After the news of Manami Toyota’s retirement coming through, I felt it was write to share this article that I’ve written on the Queen of Queens. Manami Toyota was trained in the All Japan Women’s Wrestling Dojo by Jaguar Yokota. She made her professional wrestling debut on August 5, 1987 at the age of 16 against Sachiko Nakamura in All Japan Women’s Wrestling.
It wasn’t until two years later at age 18 where she would capture the eyes of everyone. She and Mima Shimoda who were known as the Tokyo Sweethearts defeating the team of Toshiyo Yamada and Etsuko Mita. During that match Toyota displayed the very same skills that would make her a huge star including flashy moves and dramatic near falls. At the time, AJW thought the Tokyo Sweethearts could become the next Beauty Pair or Crush Girls but unfortunately they did not met those expectations.
Later on that year, she would go on and win the AJW Championship. She defended the AJW Championship a total of 3 times vacating the title in September 1990. A month later, she would capture the All Pacific Championship after defeating Bison Kimura in a tournament , she would defend it only once before dropping it 5 months later to previous champion Suzuka Minami. That year, Toyota also won the Japan Grand Prix for the first time defeating Yumiko Hotta in the finals.
Between 1990 and 1992, Toyota was engaged into a feud with Toshiyo Yamada. Despite the two feuding they would eventually get paired together as a tag team and in early 1992 Yamada and Toyota became the first UWA Women’s World Tag Team Champions after defeating the team of KAORU and Lady Apache. From there AJW realized that Toyota’s true chemistry lied with Yamada who possessed a different style with short hair and brutal striking.
While tagging with Yamada, Toyota manage to continue her singles career and during that time manage to defeat longtime rival Kyoko Inoue for the IWA Singles Championship gaining her first of many 5 star matches rated by Dave Meltzer. She would go on to defend the title 8 times over the course of 3 years before losing to Reggie Bennett in 1995. Toyota would earn her next 5 star match against her tag partner Toshiyo Yamada later that year in a hair vs hair match, Toyota finally won and ended the feud, but despite winning she did not want Yamada’s hair shaved so she had to be restrained as Yamada willingly got her head shaved.
Toyota and Yamada won the WWWA World Tag Team Championships defeating Jungle Jack (Aja Kong & Bison Kimura). The tag team would then go on to have a series of tag team matches that made their careers, Yamada and Toyota would defend against the team of Dynamite Kansai and Mayumi Ozaki from JWP at AJW’s Dreamrush show in a 2/3 falls match which gained high praise from fans and insiders.
They would have a rematch with the tag team in JWP but this time fell short as Kansai and Ozaki ended their year long reign, the match would also win match of the year from the Wrestling Observer. The final match between the two teams saw Toyota and Kansai regaining the tag titles, each match gained the rare 5 star match rating and even still to this day is considered on of the best series of matches in pro wrestling history.
Fall 1993, Manami Toyota would team up with another rival Akira Hokuto, the two would then go on to win the Tag League. April 1994, Toyota would team with Sakie Hasegawa and win the Okanawa Cup Tag Tournament defeating Takako Inoue and former partner Toshiyo Yamada in the finals of the tournament.
In August of 1994, Toyota would defeat Kyoko Inoue to unify the IWA and All Pacific Championships.She teamed with Takako Inoue to defeat Aja Kong and Reggie Bennett with Toyota earning her second win in the Tag League. The following night, Double Inoue (Kyoko Inoue and Takako Inoue) would defeat Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada for the WWWA World Tag Team Championships. Toyota also took part of the highest attended wrestling event, Collision In Korea on Night 1 teaming with Mariko Yoshida in a losing effort to Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto. At Big Egg Universe, Toyota had a strong showing against Aja Kong in the V*Top Tournament but lost her first round match.
Toyota would then give up her All Pacific Championship right before her match with Aja Kong for the top prize, the WWWA World Championship. She defeated Kong to become the 39th WWWA Champion in her first reign. One of Toyota’s defenses was against Kyoko Inoue in a match that when into a 60 minute draw with some lethal spots and yet another 5 star rating and Match of the Year. She would drop the title back to Aja Kong but would bounce right back into title contention after she won the Japan Grand Prix for the second time defeating Yumiko Hotta in the finals.
Manami took yet another five star bout after a match against against Mima Shimoda. She took another a month later teaming with Sakie Hasegawa as part of Freedom Force(Alongside Mariko Yoshida and Kaoru Ito against Double Inoue, 3 days after she would earn yet another against Akira Hokuto at AJW Destiny. In 1995, Manami was voted as the Most Outstanding Wrestler by the Wrestling Observer.
At AJW Monday Night Sensation, Manami Toyota defeated Dynamite Kansai to win her second WWWA World Championship. She defended the title successfully 3 times against Kyoko Inoue, Yumiko Hotta and Aja Kong. Toyota would team up with her former Tokyo Sweethearts partner Mima Shimoda and defeat Double Inoue to once again capture the WWWA World Tag Team Championships, something the team was unable to do before. Despite teaming with Shimoda, Manami Toyota went on to win the Tag League for a 3rd time with Rie Tamada.
7 days after winning the Tag League, Toyota lost the WWWA World Championship to Kyoko Inoue in a match that saw the All Pacific and IWA Women’s World titles unified with the WWWA World Title and one month later into the next year Toyota and Shimoda would loss the tag titles to Kumiko Maekawa & Tomoko Watanabe in a 2/3 Falls Tag Match.
Manami would not achieve anymore huge success until January 1998 where she would team with Kaoru Ito to defeat Devil Masami & Hikari Fukuoka for the JWP Tag Team Championship, However the team would lose the titles to Hikari Fukuoka & Tomoko Kuzumi just a few days later. She would go on to win the Japan Grand Prix for the 3rd time against ZAP I(Kaoru Ito). In November 1998, Toyota would challenge Chigusa Nagayo at the AJW 30th Anniversary Show for the AAAW Championship from Nagayo’s company GAEA Japan. The match was billed as a one-time-only legends bout that saw arguably the two best female wrestlers ever go at it, Toyota would fall short in that match. In August 1999, Toyota would win her final Japan Grand Prix defeating Yumiko Hotta in the finals.