Manami Toyota Retirement Show on 11/3/17 Review

Event: OZ Academy/Manami Toyota Produce Manami Toyota 30th Anniversary ~ Retirement To The Universe
Date: November 3rd, 2017
Location: Yokohama University Osanbashi Hall in Yokohama, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown (Sold Out)

It is hard to summarize how important Manami Toyota was and always will be to Joshi Wrestling. That’s another column for another day, but from her career in AJW to her continued role in wrestling she has left a mark that will never be forgotten. This retirement show does a match style that isn’t uncommon at anniversaries or retirements, nor is it the first gauntlet match of Manami Toyota’s career. The idea behind the match is Manami Toyota will have a long series of singles matches, the vast majority of which have a one minute time limit (except the first and last few matches). The list of wrestlers she will be against includes old friends, current enemies, and everyone between. Some pairings will be serious, some will be playful, but its really about giving the wrestlers a chance to say goodbye in their own way. Of course, it is filmed for our enjoyment as well. This will be the longest match list of any show I will ever review, here is what we have in store for us:

  • Manami Toyota vs. Mayumi Ozaki, Yumi Ohka, Maya Yukihi, and Alex Lee
  • Manami Toyota vs. Tequila Saya
  • Manami Toyota vs. Mochi Miyagi and Hamuko Hoshi
  • Manami Toyota vs. Meiko Satomura
  • Manami Toyota vs. Emi Sakura
  • Manami Toyota vs. Rina Yamashita
  • Manami Toyota vs. Tsubasa Kuragaki
  • Manami Toyota vs. AKINO
  • Manami Toyota vs. Risa Sera
  • Manami Toyota vs. Drake Morimatsu
  • Manami Toyota vs. Cherry
  • Manami Toyota vs. Aoi Kizuki
  • Manami Toyota vs. Yuki Miyazaki
  • Manami Toyota vs. Bolshoi Kid
  • Manami Toyota vs. Sakura Hirota and GAMI
  • Manami Toyota vs. Kaori Yoneyama
  • Manami Toyota vs. Sonoko Kato
  • Manami Toyota vs. Leon
  • Manami Toyota vs. Yuu Yamagata
  • Manami Toyota vs. ASUKA
  • Manami Toyota vs. Kaho Kobayashi
  • Manami Toyota vs. Hikaru Shida
  • Manami Toyota vs. Hiroyo Matsumoto
  • Manami Toyota vs. Ayako Hamada
  • Manami Toyota vs. Chikayo Nagashima
  • Manami Toyota vs. Ikuto Hidaka
  • Manami Toyota vs.  Papillon Akemi
  • Manami Toyota vs. Gabai-jichan
  • Manami Toyota vs. Kanjyouro Matsuyama
  • Manami Toyota vs. KID
  • Manami Toyota vs. Small Antonio Inoki
  • Manami Toyota vs. Otoko Sakari
  • Manami Toyota vs. Isami Kodaka
  • Manami Toyota vs. Ryuji Ito
  • Manami Toyota vs. Carlos Amano
  • Manami Toyota vs. Mima Shimoda
  • Manami Toyota vs. Itsuki Yamazaki
  • Manami Toyota vs. Bull Nakano
  • Manami Toyota vs. Chigusa Nagayo
  • Manami Toyota vs. Jaguar Yokota
  • Manami Toyota vs. Mariko Yoshida
  • Manami Toyota vs. Nanae Takahashi
  • Manami Toyota vs. KAORU
  • Manami Toyota vs. Kaoru Ito
  • Manami Toyota vs. Tomoko Watanabe
  • Manami Toyota vs. Takako Inoue
  • Manami Toyota vs. Yumiko Hotta
  • Manami Toyota vs. Kyoko Inoue
  • Manami Toyota vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto
  • Manami Toyota vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto
  • Manami Toyota Retirement Match: Manami Toyota vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto

There also will be a retirement ceremony, which I won’t “review” but I will still discuss at the end of the article. As I mentioned, the vast majority of these matches have a one minute time limit, except for the opener and the final series of matches against Tsukasa Fujimoto. There is a method to the madness, as for some sections the string of wrestlers in a row is promotion-based, then with the older veterans from Toyota’s heyday going last.

manamiretirement-1The event starts with by far the least fair match of the night, as Manami Toyota faces off against all four members of Ozaki Army. Mayumi Ozaki and Manami Toyota have been battling since the early 90s in AJW and never stopped, as they had matches in GAEA Japan and of course OZ Academy as well. The other members have less of a connection, but they still happily join in as Toyota is beaten by all four of them (plus of course Police). The match goes better once Toyota isolates Ozaki, but it doesn’t last long as Toyota is quadruple teamed and tosses out of the ring. Ozaki Army takes the fight into the crowd and pummel Toyota, Ozaki returns to the ring as the referee counts and Toyota is counted out! Ozaki Army win the match.

