It’s a marvellous day to watch some Marvelous. Damn, can’t believe I haven’t used that as an opening line before. That feels like day one stuff. Anyway, this was another packed Marvelous show, so if recent history tells us anything, it’s probably going to rule. Let’s see if I’m right.
Mikoto Shindo and Mei Hoshizuki fought to a time-limit draw
Damn, Mei and Mikoto went out there and threw down the gauntlet. If someone was looking for a match that summed up what makes Marvelous so wonderful, they could do a lot worse than checking this out. These two debuted within months of each other and have been facing off for their entire careers, and you could tell. They were perfectly in-synch, giving us a example of that wee goblin tank energy that Chigusa cultivates.
It’s not just the frantic pace or inch-perfect wrestling, though. What makes Mei and Mikoto stand out is their attention to detail, the garnishes they throw on top of their talent. Moments like Mei slapping away at Mikoto’s leg while she sits in a submission, doing everything she can to add that little extra pain. Or, similarly, Mikoto’s attempt to headbutt her way out of a later Figure Four, butting wildly at Mei’s leg in an effort to break the hold. They’re tiny parts of a match, but they speak to the way these women’s brains work as they’re never content to do things the way everyone else does and are always looking for an opening within which to get the win.
Time would end up being the only thing that could split them, the bell ringing as Mikoto went for a complex pinning combination that may well have seen her defeat Mei for the first time. Perhaps that was in her mind when she reached out and grabbed Mei’s hair afterwards, the fight threatening to continue beyond the bell. Judging by this, I hope we see it sooner rather than later.
ASUKA defeated Maria
Fighting ASUKA felt like a test for Maria. No one would have expected her to win this match, but coming up against someone with ASUKA’s speed, power and ability gave her a chance to see how far she’s come.
Not that Maria wrestled like someone who knew she was going to lose. You can question the intelligence of starting the match by engaging in a booting-each-other-in-the-face-off, but you can’t deny the bravery. She seemed determined to go toe to toe with ASUKA and then use the openings she got to slip into one of those submissions and get the win.
Sadly, she couldn’t get over the line as ASUKA proved to be too much, getting the win with a brutal Powerbomb and adding insult to injury by grinning from ear to ear as the count was made. However, Maria proved she could hang in there, so while she won’t be happy with the result, the performance is one she can look back on proudly.
Verdict: The Kid Did Well
Kikutaro defeated Leo Isaka
I wasn’t a fan of Kikutaro groping Chigusa in the Stardom Rumble either, but I’m not sure that justified US border patrol locking him up for two days. The poor bastard has had a rough time recently as a healthy dollop of what appears to be racism prevented him from returning to America. Thankfully, everyone seems to have stepped in and got him some bookings.
He also caught me off-guard here, having a pretty straightforward match with Leo. There was some comedy in there, a delayed sell on some shoulder blocks and a long speech giving Leo time to do a counter, but on the whole, Kikutaro was wrestling as a bruiser veteran. He used his added size and power to chop and pound on Leo, even dropping him with a pretty vicious-looking Backdrop Suplex towards the end.
It made for an enjoyable wee match, but I was a bit disappointed. I would have liked to see what Leo could do in a full nonsense environment. Still, I did enjoy it, so my complaints are minimal.
Verdict: Surprisingly Serious Match
Hibiki and DASH Chisako fought to a double count-out
Hibiki’s been causing trouble again. In her quest to get this match, she turned up at the Sendai Dojo and, well, I don’t think she’d been invited. I’m not sure pissing DASH off is a tactic I would have employed, but hey, it worked.
And DASH provided a different challenge for Hibiki to the likes of Maria and Mei. Her power advantage meant she could bully those smaller wrestlers, but no one is bullying DASH. Hibiki would end up scrambling to safety on the ramp, hiding behind Takumi Iroha (who was on camera duty) as DASH came for her with a steel chair. Hibiki’s unhinged, weirdo edge making her as likely to beg for her life as to punch Chisako in the face.
These two will eventually go all out and have the violent brawl we all want from them, but it wasn’t time for that yet. This was another match designed to continue Hibiki’s story, as she tried to sneak her way to victory by taping DASH to a chair on the outside. That still gave us the badass image of DASH standing up, still attached to the chair, before spinning round to smash it into Hibiki, a timely reminder of how cool she is. Plus, in the moments where they did pick up the speed and go all out, we got a glimpse of what the future match will look like, and I loved it.
We shouldn’t have to wait too long either. While Hibiki celebrated them both being counted out, happy not to have lost, DASH wasn’t in agreement. She used the aftermath to challenge Hibiki to a hardcore match, and while Marvelous’s wildcard didn’t appear too keen, one suspects that she won’t be given much choice in the matter.
Verdict: We’re Getting Closer To The Violence
Mio Momono & Rin Kadokura deafeated KAORU & Tomoko Watanabe
There was a passing of the torch feel to this match, aided by that ever-looming KAORU retirement. It wasn’t just that Rin and Mio won (although it helped). It was how they did so. For the bulk of this match, they matched their two veteran opponents. Mio and Rin forced their game onto them and took that victory, not via a fluke, but from an almost comfortable performance.
That was particularly important for Rin. Ever since Takumi Iroha’s unfortunate injury, it’s been Mio who has been pushed to the top of the card, while Rin has taken a longer route to get there. She recently lost to both Tomoko and KAORU as part of her trial series, but partly because of that, it feels like she’s taking leaps forward. She was tougher and braver in her performance here, taking the hits, but giving them back stronger and eventually pinning KAORU.
In the aftermath, an emotional KAORU took the mic and asked one thing of the younger wrestlers. She wants them to take the AAAW Title back to Marvelous, so she can be connected with it once more before her retirement. It was a plea made with a tear in her eye, and a solemn Mio and Rin took up the challenge, sealing it with a pinkie promise. They can’t fuck this up now.
Verdict: The Torch Has Been Passed
In a shocking turn of events, Marvelous put on another fantastic show. We’re getting ever closer to GAEAISM, and they haven’t slipped up yet, so I can’t picture a world in which that is anything less than one of the best shows this year. I can’t wait!