Joshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota vs. Suzuka Minami (All-Pacific Title, 1991)

A one-match Spotlight today, but it’s a doozy, and one I’ve been waiting to see for a year or so. Come see what Dave Meltzer considered ****3/4 in 1991!

ALL-PACIFIC TITLE:
MANAMI TOYOTA vs. SUZUKA MINAMI:
(17.03.1991)
* Yes! This one has finally been uploaded! Our own Evito-X popped this one onto YouTube recently, giving us a match I’d been looking for for a good while- Meltzer rated this ****3/4, which in “1991 Talk” means it’s gonna have one fuck of a pace. Toyota, holding the White Belt for half a year by this point, is increasingly over and getting very legit, though 1992 was when she started REALLY getting made (and it took 1994 for her to become a worthy Main Eventer)- Suzuka is older and more experienced, and at the peak of her singles credibility, though she only held that belt via a referee decision when Aja Kong got disqualified for cheating too much (and you’ve seen how difficult it is to get DQ’d in AJW). Toyota’s in her early ’90s gear- the all-black, un-detailed leotard, while Suzuka’s in a black & yellow basic singlet. And I have to use those names specifically because “Manami vs. Minami” would get way too confusing.

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Joshi Spotlight: Akira Hokuto

Akira Hokuto | Akira, Royalty, Female wrestlers

“AJA. Bull- you listen carefully, too. I have two lives left. If anyone wants them, come forward now!”
-Hokuto dropping a challenge during her retirement tour.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- AKIRA HOKUTO:
Real Name: Hisako Uno
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ & 132 lbs.
Career: 1985-2002

-This is one I’ve been dreading and anticipating for ages now- how does one make sense out of the career of Akira friggin’ Hokuto? Pro wrestling’s living embodiment of “die for your art”.

Akira is one of the “Big Three” of Joshi, arguably the “Big Two” with Manami Toyota- someone whose respect is well-earned and nigh-universal. Anyone who knows anything about wrestling has a deep respect for her work, and even people who aren’t major joshi fans have either seen or heard of her legendary ***** match with Shinobu Kandori at Dream Slam 1, and consider her a top-tier talent. At one point, she has an even shot for being the greatest wrestler ON EARTH, regardless of gender- 1993 was quite possibly the best year any wrestler has ever had- at least six solo matches over ****, more than double that if you count tags, and more. Any female wrestler of the ’90s whose best match wasn’t against Toyota was against Hokuto instead. NOBODY was better at playing through an injury or carrying someone else than Hokuto- Rumi Kazama hit **** with her, and never came close with anyone else, and Akira hit ****1/2 or so against Aja Kong while on a broken leg.

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Joshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Megumi Kudo & Combat Toyoda (Rematch in FMW!)

This video’s weird- runs the full match, then cycles back to mid-way, then does entrances again.

MEGUMI KUDO & COMBAT TOYODA (FMW) vs. MANAMI TOYOTA & TOSHIYO YAMADA (AJW):
(FMW, 05.05.1993)
* So I had NO IDEA this match existed- a rematch from the Main Event of Dream Slam I, but on FMW turf! This is a stadium show and is non-title- given that it’s a rematch, I strongly suspect it’s to give FMW a win back as “payment” for jobbing out on the big interpromotional show, but you never know. That sucky FMW announcer is back (“To-yo-DAAAAEEEEEE!”). General consensus among most is that this is superior to the Dream Slam one (which I rated ****3/4). Yamada’s in blue, Manami’s in black (aw, no Giant Swan outfit like the first one), Combat’s in black & red, and Kudo’s in white & pink.

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GLOW vs. AJW (and other Dream Matches)!

Welcome to a second edition of Dream Matches for this week! aka “I already reviewed these matches once so it’s just a cheat to re-use them”. This one features some fascinating stuff between “People who know how to wrestle” and “People who had two weeks of training and were just sent out there” as All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling (AJW/Zenjo), one of the best workrate promotions in the world, somehow thought it would be a great idea to get the women from GLOW to visit Japan and wrestle their stars in the huge Retirement Show of Chigusa Nagayo!

