Japanese wrestling legend Manami Toyota has announced her plans to retire later this year.
As reported by Squared Circle Sirens, Toyota will retire on November 3. Toyota cited neck and shoulder injuries as the reason for her retirement.
Named the greatest female wrestler ever in a 2009 poll conducted by The Wrestling Observer, Toyota made her wrestling debut in 1987 when she was just 16 years old. She won her first championship in November of 1989, capturing the AJW Title for the first time. Toyota, who celebrated her 46th birthday on March 2, has won 21 total championships in wrestling, not including several tournament victories. She was one of the top stars for the All Japan Women's promotion, which folded in 2005. She also wrestled in all five matches on the card for her 25th anniversary tribute show, which was held in the summer of 2012.
Toyota also has been part of some critically acclaimed matches -- 17, to be precise, rated as five stars by the Observer, including the 1993 and 1995 Match of the Year award winners. Only three other wrestlers have been in more matches rated as five stars by the Observer: the late Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi, and Toshiaki Kawada.
Trained by Jaguar Yokota, Toyota made her American wrestling debut in 2010 for the CHIKARA promotion, and returned there a handful of times in subsequent years.