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Thread: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    No need for followup from last week. Simple as can be. The rematch of one of the greatest matches of the 90s and this time for the Red Belt, the world title of the promotion that Toyota has never won and Kong has held onto since November of 1992, 2 and a half years as the top champion. In front of a sold out crowd from the Yokohama Arena, Toyota gets her moment, and arguably the biggest match of her career.

    Manami Toyota vs. Aja Kong (c) - WWWA World Title - AJW Wrestling Queendom 1995 Victory - March 26th, 1995

    Watch: https://youtu.be/OrE-o-L3RZ4

    Big match feel, with the camera following Toyota out in her classic red robe and we get a classic pretty darn long ramp. There's a moment where Toyota gives a look to the "retired" Hokuto (fun fact, was 1 month away from wrestling in WCW & NJPW's North Korea show where she would meet her husband Kensuke Sasaki), sitting at ringside. I wonder what her thoughts were seeing Toyota get the Red Belt which she never got herself and being front row for it.

    First of all, the atmosphere and everything about this feels much lesser than the Dome match which I will try not to compare it to, because nothing they could have done could have beat it. But here we have the crowd rallying behind Toyota earlier who gets an earlier rush, but quickly sees the tide turn with Aja burying her into the corner and squishing her. Aja was going to beat her challenger down and establish her will at the same time. Which she did by torturing Toyota and bending her completely back. Interesting point to look at to to add a bit more fuel to the chances of an upset here. This very show in the undercard featured Toyota's forever partner and friend Yamada win the White Belt. We see the first appearance of the BRIDGE early on which gets polite applause from the crowd, and then a brief firing up by Toyota to engage in a strike battle with Kong which goes as well as you would expect. In fact, this whole portion is Kong rotating between beating the crap out of Toyota, slamming her around, or stretching her with flexibility testing submissions. There's a GREAT moment where Kong has Toyota in the Crab Hold and suddenly Toyota curses Kong out loudly in defiance which the crowd pops for and Kong just casually lets her go like "I KNOW you didn't just do that shit". And double stomped her back! Awesome. More pain for Toyota as she is essentially a 1 woman FIP at this point. At one point Kong does YOSHI-HASHI's stupid ass rope hanging dropkick which sucks. But luckily follows it up with multiple piledrivers. Finally Toyota gets a singular hope spot on the Manami Roll but Kong literally just kicks her in the face to break that up. Kong no sells the Rolling Cradle again, but the crowd isn't impressed by this as much as the other times as it felt like the crowd was getting a bit restless at this LONG heat building. Kong yells at Hokuto and that gives the opening for Toyota to finally get the Rolling Cradle in! After seeing Liv Morgan's struggles with this move on Raw last night I am beginning to appreciate Toyota's version more. Liv I love you and think you're a great talent. Keep trying! Toyota struggled at first too. Finally the crowd picks up when Toyota shoves Kong to the outside and Toyota hits a completely insane dropkick to the outside that miraculously didn't break her back. Toyota sets up a table and they bring up the Dome match, but this time Kong sticks her feet up and literally kicks her out of the air flying to the outside. Kong then piledrives Toyota through the table as I got flashbacks to the Hokuto match but actually Toyota does a great job selling it this time and the crowd suddenly rallies behind Toyota and starts to get loud. Kong then gives a MAJOR insult to injury by doing one of Yamada's signature spots, the endless backdrops but it ends up firing Toyota up after repaying the kick in kind when Kong goes for a splash. Kong goes for the backfist but Toyota counters and hits the Japanese Ocean Suplex for a nice nearfall. Toyota goes big on the Manami Roll but Kong counters into a powerbomb. Toyota tries to hit the Boomerang but Kong just no sells it. They re-do the spot at the Dome where Toyota looks for a Sunset Bomb but Kong falls on top of her in a Banzai Drop position. They then do the Victory Star Drop and while it wasn't as cool as volume 1 I think it was for the better for the match, Toyota not being able to pin right away and Kong getting her foot on the rope is much more realistic than a clean kickout to that move. At one point Kong just slaps Toyota down and it's awesome, then they call back to Misawa vs. Jumbo which I found super interesting when they did their finish except Kong kicked out unlike Jumbo. Kong hits a Uraken with Toyota on the top rope but Toyota suddenly leaps over her and they bravely attempt the JOCS from the top which could have killed one or both if them, but it of course is let go of. Then Toyota lifts Kong up to hit the JOCS from the turnbuckle for the win to a HUGE pop and gasp from the crowd. With how out of nowhere that finish was it felt like a genuine surprise after this 2 and a half years. And just like that Jumbo/Misawa match the whole crowd chants Toyota's name after the win. She has an emotional celebration which really solidified this as an emotional and legendary moment. Her being held up by rookies as Zenjo's Blears replacement honors her as the new Red Belt champion was good selling of the match featuring a lot of Komg beating her down. She breaks down in tears after this which had to be a mix of her fantastic acting and genuine emotions.