So on a night that Manami Toyota has over 50 matches, she starts out getting beaten with chairs and whatever other weapons they can find. Toyota eventually does make it back into the ring, at first Ozaki throws the flowers at her but eventually does pick them up and nicely hands them to her. The other members of Ozaki Army follow suit, except for Police, who throws a chair at her instead. Police was always an asshole.

Tequila Saya is next. Saya is an Ice Ribbon wrestler with limited interactions with Toyota over the years, with only a few tag matches between them. Toyota doesn’t seem to take Saya too seriously  as she sends her flying with a missile dropkick, moonsault by Toyota and she gets the three count! Manami Toyota defeats Tequila Saya. Toyota doesn’t get much of a chance to relax as its back to a handicap match, with Toyota facing off against the Lovely Butchers. They bring Manami a hat and instead of fighting, they all dance together. They even get Toyota do do their signature pose but they jump her while she is doing it and give her the double body block for the double pin three count! Manami Toyota falls for the second time tonight, but they still all pose together and no hard feelings are had.

manamiretirement-2Next down the ramp is the woman that has no chill – Meiko Satomura. Satomura and Toyota first wrestled in GAEA in the late 90s and had many encounters in the promotion of the years. Since GAEA Japan closed their paths have crossed a few times in Satomura’s Sendai Girls’ promotion. Satomura and Toyota have such a high level of respect for each other that it took time for them to lock up, Satomura eventually hits a DDT and cartwheel kneedrop but the minute has already expired and the match is a Draw. Gatoh Move wrestler and owner Emi Sakura enters the ring, Sakura immediately goes in with chops and delivers the low crossbody in the corner. Toyota slaps Emi Sakura, Riho runs in and with Toyota they pose over Sakura. Toyota puts Sakura in a camel clutch, and she submits! Manami Toyota gets her second win of the night.

Young WAVE wrestler Rina Yamashita is Toyota’s next challenger, Toyota boots her but Rina kicks out of her continuous covers. Rina connects with a hard shoulderblock but she is so excited she never covers Toyota and the time expires. They hug before Rina exits the ring and Tsubasa Kuragaki takes her turn. Kuragaki and Toyota began their battles in JWP back in 2006 and haven’t stopped, as they frequently were paired up in OZ Academy. Kuragaki gets Toyota in the corner and lariats her, she gets Toyota on her back in a backbreaker before she drops her to the mat. Kuragaki goes up top and nails a moonsault, but Toyota bridges out of the cover. Kuragaki picks up Toyota and lariats her, but the bell rings as the match is a Draw. Another hug, and fellow OZ Academy wrestler AKINO takes her spot.

manamiretirement-3Six matches down, lots more to go! AKINO is another common enemy and foe from OZ Academy, which was Toyota’s primary home the last several years. AKINO gets Toyota in the corner and bootscrapes her, but doesn’t go for the pin as time expires for the Draw. AKINO helps her up before Ice Ribbon wrestler Risa Sera charges the ring to take her shot at the retiring legend. A slew of Ice Ribbon wrestlers jump into the ring with Risa Sera and they all attack Toyota in the corner, Sera goes up top and she nails the diving kneedrop, she hits a second one but the bell rings before she can cover her so the match is a Draw. Almost all retirement matches at some point have a string where the retiring wrestler is attacked by tons of wrestlers in rapid succession, and it may not be the last time. But Toyota gets a special gift from the Ice Ribbon wrestlers after Sera’s match, and everyone poses for the camera.

Drake Morimatsu is next! You may not be familar with Drake, she current wrestles in GUTS WORLD, she started her career in FMW and is definitely an ‘old school’ veteran. She comes into the ring with a baseball bat and hits Toyota with it a few times, lariat by Drake and she covers Toyota, but pulls her up before the three count. Another lariat but she does the same thing, she hits a Samoan Driver but Toyota kicks out of the cover. manamiretirement-4Drake gets the bat again and hits Toyota with it, but the bell rings which saves Toyota from more carnage. I really enjoyed the feel of this one, very different as Drake showed her old FMW side with the weapon-based offense.

Cherry bops down to the ring, she repeatedly steps on Toyota’s toes and chops her in the face, but Toyota chops her back. Toyota wins the strike exchange but the bell rings, signifying the match is a Draw. Aoi Kizuki is next, Aoi is a young popular Freelancer that wrestles in a variety of promotions. Aoi immediately dropkicks Toyota and hits a jumping lariat, double wrist-clutch suplex by Aoi and she goes for the swivel body press, but Toyota gets her feet up. Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb by Toyota and she gets the three count! Toyota has won her third match of the evening. Aoi is laughing and smiling even as getting pinned, which is accepted in these situations as I am sure she was thrilled to be part of Toyota’s retirement show.

Next is Yuki Miyazaki, she charges Toyota but Toyota boots her. She goes up top but Yuki joins her and gives her a big ‘ol kiss. Superplex by Yuki and she puts Manami in a Compromising Position, where she stays until the bell rings for the One Minute Draw. Poor Toyota, that’s what happens when you wrestle Yuki. Bolshoi Kid comes down, this is I am assuming Command Bolshoi wrestling in her old gimmick, which is a more playful clown. Bolshoi Kid gives Toyota a little bag and they both throw things into the crowd, but Bolshoi Kid schoolboys her from behind for the three count! A rare loss for the gullible Manami Toyota, hopefully she learned something from this experience.

manamiretirement-5On paper, Manami Toyota vs. GAMI and Sakura Hirota looks normal, but it isn’t….. since both are dressed as Manami Toyota. So this is Manami Toyota vs. her two clones. The real Toyota is double teamed and imitated by the two impostors, Oil Check by Sakura and GAMI hits Toyota with her horn. Luckily for Toyota the bell rings and the match is a Draw. Up next is Kaori Yoneyama, she is affiliated with YMZ but wrestles in a bunch of promotions including OZ Academy and Stardom. Yoneyama wants Toyota to wave a flag she brought down to the ring, which she does, but Yoneyama schoolboys her from behind for a two count. Yoneyama goes for a roll-up but Toyota reverses it, getting the three count! Manami Toyota gets her fourth win of the night. OZ Academy wrestler Sonoko Kato takes her turn, lots of kicks by Kato as she is taking this one minute match very seriously. Cannonball by Kato and she nails the diving leg drop, but the bell rings as she makes the cover so the match is a Draw. Manami gives Kato a rolling cradle just for fun before Kato leaves the ring and the next wrestler enters.

Leon throws Toyota into the corner and spears her, another spear by Leon and she hits the Frog Splash, but Toyota kicks out of the cover. Heel drop by Toyota and she nails the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb, but Leon barely kicks out of the cover and the bell rings, as time has expired. Leon barely survives and other Pure Dream wrestlers get into the ring as they all give Manami Toyota their final goodbyes. Yuu Yamagata is next, these two have had very limited interactions over the years even though they are seasoned veterans, as Toyota rarely wrestled in Pro Wrestling WAVE. Enzuigiri by Yuu but Toyota hits a snap vertical suplex and a second one The bell rings soon thereafter as the time has expired, making the match a draw!

manamiretirement-6-5WAVE wrestler ASUKA comes down and she hits Toyota with a springboard moonsault, dropkick by ASUKA and Toyota falls out of the ring. ASUKA dives out onto her with a tope con hilo, she then goes back up top and hits a missile dropkick down to the floor, in an homage to Toyota. Everyone is hurt outside the ring as the bell rings, as time has expired. ASUKA seems more hurt than Toyota as she likely regrets that spot, Toyota returns to the ring as my personal favorite Kaho Kobayashi enters. Kaho dropkicks Toyota and goes up top to hit a missile dropkick, elbows by Kaho and she covers Toyota for a two count. Boots by Toyota and she nails the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex, and she picks up the three count! Manami Toyota defeats her fifth wrestler so far today.

