Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, January 11, 2018

ALL TIME MOTY LIST Head to Head 1998: Kandori v. Hotta V. Kandori v. Toyota

Shinobu Kandori v. Manami Toyota AJW 8/23/98

PAS: I am a notorious Toyota hater, but this is a match that even a Manami skeptic can embrace. I love the idea of Manami facing off with a foreign invader trying to regain her big red belt. She comes out totally amped, taking Kandori's handshake and turning it into a choke, and even dropping Kandori with nasty palm strikes. The match structure of this was great, you had Toyota, probably the most prolific offensive wrestler of all time unloading all of her offense on Kandori, and Kandori finding tricky and nasty ways to counter and evade. Loved all of the escapes out of Toyota's suplexes, Kandori landing some vicious ground and palm strikes. Every time Toyota went on one of her runs, Kandori would slow it with brutality. Toyota unloads the whole kitchen sink, multiple suplexes, a crazy flip dive onto a table, her maniac top rope dropkick to the floor, Kandori would absorb it and keep pounding away looking for Toyota to slip up.  It was basically the worlds greatest Sabu v. Taz match. Finish was completely nuts, Toyota is rolling, it feels like she is going to take home the belt, when Kandori victory rolls out of an Ocean Cyclone suplex into a crazy arm and leg figure four, kneebar combo for the tap.

ER: Our first Manami Toyota match review on the site, only 11+ years in!! I really like Phil's Taz/Sabu comparison, but what I found amusing is that Toyota is both Sabu and Taz here, while Kandori is like Fujiwara, enduring a beating and looking for an opening to sink something in. Kandori laid in some beatings, knocked Toyota on her face with a huge lariat, sunk in a triangle that I thought would end things (and I'm not sure I would have even have known what a triangle choke was in 1998) and absorbs incredible damage. Toyota comes off totally deranged, in a great way, all throughout the match. Toyota really brings the attack Kandori with every kind of suplex you can imagine, flying to the floor several times in increasingly dangerous ways, including that sick table spot where her body just plants into Kandori's and that damn Japanese table doesn't break, leaving them kind of frozen in unbalanced pain, and her always vicious dropkick to the floor that always seems to be aimed at the throat. The most important thing about the match, for me, was the importance and heft the nearfalls added. The pinfalls felt as important as the moves in this match, and both wrestlers can take such incredible punishment that right from the beginning it felt like it wouldn't necessarily be a big move that ended the match, but a move that best combined impact with pin leverage. Very early on the pinfall escapes were very narrow, but they weren't ever treated like breathless 2.9s, hold for applause heavy breathing at the Godspell curtain call, they were treated like narrow escapes. It showed early that this match could end at any time and either one could end it. I think this made Toyota's run of nasty suplexes down the stretch tremendous, as Kandori would be barely avoiding defeat just by rolling a shoulder, or literally just falling out of pins because the suplex would over-rotate her. There were at least 4 pinning attempts where I was positive the match was over, and the strength of their drama-free kickouts drew me more and more into what would actually finish things. And the actual finish was suitably sick, one of the truly greatest submissions I've seen: part heel hook, part kneebar, a figure 4 on Toyota's arm, just a nasty hold that I thought Toyota sold great. Joshi doesn't always fire with me, but this was such a spirited, intense fight, with real attention and importance paid to pinning an opponent, that I couldn't help but stay glued.

Kandori v. Hotta review


ER: This was a lot closer than I was anticipating, but I think the viciousness of Hotta barely helps our champ retain. This match was a total fireworks show, our champ is a maintenance worker fistfight after something goes wrong at the fireworks show.

PAS: They are both great matches and testimonies to how incredible Kandori is as a wrestler. The visceral violence of the Hotta match is always going to resonate more to me. Still an EPIC for sure


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