After being impressed by their showing at Assemble, I’ve spent the last month and a bit binging a whole load of old Marvelous. It’s been a lot of fun, and I figured the perfect follow up was to start rambling about their newer shows. That does mean I should throw the old I’m a noob disclaimer at the front of this, so if I make any obvious mistakes feel free to point them out in the comments.
Mei Hoshizuki defeated Mikoto Shindo and Maria in a Three-Way
Poor Maria made a very ungainly entrance as she somehow fell into the ring. I’m not quite sure what went wrong, but she was laughing at herself, so I suspect her pride took the brunt of the damage.
She’d recover with one of my favourite spots of the match, all based around a simple chin lock. While she sat with it locked on Mikoto, Mei took off, running the ropes in a way that we’ve seen a million times. However, Maria was in no mood to be dropkicked, so when Mei came flying in, she rolled nimbly out the way, locked her legs around her head and slipped straight back into position. It was a lovely inversion of a set-up that is in nearly every three-way and I appreciated it a lot.
It was one of many inventive moments in a highly enjoyable match. You can tell this trio know each other inside and out, as they slipped into some seamless high-speed style sequences. In general, the structure was spot on, as they nailed when to slow things down and found plenty of inventive ways to keep all three involved.
Mei would ultimately celebrate her anniversary with a win, Mikoto crashing into Maria as she ran the ropes and creating an opening to be rolled up. It was the right finish to a brilliant opener.
Leo Isaka defeated Hajime
I know fuck all about Hajime, but he gives off majorly weird vibes. He came to the ring with a head (pretty sure it wasn’t real) and Leo seemed somewhat bemused as to how to deal with that.
That contrast was what made this work. Leo looks like a wrestler, a guy you wouldn’t question if he told you that was his job when you bumped into him in the pub. Hajime, meanwhile, looked like he’d wandered in drunk from a music festival and still had enough alcohol in his bloodstream to think he could give this a go.
It was the kind of clash that elevated what was, in reality, merely a fine match. The head got involved towards the end, and while it distracted Ref Tommy enough for Hajime to kick Leo in the balls, it wasn’t enough for him to actually get the win.
Verdict: Fun Culture Clash
Saki Akai defeated Rin Kadokura
In DDT Saki plays the underdog, defiantly going to battle against the likes of Naomi Yoshimura. It’s a role an she excels in and has played a big part in the success of Eruption.
However, that’s not the only role Saki was born to play, for she’s just as good, if not better, at ramping the arrogance up to eleven. The second she stepped into the ring with Rin, she made it clear she had no time for her opponent. From the dismissive way that she waved away her attempt at a handshake to the cocky raising of her hand, daring Rin to try and lock up with her.
It transferred across to her wrestling too, every move making it clear she felt she was too good for this. Her attitude was probably bolstered by the fact she was dominating the action, at one point inviting Rin to hit her only to slip out of the way into a drop toehold, effortlessly rolling through to wrap her legs around Kadokura’s neck and start cranking.
Credit has to go to Rin too, who was great in the underdog role herself. She never got a hold on this match, but also never gave up, desperately trying to find a way through Saki’s armour. The chink wasn’t there, sadly, but you can’t fault her effort. It left this feeling like round one, the setting up of a mountain to be climbed. Fingers crossed that’s the case.
Verdict: Perfect Execution
It was time for Chigusa’s chat with the crowd, which included her getting Mei out to talk too. She, very sweetly, held onto Chigusa’s hand throughout, making her look very young and innocent. One thing that comes through a lot while watching Marvelous is the feeling that Nagayo is close to her kids, sharing nice relationships with them. You never know what things are like behind the scenes, but it’s a lovely on-screen dynamic at the very least.
Yuki Miyazaki and Tomoko Watanabe defeated KAORU and Masha Slamovich
All three of the others wrestlers in the ring have been doing this for longer than Masha Slamovich has been alive. Decent chance to pick up a few tips, eh?
And at one point a literal lesson did break out, based around Masha being unsure about being caught in Miyazaki’s Super Shy Hold. KAORU helpfully stepped in, showing her how it goes down, but she was still against it, put off by the somewhat compromising position it leaves you in. Not that her complaints made much difference, Miyazaki may have had to fight for the move, but she got there eventually.
It was a nice summing up of what was a really easy match to watch. I always get a kick out of watching these brilliant veterans wrestlers hang out together and have a lovely time, whether it’s the above antics or KAORU smacking people with her giant lolly. You could dismiss it as being self-indulgent, and it definitely is, but they’ve earned it.
Verdict: I Smiled
Mio Momono and Hibiki fought ASUKA and Chikayo Nagashima to a time limit draw
Mio Momono’s entrance video featuring multiple pictures of her and her dog is one of the many reasons she’s the best. She’s also in an intriguing spot, Iroha’s injury meaning she’s been thrust to the front of the queue. Her getting that pinfall at Assemble proved to be a hell of a decision, didn’t it?
Not that ASUKA and Chikayo were bothered about all that. They were well cast as the bullying heels, taking great pleasure in beating on Mio. I can’t praise Saki for portraying arrogance to perfection and not say the same about ASUKA, who is on an incredible run. The effortless way that she throws smaller wrestlers around is fantastic, at one point even using her hair to send Mio flying (she was holding ASUKA’s hair at the time, it hasn’t become sentient).
Hibiki and Mio weren’t outshone, doing a great job of fighting while outgunned. The first half of the match saw them being cut off every time it looked like they were gaining momentum, but they never faltered, slowly managing to click together and gain their footing. It switched the tide from being firmly on one side of the ring to a frantic back and forth.
That would come to a head in the final few minutes, bodies flying around the place as everyone went for the win. As time ran out, ASUKA had Mio up for a Powerbomb, the bell going as she held her in the air. Not that she was going to let her down gently, hitting the move anyway to make sure that she at the very least got the final blow. That was a hell of a tag.
Verdict: Fantastic Main Event
Everyone had a big chat afterwards, but my Japanese is not quite on that level. It all seemed relatively civil? The crowd were laughing at times, so I doubt they were threatening to bathe in each other’s blood.
A damn fine Marvelous show that provided a little bit of everything. We got strong action, someone being hit with a giant lollipop and a severed head. All in all, that’s a couple of hours well spent and a pleasant first show to ramble about.
You can watch Marvelous on FreshLive, but it’s supposed to be closing down soon, so keep that in mind: https://freshlive.tv/marvelous
They’re currently airing most of their shows on PPV, information about which is usually posted on their Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarvelousInter