Ice Ribbon has stringent rules about the pronunciation of the IW19 title as it must be juukyuu rather than nineteen. I’d love to brag about knowing that meant nineteen, but I’m sure even the most monolingual of you could have figured that one out. It’s been theorised on Twitter that it’s because it sounds a bit like IWGP? Whatever the reason, make sure and not get it wrong or they’ll come after you.
Thekla defeated Ishikawa (kind of) in an exhibition match
Ice Ribbon’s exhibition matches appear to keep going until they run out of time, so while Ishikawa tapped early on to an Armbar, that wasn’t the end. One could probably argue that’s unneccessarily cruel, as poor inexperienced Ishikawa got beat-up and then had to keep fighting, but it’s a nice way to differentiate it from a typical bout.
It was a decent performance by Ishikawa, who I believe had wrestled a few exhibitions before. She took her beating early on and then got to show some good fire towards the end, even going for a pin as the three-minutes ran out. Then, in the post-match, Thekla got a birthday cake, which was very pleasant. Put those together, and this gets the thumbs up from me.
Verdict: Solid Start
Suzu Suzuki and Tsukushi defeated Satsuki Totoro and Yappy
Yappy had to leave the commentary table to head to the ring, but Thekla replaced her, so they still had an English voice. Well, English-language voice. She’s Austrian, I believe.
Suzu and Tsukushi were supposedly a team in this one, but it didn’t take long for things to start breaking down. While they were still generally throwing each other at their opponents, they were taking a leaf from the Tam and Arisa book while doing so.
Outside of that enjoyable friction, this was a really fun set-up as Suzu and Tsukushi had to overcome their heavyweight opponents. They did a great job of convincingly managing to chip away at their bigger foes while never negating their power. In the end, it was Suzuki’s intelligence that got the win, bundling Yappy into a flash pin for the three. Not that getting the victory seemed to end the tension between Tsukushi and Suzu, you didn’t have to understand Japanese to realise there was some bickering going on in that post-match interview.
A Block: Risa Sera defeated Hiragi Kurumi
Our first tournament match of the show was all about Risa Sera trying to negate the power of Kurumi. When they were in the ring, fighting it out, it quickly became apparent that going head on wasn’t going to work for her. She could hurt her opponent, but her chances of doing enough to keep her down seemed slim.
So, she changed the match, slamming a chair over Kurumi’s head on the outside. For a bit, it looked like even that might backfire, as Kurumi responded by grabbing even more chairs, but a Suplex onto the pile left Sera free to slide back in and Kurumi to be counted out.
It added up to a decent little match. The story they told made sense and I thought both women performed well. It was far from a classic, but that didn’t stop it being a fun watch.
B Block: Maya Yukihi defeated Matsuya Uno
Uno is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. She was brilliantly twisty in this match, never deviating from her plan to grab one of Maya’s limbs and bend it in ways that are going to make her unhappy. At one point she even tied her up in part of the dojo, trying to force the countout victory.
It also put Yukihi in a cool spot as she battled to survive the twisting and find an opening. She was looking for that one moment where she could make a difference. In the end, that moment came with a devastating Running Knee as Uno was against the ropes, knocking her loopy. It didn’t directly lead to the finish, Uno actually almost managed to knock Maya off the top and sneak a victory that way, but it was the turning point, and not long after, she came flying down with a Swanton for the win.
I enjoyed the heck out of that match. It told the simple story of Uno being the better technical wrestler, but Maya having that little bit extra when it came to the big moments. Make sure and check it out.
Verdict: Lovely Stuff
B Block: Hamuko Hoshi defeated Tsukasa Fujimoto by fan vote after a time limit draw
Being voted out by the fans strikes me as the worst way to be eliminated. I’d much rather be knocked out than be told that people like my opponent more than me. I wonder how that works from a booking perspective? Was Ice Ribbon happy for either to go through? Did they gimmick the vote? Or were they confident that Hoshi would win?
Outside of puzzling through the booking, this match was ridiculously entertaining. You would never have guessed that they were working to a time limit as Hoshi attacked as Tsukasa made her entrance and they took off, working a ridiculous pace. While doing so, they managed to settle into a style that was both action-packed and smile-inducing, hitting all the right beats.
The final minutes saw them go all out, trading flash pins and big moves as they desperately went for the win. It played into the feeling of the whole match, as these two unleashed both barrels. Ultimately, though, neither one could do the damage necessary to get the win, and the draw was called.
They might have been inseparable in the ring, but the fan vote was decisive, Hoshi getting 75.4% to romp home!
Verdict: A Load Of Fun
I’ve no idea what was being said in the post-match interview, but there was a part where the set seemed to attack Yappy, which was very funny.
Another fun Ice Ribbon shows. They’ve rightly figured out that the best way to do these is to keep the matches (and the show) short, which was the case even if the main event went to a draw. It’s easy watching, and with the addition of Yappy to the commentary desk to provide English takes, it could serve as a decent starting point for anyone looking to get into the promotion.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/nicopro