MAY 20TH, 2024


Nanae Takahashi def. Victoria Yuzuki

Alex Richards (@LWOSPWAlexR): When Yuzuki strolled out emblazoned in golden yellow with her new blonde hair I knew what we were in for to start Marigold Fields Forever. This is the starting point for their new ace. This is episode one of the anime where the protagonist shows up and gets taken down a notch by a more talented veteran, think Shoyo and Kageyama from Haikyuu if you will.

There is perhaps no better opposition for your future ace than Nanae Takahashi. Takahashi is a veteran of the scene, a multiple-time world champion, and one of the few active Joshi to say she held the illustrious WWWA Championship. Takahashi provided the antagonist to our eventual ace of Marigold and did so with the expertise she’s become known for.

This did prove that Victoria Yuzuki still has room to grow, the moments of the match where it was on her to fire back and fire up the crowd were lacking a bit, something that she’ll have to improve if she wants to fulfill her massive potential.

Overall, Match 1 of Marigold was a blend of the future and the past and a taste of what kind of wrestling we can expect from Rossy Ogawa’s newest endeavor. ***½

Scott Edwards (@ScottEWrestling): And here we go. I’m a big fan of repeating history when it makes sense. The first match of Marigold’s history was the perfect place to do just that.

The first STARDOM match ever saw Nanae Takahashi and Yuzuki Aikawa on opposite sides in a tag team match. That was a chance for Takahashi to get Aikawa ready in a match that’d eventually lead to Yuzupon taking the role as ace of STARDOM soon after. Fast forward to Marigold Fields Forever, it’s clear that this was Takahashi once again getting someone ready to be an ace down the line — this time Victoria Yuzuki.

What benefitted this match was that the crowd was hot. Like the best Joshi crowd in years hot. Yuzuki showed some of her inexperience in this match, but I’ll cut her some slack after taking a two-month break and only having debuted back in November. What’s clear is that she’s going to be special, she just had to get the Passion Injection from Takahashi firsthand.

Even when Yuzuki may not have been on her game, she still benefitted from Takahashi taking the lead — the crowd was clearly invested in the Future Ace of Marigold because of the beating she took in this match. She’s going to be one of the best in the world, and this was just the start. The perfect match to open Marigold Fields Forever. ***½

Miku Aono def. Nao Ishikawa

Alex: Nao Ishikawa I did not know you had this in you. I fully expected this to be a one-sided win for Aono, someone who I think has the potential to be a world champion in just about any major promotion. I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be more of a showcase of Nao Ishikawa who seemed completely reinvented.

Gone was the underdog idol babyface with a crazy German Suplex and in her place was a complete wrestler, one with the ability to kick the crap out of her opponent, toss her around with some crazy suplex variants, and someone who might not be much of an underdog anymore.

They still went out of their way to make sure we know Aono is the real deal as she got the win and never really looked like she was on the verge of losing but I honestly came away from this one more impressed by Ishikawa and her potential trajectory. ***½

Scott: Miku Aono is going to win the world in Marigold. That can mean the Marigold World Championship, the United National Championship — or both as far as I’m concerned.

Heading into this match, I believed this was always going to be a showcase for what is seemingly the crown jewel of the six Actwres girl’Z to head over to Marigold. It was in some ways, but it was also one for Nao Ishikawa — a member of the OG7 whom Marigold introduced at their opening press conference.

They didn’t get a lot of time, with the match going sub-10 minutes, but it didn’t matter. It packed everything they needed.

Out of all the matches on this card, this match felt the most personal and it looked like it. Whether it was Aono hitting her signature kicks or Ishikawa paying tribute to the late Asahi, this match really checked all the boxes for two wrestlers that not many are familiar with.

Aono is a star and Ishikawa deserves praise too after her performance. Simple as that. ***½


Alex: They’re already leaning into CHIAKI being a natural heel with how she worked this match. Not only was she a solid stylistic match for MIRAI but her natural heelish nature allowed MIRAI to play the valiant babyface for an adoring crowd. MIRAI was OVER and she has a new lease on life here in Marigold. Her new gear is a big upgrade on her STARDOM outfits and her hair is great, she looks like the star that Rossy Ogawa has wanted to be.

This isn’t to ignore CHIAKI who is a very good acquisition for Marigold but until she settles into a spot either as a heel or antagonist I don’t think we’ll really see her at her full potential. ***½

Scott: I really enjoyed this match. And the main reason was that MIRAI got her mojo back.

For the many (and there were many) fans who thought that MIRAI wasn’t someone fans liked and that she wasn’t a star, boy were they proved wrong. Streamers aren’t used nearly as much anymore, but Marigold brought them back and no one had as many as “The Child of the Soul.” She felt like a different person — a new look and more confidence. Her in-ring showed that against CHIAKI.

