Diva Dirt to Honor Manami Toyota with 2011 Diva Dirt Legacy Award

The wait is over! Diva Dirt is pleased to announce today the newest member to our elite circle of Legacy Award recipients — the legendary Manami Toyota.

After months of discussions between Diva Dirt’s editors and Female Fight League‘s Jason Deadrich, we came to the unanimous conclusion that there is no better recipient for 2011 than the iconic Japanese star.

Toyota joins WWE legend, Trish Stratus, in our Legacy Award winners’ circle. (See Trish Stratus’ acceptance speech here.)

Manami will be honored with the Diva Dirt Legacy Award in a presentation at CHIKARA‘s JoshiMania extravaganza on December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA.

Full details below:


Diva Dirt (www.diva-dirt.com), the number one and most visited online resource dedicated to female wrestling, is extremely pleased to announce today that it will honor legendary Japanese wrestler Manami Toyota with its annual Diva Dirt Legacy Award on December 2nd. The award presentation will take place at CHIKARA’s JoshiMania extravaganza in Philadelphia, PA.

The Diva Dirt Legacy Award, now in its second year, celebrates the excellence and achievement of pioneering females in the world of women’s wrestling. “We created this award as a way to give back and show our respect to the hard working females in the wrestling industry who have sacrificed their bodies for our entertainment, as well as set the bar for generations to come,” said Diva Dirt Editor, Melanie Rob.

With a career spanning more than two decades, Manami Toyota is highly regarded as one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. Toyota has held multiple championships including but not limited to promotions such as All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling, GAEA, and OZ Academy. Toyota’s incredible body of work has been recognized with multiple 5-star match ratings in the prestigious Wrestling Observer Newsletter, as well as being voted Match of the Year on two separate occasions (1993, 1995). Along with being voted Match of the Year, in 1995, the publication voted Toyota its “Most Outstanding Wrestler”. In 2002, she joined the elite ranks of the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame. In September 2010, Toyota made her long awaited US debut for CHIKARA to much fanfare.

“Manami Toyota is perhaps the most iconic female wrestler in recent history. In a male-dominated sport, her talent transcends gender – she belongs in the same conversation as even the greatest male wrestlers,” said Rob. “Manami’s body of work is appreciated not just in her native Japan, but the world over. It is our honor to present this award to Manami on behalf of her fans worldwide and celebrate her career.”

Speaking of the award, Manami said: “I tried my best to wrestle great ‘Joshi’ wrestling through my whole career. I didn’t have the chance to wrestle in front of American fans until last year, but it is my great pleasure to receive such a great award from American media. I hope more people will get to know about Joshi style and see my wrestling live. Thank you very much for your support!”

For the second year, Diva Dirt will present the Diva Dirt Legacy Award in conjunction with the Female Fight League, an organization that unites all-female promotions, as well as fans, to bring respect and exposure to professional female wrestling.

“Female wrestling in the United States has greatly improved over the recent years and fans can thank outside influences from Japan and Mexico for the hard-hitting action we are seeing in the ring today by athletes like Awesome Kong (Kharma), Sara Del Rey and Cheerleader Melissa,” said Female Fight League founder, Jason Deadrich. “Manami Toyota was instrumental in bringing respect to female wrestling not only in Japan, but around the world and paving the way for future female stars.  Many consider Toyota to be the greatest female wrestler of all time and we don’t disagree.”

The award presentation will take place on December 2nd in Philadelphia, PA, as part of Night 1 of CHIKARA’s JoshiMania extravaganza. JoshiMania is a three-night tour that will see Japanese talent, including Manami Toyota, Aja Kong and many more, entertain fans in the US in what can only be described as a once in a lifetime experience. “We are privileged to work alongside CHIKARA to present the 2011 Legacy Award as part of this historic event. CHIKARA is a promotion that has positively contributed to female wrestling over the years, and continues to set the bar high.”

