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Charles (Loss)

[1996-12-08-AJW-Real Earnest] Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue

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I'm a little burned out on these two wrestling each other, but this is as true to their style as any of their matches, I suppose, with some crazy spots mixed in, like Toyota doing a somersault dive through a table. I really enjoy the inside out lariat bump anytime anyone takes it, and Toyota takes it well at one point here. I prefer seeing both of them against other people where there is more of a styles contrast, but I guess this rivalry is probably one of the more memorable ones in Joshi history. And me being tired of the match up or not, this is really good, and Kyoko takes the WWWA title! Good for her, she had a good year, and lost enough matches that in theory, '97 should bring her plenty of challengers.

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Pretty much entirely in agreement with you, Loss. Rinse/Repeat what I said about their Queendom match with regards to them having "their" match, and there's really no need for both to be on the set.

 

That said, I think what makes them work is the contrast between them, both in terms of actual moveset and character.

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I kind of like having them both on the set. Queendom is a major annual card for AJW, and sort of the major Toyota defense up through that part of her reign. This is the close of Toyota's first reign, sort of the "surprise" that her reign won't be as long as Bull's or Aja's first reign.

 

Gotta have *all* Red Belt title changes in the Yearbooks, and Red Belt defenses are a small enough universe that they really should all be on as well. It's a bit like TC title defenses: there really needs to be a reason *not* to put one on. 10/93 Misawa-Hansen isn't a good match, but:

 

* last defense of the year

* they had other good matches in the year

* follows Kawada-Kobashi

* people really need to see TC when they *don't* take off to contrast with those that do

 

On the last, if you don't get that, you're just going to think they're all hit out of the park... or at least up the gap for extra bases.

 

I'm not sure the same is the case for IWGP Hvy Title defenses... but I kind of think it should be. There just aren't that many of them, and it really does over the series of Yearbooks let you get a sense of what title reigns work, and which don't. Muta's 1992-93 reign is worth watching and thinking about so many years after the fact. If we see just the 12/92 Muta-Hase and the 1/93 Muta-Chono, then you might think it was a decent reign. At the time, the rest of the reign was thought to be so mediocre that Muta ended up being thought of as a major bomb as Champ. In turn, people ended up being susprised how well Hash's run of dominating the belt from late 1993 through 1998 went. Don't know if the notion of Muta's defenses collectively being mediocre will hold up so many years, but this is a really good setting for people to review it.

 

Big reason?

 

8/92: Muta's first IWGP reign starts... and Misawa's first TC reign starts

 

I think by the time Misawa's defense 9/93 against Doc washes up in the US, the notion that Misawa's turned out to be a good Champ was starting to take hole, though I pointed when he passed that it was still in an underrated phase at that point. In contrast, Muta's run was flopping around.

 

Anyway... side tangent to the discussion of the match. :)

 

John

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Muta vs Hase, while a lock for a hypothetical '92 yearbook, wasn't actually a title defense. However it might be considered part of the Muta reign I suppose. Not sure "Mutoh wasn't a good champ" is something that's important to revisit, that consensus is pretty well locked in and having more people endure those defenses is just sadistic :)

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You're right... Hase's only challenge was against Hash a couple of years later. He had an NWA challenge against Chono in December 1992 if I recall?

 

And I disagree on the revisit. That is something of value in the Yearbooks.

 

John

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I'm with John on this one. It's not a best of as much as it is a representation of.

 

I am going to go out of my way to watch every title match from all the major promotions moving forward, and if the match is long and terrible, then maybe it'll be clipped to the finish, but I agree that they should be represented.

 

Choshu has some interesting matches in '92 also. Against Muto, against Chono, against Norton. I think my philosophy has shifted a little since we started. I'd rather see a solid *** match that's a title defense that paints the picture of what Choshu was like in '92 more than a **** match with guys who already have plenty of representation on the set. Don't get me wrong, you want those matches, but if Liger, for example, had several matches against the same opponent in a calendar year, even if they're all at the ****+ level, if they're similar and don't really build to anything, then I'd rather lose one if it means something else can go on in its place.

 

For example, there's a Hansen triple crown defense against Kawada in '92 that got ***1/2 in the WON. If I had to choose, I'd rather see that than a six-man that may have been ranked higher if there are already plenty of six-mans on the set.

 

It's inevitable that not everything will make a yearbook, just like not everyone in a high school has their picture in the yearbook. But there's a balancing act that can be achieved for sure.

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Just popping in to point out that this was Toyota's 2nd reign not 1st.