Most GLOW girls were just wannabe actresses given a modicum of training and filmed doing simple stuff, but it became a pretty big fad for a year or two in the 1980s. Meanwhile, AJW’s wrestlers could do some state-of-the-art stuff, like the Jumping Bomb Angels, and were among the best wrestlers in the world (like Jaguar Yokota, who trained some of the AJW women seen this night).

I’ll also throw on a couple of other bouts here- didja know that Jamie Noble wrestled as a jobber in WCW? Well you will tonight, as he takes on HARDWORK Bobby Walker! And also another look at Terry Taylor’s forgotten 1992-93 WWF run as he takes on Mister Perfect on an early ’93 RAW!

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Joshi Spotlight- AJW TV (Feb. 18- Toyota/Yamada vs. Kyoko/Hotta)

AJW TV (Feb. 18th 1994):
* Weirdly, I somehow nearly missed this one entirely. A random check of Grand Prix matches from the summer somehow showed U-Channel’s two February AJW shows uploaded. I mean, I normally work a bit ahead, and this BARELY made it on time. I normally search names in English & Japanese, so I shouldn’t have missed this quite so badly. But in any case, here’s a pair of TV shows with likely some fairly edited shows.

ETSUKO MITA, TOMOKO WATANABE & RIE TAMADA vs. SUZUKA MINAMI, CHIKAKO SHIRATORI & KUMIKO MAEKAWA:
* It’s a combination of Giant, Rookie & Bottom-Tier Wrestler, though Tomoko way outranks Chikako at this point, so Minami’s practically fighting by herself. Rie’s in white & red, Tomoko’s in green & blue, Mita’s in black, Minami’s in red & black, Chikako’s in blue & white and Kumiko’s in the jobberiest blue swimsuit ever.

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Joshi Spotlight: Tag League THE BEST- Part One

AJW TAG LEAGUE THE BEST 1993- PART ONE:
(10.10.1993):

And as we wind down the crazy-ass 1993 in Joshi, here comes the end-of-year Tag Tournament once again! Except this time… it’s totally random-ass. Like, NONE of these people are regular partners! Except for LCO, I guess. The top teams in AJW are Toyota/Yamada, Hotta/Takako & Bull/Aja, and now they’re all split up. But now we get the debut of a NEW Big Gaijin star in AJW (the incomparable Reggie Bennett), and a trio of tag matches so random they look like a WCW “Lethal Lottery”- except all the wrestlers are good so it should be rad.

“TL;DR- What’s The Big Deal?”: The best wrestlers in the company putting their “big show” efforts into their matches, producing some of AJW’s better stuff.

PS I love that their sashes all read “TAG LEAUGE”.

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Joshi Spotlight: Devil Masami vs. Dump Matsumoto (and the best squash EVER!)

Shit like this is why Hokuto is an all-time legend.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- DEVIL MASAMI vs. DUMP MATSUMOTO:
* Okay, so with this week’s Spotlight being a tad short (a single match plus a recap of two old reviews), I figured I’d find some ’80s stuff, including a Devil/Dump match I was linked to weeks ago. And also, someone uploaded the Hokuto/Numacchi match from Super Whirlwind so I can review that arduous epic here!

So read on and see some of that wild 1980s Atrocious Alliance clusterfuck goodness! And an ultra-rare WWWA Title decision!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Legacy of Queens

AJW LEGACY OF QUEENS:
(25.08.1993, Tokyo Nippon Budokan)
* So this is a positively AWESOME AJW show devoted to the interpromotional rivalries going on, effectively doing another Dream Slam-tier show full of mega-Dream Matches- it’s easily one of the biggest shows of the year, surpassed only by Dream Slam 1 & 2 and St. Battle Final (later in the year). Much like the Slams, this features “AJW wrestler vs. JWP/LLPW/FMW wrestler” in one-of-a-kind bouts that, if they’re not competitive, are at least unique. And this time, it’s not AJW’s tag titles on the line- both their #1 and #2 singles golds are up for grabs, as Akira Hokuto defends against an LLPW wrestler and Aja Kong defends the Red Belt against the Ace of JWP, Dynamite Kansai! And LLPW’s Ace, Kandori, is up against one of AJW’s biggest stars in Kyoko Inoue, plus we have a duo of multi-person match sprints.