    So yeah, this wasn't as good as the Dome. I repeat. It wasn't as good as the Dome. I appreciate that they tried various callbacks to it as well as the Jumbo/Misawa parallels which doesn't REALLY work for these two with their ages so similar but you get why they would. This was Toyota's crowning moment and in this one she actually won the title! That said, there were some issues and why it lags behind the other 2 matches in the series. First of all Kong's beatdown of Toyota was entirely too long, hurt the crowd and quite frankly was surprisingly uninteresting considering how good Kong is. Chopped in half I think the entire match would have been better for it. Secondly the finish. I almost don't blame them for being so over the top ambitious because if she was able to pull off that move it would have been a legendary finish and topping the Victory Star Drop by actually winning the match. But the fact is. They didn't. It got messed up and the finish was disjointed by it. Thirdly, until the title change itself the crowd was a big step down from their last match although I blame layout more than the fans. They went completely insane over the finish. With ALL that said, this was a worthwhile watch, just keep your expectations in check and enjoy Toyota getting her first ever Red Belt and kickstarting a new era for a company and considering Bull & Kong held the title for 5 years combined, the first pure babyface champion since Lioness Asuka (the namesake of WWE's Asuka) was champion before her retirement in 1989. A worthwhile match and a huge moment for the Flying Angel.

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Whoops, I forgot to comment last week. I thought if it was just a one fall tag the match would have been good (not top tier though) but the match got sloppy down the stretch and the table spot is hard to ignore. It always bugs me when wrestlers attempt a table spot a 2nd time…and then it still doesn’t work.

    I’m on similar lines with you on this Aja/Toyota match. The match from the 1994 dome show left me breathless and I thought it was the best match we’ve seen in this thread. This match tried to follow a similar formula but it just didn’t work for me this time around, and based on the crowd reaction I don’t think it worked for those fans in 1995 either. There is a thing of too much heat, and Aja snuffing out every Toyota potential comeback got more irritating each time she did it because you know the Toyota comeback has to come, but it’s getting more and more unrealistic that she should be able to comeback after getting beaten down for this long. When she survived the piledriver through the table and then about 3 vicious Saito suplexes back in the ring BEFORE the comeback started I knew this wasn’t the match for me. Redoing the bonzai drop and victory star drop spots from their previous match didn’t have the impact they did the first time. I also don’t like how often in that final third both women were trying to do top rope moves with long set ups. The super JOCS took way too long to set up and didn’t really work, and then the ultimate finish comes off as weak because they had to go with the inferior move to end this because they couldn’t execute the top rope version safely. It would have been a shame if that finish happened to a classic match, but luckily the total package of the match didn’t work either so it didn’t spoil things. Hoping for better in their next match together.
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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    So Toyota's finally the champion in what was a match that unfortunately couldn't live up to the prior match they'd had, but still. A 2 and half year reign getting broken up was rightly seen as a huge deal. Her first challenger continued on what was a months long feud as Kyoko Inoue, half of the team that ended Toyota's legendary tag titles reign steps up. The show before this match Toyota challenged Double Inoue this time with the talented young midcard talent Mariko Yoshida but of course Kyoko took home the match to set up the singles match. What followed is another one of Toyota's most famous (& longest) matches in her career and in fact won the match of the year for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards over the whole year. I had it quite a bit lower personally and ranked it at number 34 for the year and behind 5 other Toyota matches for '95, but above the Kong match. So let's go with Toyota's first title defense against well built rival as the first match of a new era of Zenjo in front of a sold out Korakuen Hall crowd!

