Marvelous days are always good days. They’re competing for my favourite promotion of 2021 so far, holding strong alongside Ice Ribbon and TJPW, and perhaps even winning. With GAEAISM drawing ever nearer, let’s find out if they can keep that momentum going!
Tomoko Watanabe & Mikoto Shindo defeated KAORU & Maria
When Maria teamed with Hirota, it felt a bit like she’d been dragged along on a day out with her embarrassing mum. Thankfully for her, she’s now been placed in cool Aunt KAORU’s hands, who is here to teach her the finer points of smacking people over the head with a wooden board and generally being a bit of a dick (but in a cool way).
It was a lesson Maria took a lot of joy out of learning, a huge grin spreading across her face as they worked over Shindo’s arm. Unfortunately, while she undeniably did get a lesson in the dark arts, it would be the other rookie and veteran pairing that got the win, with Mikoto paying back that damage and more. She was brilliant in this match, continuing a recent run of fantastic performances. Chigusa seemingly has a factory that produces speedy wee tanks because her ability to hit hard while flying across the ring is hella impressive. We also saw her take advantage of KAORU being in a submission by stamping on her hands and yelling in her face, which is the kind of goblin attitude which will always earn you praise from me.
Throw in KAORU and Tomoko rolling back the years and proving they’re still more than capable of competing with the best of them, and this was a cracking opener. There may not have been much in the way of emotional stakes, but everyone was on the same page, and it was a pleasure to watch.
Verdict: A Lovely Time
Mei Hoshizuki defeated Hibiki and DASH Chisako when Hibiki was disqualified
Hibiki turned up at the last Sendai Girls show, apparently in the mood to pick a fight with DASH. She’d get it too, but with poor Mei thrown in the middle, shoved into a situation where no-one seemed particularly interested in her.
Not that Mei was content with sitting quietly in the corner. After initially leaving them to it, she hit the ring and made sure they would at least remember her dropkicks. Hibiki and DASH beating the shit out of each other was fantastic and took centre stage, but Mei was also great, her interactions with DASH looking slick and hard-hitting. They might not have had the same anger behind them as DASH vs Hibiki, but they still left a mark.
No-one was going to take the spotlight from Hibiki, though. Her own violent interactions with Mei ended with her resorting to one of the simplest moves in the game, wrapping her hands around Mei’s throat and holding them there till Tommy was forced to call for the bell, only letting go when people slid into the ring to stop her. Choking someone like that is such a simple act, but one that we don’t see very often. It got to the point where Hibiki being mounted on top of Mei, holding her down by the throat, became somewhat unsettling. They are going all out to make her the biggest heel around and moments like that sell it perfectly.
In the aftermath, Hibiki got into it with Ref Tommy (who was furious and seemed more than willing to get into a scrap) before continuing her war of words with DASH. I’m not sure what was said, but it left Hibiki screaming before she regained her composure and sauntered out of there, whistling as she went. God, I love this angle so much.
Sakura Regina Hirota defeated Mio Momono
If I ever own a wrestling promotion (unlikely, I admit), every show’s main event would be Mio Momono vs Sakura Hirota.
Their brilliance can be summed up by Momono, one of the world’s best wrestlers, punching herself in the arse after taking a flurry of Hirota’s kanchos, presumably attempting to wake it up in the same way that people do after having their leg worked over. I have watched countless Hirota matches, it’s one of my favourite things to do, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone commit to selling being poked in the arse like Mio did.
It was also only one part of the beautiful nonsense that they served up. We had duelling handstands in the corners, a re-emergence of Mio’s old foe, Balance Ball, and one of wrestling’s greatest comic minds taking on one of its greatest goblins. It was a combination of breathtaking sequences and pure silliness as the finishing stretch slipping into a mind-blowing exchange of flash pins. These two come from different generations, but they both stand testament to the genius of Chigusa Nagayo as a trainer. Hirota and Mio are extraordinary wrestlers, capable of out-working the most vaunted work rate guys going, but they’ve also been given the freedom to be very silly, and I’d argue that silliness has only helped to improve their in-ring work. It’s allowed them to experiment, figuring out things that more ‘serious’ trainers would never let their pupils figure out.
I was always going to like Hirota vs Mio. It’s two of my favourites, wrestling a style I adore, but even taking away my bias, I think this was genius. If you have any room in your heart for silliness in wrestling, then you need to see this match.
TAMURA defeated Leo Isaka
It makes me so happy to have another Leo match that I enjoyed beyond it being a semi-decent showing where I have little to say.
TAMURA was playing the wily old veteran in this one, out there teaching Leo lessons while giving him a beating. He attacked him as he entered the ring and set about using every trick he could think of to keep himself in control. Whether it was his favourite punch, the one that definitely hits his opponent slightly above the belt and not below it, or convincing Leo to repeatedly run the ropes, TAMURA was dictating the pace of the action.
It forced Leo to get smart. His first flurry of moves was cut-off by TAMURA attacking his leg, hitting it with countless dropkicks, but slowly Leo began to adapt. The next time TAMURA went for that punch, he slipped out of the way, causing his fist to connect with the steel that joins the turnbuckle to the post. He then began to display a bit of sneaky wrestling himself, going after TAMURA’s hand and snapping it in a way that sounded horrible. We were watching someone grow in real-time, which was a shitload of fun.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough. TAMURA’s veteran instincts eventually won through, helping him pull out the win when he got his knees up on Leo’s Shooting Star Press. However, this is the kind of match that felt like part of a feud rather than the end of it. TAMURA and Leo will do this again, and if the youngster keeps getting better, he’ll best the old bastard one day.
Verdict: A Load Of Fun
Kaoru Ito defeated Rin Kadokura
For the second match in her trial series, and as a nice wee present to celebrate her birthday, Marvelous gifted Rin with one Kaoru Ito, how nice of them.
Like Leo vs TAMURA, this was youngster vs veteran, but unlike it, Ito didn’t need trickery to get ahead. The power gap between these two was unbridgeable, and right from the start, she was able to grind Rin into the mat, using her added weight and strength to prevent her from building up anything approaching momentum.
It made for a contest that, much like Rin’s previous trial match with KAORU, was perhaps more interesting than thrilling. Rin was going up against a mountain, someone that she didn’t stand a chance of overcoming, but it was exciting to watch her try. To see her go for moves like the Crucifix Pin and have them backfire on her, Ito simply falling back to crush her under her weight, only to later in the match find an opening where it was possible. The story of this trial series isn’t about Rin getting results, but her learning from these veterans and showing fire while doing so.
Sadly, in the end, fire wouldn’t be enough. Rin would spend her birthday eating a Spinning Powerbomb followed by the Double Stomp and, well, I’d prefer a cake, let’s just put it that way. Still, while this won’t go down as a classic match, it felt like the next step in whatever story Marvelous are trying to tell, and I’m intrigued to see where it goes.
Verdict: Happy Birthday, Rin!
I’m not sure what was going on in the post-match, but it involved Ito’s old pal Tomoko. My guess is that she was being set up to be the next match in Rin’s series, which would certainly play into what she’s done so far, but I can’t say for sure.
Marvelous never let me down! Mio vs Hirota and DASH vs Hibiki vs Mei were the highlights, but this was another great show from top to bottom.