Ice Ribbon are back in Korakuen for their first big show with Suzu as champ. She’s going up against everyone’s favourite pest, Tsukushi, backed-up by an undercard of Syuri vs Sera and a four-way that honestly could be anything. If that doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, you’re probably in the wrong place.
Joint Army (Matsuya Uno, Tae Honma and Rina Shingaki) defeated Yappy, Banny Oikawa and Ibuki Hoshi
With this being a Samurai broadcast, the opener had been for a trim.
What we saw was a fast-paced, enjoyable tag with Yappy, Banny and Ibuki trying to avoid the limb-grabbing talents of Joint Army. It’s a style of match that is almost a guaranteed good time with the final stretch between Yappy and Uno being particularly impressive. Push Yappy, Ice Ribbon, it’s the right thing to do.
I don’t have much more to add, twas a fun opener with a load of very cool people in the ring. Turn it on, sit back and enjoy.
Verdict: Good Start
Ram Kaicho defeated Satsuki Totoro and Lady Koju to retain the Triangle Ribbon Title
Honestly, this match had me on-board within the first few minutes when a sing/dance-off ended with Satsuki treating us to the theme from Totoro while Ram and Lady Koju walked around in a circle mimicking the film. That song legit makes me cry happy tears because it’s wrapped up in such warm, comfortable memories, but this is the first time it’s had me giggling as the shot of Suzu cracking up at ringside summed it all up nicely.
The rest of the match was a laugh too with a fair few antics based around Lady Koju. I’ve got to say, Takeda continues to prove he can pull off a blonde wig and a thong bikini with style. If I looked that good dressed like that, I’d never wear clothes. Even with that remarkable sight, it’s the opening I’ll remember this for. Give me more Totoro singing Totoro, please.
Frank Sisters (Hiragi Kurumi, Mochi Miyagi and Akane Fujita) defeated Rebel X Enemy (Maya Yukihi, Rina Yamashita and Maika Ozaki)
There is a good chance this is my favourite Maika Ozaki performance. She’s never grabbed my attention before, but she kicked this off by going right at Mochi, and it was the start of something pretty awesome. Those two had big hoss energy, laying into each other at every turn.
The rest of the match was great too, as there was an abundance of people who are good at running through each other. There was also a really cool moment where Rina just punched Fujita in the head with a closed fist, that simple move drawing a reaction from the crowd as the ref admonished her. I’ve always loved how such a basic move can change a mood. The lack of closed fists the rest of the time paying-off when someone does use one.
We were handed back to Ozaki and Mochi for the final act, though, as they closed us out in the same way that they’d started. It was a thrilling back and forth with Ozaki coming incredibly close to getting the win, only for Mochi to pull it back at the end. In the aftermath, it looked a lot like Ozaki and Yuki were aiming for a title shot and, on this evidence, that could rock.
Verdict: Give Us More!
Tsukasa Fujimoto defeated Hamuko Hoshi, Shinigami Machine 1 and Hyoketsu in a four-way match
Right, I don’t have a fucking clue what happened here. There was a ladder with some salt at the top of it, masked sumo wrestlers tackling ring posts and a baton twirling display. Towards the end, Tsukka was singing on the top rope which seemed to mess with the sumo wrestler’s brain leading to him being unmasked only for him to have another mask under the mask. I assume that those who speak Japanese better than I would have a bit more understanding as to what was happening, but I suspect it was still mostly nonsense.
However, I am kind of delighted that it exists. This match had Tsukasa Fujimoto in it, someone who I would rank as one of the best wrestlers in the world, and she’s out there getting submission victories by pouring salt onto a mask. Why? Fuck knows, but the fact she embraces it is wonderful. While I’m not saying I want all wrestling to be incomprehensible, some of it being so is fine by me.
Verdict: Who Fucking Knows
Risa Sera defeated Syuri to retain the FantastIce Title in a No-Ropes Lumberjack Match
With Joint Army in Syuri’s corner, Risa was out recruiting in the pre-match video. She did a pretty good job (after much grovelling and a chat with Minoru Fujita), convincing Rebel X Enemy to stand at her side (although they would occasionally prove more a hindrance than an aid).
What makes Syuri and Rina such brilliant wrestlers is that while they’re total badasses, they’re also massive dorks. This was a match designed to highlight that. From the unusual weapons (at one point, Syuri was spinning around in a circle repeatedly hitting Risa with a suitcase) to Sera’s problems with Joint Army (they did not get the message the first time Risa threw Syuri out the ring) they were having a lovely time.
On top of that, they’re two fantastic workers, able to sell both the nonsense and the violence. The finish was particularly brutal, the lack of ropes making sure that Syuri’s final moment in Ice Ribbon (it seems she’s off to sign full-time with Stardom) was fucking painful. If you wanted a match to sum up my taste in wrestling, this would do a fairly good job, so it was no surprise that I loved it.
There was a farewell to Syuri in the aftermath, Uno promising to take on the Joint Army mantle. Even as someone who is still a fan of Stardom, them signing Syuri is a blow. She’s a presence in so many promotions and is nearly always brilliant. A healthy scene needs wrestlers like that, so losing one of them to the machine hurts.
Suzu Suzuki defeated Tsukushi to retain the ICExInfinity Title
I could watch Tsukushi be a wee goblin child all day. There was a moment in this match where she tied Suzu up in the ropes, holding her in place so she could Dropkick her in the back. Before taking off for that Dropkick, though, she made sure to grab hold of Suzu’s hair, tugging at it as she went, just to add that extra pain.
She’s vicious too, the dull thud of the forearms she delivered to a downed Suzu echoing out, followed up by a slap across the face. I never really doubted that the young champ was going to win on her first defence, but Skoosh made sure to test her. Her offence is a constant flurry, that goblin nature not allowing Suzu a single breath. It’s the kind of attack that could overwhelm a young wrestler stepping up for the first time.
What this match aimed to prove, though, was that Suzu could face that heat. She took Tsukushi’s best but kept getting up, matching her and giving it back. Towards the end, she was kicking out of move after move, showing that fighting spirit. In her comeback, Skoosh got the one big kick out in return before a trio of Germans (one more than Suzu used to win the title) put the goblin child down for good.
I’d rank this as a near-perfect first title defence. Suzuki went up against one of Ice Ribbon’s best, ate a lot of offence before coming back and convincingly putting her away. Suzu looked great, Skoosh is one of the best, and we can all go home happy.
Verdict: Die Goblin Child
Big show Ice Ribbon is one of my favourite things. With the PPV model, I don’t watch all the in-between because, to be honest, I can’t afford it, but when they turn up, it always delivers. From the bizarre to the sublime this was a great show, so make sure to check it out.
Watch Ice Ribbon on niconico: https://ch.nicovideo.jp/iceribbon