Marvelous (22/3/22) Review

Credit: Marvelous

The quest to find the new AAAW tag champions continued as Marvelous returned to Shinkiba with a brace of tournament matches. So who will be granted the honour of losing to Mystic Young Fox in the final? (Yes, I’m sticking to that prediction.) Let’s see if we get any closer to finding out.

Hibiscus Mii defeated Yurika Oka

I’m not going to get all judgemental and tell you that Super Rookie Mii is a bad influence, but this entire match was built around her trying to draw Oka into her nonsense. In the beginning, Yurika wanted nothing to do with her. When Mii burst into tears, she booted her in the head. When she pulled out a cute pose, she pretended to vomit into her hand. Oka was not going to be dragged down to her level.

However, as the match went on, Yurika couldn’t help herself. Suddenly she was doing (or at least attempting) cute poses herself, and from there, it wasn’t long until they were perched on the top rope having a chat. Mii had succeeded in pulling Oka into her world, and once she was in, there was no escape. Yurika Oka had become one with the nonsense, and few have mastered the nonsense like Hibiscus Mii.

If you haven’t guessed, it was a match structure that I enjoyed a hell of a lot. Oka is already a brilliant wrestler, but it would be easy to miss that she’s also funny. This allowed her to show that side of her personality as she couldn’t resist the Mii’s call. As someone who has often failed to fight against it myself, I understand fully, and this was a whole load of fun.

Verdict: It Made Me Laugh

Ancham defeated Ai Hozan

I had big hopes for this one. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I think Ai Hozan is the future while Ancham is an often underrated presence. With their Team Yellow connection, this one screamed sneaky banger.

And initially, I thought I was going to be disappointed. It started off scrappy. They weren’t entirely on the same page, and a couple of positioning problems saw them scrambling to get into the right spot. However, as they went on, Ai and Ancham pushed their way through those issues or, in Ai’s case, headbutted her way through. Her relentlessness really came to the fore as it quickly became apparent that she had no chance of outwrestling Ancham, so she would have to rely on good old-fashioned brute force.

Sadly, while that got her a decent head of steam, Ancham ultimately proved too smart. A missed dropkick from the top was all it took, Ancham quickly sneaking into a roll-up and grabbing the three off her Yellow comrade. It left us with a match that started shakily but improved as they went on, and while it ended up being good, I have a feeling the next one they have will be even better.

Verdict: Good, But They’ll Better It Down The Road

Yusuke Kodama defeated Leo Isaka

Yusuke Kodama is one half of All’s Japan current All Asia Tag Team champions and seems to be a big old goth. Being the good clean boy he is, Leo was somewhat perturbed by that, scampering out of the ring when Kodama’s spooky side started playing up.

I breathed a bit of a sigh of relief when that happened. Because, as I’ve said before, Leo matches work for me when they have something to help distinguish them from being him vs another random Japanese indie guy. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, Leo’s a talented enough wrestler to always make sure the action is good, but it needs a hook. His opponent being a weird creepy boy was enough of a hook for me.

It also helped that Kodama seems to be pretty good. I don’t watch All Japan, so I haven’t seen any of his work, but he made sure Leo had his moments, got a bit of his own shtick in and then cheated his way to victory with a low blow. It was a solid afternoon’s work, and this was a decent wee match.

Verdict: Enjoyable Enough

Chikayo Nagashima & Maria defeated Takumi Iroha & ASUKA

Putting ASUKA and Takumi together is a bit unfair, is it not? How is anyone supposed to deal with that? Having to face one of them would be bad enough, but both of them? No thanks. I’d have turned around and gone straight home.

Thankfully, Maria and Nagashima have a tad more self-belief. They didn’t go home but instead combined nicely to go after Takumi’s arm. It made them feel like a pairing with a plan, constantly going for submissions with the hope of forcing a quick tap out from one of their more illustrious opponents. It also saw them pull out a few brilliant transitions, including Nagashima kicking out of a Takumi powerbomb and instantly grabbing the chance to lock in a Triangle Choke.

