Better late than never, eh? I missed this show airing last week because I got drunk in London and forgot about it. Then again, Passmarket also changed their terms and conditions, meaning I might not have been able to buy it anyway, so it wasn’t all my fault. I’ve been saved, though, by Marvelous selling it on their Vimeo page (no idea if they’re going to continue doing that in the future, it’s Marvelous, and they’re hardly reliable), so I can keep my streak of reviewing their shows alive. To make matters even better, thanks to them not being the most-watched company around, I still came in unspoiled, so that’s good. Anyway, enough blabbing, on with the show.
Rin Kadokura defeated YuuRI
My favourite moment in this match was when YuuRI made Rin panic. She didn’t do anything fancy to inspire that panic. If anything, it was the opposite, as she delivered a series of clubbing blows to her back. However, as forearm after forearm came hammering down, Kadokura realised she was in trouble and had to desperately scramble to the ropes, doing everything she could to escape. Not long after, she had regained her composure, setting YuuRI up to meet a dropkick in the corner, but as she did, Rin paused, a hand sneaking round to rub that now damaged back. Whether she wanted to show it or not, YuuRI had hurt her.
That small, perhaps inconsequential sequence helped me see the wrestler YuuRI could become. I already think she’s good, but her current role is as a fiery underdog, drawing sympathy while showing all the passion and none of the end product. However, watching her club away at Rin helped me realise that YuuRI has some heft to her. There’s a chance she could develop into someone capable of trading blows with the hard-hitters of the scene, which, when combined with her current skillset, could turn her into something special.
Credit also has to go to Rin, who not only sold those blows brilliantly but was almost too generous. She seemed determined to give YuuRI as much as possible, and while I appreciated that, I felt like she could have been a bit nastier. We have seen that side of Kadokura before, and I think tapping into it and making it a more regular thing is the next big step in her development. Still, she seemed more focused on giving YuuRI the spotlight in this one, which turned out to be no bad thing.
Verdict: A Generous Performance
Tomoko Watanabe,Yuki Miyazaki & Itsuki Aoki defeated Kaoru Ito, Riko Kawahata & Rina Amikura
The theme for match two was warring teams being paired up with warring loud people. Rina Amikura was making what I believe is her first Marvelous appearance and not only matched Itsuki in the よろしくお願いします stakes but looked good throughout. I’ve enjoyed her work this year (she and Nao Ishikawa have boundless chemistry in Ice Ribbon), so let’s hope she becomes a Marvelous regular.
Outside of that, it was time for Chigusa Nagayo’s favourite part of the show, as Tomoko and Ito got themselves into some embarrassing scrapes. They have the kind of friendship where you would assume it was hatred if you didn’t know they were friends. That’s perhaps exemplified best by Watanabe asking Miyazaki to teach her the move where you can grab someone’s head with your feet and repeatedly drive them into your arse (does that have a name?). It won’t surprise you that it didn’t go great for Tomoko and left Ito unimpressed. Chig, on the other hand, thought it was fucking hilarious.
Combine that with Rina impressing and Riko and Itsuki showing some fiery chemistry as they took centre stage for the final act, and this was an enjoyable tag. It was the kind of chaos that Marvelous (and joshi as a whole) excels at, as everyone involved danced between the silly and the violent. Of course, that also makes it easy to take for granted, as any regular watcher will have seen a fair few of these, but that doesn’t stop it from being a lovely time, and I certainly had that.
Verdict: A Load Of Fun
Mystic Young Fox (Yurika Oka & Ai Hozan) fought Sexual Violet (Makoto & Maria) to a time-limit draw
If you’re new here, it should be known that I am a bit of a Mystic Young Fox fan, which will help put how I felt about this match in context. The last few minutes essentially saw Makoto demolish Yurika with only the occasional glimmer of hope for the youngster via roll-up. I, meanwhile, was letting out all manner of increasingly higher pitched yelps of delight and terror as the fear that Mystic Young Fox were about to be defeated and lose any chance they had of getting to the final set in. It was horrible and incredible at the same time as Ai flew in, again and again, to make the last gasp save, and on the occasions where she couldn’t make it, Oka kicked out with milliseconds to spare.
