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[1991-05-26-AJW] Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong


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  • 3 weeks later...

- Aja vs Toyota

I thought this was a really good match but I could see opinions differing. There were a lot of "blown" spots but I thought it made for a good story. Aja is a big bad ass who mows over her & dominates with simple power stuff, Toyota makes comebacks but every time she gets the advantage she messes things up trying to do "fancy" shit which she can't pull off due to not being strong enough (in this match atleast) to get Aja up for all her whacky suplexes and stuff, getting more and more desperate & frustrated as time goes on trying to figure out some way to slay the beast.

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I recall this being a whole hell of a lot more coherent than I expected it to be. There was a match I watched around the same time, from either the '09 or maybe 2010 Champion Carnival, Seiya Sanada against Kono, where you could see they weren't "there" yet at all, but, for whatever reason, their lay-out of the match was really rather strong and logical, as though an agent had ran through it with them beforehand. I'm not saying this was nearly as good as what they'd've done two years later, in fact I think I was sufficently less impressed by their JGP '92 match even though it might've been better just because they'd both improved so much by then I had higher expectations, but, yes, I recall liking this a lot more than I expected to.

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  • 2 months later...

Another disappointing match. I like some of the later matches these two had, and I suppose it's interesting to see the evolution of their feud. But I just couldn't get into this that much. It wasn't bad - in fact, it was pretty solid, and I thought the frantic nearfalls near the end where they were trying to beat the clock were really well done. I just had trouble making myself care.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For two such contrasting personalities and styles that would seem like natural opponents, this is surprisingly heatless, especially in comparison to the previous match. There are some good big vs. little spots once Manami starts her first comeback, and then Aja does a dropkick off the apron and smacks the arena floor in a bump that's almost as dangerous (and stupid, and masturbatory) as any Cactus Jack Nestea Plunge. There is some scattered stuff here that I liked, such as Toyota's funky armwork and Aja's leg trip counter of a German suplex. But there is a LOT of sloppiness, like Toyota not being able to do any of her suplexes and that shit with each woman constantly countering/slipping off the turnbuckles. And moreso than that, the match NEVER SEEMS TO END. Long matches are one thing, but there are about 9 million counters and 2-counts and the "my turn your turn" stuff at the end goes on so interminably that I never once feel that either woman is remotely in danger of actually losing, because none of the counters or near-falls have any meaning. This ends in a time limit draw because God forbid I get a decisive finish for waiting around this long.

 

Being a joshi noob I get the vibe that this was an attempted elevation of Toyota by having her hold her monster opponent to a draw. Neat in theory, but the execution was lacking and more importantly the crowd that was highly into Yamada/Hotta wasn't nearly as into this, even during the furious exchanges at the end. Based solely on gauging crowd reaction after the fact from a culture 20 years and thousands of miles removed, I can't argue that this match was even an objective success.

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  • 1 month later...

The first time I saw this I liked it but wasn't blown away. So when I rewatched it for the set I was quite surprised that it's one of my favourites of the year so far. Right from their 1st televised singles encounter the great chemistry was evident. Aja was ranked higher but Toyota fought as her peer. Over the course of the battle they each gained respect for their adversary.

 

A recurrent theme was Toyota's regular moves not working because of Aja's size. Initially I might have written this off as sloppiness, but I can see now how Aja was being deliberately uncooperative on certain moves to make sure they didn't work. It came off really well from a storyline perspective. Despite the difficulties faced Manami had a deep and adaptive moveset to overcome the problems. The pacing for a 30m draw was superb and it was very well structured. Both sold well, there were frequent shifts in momentum and a nice balance to the work. They could have done with a hotter crowd and maybe a title to fight over to make it even better.

 

This was such a fantastic show BTW with an awesome Bull/Bat vs Hokuto/Hasegawa main event. Thrilling action and it told a great story too. Plus the card was named 'We are Running Through Korakuen Hall!'

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  • 2 months later...

Had pretty high hopes for this coming off their 1994 match but was left disappointed. Storyline of the match was fine but the sloppiness was too much and it seemed like they had enough stuff and story for around 18 minutes and stretched this out to 30. A lot of rinse and repeating with Toyota making a comeback then giving right back up the advantage.

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  • 1 year later...

This match may have been long, but it sure wasn't an epic. It felt in many ways like a wrestling school match, where each participant has a specific list of moves to work on or execute within a given bout. Unfortunately, Toyota's "list" included lots of moves that not only wouldn't work against someone as big as Aja, but that she looks silly trying. Slams, lift suplexes, and submissions that involve wrapping the arms around a bigger wrestler's body parts have to be done exactly right or a smaller wrestler looks foolish for trying them, and Toyota certainly looked foolish at times here.

 

She also forgot to sell the damage that Aja did to her lower back early in the match; within twenty seconds of finally escaping Aja's half-crab, she was throwing dropkicks and breaking out of pins with full bridges like she was fresh out of the locker room, and that was just wrong. I don't usually criticize a wrestler's lack of selling, but this case was too blatant to be ignored. She's so obviously sloppy at times that Aja looks bad for letting her hang around for the draw instead of taking advantage of her mistakes and beating her in the first five or ten minutes.

 

Speaking of Aja, I've seen her look better too, but she handled this match as well as she could under the circumstances, and her work on Toyota's back early in the bout was vicious and well-done. In fact, her technical ability kind of surprised me, since she's usually such a mauler. It made the usual trash can spree in the middle seem really unnecessary, but I'm guessing that the fans would have been disappointed if she hadn't used it at some point.

 

This wasn't a classic, but it wasn't exactly a dud either. I'll just call it solidly mediocre and say that I hope to see both ladies return to the top of their form soon.

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  • 2 years later...

Found my notes for this show while rummaging thru boxes in the basement...

 

Here we go:

 

Good focus & heel offense from Aja especially after Toyota's quick moves. Intense for sure, violent. Never seen Aja hit the ropes so hard for her running Aja attack. Plus she can surf! (Not sure what I meant there...)

 

Match gets loose towards the end but I read it as exhaustion rather than clumsiness. A definite recommended match for Aja & Toyota fans...felt it was better than 3/26/95 perhaps due to expectations.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm with the not-so-impressed contingent. I could see some of those goofy spots where Aja was basically saying "nope, not right now" and that wasn't bad. Both did way too much screaming. Some fun desperation stuff at the end. Funny how Aja's selling was actually better than Toyota's here. Match did its' job in elevating Toyota I guess.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1991-05-26-AJW] Manami Toyota vs Aja Kong

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