CHIKARA’s Wink Vavasseur adds: “Manami Toyota is probably the most astonishing female athlete I have ever seen. We’re beyond thrilled to have her as part of the extended CHIKARA family, and we’re equally thrilled that this honor will be bestowed upon her at JoshiMania.”

We encourage all fans of CHIKARA and female wrestling to witness this historic three-night extravaganza. The Diva Dirt Legacy Award presentation will take place on Night 1, December 2nd, in Philadelphia, PA.

For more information on JoshiMania and to purchase tickets, please visit www.joshimania.com.

Diva Dirt is the world’s most visited website dedicated to professional female wrestling with over two million monthly visitors. Diva Dirt provides daily news updates, editorial, interviews, audio and video content. Diva Dirt is owned and operated by Black Pants, Inc.

For more information please visit www.diva-dirt.com or contact melanie@diva-dirt.com.

The Female Fight League consists of some of the greatest wrestlers and promoters in female wrestling, working together to better the future of our industry.  The FFL is currently represented by promotions in the United States, Canada and Europe.

For more information please visit www.femalefightleague.com or contact deadrich@femalefightleague.com.[/notice]

Watch Manami Toyota’s JoshiMania video package:

Tickets for JoshiMania can be purchased here.

Editor at Large - Read Profile
  • Melina&Mickie4ever!

    Awesome Congrats to Manami Toyota !

  • http://youtube.com/stephenpeppard stephenpwwe

    Congrats to Manami. I’m shocked you gave Trish one and didn’t give Lita this one
    but happy for her.

    • litafan2000

      Yeah I’m kind of scratching my head on that one. Not going to complain since it’s their site. But I’m not going to lie that I’m a little disappointed.

      • http://youtube.com/stephenpeppard stephenpwwe

        Agreed. It’s not what I expected, or even wanted, but Manami as an amazing woman. All credit to her.

        • litafan2000

          I personally think Toyota should have been awarded first and then Amy or Trish. Maybe they base it on communication. I know that Amy is hardly on twitter and a very private person. So maybe DD couldn’t get in touch with her. But none the less congrats to Toyota. I don’t know, Michelle McCool will most likely get the award before Amy. Lol j/k

          • http://www.diva-dirt.com Melanie

            You’re spot on. Not about who should be first. We have a whole list of people we want to honor. It’s just finding the right schedule alignment each year.

        • bressie

          Melanie just doesnt want to pay for the postage to send the award to Japan! lol.

      • A.E

        GUYS lita’s time well come eventually there always next year any way congratulation Manami

      • bressie

        You are scratching your head over Manami Toyota? Wow

        • litafan2000

          Not really over Toyota but i think that she should have gotten the award last year.

  • litafan2000

    I’m a little shocked by this. I seriously thought it was going to be Amy Dumas. Congrats to Toyota!

    • WWFoverWWE

      just because Trish won it, does not mean Lita is required to get it also

      • litafan2000

        That’s your opinion and I highly doubt others will agree with you.

        • WWFoverWWE

          Can’t face the truth can you? There is no rule that says if Trish wins something, Lita must get it also

      • Taylor

        I agree with WWFOVERWWE. For anyone that disagrees or thinks we’re partial to Trish, the statement is reversible as well: Trish is not automatically entitled to every award Lita receives. I understand both women were around during the same period, but they are two very different people with vastly different accomplishments. I wish fans and non-fans would stop grouping them as a single entity.

        • litafan2000

          First of all I have never said that Lita should get every award that Trish should get and vise versa. However, I do feel that Lita should be given the same respect that Trish gets. Both were amazing and set boundaries high for the women today in wrestling. My problem is that Amy never gets recogonized for what she has done in wwe. It’s always Trish and that’s not right. Molly, Ivory, Jackie and Jazz are in the same boat as Lita. Now, if I were one of these ladies i would be angry that they credit Trish Stratus all time. These women helped Ms. Stratus improve in the ring and yet they get treated like garbage by the wwe and other sites. Lita, Molly, Jazz and Jackie should be respected and I honestly feel that they aren’t. I’m not trying to turn this into a arguement. So let’s focus on Ms. Toyota!