To make things even better, the rest of the twenty minutes was also fantastic. Early on, Sexual Violet seemed to be strolling to victory, blunting Mystic Young Fox’s pest-like offence and even getting in some showboating. Both Makoto and Maria have a wonderful arrogance, as you genuinely believe that they think these rookies are beneath them. Unfortunately for them, Ai is a menace that it’s hard to kill. When she finally got free, she wasted no time, hitting Makoto with a running flying headbutt and later biting, stamping and slapping at Maria in a stream of annoying and painful offence. Ai’s brilliance comes from the fact that she won’t go away, and this match exhibited it perfectly.
It would be the homestretch that put it over the edge, though, the time ticking down and Oka refusing to die as the odds stacked up against her. Sure, part of my love will have been generated by me being a massive fan, and I’m perhaps willing to ignore the fact that some of Ai’s saves were barely saves, but if you’re worried about that, you’re already in the wrong place. It was a moment where emotions took over, and in my opinion, wrestling is never better than when that happens.
Mezzoforte (Takumi Iroha & Hibiscus Mii) defeated Yellow Bee (Chikayo Nagashima & Ancham)
These teams were put together purely for this tournament but have turned out to be inspired choices. Mezzoforte’s appeal is obvious, as you have the ridiculous Hibiscus Mii (still dressed in her rookie gear) paired up with the Ace, Takumi Iroha. You only have to watch Takumi’s reactions when Mii is in the ring to understand their appeal, as, at one point, she was lying on her back, stamping her feet in frustration as Mii’s crossbody came up short, leaving them on the back foot. Even better, though, was the look of pleasant surprise when Mii veered off course towards her after a Nagashima Irish whip, tagging out at the moment when Takumi expected it the least.
Less obvious is the pairing of Nagashima and Ancham, but they have clicked. They have a shared technical base, both of them favouring submissions, and it feels like Nagashima is helping get the best out of Ancham. She’s been an underrated worker for a long time, and someone like Chikayo is the perfect person to help put her in the spotlight. Sure, she ultimately ate a vicious Takumi Powerbomb for the three, but this team felt like it was designed to highlight her, and I can’t imagine that was an accident.
Whatever they intended, we ended up with an entertaining outing that balanced perfectly between serious and silly. All four of these wrestlers can step their foot into both camps, and in this match, you get a chance to see why those camps don’t have to be entirely separate. Mii’s antics can work alongside Takumi kicking someone’s head off and Nagashima washing people’s faces with a toilet brush. It may not have led to the emotions of Sexual Violet vs Mystic Young Fox, but I was still left with a big old smile.
Verdict: Very Entertaining
Kotaro Suzuki defeated Leo Isaka
No, I haven’t got the match order wrong. This show featured the rare Leo main event. With Marvelous visiting his neck of the woods, they gave Isaka the platform to shine, and the opponent too, as they put him up against NOAH (and everywhere else) veteran Kotaro Suzuki.
It turned out to be the basis for a good match. I think Leo excels at playing the underdog babyface, grasping at opportunities and taking risks to get them. He pulled out a Canadian Destroyer as a reversal to a backdrop suplex in this match, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, and was a part of some really impressive offence. On the other side of the ring, Suzuki was the perfect veteran figure. He wasn’t scared to lay into Isaka, making him work for it but also giving him time to shine.
The problem, as usual, was that the only reason you have to invest in this emotionally is that you think Leo is a nice, talented young man. Now, that’s not the worst thing in the world, matches have been built on worse, but it’s certainly not enough to get me yelping in a way that might annoy the neighbours. As long as Isaka is facing a series of Chig’s challengers of the week, it’s hard to get too into his story, but he’s a good wrestler, and it was nice to see him main event in his hometown.
Verdict: Solid Stuff
I’d be raving about this show if you swapped Sexual Violet vs Mystic Young Fox with the main event. But, sadly, that wasn’t the case, and I would have felt bad taking that moment away from Leo. Plus, it’s not like the ordering completely killed it. We still got all the same matches, and they were all still good, so I have no right to complain.
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