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[1996-10-13-JWP-The Ryogoku Big Project] Manami Toyota vs Tomoko Kuzumi

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Her Toyota-ness descends upon JWP for this Special Challenge match at Sumo Hall. This was entirely predictable in terms of how the hierarchical difference played out, but it was still a good performance from both women. Toyota pinched both Takako Inoue and Mima Shimoda's heel acts a bit too liberally for my liking, but she gave Kuzumi a real eye-opener in terms of what she (Kuzumi) was lacking. Kuzumi's selling was good, and she made the most of her comebacks when they came, but there was a marked difference in intensity and in the way Toyota was able to carry and project herself. Manami had the confidence to play to the crowd without worrying what her next move would be and was basically streets ahead of where Kuzumi was at. That's not to say that Kuzumi should have disappointed in her performance. She did about as well as expected and would become a great worker in her own right during the freelance era. After watching Toyota go through her own "head down, bum up" phase in 1990-91, it was fascinating watching the poised performer she'd become only a few years later. I'm not sure if Joshi workers mature faster than men, or if it's because their careers would burn faster under the old retirement rule, but the daily grind of the old system sure got them up to speed in a hurry.

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