        • Taylor


          I in no way mentioned your post in my original comment. Speaking generally, I stated that I agreed with WWFOVERWWE’s statement. That’s all. There was no negativity spawning from my comment directed towards you.

          Although I don’t know of her, congratulations to Manami Toyota for all her accomplishments and effort.

        • litafan2000

          Sorry my post wasn’t meant for you. It was intended for WWFOVERWWE.

  • G32106

    Awesome! So Great to Honor Manami:)

  • shannymac

    Such a great choice! Manami is a legend on every level and one of the most talent performers to ever set foot in a wrestling ring. I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more!

  • Melina&Mickie4ever!

    There are other female wrestlers besides the Knockouts & Divas. I mean a Diva Dirt Legacy award dosent have to go to a former , current Diva or Knockout. There are more fish in the sea too.

  • SherriShepherdWWE

    wow i was shocked, i thought for sure it was gonna be either Lita or Sable, but wow congrats Manami you sure do deserve this

    • bressie


  • wl75

    Nice pick- shows that you don’t have to be US-based to be influential. I’ll have to look up some of her matches- any recommendations?

    • Jhonmarco

      Any of her matches against Aja Kong, those are just incredible O_O

    • Mikas

      She had 8 legit 5-star matches. And with legit i mean they are rated by the same criteria that the observer uses for men. So naturally all 8 are worth watching.

      If you prefer solo action, go for her matches against Kong and Kyoko. For tagteam action i suggest the Toyota/Yamada vs Ozaki/Kansai matches. They had 3 total (AJW Dreamrush, AJW Dreamslam 1 and AJW Dreamslam 2).

      Her 5-star matches:
      AJW 1992-08-15 Manami Toyota vs Toshiyo Yamada – AJW 08.15.1992
      AJW 1992-11-26 Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki
      AJW 1993-04-11 2/3 Falls, Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki
      AJW 1993-12-06 Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki
      AJW 1995-05-07 Manami Toyota vs Kyoko Inoue – AJW 05.07.1995
      AJW 1995-08-30 Manami Toyota & Sakie Hasegawa vs Takako Inoue & Kyoko Inoue
      AJW 1995-09-02 Manami Toyota vs Akira Hokuto – AJW 09.02.1995
      AJW 1994-11-20 Manami Toyota vs. Aja Kong – AJW 11.20.1994

      Naturally you can find all matches on Youtube. Someone even made a playlist for all the matches, so they are easy to find.

  • WWFoverWWE

    It’s nice to see respect going to females who are not from the US. I bet it means a lot to them :)

  • javiousmckenzie

    I was expecting Lita Ivory Chyna or even Molly kind of dissapointed but i understand

  • Mikas

    Nice to see her included, an excellent choice.

    Up until the early 90s womens wrestling was very boring and the women only used basic moves, but thanks to Manami Toyota and the other joshis of her generation, people saw that women were capable of much more and they set the new standard for womens wrestling.

    • Jhonmarco

      Since I noticed your more into the indy & joshi scene, do you think someone like Ayako Hamada or Sara Del Rey can compare to Toyota? Or too early to tell?

      • Mikas

        I dont think you can compare SDR with Manami, too different in styles. Hamada is a better comparison, but i dont think she will ever be considered as good as Manami. But a lot depends on personal preferences, not everyone considers Manami the best. Some people consider Jaguar Yokota to be #1, others Akira Hokuta, and some Aja Kong, it depends on what style you prefer.
        But Hamada will definately be remembered as one of the greats of her generation.

