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: JWP Stars on Tour

JWP IN 1994 (Sept.-Dec.):
* 1994 is by far JWP’s best-represented year on YouTube, owing to Rico Kasai’s channel. 1995 and on are barely there at all, so this might be the last big update. We start off with a pair of interpromotional matches with GAEA Japan, as Chigusa Nagayo was on good terms with JWP, and a stop at an interesting-looking small arena that features one of Devil Masami’s first title defenses as JWP Openweight Champion, as she recently beat Dynamite Kansai (as reviewed here: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2019/12/11/joshi-spotlight-devil-masami/ -the YouTube clip has since been taken down, however) while in her “Super Heel Devil Masami” persona (wrestles like Taker, looks like Demolition Crush).

CHIGUSA NAGAYO & KAORU (GAEA Japan) vs. CUTIE SUZUKI & HIKARI FUKUOKA (JWP):
(Sept. 1994)
* And so Chigusa Nagayo, biggest star of ’80s Joshi, is returning to full-time, but is having disagreements with AJW management (who, to be fair, don’t need an extra person clogging up shows), and is so working for JWP as she prepares to start up GAEA in early 1995. Already my mind is blown because Chigusa is wearing black and GREEN. I have literally never in my life seen her wear anything that didn’t have red in it. She wore that in the goddamn WWF! KAORU’s in black, Cutie’s in white & gold, and Hikari’s in the Tarzan gear. The expressions in the staredown here are great, as KAORU has this “fuckin’ right us vets are gonna kill you kids” death glare, Chigusa’s very calm and serious (with a taped arm), and the idols are doing this big “I’m nervous and I respect you, but I’m trying really hard to look confident and defiant”.

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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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Joshi Spotlight: JWP From 1992-93 (Part One)

JWP SHOWS (1992-1993):

-So a while back, I discovered a YouTube channel called “Rico Kasai”, which uploads exclusively JWP-produced matches. And finally, after a LOT of work (seriously, oh my god), I cross-referenced all his un-dated stuff so I can figure out an approximate order, lol. Pain in the ass, that was. It turns out a bunch of them were from 1992-93, so this allows me to complete the library a little more. This will be in two parts, with the second coming this Friday- it’s too much to post all at once.

First, a bunch of ultra-clipped matches showing only a minute or two of action. None really deserve ratings.

DEVIL MASAMI vs. MAYUMI OZAKI
(1991 sometime)
-Devil, in a black one-legged outfit, charges Ozaki (in green), but misses and gets missile kicked. She tries a Manami Roll but gets a HUGE Powerbomb, but just rolls Devil back for a rana-style pin for two, then Devil rolls her back for the same. Devil works her way into a surfboard, but Ozaki does a cool flip into a pin from up high. Clipped to Ozaki getting a German for two, but she fires too many running shots and gets caught in a backdrop-to-Powerbomb move at (2:08 of 14:39 shown).

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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- Rumi Kazama

Akira Hokuto (AJW) vs Rumi Kazama (LLPW) - YouTube

Rumi Kazama! Google carefully.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- RUMI KAZAMA:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’0″ 136 lbs.
Career: 1986-2003

-Rumi Kazama is one of those “hey, who is that again?” wrestlers, rarely appearing on big shows and typically lacking a lot of extraordinary showings or a huge push in most of the Interpromotional stuff I’ve seen in the mid-1990s. She’s probably most recognizable for her weird ’80s-style gear, like leopard-print shoulder pads and chest-piece on a bright purple jacket, an all-tiger-print set of tights, and a purple leopard-print set with black epaulettes. Not to mention her hilarious “Soccer Mom Hair”, sporting this GIANT teased mullet on a few ’90s shows I’ve seen.

