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Charles (Loss)

[1991-01-11-AJW] Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto

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my old review

 

- Toyota vs Hokuto

Ah Hokuto, Mrs. Victory Through Guts. Here she comes in with a hugely bandaged arm, knowing her probably for a legit injury and Toyota just waste no time going after it, ripping the 8 million damn layers it's wraped up in off. Being a lot more brutal & vicious then you usually see Toyota act. Toyota also has a bad leg going in though so later on Hokuto tries to focus on that to even the odds. Makes for a really cool story and a damn good match. Suzuka Minami was at ringside for this freaking the FUCK out, threatning to throw the towel in for Hokuto at any moment. After the match she is super pissed off, yelling at Toyota and swearing to get revenge and now for literally the 1st time in all my years as a joshi fan I now actually want to go out of my way to check out a Suzuka Minami match.

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This was awesome, with Toyota showing a real mean streak and going after Hokuto's arm like a woman possessed, even ripping the tape off of it. Hokuto tries a comeback, but can't really pull off any moves. Slipping when trying the superplex was great. I have never seen a Toyota performance anything like this, and Hokuto delivers some top-notch selling to match. I think this is their best singles match together. It isn't worked as "big" as their other matches, but that's what makes it work. Sometimes, the simplest, most straightforward approach is the best path ahead. Really compelling stuff and the first MOTYC to blossom from '91. Toyota has this look on her face after the match where she's trying to act casual, but also seems a little guilty and surprised by what she just did, which seals this.

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When did all these joshi matches get so grounded and have awesome focus. This was an awesome storyline match and Toyota was relentless int he match going after the arm. That killer instinct was severely missing in some of her later stuff. I agree with Loss that her facial expression at the end is glorious.

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Toyota junks the rapidfire style due to Hokuto coming out with a giant cast and splint on her arm. That lasts for about a minute and a half before Toyota rips it off (and emphatically breaks the splint over her knee just to drive the point home) and Hokuto basically has to resort to nothing but dives and high-risk moves because her arm won't let her do anything else. She gets a slight opening when Toyota buggers her leg on a dive (irony!) She kicks out of a few big Toyota moves but misses one last go-for-broke somersault. Toyota wraps her back up in an armbar and we get a submission. That's absolutely the right finish but color me surprised to see a joshi title match end on a tapout. Great different dimension from Toyota here--I wish we'd gotten this Toyota when she first met Hokuto after the big leg injury. So far January '91 has been on fire from pretty much every promotion imaginable.

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I don't know if Hokuto was legit hurt (probably was) but that cast was an amazing prop. The rigidity of it suggested a broken arm or a dislocated elbow, and then she did a great job of working the match as if she was badly fucked up (which she might well have been.) And yes, Toyota kept her performance amazingly focused. I didn't find this quite as exciting as the Hokuto/Nakano match, but if you want a focused narrative, this is your ticket. Either way, 1991 Joshi has been a pleasant surprise.

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Well I didn't like it as much as you guys. Hokuto has her arm complete wrapped up with Toyota attacks to start. She takes forever to unwrap the arm with Hokuto not showing a whole lot of resistance to stop. Hokuto ends up outside the ring and gets her arm rewrapped. There is no ref count while this is going on. I guess there are time outs in wrestling. At least the finish did factor in the hurt arm.

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Toyota maintains her stranglehold over the Dangerous Queen, who again fails to win the title match. Houkuto came in wearing loads of padding and bandages on her arm which was somewhat ludicrous. It was like a homing beacon as Manami ripped them straight off and attacked with ferocity. Typically strong selling as Akira worked around the injury whilst on offense. She did some damage to Toyota's knee in retaliation but it was never going to be enough. It's an interesting one-off concept match that was different and told a story. I'm not crazy over pre-existing injury matches though, it's not usually a format conductive to good match quality. The aftermath nicely sets up the 3/17 Toyota vs Minami title bout which should have made the set.