Hikaru Shida takes the next shot (this is the 21st match for Manami Toyota so far), while her friend Syuri watches from ringside. Shida goes for hip attacks, at first Toyota blocks them with her own hip but she finally connects with one. Syuri comes in the ring and with Shida they both kick Toyota, but Toyota breaks out of the cover. Falcon Arrow by Shida, but the bell rings before she can make a cover so the match is a Draw. manamiretirement-7Syuri returns and both present Toyota with flowers, once she is able to get back up. Hiroyo Matsumoto and her Godzilla mask is next, she shakes Toyota’s hand but kicks her before putting the Godzilla mask onto Toyota. Body avalanche by Hiroyo, she takes the mask off Toyota and hits a missile dropkick. Toyota slowly gets up, Hiroyo allows her to go up top and she hits a missile dropkick as the bell rings, giving Toyota another Draw.

Ayako Hamada is the next challenger, Hamada immediately dropkicks Toyota but she misses the heel kick. Enzuigiri by Hamada and she hits a DDT, superkick by Hamada but Toyota kicks out of the pinfall. Samoan Driver by Hamada, but the bell rings before she can finish the cover, as Toyota escapes another match with a Draw. manamiretirement-8The rest of the WAVE wrestlers get in the ring and they pose with Toyota for a photo-op, signifying the end of the WAVE string of challengers.

Veteran Freelancer Chikayo Nagashima is Toyota’s next opponent, she has a long history with Toyota as they fought in both GAEA and OZ Academy over the years. Chikayo hits Toyota repeatedly with her jacket and puts her in the rolling cradle, this takes literally the entire match until Chikayo stops just in time to get the three count pinfall! Chikayo Nagashima defeats Manami Toyota! Never know what is going to happen in these matches. Ikuto Hidaka is next, Hidaka is a ZERO1 wrestler with limited interactions with Toyota over the years. Toyota dropkicks Hidaka as soon as the match starts but Hidaka strikes her back, snap German by Toyota and she hits a heel drop for a two count. Boots by Toyota but the bell rings before anything else of note happens, and the match is a Draw.

manamiretirement-9Things are going off the rails a bit, as Papillon Akemi is next. He wrestles in smaller promotions such as GUTS World and I have no idea how he got into this match. Kick and a snapmare by Akemi, but Toyota puts him in the rolling cradle, but the bell rings before she can finish the move for a cover. The match is a Draw. Gabai-jichan very very slowly comes down to the ring (he has an ‘old man’ gimmick so he can’t walk very fast), with Toyota getting impatient in the ring for him to hurry up. The referee starts the match and the 20 count, Toyota goes out to help Gabai-jichan get into the ring while they pose for pictures. Toyota helps roll Gabai-jichan into the ring but he knocks her back to the floor with his cane, and Toyota is counted out! Gabai-jichan wins by dubious means, but the crowd enjoyed it.

The series continues going down the wrong path as creepy wrestler Kanjyouro Matsuyama is the next one down. Matsuyama tries to attack Toyota with his fan, but she avoids it and hits him with it instead. They trade slaps until Matsuyama is thrown into the corner, she gets Toyota’s wrist and walks the ropes, but he falls off of them before he can finish the move. The bell rings, and the match is declared a Draw. KID is next, I can’t find anything online on who KID is, but Toyota promptly boots him in the face and gets the three count pinfall! Toyota gets her sixth win of the gauntlet. Small Antonio Inoki is next, we still have a few more goofy challengers, punches to the head by Small Inoki and he applies a Cobra Twist. He goes up top and hits the diving kneedrop, more kneedrops by Small Inoki and he hits an enzuigiri. He goes to put Toyota in an Octopus Hold but the bell rings, the match is a Draw!

manamiretirement-11Otoko Sakari (Alexander Otsuka) is the next opponent, as Toyota faces her second man of the night that is only wearing a thong. Strikes by Toyota, she goes for a sunset flip but Sakari blocks it. Sakari tries to get away but Toyota grabs him by the thong, pulling it down to expose Sakari. The referee finds this offensive so he rings for the bell, disqualifying Sakari, giving Toyota her seventh win so far! Isami Kodaka is next, he throws streamers at Toyota to distract her before kicking Toyota out of the ring and sailing out onto her with a tope suicida. Back in the ring, Kodaka grabs Toyota’s hair but Toyota kicks him low and delivers the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex Hold for the three count! Toyota gets her eighth win of the evening. Big Japan wrestler Ryuji Ito is the final male challenger in this intergender run of opponents, he comes down to the ring with a barbed wire board. He sets up the board in the corner but Toyota jumps him and tries to throw him into it. He blocks it and goes for a suplex, but Toyota reverses the suplex and puts the barbed wire board on the mat. Ito scoop slams Toyota onto the barbed wire board, but Toyota kicks out of the pin. Ito keeps her on the board, he goes up top and he nails the Dragon Splash for the three count! Manami Toyota is defeated by the Big Japan star.

