Having had a significant chunk of their roster taken out of commission in early December after the wee COVID scare that hit the joshi scene, Marvelous has had a fair while without a show. Thankfully, that’s all behind them now, and they were back with a line-up that had the potential to be a whole lot of fun.
Mei Hoshizuki defeated Yuna
New gear Mei! On what was a busy day for her (she challenged AZM for the High Speed title in the afternoon), Hoshizuki graduated from the swimsuit. Her new outfit was suitably colourful and frilly, so she looked great.
Her opponent, Yuna, was a local wrestler who was new to me and works an over the top sexy gimmick similar to Hamuko Hoshi. It meant there were lots of silly poses and an extended sequence where she seemed to hypnotise Mei and everyone else at ringside (including Chigusa and her camera) by rolling her stomach. Not quite sure what was going on there, but it did make me giggle.
Sadly, she couldn’t quite match up to Mei’s pace in the ring. Although, that’s not really an insult, very few people can, so you can’t blame her for continually slowing the action down. It meant Mei was never quite able to get up to full flow and, enjoyable silliness aside, this settled into the fine camp. Still, for an opener and the first of two matches Mei Hoshizuki had that day, it did what it needed to do.
Verdict: The Gear Was Probably The Most Exciting Part
Leo Isaka defeated Hirokai Ura
Hiroaki Ura is another local wrestler who I know fuck all about. Annoyingly both his haircut and gear were quite similar to Leo’s, so you had to be paying attention to tell them apart when you couldn’t see their faces.
Similar gear or not, they had an incredibly competent match. That sounds like a backhanded compliment, and it is a bit, but I think it’s the best word to use. There was nothing wrong with it, both men worked very hard, and the action was enjoyable. However, I never once got swept up in it. I sat and watched two men have a decent outing while pondering what I’d have for dinner.
ASUKA defeated Mikoto Shindo and Masha Slamovich
I’ve never really talked about how perfect it is that ASUKA now wears Hana’s kimono for their entrance. Not only do they look incredible in it, but it feels right.
ASUKA certainly started the match in a way that Hana would have enjoyed, showering Mikoto with affection before setting her loose on Masha and having a chill in the corner. Unsurprisingly, Mikoto did eventually figure out what was going on, the hint coming when ASUKA broke a pin by kicking her in the head.
It set the tone for the match as you got the impression ASUKA and Masha had their eyes on each other, slightly dismissing the youngster who was in their way. Unfortunately for them, Mikoto had other plans. She did a fantastic job of continually inserting herself into sequences, adding a slab of youthful exuberance to everything she did and nearly sneaking out with the win.
Ultimately, it wasn’t to be, ASUKA bundling her up for the three, but this was a hella enjoyable bout. Not that Masha seemed to agree, she was somewhat irate with ASUKA declaring themselves the Marvelous Ace and ended up challenging her post-match in a somewhat aggressive manner. I still haven’t seen a huge amount of Slamovich, but I feel like that could be good.
It was Chigusa time next as she put down the camera to have a chat with the crowd. I think she mentioned the upcoming Gaea reunion show at one point, but as much as my Japanese has improved, I ain’t keeping up with that. She had a few words for ASUKA and Takumi Iroha who were both up on the balcony (Iroha seemed to be working the camera) and even seemed to bring up Yuna’s hypnotic stomach. As far as I can tell, these sections are basically Chig having a chat, and fair play to her. When you’re the GOAT, you can do stuff like that.
Rin Kadokura defeated Maria
Maria has all the attitude, and it is incredibly enjoyable. Before the match had even started, she had Rin rolling her eyes in a very ‘kids these days’ way as she refused a handshake. She then wrestled this like a fucking pest, refusing to give Rin a moment’s rest. Whether it was leaping into pins or grabbing Kadokura’s hair to hit her harder, Maria was a constant menace.
It made for one of my favourite kinds of matches as the rookie tested the more experienced wrestler. In theory, we all know how this is going to end. Rin dropping a fall to Maria would be a huge shock, but it’s still fun to get caught up in that moment. It also speaks well of the wrestlers that they can help you forget that, getting you drawn in as you watch.
Of course, it did eventually go the way you’d expect, Rin getting the win and offering up another handshake after the bell. To the shock of no-one, Maria was having none of that shit, as even in defeat the attitude remained strong.
Verdict: Cocky Rookie
Tomoko Watanabe and KAORU defeated Mio Momono and Hibiki
Mio Momono is one of the few wrestlers whose music hitting is enough to make me happy. Everything about her screams joy and watching her and KAORU go back and forth (or in one case, KAORU beating her with a wooden board) makes life feel alright for a little bit.
Unsurprisingly, this was a good main event as it was a concoction of lovely ingredients. You’ve got Mio goblining, Hibiki and Watanabe hossing and KAORU continuing not to bother ageing. Seriously, she’s out there not just going for the Valkyrie Splash, but fucking crashing and burning on it. I know it’s said a lot, but she’s 51! I’m 28 and if I took a single back bump my body would explode.
It made for one of those matches that Marvelous excel at. In the grand scheme of things, there wasn’t a huge amount in the way of stakes, but it didn’t matter. From start to finish, it was a damn entertaining slice of wrestling. Will I remember it a year or even a couple of months from now? No, maybe not, but not everything needs to change the world. If you want great wrestling that will make you smile, this will do the job.
Verdict: A Load Of Fun
A show that hit its stride around the third match and then never slowed down. On top of that, neither of the matches that came beforehand was exactly bad; they just trundled along in the decent zone. If you’re looking for some good, easy to watch wrestling over the festive period, you can do a lot worse than this.