. Regardless I assure you neither title meant very much to AJW at the time, the main reason I selected this match is that it set off arguably Toyota's most important partner and rival. Joshi, like Lucha is notoriously not well recorded in the 80s and back in terms of matches and shows compared to today so there is a lot missing I can't directly speak on, but for a synopsis you got what you need.

    (Of note, the Red Belt was the WWWA World Title, AJW's top title. The White Belt is the All Pacific title, AJW's secondary/IC Title equivalent. The red/white dichotomy allowed the titles to stand out but the Red is always the #1 title)


    Background at the time - Opponent: Toshiyo Yamada debuted one week earlier than Toyota herself in 1987 and has walked a similar career path to Toyota herself to this point, including being apart of the breakout WrestleMarinapad tag match opposite Toyota. Like Toyota, she is not near what she would grow into be in a couple of years which we will see in the coming Tuesdays as Yamada is a major, major factor in Toyota's career. Her style is best described as the Kawada of AJW, someone known for kicking hard and also would later wear similar colors to Dangerous K as well.

    -

    Background at the time - Match: Simple enough story. Two friends and rivals from the same rookie class. One just won her first title near the bottom of the card. A natural first defense for Toyota at the time. In addition their rivalry was set to start after Yamada dropped the fall in the tag league final just a couple of weeks before.

    -

    The Match: Manami Toyota (v) vs. Toshiyo Yamada - AJW Title - December 9th, 1989:

    https://youtu.be/fLDBhf1ZpsI

    Pre-Match Notes: This airing was taped for tv later and as such the match was voted MOTY in AJW for 1989 as given by the company, as such the first 4:28 is them accepting their awards with brief speeches. Feel free to skip.

    Yamada in Red/White - Toyota in Pink


    Toyota rushes the ring to get a cheap shot in on Yamada right away during her own entrance, eliciting a reaction from the girls in the audience, then returning and trying to fight off her own attendants to get to her, leading to Yamada fighting back desperately whipping her jacket at Toyota. I'm not entirely sure as to why Toyota was so pissed at Yamada since they were just in the tag league final but considering the amount of LCO matches I've seen where misfires ended in annoyance rather than sympathy and noted in interviews how hard AJW's training and backstage environment was I had no problem buying it. We see a glimpse of reckless Toyota seconds after the bell rang with her attempting a corner Lariat and flying over the top rope to the outside. It's worth noting just how hype the fans were, going crazy over everything, singalong chants. It was like it Anfield was filled with Teen girls, filling the air with "Manami-chan!" Screams. Two noteworthy touches are Toyota desperately wanting to avoid the Crab Hold, the traditional rookie killer move in Japan and also when caught in the rear naked choked, her fire up is repeatedly tapping out, a reminder of this being pre-MMA. That said Yamada controlled things early and it seemed like it would drag a bit but whenever Toyota had one of her frenetic comebacks it became more and more obvious she had something with this crowd. This is a very basic rookie style match for the most part, made better by the selling from both women. Finally at some point Toyota counters a back body drop attempt by stopping and giving Yamada a straight punch to the face and I'm in. This match is good. Yamada focuses on the leg, and Toyota breaks into a really fiery comeback, holding her back along the way as she runs the ropes and then there's a point where she rushes to the top rope in a way I'm not sure anyone before her or since does, scrambling up to where she's on the top rope knees first and the crowd goes wild, already she has what made her most special more than any of her moves, she wrestles and behaves in a way at every point that makes you believe winning is the most important thing in the world to her and she'd do anything to do it. Finally Yamada gets her own fired up comeback full of drop kicks moments and it leads to the closing stretch of bomb trading, impressive in 1989 for anyone, letalone these 2.

    Anyway, I wouldn't call this a MOTY or anything like that but watching over 30 years later it holds up to modern standards quite well and the crowd is as passionate as the wrestlers. There's still some rookie sloppiness here and there but for the most part this match has to be considered a success at the time, and despite it going so long, if nothing else the finish is very important longterm as it would play into a 4 year long story between the 2! That said, we're just starting and HOF level Toyota is still a few weeks away from getting to, but as the only 80s match on here I thought it was important to give this era a look as well, but hopefully you enjoyed.

