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[2001-01-04-AJW] Yumiko Hotta vs Manami Toyota

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While I'm unlikely to ever join any revisionist school of thought about Yumiko Hotta, this was much better than I expected. Toyota brought her usual level of intensity which Hotta countered with an extremely clear and focused performance. Of course, there were all of the flaws that people usually pinpoint in Toyota matches, but they avoided the cardinal sin of wrestling (being boring.) The fact that they'd come up together and were the kind added gravity to the bout, but in all honesty, they built the match from the ground up and didn't really try too much or over-extended themselves. There was a natural style contrast, perhaps not as dramatic as Toyota vs. Kandori, but evident all the same and I really liked Hotta's use of the shotei as a similar weapon to Aja's uraken. There wasn't a huge amount at stake but they could have had a much more boring bout where they took a long tour around Korakuen and incorporated the garbage wrestling was so en vogue in 2000. I was grateful that they kept this simple and pleasantly surprised by the result. 

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  • 1 year later...

I have been on a Toyota kick so this match hit me at the right point but I thought this was a really good, simplistic match.  Two people that came up the ranks together and have a ton of interaction in tags and also singles matches by this point, but nothing that has really resonated unless I am completely blanking on something.  The contrast on display here was presented well and Hotta was patient and effective in her bruising approach and it paid dividends into the finish.  Toyota has some great facials throughout the match including her annoyed look when being locked into the crab.  What could have came off as pure comedy had some nuance to it to where it felt like Toyota was just humoring Hotta and her style and looking for an opening to pick the pace up.  Looking ahead at 2001, we get a lot these two together and this felt like a match that laid the groundwork for that to happen.  ***3/4 (7.6)

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