Event: Marvelous 6th Anniversary
Date: May 1st, 2022
Location: Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: Unknown
Broadcast: Streamed on Zaiko and Passmarket
I don’t get to watch a lot of Marvelous these days, which is a shame since they are a fun little promotion. Run by Chigusa Nagayo and led by Takumi Iroha, they have had a lot of issues the last few years with wrestlers leaving or getting injured, but they still plug along and put on entertaining events. This is a big show for them, as for their Anniversary event they are running Korakuen Hall. Its not a long event with only five matches (I’ll only be reviewing the Joshi matches, so four for our purposes), but that doesn’t mean it won’t deliver. Even though this is a Marvelous event, the titles for the revived GAEA Japan promotion will be defended, since Chigusa Nagayo is a big part of its occasional revival. Here is the Joshi portion of the card:
All wrestlers on the show have a profile on Joshi City, you can click on their name above to go straight to it. Onto the show!
An Chamu, Nagashima, and Makoto vs. Ai Houzan, Matsumoto, and Yurika Oka
We kick off the Joshi portion of the show with a unique six wrestler tag. Only one wrestler in this match is contracted to Marvelous, which is the young Ai Houzan who is just entering her second year of wrestling. She teams with fellow 18 year old Yurika Oka from Sendai Girls’ and the popular Freelancer Miyako Matsumoto. They face off against three Freelancers with various levels of experience – the super veteran Chikayo Nagashima, the regular veteran Makoto, and the less experienced An Chamu. Anything can happen in these random early card tag matches, hopefully they put together something entertaining.
Team Matsumoto attack their opponents from behind to start the match, Chamu is isolated and triple teamed in the corner. Makoto and Nagashima eventually return to even the odds, and eventually Houzan stays in the ring with Chamu to become the legal wrestlers. Kick to the check by Chamu, she picks up Houzan while Nagashima comes in the ring so they can double team her. Chamu tags Makoto, kick by Makoto to Houzan and she hits a hard shoulderblock. Another shoulderblock by Makoto, and she covers Houzan for two. Makoto works a headlock, Houzan pushes her back into the corner and Makoto tags Nagashima and Nagashima keeps up the assault on Houzan, but Houzan eventually delivers a dropkick and tags Matsumoto. Matsumoto throws Nagashima into the corner but when she charges in, Nagashima puts her in a hanging armbar. She lets go and steps on Matsumoto’s hands, running kick by Nagashima and she covers Matsumoto for two. Nagashima goes for another kick but it gets blocked, Nagashima knocks Matsumoto to the mat but Matsumoto bridges out of the pin. Nagashima returns to the dominate position anyway, Complete Shot by Nagashima and she tags Chamu.
Chamu dropkicks Matsumoto before hitting a DDT for a two count. Schoolboy by Chamu and she applies a figure four, but Matsumoto gets to the ropes for the break. Chamu goes for a hip attack but Matsumoto moves, kick by Matsumoto and she delivers a Stunner followed by a Shining Wizard for two. Matsumoto tags Oka, lots of dropkicks by Oka and she covers Chamu for two. Face crusher by Oka, she gets on the second turnbuckle but Nagashima grabs her from the apron. This gives Chamu time to recover and she throws Oka back to the mat, hair toss by Chamu and she hits a running double knee in the corner. Chamu picks up Oka, Oka gets away from her but Chamu kicks Oka in the head. Fisherman suplex by Chamu, and she covers Oka for two. Makoto is tagged in, Makoto boots Oka in the corner and hits an armdrag. Makoto applies an armbar but it gets broken up, scoop slam by Oka and everyone on her team runs over Makoto’s stomach. Nagashima and Chamu eventually get in the ring to help their partner, spinning headscissors by Oka to Makoto and she hits a dropkick. Oka charges Makoto but Makoto drop toeholds her into the ropes and delivers a big boot for two. Drop toehold by Oka and she cradles Makoto for two. Dropkick by Oka and she tags Houzan, dropkicks by Houzan to Makoto and she covers her for two. Houzan picks up Makoto and hits a series of elbows, dropkick by Houzan but Makoto boots her in the throat.