Then, in a moment that genuinely blew my mind, Nagashima only went and pinned Iroha. After chipping away at her with submissions, she went to town, hitting move after move and pulling out the three with a bridging German. I didn’t watch this live, but I’d stayed unspoilt, and that drew a full-blown holy shit as I’d just assumed it was ending with Maria being pinned. Instead, Nagashima picked up the mic and appeared to challenge for the title, a match that I’d bet the house on Iroha winning, but which, after this, I’m quietly intrigued to see.

Verdict: Good Match, Surprise Finish

Black Swallowtail (Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe) (2-0) defeated Nippon Ganbare Union (Yuna Manase & YuuRI) (0-1-1)

The first Ganbare Union match might not have gone entirely to plan, as things went off the rails towards the end, but it’s worth saying that Yuna and YuuRI are still a fantastic pairing. They are perfect representatives for GanPro because, like their company, they’re bursting with enthusiasm and always bring a smile to my face. Fingers crossed that Chig agrees (she certainly sounded like a fan on commentary), and this is the start of a beautiful friendship between Marvelous and them.

They also proved pretty perfect opponents for Tomoko and Ito. In YuuRI, you had someone who could bump around for the veterans, taking a beating and making them look fantastic. She’s an endlessly sympathetic wrestler, and that allowed Tomoko and Ito to play to their grumpy sides. Then, when Yuna got in there, she was capable of matching them physically. Manase embraced her inner hoss as she went to war with both Black Swallowtail members, and it was a lot of fun.

In the end, YuuRI would take the fall, Tomoko dropping her on her head for the three, but she did it with style. Not only did YuuRI take those beatings well, showing a lot of spirit, but there were a couple of moments where she genuinely had me convinced she was going to win. There was one head kick to Tomoko that, in particular, had me biting. That lass is building up to be something special, and this was another great stop on the road to that.

Verdict: Ganbare Impress

Gohkai Red (Yuki Miyazaki & Riko Kawahata) (1-0-1) defeated Rin Kadokura & Itsuki Aoki (1-1)

At the start of the year, if I’d been asked to sit down and come up with a list of people who would be in the running for my wrestler of the year by the end of March, I don’t think I’d have put Yuki Miyazaki down if I’d be coming up with names for five hours. That’s not because I dislike Yuki. It’s just not the role she’s been slotted into at this point in her career, and yet, everything she’s touched over the last few months has been gold. Whether she’s asking Itsuki to tag out because she’d prefer to do the Super Shy Hold to Rin or flying from the top with a Moonsault, she’s in brilliant form.

I also think she’s a great partner for Kawahata. Unlike Miyazaki, I came into 2022 with big expectations for Riko, and she’s living up to them. Her confidence is clearly sky high right now, as she’s given opportunity after opportunity to impress, and having someone like Yuki next to her is the perfect antidote to that youthful exuberance. She’s letting Kawahata show off her raw talent and allowing her personality to flourish while also making sure she slows down at all the right moments. Hotta might be Riko’s mentor, but having Yuki as a backup can’t be a bad thing.

As for Rin and Itsuki, they’re becoming easy to take for granted. They’re such a consistently excellent team that I struggle to find new things to say apart from confirming that they’re great. In some ways, that’s their strength. They’re a somewhat unflashy pairing who excel at making others look good. It might not be a service Miyazaki and Kawahata are in dire need of, but it certainly did them no harm, and this was a great match.

Verdict: Lovely Stuff

Overall Show

Well, the tag tournament is still wide open, but this was a damn good Marvelous show. We got a great nonsense match, a solid showing from Ai and Ancham, the first challenger for Takumi’s title reign and two impressive tournament outings. I nearly always enjoy Marvelous shows, but this one had some magic sprinkled through it and is well worth your 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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