Earlier in the year Manami Toyota announced that after 30 years she was going to hang up her boots. Members of the Wrestling With Words staff decided to review her notable matches throughout the year until November 11, with the ultimate goal to see if she truly stands as one of the best women to step into the squared circle.
Manami Toyota vs Akira HokutoN/A
Watch: YouTube (June 16, 1990)
In the 1989 Japan Grand Prix these two met in the second round with Akira Hokuto defeating Toyota to advance to the next round, this year the two rising stars meet in the first round of the one-night tournament from June 16. Unfortunately this match didn’t get to truly take place due to Akira Hokuto suffering another serious injury in her young career, on a plancha to the outside her knee lands on the metal guardrail and busts open. Hokuto tries to wrap up the wound and continue but she’s barely able to walk and the officials ring the bell and rule the winner Manami Toyota due to a referee stoppage.
Manami Toyota vs Yumiko Hotta***
Watch: YouTube (June 17, 1990)
Manami Toyota jumps the gun and runs straight for Yumiko Hotta, taking her outside and throws her into the guardrail before hitting Hotta with a plancha, a scary sight after seeing what happened to Hokuto earlier in the night. Unlike the match in the first round Toyota isn’t getting bullied around and is showing a lot more aggression in her attacks, she has answers for each time Hotta goes on the offensive. The crowd through out the match seems to be about evenly split, alternating between chanting for Hotta and Toyota depending on who is in peril at the time. Hotta’s background in karate and shoot fighting gives her the advantage when it comes to submissions and this helps Toyota build sympathy through out the match, Toyota is caught in a heel hook in the middle of the ring and has to fight and crawl her way to the rope just to be put right back into another submission. Eight minutes into the match and Hotta has now found her rhythm and keeps putting her opponent in different holds to try and make her give up, Toyota catches one of Hotta’s kicks but gets caught by the other leg and is kicked on the ground while she tries to get up. Toyota tries to submit Hotta with a sleeper hold, the sleeper doesn’t make Hotta pass out but it does weaken her enough that Toyota is able to string together a bit of offense in a leg drop and missile dropkick. In the finishing stretch it appears that Hotta may be making a comeback but after many pin attempts by both women a missed lariat gives Toyota the opening she needs to get a roll-up pin and win the 1990 Japan Grand Prix for the first time. This bout was a great display for babyface in peril Manami Toyota and her ability to dish out the pain.
Manami Toyota vs Bull Nakano (c)**1/2
A month after on July 21, Manami Toyota faces a major challenge, a WWWA title match against Bull Nakano in the main event. Bull Nakano refuses to give Toyota a handshake and in return, Toyota attacks Bull while her back is turned. Bull Nakano is now upset and quickly sets Toyota in her place, dropkicks aren’t enough to make Bull fall and Toyota gets hit with a nasty lariat in return followed by a chokeslam. Toyota is Bull’s junior by 4 years and is getting tossed around by her senior, all of her crossbodies are getting caught and she’s been slammed to the ground multiple times in the first half of the match. She’s hesitant to lock up with Bull and when she does she tries another dropkick that fails, but Toyota trips her opponent up and has a submission locked on for a couple seconds before Bull reverses and escapes. The crowd cheers on Toyota as she’s stuck in a sleeper hold and she kicks her way out and throws some elbows at Bull Nakano, only to eat a straight punch and is on the mat locked up again after she got a two count on a backslide pin. Toyota is finally able to knock down Nakano with a missile dropkick and a crossbody, she even gets Nakano to fall over the top rope to the outside and she goes for a suicide dive but Nakano dodges. Louder cheers of “Toyota” are heard from the crowd as she’s brought to the top rope by Nakano but she’s able to fight her off and tries a flying crossbody from the top that Nakano turns into a flapjack type move. In the finishing stretch, Toyota hits Nakano with a bridging-german suplex for a two count but ultimately falls to a powerbomb, this match doesn’t feel like a full on squash match but there was never a doubt that Nakano was going to beat the younger wrestler and continue her title reign. In the next installment of this series, we see tag team action at Wrestle Marinepiad III.