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[1995-09-02-AJW-Destiny] Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto

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Quite the all-action match. Pretty crazy spotfest. Toyota goes over, but Hokuto makes her earn it. It's hard for me to call the match "great" considering all of the excess, but it is one that I can easily understand why people like. This is a pretty exciting game of top this.

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The Swan Song of the great Akira Hokuto. Some (most) would argue she had a great match against Satumora in 2001, I strongly disagree. This to me is the last great Hokuto match. Toyota was on a roll at this point, having the best Hotta match ever the next day.

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Hokuto's veiled black wedding dress entrance attire is so awesome. That she jumps Toyota and does a fucking somersault plancha while wearing the thing is all the more awesome. There's not a fuck-ton of substance here, but since this is basically a one-off I'm much more forgiving of the spotfesty nature. I could have done without all the table stuff, though that seems to be a major part of Toyota's game now, so whatever. Hokuto does provide some great counters to keep this somewhat grounded. She also does her new husband's Strangle Hold, and of course applies it without five times as much torque and energy as Kensuke ever did. Toyota comes back to hit two Northern Lights bombs to put Hokuto away with a bit of an insult to it as well.

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This was a match I never really liked in the past, possibly because I was always more of a Hokuto fan and this isn't a match where she asserts a lot of control over the bout, but I liked it more this time round. It doesn't break a lot of new ground, which is probably its biggest flaw, but it's not a spotfest. They spend more time selling during the stretch run than they do hitting spots, and Toyota no-selling the finish is patently false. I get the feeling that if the workers are uninteresting to people that they kind of gloss over what's happening and don't pay a lot of attention. There was far too much detail in this to call it a spotfest and way too much selling. Toyota gets such a bad rap.

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Wow, even by big match joshi standards this was something else. There was a moment in the last five minutes or so where I stopped thinking about the match critically and just went with it because it was too damn enthralling. More than a spotfest but also just as much spectacle as it is a match, I think the reason it could be misinterpreted as a spotfest is because it's based more around pride and respect than it is around hate. But still, it hardly felt like the point of this match was to execute cool moves, there was much more on the line than that.

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This had some signs of a pretty good match, but ultimately, it was a very forgettable spotfest. After the initial shine by Toyota, Hokuto got to do some work on top - and that was fine, nothing too compelling, but fine. I would've liked to see them continue that formula until Toyota got her big comeback in - but in reality, Toyota got the control back way too fast & started to get her shit in. Poor selling & her offense didn't do it for me. *1/2

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And now for something completely different. Probably the best way to describe this would be as a bombfest. Most of the moves were damaging and powerful. Both were going full out for the win right from the bell. They showcased the depths of their medium to high end movesets. The selling was really good. With the exhaustion and the damage inflicted it became a true epic, despite not lasting long enough to usually qualify for that title. Towards the end they took things outside for even more devastation via the table. Then Manami finished her off with two brutal Northern Light Bomb's. Hokuto did the mother of all sell jobs afterwards, as if a part of her had been destroyed. Some bizarre and emotional scenes between her and Mima Shimoda were to follow.

 

There can be little doubt that this was Hokuto's idea all the way. She had such a great creative mind for wrestling theatre. Despite not being a typical Toyota match she looked like a total boss throughout, nailing everything. An ideal way to end their storied rivalry in AJW and the best women's match of the year. What an event.

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This took place on my 9th birthday that year. Neato.  Anyway this was a first time watch and I absolutely loved this match.  Akira Hokuto was always a favorite of mine going back to watching joshi for the first time.  Her entrance and opening attack on Toyota was awesome and set a great pace for the match.  When she was in control, she really laid in some stiff shots.  Not Aja Kong or Kandori stiff, but enough where it looked like it made a mark.

I don’t see this as a spotfest but a game of oneupmanship and a total bombfest as Zenjo put it.  Toyota was pretty great in this and I really liked her growing frustration towards the end.  She had enough of Hokuto’s taunts and digs and just hits her with every major bomb in her arsenal, particularly those two nasty Northern Lights Suplexes.

Yeah, this match ruled.

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Hokuto's entrance attire looked incredible. They jump-start this after Hokuto hits a big dive to the outside as Toyota's making her way to the ring. They bring the hate during the first half, with Toyota violently throwing Hokuto around by her hair. They work on some snug holds, with Hokuto locking on a particularly tight Sharpshooter. It was interesting to see Toyota work as vicicious as she did here, which is a side of her that is rarely seen. This all falls to shit in the second half, where it felt like they were just trading moves. Seeing Hokuto obviously check on Toyota after a few of the bigger spots was one of those small things that took me right out of the match. They end up fighting outside, where they hit table spot after table spot before Toyota wraps this up after two Northern Light Suplexes. Yeah, this didn't vibe with me. The big moves looked devasting, but there's more to wrestling than getting your shit in. ★★¼

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