Marvelous are in the midst of a streak of rotten luck. Just as Mio Momono gets fully back to fitness, Takumi Iroha picked up another injury, damaging her clavicle. Thankfully, it’s not as serious as the last one, but she’s still going to be out for three months, which is a right pain in the arse. Then, to make matters worse, Mio was ill for this show, as she was struggling with a headache (although they seemed to indicate on Twitter that the doctors said she’d be fine), and Rin had to miss it for personal reasons. Thankfully Marvelous have enough friends on speed dial that they can continue on even with a much-depleted roster.
Leo Isaka defeated Shin Suzuki
Shin Suzuki is the rare Leo opponent who I am already aware of, thanks to his ChocoPro appearances and adorable wee less. It was a somewhat different Shin who turned up in Marvelous, though, as rather than playing a rather loveable goof, he came out with the plan of derailing Leo by attacking his leg. He did a solid job at it, too. I always like when people get inventive with their limb work, adapting their moveset to focus on their target. Shin even came off the second turnbuckle with a dropkick to the knee, and moments like that helped keep his heat section interesting.
Unfortunately, even with Suzuki’s solid work, this never got out of second gear. It felt like we should have been building up to a big Leo comeback, and we got hints of that, but then he bundled up Shin out of a hurricanrana for the win. I’m usually a fan of a quick finish, but it fell flat here, as it felt like all that work Suzuki had been doing to Leo’s leg never really meant anything. It was simply a way to fill the time, which is never a great way to feel about the bulk of the match you just watched.
Yurika Oka defeated Ai Houzan
Yurika Oka’s back! After a few months out, she returned to Marvelous to battle her Mystic Young Fox partner in a match we’ve seen plenty of times before, but of which I never tire.
And a big part of why I don’t is that these two are incapable of not caring. Early on, Oka played it cool, taking control and using her slight experience edge to dominate. However, as the match continued, Houzan found her way into the action, throwing frantic dropkicks and desperately trying to pin Yurika’s shoulders to the mat. In turn, any semblance of maturity vanished from Oka’s game as she started hitting dropkicks of her own and going for more pins. In other words, their rookie nature bubbled to the surface as they did everything they could to get the win.
In the end, a roll-up exchange would see Oka stay ahead of Ai and come out on top. It was a fitting end to a fun wee match, and I was delighted to see the two of them bow to the crowd together afterwards, hopefully signalling that we’ll see the return of Mystic Young Fox sooner rather than later.
Verdict: The Good Rookie Stuff
Tomoko Watanabe defeated Hibiscus Mii
I’m going to shock you all, but with this being a Tomoko Watanabe vs Hibiscus Mii match, it veered towards the silly at times. We had crying (from both of them), missed splashes (from both of them) and singing (that was just Mii). They played the hits but also threw in a few newer spots to keep regular watchers like me entertained.
And I am 100% okay with that. Yes, we’ve seen stuff like this a lot over the last couple of years, but not everyone is a weirdo who watches every Marvelous show, and those people should also get to experience the madness. More importantly, even as one of those weirdos, it still makes me laugh. Mii and Tomoko can make me giggle by simply moving around the ring, as the little jog Watanabe did between turnbuckles after Mii had rolled away from her splash earned one of my larger reactions. I’m okay with them repeating certain jokes because you can bet they’ll always add something new alongside them.
The other person still laughing after watching every one of these matches is Chigusa Nagayo, who chuckles away behind her camera, leaving me feeling like I’m in good company. One also suspects that as long as those chuckles keep coming, the matches will keep getting booked, so if you hate them, you might be in the wrong place.
Verdict: I’m Still Laughing
Magenta (Maria & Riko Kawahata) defeated Itsuki Aoki & YuuRI
Itsuki Aoki has had a fantastic year. She’s a fixture in so many different promotions mid-cards that I sometimes take her for granted, but over the last couple of months, I’ve been incredibly impressed by her work. Whether you’re asking her to play the bruiser veteran in a tag or slot into main events with Mio and Takumi, Itsuki always brings a real physical presence to her matches. She also tends to get the best out of opponents, with Maria particularly benefitting from facing off with her here.
Actually, both wrestlers proved good foils for Magenta as they got a rare chance to play the dominant pairing and work over YuuRI. You could tell they weren’t totally comfortable in that role, and I think you’d want a bit more from them if it had gone on much longer, but it was still a solid effort. Plus, when things levelled out a bit, YuuRI showed strong chemistry with Riko and Maria, leading to some fun and fast back and forths as they approached the time limit.
And as the clock ticked away, Maria must have been experiencing a touch of deja-vu, as she’s been bashing up against it a lot recently. This time, however, things were different. As her time ran out, she twisted into a submission, tying YuuRI up and making it impossible for her to escape. The Ganbare rookie tried to hold on to the bell, but Maria had her trapped, and she had no choice but to tap out. It might not be the big upset win Maria has been threatening, but it was still a good one, and this was a great match.
Verdict: Really Good Stuff
Chikayo Nagashima & SAKI fought Yuu and Maya Yukihi to a time limit draw
With Mio and Takumi out, this was a random main event, but it was also full of people I want to see more of in Marvelous. The reason I want more SAKI and Yukihi? Well, they’re brilliant. So it’s probably not surprising that this was a great match.
It was a more familiar face who stole the show, however, as Marvelous have positioned Yuu as a badass recently. I’ve previously bemoaned that she doesn’t always work to her power, but her last few appearances have presented her as a monster. Every time she enters the ring, you get the impression opponents are scared to get into it with her, and someone like SAKI looks great for simply being brave enough to stand and trade blows with her. Maya’s fantastic too, but you were left with no doubt that if SAKI and Chikayo were going to win this match, it was Yuu they had to take out.
It was a feeling that played a big part in a thrilling conclusion where Yuu constantly felt on the brink of Powerbombing someone through the ring, but Chikayo and SAKI kept finding ways to wriggle out and almost steal the win. Nagashima, in particular, was outstanding here, her ability to twist and turn into a submission feeling like the only way anyone could bring Yuu down. In the end, though, neither was able to find the killing blow, the time running out and leaving this as an incredibly entertaining draw.
Verdict: Top Stuff
A lot happened in the aftermath of this match, and I couldn’t keep up with it all, but I think I have figured most of it out. The big thing is that Takumi has vacated the AAAW Title, so there will now be a one-day tournament on their December 4th Korakuen, with Unagi Sayaki already confirmed as one of the participants. The tag belt situation was slightly more complicated, as Chikayo refused to vacate them. However, if she loses her match against Unagi later this month, she will have to do exactly that. Basically, if you’re an Unagi fan, it’s probably time to start watching Marvelous. If anything else was announced or decided, I missed it, but Ai gave a very impassioned speech to close the show, so I enjoyed that.
With Rin, Mio and Takumi out, this was always going to feel like something was missing, but Marvelous stepped up and still had on a jolly old time. Sure, you could complain that the only time anything was furthered was in the aftermath of the main event, but when you’re missing that many people, that’s only natural. With the bulk of their roster on the sidelines, they pulled together and delivered something entertaining, so fair play to them.