Double kneedrop by Makoto, but it gets two. Makoto picks up Houzan but Houzan slides away, and the two trade flash pins for two counts. Double underhook suplex by Makoto and she tags Nagashima, boots by Nagashima to Houzan but Houzan gets away and delivers a few quick dropkicks. Houzan picks up Nagashima but Nagashima blocks her slam and hits one of her own. She goes off the ropes but Oka cuts her off with a dropkick, double dropkicks to Nagashima and Matsumoto kicks Nagashima in the back. Houzan goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover by Houzan but it gets two. Houzan goes back up top again with an assist from Oka, but Makoto boots Oka and tosses Houzan to the mat. Chamu kicks Houzan before Nagashima hits a suplex for two. Nagashima goes to the top turnbuckle but Houzan avoids the diving footstomp, Makoto tries to help but boots Nagashima by mistake. Cover by Houzan to Nagashima, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Nagashima but Houzan rolls her up for two. Houzan goes off the ropes but Nagashima boots her in the head, Nagashima picks up Houzan and nails a Fisherman Buster for the three count! Chikayo Nagashima, Makoto, and An Chamu are the winners!
A perfectly fine multi-wrestler tag match. I haven’t seen Oka in awhile, she looked really good and is coming along well, she flies under the radar due to Sendai Girls’ not being talked about much these days but she certainly has all the basics down. It is difficult in a sub-15 minutes six wrestler match for everyone to get some shine, but no one looked out of place as the veterans controlled things and the young wrestlers got their moments. Ultimately not a match that will stick in the brain but nothing wrong with it either, pretty solid work by all.
Maria vs. Riko Kawahata
Maria is one of the few healthy contracted Marvelous wrestlers, and she gets an interesting match here against the visiting Riko Kawahata. Maria is in her third year of wrestling and is by default the #3 wrestler in Marvelous after the departure of Mikoto Shindo and the injury to Mio Momono. At 22, she still won no titles however and still needs to prove more in the ring. Riko Kawabata debuted in 2018 also, wrestling in Actwres girl’Z until the promotion shifted its focus in late 2021. Now a Freelancer, Riko is pretty well respected for a younger wrestler but is still looking to leave her mark on the Joshi scene. A fairly even match-up that could go either way.
They are making it obvious from the start that there is a ten minute time limit, which is an ominous sign. Maria immediately goes for a dropkick but Riko moves, boot by Maria and she kicks Riko into the ropes. Running boot by Maria, she goes to the apron and hits a slingshot footstomp. Kick to the ribs by Maria and she hits a heel drop, Riko recovers but Maria hits a dragon screw. Maria hits Riko in the knee before applying an ankle hold, she lets go after a moment and hits a sliding kick. Maria keeps on Riko’s knee and slams her into the mat, she puts Riko in an armtrap crossface but eventually lets go and picks Riko up. Riko snaps off an enzuigiri and delivers a sliding kick of her own, covering Maria for two. Maria quickly puts Riko in a kneelock but Riko gets to the ropes for the break, Maria charges Riko but Riko moves, sunset flip by Maria and the two trade cradle pin attempts. Maria gets Riko’s back and applies an Octopus Hold, they end up on the ground as Maria pulls on Riko’s arm but Riko doesn’t submit. Maria kicks at Riko but Riko nails her with a superkick, Northern Lights Suplex Hold by Riko but it gets two.
