Guess what, folks? It’s Mio time. After far too long, the best wrestler in the world is finally back, and if you can’t tell, I’m kinda excited. Mio was in a league of her own before her injury, and wrestling is infinitely better with her around, so let’s stop blabbing and get to the comeback.
Hibiscus Mii defeated Maria and Riko Kawahata in a three-way
Our first match was a genius piece of booking. It’s a pairing who we know have fantastic chemistry together (Maria and Riko) with the chaos bomb of Hibiscus Mii thrown into the mix. If that’s not a recipe for a great time, what is?
And while I would usually complain about a three-way reverting to two people facing off while one sells, I think this was the rare exception where it worked. A good portion of this was Maria vs Riko, but now and then, Mii would wander in and disrupt things in her classic Mii way. Whether that was her getting annoyed at being left out or convincing one of them to form a temporary alliance with her, the common theme was that it was all entertaining. In fact, at several points, she had Riko and Maria corpsing, unable to keep a straight face at her antics.
Then, just as Kawahata and Maria decided to team up and take the veteran down, she used some of that experience to sneak out with the win. It was classic Hibiscus Mii and a lesson to the youngsters about getting caught up in the nonsense. Hopefully, they’ll take that on board, but even if they don’t, the opener was still a hit with me.
Verdict: A Load Of Fun
Tomoko Watanabe & Itsuki Aoki defeated Mystic Young Fox (Ai Houzan & Yurika Oka)
Oka’s relationship with Watanabe might be morphing from menacing to bullying. Sure, it seems unlikely that the eighteen-year-old rookie would torment the thirty-two-year vet, but she spent part of this match convincing her to go around tapping water bottles with everyone, only to wait her turn, bop Watanabe in the head and roll her up. Poor Tomoko just wanted to be friends.
It was a situation that captured why I love Mystic Young Fox as much as I do. They’re relentless pests, always looking for a new way to get ahead, whether through their barrages of dropkicks or Oka’s ever-expanding roster of tricks. Tomoko and Itsuki may have been the veterans, but you never felt like they had the match under control. Ai and Oka are far too chaotic for anyone to have them under control.
We also got a fantastic closing stretch where Itsuki got serious (delivering a thudding forearm) and dared Ai to match her. It gave us another glimpse at the Houzan who wrestled Takumi as she taps into a more focused style that doesn’t ditch her frantic energy but maybe gives us a hint of the wrestler she’ll become. If that does turn out to be the case, I’ll certainly have no complaints.
Verdict: Another Great Mystic Young Fox Match
Shoji Ono defeated Leo Isaka
Information on Shoji Ono is somewhat lacking. According to Cagematch, he’s had 31 matches over an eight-year career, but considering Cagematch often fails to put Marvelous shows up there, I’ll take that with a pinch of salt. It’s probably safe to say he’s spent most of his career around the bottom of the Japanese indie ladder, though.
But judging by this match, Ono is at least worth checking out. He’s a back-to-basics wrestler with a combination of black trunks and simple moves, but the delivery was strong. I liked how quickly Shoji established himself as a bruiser, and whether he was chopping the shit out of Leo, wrapping wrist tape around his throat or delivering a well-aimed boot to the balls, he took the young lad to school.
It also allowed Leo to do what he does best, working from underneath. I say it all the time, but he is a fantastic underdog babyface, his offence perfectly suited to bursts of exciting energy. You can tell he’s come through under the watchful gaze of middle-aged female Nagayo fans ready to squeal whenever something horrible happens to the young lad. As for this match, it was good enough that I hope we get a second round and Leo’s shot at revenge.
Verdict: Really Good
After the match, as Leo rolled around holding his tender balls, his ‘wife’ Hibiscus Mii made her entrance carrying some important-looking papers. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what was going on here, but Chig thought it was hilarious, so I’m rating it highly on the patented Nagayo Laughter Scale.
Takumi Iroha & Chikayo Nagashima defeated Mio Momono & Rin Kadokura
If you came into this worried that Momono might have lost a step or two, your fears were unfounded. Sure, she appeared characteristically nervous to kick things off with Takumi, tagging out before they locked up, but the second she got in the ring with Chikayo, they were off. Mio is someone who never stops coming forward, launching herself at opponents with slightly controlled abandon, and on this evidence, her time out has done nothing to diminish that. Sure, it’s only one match, but she gave off the same determination to win, no matter what, that she always has.
And while it would be easy to let this match pass in a haze of joy at Mio’s return, it is worth mentioning that it ruled beyond that delight. Takumi was determined to bring the fight to the returning Momono, laying into every strike and refusing to go easy on her. Their interactions have been sadly limited recently, with their injuries timed to keep them apart, so watching them go at each other was not only as brilliant as you’d expect but it felt fresh and exciting too. I can’t imagine many people don’t want to see those two battle for the big belt, but if this didn’t convince them, they don’t deserve wrestling.
I feel bad for how little I’ve mentioned Chikayo and Rin, but they were also great. Nagashima joined Takumi in going hard on Mio, their interactions, particularly in the closing stretch, proving a highlight. Rin, meanwhile, was more of a supporting player but a good one, happy to sit back and let Momono take the spotlight. It was a match where everyone stepped up and put in a shift when they could have coasted on the excitement of the return. Then again, she’s Mio fucking Momono, and there was no chance she would let that happen.
Welcome back, Mio. I’m so happy to see you.
Verdict: SHE’S BACK!
If this show had been Mio’s return match and nothing else, I would have still loved it. Christ, if it had just been her entrance followed by her heading to the back, I’d have at least liked it. When you add Mystic Young Fox, a fun three-way and a strong Leo outing, you’ve got yourself a lovely old time. Marvelous is always brilliant, but it’s even more so when Mio is around, and I’m so happy she’s here.