Two Ice Ribbon reviews in a row, don’t I spoil you all? We’re back in the dojo, and while the original IW19 match had to be cancelled due to Akane Fujita’s injury, it’s just possible there might be a replacement. More on that later.
Hamuko Hoshi and Thekla defeated Hiragi Kurumi and Nao Ishikawa
After closing out the show on her debut, Nao was dropped to what will become the more familiar spot of the opener. If she thought that might lead to people taking it a bit easier on her, she had another thing coming, as Hoshi and Thekla put her through her paces.
It was another solid performance from the rookie, though. She had a few dodgy moments, at one point bumping before Thekla had hit her, but it was nothing I’d hold against her. For someone with as little experience as she has, she’s doing good stuff.
Talking of good stuff, I’ve been impressed with the last few Thekla matches I’ve seen. I wish she’d stop doing the random spider walks because they look a bit silly, but I think she’s a better wrestler than I first gave her credit for as she moves around the ring in an intriguing way. I believe she came through mainly wrestling on mats, so I assume that has something to do with it.
Throw in Hoshi and Kurumi, and we had a nice little opener on our hands. It gets the thumbs up from me.
Verdict: Good Stuff
In-between matches it was announced that Yappy would be taking Akane Fujita’s place in the IW19 tournament. It was treated like Yappy had just received the news herself, which made it all very exciting.
B Block: Suzu Suzuki defeated Yappy
That change turned this into a huge opportunity for Yappy, and she wrestled like that was the case. It was exciting to see her be a bit more aggressive, taking the fight to Suzu. I also loved a spot where she tried to knock Suzu off the top rope by jumping up and down in the middle of the ring, hoping the shaking would cause her to lose her balance.
Sadly for Yappy, Suzuki still had just that little bit more in the tank. She was able to survive Yappy’s attacks before turning things around and getting the win. Suzuki might only be seventeen and have wrestled a smidge longer than Yappy, but she felt like the veteran, caught off-guard by a rookie before finding her feet and earning a convincing victory.
Still, even in defeat this worked as a nice culmination to what’s been a solid few weeks for Yappy. She feels like someone stepping up a level as a performer, so for her to be handed this opportunity was a cool moment even if she didn’t get the win.
Verdict: Well Done, Yappy!
Tsukasa Fujimoto defeated Ibuki Hoshi
Tsukasa was having a lovely time in the opening minutes of this match. The veteran took control, a big grin on her face as she looked set to put this youngster away quickly. Unfortunately for her, Ibuki was in no mood to be brushed off. As Fujimoto took her time setting up an Ace Cutter out of the corner, she struck, slipping into a Sleeper and bringing herself into the action.
It’s a story we’ve seen a million times, the veteran taking the rookie too lightly and nearly being punished, but there is a reason for that, it’s a good story. Hoshi looked good throwing everything she had at Fujimoto, desperately trying to get the win before Tsukasa’s class eventually shone through, getting the submission. Simple, effective storytelling is sometimes all you need, and that’s what this delivered.
Maya Yukihi and Satsuki Totoro defeated Tsukushi and Risa Sera
We got some peak Tsukushi in this match as she tagged herself in, threw Susa (her partner) off Totoro and had apparently decided that she was much better suited to be dishing out a beating. It’s that wiry prick energy taken to the next level, and I love it so much.
It was also perfectly suited to a match where everyone seemed determined to throw hands. They kicked things off by charging at each other, setting the tone for what was to come. No-one seemed particularly bothered who they were hitting as long as the pain was being spread around.
Sera would get her revenge in a roundabout way come the end, crashing down on Tsukushi by accident to put Yukihi in position to get the three. It was a fitting conclusion to a chaotic and hella fun outing.
Verdict: Tsukushi Ichiban!
The show finished with Totoro getting a birthday cake, so happy late birthday to her! It also gave us the amusing image of Totoro having to blow out the candles with her hand because she was wearing a mask.
Ice Ribbon continues to nail this empty arena stuff, putting together shows that are joyous to watch. There isn’t much weighty stuff, and they seem to be avoiding progressing storylines too much, but that doesn’t bother me. They are perfect, light quarantine viewing, so I am happy for them to continue in that style.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/iceribbon