        • Jhonmarco

          Ah, thanks for the answer :)

      • bressie

        Following on from MIKAS Toyota was one of the greatest wrestlers male or female at time where Japanese wrestling was at is artistic and business peak where a number of AMAZING talents entered where in the same sport at the same time. Like the Attitude Era it was a unique set of circumstances.

    • cutymania

      Hmmm, I think the Crush Girls back in the 80s would refute that. The Crush Girls in their prime (mid to late 80s) were phenomenal (an understatement) and competed in some of the greatest joshi/womens matches of all time. The 70s & 80s joshi/US wrestling were far from boring and you’d be surprised how many ‘flashy’ moves you’d see back then from the women who invented them.

      This award is greatly deserved and it’s nice to see Toyota getting some recognition here in the states. She is one of the greatest wrestlers/athletes of all time, regardless of gender and has had such a legendary career. It’s a shame she made her US debut after her prime…she would’ve been AMAZING in the WWF circa 95′ when Aja Kong and others were there, that was around the time Toyota was in her prime. Still she’s an amazing wrestler and her titles/accomplishments speak for itself.

      On those ‘disappointed’, obviously the legacy award is still a new concept, don’t know why y’all are getting upset because so and so haven’t received it yet. Sorry but Manami Toyota and other legendary joshi are in such a different league from the rest that if it was up to me, most legacy awards would go to Aja Kong, Bull Nakano, Akira Hokuto etc..

      A few women I’d like to see get the award in the future…. – Madusa/Alundra Blayze – a LEGEND. Tremendous wrestler with some notable career highlights, competed in Japan with THE BEST for a couple of years, great performances back in the 80s/90s and arguably one of the greatest WWE womens champions ever. – Bull Nakano – the word legend and Bull Nakano should never part. Superb performer with an endless amount of success in Japan and the US, becoming the only japanese womens champion and putting on some of the most memorable matches in WWE with Alundra Blayze. Just so much I can’t fit in one paragraph, but bottom line Bull Nakano will go down in the books as one of the greatest.

  • bxradimus

    For anyone saying they’re disappointed…come on. It’s Manami FREAKING Toyota!!! Some of you may not be familiar with her, but you MUST realize…there is WRESTLING outside of WWE. She’s been busting her ass and doing AMAZING things in this business for over TWO DECADES.

    She’s clearly a perfect choice for such an award. There will always be time for others to get it, but being “disappointed” by someone who’s been doing this for years longer than the woman you “wanted” to win it is just sad. Respect the woman who is a inspiration to so many women AND men in the sport of professional wrestling.

    • litafan2000

      I’m happy that DD is looking beyond wwe, but I would have loved to see Amy get this award. But if it wasn’t Amy who got the award I’m happy it went to Toyota. Actually she should have been number one.

      • bressie

        Please stop with your bellyaching. Amy isnt in the same class as Toyota. Amy whose limited moveset included a moonsault, a hurricrana and pulling her pants up shouldnt be put in before one of greatest workers ever male of female.

        • litafan2000

          Lmao….. Your right Amy is no where near the league of Toyota. Like I stated before she should been selected as the first honoree. So you think that Trish should be in before Toyota? Another diva who had a limited moveset?

        • bressie

          Trish has a better legacy than Lita. I know your username but it is what it is.

          Trish is not only more deserving than Lita but she was a marketable name to start the award off. I really dont know how you can make a case than Lita has a better Legacy than Trish.

        • litafan2000

          Umm where did I say that Lita has a better legacy then Trish? I didn’t say that. They were both very different and you simply cannot say one is better than the other. Trish was very marketable as was Lita, that’s why wwe used them so much. Honestly, I was a huge Trish mark from 2000-2002 and was not a lita fan but she really grew on me in early 2001. Both Lita and Trish paved the way for divas such as Beth, Nattie, Mickie and etc. Doesn’t matter who has a better legacy. Both deserve credit, not just one! But anyway we are done with this conversation.

          What was your favorite Toyota match?
          Aja Kong vs Manami Toyota from November 1994. Simply amazing match!

