You know, I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been trying to review every Ice Ribbon show. I don’t do that for any other company, so why did I set off on this pointless crusade? With that in mind, I’m going to start skipping around, picking up the big shows and hopefully catching up before a certain title shot. Wish me luck!
Tsukushi defeated White 3-0 in a Exhibition match
There is a touch of The Pencil to trainee White. I believe this was her debut exhibition and she managed to forward roll out of an arm wringer only to backwards roll right back into it, tap out to both a Headlock and a Dropkick and lose three times in a three-minute match.
Of course, if you’re going to borrow, you might as well borrow from the best, so I have no problem with White following in Lulu’s footsteps. Plus, she wasn’t quite at Pencil levels of struggle as she did manage to catch Tsukushi off-guard with a couple of flash pins, earning herself a couple of two counts. Lulu also tapped out at least eight times in her debut exhibition, so White has a bit to go yet.
Despite that, it was a fun wee introduction, aided by the look of delight on Skoosh’s face when she realised what fun she was about to have.
Verdict: White is Pencil Army?
Yappy defeated Nao Ishikawa
With White coming on the scene, Nao is no longer the Ice Ribbon baby, but that didn’t stop Yappy having some fun. There was a moment where she was just spinning Ishikawa around in a headlock.
Of course, Nao wasn’t going to take that lying down, and she continues to play the plucky wee underdog well. I’ve wanged on enough about how much potential I see in her, so I won’t bother repeating myself too much, but nothing she did here changed my opinion.
Sadly, towards the end, Nao began to tire, and when she went for a Crossbody, it was easy for Yappy to catch her out of the air. The Backbreaker that followed set the stage for a hard-fought Crab (Yappy fell over when putting it on, but recovered well) and Ishikawa was forced to tap. Still, I can appreciate a nice wee match even if a favourite loses.
Matsuya Uno and Banny Oikawa defeated Thekla and Chon Shiryu
Before I started watching Ice Ribbon regularly, I read a review that claimed Banny wasn’t a good wrestler. I can’t remember who it was, but I’d just like to point out that they were wrong.
She may have my support, but this was still a rough afternoon for her as she spent a decent amount of it being beat-up by Shiryu. Still, I’m sure knowing I have her back will make it hurt a bit less (that and the fact it happened over a month ago).
Uno and Thekla would end up taking centre stage for the final act, proving to be a fun pairing as Uno tried to grab limbs and Thekla mainly resorted to booting her. In the end, the technical side won out, Uno managing to bundle Thekla into a flash pin for the three.
It was a situation Thekla wasn’t happy about, attempting to continue the fight after the bell. She’d end up challenging Uno who said she’d do it if she got a shot at that belt Thekla carries around. Thekla agreed, going on to say that it would be underground rules. If we’re going off their interactions here, that’s probably one of the matches that I’ll want to check out.
Verdict: Plans Are Brewing
Suzu Suzuki and Risa Sera defeated Tsukushi and Maika Ozaki
Suzu and Risa have lightsabers and cloaks, so this is a five-star match. Thankfully, Tsukushi did not have a sword-based weapon as that would be too much chaos even for me.
Not that Skoosh needs weaponry to be disruptive. There was a moment in this match where she decided, after doing a few press-ups, that her new goal was to use a Giant Swing on Sera. The result was, well, more likely to give Risa a carpet burn than anything else, but you can’t fault the effort. Although Skoosh might have regretted it when Sera decided to show her how its done.
No-one should be surprised to hear that this was incredibly entertaining, as the people involved kind of give it away. Suzu and Risa are a good team, working together well in their matching gear while Ozaki provided a nice power element (she got both Risa and Suzu up in a Torture Rack at the same time). The memory that will stick with me is probably going to be Skoosh’s ‘Giant’ Swing, but I had a lovely time throughout.
Sadly, Tsukushi was less impressed, walking over her partner on the way out before Suzu decided she wanted a bit of that action too. Poor, Maika.
Verdict: Swing, Skoosh, Swing!