    The Match: WWWA Title: Kyoko Inoue vs. Manami Toyota (c) - AJW G*Top 2nd - May 7th, 1995

    Watch: https://youtu.be/kk4u2ibmU-I


    First of all Toyota looks and carries herself very well as the champion on her entrance. This match deserves awards for Toyota finding a way to make the YOSHI-HASHI hanging dropkick look actually somewhat logical and less dumb. Secondly for all of the reviews online that call this an attempt at a 60 minute sprint, I really didn't find this that way at all as there were various ebbs and flows eith submission work challenging each other multiple times and even a pretty extended portion with the pace reduced to practically zero after Kyoko moves on the outside from her spacewoman plancha (which athletically her jumping backwards and landing on her feet was amazing). Toyota's character work continues to be engrossing in my opinion. From the beginning smirk at the crowd rallying behind Kyoko at the start to the babyface performance when the crowd changes course and gets behind her, to the vicious slap to the back of the head before locking in the bow and arrow, to the exhaustion at the end she was tasked with wearing multiple hats in this match and I thought she was extremely effective in all of them. Kyoko was a good opponent and deserves credit for keeping things moving when she needed to and she too showed a ton of charisma, to her squirreling to the rope on the Japanese Ocean Suplex and selling it big. (Which moments later when Toyota does get it you hear a loud high pitched squeal which was awesome) to her facial expressions which she looked like she was in near tears as she bent Toyota into pretzels, desperately wanting to make her tap. The crowd was very important to this match as they were with these two the whole way through and made this atmosphere big time from the start and especially when they would sprinkle in big spots and suplexes. There's no question this felt like a big deal and in the context of the time if I watched this match live? Unquestionably I'd be hooked to see what's next for both women so there's no doubt to me this match was successful in what it intended. That said, there were some issues. They blew their biggest spot of the match with the Victory Star Drop, although they even handled that pretty well with the tease of a double countout. I appreciate that we at least learned from the Kong match of the dangers of covering up botched moves but nevertheless I think it and the following segment on the outside made the match disjointed a bit after I was pretty damned impressed to that point. (Literally when they popped Toyota's knee after!) Also don't get why Toyota was doing a great job selling the knee with her not able to hold the bridge on her under hook suplex only to throw that out the window nearly immediately after. They threw everything but the kitchen sink in here moves wise. On another positive I LOVED the sequence of Kyoko kicking out of the JOCS and then catching Toyota in the Spider's Nest. Everyone in that arena thought that title was changing hands and I thought it was brilliantly done. The thing is then it dragged on a hit too long. I'm sure some would say the whole match was too long and it was ultimately true, I don't think it was the death knell a lot of people will say, they were able to keep the crowd invested and if anything they constantly went to big moments to liven things up and both women felt like really hot superstars by the end. I also thought the Niagara Driver counter where they both fell outside the ring was really well done in that it felt unplanned but clearly was considering how they reacted to it and the purpose it served rather than the Victory Star Drop which was just a botch. Also perhaps the most dramatically timed BRIDGE of Toyota's career makes an appearance. Sadly the second JOCS kickout was when things started to sour for me. The first one was amazing because or what it led to, here it was clearly just then killing time to get where they needed and it felt like they were limping to the finish line literally which kind of went against their previous epic and superhuman efforts for the prior 50 minutes. The actual finish with Kyoko offering one last fire up run still had plenty of drama and the showing of her mentor Bull Nakano on commentary was another nice touch to tease Kyoko getting her moment herself. Also was Toyota actually going for a piledriver at the end? If so then ending the match on that was nuts because it looked like it could be potentially insane if she hit it proper. From a booking perspective I think this could have meant even more had it been later in this title reign and further out from Toyota winning the title for the first time. This is speculation on my part but I'm guessing they wanted to tease Toyota's reign being a short one to once again set the title on a Dump/Bull adjacent wrestler as it had been for the last 5 years prior.

    The match ends with a decent Kyoko chant as Bull looks to be getting emotional, then a really large Toyota chant, then an even louder "Zenjo!" chant and despite all of this matches flaws this did feel like a big deal. The handshake was special, Toyota chugging water and then Kyoko getting taken out on a stretcher, this really felt like something special.

    The ending 10 minutes were just two women who had totally run out of gas and there were issues before that even, but I still would give this a thumbs up and definitely take it over the Kong match in March even though I definitely agree with my starting position that every match of '95 I'm gonna review next for Toyota is better than this one. Speaking of Kong though, we head back there as Kong came out to challenge and we set up Kong vs. Toyota III: The deciding match for the Red Belt.

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    I haven't really enjoyed the matches where Toyota is going 30+ minutes so you can imagine how grumpy I was to find out that this week's match was an hour long draw.