The setting is really awesome- like one of the early King of the Ring shows, with huge gated doors visible on the hard cam at the end of the aisle.

This show is MASSIVE and would prove a monster 2-parter to review, but thankfully I’ve reviewed three of the matches before on separate sets.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: This show is up there with some of the greatest, boasting FOUR MATCHES at **** and over, the legendary first Kong/Kansai match, a spectacular carry-job by Hokuto, and one of those unique situations where nearly every wrestler seems to be trying to show up every other wrestler.

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Joshi Spotlight: Takako Inoue vs. Mayumi Ozaki

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- TAKAKO INOUE vs. MAYUMI OZAKI:

* Doing these Joshi Spotlights kind of piecemeal, then trying to go in order, certain things kind of stand out. Little feuds here and there, or people who take special relish every time they’re in the ring against each other. Takako Inoue in particular tends to hate other pretty girls- every time she’s in the ring with another “Idol wrestler”, she acts like a mirror just told her that girl was fairer than she. Mayumi Ozaki, too, seems to delight in tormenting and bullying all of her rivals, especially the pretty ones.

But when it’s Takako VERSUS Ozaki? Every time they step into the ring against each other, thunder crashes and you can hear horses whinny in the distance.

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AJW Grand Prix- Finals

Toyota vs. Hokuto- two of the best ever fight for 17 minutes!

AJW GRAND PRIX 1993 FINALS:
-And now, after four LONG shows and several months’ worth of random GP matches taking place on AJW’s events, we get the finals. And of course because I can’t find it on YouTube, I can only produce a couple of matches, lol. Stupid Ringstarfield! Four of the five shows and the FINALS he’s missed uploading?

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: So even though I could only find two matches… they’re both at least ****.

Here’s how the event shook down:
Wrestler: Points: Wrestler: Points:
Akira Hokuto 6.0———-Yumiko Hotta 6.0
Harley Saito 5.0———-Manami Toyota 5.0
Toshiyo Yamada 4.5———Bat Yoshinaga 5.0
Suzuka Minami 3.0———Hikari Fukuoka 4.0
Sakie Hasegawa 3.0———Kyoko Inoue 3.5
Takako Inoue 3.0———-Mima Shimoda 2.5
Etsuko Mita 3.0———-Kaoru Ito 2.0
Tomoko Watanabe0.5——Saemi Numata 0.0

SEMI-FINALS: Akira Hokuto (vs) Manami Toyota; Harley Saito (vs) Yumiko Hotta

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW TV (Aug. 5th, 1993)

AJW TV SHOW (Aug. 5th, 1993):
* So in the midst of the never-ending AJW Grand Prix, here’s an August TV show I found! It was taped at the Kasumigaura Cultural Gymnasium in Kasumigaura, Ibaraki on August 5th, airing Aug. 13th, and features a Grand Prix match between Akira Hokuto & LLPW’s Harley Saito! There’s also a pair of Big Monster Veteran (vs) Up & Coming Undercard Wrestler matches.

So highlights here are a one-time-only bout (Hokuto/Saito I do not believe ever met in singles competition again), and the goddamn Dragon Ball Z theme song being used as an entrance theme. Plus the truest test yet for Bat Yoshinaga after a fairly impressive year for the up & comer.

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Joshi Spotlight: Manami Toyota

💖 A R R U M 💀 NAITOJAPANCUPSZN! on Twitter: "Sometimes I google ...

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- MANAMI TOYOTA:
Statistics:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″ 150 lbs.
Career: 1987-2017

-And now we come to another of the Great Pillars of Joshi: Manami Toyota!

It’s hard to describe Toyota’s abilities without using too many superlatives- she’s just so incredibly good at nearly every aspect of wrestling, and if you put a gun to my head, I’d probably consider her my favorite worker. Nearly every AJW show from 1991-1997 that I’ve seen has her in either the best or second-best match on the card, and she has more ***** matches than anyone I can think of. She’s the only wrestler I can think of who’s had ***** singles matches with five different people: Aja Kong, Akira Hokuto, Toshiyo Yamada, Kyoko Inoue & Mima Shimoda. Even Akira has probably only managed it against 2-3 opponents, and the latter three in Toyota’s list never hit that level with anyone else!

