Yes, I’m still nearly a month behind on Ice Ribbon. In my defence, there is a lot of wrestling. Also, I haven’t been paying for PPVs, so I’m only able to watch the shows when they’re uploaded to niconico, in which case I’m closer to being caught up than you’d think! So, shove that in your pipe and smoke it.
Maika Ozaki defeated Thekla
Thekla’s new gear’s winning streak came to an end, although her recent run of good performances did not. There wasn’t much depth to this, but it was well worked, and both women looked good. It was an excellent example of how a basic match structure (Ozaki’s strength eventually overcoming Thekla’s technique) can still be entertaining, and for an eight-minute opener, it did everything it needed to do.
Satsuki Totoro defeated Tsukushi and Banny Oikawa in a Three-Way match
Tsukushi was working on SEAdLINNNG instincts as she was dropped in a three-way and instantly started sucking up the ref. Sadly, said ref wasn’t Natsuki Taiyo, so we had to do without that fun.
There was a constantly shifting network of alliances in this one. We started with Tsukushi and Banny working together, then Banny and Totoro followed by Tsukushi and Totoro before a brief return to Tsukushi and Banny. It was hard to keep track, but also a lot of fun.
Once chaos broke out, the entertainment continued as this had a few really cool three-way spots. At one point, Banny had Tsukushi in a Backslide while stamping on Totoro which I don’t believe I’ve seen before. There was also a great sequence where Tsukushi repeatedly bated Banny and Totoro in, tricking them into hitting each other before attempting to sneak out with the win. Brilliantly goblin-like behaviour.
The more three-ways I review positively, the less my claim to dislike them stands up to scrutiny. This was brilliant and a perfect example of how to do this style of match. Maybe it was never the stipulation, but the people involved? Hm…
Verdict: A Lovely Time
Tsukasa Fujimoto, Hiragi Kurumi and Matsuya Uno defeated Risa Sera, Akane Fujita and Yappy
I loved the tone of this. Everyone out there seemed to be having the best time, and it was easy to get caught up in. Whether it was Uno and Fujita slapping each other or Sera and Tsukasa continuing their mini-feud (they kept it in the ring this time), it never stopped being entertaining.
There was an air of experimentation too, summed up by Fujimoto leaping off Kurumi’s back for a Dropkick and stopping to celebrate afterwards, delighted they’d pulled it off. Poor Yappy was also the recipient of a five-person Splash which can’t have been fun. Sometimes having no stakes in a match makes it boring, but this seemed to free the wrestlers up, letting them do stuff they might not try otherwise.
It made for an incredibly enjoyable watch. Everyone was out there, having a blast and wrestling well. I can’t imagine turning it on and not joining them in all the smiles.
Verdict: Big Grins All Round
Maya Yukihi and Hamuko Hoshi fought Suzu Suzuki and Ibuki Hoshi to a time-limit draw
Yes, we’re still building to the title shot that happened several weeks ago, shush. Alongside Maya and Suzu’s upcoming meeting, this was a mother vs daughter situation, something you don’t see too often in wrestling. It does make Ibuki the one person who has a genuine reason to be repulsed by her mum’s sexy poses.
The main takeaway from this match is that Suzu is struggling for momentum. She’d drawn with Fujita on the last Ice Ribbon show (although there was a P’s Party victory over Matsui in-between) and things were not going her way in this one. Moments like Maya blocking her spear through pure power, bringing her shuddering to a halt before lifting her for a Suplex, didn’t seem to speak well for the challenger.
Things could have been worse; she could have been Ibuki, whose night was less about frustration and more about survival. Mum had no qualms about dishing out a beating or two, seemingly relishing the chance to teach her daughter a couple of lessons. Still, she can be proud as she took that beating and even threatened to sneak away with the win before the time limit declared this a draw.
It added up to an intriguing and enjoyable encounter. The Suzu story is a weird one and, even knowing the result of her title challenge, I’m interested to see how it plays out. Fingers crossed they stick the landing.
Everyone got a chance to speak post-show, and I was hella impressed by Thekla delivering her promo in Japanese while the fans laughed along with her. I wasn’t aware she spoke the language so well. Outside of that, there didn’t seem to be much of note said, by which I mean no-one got into a fight. There was some Suzu shouting, Ibuki having something to say about her Mum and a birthday celebration for Maika, which was lovely and, once again, gave us the sight of someone figuring out how to blow out candles while wearing a mask (the answer was enthusiastic arm gestures).
Ice Ribbon continues to trundle along brilliantly, putting on enjoyable matches and being unfazed by the chaos of the outside world. There is nothing on this show that you have to see, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a lot of fun.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/iceribbon