    I'm not pulling any punches here - I thought the match stunk. I thought the first 20 minutes or so were really good up to the point where Inoue gets the cool nearfall from headscissoring Toyota off the top rope and then Toyota follows up with her signature sunset flip pin in a dramatic 30 seconds. Then when Inoue starts grabbing a hold again right after that, the match started veering off a cliff. We already saw some longish submission work in the first 10 minutes in the match, so to go back to that after the go-go-go closing stretch we were getting was jarring and threw off the pace of the match. Had I not known the match goes 60 minutes before I watched it, I'd know it in the moment Inoue went back to long submission sequences after doing a closing stretch. Sadly the holes in the match don't stop there. The content of the second 30 minutes of this match is flat out bad. They already threw the kitchen sink out in the first half of the match so you end up seeing the same moves again (there is only so many times I can see Toyota go up to the top rope for her moonsault before it gets boring), worse yet they start botching moves like the star drop and some avalanche back suplex deal Toyota goes for, and then the cherry on top, Toyota does another table spot that doesn't break. Please tell me someone explains to this woman that her 80 pound frame ain't breaking any Japanese tables before the 90s are over because I can't watch these bad spots anymore. The commentator calling her Sabu got a laugh out of me though. I knew I hated this match when Inoue kicked out of 3 consecutive Toyota moonsaults and that really told the story of the end of this match where about 50 nearfalls happened and it became ridiculous that no-one would stay down for the pin despite big moves going down.

    It's such a shame because there is chemistry there with these two to have a kick-ass match, and they weren't far off it in the first 20 minutes of this thing, but this is where ambitions need to be tempered because they got sloppier and sloppier the longer the match went.
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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Nobody tells anyone in Japan tables don't break! If anything I actually think it's better the tables don't break because that's a much more painful attack than the Sabu table break spot though so out of everything wrong with this that didn't really get to me much.

    Why do you think they voted this match of the year? (Especially compared to the stuff that's coming) The match basically fell apart at the last 3rd and they prostituted her biggest spot for basically no reason here. I still think this was more worthwhile than the Kong match which was just a boring and flat match throughout. This was a rollercoaster bordering on a train wreck but there was a lot to like in the early going at least. But still, in the star rating category this probably wouldn't even make ***, and yet the WON voters picked this over a ton of other matches when in previous years Toyota had a ton of classics that were actually great and outside of the first Kansai/Ozaki tag never got up there.

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    Nobody tells anyone in Japan tables don't break! If anything I actually think it's better the tables don't break because that's a much more painful attack than the Sabu table break spot though so out of everything wrong with this that didn't really get to me much.

    Why do you think they voted this match of the year? (Especially compared to the stuff that's coming) The match basically fell apart at the last 3rd and they prostituted her biggest spot for basically no reason here. I still think this was more worthwhile than the Kong match which was just a boring and flat match throughout. This was a rollercoaster bordering on a train wreck but there was a lot to like in the early going at least. But still, in the star rating category this probably wouldn't even make ***, and yet the WON voters picked this over a ton of other matches when in previous years Toyota had a ton of classics that were actually great and outside of the first Kansai/Ozaki tag never got up there.
    You'd know more about Joshi than me, was it so uncommon for women to do an hour broadway that it makes this match standout among anything else in the year? Meltzer is a sucker for long, athletic matches and there was a tonne of athletic shit attempted in this match, even if it didn't always come off.
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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    You'd know more about Joshi than me, was it so uncommon for women to do an hour broadway that it makes this match standout among anything else in the year? Meltzer is a sucker for long, athletic matches and there was a tonne of athletic shit attempted in this match, even if it didn't always come off.
    I mean obviously hour long matches are extremely rare in any form of wrestling and these were simpler times. But not just Meltzer but his voters at this stage before the internet I would imagine would be more into their own stuff rather than just following what Dave says to a T. Even in terms of hour long matches you had Kobashi/Kawada right there a month later. And what about the legendary tag match where Kawada got his first win which is still remembered today?