  9. #9
    Wordle Playing Admin

    Ed's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Dudley, England
    Posts
    42,100
    Rep Power
    10225137
      Country                    England

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Loved the energy and hate at the start of the match. I thought it was a good match, but they lost me for a bit in that middle portion where there was so much submission work going on. Toyota’s dropkicks are part of what makes her her, but by the time she’s going into her 3rd round of a flurry of dropkicks they start to be less impressive. I was way more impressed by her arsenal of suplexes she was throwing around. Found the closing third of the match to be really dramatic, neat pin attempts and counter pins. Also I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match with so many bridging up escapes from pins! Good start to this thread.
    ​​​​​ ​​​
    Ed's Favourite Threads
    Ed Reviews Everything l Ed's Kings Road Journey

    Ed's Top Matches of the Year Lists
    2016 l 2017 l 2018 l 2019 l 2020 l 2021


  10. #10
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

    Zero's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Shimane, Japan
    Posts
    12,394
    Rep Power
    3557941
      Country                    Japan

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    I always love going back and watching rookie matches of people who would grow to be main event performers. The main appeal is to see what they have that they would keep throughout the majority of their careers and to see the frenetic energy she brought and her suplex queen stuff already be in display as a prototype version was really cool. I also really liked Yamada's offense, that suplex into backbreaker move came out of nowhere and I can't recall anyone doing it like that until like Roderick Strong got big and her doing it as a rookie in 1989 was awesome. Just a lot of fun and interesting to watch although I do agree about it not necessarily being completely great throughout with the middle portion.

    Am glad you liked the match too and we're off to a good start.

    RE: Bridge pins - I believe that was something Nagayo really liked. There's a wrestler that was formerly in Marvelous' company named Mikoto Shindo who used the bridge in a similar way. I remember a match where they went back and forth on just spinning each other over and over until it worked. But Toyota utilized the bridge at various points as well, but definitely not as much as this match and like you I highly enjoyed seeing it take full display and how much this match stands out even now. Years ahead of it's time.

  11. #11
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

    Zero's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Shimane, Japan
    Posts
    12,394
    Rep Power
    3557941
      Country                    Japan

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Background at the time: AJW - circa June 1990 - Bull Nakano had won the title in January and was given a proper monster push. She was unbeatable and was on her way to feuding with who AJW hoped would be her successor after Dump Matsumoto, the top heel of AJW retired the two biggest underlings of her faction the Villainous Alliance ended up battling it out for supremacy with the more experienced Bull getting the edge over Aja Kong, who had just won the White Belt from one half of the Jumping Bomb Angels in April. However it was a transitional title reign to springboard her into feuding with one of her old mentors Bull Nakano starting in the Summer the would last for a very long time and be the main focal point of the company. Toyota was still on the rise and good with the fans, but not quite ready for primetime. (Or was she...?) The promotional aspect of AJW is worth noting from the 80's. If you note from the first match the large amount of schoolgirls which would go down as the crowds geared older and on top of it we would see many more men attend these shows and take it seriously as we would move down the years in the 90's.

    -

    Background of her opponent: Yumiko Hotta - Hotta is known for being very surly, often angry, hitting hard and at times even veering towards being uncooperative. She is a former Karate practitioner and had two standing tag teams. One with Akira Hokuto which they won the tag titles in the late 80s with briefly, but much more notably with career midcarder and fellow martial artist Mitsuko Nishiwaki, the Fire Jets. At this point both her and Hokuto were engaged in somewhat of a rivalry as well after Hokuto's team of the Marine Wolves beat the Fire Jets for the tag titles in May, and the brackets looking to be a final of Hokuto & Hotta.

    Unrelated but she is still in wrestling in 2022 wrestling in various indies, as well as being heavily involved formerly with Actwres Girl'Z, an independent company where many people seemed to leave on bad terms with Hotta for one reason or another, but otherwise had a good vibe to it. She fought in an MMA fight on a RIZIN show a few years ago and memorably ran the ropes to gain audience support and show her pro wrestling tendencies before getting trounced in 41 seconds.

    -

    Background: Match - This show was the Japan Grand Prix, a 1 night tournament with the winner getting the title shot next month vs. Bull Nakano and this Tuesday's match is the final of said tournament. As above the tournament was setting up Hokuta vs. Hotta in the final. Hotta had made it on her end defeating Nakano's sidekick Grizzly Iwamoto in Round 1 and her own Fire Jets partner Nishiwaki in Round 2. Meanwhile Hokuto faced Toyota in the first round and things hit a major snag for multiple people. Hokuto and Toyota had a spirited match that I thought about picking for today, however it ended when Hokuto attempted a dive onto Toyota, her leg hitting the guardrail and having a violent injury with her shin getting split. It was very bad and disgusting. If you're curious to look the match is there - https://youtu.be/I3bU-oXPnFo - Graphic injury warning applies here. Hokuto, bravely and in amazing toughness tried to continue but gives up eventually. It was bad. So now everything is suddenly up in the air with the planned winner unable to continue. The opening appeared for Toyota to take her place and pushed her to the final to face Hotta in an unexpected chain of events. To this point Hotta had to be considered a heavy favorite to the fans. She's a 3x tag champion to this point and Toyota's done nothing of note this year!