Riko picks up Maria and hits a high kick, knee by Riko and she puts Maria in a cross armbreaker. Maria wiggles to the ropes to get the break, Riko goes off the ropes but Maria hits a dropkick. Cross armbreaker takedown by Maria and she keeps it locked in, but Riko rolls out of it so Maria applies an ankle hold instead. She switches to a cross kneelock and then a figure four leglock, but Riko gets to the ropes. Maria goes off the ropes but Riko boots her, they trade strikes until Maria knocks Riko off her feet. Maria picks up Riko and hits a snap suplex, but Riko returns fire with a release German. Just one minute left in the match as they go into high gear, trading flash pins with no success. Kick by Maria and she goes for Riko’s arm, but Riko rolls away and kicks Maria in the stomach. Head kick by Riko, she goes to the top turnbuckle but Maria avoids the moonsault. Cradle by Maria, but Riko kicks out. Snap suplex by Maria, but the bell rings before she can do anything else as time expires. The match is a Draw.
For a match clearly designed to be a Draw (they kept the time up on the big screen and showed it throughout), this was really good. I’m a little behind in my Marvelous viewing but Maria is progressing really well, I don’t know why she isn’t getting more of a push somewhere but she has a lot of great moves and shows emotion. Her submission game is smooth, everything they did was fluid. Riko looked good as well but this felt more like a showcase for Maria, which makes sense as this is her home promotion. An entertaining match, would like to see these two get more time without a telegraphed end result. Mildly Recommended
(c) Takumi Iroha vs. Yuu
Even though this is not the main event, it still should be the best match on the show. The AAAW Championship, which used to be the top belt in GAEA Japan until the promotion closed in 2005, was revived by Chigusa Nagayo in 2021. Takumi Iroha became the first champion in the new era, defeating Chihiro Hashimoto in January. Which makes sense, that Nagayo would put the title on her own Ace, but Takumi Iroha is a worthy wrestler anyway. For her first defense, she is challenged by Yuu, who came up in Tokyo Joshi Pro before she became a Freelancer in 2019. The pandemic likely adjusted her plans but she is still gaining momentum as a Freelancer, she isn’t a serious threat to take the title here but is still a respected challenger. While its safe to assume Takumi Iroha will win, slightly telegraphed by the fact it isn’t even the main event, it should still be a damn good match as both are very talented.
They tie-up to start, Yuu pushes Takumi into the ropes but she allows Takumi to get back up. They end up on the mat and trade holds, Takumi spins away from Yuu and slaps her back before retreating. Side headlock by Takumi, Yuu Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither going down. Takumi tries to shoulderblock Yuu over with no luck, she tries again but Yuu shoulderblocks her down. Scoop slam by Yuu but Takumi avoids her running senton, successful shoulderblock by Takumi and she kicks Yuu in the chest. Cover by Takumi, but Yuu pushes her off with ease and returns to her feet. Snapmare by Takumi and she kicks Yuu in the back, but Yuu gets up and chops Takumi in the chest. Spinning sidewalk slam by Yuu and she hits a senton, Takumi quickly rolls out of the ring and tries to recover. She eventually does so and gets on the apron, but Yuu knocks her back down to the floor. Yuu drops down in the ring and rolls out of it and over the apron, landing on top of Takumi. Yuu returns to the ring as Takumi slowly follows, cover by Yuu but it gets a two count. Yuu picks up Takumi but Takumi kicks her, she goes for a suplex but Yuu pushes her away. Kick combination by Takumi and she hits a PK followed by a sliding kick. Snap vertical suplex by Takumi, she picks up Yuu and applies a sleeper hold. Yuu inches to the ropes and makes it to force a break, Takumi kicks Yuu in the corner and delivers a dropkick.
