Guest Review: Manami Toyota’s Greatest Matches

In the lead up to Manami Toyota’s return to CHIKARA this weekend, our friend Hanan, Puroresu super fan and creator of the excellent Let Me Puroresu You, is doing a marathon review of some of Manami’s greatest matches. Her love for pro wres is downright infectious, and the perfect thing to read in the week leading up to the Flying Angel’s return. Here’s a sample of some of the great work she’s done so far, and there’s much more to come.  Check out her site and enjoy!

Manami Toyota vs Bull Nakano (for the WWWA Title 07/21/1990)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlNm6biR5W4

Toyota made her debut on 1987 at age 16, so she was just 19 when this match happened, her opponent being 22. This was her first attempt at the WWWA championship!

Manami goes for the offense first, attempting some dropkicks here and there, that don’t phase Bull at all. Gotta love Bull Nakano’s attitude throughout this match, she’s all: “You can’t beat me, and you won’t beat me, try harder honey!” and Toyota DOES try!! She attempts some more dropkicks, dives, she tries to submission Bull on the mat, she moves out of the way of Bull’s attacks, but she fails miserably, because on the other hand, she gets strongly lariated, slammed down brutally multiple times, and finally power bombed!

Bull Nakano is incredibly powerful and Toyota could only rely on her speed to attempt and wear her down. Toyota gets squashed, and she’s damn good at it, she doesn’t give up, she charges at Bull any given chance that she gets!

Great short match!

Rating: 9.0

Manami Toyota vs Toshiyo Yamada (Hair vs Title) 08/15/1992

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sMla5Q3qUg

I don’t know how to describe this match, and if I attempt to, can I ever do it justice?

This is the climax of the singles feud between Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada, with the IWA title in line + their hair…

These two are like energizer bunnies, they just NEVER STOP, Yamada puts out all her arsenal of kicks and suplexes against Toyota’s arial techniques and JO moves. It is fast paced, with neither of them getting the advantage for too long. I can see with them being tag team partners for so long, that they kinda predict what the other is going to do, and this is why we get a shitload of counters and nearfalls!

Toyota comes off as the most aggressive one, which is perfectly understandable, since she has put a title AND her gorgeous hair on the line.

The match was just A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! And the drama that ensued AFTER the match, just tells you how much respect they have for each other!

These women are years and years ahead of their time! Maybe they were even ahead of the guys at that time…You can see it in their eyes, the passion, the dedication, the respect they have for this sport!

This isn’t just the prime of women’s wrestling, this is the prime of Pro wrestling as a whole!

If I was to rate it, I’d give it a near perfect 10, it had EVERYTHING: the skills, the psychology, the crowd heat, the drama, the suspense!

Some people might criticize it because of the outpouring of emotions, but isn’t this what a wrestling match is all about: telling a story?

Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki (2/3 Falls match 11/26/1992)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtRiiXzPwJM

I’ve done a little bit of research about this match beforehand, and it turns out this was one of the first interpromotional matches in Japan, namely between AJW and JWP in this case. What also made this match so special, is the fact that it was a prelude to a big show coming up, and the wrestlers were pressured to “get it right” as an avant-gout of things to come.

Please keep in mind throughout this match that these are four women who have NEVER worked together before, and belong to different promotions!

Kansai/Yamada at first does seem a little bit hesitant as there were clearly some missed spots, but it all gets better from there. And it all gets faster. You can’t keep up with all the sequences, you’ll find yourself using the rewind button more than you’ve ever done for any tag team match before this one.

The driving force of this bout is not anger or revenge (we will get there with their next match), although it may seem so from their violent/stiff moveset. The main fuel imo is the need of each tag team to prove that their promotion is the strongest, and as the match goes on, it is replaced with the desperation to prove so!

With that being said, you can fully enjoy this match’s greatness now that you have gotten into the psychology of things.

Submissions are used profusely, counts are broken in the last second, and outside interferences almost seem to be a rule. It is difficult to detail every sequence because of the fast pace that is predominant. Every single one of these four women is out there to either create an opportunity for her team, or shatter the other team’s opportunities to get the win for their promotion!

Yamada and Toyota are used to teaming up, so I’d say their timing as a bit more accurate than Kansai and Osaki.

Kansai serves as the power house, with her being the bigger girl, but even though she relies on some pretty brutal offense, she made Toyota and Yamada look great, almost making them equal opponents to her, because what they couldn’t achieve in size, they more that made up for with they energy they displayed.

Take note here, because not all big wrestlers can make those in the ring with them look just as good, and just as dangerous. Granted Kansai isn’t THAT big, but she made the other team look as equal in terms of offense, so the match only gets better, because the suspense ingredient is added to the mix. You just don’t know who’s gonna win this thing!

Another point is, I don’t think you can differentiate between heels and faces in this match, although Ozaki is the one who looked the most heelish to me as she tries in one spot to stomp on Toyota’s hands to prevent her from going to the apron and breaking out of Kansai’s submission.

As I’ve said before, these are women who have never worked with each other before, and in their first attempt to do so, they put on a show that is regarded as one of the best women’s tag team matches of all time.

The 3rd fall was by far the most interesting one for me, as it seemed to me that Ozaki did move here shoulders before the 3 count. Maybe it’s just me, and it doesn’t really matter at all. Toyota gets the win, and it’s ON for a rematch next year during Dream Slam 2.

The only feeling you’ll get from the encounter of these amazing women is the thirst for more.

One of the absolute best tag team matches you’ll ever see. Don’t try and look out for who was or wasn’t the best worker here, because they’re all equal. That’s the mark of true professionalism and true talent. Each one of them made his opponent look like a million bucks!

I can’t praise this match enough…

Rating: PERFECT 10

You have an OBLIGATION to yourself as a true wrestling fan to see this match!!

Toshiyo Yamada & Manami Toyota vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki (2/3 Falls match 4/11/1993)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv83Xs1O82w

The most famous match of the trilogy!

I will try and keep it short this time. This one had better spots and better energy, because it started where the last match left off, and it wasn’t just about trying to make your promotion look good anymore, the ladies (Kansai and Osaki) were out for revenge.

Just as the match started, it was WAR. Ozaki immediately going for Toyota, and Kansai taking care of Yamada, then BAMMM…The first pin by Kansai on Yamada 12 seconds into the match…The crowd went nuts, this was a preliminary indicator that the match was gonna be different from the last one, that you could expect anything….

Throughout the match, I became a huge fan of Yamada, her sequences with Kansai were the best. She displayed a great amount of energy and athleticism, she made Toyota shine even more.

Huge plus from the 1st match: THE AMAZING FINISHING SEQUENCE!!

Classic match 10/10

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