She won it from Aja in 95 but only held it for 3 months before droping it back to her.

 

Thinking about it, never was sure why they bothered with her 1st short reign to be honest. Maybe something as simple as they decided last minute that they wanted Kansai to get a run.

 

Given that she'd chased Aja for the better part of 2 years it didn't make any sense for Kansai to beat anyone else for the belt anyways and I dunno how far in advance it was planed but all their matches do build off each other with the final title change playing off all their previous history.

 

Kind of similar to how it had to be Aja who took it from Bull before and it almost had to be Kyoko who took it from Toyota after.

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You're right... Hase's only challenge was against Hash a couple of years later. He had an NWA challenge against Chono in December 1992 if I recall?

Don't forget that Hase had a few days as "WCW International World Champion" in March of 1994.

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Agree with pretty much all that. Plus there needs to be a little Historical Significance Factor in there.

 

We can go up and down the block on the quality of the Hogan-Andre matches at Mania III and The Main Event. But they *are* historically significant: one is arguably the biggest match in company (and in turn US) history, and the other is the end of Hogan's four year run with the belt.

 

"It's a big fucking deal."

-Joe Biden

 

Now the Mania IV match and the County Stadium matches... one could bounce around on. The Mania IV match was the one used to sell the show, so it is clearly big. And the County Stadium match... the WWF didn't run many Really Big Shows in those early days of PPV, so that is a big match headlining a big card. Can make arguments there. And it's not like either are 60 minute draws. :) But in turn, it would be three Hogan-Andre matches on the 1987 set, and you could see that as perhaps overkill.

 

In in turn-turny-turn, there are four Misawa & Jun vs Kawada & Taue matches on the 1996 set. They play a role in telling the story of All Japan in the year, so that's an argument for them. The title change and the tag final are the more known and watched matches, so the other two fit nicely into one of the great concepts of yearbooks: putting in matches that are less seen/talked about. Another big argument for them. Those two are quite good, another positive.

 

So if those go on, I can see reasonable arguments for putting on all three of the 1987 Hogan-Andre matches.

 

That's a long intro of where I'm going:

 

1992 Hansen vs Kawada

 

Positives:

 

1. Triple Crown match

2. AJPW Budokan double main event (with Jumbo & Taue defending against Misawa & Kobashi)

3. one of only two Hansen-Kawada TC matches in that era (the other Kawada dropping the title in 3/95)

4. contrast/comp/set up for their more famous 2/93 match

5. Tokyo Sports Match Of The Year

 

Negatives:

 

1. loads of higher "star rated" AJPW matches in 1992

2. Hansen-Kawada isn't a unique match: there are others

 

 

Hansen-Kawada has two Usual Suspect aspected for inclusion: TC matches and AJPW Budokan main events. Those always get the lean effect of "there needs to be a reason to leave it off". It has those two negative reasons to argue against it. But the negatives get a bit washed out by #3 & #4, then pretty much squashed by #5: if you're MOTY in one of the things that we can track (WON, Torch if anyone cares, Tokyo Sports, Lucha mags if they're out there, AJW's annual awards), then you're a match that needs to be on a yearbook.

 

To me, 1-4 are more than enough to reasonably include it, even if it was a dog of a match. In fact, if it were a dog it would really need to be seen. :) #5 is sort of overkill for inclusion, but closes it.

 

Will shot me a note on the NJPW for 1993 and I was pretty honest in admiting that I haven't watched most of that stuff since 1993, and a lot of the NJPW stuff fro that year has gotten foggy in the brain. So I went with memory of quality where I could, but also tried to give some added bits on historical value, especially in suggesting other matches to watch and consider. I'd have to look back at the note (if I saved it), but I think one of the things I focused a little bit were some of the IWGP Heavy title matches, as the year transistioned from a "disappointing" Muta to a (back at the time) "oh crap, they didn't put the belt on" Hash. And those two Hash defenses in December being very early signs that maybe folks were under estimating Mr. Hashimoto.

 

On paper, Hash-Power looked like a groaner. Hash-Mutoh rematch, after Mutoh kind of sucking it up for a couple of years, looked no more interesting. Then the times of the matches washed up before the matches, and the thought of teeth being pulled popped into the mind. Then the tv shows hit and... they didn't suck. In fact, at the time they were "good"... felt like title matches should. Against two "problem opponents" in 20+ minute matches, Hash had what were considered good matches starting himself down the path of what I think most of us would agree was the best Ace that New Japan had in the 90s, and folks argue about just how he ranks among Aces in the history of the promotion.

