Saturday, July 1, 2006

Performer Analysis: Manami Toyota

Manami Toyota was born in Masuda, Japan on the island of Honshu on May 2, 1971. She graduated from wrestling school in 1986 and made her pro debut on August 5, 1987. She quickly become one of the most watched stars in Japanese women's wrestling. She worked for All Japan wrestling her whole career, and her legendary feud with Toshiyo Yamada, and their subsequent tag team made her a star beyond all women before her in that country. This is her analysis.

1 Innovation- 9- Manami Toyota stole the show from under all her veteran wrestlers during a tag team match on the Wrestlemarinipad show in 1989. She showed she had the style of long, building matches with great near falls mastered, but she added her own brand of high risk moves that she performed on a nightly basis. She also worked at a break neck pace, something that she changed the style of the way women wrestled in Japan at that time. Add in her wide variety of suplexes, some of which have never been attempted to this day in the States, and she was a pioneer for women wrestlers all over the world. I think the WWE should be showing their Divas her tapes if they want high class women athletes.

2 Conditioning- 6- I give her a six because she showed great physical stamina in the majority of her career, working many twenty plus minute matches with great excitement. But, towards her last few years, I saw a few matches that showed her rough spot for not establishing a pace that worked for her. She tired out more easily and add to that her small frame, which was tremendously strong for a woman, didn't add that much to her overall stamina.

3 Ring Skill- 9- After watching a four hour best of tape of hers, I would put her, as far as work rate, and match quality, up with any male wrestler in the world. She had a tremendous knowledge of what the fans liked: fast pace, high risk moves, and dramatic near falls. She always seemed to try and top her last match and as a wrestling fan, I love to see that.

4 Character/ Psychology- 5- I give her a five because her character, as I could understand it was the perennial babyface. It's a black and white character with not many dimensions, not saying she needs it. Her psych was good; she sold with her face as much as with her body, and every good wrestler needs that balance.

5 Interviews- 5- Unfortunately, as I am not bilingual, I do not understand any of her promos. And whether I like it or not, it is a major part of the wrestling world today. So, this could be the worst category for her. But, from what has been translated, she has a very vanilla interview style but speaks with a sweet voice and has kind eyes. i think she winked at me.

6 Face/ Heel- 5- I give her a middle score because as a face, she was a tremendous performer. She played the peril role well, and could get the people behind her in large unison. I did not see her play heel, and am quite sure she didn't during her career. I have to agree with Ric Flair when he says that the greats can play both, and she never had the opportunity to do that.

7 Striking- 3- I did not like her punches. They were the only thing that looked girly about her performance. And her kicks didn't have much impact behind them either. Her basics seemed comparable, and her move transition was really good.

8 Fans- 7- Yes, the fans did love Manami Toyota. She was a crowd favorite and they supported her one hundred percent. She didn't have to do much, just show her true character and show her true heart to garner their appreciation.

9 Match/ Opponent- 8- She ranks slightly above average in this category because she not only took on all of All Japan's finest women athletes, but also ones from FMW, New Japan, and WAR. Her most classic feud was with fellow trainee Toshiyo Yamada, as well as she had some classic battles with Aja Kong.

10 Gutcheck-7- Toyota was not lead by fear. She regularly performed her famous flying dropkick from the top buckle to the floor in every match I saw her in. That takes guts. She only suffered one major injury in her career; a broken foot in Mexico in '92, but even that did not stop her from attempting Asai Moonsaults to the floor with no mats. She fought with all heart, and it is very evident in watching her matches. She would seem a role model to me for young women, not just wrestlers, but athletes in general.
Final Score: 64

Ranking: Superstar
Thanks to Brian Wescott


Sonny Gutierrez said...

Actually she did play heel is 1990 for a bit as well as 2001. She has since played heel again in 2008.

Jessie said...

thanks for the info....i'm pretty far down the totem pole on knowledgeable joshi guys so appreciate you sending that my way....are you a big fan of hers?