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Wrestling / Manami Toyota

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"In his 2002 book Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time, John F. Molinaro refers to Manami Toyota as 'The Ric Flair of women's wrestling, arguably the greatest female pro wrestler of all time'. It's heavy praise, but it just may be warranted. Toyota raised the bar for women's wrestling to even greater heights in All Japan Women during the 1990s. However, unlike Flair, Toyota was both a master technician and a high flyer, dazzling fans with her moonsaults, suicide dives, and diving headbutts off the top rope."
Pat Laprade and Dan Murphy, Sisterhood of the Squared Circle: The History and Rise of Women's Wrestling

Manami Toyota (born March 2, 1971) is a retired Japanese professional wrestler, and widely regarded as the greatest female wrestler ever, with some contending that she is the greatest regardless of gender.

Beginning her career at the young age of 16, Toyota made her wrestling debut in 1987 with All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, and gained widespread attention at Wrestle Marinepiad 1989, where she and Mima Shimoda defeated Toshiyo Yamada and Etsuko Mita in an opening match that upstaged the more established wrestlers on the card. Her rise continued throughout the early 90s, establishing herself as one of the top names in women's wrestling. Towards the end of the 90s, injuries forced her to slow down from the fast-paced style she had become known for, but she continued to wrestle; albeit on a much more reduced schedule. She briefly appeared in Mexico for the Universal Wrestling Association, and her most notable matches in the US were for the Wrestling/CHIKARA, before retiring in 2017 in a special 30th anniversary show, where she wrestled a series of one minute time limit matches, before finally having a proper match with her handpicked successor, who beat her with her own finishing maneuver, ending one of the most legendary careers in Joshi.

Understandably, Toyota's trophy case is quite extensive: She was a four time WWWA World Single Champion, a one time IWA World Women's Champion as well as it's longest reigning champion, A Three time WWWA Tag Team champion, a four time winner of the Japan Grand Prix, and a five time winner of the Tag League The Best tournament. She has been awarded seven five star matches From The Wrestling Observer for her individual efforts and another seven for her work in tag teams, giving her a record setting fourteen, as well as two match of the year awards and was named most outstanding wrestler of 1995. She was inducted into the observer Hall Of Fame in 2002.

The following tropes apply to Manami Toyota:

  • The Ace: Imagine a person who combined the high-flying daredevilry of Shawn Michaels and the technical mastery and strength of Bret Hart. Now imagine someone who was even more creative, agile, and brutal than those two. That's Manami Toyota.
  • Action Girl
  • Arch-Enemy: Toshiyo Yamada from 1989 to 1992, then Aja Kong.
  • As Himself: Herself in Ringu ringu ringu: Namida no chanpion beruto.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Got them in Fire Pro Wrestling. It was actually her in the Play Station 2 game though.
    • Also Black Widow in WCW/nWo World Tour.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Her lightning quick and high-risk style of wrestling often lent itself to exceptionally desperate maneuvers and dives, and she would walk away from matches having taken just as much damage as her opponent had.
  • Counter-Attack: Victory roll out of a power bomb and similar moves.
  • Crowd Chant: "Please Come Back" after two matches in Chikara.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: She and Yamada became tag team partners after their feud ended.
  • Hard Head: Known to psyche herself up by battering her head on the turnbuckle, ala Missing Link.
  • Finishing Move
    • Double Hammerlock German suplex with a bridge (Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex)
    • Straightjacket reverse power bomb (Japanese Ocean Bomb)
    • Twisted lift brain buster (Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb)
    • If there were never two more appropriate moves to combine, a straight jacket electric chair she calls the "Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex".
    • Another innovation of hers is a flipping body scissors to pull someone off the top rope into a back to back kneeling pile driver, which she calls the Victory Star Drop.
    • Naturally, the Chikara Special since it was taught to all the promotion's technicos.
  • Lady of War: A beautiful, graceful, elegant woman, who nevertheless was one of the best wrestlers, male or female, in the history of the sport.
  • No-Sell: Tried to psyche out Sara Del Rey by inviting and shrugging off her famed kicks. Incidentally, this is largely why Death Ray became a famed Kick Chick, so all you wrestlers who had to suffer them? You can blame Toyota.
  • Shout-Out: In an episode of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu, Kaname Chidori performs a Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex onto Sagara Sousuke
  • Signature Move: Rolling cradle, dropkick, apron missile dropkick, under hook suplex with a bridge, headbutt, yoshitonic, top rope code red, spring board somersault plancha (no hands!)
  • Squash Match: At Dragon Gate Memorial Gate 2015 Toyota and Aja Kong beat "Hollywood" Stalker Ichikawa and Yosuke (loves) Santa Maria in thirteen seconds. In usual Ichikawa, he did get them a rematch but despite doing a little better, Kong and Toyota still beat them.
  • Tag Team
    • As mentioned, they didn't start teaming until 1989 and didn't stop feuding until quite some time after that but 1987 Team Gold Combo with Toshiyo Yamada
    • Tokyo Sweethearts with Mima Shimoda
    • Mint Showers with Etsuko Mita
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: With Toshiyo Yamada. Yamada was short-haired, dressed in more boyish attire, and used a lot of stiff kicks in her offense, while Toyota had long hair, her ring attire had more frills/decorations, and her offense was focused on speed and high-flying maneuvers.
  • Tournament Arc
    • She should have won the AJW Japan Grand Prix 1992, but it was a round robin rather than a knockoff tourney and an officiating mix up lead to AJA Kong getting extra matches and getting more points.
    • Won All Japan Women's "The Best Tag League" with Akira Hokuto in 1993
    • Took AJW's "Okinawa Cup Tag Team Tournament" with Sakie Hasegawa in 1994
    • At WrestleMarinpiad 2000 Manami Toyota defeated Momoe Nakanishi in the finals of the AJW Christmas Tournament.
    • Defeated Kaori Yoneyama in the JWP #1-Contender League final for the JWP Openweight Title on May, 3rd, 2006.
    • 2012 saw 19 O'Clock Girls Pro Wrestling held an eight show tournament for the honor of teaming with Toyota against Tsukasa Fujimoto and Tsukushi at Ice Ribbon in March for the international tag team titles. It was won by Kurumi but she and Toyota weren't successful.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: On Chigusa Nagayo Produce Marvels, Night 1, she was billed as Ladies Chamber Officer.