    To back up that point about the voters, looking into the top 10 reveals just how weird the votes were that year. Look no further than HBK/Razor. That wasn't some Dave favorite that everyone parroted, so it makes one wonder what was going on with the voters on multiple levels:

    1. Manami Toyota Vs. Kyoko Inoue (5/7 Tokyo) (175)1,119
    2. Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (8/27 Pittsburgh) (92)860
    3. Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Psicosis (10/7 Philadelphia) (73)662
    4. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada (1/24 Yamagata) (83)648
    5. Toshiaki Kawada vs. Kenta Kobashi (1/19 Osaka) (69)624
    6. Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (4/15 Philadelphia )(45)419
    7. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi vs. Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada (6/9 Tokyo) (37)361
    8. Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Psicosis (9/22) Mexico City (22)321
    9. Ultimo Dragon vs. Lion Heart (7/7 Tokyo) (5)227
    10. Manami Toyota vs. Akira Hokuto (9/2 Tokyo) (12)201

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    I always had the impression that it was critically acclaimed because of the willingness to experiment with the match pacing and what they could do and how. I'm all for experiments and different forms of matches so I can see the appeal. Plus it feeds into the idea that the roster was hype competitive and had the "top this" mentality. It's a physical representation of that.

    I'm surprised that Ultimo vs Jericho made the top ten of the votes. Out of all that's there, that match sticks out like a sore thumb.

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    On paper I'm fine with that logic and honestly could see myself voting for something like that if they were able to pull something like that off but I just highly disagree with this match being any kind of sprint or some kind of testament to pushing each other to a physical limit besides of course it being an hour which is a legitimate accomplishment regardless of match quality. If anything there was all kinds of stalling and slow parts pretty much completely throughout the match. Obviously when they wanted to pop off they did but there was A LOT of downtime. I'm convinced a ton of people just saw the name Toyota and automatically assumed all of her matches were go go go and either just didn't watch them in the first place or are seeing what they wanna see. Nearly every Okada match probably has a faster and more consistent overall pace than this after the opening 5 minutes of nothing, just these two put 10 times more effort into the stuff they did and actually have spectacular moves.

    There's also a meta argument that the 60 minutes unquestionably made the match worse but it also made it special and something that won MOTY and is a legendary match. If it was 20 minutes it would have been a lot better but would have been lost to time. This video has over a million views on YT which has to be among the most watched Joshi matches in history. Would it have been there without how it played out even if we all think it's worse? In some ways that makes it a great match in and of itself.

    Ultimo/Jericho was at the WAR Anniversary Show and both guys were pretty in demand names. That was a fun spotfest but definitely not anything special but feels like a product of it's time. Maybe Toyota/Inoue was too.

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    This was a pretty straightforward setup. Both women have beaten the other once a piece and Kong came out to challenge Toyota after her hour long match vs. Kyoko Inoue. And now they have their deciding match, once again with the Red Belt on the line and this time in front of a sold out crowd in Sapporo.

    WWWA Title Match: Aja Kong vs. Manami Toyota (c) - AJW BEST*ONE 1995 - June 27th, 1995

    Watch: https://youtu.be/MgVi_5iSWuQ

    Toyota debuts a new entrance robe with this one being all white and silver, much more reminiscent of her name's sake. She keeps holding up the title, we presume to try to flex on Kong. Kong disrespectfully doesn't accept her flowers with her too busy staring a hole through Toyota.

