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Manami Toyota to retire later this year


Manami Toyota, a 2002 inductee into the Hall of Fame, who may have been the greatest woman wrestler of all-time, announced on Friday night that this would be her last year in pro wrestling.

Toyota, who is 46, and started with All Japan Women as regular at the age of 16 in 1987, said she decided because it would be her 30th year as a wrestler and has had a lot of injuries.

She said her final match would be on November 3rd in Yokohama's Daisan Bashi Hall.

Toyota was one of the key people in the resurgence of popularity of women's wrestling in Japan in the early 90s. Before that time, the women wrestlers in Japan generally performed on women's shows predominately for a teenage girls audience.

But Toyota, Bison Kimura, Toshiyo Yamada, Aja Kong, Bull Nakano, and others started doing matches on men's shows and were the first generation of women stars respected by the male wrestling fans. 

Toyota was on a par if not superior to any male pro wrestler of the 1990s as far as athleticism and garnering a reaction from fans, having many of the best bouts of the decade including a 1992 Match of the Year winner, where she teamed with Toshiyo Yamada against Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki, and a 1995 Match of the Year, a 60 minute draw that was probably the fastest paced 60 minute draw in history against Kyoko Inoue.