As I wrote in my preview, CHIAKI wanted to be the “rudo” of Marigold and it didn’t take long for her to show some of that mindset. Beyond that was wrestling that impressed me, especially as someone who had only seen her wrestle a handful of times prior. CHIAKI carries a confidence that will bring her a long way in pro wrestling, and MIRAI was the ideal matchup for her to show that.

There was a headbutt in this match, some great slams by both, but nothing was better than the echoing Southpaw Lariat that MIRAI won the match with. My jaw dropped when it happened and locked this match in as my second favorite of the night. MIRAI rocks, CHIAKI is going to be someone great, and this was worth watching. ***¾

Zayda Steel & Mai Sakurai vs. Nagisa Nozaki & Myla Grace ended in a 15-minute draw

Alex: Look up sabotage in the dictionary and you might see a picture of this match graphic. There was no reason to ask these four to do a 15-minute draw and it went off the rails as one might expect. Grace and Steel will need time to adjust to the pace in Japan to shave off those moments of awkwardness that we saw in this match.

Mai Sakurai and Nagisa Nozaki were tasked with trying to carry the match and it didn’t really work. I like Sakurai but she has her limitations and being a ring general is never something I’d associate with her.

Booking wise this was odd too, Nozaki is a star, someone who should be in the conversation for the top titles, an extended feud with Mai Sakurai doesn’t really do much for Nozaki. Lots to improve on here from an in-ring and booking perspective. **¾

Scott: Well, there was a match that didn’t hit the levels I was hoping for and that was this one. Not really anyone’s fault, just a decision to go to a time-limit draw that I don’t think worked for these four in this scenario.

Of course, the story was between Nagisa Nozaki and Mai Sakurai. Nozaki is determined to get to Giulia, but Sakurai is playing protector. Add in the question marks of Zayda Steel and Myla Grace, it was hard to make this match work to the level it may have in a month or so in.

Nozaki and Sakurai didn’t click in the match, so it will take some time to know what kind of match they have in them when they eventually go one-on-one. **

Kouki Amarei & Chika Goto def. Natsumi Showzuki & Misa Matsui

Alex: Our first upset of the night!! On what had been a rather paint-by-numbers show so far with all of the more established names winning we have a shock to the system with Kouki Amarei getting the win for her team here. I expected the more experienced duo of Showzuki and Matsui to win.

When he wants to be, Ogawa can be ballsy and a big day 1 win for Kouki is right up his alley. She is someone who has the potential to be a top star someday and it looks like she’ll be given every chance to succeed in Marigold.

Solid outing from these four to show what they can do to a new audience. Showzuki likely impressed the most and will presumably be the most pushed one of the four out of the gate but the other three have a lot of time to grow. ***¼

Scott: In a match where the losers shined more than the winners, it was perfectly fine because all four of these wrestlers have a great future in Marigold.

My first thought coming out of this match was the confirmation that Misa Matsui is going to be special for Marigold. She had the underdog babyface appeal that no one else has in the promotion — giving her an edge in the long-term game. The next thought was this — Natsumi Showzuki can be placed into a top program very quickly and keep up with the best talent in the company. She’s that good and has been since returning to wrestling for Actwres girl’Z.

And the true realization is that I should have known — Kouki Amarei is going to be pushed as a star in Marigold as soon as humanly possible. That’s why she got the win. The Twin Towers, as they called themselves, have to be the early favorites to win the Marigold Twin Star Championships this summer after the win. Hard to argue after this performance.

All in all, a good match for all four who each will shine in their own ways as members of this promotion. It was great to see them in the semi-main event. ***¼

Sareee & Bozilla def. Giulia & Utami Hayashishita


Ok now that that’s out of the way. This was a great tag team match and an excellent first main event for Marigold. Not only did this provide a glimpse at the monstrous presence of Bozilla, who came away looking like the star of the show, but it also provided a preview for Giulia vs Sareee which is already announced for Marigold’s trip to Sumo Hall.

Giulia and Sareee’s exchanges built a lot of excitement for their singles match, they seem to have a very similar mentality and approach to wrestling that prioritizes the more violent aspect of the sport.

While Utami Hayashishita did feel like more of an afterthought than I’d expect she did set up a long-term goal of besting Bozilla, reminiscent of her use in late 2023 STARDOM. She also had a few exchanges with Sareee that I assume will lead to a big singles match down the line. IMO, Hayashishita will be just fine, especially is the Iyo/Kairi stuff does come to fruition and she gets a big match with THE Io Shirai.