    The Match: Manami Toyota vs. Yumiko Hotta - 1990 Japan Grand Prix Final - June 17th, 1990

    https://youtu.be/G6uAkH0zK5I

    Pre-match notes: Toyota is 19 at the time. Hotta is 23. Toyota in Pink/Black - Hotta in Blue

    As soon as the bell rings Toyota rushes across the ring to shotgun dropkick Hotta in the face and then proceeds to throw shoot punches at her to draw blood! She knocks the ref down! Toyota's on fire! I loved this opening so much for so many reasons. As I laid out she is a heavy underdog and even for real wasn't supposed to be here, so screw respect and all that crap, she wants to WIN. And you know what? Screw just winning because she then rushes Hotta out of the ring so she can FLEX ON HOKUTO AND DOES THE EXACT DIVE OVER THE GUARDRAIL THAT BUSTED HER LEG EARLIER IN THE NIGHT AND HITS IT FLAWLESSLY. FUCK YOU MATSUNAGA I SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE WINNER ALL ALONG. Awesome. Someone actually throws a streamer at Toyota after she got back in the ring to pose which was amusing. Hotta walks back to the ring pissed and the schoolgirls chant "Yumiko!" loudly to counter the older contingent who supported Toyota and started to chant back. Such a unique atmosphere! Anyway it's payback time and Hotta starts to beat the crap out of Toyota including one kick that nearly got her in the throat and ended up checking her chin. Hotta has some sloppy Lariats but then there's an amazing Crab that she bends so far back on she falls back and twists her nearly fully horizontal except her head and she then pushed her feet into Toyota's back. This looked extremely painful. At one point during the long crab Toyota screeches do loud it nearly catches the Hotta fans off guard. The story of this match from then on is Hotta dominating someone in over their head in various ways and some really great submissions. Until she forgets she's in over her head and goes for broke. Such is the story of Toyota, as she lets out a primal scream and fires back. Catch a moment I loved where she hits a crossbody and then starts to pound the mat immediately trying to get the ref to count faster while she's pinning Hotta. Again, she makes you feel like her life is on the line to win this in a way I'm not sure anyone does in the modern era. I also liked that she again tried to FLEX on Hotta herself this time locking her in the same rear naked choke Hotta had on her earlier and actually be ballsy enough to do it. We saw her famed run of dropkicks and then Hotta tried her own flex with an ugly spinning reverse crossbody off the top and pins her with a knee to the throat and when Toyota kicks out the crowd goes insane. They go through some big back and forth until I think Toyota blows the finish slightly on the Northern Lights as her knees buckled and she couldn't keep the hold, but they cover up quickly with a natural finish and Hotta misses a corner Lariat and Toyota wins with a flash pin. The crowd goes crazy and everyone chants "Toyota!". I also want to say great acting from Hotta as well who is in disbelief. She had it against a virtual rookie and lost and she argued with the ref. A wonderful trophy ceremony ensues and we see a backstage interview to end it as well as footage of earlier in the tournament. With Hotta blowing her own Tiger Suplex finish against her partner in the semis! At least Toyota covered it up a lot better here.

    I freaking loved this match! I will say the opening starts off so hot that it's hard for the rest of the match to be in the same level but it's still good and this definitely felt like a successful coronation of an unexpected new star. The crowd took to Toyota quite well here. It was a ballsy move by the company to just go with it but it definitely got off to a great start and Toyota again shows her versatility in this match showing different sides and being pretty awesome at most of them. Definitely check this match out. An iconic win for young Toyota!

  12. #12
    Wordle Playing Admin

    Ed's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Dudley, England
    Posts
    42,100
    Rep Power
    10225137
      Country                    England

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    So AJW did their own make a star match 1 week after AJPW did Misawa/Jumbo? Neat. Even if that wasn’t the plan originally with Hokuto’s injury. How long was Hokuto out for?

