After an enforced break (fuck you, COVID), Marvelous are back! And golly gosh, do they have a good show to come back with. This one looked like a cracker on paper, so let’s see if it can live up to it in reality (spoiler, it did).
Chikayo Nagashima defeated Mikoto Shindo
Mikoto came out ready for a fight, wearing her hard hat and wielding a chair. I was then left very impressed when she managed to keep said hard hat on her head during her opening flurry of dropkicks. Yea, she needed to hold onto it at times, but it must have been a near-perfect fit. It paid off when she started dishing out headbutts anyway.
It kicked off a match where it felt like Shindo had bitten off more than she could chew. She wanted to play hardcore games, and Nagashima was more than willing to play along. The veteran even got a helping hand from KAORU at ringside, handing in her crutch to aid in giving this youngster a beating.
Of course, Mikoto is not the type to give up, even when someone is hitting her with her own hat. She made sure this never stopped being a fight, those ever present dropkicks and a helping hand from a chair keeping her alive. A couple of roll-ups even saw her come close to nicking away with the win herself, but Nagashima would eventually see her off with a brutal looking Double Stomp. Still, this was a fun opener, and with a bit more training, I’m sure Mikoto will be ready for some hardcore fun.
Verdict: She Might Need More Than A Hat
Yuko Miyamoto defeated Leo Isaka
Talking of veterans dishing out beatings, there was a bit of that to this match too. Miyamoto wrestled this like a grizzled badass, making everything he did look impactful and sore. He was the one slowing the action down, dishing out classics like a falling fist drop in among his more flashy offence. Leo, meanwhile, was desperate to create separation, looking to pick up the speed and fly at every opportunity.
And that’s my favourite kind of Leo match. For someone who has presumably spent most of his career training with people a lot smaller than him, he’s very good at playing the underdog. He sold big for everything Yuko did, making him look badass and like he had to fight for every opening. You felt like Leo earned every piece of spectacular offence, be that his Moonsault to the floor or the Canadian Destroyer he hit late in the match.
He wasn’t the only one who could go spectacular, though, Miyamoto pulling out the big guns towards the end and seeing Leo off with a Valkyrie Splash. Still, the youngster did himself proud in what was an impressive showing from both these guys.
Verdict: Really Good!
Mio Momono defeated Hibiscus Mii & Sakura Reigna Hirota by countout
The nonsense got going before the match, Mii failing to come out to her music only to emerge looking somewhat bedraggled alongside Hirota. They were both wearing white shirts (Hirota was in her pants underneath it, something Chig found very funny judging by how often she said パンツ) and covered in paint as they crawled to the ring. I believe this was a continuation of their recent WAVE match, which went 1440 minutes and 14 seconds and had them wrestling in a park at one point. Either way, they convinced Mio to get involved, asking her to don a white shirt of her own and agree to the rule that if you took it off, you lost.
What followed was nonsense of the highest degree. These three excel at it, and I could quite happily watch them piss around for hours. It doesn’t even matter that I don’t understand enough Japanese to know why Mii started singing mid-match. If anything, it makes it better, adding an extra layer of surrealness as the action unfolds. It’s doubly great because they’re all brilliant wrestlers, more than capable of slipping into incredible sequences. We even saw Hirota pull off a dive as if she just wanted to remind everyone she can hit the moves she regularly fucks up.
We got kancho assisted splashes, Mio disappearing backstage only to return covered in paint too and a repeated spot where Hirota and Mii refused to get into place for Mio’s high-flying moves, leaving her perched on the turnbuckle shouting at them. It’s a perfect combination of knowing winks to the audience and pure silliness, and it’s why these three are some of the best. Nonsense wrestling is a fine art, and they painted one beautiful picture.
ASUKA & Rin Kadokura defeated Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe
ASUKA and Rin did a fantastic job of teaming like two people who don’t go along. Yes, there was the obvious falling outs and misunderstandings, but they also wrestled like singles wrestlers. They’re both typically very good at tag team psychology, but they threw that out the window here, foregoing the slightest hint of teamwork to show they were both on very different pages.
I also think ASUKA deserves immense credit for her work with Ito. For all Kaoru’s strengths, she’s not someone who can move around the ring the way she once did, but ASUKA did a fantastic job of getting around that. She provided all the sizzle when they faced off, slowly working at finding a way to get her heavyweight veteran opponent off her feet and eventually being rewarded for it.
Rin wasn’t to be outclassed, though, as, after weeks of struggling through matches against veterans in her trial series, she got a taste of revenge. The final sequence was all about showing how she’s grown, taking a beating from Tomoko but refusing to stay down and finally hitting the Crucifix Driver for the three. It’s almost like Chigusa knows what she’s doing… Anyway, this was a standout performance from the younger team and a generous one from the veterans, lovely stuff.
Verdict: Rin Wins!
Chihiro Hashimoto defeated Mei Hoshizuki
Mei tweeted in the build-up to this match that she was a very fast mouse who would run all around Korakuen Hall. As well as being a funny way to describe herself, that gave a pretty perfect summary of how this match went. Mei isn’t dumb, she knows she can’t match Big Hash when it comes to power, but she can scamper around her, desperately looking for openings. It was a tactic that sometimes paid off, allowing her to dropkick Hash from the top rope to the floor and unleash a steady flow of offence.
Unfortunately, that Big Hash is kinda good, and she’s earned the Big moniker. When Mei was on the run, she could survive, but the second Hashimoto got her hands on her, it was a very different picture. Hash’s strength plays into everything she does, whether it’s grounding someone with a submission or launching them through the air. The simplest moves are brutal in her hands because she’s a fucking tank who will crush you.
Mei didn’t go down without a fight, bundling up Hashimoto to reverse a Powerbomb and getting agonisingly close to a three. However, there was a sinking sense of inevitability about this match. You knew that at some point. Hashimoto was going to send Mei for a ride, and there was little chance she got up from it. Still, she fought hard before that happened, and this continued the theme of every meeting between Hashimoto and a Marvelous goblin being awesome.
Verdict: Hash Vs Goblins Forever!
Takumi Iroha & Mika Iwata defeated Andras Miyagi & Hibiki
Andras and Hibiki came out and did a big choreographed dance number as part of their entrance. On paper, that sounds like it shouldn’t fit their characters at all, but somehow it managed to both look like something they’d worked very hard on and also have enough chaotic energy that I would believe they came up with the idea at 2 am the night before. It was incredible and might be my new favourite entrance of the year.
In the ring, they continue to play their roles to perfection. They’re so good at being bastards, cutting off the momentum of Iroha and Iwata and forcing us to wait for that big release. Of course, it helps that they’re two bruisers themselves, capable of throwing their opponents around and dominating them physically. That means that when Mika and Takumi got free and started unleashing with those kicks, you enjoyed every strike, relishing in the heels getting their beating.
It helps that Iroha and Iwata dish out those kickings better than nearly anyone. They were also great here, bumping around for the heels and timing their mini comebacks to perfection. When they hit something, it stays hit, and the satisfying thud of the blows added a lot to the enjoyment. You know that they would have the advantage in a straight fight, but Hibiki and Andras tried their damndest to make sure that it wasn’t one.
In the end, though, Takumi found her opening, the Running Three seeing Hibiki off in a brilliant main event. She then laid down the challenge for Big Hash, the two of them set to face off for the AAAW title on October first. Hibiki wasn’t going to let them get all the attention, though, interrupting with her megaphone so that she and Miyagi could challenge Mio and Rin for the Sendai tag titles. Both of those are going to rule.
You won’t find many Marvelous shows that I don’t love, but this was a particularly good one. Everything from top to bottom delivered, and whether you’re looking for hard-hitting wrestling or nonsense, you will come away happy. They weren’t gone for too long, but it’s still great to have them back.