Marvelous’s final show of the year had them putting on a show on Christmas day, and yes, I ditched my family for a bit to watch it. Was it worth it? Let’s find out.
Yuna Manase defeated Queen Aminata and Ai Houzan in a three-way
Poor wee Ai. She is used to being the underdog, but she got stuck between something of a rock and a hard place here. Of course, we all know how Houzan reacts to such things: by trying to headbutt her way out of trouble. It didn’t work, but I do so appreciate her trying.
And this match fell into the scrappy but entertaining category, as they weren’t always on the same page but generally managed to figure something out. Aminata and Manase were a good pairing, bouncing off each other at the start and keeping a comedic thread running through the action. That was particularly true of Aminata, whose attempts to communicate with both opponents were falling on deaf ears, as they didn’t have a clue what she was saying. It was probably why this felt like it could fall apart at any moment, but it also set up a lot of laughs, so I’m not going to complain too much.
The winner was always going to be the one who got Ai on her own and found a way to swat that persistent fly, and it was Manase who succeeded, seeing her off with a lariat. It was a rough end to the year for Houzan, but an entertaining start to this show, even with it occasionally getting a bit sloppy.
Tomoko Watanabe & Rin Kadokura defeated Mio Momono & Itsuki Momono
When this match got announced, I was a bit confused as to why Itsuki and Rin weren’t a team, but that decision paid off when we got introduced to Itsuki Momono. She made her entrance dressed in Mio’s gear, much to Chig and Momono’s delight. Although, after the initial fun, I’m not sure how happy Itsuki was about the whole thing. She appeared to refuse to take off her t-shirt and spent a lot of time fiddling with the skirt. Then again, she was already unsure about wrestling Rin, as Mio needed to step in and psych her up to hit her friend back, so maybe it was the whole situation that was playing on her mind.
Either way, it made for a decent match. Itsuki and Mio were the deliberate odd couple, never getting on the same page but trying hard. By this I mean that Mio spent most of the match barking instructions at Istuki Momono, trying to get her to do what she wanted. It never quite worked, but much like Aminata in the opener, it was entertaining. In contrast, Rin and Tomoko felt like a veteran pairing. Well, for most of the match. Kadokura momentarily forgot who her partner was at the end, delivering a double superkick with Aoki on pure instinct and nearly mucking the whole thing up.
Luckily for her, Watanabe is a bit of a pro. She stayed a step ahead of Momono, beating her at her own game by winning a rollup exchange and sneaking out with the victory for her pairing. It perhaps hints that even after her strong performance in the AAAW Title tournament, Mio is still not up to full speed, or maybe her chasing Itsuki to the back in the aftermath is more indicative of the problem. Either way, this was an enjoyable watch.
Verdict: Great Fun
Chikayo Nagashima & Unagi Sayaka fought Magenta (Maria & Riko Kawahata) to a time-limit draw
Having won a big wad of notes off Unagi last month, Chikayo has been holding that money hostage and using it to force Sayaka to do her bidding. She was made to give us a full performance of the Team Yellow dance and don her old sunflower TJPW gear for the first time in who knows how long, making her an official member of the team. It’s safe to say Unagi wasn’t best pleased about it all. However, she did slowly get into the spirit, pulling out a Mountains From Above, which left Maria dejected at her supposed inability to compete. Yea, I ain’t touching that one.
And while all that makes it sound like a slightly silly match, it didn’t stay that way. In fact, once Maria was over having Unagi’s boobs shoved in her face, she and Riko weren’t going to let an opportunity to get a win over the double-champ slip. Yes, Team Yellow bickered and messed around, but Magenta were all business, taking the fight to Nagashima in particular. In turn, Chikayo and Unagi were forced to put their disagreements aside and get their game faces on, turning this from fun comedy into a competitive matchup.
That meant, by the end, this was downright thrilling. With Unagi and Chikayo slowly gelling but lacking experience as a team, it felt like there was a real chance for Magenta to pin the champ here, and the momentum in the final act swung between the two pairings. One second, Nagashima would seem to be taking control, only for Maria or Riko to roar back, desperately trying to push it over the line. As the time ticked down, they were the ones in control, Maria coming incredibly close to winning, only for time to pull the opportunity away. Still, even with Magenta not managing to get an upset result, that was a damn good match, and worth going out of your way to see.
Afterwards, it sounded like Maria was challenging for the tag titles, but that will have to wait until Takumi is fit again. Nagashima then fulfilled her promise and gave Unagi her money back, although Riko had a wee go at nicking it before that happened. However, that wasn’t the end, as Unagi got ’emotional’ while announcing her graduation from Team Yellow before asking for another match with Nagashima. She even threw in a gift to sweeten the deal, giving the champ a shiny pair of new trainers. Hey, you can’t fault the lass’s commitment.
Daisuke Sekimoto defeated Leo Isaka
There was a period where I probably watched multiple Daisuke Sekimoto matches a week. Then, my taste changed, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw the big man, so it was a bit of a treat to see him come out and put Leo through his paces, even if I tend to prefer it when these matches aren’t the main event.
Thankfully, Big Daisuke knows what he’s doing. Leo’s outings often feel like a random slice of wrestling, lacking in consequences and leaving everything feeling a bit flat. Sekimoto wasn’t going to let that happen, though. All it took for him to get the crowd into it was to start chopping the shit out of Leo’s chest, and suddenly the fans were invested in Marvelous’s token male wrestler. Sekimoto had become a mountain everyone wanted Isaka to conquer, even if such a task looked nigh on impossible.
And Leo gave it a damn good shot. Sure, his chest turned an unpleasant violent red, but he threw everything he had at Daisuke, even managing to hoist him up for a Brainbuster. Perhaps even more impressively, he kicked out of one of Sekimoto’s, despite being sent flipping through the air with a Lariat before being hit with it. It was Isaka at his underdog best, and the big man seemed delighted to let him shine. Sure, a German eventually saw him off, but it was a brilliant example of getting over in defeat, and Leo came out of this feeling like a much bigger deal than he did going in.
Verdict: Leo Delivers In The Main Event
Marvelous wrapped up 2022 with a great wee show. I was expecting good stuff from the two tag matches on this show, and they delivered, but the three-way was a sneaky treat, and Leo delivered possibly the best match of his career in the main event. It was well worth sneaking away from the family.