Another kick by Takumi but Yuu eventually catches one and chops Takumi in the chest. They trade blows until Yuu knocks Takumi to the mat, she picks her back up and hits a crossbody for a two count. Yuu gets on the second turnbuckle but Takumi recovers and hits an elbow, she joins Yuu and hits a superplex down to the mat. Takumi positions Yuu and goes to the top turnbuckle, diving senton by Takumi and she covers Yuu for two. Takumi throws Yuu into the corner and tries to pick her up, but Yuu won’t budge. Takumi charges Yuu but Yuu knocks her to the mat, cannonball by Yuu and she covers Takumi for two. Yuu goes for a powerbomb but Takumi blocks it, slaps by Yuu but Takumi blocks the powerbomb again. Takumi charges Yuu but Yuu slams her to the mat, Yuu goes to the second turnbuckle and hits a Reverse Splash for a two count. Yuu goes up top but Takumi elbows her, Takumi joins Yuu but Yuu chops her back to the mat and hits a diving crossbody for two. Yuu picks up Takumi but Takumi hits a back bodydrop, Yuu quickly hits a running senton though to stay in control. Yuu picks up Takumi but Takumi hits a heel kick, chops by Yuu and she slaps Takumi to the mat. Another chop by Yuu but Takumi elbows her, kicks by Takumi and she covers Yuu for two. Kick combination by Takumi, she goes for a powerbomb but Yuu shrugs her off. More kicks by Takumi, she puts Yuu in the corner and positions her for the Running Three. Yuu blocks it so Takumi superkicks her in the face, she tries again and this time nails the Running Three for the three count! Takumi Iroha wins and retains the championship.
This was a really fun match, however it may have gone a few minutes longer than it needed to based on the setup. The story of the match was simple – Yuu was bigger and stronger than Takumi so Takumi slowly cut her down with strikes until she was weak enough to get up for the Running Three. Its a good story but a heavyweight hoss/strike battle doesn’t necessarily need to be 20+ minutes to tell it as it did get a little repetitive at times. Takumi’s kicks always deliver and the match felt like hers to lose from the start as Yuu didn’t really have any convincing nearfalls – the story was always about Takumi. A match I enjoyed for sure, a safe defense for Takumi but still a solid one. Recommended
Itsuki Aoki and Rin Kadokura vs. Kaoru Ito and Tomoko Watanabe
AAAW Tag Team Championship
As part of the revival of GAEA Japan, Chigusa Nagayo decided to bring back the AAAW tag titles as well. The AAAW Tag Team Championship has been vacant since 2005, when GAEA Japan closed its doors. After a short tournament, these two teams will now battle to be the first champions in 17 years. This is definitely an ‘old guard vs. newcomers’ match, as Ito and Watanabe have over 60 years of experience between them while Aoki and Kadokura are still early in their careers. Marvelous could go either way with this one, the match may not be great but it should definitely be interesting.
The kids attack the vets before the match starts, Watanabe is then isolated and double teamed. Rin stays in as legal and snapmares Watanabe, hitting a sliding knee for a two count. Watanabe comes back with a suplex and hits a scoop slam, leg drop by Watanabe and she puts Rin in a crab hold. Rin gets out of it so Watanabe puts her in a Scorpion Deathlock instead, Ito comes in and stands on Rin’s hands before stomping on them. Watanabe lets go of the hold so she and Ito can drive Rin’s knees into the mat, Watanabe tags Ito and Ito lariats Watanabe in the corner. Crab hold by Ito, Itsuki tries to break it up but is unable to do so. Ito pulls on Rin’s hair but eventually stops and applies a chinlock, Itsuki tries to help again and eventually Ito lets go. Ito stands on Rin and applies a single leg crab hold, but Rin gets to the ropes for the break. Rin finally hits a move as she delivers a jumping neck drop, giving her time to tag Itsuki. Itsuki elbows Ito but Ito elbows her to the mat, Itsuki gets back up but promptly is elbowed down again. She keeps trying with no luck, but does manage to get Ito off her feet with a face crusher. Body press by Itsuki, but it gets two. Itsuki tries to pick up Ito but Ito blocks it, Irish whip by Ito and Itsuki tries to shoulderblock Ito over with no success. Hard shoulderblock by Ito and she hits a footstomp, running senton by Ito and she covers Itsuki for a two count. Ito tags Watanabe, Watanabe goes for a suplex but Rin attacks her from behind.
