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[1990-06-17-AJW-Grand Prix] Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto

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- (JGP R1) Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto

Toyota starts out fast attacking at the bell but Hokuto quickly shuts that down with a stiff ass clothesline to the jaw. Then spends the next few mins stretching Toyota on the mat. Should mention that at this point it becomes really noticable how much the crowd is split as all the dudes in the audiance boo the heck out of Hokuto which causes the shrieking school girls to rise up in support of her making for an awesome atmosphere. Toyota makes her comeback and they trade dives on the outside. Hokuto lands badly on hers, whacking her leg against the guard rail and cutting a gash in her shin when she comes down. Hokuto's in near tears from the pain but wants to continue anyways but the ref has none of it and calls for the bell as the parade of shit finishes continues. Was turning into a damn good match before things got derailed thear.

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On here for the famous Hokuto injury, but yeah, the split crowd thing is fun. I'm guessing a crowd predisposed to be divided like this a few years later would have had the male fans siding with Hokuto over Toyota, as she had the larger-than-life character by that point. Hokuto stretches Toyota on the mat for the bulk of this, and Toyota hadn't really adapted the shrieking thing yet (which I've been able to move past by this point, for what it's worth). Hokuto does a high cross body to the floor and lands shin first on the guardrail in a nasty spot, creating a gash on her knee and resulting in a pretty bad injury. She tries to go back in the ring to continue the match and can't even stand. The match was developing nicely before that for sure, but this was a key moment.

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I'm guessing a crowd predisposed to be divided like this a few years later would have had the male fans siding with Hokuto over Toyota, as she had the larger-than-life character by that point.

Hmm, off the top of my head I don't recall what the crowd split was like for any of the other Toyota/Hokuto matches. That said, Toyota was always over huge in the future no matter who she's go against. It became kind of a diffrent beast later on though as 90 & maybe a little into 91 is really the last year for a long long time you can tell there's a heavy school girl demo making up the audiance. Things switched to the audiance being dominated by mostly males pretty quickly after this. Not that lots of women weren't still coming too but even they tended to be more of a diffrent, older group.

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Goodness, that was uncomfortable.

 

Dueling crowd chants to start, which is actually organic and not two smark factions trying to get themselves over. Toyota levels Hokuto with dropkick after dropkick to start but goes to the well once too often and ends up in a Boston crab. The crab actually goes a LITTLE long for my tastes (and this was before I knew the finish) though you certainly can't accuse either girl of laying in the hold. Hokuto attempts a dive to the floor and her leg slams into the guardrail in a brutal spot, and the match has to be thrown out. Hokuto is crying hysterically and Toyota looks like she's about to do the same, and Hokuto is pretty adamant about continuing against all reasonable logic. Listening to the Bengals game on the way home from work I heard Boomer Esiason talk about coaches sometimes needing to "save players from themselves," and I kept waiting for someone in authority to do that with Hokuto and just get a stretcher for the woman and get her out of there. Eventually she concedes and limps to the back.

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Toyota does her jumping out of the gates multiple drop kicks. From there Hokuto takes over. She bends Toyota repeatedly. Hooking in a single leg crab pretty good. Toyota sure is flexible. Toyota gets knocked to the outside and Hokuto climbs to the top rope. Ouch. She completely smashes her knee on the guardrail and looks really hurt. Uh oh, she’s getting into the ring. They call off the match and I’m relieved as I thought she would going to try go on. That was uncomfortable.

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Hokuto was so upset about not being able to continue I half have to wonder if she was booked to win the tournament. Toyota winning it was a shock result at the time. I remember during the 2007 G1 Climax semi final where Shinsuke Nakamura got legit ko'd in a match he'd almost certainly been about to win. No idea about what would have happened in the final that year. He'd have to wait 4 more years to win the G1. Hokuoto would have to wait 3 more years to win the JGP.

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That cross body to the rail looked nasty. Credit to Hokuto for even trying to stand after that, let alone continue the wrestling match.

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This match was all about Hokuto's injury, unfortunately. In the States, they would most likely have let the match go on, since she could stand and even walk a little, but it's a good thing they cut it off when they did.

 

They must have been trying to avoid showing closeups of the injury, but I got a brief glimpse or two of it (at least I think I did) and what I saw looked almost sickening. I hope we see Hokuto on future Yearbooks just so we know if she resumed her career at an elite level.

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I liked the series of drop kicks at the beginning and was digging the struggle on the mat. You can see Hokuto hitting her shin on the barrier when it happens and man its rough. Nasty gash for sure.

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Toyota opens quick with five straight dropkicks, climbs to the second turnbuckle and tries for one off there. Hokuto catches her and tries to turn it into a Boston crab, however Toyota is able to grab the ropes. Hokuto with two clotheslines and she goes for an early cover but Toyota bridges out. Hokuto with a sleeper whilst both are on the canvas and Toyota with some knee strikes to the head as a way to try and escape the hold. Hokuto with a Fujiwara armbar, before grabbing Toyota’s leg and applying a Boston crab. The Boston crab looks nasty as Hokuto is sat right back on her and Toyota is all contorted up. She turns it into a single leg and Toyota is screaming in pain and that thing looks like it hurts for real with her leg pulled all the way back. There’s an almighty struggle and Toyota finally reaches the ropes to break the hold to much clapping and delight from the crowd. A beautiful scoop slam into a bridging suplex by Hokuto for a near fall, and she’s back to that single leg crab with Toyota seemingly more doubled over than last time. She’s able to force another break, but when Hokuto whips her into the ropes, Toyota holds on and Hokuto dropkicks the air. A two count on Hokuto, then Toyota misses a bodypress as Hokuto ducks out of the way. She tries to ram her head first into the turnbuckles but Toyota blocks it and rams Hokuto’s head into it instead. She climbs to the top turnbuckle as if going for a moonsault bodyblock, however Hokuto dropkicks her and she takes an awkward looking fall to the floor. Hokuto climbs to the top herself and comes off with a bodypress, but Toyota moves and she lands on the seconds and also hits her leg hard on the guard rail. Hokuto manages to get back in the ring but she’s in real pain and struggling to stand. The camera seemingly is trying to not show you what is up with her leg, although you are able to make out a pretty nasty looking gash just below her knee. The match is eventually called off with Toyota declared as the winner.

 

I thought this was a good match with the plucky young Toyota never quitting against her more experience opponent. The struggle in the Boston crab was great, but I hated the fact that Toyota never sold the back once the moment she was out of the hold. Surely after such a monumental struggle you would still be in some pain? Really liked the knee strikes to the head as a way to try and escape the sleeper hold. I wish they could have had a better camera angle for Hokuto’s crossbody to the floor as I missed the leg hitting the guard rail on first viewing and was trying to see where Toyota was. Would have been nice to see how the match would have continued if it wasn’t halted due to the injury.

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That was such a nasty injury. Huge credit to Hokuto for being ridiculous amounts of tough. You can hear her start to go into shock at one point before she catches herself. Ugly, ugly injury that I don't think would have been shown on TV in the U.S. if it wasn't live.

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