 

Those two matches are starting points.

 

Anyway, this is a long post. The end point would be for people when advocating matches:

 

Don't be shy at explaining the reason you think it should be included beyond the simple "It's great".

 

I'm trying to remember the post from years back who was the huge FMW fan, pretty much as Zach moved on from it. I wasn't a huge FMW fan. But he was a guy who was knowledgeable about the promotion where if he said:

 

"This was the key big match in the Tanaka-Gladiator feud. They had some better, and they had one headlining a bigger show. But this is a key one that needs to be on there because of _______."

 

Then I'd give that some strong consideration. If you push for 9 Tanaka-Glad matches in a year and arguing all are great or significan historically or in the booked, then you kill your argument.

 

If I were to push for 20 six-man and spot show tags out of All Japan in 1993 as "this is another great one", then I'd be crackers. But arguing for Kroffat & Furnas vs. Kobashi & Asako and explaning *why* it standout from the usual spot show tag... then I've got a chance of Will and Loss thinking a bit more about it.

 

Granted... I do loath that 1993 AJPW pm when it shows up because it in a really insane year to try to edit for a multi-promotional Yearbook. :) It's not just the "great" matches that might end up on the floor. There's small stuff like Tracy Smothers showing up for a series, making TV only in four six-man tags that are good-but-not-great... but are actually *good*, and Tracy's pretty decent in them. I don't know what they heck you do with those. One of them is the first putting over of the backdrop driver, so of course that would end up making it... but the angle there probably overwhelms the rest of the match, so even there you might not have people getting a sense that Tracy didn't look back for a mid-level gaijin.

 

Anyway, I'm overrambling at this point. :P

 

 

John

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You're right... Hase's only challenge was against Hash a couple of years later. He had an NWA challenge against Chono in December 1992 if I recall?

Don't forget that Hase had a few days as "WCW International World Champion" in March of 1994.

 

Swapped it with Rude, but it was almost a throwaway in that series. Think of Tiger Mask challenging Steamboat for the NWA Title in 1989.

 

John

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Kyoko's 8+ year journey comes to an end as she wins the WWWA Title on her 4th attempt. This was what the fans at Sumo Hall had come to see and it lived up to expectations. It was wonderful to see Kyoko achieve her dream as she was a very deserving champion.

 

They'd met on many occasions so you probably know what to expect by now with fast paced, full on action. Just in general Japanese fans weren't hot during builds anymore. So naturally it peaked during the closing third. Toyota did an awesome Sunset Flip off the top to kick things off. Both survived all of their opponents offence so Kyoko had to invent a new move to prevail. The Victoria Driver aka Burning Hammer was born. In this instance the concept worked really well. They had better bouts but this was still really good, and the right way to finish the year. Unfortunately a look at the remainder of the card represented the company's decline during 1996.

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Another match that starts slow and blah but turns into something pretty good. There are some really good transitions and changes of momentum down the stretch and the near-falls are numerous without overstaying their welcome. Kyoko debuts the Victoria Driver, which is a less head-spiky version of the Burning Hammer, to put Toyota away. Feels like a big moment, sold wonderfully by a tearful Kyoko, one of the only "big moments" for AJW the entire year. They closed out on a relative high note but this feels like a downright moribund company. I mean, it's probably perfectly healthy in comparison to UWFI, but it's impossible to deny how badly it's fallen off in '96.

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This is totally worth checking out if only for the spots. I have it on a comp and its something fun to watch or to show somebody joshi...I'll have to look back at their 4/92 match but, this might be my favorite meeting of the two in singles...this combo should have listened to the adage of "less is more."

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WWWA World Championship: Manami Toyota © vs. Kyoko Inoue

 

Kyoko tosses Manami on the announcer table, and performs hip dance before a Mexican surfboard. This starts off fun and then it devolves into a spotfest, and I have nothing against a good, well-worked spotfest, but this was a boring one. Big move, kick out, big move, kick out -- with no variety in between. They captivated the audience, to their credit, but I didn't like this at all. no

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This felt like a big moment and I was happy to see Kyoko dominate most of the match but Manami was pretty spot here and a couple of her big botches in the big moments took me out of the match. The final moments with the huge reversals and big spots on the top rope was well done and built up. A good spotfest but one where I was hoping for a genre changing event and it didn't come even though Kyoko was overcome by emotion and it felt like a big moment to her personally. That is sort of the representation of joshi as a whole in 1996. the pieces are there of the golden area but the glue has deteriorated leaving an uneven structure base. ***

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