Double Irish whip to Watanabe but she hits a double rebound crossbody on both of her opponents, Itsuki manages to get Watanabe down with a drop toehold (with some help) and hits a sliding kick. Itsuki sets up Watanabe in the ropes and chargers in, but Ito grabs Itsuki from the apron and Watanabe hits a lariat. Watanabe goes off the ropes but Itsuki catches her with a STO for two. Itsuki tags Rin, they pick up Watanabe but Ito runs in with a double lariat. Itsuki and Rin recover and hit a double superkick to Watanabe, diving body press by Itsuki from the second turnbuckle and Rin follows with a double footstomp for a two count. Rin picks up Watanabe but Ito returns again and hits a lariat. Ito tries again to help but she hits Watanabe by accident, release German by Rin to Watanabe but Watanabe returns to her feet. Rin plants her again, this time with a release Dragon Suplex, she hits a Northern Lights Suplex Hold but Watanabe kicks out. Rin gets Watanabe’s back, Itsuki superkicks Watanabe and Rin hits a crucifix drop for two. Double superkick to Ito, Rin tries to superkick Watanabe but she hits Itsuki by accident. Lariat by Watanabe to Rin and she tags Ito. Lariat by Ito, and she covers Rin for two. Ito picks up Rin and nails a powerbomb, Itsuki runs in but Ito drops her with a uranage.
Rin and Itsuki end up outside the ring and Ito drills them both with a dropkick through the ropes, Watanabe throws Rin back in and Ito delivers a sit-out powerbomb but Itsuki breaks up the pin. Watanabe gets on the top turnbuckle, Ito feeds Rin to her and Watanabe hits a diving lariat. The cover is broken up again, Ito gets on the second turnbuckle but Itsuki elbows her before she can jump off. Watanabe takes care of Itsuki which allows Ito to hit a diving footstomp, but her cover is broken up. Watanabe gets on the second turnbuckle and hits a body press to Rin, Ito goes all the way up but Itsuki grabs her from the apron. Itsuki distracts Ito until Rin can recover, Rin joins Ito and hits a Frankensteiner. Rin waits for Ito to get up and hits a jumping DDT, but she is too hurt to capitalize and Ito is up first. Ito picks up Rin as Watanabe runs in, but Watanabe lariats Ito by mistake. Itsuki gets Rin on her shoulders and helps her set up for the crucifix slam on Ito, Rin hits the move on Ito and holds her down for the three count! Rin Kadokura and Itsuki Aoki are the new champions!
Poorly done ending aside, with Ito not even willing to keep her shoulders on the mat for a big title win up for grabs, this was a VERY Veteran vs. Young Underdog match. The entire structure was just Itsuki and Rin doing their damnedest to just knock their opponents off their feet, let along get a nearfall. Its not necessarily a bad story, and with Ito and Watanabe definitely not a surprising one, as that has been their go-to match setup for probably the last 15 years. But it led to some problems, like some really iffy transitions (for example when Ito recovered first after being dropped by Rin’s DDT) and the win coming across as a fluke lucky win. Rin and Itsuki are both exciting young wrestlers, so giving them a tiny bit more of a rub wouldn’t have hurt anything, although its surprising enough that Watanabe and Ito lost so I guess we have to take what we can get. I give Itsuki and Rin credit for trying hard, and Ito/Watanabe for mostly rolling with the punches, but it still would be disingenuous to say the match was good even if they got the winners right. It wasn’t bad, and is perfectly watchable, but predictable in structure and for such a big match it would have been nice if they had gone a little outside the box to surprise us.
Wrestling in Japan has become both easier to watch, and also a lot more expensive over the last few years. If this event was on a monthly streaming service it would be easier to recommend, but I don’t think the meat was really there for a $30 PPV. With five total matches coming in at a little over an hour, its just a hard sell, especially with only one match really delivering. For the more hardcore Marvelous fan it may be worth the price, but for casual Joshi fans it may be a little difficult to justify paying as much for one mid-level show as it costs to get a month of Stardom World, Wrestle Universe, and Club Ice Ribbon combined. Takumi Iroha vs. Yuu is worth the watch for sure, but otherwise this event can be skipped.