And I mean, how many workers have a match style named after them? The “Toyota Style Match” ended up being shorthand for AJW’s trademark “GO GO GO!” flashy, fast-paced style, full of epic moves and escalating finishers, dramatic near-falls, “how did THAT happen?” athletic moves, great selling, and frequent tag-outs in team matches.

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Bridge of Dreams- Tokyo Dome All-Promotion Supershow (Part 1)

WEEKLY PRO WRESTLING “BRIDGE OF DREAMS” (02.05.1995):
* This is a semi-legendary, monstrous 6-hour pro wrestling event at the Tokyo Dome, made weird because of all sorts of vague Japanese political shenanigans that I only barely understand. So “Weekly Pro Wrestling” was a wrestling magazine with a lot of name value in Japanese wrestling, and they put on a massive Interpromotional Show at the Tokyo Dome on the same night as WrestleMania XI. The idea was to put on a match from every big promotion in Japan for a true “Supercard”. Wikipedia says that Dave Meltzer says that it was supposed to have 8 promotions, but 13 ended up applying. Notably absent is Genichiru Tenryu’s WAR promotion, as they had an event the same day at Korakuen Hall, which was reviewed by another mag called “Weekly Gong”.

The show was a big thing among tape traders because only two versions were ever made available- one was a fancam pointed at the arena’s big screen, and the other was a very low-grade recording (the All Japan match has no audio for most of it). It turns out that New Japan, who I guess had the rights to distribute the tape, was like “HELL NO!” for reasons that, if true, are absolutely hilarious. Read on!

“TL;DR- What’s the Deal?”: 4-5 all-time classic matches, the women showing up nearly everybody, worked shoots, bloodbaths, spotfests, comedy- something for everybody.

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Joshi Spotlight: Toshiyo Yamada

Toshiyo Yamada

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- TOSHIYO YAMADA:
Stats:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’6″, 154 lbs.
Career Length: 1987-2004
Trained By: Jaguar Yokota

-Toshiyo Yamada is one of those weird wrestlers who’s usually the least-memorable part of some of the best matches of all time.

Yamada has an absolutely stacked list of ***** matches, yet all of them seem to have the peculiar caveat that they involve Manami Toyota, either as a partner or an opponent. I dunno what it is, but Toyota’s presence brings this incredible thing out of Yamada, who is never a hindrance in any of these matches, and never looks like she’s being carried. She’s a very stable, centered wrestler, which lets Manami fly around like a maniac and the match never feels like a “Spotfest” or anything. It’s peculiar because while both are obviously great, of the two, only Toyota has ***** matches with other top-tier opponents- Yamada’s ceiling felt much lower for whatever reason.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW/JWP “I Know You”

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- JWP (vs) AJW- “I Know You”:
01.12.1992, Tokyo Ota-ku Taiikukan
– This YouTube video is taken from a JWP video with mostly clipped matches, two huge bouts, and some surrounding nonsense afterwards. This actually matches Dream Rush from a week ago slightly, in that it’s got the triumphant coronation of an Ace champion… but is the sub-main event to an interpromotional tag match. These interpromotional matches are SO BIG that they completely subvert the notion that the World Title matches go on last, and that’s reflected in the heat these bouts get.

Dream Rush itself was a really great card, featuring the retirement of Bison Kimura, Aja Kong finally becoming Ace of AJW by defeating Bull Nakano to end their years-long rivalry, and Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada being triumphant over JWP’s Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki in the first of their ***** trio of matches. My review here: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2019/09/23/joshi-spotlight-dream-rush/

Since a lot of this is clipped, I threw on a couple of long JWP tag bouts I found as well.

“TL;DR: Why Should I Care?”: The two main matches are actually really fantastic bouts, with great heat. One of the tags at the end is really good, too! And anything where JWP & AJW wrestlers fight each other always draws a tremendous reaction.