        • bressie

          Let me break this down for you:

          US-based Lita will probably get in next year

          Japanese-based Toyota may make her last in ring performance in the US in December.

          It makes logistical sense to give it to Toyota this year.

  • bobbiedee

    Great achievement for Manami. Her career speaks for itself. People need to realise that Japanese (Joshi) wrestling differs greatly from the American style, from bumps to in ring psychology to the way matches are mapped out! Manami Toyota is no doubt, the greatest female wrestler in history! Yes, its a bit of a surprise that she hooks the award this year as she isnt your typical North American Diva, but she is deserving none the less.

    Now to address the Lita/Trish issue. Both women were tremendous talents to the WWE, they will both be in the Hall Of Fame one day and they will go down in history as the greatest. Lita will get this award sooner of later so people need to calm down about that. I am a MASSIVE Lita fan, she tops my rankings over Trish. I, like some others do get annoyed and agitated when people berade Lita. Bottom line is this, Trish Stratus is the most accomplished Diva in history, but I do think she was extremely over-rated, and even more so now that she has gone. Lita was revolutionary, she broke barriers, and truthfully … if Amy hadn’t suffered a broken neck, Trish most likely wouldnt have been pushed the way she was in 2002. WWE needed a top face, and with Lita out of action, Trish was the obvious candidate. Same on the other side of the coin, Jazz was the top heel, got injured just after Lita, and Molly was pushed in her place. Trish won 3 Women’s Championship’s during Lita’s absence, and only won her 6th title due to Lita’s injury. Not to mention Lita’s management role with Edge lasted well over a year before she began wrestling again, and her Kane/Pregnancy storyline also kept her from an in ring role.Trish was wrestling all through those times – hence gaining more accomplishments!. People really need to understand that. I do believe these reasons led to Trish’s success within the WWE. I am not hating on Trish, I love Trish …I am a massive fan and I respect her career to a large degree, however that is my opinion on the Trish/Lita debate, so when people say ” how can you even compare Lita to Trish ? ” ….well, actually you can! On a last note, Molly Holly was a much better wrestler than both of them combined, and is the greatest female wrestler in WWE history in my opinion. The women should be honoured and remembered in the same way as Lita and Trish.

    • litafan2000

      Your right!

  • Lily

    Great great great choice! Manami is probably one of the best female wrestlers in wrestling history.

    Lita, McCool, Melina & Sunny should win awards for the next 4 years.

    • Lily

      I also forgot Mickie James.

  • laqisha

    What a great choice :) Its good to see somebody outside of mainstream win the award.

  • RealMaryse

    pls give lita award next year

    • bressie

      Congratulate Toyota first

  • Rhawk

    Lovely choice, I mean of course people will be like ‘UGH! It should be Lita, Sunny, Mickie James or someone else from WWF/E or TNA!’, but the fact is the award isn’t for solely mainstream wrestling, people outside of that type of wrestling deserve it just as much as people who are mainstream, and for someone like Toyota to win it is a brilliant decision. Those names I mentioned may get their time, but for now lets just focus on the women who have been awarded for they truly deserve the honour.

    Congrats once again to Manami Toyoka, you’ve made us all (or most caring enough people) proud. =-)

  • NaomiNightfan2011

    I’m very shocked with who won the award, but then again I thought it went to the right person this year ^.^

    I’d also like to see Aja Kong, Lita, Ivory, Bull Nakano and Alundra Blayze (Molly Holly and Jazz would be good as well) win the Legacy Award within the next 5 years, although that will be likely to not happen.

  • Raekon

    Very well deserved for a great woman and a awesome competitor! :)

    Congratulations Manami!

  • YourHero

    She was really great.

    I mean, Trish sets the bar pretty high. But Manami yanks it off the poles and punts it so far into the sky that it disappears in one of those little sparkly things.

    Watch at your own risk!