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JWP Thunder Queen Battle

JWP THUNDER QUEEN BATTLE:
(31.07.1993)
* And now we come to what is possibly JWP’s biggest show ever- the Thunder Queen Battle! I actually reviewed the Main Event early last year, as it’s one of the most famous bouts in Joshi history- an 8-Person Tag Team Iron Woman Match! It’s one of those things that’s just ***** or you’re wrong and that’s that- it’s that good. But hey! There’s OTHER matches on the card, too! Every match on here features JWP’s stars in a “home field advantage” show against AJW stars- still big business as this was a brand-new thing. Everything on here is a never-before-seen spectacle as a result, drawing a lot of attention.

Everyone comes out for the match announcements to start the show, mixing up business casual (Ito, Minami), “Fashionable Teenager” (Sakie), ’90s skateboarder (Hotta), “Peter Griffin” (Aja), or just “company t-shirt and shorts” (most JWP wrestlers). Whatever Ito says cracks up everybody, while Minami positively TOWERS over people in the most 1980s suit ever- a red business top with huge shoulder pads and stark-white pants. JWP’s rookies (Candy & Sumio) look positively terrified to be doing promos in front of a live crowd- their eyes are wide as dinner plates. Aja & Kansai get the biggest reactions- it’s weird to see Kansai kind of smiling and snarking given how serious she normally is.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Care?”: Pretty much every Joshi fan automatically gives the main event *****, and it’s the most unique, once-only match stipulation I’ve ever seen. And there’s another **** match in the middle! Otherwise, it’s good old-fashioned interpromotional mayhem, with a lot of one-time-only matches.

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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: JWP Midnight Special

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT: JWP MIDNIGHT SPECIAL:
(17.08.1992)
* So I have no idea what the backstory is for this show, but this is one of the only extended shows I can find for AJW’s rival promotion, Joshi Women’s Pro-Wrestling Project, in 1992, so I figured I’d show what they were up to around this time. I believe the company has only recently split up at this point, continuing on after many women quit to form LLPW (including Shinobu Kandori, Harley Saito and others), so it’s a big show for a company that has to be a bit endangered at this point. And MAN is the setting weird- it’s like a High School gymnasium, with only four rows in the bleachers on the hard camera, and two rows on the floor on another side! Yeah, only two sides of the ring have an audience! I could literally count the paid attendance here- I’ve seen Nickelodeon Game Shows in front of more people.

This show appears nowhere on CageMatch, nor WrestlingData, so I couldn’t tell you anything else about it. Like why the YouTube video is a 2-hour show with an hour of dead air after it. Quebrada calls it “JWP Pre-Stage Studio Match” and mentions the setting as TV Asahi Studios.

“TL;DR- Why Should I Watch This?”: You get to see a whole ton of people work an ungodly amount of time in a single night- a truly remarkable case of stamina from all involved. And nearly every match is around ****.

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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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Joshi Spotlight: The Jumping Bomb Angels

Image result for jumping bomb angels

“The Jumping Bomb Angels were very popular at the time, and my friend invited me to the show – and I went to the first show without any prior knowledge- and then I thought ‘oh, THIS is what I have to do’. That was about ninth grade.”
-Manami Toyota, via a translator, about why she became a wrestler, at the Chikara Joshimania show.

JOSHI SPOTLIGHT- THE JUMPING BOMB ANGELS:

NORIYO TATENO:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’5″ 165 lbs.
Career: 1981-2010

ITSUKI YAMAZAKI:
Billed Height & Weight: 5’5″ 137 lbs.
Career: 1981-1991

Among the only classic Joshi known to North American fans, the Jumping Bomb Angels are somewhat famous to workrate snobs for coming on WWF TV and blowing minds with offense that looked straight-up futuristic for the time, throwing out crazy double-teams and top-rope moves that NOBODY was doing at the time. Popular in Japan, neither became a true megastar, and they were always subordinate to the Crush Gals (who were over to the point of being a cultural phenomenon at the time), but I think they were definitely more noticed by people who wanted to see fast-paced action- hell, I think it’s fair to call the JB Angels among the most influential wrestlers of all time!

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