Now we have reached a run of challengers from Toyota’s past. Retired wrestler Carlos Amano is first, Amano and Toyota held tag team championships together in both GAEA Japan and OZ Academy. They don’t want to wrestle, so they set up chairs in the ring and talk to each other instead. I can’t understand what they are saying, but they seem to be having a good time. Amano gives Toyota a letter, which she reads as the bell rings. The match is, obviously, a Draw. Mima Shimoda is next, with her friend and long time tag partner Etsuko Mita joining her at ringside. But Toyota won’t go at it alone, as old teammate and friend Toshiyo Yamada joins her at ringside as well to make everything fair. These four were friends and foes back in the mid-90s in AJW. Shimoda charges Toyota and hits a jumping neck drop, Mita runs in and chops Toyota in the chest as they both double team Toyota i the ropes. Yamada trips Shimoda from the floor, she gets in the ring as Toyota puts Shimoda in a camel clutch, kicking Shimoda in the chest. Around this time the bell rings, and the match is a Draw. Mita brings in a big present for Toyota and all four pose together in the ring.

manamiretirement-12Itsuki Yamazaki is next, she may be the least-known wrestler to casual fans as she retired back in 1991. You may know her better as part of the Jumping Bomb Angels, a popular Joshi tag team in the late 80s. She and Toyota also wrestled at Toyota’s 25th Anniversary Show, so the two made a strong bond during their brief time in AJW together. Yamazaki gets Toyota to the mat and starts working over her arm, Irish whip by Yamazaki and she hits a running elbow in the corner. Yamazaki pulls Toyota out of the ring and poses her for a picture, they get back in but the bell rings before she can do anything else, as the match is a Draw. Up next is Bull Nakano, yes THE LEGENDARY BULL NAKANO which obviously is exciting for me as I love Bull Nakano and this is her first televised match of any sort in over five years. Nakano looks great, and comes down to the ring with her nunchucks. Once the bell rings, she hits Toyota in the stomach with the nunchucks, but Toyota avoids the next shot and schoolboys Nakano for the three count! Manami Toyota wins and picks up her ninth victory so far.

manamiretirement-13Very few wrestlers could follow Nakano and not be a drop down in status, but Chigusa Nagayo is next. Nagayo is still a fairly active wrestler, she currently owns and promotes the wrestling promotion Marvelous. Nagayo and Toyota worked together quite a bit in GAEA Japan, and Nagayo already is tearing up before she even gets into the ring. They tie-up as both are getting emotional, but Toyota hits a scoop slam and covers Nagayo for the three count! They hug on the mat, as Manami Toyota wins her 10th match. Equally legendary Jaguar Yokota is next, as we reach a big string of wrestlers. Nakano, Nagayo, and Yokota are three of the biggest names in Joshi over the last 30 years and it feels really special seeing them all here to help send Toyota into retirement. Yokota is more stone-faced as they lock-up, Yokota kicks Toyota in the head and hits a somersault kick but the bell rings before she can further capitalize. The match is a Draw.

manamiretirement-15Mariko Yoshida is the next challenger, she also has had a great career and is best known for her work in ARSION. She’s also already crying before the match starts, Yoshida throws Toyota in the corner and boots her in the face. Toyota ducks the next boot but Yoshida puts her in the Spider Twist, luckily for Toyota the bell rings before she can submit, so the match is a Draw. Nanae Takahashi is next, she and Toyota both were in AJW together in the late 90s. Nanae charges Toyota and knocks her to the mat, Natsuki Taiyo comes in and dropkicks Toyota in the corner. Nanae grabs Toyota but Toyota drops her with the Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb, Nanae returns to her feet however and hits a Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb of her own for the three count! Nanae Takahashi wins the match!

