I’ve been neglecting Ice Ribbon since the world went to shit. It’s not been an intentional move. They’ve continued shows behind closed doors and are putting them on YouTube, but to say the frame rate was low would be an offence to low frame rates everywhere. So, I decided to wait for the start of the month and sign up to their NicoNico channel to get better quality versions. It also meant that I am in time (roughly, this show did happen over a week ago) to cover their IW19 title tournament, which seems the perfect place to leap back in, no?
Yappy is providing English commentary, which is a nice touch with the show going out on YouTube. She explained that there is a nineteen-minute time-limit with the audience voting for the winner if there is a draw. Matches also have over the top rope rules (except the final) while the countout limit is nineteen, not twenty.
As for the tournament, there are two blocks with everyone having one match. The winners of those matches then face-off in a three-way with the winner of that going to the final. I think that’s everything? If I’ve missed something, feel free to shout at me.
B Block: Satsuki Totoro defeated Thekla
The commentators introduced Totoro and Thekla before the match (it’s a real shame about the YouTube frame rate issues because they’re doing a fantastic job of making this newbie-friendly).
What followed was your standard big woman vs little woman war. Thekla provided a lot of the movement, bouncing around Totoro and trying to chop her down. Unfortunately, while that tactic meant she got a lot of the offence, she still had to contend with the moments where Totoro did get a hold of her. In the words of Yappy, she seemed intent on CRUSHING.
In the end, the crushing proved super effective, a big Samoan Drop followed by an even bigger Senton getting the three. It all added up a solid start to proceedings, well-wrestled with a solid story. I have no complaints!
Verdict: Good Start
Tsukasa Fujimoto and Risa Sera defeated Hamuko Hoshi and Matsuya Uno
With matches like this, you are reminded that Emi Sakura’s fingers are still all over Ice Ribbon whether she’s involved with the company or not. This would have felt perfectly at home in Ichigaya Chocolate Square, and there are few bigger compliments I can bestow.
It started with some nice comedy, Hoshi attempting to front flip out of an Arm Wringer and Sera repeatedly driving Uno’s face into the mat with a Rocking Horse being the highlights. However, that was just the starter, and as the action went on it got fiercer and fiercer.
By the end, the laughs had taken a backseat to some strong as hell wrestling. Uno and Fujimoto had a great final exchange, Tsukasa making a desperate crawl to the ropes to escape an Ankle Lock and Uno showing off some fun pinning combinations. In the end, though, it went the way you’d expect, Sera and Fujimoto combining nicely to put Uno away.
That was one of those matches where I can almost keep the review simple. It was a hella fun wrestling match. What more needs to be said?
Verdict: Great Fun
Group A: Tsukushi defeated Mochi Miyagi
If I’m ever given the book of a wrestling promotion (never going to happen), my first dream match would be Tsukushi vs El Lindaman. I need to see that wiry wee prick energy collide.
And this match was a perfect example of Tsukushi being the kind of person who you have to kill to keep down. Mochi went after her back, which Yappy explained is an area she’s had trouble with, stretching and stomping it for fun. It seemed to be working too, as the first-ever IW19 champ was struggling, grabbing at it between moves and looking like she was having a genuinely unpleasant time.
Still, though, Tsukushi refused to die. She pulled herself up, surviving a trio of vicious-looking Thesz Presses (that move normally looks a bit naff, but nae in Mochi’s hands) and diving into her collection of flash pins. Time after time Miyagi kicked out, but, Tsukushi had one pin too many, and she’s kept herself alive. We can make that three for three in enjoyable matches.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
That was everything I want from an empty arena show. Fast-paced, fun matches that blast past in a whirlwind of fun. Essential? No, probably not. A good time? Definitely.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/nicopro