Marvelous in Kariya (15/11/22) Review

Credit: Marvelous

After a cracking show the day before in Osaka, Marvelous headed to Kariya for another card that looked like it had the potential to deliver something exciting. Would it? Well, let’s find out.

Leo Isaka defeated Kenta Hattori

Our opener was a straight rematch from the previous day, so it was hard to get excited about, but I perked up when I heard Hattori’s bop of a theme.

Unfortunately, the action didn’t live up to the music, as I found it surprisingly dull. Coming in, I was hoping we’d get something that played off Friday’s encounter, and I guess there was a bit of that (they ditched the light comedy that started the last match and went straight to the serious stuff), but it wasn’t enough to grip me. Instead, I found a lot of it flowed over me, barely registering despite the fact I was in the middle of watching it.

If I’m giving them some credit, things picked up towards the end, and it probably ended up being a decent showing. Unfortunately, by then, they’d already lost me, and not even Leo avenging his defeat was enough to bring me back.

Verdict: Dull

Rin Kadokura defeated Ayame Sasamura

All the fun missing from the opener bubbled to the surface here as Rin and Itsuki went out and had a lovely time. The first act of this match mainly revolved around the two of them messing around, as they got into a bicker about Ayame stamping on Rin’s toes which devolved into a stamp-off. It was the kind of light-hearted fun I will always have time for, particularly on a smaller show like this one.

What made it all even better, was that when we got into the meat of the match, Rin and Ayame returned to those damaged toes at critical moments, clasping their aching feet as they missed moves from the top rope. In fact, it played directly into the finish, Ayame taking that little bit longer to get across to Kadokura because of the pain, which gave Rin time to recover and bundle her into a pin.

Taking something that seems inconsequential and making it a crucial part of the match will always get a lot of love from me. It also helped elevate this from an enjoyable wee outing into something I will now be bringing up at every opportunity. Rin and Ayame could probably have a decent showing in their sleep, but taking the time to slip in that inventive little twist is what makes them great wrestlers.

Verdict: The Good Stuff

Nippon Ganbare Union (Yuna Manase & YuuRI) defeated Takumi Iroha & Ai Houzan

It was noticeable how the energy in the ring changed depending on who tagged in. Manase and Takumi aren’t what I would call calm wrestlers (especially not Yuna), but when they were in there, the action was more controlled and measured. They felt like they were thinking about what they wanted to do next, plotting their path and working toward a goal. In contrast, YuuRI and Ai bristled with frantic energy, constantly on the move but perhaps not entirely sure where they were headed. It perfectly demonstrated the difference between young and experienced talent.

That combination also gave us a few intriguing pairings, with the veterans being one of them. Yuna’s impassioned power was a nice counterpoint to Takumi’s detached kicks, their contrasting emotions bouncing off each other well. Equally enjoyable, however, was blustery YuuRI trying everything in her power to take Takumi out of the action, dragging her away from the ring and clinging onto her waist to give Manase the time to put Ai away.

And Manase’s attempt to beat Ai took up the final act of this match, as wee Houzan built up to her showdown with Unagi Sayaka by showing some fighting spirit. I’m always firmly in Ai’s corner, but if I hadn’t been, she’d have won my heart in her battles against the more powerful Manase. Sadly, Yuna would still end up being too big and too strong, practically throwing herself onto Ai to pin her down for the three. Not that Ai accepted the result, as she tried to continue the fight with Yuna after the match, ending what was an enjoyable fight in typical Houzan fashion.

Verdict: Great Match

Chikayo Nagashima & Tomoko Watanabe defeated Magenta (Maria & Riko Kawahata)

Poor Tomoko. First, she had to put up with Chig repeatedly yelling Watanabe Totoro at her during her entrance before getting in the ring and discovering she did not enjoy Riko kicking her in the leg. It got to the point where she not only tagged out but made sure to be selling on the apron when Chikayo tried to tag her back in. On the upside, I will always appreciate her willingness to be the punchline of every joke.

Watanabe’s hurt leg was a bit of foreshadowing of how this match was going to go, as Magenta proved a tricky proposition for the veteran pairing. Maria and Riko have been improving every time they step into the ring, which was evident as they spent a chunk of the match dancing around Chikayo and Watanabe, controlling the action in a way that I would never have anticipated. They often felt like the more experienced team, as the veterans could not find a way into the action.

The only thing that Maria and Riko lacked was the move to put them away. As the match went on, they couldn’t get over the finish line, compounded by a bit of willingness from Watanabe to bend the rules and yank Tommy out of the ring when it looked like they had the three. However, even in defeat, this felt like Magenta’s match, and the veterans will know they only just escaped with the win. Next time, they might not be so lucky.

Verdict: Magenta Take A Step Up

Mio Momono and Itsuki Aoki fought to a time-limit draw

Early in this match, Mio Momono seemed to be setting up for a dive to the outside only to decide that she would get cute with it, instead doing a handspring into the ropes before rolling back into a pose. One can only assume it’s a trick she picked up on her recent trip to an American indie, but wherever she got it, Itsuki was not impressed. While Mio grinned to herself in the centre of the ring, Aoki stared her down, looking like she was ready to fuck her up.

It was a moment that set the tone for this match, as Itsuki spent a lot of it bullying Mio. She’s bigger and stronger, and with Momono having struggled to get wins since coming back from her injury, this felt like Aoki’s opportunity to take the fight to her, working over that previously injured back. There were moments where Momono looked in real danger as her yells of defiance when Tommy asked if she wanted to give up were unable to hide the desperation behind them.

Of course, you can’t keep someone as talented as Mio down, but when she fought back, she again struggled to hit that match-winning move, which has become a recurring theme since her return from injury. Yes, Itsuki wasn’t able to get the job done either, but Mio’s frustration was more keenly felt, boiling over as they continued to clash after the time ran out.

Both Mio and Marvelous deserve a lot of credit for this storyline. On Mio’s side, she’s been fantastic so far, managing to look like she hasn’t lost a step while also selling that something isn’t quite right. For Marvelous, meanwhile, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to push her straight into the title picture, but they’ve been brave and held off, choosing to take their time with it. It’s a journey I’m fully committed to, as I want to see Mio crawl and scratch her way to that title, and this was another very good match on the way to that moment.

Verdict: Keep Fighting Mio!

Overall Show

Marvelous finished up their double-header with another fantastic show. Rin vs Ayame was a personal favourite, but the main and semi-main events could easily take that spot too. It feels like Marvelous are setting a lot of pieces in place, building up certain wrestlers for the future, and it’s getting me excited to see what comes next.

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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