It is now KAORU’s turn, KAORU is still an active wrestler and has battled with Toyota in a number of promotions over the years, ranging from AJW in the early 90s up to Marvelous and Diana just a few years ago. KAORU immediately hits Toyota repeatedly with her wooden panel, she picks up Toyota and suplexes her onto it but the referee won’t count the cover since she used the weapon. KAORU drags Toyota to the corner and tries to top the wood piece onto Toyota, but Toyota rolls out of the way as the bell rings. manamiretirement-16The match is a Draw as Kaoru Ito comes down, Ito and Toyota wrestled with and against each other many many times in the 1990s while wrestling AJW and also won the JWP Tag Team Championship together. Ito isn’t feeling the love as she immediately slams Toyota, Yoshida and another wrestler get in the ring and hit a double facecrusher. Diving footstomp by Ito, and she covers Toyota for the three count! Manami Toyota falls to Ito in painful fashion, but she gets a nice bouquet of flowers for her troubles.

The next challenger is Tomoko Watanabe, like Ito she wrestled with and against Toyota during much of their run in AJW in the 90s. The match starts but Watanabe wants a selfie with Toyota so they do that first. Lariat by Watanabe and she hits another one, a third lariat by Watanabe and a fourth, but as she goes for the cover the bell rings, and the match is a Draw. Former AJW wrestler Takako Inoue is next, they were usually on opposing teams in the tag division and kept wrestling after AJW folded in LLPW, OZ Academy, and Diana. Takako shakes hands but then grabs her baton, Toyota ducks the shot but Takako hits a DDT instead. Takako goes up top as Toyota joins her, but Takako hits an avalanche chokeslam for two. DDT by Takako and she goes up top again, but Toyota ducks the Takako Panic as the bell rings. The match is a Draw as they end the match with an embrace.

manamiretirement-17Veteran wrestler Yumiko Hotta is next, she has her chain with her of course. Hotta was one of Toyota’s main foes in their AJW years, and they had multiple title matches in their heyday. Hotta gets right to kicking Toyota but Toyota pushes her against the ropes, she charges Hotta but Hotta nails her with a heel kick. Cover by Hotta, but Toyota barely kicks out. Hotta picks up Toyota but Toyota sneaks in a cradle, she goes off the ropes but Hotta delivers another heel kick for the three count! Yumiko Hotta is the winner, as I think all these matches is starting to wear on Toyota a bit. Takako Inoue’s long time tag partner Kyoko Inoue is next (no relation), as we have seen with this set of wrestlers these two used to be common enemies in AJW. They eventually tie-up and Kyoko flings Toyota to the mat, Pyramid Driver by Kyoko Inoue but the bell rings as time expires, the match being declared a Draw. Some of the veteran wrestlers return to the ring again and give Toyota more flowers, as she prepares for Tsukasa Fujimoto.

The one minute time limit is out the window now, as Manami Toyota faces her last opponent, Tsukasa Fujimoto. While Manami Toyota didn’t train Fujimoto, their careers crossed several times as far back as 2011. Toyota was impressed with Fujimoto’s abilities, and in 2015 it was Tsukasa Fujimoto that Manami Toyota endorsed as her ‘successor’ and gave her permission to use all of the Japanese Ocean moves. So this is a fitting final opponent, as Toyota has her last match against the wrestler she believes will best continue her legacy. Before the match starts, Aja Kong gives Toyota some flowers – Kong and Toyota had a long match in late October which is likely why she wasn’t in the Gauntlet. Shinobu Kandori then comes down and gives Toyota flowers as well, she had a ‘final’ match with Toyota on October 22nd.

manamiretirement-18Tsukasa Fujimoto finally arrives and the match begins, Fujimoto immediately dropkicks Toyota and tries to get Toyota on her shoulders, but Toyota blocks it. Dropkick by Fujimoto as they reach a stalemate, Toyota twists up Fujimoto in the ropes and dropkicks her in the back. Fujimoto falls out of the ring, Toyota goes up top but Fujimoto recovers before Toyota can jump off and knocks Toyota to the floor. Fujimoto then gets on the top turnbuckle and dives down onto Toyota, Toyota returns to the ring but Fujimoto connects with a missile dropkick. Toyota recovers and puts Fujimoto in the rolling cradle, Toyota lets go and goes up top, delivering a missile dropkick. She goes up top again and hits another missile dropkick, but Fujimoto springs back to her feet and hits a dropkick of her own. Fujimoto sits Toyota in the corner and dropkicks her in the chest, she goes for the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex but Toyota blocks it and hits a heel drop. Cover by Toyota, but it gets a two count. Toyota gets up on the top turnbuckle and she nails the moonsault, but Fujimoto bridges out of the pin. Fujimoto gets up near the ropes but Toyota grabs her and goes for the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex. Fujimoto wiggles out of the hold and cradles Toyota for two, kicks to the back by Fujimoto and she hits a PK for a two count. Fujimoto goes up top but Toyota hits her she can jump off and joins her, Fujimoto goes over her back and hits an avalanche sunset flip powerbomb for two. manamiretirement-19Fujimoto goes for the Venus Shoot, but Toyota grabs her from behind and delivers the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex for the three count! Manami Toyota wins!

