Ice Ribbon 1043 aired on Samurai, so while it was still behind closed doors, it was a longer show that broke the formula they’ve recently been working to. I’ve generally been in favour of these short, pacey efforts, so I was intrigued to see how this would go down without a crowd.
Suzu Suzuki defeated Nao Ishikawa
Suzu and Nao faced off on a recent P’s Party, making this was a rematch. It also saw Suzu sporting a different look as she got down to giving the rookie a beating.
It seems a strange thing to say for someone as young in their career as Nao, but this felt a bit like the greatest hits from her matches so far. They were given around five minutes, so they leaned heavily on the spots she has perfected, including the Crossbody into multiple pin attempts that I like.
One thing that did stand out was the finish, with Suzu apparently determined to break the poor lass in half with a Boston Crab. She’d look like she was apologising afterwards, only to deliver a swift strike to the back with a big old grin on her face. Our Suzu has an evil streak, doesn’t she?
Anyway, it was a solid wee match from the rookie. If you have been watching all the other shows, none of it will surprise you, but that doesn’t mean it was bad.
Thekla defeated Banny Oikawa
Everyone seems to be rocking new gear as Thekla was all decked out in some fancy threads while Banny’s bunny attire has evolved.
Thekla has impressed me recently and that continued in a match that was set up to showcase her. Banny was playing the scrappy underdog, getting her moments, but ultimately having nowhere near enough. Every exchange would ultimately lead to the Austrian coming out on top.
I don’t think she’s perfect. At times it felt like she was gurning to the camera a bit too much, but that might have come out of not having fans to bounce off. Even if it didn’t, it’s a small criticism, and she still came out of this looking good.
Verdict: The New Gear Gets The Job Done
Ram Kaicho and Maika Ozaki defeated Tam Honma and Yappy
One advantage of the longer show is that Ice Ribbon had to call in some names we haven’t seen recently, so welcome back, Ram! Although she didn’t look very happy about it, giving off the impression that she wasn’t too impressed with her partner.
Whether that was the case or not, this turned into a fun match. Uno has become one of my favourites as her submission game really is great. She’s flawless in her transitions, always naturally moving from hold to hold. Yappy, meanwhile, has had a good few weeks, putting together strong performances alongside her boundless enthusiasm.
Sadly, enthusiasm didn’t get the job down as Ram’s brain won out. Yappy survived the first Rainmaker, kicking out defiantly before ducking the second, but that didn’t stop her being bundled up for the three.
Verdict: Nice Stuff
Hiragi Kurumi defeated Akane Fujita
Fujita and Kurumi gave us a good old-fashioned slug-fest, starting the match by teeing off on each other with strikes and going from there.
It was one of those contests where neither could gain the upper hand, the momentum swinging between the two. What was clear, though, was that it all hurt. Big power moves and thunderous strikes were the dishes of the day.
In the end, Kurumi dropped Fujita with a Package Tombstone, and while she kicked out of that, the Splash that followed did the job. This was a shitload of fun, proving to be easily the best thing on the show so far.
Verdict: Big Blows
Suzu Suzuki and Risa Sera defeated Maya Yukihi and Ibuki Hoshi
I’m so far behind on Ice Ribbon that Suzu vs Maya has already happened, but let’s pretend we don’t know that and try to enjoy the build.
Before we get to that, though, Sera had a great match. She got to show off her strength, spinning both opponents at the same time and later hoisting Maya out of a Crab into a Powerbomb. She’s one of these wrestlers who is consistently good, so I perhaps don’t give her the credit she deserves.
As for Maya and Suzu, Suzu just inched the conflict, taking the champ out with a German before pinning Ibuki. However, for most of the match, it was a score draw, both having their moments, but neither pulling away. Every time it felt like one was about to gain control, the other popped up with a counter, keeping things level. It led to an entertaining contest and spoke well for a title match that we obviously know nothing about.
Verdict: Suzu’s Coming For You
Suzu and Maya had a chat afterwards, but I’ve no idea what it was about. I’m sure they had fun, though.
Dropkickers (Tsukasa Fujimoto and Tsukushi) defeated Lovely Butchers (Hamuko Hoshi and Mochi Miyagi) to retain the International Ribbon Tag Titles
With Hamuko defeating both Dropkickers by fan vote in the IW19 tournament, she’d earned a shot at their tag titles, while they were out for revenge.
There were some fantastic sequences in this match, the highlight of which was one that ended with Hamuko rolling over Tsukasa only to turn straight into a Tsukushi Dropkick. The whole thing was impeccably timed and looked awesome.
That summed up the match, to be honest. They didn’t really aim for anything complex here but did deliver on really fun wrestling. It’s something these teams excel at, as you get that mix of power and comedy from Lovely Butchers coming up against the lethal speed of Dropkickers. Those two things make one tasty cake as this turned into a very easy watch.
Lovely Butchers went down fighting too, at one point managing to isolate Tsukushi and repeatedly send her flying across the ring. That wee devil doesn’t go down easy, though. She fought them off, giving Tsukasa time to get back and even up the teams.
In the end, Dropkickers’ teamwork would prove decisive. Tsukasa removing Mochi from the equation before a combo Japanese Cyclone Suplex/Double Stomp would see Hamuko off. To be honest, the Stomp felt a bit excessive, but it certainly got the job done.
Verdict: Whole Load Of Fun
Maybe I’ve got so used to empty arena shows that they no longer bother me, but this being a full two-hour show made no difference to how much fun I had. Ice Ribbon has definitely established a formula, keeping the matches simple and pacey, but it’s a formula that works, so I have no complaints.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/iceribbon