As I edit this, several areas of Japan, including Tokyo, have declared another state of emergency. That puts the status of GAEAISM up in the air, which, if you discount all the actually important things, is one of the worst consequences of this pandemic so far. Sadly, I can’t do much about that, and before we got to what will hopefully still be the big one, Marvelous had one last show to give us. Appreciate it now because you ain’t going to be seeing much Japanese wrestling in front of fans over the next month.
The show started with Marvelous’s latest rookie, Komi Goto, doing her pro-test. That’s not something I can review, but it is interesting. If nothing else, it taught me that while I consider myself a relatively fit human being, I would not survive in the Marvelous Dojo. There goes my dream of a joshi career.
As for what we saw of Goto, she looked to be a bit bigger than most of the Marvelous roster and is undoubtedly in shape. Her grappling sessions with Mikoto, Mei and Mio were all interesting, as she generally seemed to be on the back foot (although less so against Mio) but did pretty well for someone who had already done a heavy workout. Or at least I thought she did. It should be noted that my knowledge of actual grappling is limited. The result was announced at the end of the show, so I’ll keep you all in suspense until then.
Sakura Regina Hirota defeated KAORU
Much like their match back in January, KAORU and Hirota had zero interest in doing any serious wrestling. Roughly the first five minutes was Hirota monologuing, only stopping when people at ringside (everyone from Mei to Chigusa) annoyed her by trying to get claps going when she didn’t want them to. KAORU, meanwhile, got to have a wee sit in the corner and a giggle.
And like that previous match, it felt like two old friends having a laugh, something I have zero issues with. I wish my Japanese were strong enough to understand Hirota, but she’s so naturally funny that the humour often breaks through the language barrier. Plus, I enjoy watching them mess around in that ring, even if I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. By the time Chigusa joined them, pulling out an old Team Eccentric spot, I was content just to let it happen. Who can hate a match where the finish is Chigusa Nagayo and Sakura Hirota falling on top of someone?
If you’re not interested in watching something that was mainly people talking in Japanese, then I’d give this one a miss. However, it is worth at least finding the bit where Hirota convinced Takumi Iroha into the ring to do her headbutt spot. Judging by the speed with which she hit those ropes, that comeback has got to be getting closer, so we can start getting excited about that.
Verdict: Not For Everyone, But I Smiled
Kaiji Tomato defeated Leo Isaka
I haven’t seen much Kaiji Tomato, but he is a fun wrestler, and not just because he’s a tomato. He moves with a spring in his step, which makes him very easy to watch.
A description that suits this match. As is always the case with Leo’s outings, there wasn’t much to chew on, but it was an enjoyable, fast-paced slice of wrestling. They seemed to make a conscious decision to focus on keeping the structure simple and doing some cool shit. It’s a plan that always has flaws, but it did make for some pleasant viewing, even if I doubt I’ll remember it in a month.
Verdict: Fun For What It Was
Rin Kadokura defeated Hibiki
Damn, there was a whole lot about this that caught me off-guard. Chief among them was that it was a straight wrestling match with Hibiki giving us an almost entirely shenanigan free performance. I haven’t hated her antics, so I wouldn’t have had any complaints if it wasn’t, but I also enjoyed it a lot. While Hibiki still heeled it up a bit, this was mainly a battle between power and speed.
The second big shock was the result, Rin pulling Hibiki over in a Rana to get the three. Much like the match with Maria, it felt like Hibiki had slipped on a banana skin, but it still surprised me that they’d have her lose going into that fight with DASH. Rin will also be heavily featured at GAEAISM, which had me convinced this was going to be a draw of some sort, but hey, what do I know? Either way, Hibiki still managed to get under Rin’s skin with her megaphone promo post-match, trying to act like this was irrelevant to her and claiming she hadn’t been trying.
Shocks aside, this was a brilliant match. Coming out of her trial series Rin feels like she’s been elevated, so having her compete with Hibiki and show that bit of edge made perfect sense. Hibiki, meanwhile, reminded you that underneath the antics, she’s a fantastic wrestler, and defeat or not, that brawl with DASH has the potential to be incredible.
Verdict: Surprising, But Good
ASUKA, Mei Hoshizuki and Mikoto Shindo fought Mio Momono, Tomoko Watanabe and Maria to a time-limit draw
Chigusa must have enjoyed Hotta’s anniversary show as she nicked the stipulation of the main event for herself. Coming into the match, the teams hadn’t been set, meaning each wrestler that came out (well, apart from the last) got to choose which corner they joined. It was a fun wee gimmick, giving us moments like ASUKA choosing between the two pairs of Marvelous goblins, Mei and Makoto delightedly joining in their posing when she joined them.
And, unsurprisingly, it made for a brilliant main event. You can throw any combination of Mikoto, Mei, Maria and Mio into the ring, and I will lap it up, no matter how many times I might have seen it before. You can tell they all came through the same dojo, but they’re also all so unique, each bringing something different to the table. On top of that, they sell how competitive they are with each other. This match not having any stakes was never important because they made you believe they were desperate to win.
It also meant we got a showdown between Mio and ASUKA, which unsurprisingly ruled. It was an excellent chance for Momono to show off how relentless she can be, ASUKA continually putting her down only to turn around and find she’d bounced back up, refusing to die. Momono is my wrestler of the year at this point, and a massive part of that is her almost pig-headed approach. She doesn’t know when she’s beaten, which gives her a fierceness that I adore.
The final minutes saw Maria and Mei going at it hard, Maria coming out on top and locking in an armbar just as the bell went for the time-limit draw. I was left surprised that 20 minutes had gone past, Marvelous’s incredible ability to condense time making it feel like a fraction of that.
Verdict: A Lovely Time
After the match, Yumi Ohka turned up for reasons that I can’t quite figure out. She had a nice chat with her BOSS to Mammy partner, Mio, which got plenty of laughs, so I can’t imagine it was kicking off a WAVE invasion angle. I’m guessing it had something to do with their work as a team.
After that, Goto was called back to the ring to get the results of her pro-test, Takumi announcing that she’d passed. Hello to the latest Marvelous rookie. I can’t wait to see what she can do!
The final show before GAEAISM wasn’t as noteworthy as most Marvelous shows have been over the last few months, but it was still a blast. Now, fingers crossed that the big one survives in some form or another, or I’m going to be very sad.