The match immediately starts again, elbows by Fujimoto and she goes up top, but again Toyota joins her. Fujimoto knocks Toyota into the Tree of Woe and hits the diving footstomp, cover by Fujimoto but Toyota kicks out. Venus Shoot attempt again by Fujimoto but Toyota blocks it the same way, Fujimoto slides off Toyota’s back this time and hits a series of jumping footstomps for two counts. Fujimoto gets Toyota on her shoulders and hits the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex, but Toyota gets a shoulder up. Heel drop by Toyota, she grabs Fujimoto and decapitates her with a Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb. Both are slow to recover, Fujimoto picks up Toyota but Toyota snaps off a suplex. Toyota picks up Fujimoto and hits another Japanese Ocean Queen Bee Bomb, and she picks up the three count! Manami Toyota wins for the second time against Fujimoto.

Fujimoto quickly gets back up as the final match begins, kicks to the back by Fujimoto and she goes up top, but Toyota boots her off the top turnbuckle to the floor. Toyota goes up top and dives down onto Fujimoto (and a slew of other wrestlers that wanted to be part of the last dive of Toyota’s career), she slides Fujimoto back in and goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick. manamiretirement-20Cover by Toyota, but it gets two. Toyota picks up Fujimoto and hits the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex, but Fujimoto gets a shoulder up. Toyota goes back up top but Fujimoto gets her feet up on the moonsault attempt, Fujimoto kips up and hits the Tsukka-chan☆Bomb, but Toyota kicks out. Fujimoto picks up Toyota and hits the PK, dropkick by Fujimoto and she hits a second one followed by a third. Fujimoto goes up top and delivers a missile dropkick, which she follows with two more. Another missile dropkick by Fujimoto, she covers Toyota but it only gets a two count. Venus Shoot by Fujimoto, she grabs Toyota and delivers the Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex for the three count! Tsukasa Fujimoto wins the final match in Manami Toyota’s career.

Following the match, many of the wrestlers Toyota faced tonight surround the ring, while Toyota says her final words. She gives Fujimoto her final blessings, and Fujimoto speaks for a moment as well. After that, per her wishes, a chair is brought into the ring and Toyota has her hair cut shorter, with her hair being donated to use for wigs for people that lost their hair due to medical issues. A photo and video slideshow then appears on the big screen, highlighting Toyota throughout her career, which continues for several minutes.

toyotaretirement2 toyotaretirement1

Toyota says her final goodbyes on the microphone, before the bell tolls and she is engulfed in streamers from the crowd. And with that, the career of one of the best wrestlers in wrestling history (man or woman) is officially over.


Final Thoughts:


I figured it would go without saying that this isn’t the type of match/event that can get a traditional score, whether it be snowflakes or recommendations. If you are fan of Toyota, or retirement matches, you’ll no doubt love it, but if you aren’t a fan of Toyota (you should be, by the way) or familar with her history, the show likely won’t touch you in the same way it will touch others. I will say that even in retirement, Manami Toyota showed she will always go “all out” even to the end. She took a lot of offense here, ranging from dives outside the ring, diving footstomps, weapon shots, and everything between. And she still was doing comedy spots when applicable as well, just rolling with whatever style her opponent brought to the table. The total ring time was over 50 minutes, and while she did have breaks between the matches, it still is quite a toll. The last series of matches with Fujimoto alone are worth recommending if you just want a match that is more traditional, as it was a lot of fun. As a big fan of Toyota, this was both amazing to watch and sad, in particular seeing Chigusa Nagayo tearing up before the match just shows how special Manami Toyota is to not just fans, but her fellow wrestlers as well. Its always sad to see a favorite retire, but Manami Toyota had a very long and successful career and she definitely has earned some rest and relaxation. I hope her post-wrestling career is just as successful as her wrestling career was, and I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of her as part of wrestling in some capacity. This event is fairly easy to find online, I’d recommend watching it for sure if you are a fan of Joshi or want to see a historical event, Manami Toyota is a true legend in every sense of the word and will never be forgotten.