Enemy Army (Maya Yukihi, Rina Yamashita and Ram Kaicho) defeated Frank Sisters (Hiragi Kurumi, Akane Fujita and Mochi Miyagi)
Failed Giant Swings were the theme on this show as Rina’s attempt to get Kurumi round also proved a struggle. It still probably hurt more than Ram’s attempts to take down Hiragi as she didn’t quite have the weight or momentum to rock her opponent. Thankfully, Maya was there to give her a helping hand.
That all passed the time and this match was chugging along nicely (although there was a couple of awkward moments between Ram and Mochi) until Rina and Akane faced off. Suddenly, the two of them got a glint in their eyes and started laying into each other, slugging it out in the centre of the ring. Everyone else kind of took a backseat at that point, presumably because they were scared of getting in the way.
It was an awesome finish to a decent match that made Rina look like an absolute beast when she came out victorious. Then, afterwards, she got on the mic and said, well, I’m nae sure what, but things got a bit heated as everyone (apart from Ram) had their say, suggesting there may be a few more fights down the road.
It wasn’t just the people in the ring getting involved either as Risa made an appearance to talk to Rina, bringing with her the Fantast ICE title, a belt that they were set to face-off for to decide the first champion pre-lockdown. It works a bit like DDT’s Extreme Title, but as far as I could tell they didn’t set a stipulation here, just confirmed the match would still be going ahead.
Tae Honma defeated Satsuki Totoro and Tsukasa Fujimoto to retain the Triangle Ribbon Title
Fujimoto is brilliant, isn’t she? I realise that’s hardly a hot take and is kind of obvious, but I get so much joy out of watching her wrestle. She looks like someone who loves what she does and is just delighted to have a chance to do it.
I think it’s also fair to say that Ice Ribbon has been the nail in the coffin of my so-called dislike of three-ways. It turns out it’s perfectly possible to do them well, the key is to be good at doing so. This was a match that was built around Totoro’s power with Tsukka and Tae doing a good job of staying away from it early on. They formed a kind of alliance, although they spent as much time beating each other up as they did Satsuki.
Then, towards the end, Totoro was unleashed, destroying Fujimoto with a One-Winged Angel style move before setting up for the same on Tae. Unfortunately for her, Honma had a way out, slipping through and into an Armbar, forcing the instant submission.
This isn’t going to get down as a classic or something you need to see, but it was a very enjoyable match that made me smile. I don’t need much more than that.
Verdict: Good Stuff
Hamuko Hoshi defeated Ibuki Hoshi to retain the IW19 Title
Ibuki is at a point in her career where she’s good, but she’s not yet better than mother dearest. Ham controlled significant portions of the action, showing she was bigger and stronger than Ibuki as well as having that extra flash of in-ring smarts. However, there were still moments where it looked like she might let this slip.
Because while Ibuki isn’t quite at Ham’s level yet, she is still good, and she was fuelled by a determination to overcome the woman who raised her. Right from the start, she threw herself into the action, trying to steal a flash pin at the bell. When she attacked, she was a screaming ball of energy, presumably letting out all those teenage frustrations as she got an opportunity most kids her age would kill for.
Talking of killing, she proved hard to put down too, powering out of a pin at one after a brutal Lariat and recovering quickly from a Samoan Drop to kick off a series of great near falls from flash pins. Ibuki was relentless, desperate for something that could give her the upset.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. I have no doubt that one day she’ll beat her Mum in singles competition, but she’s going have to keep working for it, a Big Splash seeing her off. Still, this was a damn good performance, and it’s almost unfair that she’s only seventeen. Fair play to her.
Verdict: Family Fight!
After sharing a few words with her daughter, Hamuko called out Maya, building to their match (which is, I think, on the next show I’m going to look at). They had words, but, as usual, I don’t know what they were. It all seemed fairly respectful, though.
Another enjoyable show from Ice Ribbon. Yes, it happened over a month ago, but I’m glad I picked it out as one to watch as pretty much everything delivered. Well done them!
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/iceribbon