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[1997-08-09-AJW] Manami Toyota vs Kaoru Ito


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  • 1 month later...

Considering her prevalence in past yearbooks, it's so weird that Manami Toyota is making her first appearance of the year on August 9. This didn't really do much for me. There's nothing wrong with the match, but I didn't find anything about it all that special. Maybe it was special by the standards of 1997 AJW. I've learned to deal with a lot of Toyota idiosyncrasies just for the sake of getting past them, but they are hard to ignore here. There's a real been there done that feel to everything she does by 1997, and she seems like someone who needs a new look or working style or finishing move … something. She's very stale. I'll give her credit for taking all of that stiff offense from Ito to her abdomen though. Ito strikes me as someone who probably isn't easy to work with because a lot of her moves require so much from her opponent.

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  • 4 months later...

This was fine and I did like Ito's continued use of the double stomp and abdomen work. I thought Toyota was in her less annoying stage here and hit most everything cleanly which is a plus. This match also didn't drag out and felt like a complete contained story at 16 minutes. I didn't think it was super or anything but as a semi-main spot on a Korakun show, this was satisfying to me and I like seeing Ito's assertion up the card.

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  • 9 months later...

This was really good. I liked how Ito thwarted the typical Toyota opening. She didn't put up with her bullshit with the test of strength either. Somewhere between '96 and this bout she morphed into a 1997 version of Yukari Omori. Not only did her foot stomps look vicious but the rest of her offence was badass as well. Looks like a revisit of 1997 Ito is in order. This was another minimalist Toyota bout which worked for me. I thought it was a fantastic league bout with an excellent finishing stretch. Ito's submission attempts ruled. I often liked Toyota's JGP bouts which were smaller matches with less bullshit. I'd rather watch her in this type of setting that her big match run from '94-96.

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  • 1 year later...

Hey now...Toyota DID bust out a new finisher at the end here.


Anyway, I thought this was a nice solid meat-and-potatoes match--one of the closest things to an AJW "TV match" that we've seen on a Yearbook. Ito has a bunch of nice counters and submission work to keep Toyota grounded while also keeping her off-balance with a few Inoue-inspired flying spots, and Manami's hit-and-run moves seem more like a legitimate strategy to deal with that rather than Manami Being Manami. Good stuff here, even if the atmosphere feels a bit like late-1987 UWF.

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  • 11 months later...

From the Japan Grand Prix. There was a B match vibe to it. They worked hard, though it didn't have the intensity of a feature bout. By this stage Ito had morphed into a power worker so slowing down the pace was to her advantage. Toyota was still the aerialist. It built up nicely and was heading for a good rating. The execution was fine, but the stretch and finish weren't satisfying. Toyota's poor selling didn't help. I didn't care for the booking of the tournament either. Ito should've been getting pushed hard as the JGP winner, not appearing lucky.


As these threads are seemingly never going to be dated this match was on 8/9/97. The following day 8/10 was the final day of the JGP. Ito picked up a win over Watanabe to leave her top on 18pts. Toyota was on 17pts and needed a win over Shimoda to become champion. Mima sprung the upset however which left Ito as the surprise champion.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1997-08-09-AJW] Manami Toyota vs Kaoru Ito

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