The one upside to GAEAISM being delayed is that we get more build to GAEAISM! History suggests that whenever Marvelous and Sendai Girls get together, we’re all in for a good time, and there are a couple of spicy matches on this show that I can’t see breaking the pattern.
Maria defeated Ai Houzan
Any worries that Ai would have lost her rookie fire during her short period out injured were quickly forgotten as she responded to Maria ignoring her handshake by bundling her into a roll-up. Houzan is my favourite kind of rookie, by which I mean she’s a fucking pest. There is a scrappy tenacity to her as she constantly finds ways to hang onto matches and make life difficult for her elders. Whether it’s dropkicks or roll-ups, she isn’t letting anyone get a win over her easily.
On the other side of the ring, Maria seemed to relish the chance to play the veteran. Ai was scrappy because Maria forced her to be so, as when she got her hands on the rookie, she controlled this match, attacking her arm. We don’t often get to see her lead the action like this, but she did a great job of asserting her dominance while giving Houzan enough to feel like the upset wasn’t completely impossible. I mean, it basically was, but it’s nice to pretend sometimes.
Verdict: Well Done Both Of Them
Tatsuya Hanami defeated Leo Isaka
Hanami is a new face to me, but he’s a 2AW guy and one-half of their current tag champions. Looking at his Cagematch, he’s a busy lad, popping up all over the place, so fair play to him.
As you’d expect, he had a good match with Leo that let him show off what he can do. I always struggle to know what to say about Leo Time as he inevitably has a well-worked bout that doesn’t mean much and leaves me content but not at all excited. I watch them, nod my head and then move on, never to think about them again. That’s what this was, but I suspect anyone who is particularly emotionally invested in either of these guys will get a lot more from it.
Verdict: The Usual
Tomoko Watanabe & Itsuki Aoki defeated Mei Hoshizuki & Mikoto Shindo
Itsuki Aoki is having a busy old year, and that makes me very happy. Every company should book her to cheerfully yell at their wrestlers, although I suspect Mei disagrees. She rather rudely responded to Itsuki’s greeting by stamping on her foot. What a goblin.
Said stamping is part of why, alongside her sometime tag partner and fellow Mei, Hoshizuki is becoming my favourite wrestling menace. She bounces to the ring with a big old smile on her face before spending matches slapping people around the head and being a wee dick. She was given a starring role in this one, managing to use her goblinhood to match up nicely against the stronger pairing of Watanabe and Aoki before unleashing Mikoto and her flurries of dropkicks.
This wasn’t all about the goblins, though. Aoki and Watanabe have teamed together a few times now and are proving to be a good pairing. Their strength advantage gave them a chance to do a bit of bullying, piling the menaces on top of each other before taking it in turns to splash them. At one point, Watanabe even booted Mei in the shin, responding angrily to her attempt to stamp on her foot. I’m not saying that its effectiveness proves Pom has it right, but, well, actually, I am saying that.
In the end, that power would prove decisive, Mikoto running into a killer lariat from Tomoko, and this was a lot of fun. There is nothing complex about sending two annoying wee wrestlers against two bigger ones who want to beat them up, but it works, and I’ll watch it all day, every day.
Verdict: Stamp On The Goblins
Hibiki defeated DASH Chisako & KAORU in a three-way
Poor Hibiki. Yes, she’s spent months pissing everyone off in a variety of different ways, but it still seems a bit harsh to send her out there with two of those people, especially as those people are W-FIX and RIOT Crown partners KAORU and DASH. Not that Chigusa had any regrets. She was having a lovely time watching Hibiki meeting a chair and a wooden board concurrently.
Hibiki is a hard one to pin down, though, and while her initial attempts to avoid her opponents didn’t work, she played this match to perfection (if you ignore all the bits where she got beat up). Even as this became a handicap match, she found her way to weasel through it, getting a helping hand from some white powder and her megaphone before plopping KAORU into place to meet DASH’s chair and open her up to being rolled up for the three.
It made for another great storytelling beat for Hibiki, wrapped up in a fun outing. KAORU and DASH are cool as fuck badasses who looked like they were being set up to dish out a beating, but Hibiki managed to foil that plan, continuing to be an absolute pain in the arse. I was worried that she’d taken a few too many falls over the last few months, but at this point, I don’t think that matters. The important part isn’t her winning or losing, but someone getting the chance to give her a kicking, and Hibiki is making sure that is no easy task.
As a final wee aside, KAORU not only got brained by DASH swinging a chair for this finish of this match but also got pushed off the top rope to the floor by Hibiki. She is in her 50s and just a few months away from retirement, there is no need for her to take those bumps, yet she does because she fucking rules. I’m going to miss her.
Verdict: Hibiki Does It Again
Mio Momono & Rin Kadokura defeated Chihiro Hashimoto & Mika Iwata
Unsurprisingly, adding Iwata to the already rather intense Big Hash and pals vs Mio and pals feud did nothing to calm it down. Before Mio’s theme had even finished telling us to believe in ourselves forever, Rin and Mika were getting into it, heading straight to the violence.
It’s a mood that has permeated every inch of GAEAISM. The last match might have seen Marvelous and Sendai come together to beat up an annoyance, but this had none of that, as these four went at it hard. Simple moments like Hash knocking Mio off the apron brought with it an added bite, poor Mio sent flying as Chihiro barely even glanced at the destruction she’s caused. As I’ve said throughout, you buy that these people hate each other and are desperate to be the company that comes out on top.
This was the rare occasion where it wasn’t Mio and Hash who stole the show, though. Mika and Rin’s battles continued throughout the whole match, the two of them taking great pleasure in booting each other in the head. It’s hard not to get emotionally invested in two people who are that desperate to hurt each other, dragging each other to their feet to continue the fight.
At this point another awesome Sendai vs Marvelous tag almost isn’t newsworthy, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Plus, with the way Rin was getting in Mika and Hash’s face afterwards, something tells me the intensity isn’t about to wear off any time soon.
Another near flawless Marvelous show with a fun undercard and two matches that continued the impeccable build to GAEAISM. Considering the delay, it would have been easy for them to flounder, not quite sure how to fill up the weeks, but there was no sign of that here, with the closing words between the two teams proving as heated as anything else we’ve seen. It certainly hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm!