Marvelous (27/10/21) Review

Who needs titles when you can win a fish. Credit: Marvelous

With Marvelous still adjusting to the loss of a decent chunk of their roster, they decided to fill their most recent Korakuen with a tournament. A one-day tag extravaganza featuring a few select guests and an interesting bracket setup. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Well, let’s find out.

Yurika Oka & Ai Houzan survived to a time-limit draw with Takumi Iroha & Nagisa Nozaki in the Super Seed Match

The draw was not kind to the rookie pairing as Ai and Yurika faced the newly formed supergroup of Takumi and Nagisa. The two veterans weren’t even kind enough to let the traditional sneaky dropkick attack come off, stepping out of the way before Iroha went straight for the kill, attempting to hoist Houzan up for the Running Three.

It was the start of a rough but productive afternoon for Ai and Oka. Unsurprisingly, they took a beating, but my god, did they do it in style. This was an example of pure rookie grit, as the two of them repeatedly refused to die. There was an incredible sequence on the outside that teased a countout as wee Ai hung onto Nagisa’s waist while Iroha tried to drag her away, lifting her legs off the ground as she desperately clung on. It was everything I want from a rookie performance and it had me grinning from ear to ear.

And then they only went and made it the time limit, Oka desperately kicking out of a Takumi onslaught as Chigusa roared with delight on commentary. It was a perfect little story, making it very clear that a minute longer would have been the death of them but also giving them the honour of surviving. Those two kids will go far, and it’s nice to see the powers that be have already noticed.

Verdict: Brilliant Rookies

In a not at all overly complicated bracket, that draw meant the rookies were heading straight to the final while Nagisa and Iroha went into round one. Why was that the case? Fuck knows, but in Chig we trust.

Chikayo Nagashima & Maria defeated Rin Kadokura & Itsuki Aoki in the First Round

The upsets won’t stop coming as Maria followed up on her time limit draw against Itsuki and Rin by going a step further and getting a submission win. One of the few positives of Marvelous losing so much great talent is that they’ve been forced to accelerate the pushes of the likes of Ai and Maria, which, as I am a massive fan of both, can only be a good thing.

And much like the previous match, they nailed the structure of this. Itsuki and Rin isolated Maria, working her over and looking like they were heading for victory. However, all it took was one opening, Nagashima coming off the top to break a bridging Rin pin, allowing Maria to leap straight into a submission that Kadokura had no chance of escaping.

It was a cool finish to an enjoyable wee match. It only went a shade over five minutes, but Maria and Rin have been shown to have good chemistry before, and they didn’t lose it here. Nagashima and Aoki, meanwhile, did an excellent job of holding everything together, playing their part in the opening minute or so and then battling in the background as we built to the conclusion. Ultimately, the result is the thing that will be remembered, but it was a fun journey to get there.

Verdict: Enjoyable Upset

Takumi Iroha & Nagisa Nozaki defeated SAKI & Momoka Hanazona in the First Round

I think Momoka might be my new favourite wrestler. With Takumi and Nagisa raging over their upset draw with the rookies, she was the unlucky recipient of their early frustration, and yet despite having all the bad luck, she managed to steal this match. Moments like her attempt to save SAKI from a Nagisa big boot by grabbing her feet from the floor (her partner was not impressed at being tripped up) instantly endeared her to me while she sold the hell out of her beating. I’ve seen very little of her work, but I know several people that rave about her, and this short match went a long way towards convincing me that they’re onto something.

The other part of this was seeing SAKI get to face off with Nagisa and Takumi, a match up which left me wanting a whole lot more. They didn’t do anything particularly fancy with their limited time together (all the early tournament bouts have a ten-minute time limit), but there was a stiff crispness to everything we did get, that was a satisfying watch. So yea, more of that, please!

In the end, Nagisa and Takumi would get back into winning ways, earning themselves a box of fruit each in the process (all the winners are being rewarded with various prizes). It was also a brilliant wee match that left me wanting to see more of everyone involved, whether together or with others, so it gets the thumbs up from me.

Verdict: More, Please!

Nene Dai defeated Leo Isaka

Our only non-tournament match was also our Leo match and featured Nene Dai, a 666 regular who was part of a three-way involving Isaka and Koju Takeda earlier in the year.

And I think this fell firmly into the decent Leo outing category. I haven’t seen a whole lot of Dai, but she’s an easy wrestler to watch, blending humour into the action well. I particularly enjoyed the simple tactic of crotching Leo on the barricade and then climbing up to lean on his shoulders. He probably deserved it, seeing as when he whipped her into said barricade, she hit it so hard the gate came off.

Ultimately, though, this felt pretty disposable, the kind of match that’s fun while it’s on but forgotten a few hours later. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that (not every bout needs to be life-changing), but I can’t pretend you need to rush out to see it.

Verdict: Decent

Hibiscus Mii & Yuki Miyazaki fought Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe to a time-limit draw in the First Round

I’m going to shock you all, but a match involving the team of Hibiscus Mii and Yuki Miyazaki wasn’t entirely serious. At one point, they went on the offensive by pulling down Mii’s trousers and having Yuki put the Super Shy Hold on her in front of Tomoko, so aye, we’re in that territory.

And it’s no secret that I love this shit. These four have a combined 104 years of wrestling experience, and watching them go out and piss about together makes me very happy. Plus, Ito was a fantastic straight woman, getting increasingly frustrated as Tomoko was drawn into Mii and Yuki’s antics and then getting to play the powerhouse when she entered the fray. She can’t give you an all-running, all-dancing performance in 2021, but with the right set dressing, she still comes across like a badass.

We got duets, missed splashes and me laughing the whole way through before the time ran out. Then, for reasons I can’t quite figure out, Yuki and Mii were put into the next round. I’m going to assume it’s because Chig thinks they’re hilarious. Ito got the last laugh, either way, making off with their prize, which looked a lot like a sack of tatties.

Verdict: I Laughed A Lot

Takumi Iroha & Nagisa Nozaki defeated Hibiscus Mii & Yuki Miyazaki in the 2nd Round

There was no rest for the nonsense duo, as Mii and Yuki didn’t even get to head backstage before their opponents hit the ring. With that in mind, they wanted to get things done quickly, which, well, they did, but not to their benefit.

Despite the match going under two minutes, a fair amount did happen. Both Mii and Nagisa had their trousers pulled down by Yuki (Nagisa ran with it and wrestled in her underwear) before Takumi took advantage of Mii’s love by distracting her with a hug as Nagisa booted Yuki into next week. She’s cruel but effective.

It was also smart booking. Not only was this an entertaining couple of minutes, but it meant Nagisa and Takumi got at least one easy match. Your enjoyment of it will depend on your enjoyment of Mii and Yuki, but as I’ve made clear, I love them.

Verdict: Short And Sweet

Takumi Iroha & Nagisa Nozaki defeated Chikayo Nagashima & Maria in the Semi-Final

It was Nagisa and Takumi’s turn to wait in the ring, and it’s no surprise that Maria and Nagashima smelt blood. They swarmed the all-star team, trying to keep them apart and pick them off in their fourth match of the night. It was working well too, Maria and Chkayo looking to have good chemistry as they isolated first Takumi and then Nagisa.

Unfortunately, while they did nearly everything right, this ended up being the inverse of Maria’s upset victory as one mistake was all Nozaki needed to turn the tide. With Maria setting up for a submission, Nagisa managed to roll her through and transition into one of her own. It took her a second or two, her tired arm not quite working the way she wanted it to, but Maria couldn’t escape, and when she got it locked in, there was no choice but to tap.

Again this was both a really good match and also a nice bit of booking. Takumi and Nagisa gave their opponents 95% of the action, but being as good as they are, they only needed that 5% to win. With Maria already getting one big upset, she lost nothing in defeat, and despite failing to get past the rookies in match one, our supergroup is in the final.

Verdict: Lovely Stuff

Takumi Iroha & Nagisa Nozaki defeated Yurika Oka & Ai Houzan to win the One-Day Tag Tournament

Takumi and Nagisa got a few minutes to rest between matches, but the second the rookies’ music hit, they stormed the ring and went to work. Having come off a long break, and with Nagisa and Takumi now on their fifth match, they saw a chance to one-up their own scalp from earlier in the night.

And they were brilliant again, never giving their veteran opponents a chance to breathe as they ganged up on them, repeating their feat of making it to the ten-minute mark. What struck me most this time around, is that while they’re both fantastic, Ai’s genius comes from that sheer bloody-minded rookie determination. She’s not the most skilled wrestler yet, but she just doesn’t stop, repeatedly headbutting Takumi at one point. Oka, though, doesn’t feel like a rookie. She never once looked out of place when facing off with Iroha and Nagisa, and that’s a hell of a thing for an eighteen-year-old to be able to say.

The problem for the rookies was that this time there was no time limit. They gave their heart and soul to the match, but eventually, Iroha and Nozaki’s talent was too much for them. The kids made sure it was never easy for them, though, battling right to the end and forcing Takumi to go big and put Ai away with the Running Three. In its own painful way, that was a victory, and those kids rule.

Verdict: The Kids Are Alright

Among the various prizes, it looked like Takumi and Nagisa might have won a car? Judging by Iroha’s reaction, there was some sort of inside joke going on there. More importantly, though, Oka grabbed the mic to interrupt their celebration, and while I can’t figure out what was going on with the prizes, I recognise a challenge when I see one. It looks like she wants another shot at Takumi, and I am here for it.

Overall Show

Booking a tag tournament and engineering it so that Takumi Iroha and Nagisa Nozaki are in nearly every match is a pretty genius way for Marvelous to make up the numbers. Even putting that smart piece of booking to one side, that tournament was a whole lot of fun. Oka and Houzan both came out looking brilliant, Maria picked up a big win and Mii and Yuki continue to be Mii and Yuki. How can you see that as anything except a good time?

Marvelous have their own NicoNico channel where you can support them.

If you enjoyed this review, please consider contributing to my Ko-fi. Even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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