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Toyota hadn't really come into her own yet, but this was easily her best match since the '89 bout against Yamada. I was impressed that they were able to adhere so closely to the narrative here as it's in everyone's instinct to blow it off for the stretch run, but they were committed to the story here. I'm also not crazy over pre-existing injury matches, but I thought this was extremely well done, similar to something like Liger vs. Sano and the first legitimate four star Toyota match of the 90s. I don't agree that this was a better Toyota than the one she matured into, though. She was more Mima Shimoda than Manami Toyota here, and while it was a cool story, she couldn't have made a career out of it.

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This one was shockingly competitive, considering how hurt, legitimately or otherwise, Hokuto was. A lot of times, matches like these where one wrestler is so obviously hurt turn into squashes because the hurt wrestler can do nothing but cover up the injured body part. In this case, Hokuto took what she still had- her legs- and wrestled the best match possible, getting several nearfalls on Toyota even after her injured arm had been rendered almost totally useless. Of course, it still doesn't amount to victory, as Toyota eventually finds the armbar effective and just keeps reapplying it until Hokuto can take no more.

 

I liked the teases of Hokuto's partner throwing in the towel Arnie Skaaland-style. Hokuto stays just competitive enough that she doesn't have to, but it reminds the fans that even in a cutthroat business like wrestling, there's still a small bit of room for humanity. Seeing Toyota's face after the match reinforces this as well; she may have done what she needed to do to win, but she wasn't happy about having to do it.

 

I don't know what to make of the timeout right after the match started. On one hand, it could have been a part of the intended story; on the other, maybe Toyota wasn't supposed to go quite so far in ripping off Hokuto's bandages, and a legitimate medical timeout was needed to rewrap her injured arm enough so that she could continue. Either way, it set up what was to come very nicely.

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I am going through joshi just like I am for the men's All Japan for the Excite Series and just watched this match.

 

Holy shit did I love this. Most of the Toyota I have seen was a Japanese women version of Kurt Angle, all awesome spots and athletics and not much substance (at least that is what I remembered) and damn this match an the other 1990 mach I watched tells me otherwise.

 

She works the arm like a beast. The ripping of the cast, the tenacity was so great. The few dives and moonsault she did completely worked with trying to finish Hokuto off. Then after Hokuto's dive (who did a great job selling the arm all match) Toyota's leg injury got re-activated and she had to sell the leg great as well.

 

I was so into this match and it is something you can show to anyone who is on the fence about joshi. 4 1/2 stars, just killer stuff!

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I just re-watched this one, and man what a match. I'm still surprised by Toyota going all-in on the viciousness, and I still don't know if Hokuto's injury is a work or not. There's a spot where Hokuto manages to get Toyota down into some kind of single leg crab type thing, almost like the start of an STF but just focusing on the leg, and she uses her head to apply pressure because she can't use her arm. This is one that's really stuck with me, and probably my favorite match of 1991 so far.

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Yeah, I'm surprised this match wasn't more one-sided as much as they put over the injury of Hokutu. It legit looked like Toyota was going to snap the arm in half at times. It was interesting to see Grimmas compare Toyota to Angle, because Toyota holding on the that insane looking armbar for so long reminded me of the criticisms that some have of Angle matches sometimes when he works his ankle submission too long (according to some - doesn't usually bother me). Anyway, this was really good. I thought the length of that submission built the drama, so I'm not criticizing it - I liked it.

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It looked like Hokuto's arm was injured they way she really wasn't using it. One of the better joshi matches I have ever seen, loved the laser focus on the story instead of trying to go big at the end.

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This is about the smartest Manami Toyota match you'll ever see. Hokuto comes in with a bad arm in a cast and Toyota immediately pounces to kick the shit out of that arm. The transition is supposed to be Toyota (drawing boos) going arrogantly for a dive and banging up her own leg allowing Hokuto to go on offense. This works but of course Toyota sells fuck all and goes back to hitting suplexes. But the focus of the match is Hokuto who probably the most credible tough lady wrestler in history and her selling and one armed comebacks were all credible. She survives longer than you'd expect but it's Hokuto she survived a broken neck and cancer. Predictable match but work thanks to the novelty of it. Great Hokuto performance and Toyota looked good beating her.

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