Day two of Marvelous’s weekend away saw them rock up in Osaka, where, thankfully, the technical issues that plagued Saturday’s show didn’t persist. Despite those problems, I thought the previous day had some good stuff, so let’s find out if Sunday could match (or perhaps even better) it.
Yellowbee (Chikayo Nagashima & Ancham) defeated Magneta (Maria & Riko Kawahata)
I enjoyed Riko and Maria’s feud so much that I was a tad disappointed when Marvelous pivoted to pairing them up. It felt like there was more to be done with them as antagonists. However, now that I’m used to them being together, I’m on board with Magneta. They’re both at a stage in their career where they’re accelerating forward, and watching them do it together is a lot of fun. On top of that, I believe in them as a team. They seem to be having fun, which is an often underrated factor when people discuss great partners.
In the ring, Magneta impressed me by making it feel like there were more than two of them. Every time Yellowbee turned around, one of Riko or Maria was there to attack them from behind. In reality, Chikayo and Ancham were the more experienced pairing, but Magenta made it feel like the opposite was true. Then, on a solo basis, it was exciting to see Maria interact with both her opponents. All three have an impressive array of submissions that they often take inventive routes to get into, and watching them work those holds together was a strong recurring theme. Throw in Riko’s ever-improving kicks (which are getting deadly), and there was a lot to enjoy.
Unfortunately for Magneta, strong performance or not, it was Nagashima’s experience that got the win, but I don’t think they need to worry too much. After their title challenge, I predicted that a few more months together would turn them into a team capable of coming back for round two. On the evidence of what I’ve seen so far, that’s a rare one that I’ve got right.
Verdict: Good Stuff
Kazuaki Mihara defeated Katsumi Oribe
With Leo dropping off the card with a fever, we somewhat awkwardly ended up with a match that didn’t feature a Marvelous wrestler. If I’m being honest, as someone who knows nothing about these guys, that left me struggling to muster any enthusiasm.
Still, I did watch it and thought, on the whole, that it was perfectly serviceable. The fans didn’t seem particularly enthused (I can’t imagine any of them bought their tickets for this), but they clapped in all the right places and warmed up as it went along. I guess Mihara’s power game was impressive, but if I struggle to get invested in Leo’s matches with random wrestlers (and I like Leo), there was no chance of me getting into this one.
Mezzoforte (Takumi Iroha & Hibiscus Mii) defeated Tomoko Watanabe & Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru
Takumi’s ability to both be cool as hell and an awkward dork is incredibly endearing. Shoved into a match with three weirdos, she spent a decent portion of it looking awkward and confused, with a touch of embarrassment when they tricked her into doing a little dance. Unsurprisingly, it’s a dynamic that I’m a massive fan of and watching her mess around with these three was a delight.
It also works because, when needed, she can flip that switch and go straight back to being a badass, kicking the shit out of whoever is in her way. You almost get the impression that she’s waking up, realising she doesn’t have to go along with this nonsense and getting a bit of revenge on those that had her convinced she did.
Outside of Takumi, this was a fun slab of nonsense. Ranmaru and Mii continued where they’d left off the day before, while Tomoko is a name you can rely on no matter what’s going down. As usual, it won’t be for everyone, but I assume the people it isn’t for don’t give a shit about my opinion. For what it’s worth, I had a lovely time, and Chig was chuckling away behind the camera throughout. What could be a better sign of quality than that?
Verdict: A Lovely Time
Rin Kadokura & Itsuki Aoki defeated Mio Momono & Ai Houzan
There were a few little moments in this match that I loved. First up was Ai delivered her barrage of dropkicks to Itsuki. With each attack, she grew a little more tired, to the point where her legs were getting heavy, and she began to slow. At that moment, Aoki, who had no-sold the whole flurry, brutally kneed her out of the air mid-dropkick, sending her crumbling to the mat. That could be dismissed as a nothing spot, but I think it perfectly captured the difference between a veteran and a rookie. Ai’s youthful exuberance only succeeded in tiring herself out while Itsuki stood back, waited for her moment and took it.
Another example of something I loved looked like an accident. Mio was charging across the ring to knock Rin off the apron but didn’t notice that Ref Tommy was in her way, knocking her to the floor and earning oohs of worry from the crowd. Momono, meanwhile, tried to continue with the match but was clearly worried about Tommy, trying to check up on her to the point where Rin was able to sneak into the ring and catch her unaware. Now, I don’t think that spot was planned (Mio’s worry seemed genuine), so I imagine Rin would have entered either way (it set Mio up for a move on both champs). However, it was a really cool piece of improvisation to incorporate Mio’s apologising into it. It’s the kind of thing that differentiates a great wrestler from a good one, as even mistakes can be twisted into the action rather than charging ahead with what they had planned regardless.
The final moment I adored was Ai Houzan getting overexcited and breaking up a Mio pin because she really wanted to be tagged in, reaching a new peak of Ai-like behaviour. Funnily enough, though, it’s also something I could imagine a young Mio Momono doing. I’ve talked about the similarities between them before, and when you watch them team up, they’re hard to miss. Ai isn’t yet Mio (no one is), but she’s got that same endless enthusiasm combined with a wrestling style that always sees her coming forward. She’s a child of Momono, and that’s a pretty cool thing to be.
Those examples amount to about thirty seconds of action but are indicative of the whole. It was a cracking match that gave the tag champs an impressive win, had another fantastic performance from Mio and showed Ai’s ever-continuing development. I suggest making the time to seek this one out.
The main event is the only thing on this show that I think you need to watch, but the rest of it was still at least decent. To be honest, the only thing I’d suggest skipping is the random men’s match, primarily because I couldn’t bring myself to care (your mileage may vary). The rest of it is worth your time and a great to finish another enjoyable Marvelous weekend.