Now, for the breakout star of the match. Bozilla! This 20-year-old who has been doing the low circuit indies in Germany came to Japan and stole the show. What I like about Bozilla is she knows what she is and works to it. She’s tall, she’s jacked, she’s mean, and she works to it. So few wrestlers nowadays truly now how to wrestle when they’re a “giant” but Bozilla knows what to do. It’s evident in the little things like her not even bothering to run on a double Irish whip attempt and instead using her strength advantage to toss both of her opponents.

I do think Bozilla has room to improve and refine her game but her presence alone added something unique to this match and it got super over with the crowd who chanted for her repeatedly post-match. I don’t want to go overboard with the comp because Monster Ripper is one of the most underrated hosses in wrestling history, but Bozilla might be the closest thing we get in the modern day to the Monster Ripper archetype.

Sareee pinning Giulia does tip their hand regarding the upcoming singles match but that’s OK, it’s a big match either way and Sareee was unlikely to come away with the title so giving her this win is enough. ****¼

Scott: I don’t think that this match could have gone any better than it did. The first classic in Marigold history as a star was officially born.

That star, of course, is named Bozilla. The monster who screamed “size does matter” into a social media promo left everyone wondering — what does she actually bring to the table? Well, it was everything you could have hoped for and more. Bozilla captured the “monster” feel more than maybe any wrestler has in a long, long time. If Giulia and Utami Hayashishita tried to take her down, she laughed at the idea and ran through them. And the moments when Utami finally took her down, the crowd went crazy. “BOZILLA BOZILLA BOZILLA” echoed through Korakuen not once, but twice — must I say more about her star-making performance. Let’s talk about the others.

Giulia and Sareee were magic. Complete magic. Sareee wasn’t going to settle for the Giulia who was on autopilot for much of her final months in STARDOM — she was going to hit her harder and harder until she came back. These two teased their match for Summer Destiny to perfection — and the crowd responded. These two set Marigold up for the next few months. “The Sun God” is the best in the world and everyone should want her booked — Marigold seems to be the winner there, making us winners.

Finally, let’s talk about Utami Hayashishita. She felt like she was free. Free to be herself. Free to be whoever she wanted to be. This was the most natural she’s ever been, from continuously showing off her tongue ring to absolutely crushing it in the ring against both Bozilla and Sareee. Whenever they run the singles matches with Utami against either of those wrestlers, it’s going to be special. She is the ace and that wasn’t at all disputed in my opinion on this sh

The finish of this match was perfect. Sareee dropped Giulia on her head so many times with her Uranage that I lost track. When Giulia looked to have survived, Bozilla hit Giulia with a pounce and a damn Moonsault before Sareee put an end to Marigold’s top star once and for all.

Marigold Fields Forever was a good show to this point but the main event was spectacular. A favorite of mine this year, capturing the magic they plan to create for years to come. Watch this.

Final Thoughts on Marigold Fields Forever

Alex: Marigold made a statement. You ever see a peacock strut its stuff? Just unsheath the feathers and show off because it can? I got that kind of energy from Marigold’s debut event. They had a hot crowd, fantastic production, a roster where everyone got a chance to shine in their match, and some brand-new stars ready to be made. I come away from this show desperate to see what’s next, to see where Bozilla goes from here, where Victoria Yuzuki goes, whether Kouki Amarei continues to defy expectations.

There will be better shows to come, and I hope to see some more order established and separation between the stars and the non-stars, but this debut was their chance to tell the world they have arrived and they are here to cause problems. Marigold appears to be everything I was hoping for and Joshi can once again boast a proper Big 3 for the scene to operate around.

Scott: Marigold Fields Forever was the perfect first show for this company. It didn’t give anything major away. The promotion set up their immediate future with Summer Destiny 2024 at Ryogoku Sumo Hall — which felt like the flex possible for a brand new promotion. And the first match announced may be the biggest possible, a singles bout between Giulia and Sareee. They managed to introduce their present and future to an audience who may not have known a majority of the wrestlers who competed on this show. Oh, and the main event was their first genuine classic that will go down in history when thinking of Marigold’s history in the future. Maybe most importantly though, the crowd was buzzing from start to finish — the best Joshi crowd in a LONG TIME! That’ll make anything better. If that isn’t a perfect first show, I don’t know what is.

Like Alex said, there’s going to be better shows to come and way more to look out for, but if you’re not excited about the future of Marigold then you’re choosing to hate it for no reason. This was the beginning of something special, and it has me looking forward to something in wrestling for the first time in a bit — a necessary boost to the scene.

Listen to Voices of Wrestling’s Joshi podcast: Jumping Bomb Audio!

Powered by RedCircle