The Future of Joshi series is an effort to highlight the best, young talent in Joshi pro wrestling for fans to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond. Led by Scott Edwards, a number of Joshi podcasters, writers, and fans took part in hyping up the best young talent from the scene as 15 wrestlers will be highlighted as well as honorable mentions. Our latest Joshi up-and-comer to highlight is Maria of Marvelous.
Maria is everything you want in a wrestler. Seriously. She has the ability inside the squared circle that gets better and better each time she competes. She has an overall charisma about her that makes her so cool and incredibly likable as a fan. The only reason she is on this, to begin with, is because as a member of the Marvelous roster, she has only been noticed by a handful of Joshi fans when she should be on the list of everybody when it comes to Future of Joshi.
What’s most interesting about Maria is that when I had previously written about her, she was still likely number four in the Marvelous hierarchy. But since then, Rin Kadokura has moved on from the promotion to move to Canada, giving Maria a clear road to being one of Marvelous’ top talents moving forward. And it’s about time when it comes to someone like Maria, who is ready to blossom with any opportunity possible.
Fritts gives the perfect insight into why you should keep an eye out for Maria now and moving forward.
It’s hard to overstate just how impressed I am with Maria.
Dialog surrounding Maria, if there is any at all, is typically littered with qualifiers: “Maria is one of the best up-and-comers”, “Maria is really good for someone under 25”, etc. These statements are factual, but they don’t do her justice.
In a home company with a minuscule roster, Maria has built a 2022 resume that set her apart from almost everyone. Combine this with her frequent matches on the Joshi independent circuit, and her catalog of matches rivals the greatest wrestlers in the world. This isn’t an overstatement; Maria holds her own and often outperforms, top acts from the most significant promotions around the globe. Oh, and she’s 22 with three years of experience.
In the ring, Maria’s wonderful. Her sequencing and timing are world-class, and she’s a prodigy regarding match structure. That said, it’s not her athleticism that makes her stand out. Sure, she has a relatively unique moveset, but Maria’s biggest strength is easily her ring presence. She can take what would be a formulaic match and hammer in emotion like only a select few. Maria makes you care.
There is only so much gushing I can do here, so I might as well plug some of her work. Maria currently wrestles as a part of the Marvelous roster but has made appearances for Stardom, Sendai Girls, DDT, and Zero1 this year. Her match-of-the-year contender with Chihiro Hashimoto is free on the Sendai Girls YouTube channel, along with all of her matches in the promotion. So, do yourself a favor and seek out a Maria match. – Fritts (@ChickFritts)
The relationship between Maria and Riko Kawahata, which originally started as a rivalry, helped them get out of their comfort zone and become wrestlers worth everyone’s time. Their tag team, Magenta, is more often than not the best part of Marvelous shows which only furthers the point that they should be destined for some tag team gold later on this year. It would be silly if they weren’t.
As the year enters the final months, there’s no doubt that Maria has watched her stock rise in Marvelous and the world of Joshi. All these trial-type matches have been challenges to help her grow. The feud with Riko Kawahata was a proving ground for where she was and where she can go. But the match that saw her rise to the level of those top stars in Marvelous was the tag team match on September 16. Maria teamed with Kawahata to face Ayame Sasamura and Mio Momono. The energy this match had was infectious and what Maria did with Momono in the closing minutes was some of the best action in Marvelous and wrestling. These two not only traded off moves but did so with the goal of winning. Maria’s smug confidence had her in it until the end, almost defeating Momono in the process. The final bell would ring at a 20-minute draw with these two wanting nothing more but to keep the fight going. There’s chemistry there but also a feud built in if they go to it. Maria grew to take Momono’s spot and, well, she isn’t going to just let her take it back. Keep an eye out. – My article about Maria
The growth is apparent, the future is bright, and Maria will just need the opportunities to show it to the world.
If you want a match to see the feistiness of Maria and the fight that she has, check out her match with Chihiro Hashimoto from Sendai Girls last year which Fritts mentioned.
As 2023 gets underway, Maria is the one in the Future of Joshi series who maybe more than anyone else deserves the most attention. Her style is the type anyone can get behind, her attitude is what brings her from an underdog due to her smaller size to someone who is willing to fight anyone, no matter the size, and the natural charisma that so few wrestlers her age have that makes her a nearly complete package of a pro wrestler.
Marvelous is taking part more in more in shows outside of Japan as we saw with what she was able to do in Pro-Wrestling EVE against Kadokura. A relationship to West Coast Pro is the most interesting of those we’ve learned about. Chigusa Nagayo and the Marvelous brand have already been announced for the Queen of the Indies tournament, so if Maria is to take part which I expect she will, then you should be keeping your eyes on her if she does.
Maria can be the definition of the “Future of Joshi.” All we can hope for now is that she gets the opportunity to show why she is.
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