Pretty much universally considered Shimoda’s best singles match. And it’s Manami’s THIRD ***** match of the year.
AJW JAPAN GRAND PRIX ’95- PART ONE & TWO:
* And the AJW Grand Prix is back! Last year’s was almost completely blown off and Hotta quietly won it for whatever reason, but this time it’s For Serious and it’s a big deal. Except I can only find a tiny handful of matches on YouTube of the first two shows. I managed to cobble together some other info on the tournament, at least. I’m posting this as an “extra” for Friday because it’s something I’ve reviewed before, plus just a summation of the goings-on at the time.
MANAMI TOYOTA vs. MIMA SHIMODA (AJW Japan Grand Prix- Round Robin, 23.07.1995)
* This is an interesting one, timeline-wise, as Manami is the top-tier girl at AJW at this point, and pretty much a living legend of Joshi (as what was generally accepted as the best worker), while Shimoda, who was a midcard tag team player in 1993, has now elevated herself to a higher level. Both have a history- they were a tag team coming up in the late 1980s before Toyota had better success with the sportier Toshiyo Yamada. Shimoda’s cheating will be an interesting counterpoint to Toyota’s hyper-graceful style. Their pre-match interviews show both women in good spirits- Manami looks so serious most of the time, but here she’s smiling a ton and laughing along with the interviewer. Hey, both these ladies aren’t bad looking- has anyone else noticed this? And HOLY GOD, Manami’s pre-match outfit- this giant, flowing white qipao dress with enormous, fluffy feathered sleeves. Now THAT is style. Manami’s in her black leotard with the arm cutouts, while Shimoda’s still in her black & red two-piece with all the yellow tassles.