    I’m lower on the match than you. I thought the opening was great and made better by your context of Toyota doing the dive that Hokuto did earlier in the match, and I really liked the look of Hotta. She seemed aggressive and had a great set of moves that Toyota sold well. Toyota may be the best opponent to stretch in wrestling history - that Boston crab on the floor where hotta is pushing her legs into Toyota’s back was my favourite part of the match. I thought where this broke down was the sloppiness in the 2nd half of the match, some of the execution of the moves was poor and at times it felt like these two were on different pages. Some of that may be that this is a multiple match show and they’re both tired by this point in the night, but I think some of the inexperience from the teenage Toyota was on show here.
    ​​​​​ ​​​
    Ed's Favourite Threads
    Ed Reviews Everything l Ed's Kings Road Journey

    Ed's Top Matches of the Year Lists
    2016 l 2017 l 2018 l 2019 l 2020 l 2021


  13. #13
    WAKE UP

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    35,125
    Rep Power
    3502420

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Yeah I'm with Ed, the longer the match went on the less into it I was. Thankfully the match actually finished much sooner than the video length lead me to believe. Even though the crowd were red hot, it began to drag on a bit for me. I remember liking one of their matches from a few years later a fair bit, but Toyota was def still a bit green here and Hotta hadn't reached her peak either. That Boston Crab was nasty though.

  14. #14
    Mr. Victory Through Guts

    Zero's Avatar

    Status
    Offline
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Shimane, Japan
    Posts
    12,394
    Rep Power
    3557941
      Country                    Japan

    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Background at the time: AJW - Circa November 1990: Bull still runs the company. I had the Bull vs. Toyota title match at the very back of my 1990 countdown and it was fun and very good but ultimately was just Bull basically squashing Toyota and not a great look at Toyota's specific skillset even in her early years. After that there were a couple of matches I wanted to go with but are unavailable online to my knowledge, which was Hokuto's return match from August which was quality leg submission work from Toyota with a very bad tombstone no sell from Hokuto but it was mostly awesome and Toyota sure does want to break Hokuto's leg again in that match. And then her winning the white belt from Bison Kimura in October which I don't think I've actually ever seen before, but her winning her first real title in the company would have been nice to see. So yeah, Bull Red Belt, Toyota successfully elevated to White Belt level, though she's still very much a rookie here. In the tag division the Marine Wolves team of Hokuto & Suzuka Minami are currently the tag champions. On the same show as today's match, Aja Kong faces her hated rival Bull Nakano for the red belt in a legendary cage match. Interesting that AJW is pushing all 3 of Toyota, Hokuto & Kong effectively simultaneously as they are still young while also keeping things centered around the ever reliable and wonderful Bull.

    -

    Background of her Opponents - The Marine Wolves: The Marine Wolves consist of Akira Hokuto and Suzuka Minami. Both women have a beef with Toyota and are gunning for her as Hokuto has her leg injury and the continued assault by Toyota on it in her first match back while Suzuka had to forfeit the White Belt the same night she won it, meaning Toyota never beat her for the title instead beating the aforementioned Kimura, she was gunning for her White Belt back. As wrestlers Hokuto would grow to be one of the most legendary Joshi performers known for her wild and violent style and suplexes, along with helping improve her future husband Kensuke Sasaki's game and moveset, as well as helping to raise the current GHC Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima. She isn't there yet but is a very promising youngster. Suzuka didn't have the career Hokuto had. She's by no means bad as the fourth member of this generation, and actually was one they showed trust in at this point, going on to become a 3x White Belt champ and having success with Hokuto. But within a year or 2 of this match it was obvious the other 3 had more to offer and by '95 she was out of wrestling completely. That said her size was eye catching and you can see why she was viewed as a big prospect along with the other 3 at this point.

    -

    Background of her tag partner - Kyoko Inoue: Inoue is the 4th big star that would come from this era along with Toyota, Hokuto & Kong. The main purpose of this match being chosen is a table setter for the future as she would have a major rivalry with Toyota through the whole decade. She would grow to be an incredible worker and move innovator, most notably being the first to use the move known as the Burning Hammer, which she called the Victoria Driver as well as Chris Jericho's Lion Tamer, which she called the Torture Crab. She was not there yet at this point. In addition to being significantly lighter than her legendary look, she in general has been kinda sloppy and bad for the most part I see her around this era. But she's young! And let's not judge the match by my prior other watches but have a clear mind.