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92 (Part 2)

AJW Tag League THE BEST ’92- Part Two:
(02.11.1992)
* Taped about two weeks after Part One, Part Two of Tag League THE BEST involves an interesting batch of midcard bouts with obvious winners (if I hadn’t looked at the match time for one, anyways), LCO’s subordinates in a pair of them, and one hell of a Main Event on paper- Aja/Kyoko vs. Akira/Bull! This is the last “Tag League” show I can find from ’92. This takes place at Hakata Starlanes, which is a REALLY bright, very small set for something like this, giving it a whole different “look” than other AJW shows. I mean, it’s a damn gymnasium. This is like watching joshi cards after 1997, complete with a crowd that’s 90% male.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Another night of fun wrestling matches- not as flashy or showy as a Grand Prix card tends to be, but with some fun midcard singles matches (actually a rarity in joshi) and two very good matches to end the show!

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Joshi Spotlight- The Best of Numacchi!

Numacchi: The legend of AJW.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- NUMACCHI:
Stats:
Real Name: Saemi Numata (aka “Numacchi”, or “Numatchi”)
Billed Height & Weight: 5’3″, 141 lbs.
Career Length: 1990-1994

-Well, who better to write a Spotlight on this April 1st than All Japan Women’s joke wrestler, Saemi “Numacchi” Numata? Where else are you gonna see a grown woman running around in pajama bottoms, a plastic helmet, and a shovel?

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Joshi Spotlight: The Interpromotional Era Begins!

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- AJW TV (Sept. 21, 1992)

-Hailing from the Morioka-shi Ice Arena, it’s another episode of the AJW TV show! And also, the first-ever Interpromotional Match, which exists online only in clipped form, I guess! So read on if you want to see how the most legendary era in Joshi began!

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Joshi Spotlight: AJW Midsummer Typhoon

(the playlist starts here)

AJW MIDSUMMER TYPHOON:
(15.08.1992)
* Time for a big Summer Event from AJW!! The booking for quite a few months has culminated right there, which is super exciting!! Though I already reviewed the Main Event, so I kinda just have to do the undercard and then do an abridged review of the Main (which is *****, by the way, and ends in the BEST POST-MATCH ANGLE EVER). Dave Meltzer apparently describes the Main Event to this day as the greatest match he’s ever seen live. A bout where merely his description of what happened had people on the Blog welling up with tears.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Watch This?”: The main event is one of the most famous Joshi matches in history, and the one Dave Meltzer says was the finest match he’d ever seen live (unsure if he changed that recently in the era of 7-star matches). The final three matches are all killer, but yeah- that main event, and the angle & ending surrounding it, is the reason everyone should see it- it’s Savage/Liz Reunion good.

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Joshi Spotlight: Kanaami Death Match!!

BULL NAKANO VS. AKIRA HOKUTO- KANAAMI DEATH MATCH:
* Okay, so this review will be a little bit different, as I can’t find the whole AJW tape (mostly featuring a Fuji TV Tag Tournament of random partners) on YouTube featuring this match, and what DID make the tape was either cut to shreds or had some bad injuries wreck things. So instead I’ll take the one match I can find, and combine it with some AJW TV shows recorded by Roy Lucier’s YouTube account! Dude actually has a couple of AJW’s shows… OH MY GOD WITH COMMERCIALS!! Japanese commercials from the early 1990s!

The other matches in the show:
Fuji TV Tag Tournament: Etsuko Mita & Takako Inoue vs. Mariko Yoshida & Sakie Hasegawa (7:20 of 14:37 aired).
Fuji TV Tag Tournament: Manami Toyota & Mima Shimoda vs. Bat Yoshinaga & Tomoko Watanabe (10:09). I would imagine Toyota’s team won. Shimoda apparently got a bloody nose.
The Kanaami Death Match goes here.
Fuji TV Tag Tournament: Akira Hokuto & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Marikyo Yoshida & Sakie Hasegawa (2:44). Stopped by a back injury to Sakie.
Akira Hokuto vs. Mariko Yoshida (0:23). Restarted as a singles match, which Hokuto immediately ruins by using a weapon.
Bull Nakano, Bat Yoshinaga & Tomoko Watanabe vs. Aja Kong, Miori Kamiya & Kaoru Ito (9:01). Bull pins Ito after Aja accidentally Urakens her. Despite their long-standing fued, the two titans apparently “buddy up”.

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