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Manami Toyota announces retirement

Earlier today in Japan wrestling legend Manami Toyota announced that she will be retiring this year.

She will retire on November 3rd. She cited neck and shoulder issues as the reason she’s leaving wrestling.

The 46 year old made her professional wrestling debut on August 5, 1987, at the age of 16 and was trained by Jaguar Yakota.

Her big break came in her second year, on the first Wrestlemarinpiad show from Yokohama Arena, on May 6, 1989. Teamed with Mima Shimoda as the Tokyo Sweethearts, she defeated Etsuko Mita and Toshiyo Yamada.

Toyota won her first title on November 18, 1989, when she defeated Mika Takahashi for the AJW Championship. She defended the title three times, including one defense against her future rival Kyoko Inoue (on August 1, 1990), before vacating it on September 1. The following month (October 7 in Tokyo) she challenged Bison Kimura for the All Pacific Championship and emerged victorious. However, she only managed to defend the title once before losing to Suzuka Minami.

On November 28, 1998, Toyota faced the legendary Chigusa Nagayo in a one-time-only legends bout that saw arguably the two best female wrestlers ever go at it. Nagayo came out victorious in a 15-minute match. Toyota was brought in by Aja Kong to Chigusa Nagayo’s Gaea Japan wrestling group. She feuded with her old partner Toshiyo Yamada, as well as Dynamite Kansai. She competed there from 2002 to 2004 before moving on. Toyota put her wrestler career on hiatus after her August 2007 Tribute Show, where she wrestled in every match. She returned to action in the following year. On a Wrestling Observer poll taken on March 20, 2009, Toyota was voted as the greatest female wrestler of all time, garnering 31% of the vote.

On July 25, 2010, it was announced that Toyota would make her first wrestling appearance in the United States, wrestling for the Chikara promotion in September. She defeated Daizee Haze in her first match and teamed with Mike Quackenbush to defeat the Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Claudio Castagnoli and Sara Del Rey) in a tag team match. She wrestled for CHIKARA a few other times, most notably for King of Trios and JoshiMania.

Toyota produced her 25th anniversary event on September 22, during which she wrestled in all five matches.