Once again, we are at the final stop on the Road to GAEAISM and, unless something goes horribly wrong, this actually should be the last one. Then again, history suggests we shouldn’t get too cocky about it, so let’s cross our fingers, pray to whatever deity you hold dear and enjoy Rin vs Mika.
Mei Hoshizuki & Mikoto Shindo defeated Haruka Umesaki & Chie Ozora
Chie is coming off an impressive showing in the Young Block of Catch The Wave, which might have played a part in her making her Marvelous debut. Haruka, meanwhile, has popped in a couple of times before, but I’d have no complaints if she were to become a regular. Whether that happens or not, this was a veritable feast of exciting young wrestlers, all of whom I enjoy watching.
So, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I had a lot of fun. Whether they are facing off or on the same team, Mei and Mikoto are a joy to watch, and they got a rare chance to play the veterans against Chie. They kept it relatively simple, giving her a chance to show off some nice dropkicks and other standard moves, but that was what this needed, the match serving as an introduction to a new wrestler rather than an attempt to blow people away. Ozora is still inexperienced, but she’s got talent, and she was in safe hands with those opponents.
The really exciting stuff came in their interactions with Haruka, who is right up there alongside the Marvelous lot when it comes to talented young joshi. She hits like a tank but can also keep up with the very best goblins, engaging in that High Speed style. Although, in saying that, it didn’t always go her way, her attempt to play Mei’s games and do some toe stamping ended with her getting all twisted up and stamping on her own toes. If you’re going to come for the master, you better not miss.
It all made for a delightful opener that never went too deep but allowed you to sit back and enjoy lots of very talented prospects. Fingers crossed that these four will face off many more times in the years to come, and that I get to watch it all.
Verdict: It Made Me Smile
Hibiki defeated Ai Houzan
Poor Ai, she was bursting with rookie gusto only to find a Hibiki that was in no mood for it. She stood lifelessly in the corner, only responding when Ai attacked her. You might have thought that would be to the rookie’s advantage, but even an unmotivated Hibiki is a badass, so when those blows did come, they looked like they hurt.
Ultimately, this was more about continuing the story between DASH and Hibiki than it was the wrestling. Ai showed some fire as she tried to force Hibiki to take her seriously, but she would be put away easily in the end, the only hiccup coming when DASH showed up at ringside, making sure to cause a distraction. While it didn’t hurt Hibiki, she still wasn’t happy about it, ranting and raving in the aftermath, as they attempted to add a pinch more spice to their upcoming match.
Despite that, this didn’t add much to their feud, as it felt a bit like something we’ve seen before. However, considering the delays to GAEAISM and the need to stretch things out, I think it would be harsh to hold that against them. It’s certainly done nothing to dampen my enthusiasm, and I’ve got full faith that their fight (which is what it will be) will rule.
Verdict: More Story Than Match, But It Did What It Wanted To Do
Leo Isaka defeated Mineo Fujita
Okay, Ai now drops into second place in the ranking of people that had a rough time on this show. Mineo Fujita is a name I’m aware of, but had never seen wrestle before. I might have made more of an effort seek him out if I knew he was a total weirdo. Fujita spent the opening of the match rolling around on the mat with little to no purpose to his movements, Leo looking on baffled as he did so.
Isaka could have probably taken that, but not long after Fujita also decided that he fancied a feel, setting up the main thrust of our story, as Little Leo was treated rather roughly. It wasn’t just Fujita either, Tomoko Watanabe at ringside spotted what was going on and decided to get involved in the action, grabbing hold of Leo whenever he went to the floor. On the upside, she was also quick to provide an ice pack for his groin when the match was over, so it wasn’t all bad.
You’ve probably already guessed that this is one where your mileage will vary depending on how funny you find a young man’s groin being abused. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh, though, and it was certainly more memorable than most of Leo’s matches, even if the wrestling probably wasn’t quite as good.
Verdict: Poor Little Leo
Chigusa and Takumi came into the ring for a chat following the break, but I’ve no idea what it was about. It seemed to be leaning more towards Chig’s stand-up set than any big news, though, as Iroha took a comedy fall in response to something she said.
KAORU & Mio Momono defeated Tomoko Watanabe & Maria
I’ve talked about this before, but KAORU and Tomoko have the kind of chemistry that can only come from having wrestled each other hundreds of times as everything they do gives off the energy of two old friends bickering. Sure, they’re also trying to hurt each other, but it’s not to be taken personally. Whether it’s Tomoko biting KAORU’s boot or KAORU beating her around the head with a wooden board, it’s just what they do.
And with KAORU now deep in her retirement tour, it did feel a bit like Mio and Maria were there to facilitate said bickering. Which isn’t to say they weren’t great, they always are, but the meat of the match wasn’t with them. They were the back-up, helping to fill in the gaps that Tomoko and KAORU can’t fill in now that they’re not as fast as they once were. And hey, if you’re going to find a couple of wrestlers to do that, Mio and Maria are bloody brilliant choices, as their general excellence will always shine through.
KAORU would pick-up the win, using Tomoko’s misjudged attempt to break up a pin (she dropped herself and Mio onto poor Maria) to her advantage, and closing out a fun match. Of course, she made sure to miss a Valkyrie Splash before that because while she’s retiring, it doesn’t mean she’s any less insane. KAORU’s also not done reminiscing with Tomoko, as she’s requested a final W-Fix vs LEVEL 5 match before she goes. That will be a whole lot of fun.
Mika Iwata defeated Rin Kadokura
If there was any hope that Rin and Iwata had cooled off since they last saw each other, the fact they started this match by exchanging stiff slaps put an end to it. These two do not get along, and this was bristling with tension. The Road to GAEAISM has been paved with spiky encounters, but it was right up there with the spikiest of them.
With Mika having taken the fall in the last tag, she was laser-focused in her quest to get revenge. Rin’s tactics were solid, attacking the leg to negate those kicks and trying to get under Iwata’s skin with repeated slaps, but Iwata couldn’t be stopped. The kicks to the head were a constant leveller, able to cut Rin off at any moment. However, despite those kicks effectiveness, what ultimately won it was Mika having the Crucifix that beat her last time scouted, reversing it twice and picking up the win off the second one. It wasn’t a definitive victory, Rin had to be pulled off her opponent afterwards as her frustration boiled over, but it still shifted the momentum towards Sendai heading into the big one.
It also made for a brilliant wee match that gave us a lot without firing off both barrels before GAEAISM. Iwata and Kadokura, much like seemingly everyone in Sendai Girls and Marvelous, have fantastic chemistry, and I would happily watch them do this a million times.
Verdict: Great Stuff
After the match, things got really interesting as Big Hash entered the ring and added the Sendai Girls’ titles to the mix for the GAEAISM main event. Before this, I think everyone assumed Marvelous would win that match and make the AAAW titles their own, but that move has made everything a bit uncertain. Suddenly, the winner of the match is in doubt, and that is a wonderful bit of booking.
Wow, who would have thought that I would enjoy yet another Marvelous show? It’s unheard of really. Jokes aside, we had a fun opener with some newish faces, KAORU and Tomoko having a laugh and a bizarre Leo match. There was a slight feeling of having seen it all before with the GAEAISM stuff, but Rin vs Mika still ruled, and Hash threw everything out the window in the post-match. GAEAISM looks like it’s finally going to happen, and this only made me even more excited for what is going to go down.