    Toyota is all serious too returning the stare and as soon as she gets announced shoves Kong. I again have to praise the acting ability of Toyota here, just this little segment established right away that Toyota wasn't the underdog anymore and wasn't afraid of Kong. And it also was established immediately as Kong did a throat slash taunt, and Toyota immediately ran up and dropped Kong with a German Suplex. She got up top and looked for a dropkick but no, Kong walks away and the unthinkable happens: Kong goes to the top rope and steals Toyota's missile dropkick! That was awesome. I loved the heat between these two, like when Toyota was trying to go for her crab, she yelled out and insulted Kong while, she showed frustration in her kicks to the leg not affecting Kong, followed by Kong's kicks doing huge damage. Then suddenly we see Toyota take a page from Kenta Kobashi's playbook, withstanding Kong's kicks and yelling out in fighting spirit. Seeing Toyota do it was completely random but the crowd fired up for it so I will praise it for now, especially as it adds something to what was the worst part of their last match which were the boring and overly long Kong beatdown segments. Anyway Kong beats the crap out of her some more and settles into a sleeper hold and we see a bit of struggle. But finally she gets into the mount and unleashes an awesome flurry of slaps yelling "BAKA!" and it wakes the crowd up as she fired up, similar to her rage in the Dome match. Sadly for her she hits the ropes and gets hit with a devastating right hand punch by Kong that looked completely awesome and got a gasp from the crowd. Kong locks in the 1995 version of the Redeemer on Toyota and we get her taking control again and the best part has to be Toyota cursing her out more while locked in the hold which was yet another awesome Toyota moment. The pace gets grinded to a halt until Kong hits a big kick and a splash which leads to a return of THE BRIDGE, championship edition to set up an outside segment where Kong drags Toyota into the crowd and wrecks stuff with a chair before going all the way up at the protests of the ring announcer on the mic. She grabs a piece of the guard rail to throw at her too. Toyota gets up and we get a great camera shot of Toyota looking determined and then pointing at Kong as if to say "You're going down". The lethargic pace of that hurt the crowd though, if they had done the same stuff at the Dome where they kept things fast that would have gotten a huge pop and here it was silence. As evidenced by the following segment where Toyota hits the Boomerang Attack and then took Kong to Dropkick City to wake them up. Then Kong herself with a great slap flurry, a powerbomb and a middle rope splash for a near fall. Things really get going when Toyota goes for the Manami Roll again and Kong hits a wild Powerbomb counter that looked devastating for a great near fall. I loved the callback to their previous matches with Toyota FINALLY hitting that Sunset Bomb from the top without Kong countering! The crowd starts a really loud Toyota chant as Kong hits a bunch of backdrops! There's a potentially amazing counter where Kong looks for a top rope version and Toyota leaps out of it from the top and runs up in a position for the JOCS! It gets countered and then she just kicks Kong in the ass to shove her out of the ring! Awesome! There was a miscommunication as she goes for the Spacewoman Plancha but Kong was literally right next to the apron, so she impressively pulled back again and recovered right away to a baseball slide and then went for a dive but Kong countered. Back in the ring Toyota hits a pair of amazing moves, the first a new variation of the Sunset Bomb where she climbs to the top rope facing away from Kong and leapt into it from the top which looks absolutely incredible. Then following that she looks for the Spacewoman Plancha and just for the hell of it flips nearly into the crowd on it! HOLY SHIT. Back into the ring and she looks to set up for the Victory Star Drop and in an amazing sequence Kong slips out on her own and then Toyota counters a backdrop with a flip only to land right into a Uraken from Kong. HOLY SHIT! AMAZING nearfall! One of the best I can remember. Suddenly Kong busts out the Orange Crush! What the fuck!? Was Kobashi at this show or something and they were trying to impress him? Kong pounds the mat in frustration as the whole Arena is yelling for Toyota. But then Kong picks her up and hits the Uraken for the win. New champion! Afterwards Dynamite Kansai shows up to challenge Kong. FUCK YEAH. (Spoiler alert that match completely ruled and was just shy on this one in my rankings for 95. This 5th, Kong/Kansai 7th)

    A triumphant ending after the disappointing March match. There were times in the middle where I thought we were trending towards March with the long heat segment but our patience was rewarded as the lasting portion was an absolutely incredible display with tons of moments that would be legendary in any other setting but were all in this match. I also enjoyed the opening with Toyota asserting herself and Kong hitting the dropkick instead of Toyota. I also enjoyed the other callbacks like Toyota finally hitting the Sunset Bomb, then going on to hit an even better version. Also they both got over their hatred for each other and passion for the Red Belt throughout. I'll take the Dome match over this one because it was first and didn't have the long control segment this one had. But this was an excellent match by the end and a return to form for Toyota whose title reign was shaky from a quality perspective for sure.

    You have to wonder why there was so much back and forth booking in 1995. After 2 people held the title for literally 5 years you're gonna start flipping the title twice in a few months? It would KIND of work out in the end considering where this was all leading to but if I were watching this at the time I'm pretty sure I'd wonder what the heck they were thinking with this move and spoke out against it. Not just for the title but Kong had her era, Toyota needed to win this series more in my opinion. Why are we treating Toyota like Kawada exactly with this title reign? But it would all lead to a bunch of cool matches at least.

    Including the next two which take place on back to back days.

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    Re: Toyota Tuesdays: A Journey Through the Career of Manami Toyota

    This was more like it, I'd slot this in the middle as being better than the Wrestling Queendom match but not as good as the Big Egg match. This time I didn't have a problem with Toyota surviving the barrage of offence by Kong, I think her selling was better but also the Kong beatdown wasn't as brutal. These two are now becoming so familiar with each other that we're getting cool counter, I particularly liked the powerbomb counter to the Toyota sunset flip pin attempt, the Uraken countered into a tiger suplex and then the countered backdrop into a flip into a Uraken. I mentioned in my King's Road thread how I loved Taue doing the simple to counter the flashy, and Toyota's big dive out of the ring being punished by Kong lifting her knee up was a highlight.