    -

    Background - Match: There is a lot going on in this one! The WWWA Tag Titles were defended under 2/3 falls rules so this was in fact a 2/3 falls match for the tag titles. This match is taking place at Wrestlemarinepiad II, the sequel to an extremely successful show the year prior that drew over 12,000 people to Yokohama and is still considered a legendary show. Originally planned to be Hokuto/Suzuka vs. Toyota and her regular partner Toshiyo Yamada (who faced Toyota in the very first match of this very project), but Yamada was injured. Somewhere Matsunaga must have been paying attention to WWF since they had that show with AJPW & NJPW earlier in the year so he went full Raw mode and booked Yamada as the special referee and who will fill in as Toyota's partner? Her other rival, Kyoko Inoue! Suffice to say this is going to be a heavy story type of match so hopefully you got the gist of where we're at as our stories are:
    1. Semi main event of the biggest show of the year for the tag titles in a company where tag wrestling is actually important.
    2. Toyota's chance to become double champion.
    3. Kyoko & Toyota are feuding partners.
    4. Will Yamada help her partner and friend become double champ as special ref?
    5. Hokuto & Suzuka both hate Toyota for various reasons.

    -

    The Match: The Marine Wolves (Akira Hokuto & Suzuka Minami) (c) vs. Manami Toyota & Kyoko Inoue for the WWWA World Tag Team Titles (2/3 Falls w/Special Referee Toshiyo Yamada) - AJW Wrestlemarinepiad II - 11.14.1990

    https://youtu.be/deYp3kIoEOg

    Pre-Match Notes: Hokuto is 23 at the time, Suzuka is 21, Kyoko is 21 while Toyota remains 19. Hokuto is in blue while Suzuka is in red and come out in traditional garb. Kyoko is in her red and yellow power and paint gear while of note for Toyota, as White Belt champion she moves nearer to her signature black look getting rid of the pink she wore as a rookie except on her entrance jacket while adding gold boots. It's not full Toyota but we are getting there. Progress!

    The champs get streamers and everyone gets flowers before we are introduced to our referee Yamada, who despite going on to be one of AJW's deadliest kickers looks hilariously normal as a referee. Kyoko shoves Toyota down so she can start despite Toyota coming in. The Wolves quickly get an advantage on Kyoko and work her leg over while Kyoko doesn't want to tag Toyota in. Nothing radical but Hokuto is like a pitbull in her aggressiveness. But then when Toyota gets in she trumps Hokuto with her own aggressiveness and fired right up on Suzuka, with the crowd noticeably picking up when Toyota comes in. When Hokuto tags back she refuses to be one upped, with even her pin on Toyota being a nasty knee to the throat. I won't reveal what move won the 1st fall for Kyoko but it was comical in multiple ways, first it probably is the only time this move has ever won a match since perhaps the 1940s, letalone in the US, secondly it's obvious that Hokuto had her shoulders all up multiple times during the count, to the surprise of even Kyoko and Hokuto hilariously screams "THREE!?". Toyota disapproves of this obvious favoritism and turns away from her partner scowling. Of note in this match you see Toyota use a lot of her Lucha influence from her working with Xochitl Hamada & the Moreno sisters. She also hit a super sweet sitout sunset pin that was executed flawlessly. Then she busts out her Japanese Ocean Suplex on Suzuka which was anything but flawless. Kyoko accidentally bops Toyota with a chair and then the Marine Wolves do a really cool double top rope drop kick and then an assisted Moonsault from Suzuka gets the 2nd fall. 3rd fall Toyota and Kyoko take turns slightly arguing and hitting each other, until Suzuka goes after Toyota! It all ends with Kyoko getting flipped over the corner in a nearly dangerous looking bump. Hokuto dives, Toyota dives, then Suzuka dives to end it off. Suzuka did a really cool through the legs lift into a power bomb floated over into a bridge. Kyoko has her turn to do an ill advised move on the very tall Suzuka and it not work out with the Campana. She then makes up for it with some big suplexes and then slaps Toyota on the head to tag her. The crowd again notably fires up when Toyota is in and she makes up for her earlier mistake and hits the Japanese Ocean Suplex properly on Suzuka! Another flex move from Toyota. After a missile drop kick Toyota busts out the bridge kickout! Hokuto ends up locking in an absolutely vicious looking Camel Clutch on Toyota that justifies Ed's point about Toyota being the most flexible and wicked performers in wrestling. Things fall apart with another miscommunication between Toyota and Kyoko and it leads to the Northern Lights Bomb. Afterwards Toyota yells on the mic that her and Yamada will win the titles.

    Not a great match by any means, but an interesting look at Toyota in a weird and unique situation and she was arguably the standout performer in the semi-main of a huge show for the first time. It also shows her growing in look, moveset, as well as setting up what's to come next week as well as a comparison point down the line with yet another Toyota rival getting introduced to the mix. Plus done with 1990!

  15. #15
    Wordle Playing Admin

    Ed's Avatar

    Status
    Online
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Dudley, England
    Posts
    42,100
    Rep Power
    10225137
      Country                    England