I am a fair bit behind on my Ice Ribbon reviews, but oh well. The plan is to trundle on, working under the assumption that I’ll eventually catch-up because, well, they’re not doing that many shows. Number 1041 had our first IW19 Title semi-final, a match that would end in heartbreak. Who for? Read on to find out.
Tsukasa Fujimoto and Ibuki Hoshi defeated Matsuya Uno and Yappy
Fujimoto is ridiculously fun in these undercard matches. She comes in with all the swagger of an Ace yet still manages to remain likeable. Tsukasa is out there having fun, leading Hoshi in swinging Uno back and forth to send her flying across the ring before attempting to do the same with Yappy and not getting quite the same distance.
While that confidence could swallow up her opponents, she’s good enough to prevent that from happening. Instead, it makes them look better when they crack through it, getting some shots in at her. It also seemed to lift Hoshi, as she had a strong performance, wrestling with a smile on her face and engaging in chop battles with Yappy.
She’d also get revenge for Yappy beating her on a previous show, pulling her off her feet and into a flash pin. Sadly, the flash aspect of it wasn’t really there, and it was more of a laboured cover, but a small stumble at the end didn’t ruin a fun opener.
Verdict: Fun Loving Tsukasa
Suzu Suzuki and Mochi Miyagi defeated Maya Yukihi and Thekla
Suzu and Mochi were in the mood for a fight, charging across the ring before the bell to get it started. It was a pacey way to kick-off what would turn into a solid little tag match.
The highlight of which was the interaction between Suzu and Maya, an opportunity for them to keep the fires burning until Ice Ribbon return to shows in front of fans. It featured a cool exchange where Yukihi went for a trio of Suplexes only for Suzu to stop the third by hanging off Maya’s neck. It was a valiant attempt, but even after being trapped for a decent amount of time, Maya managed to dig deep and hoist Suzu over to complete the move. She just had that little bit more in the tank than her young opponent.
Mochi would get the win, pinning Thekla with a Styles Clash and this was decent. The lack of stakes does hurt these tags, but they’re easy to watch and kept short enough that it’s not a huge deal.
Hamuko Hoshi defeated Tsukushi and Risa Sera in the IW19 Semi-Final by fan vote
Few things in wrestling are going to be more heartbreaking than watching Tsukushi, her home-made IW19 title clutched to her chest, burst into tears at being told Hamuko had beaten her in the fan vote. It’s one of those moments that reminds you how young some of these wrestlers are, the emotion overwhelming her as she was eliminated by the hands of whoever was watching on NicoNico. I hope you’re all proud of yourselves.
It had been a brilliant match before that too. I’ve voiced my complaints about three-ways many a time, but they did a great job of using the stipulation rather than fighting against. Moments like Sera twisting Hoshi back and forth in a Crab so Tsukushi could Stomp all over her were brilliant fun, while the brawling on the floor brought the intensity that the rest of the card lacked at times.
The final minutes stepped it up a notch too, Sera being eliminated by going over the top rope and leaving Hoshi and Tsukushi to battle it out. With time ticking away, they threw everything at each other, flying into pins and unleashing both barrels in an attempt to get the win. It wasn’t to be, though. The fan vote was their future, and poor Tsukushi would be left heartbroken.
Verdict: You Monsters
An enjoyable if unremarkable undercard topped off with a brilliant main event and an emotional finish. Tsukushi did seem to be laughing at herself in an interview that they put on the end of the broadcast, but she also threw her home-made belt across the room, so it clearly still stung. These Ice Ribbon shows are at their best when there is something on the line, and that was what that final match gave us.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/iceribbon