January 3, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan
I saw more Ice Ribbon than any other company during my trip, and their New Year’s show at the Ice Ribbon Dojo was a great way to wind down my visit (I only had one more show after this).
I love the atmosphere of Ice Ribbon’s dojo shows. It’s a unique venue that lends itself to fun shows. More details on that in my review of the first show I attended there.
I was unclear at first about whether pictures were allowed during this show, so didn’t get any during the opening match between 235 and Kyuri. This was short but very good, with both competitors looking the best I’d seen without having a veteran in there to hold things together.
The second match was scheduled to be Miyako Matsumoto and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Azure Revolution (Risa Sera and Maya Yukihi). I was looking forward to seeing two of my favorites team against an established duo, but it wasn’t to be (and I have no complaints about how things turned out). As the match started Miyako got the mic and apparently had some complaints about teaming with Tsukka. She grabbed Risa and rebooked the match herself through force of will and it became Miyako Matsumoto and Risa Sera vs Tsukasa Fujimoto and Maya Yukihi. Classic Miyako and it led to a ton of amusing moments. Tsukasa’s face when Miyako offered her the traditional pre-match handshake after ditching her was priceless. Tsukka’s incredible in every aspect of pro-wrestling and it was a treat to see her so many times during my trip.
This match had an ongoing stipulation where the ring announcer would state a letter, and pinfalls could only be attempted after a move starting with it. One of the highlights of it was Tsukasa and Maya pulling out Miyako’s own Mama Mia on her, then an irate Miyako retaliating with Super Mama Mia once the letter changed. Miyako was easily one of the most entertaining parts of my trip, as she knows exactly how to work her gimmick for maximum effect and amusement. Her running laps around the ring in excitement as a victory celebration (with Tsukasa trying to trip her on each pass until successful) was magnificent.
The main event was a six-woman tag featuring Hamuko Hoshi, Yuuka, and Maruko Nagasaki vs. Aoi Kizuki, Akane Fujita, and Mochi Miyagi. This was fun, serving to further set up the Butchers’ impending match for Hamuko’s title while allowing the other wrestlers to shine too. It was also a nice spotlight on former champion Aoi Kizuki, which made even more sense looking back after the roundtable.
In addition to the normal discussion of the show and the wrestlers’ upcoming appearances, Aoi Kizuki obviously made some sort of big announcement during the roundtable. I got a translation from Aoi herself after the show that it was her “graduation” from Ice Ribbon and she was going freelance after the 1/9 show. In retrospect there were a lot of little hints, such as her first appearance on a Wave show earlier in the day. Aoi is a favorite of mine and I wish her all the best in this next phase of her career.
I had heard a lot about Ice Ribbon from friends before my trip and it certainly lived up to my expectations. It has a phenomenal roster featuring a mix of veterans and up-and-comers that perform a great variety of match styles.
I enjoyed every Ice Ribbon show I attended and the opportunities to meet and support the wrestlers were much appreciated. The photo op with the whole roster is awesome and something I haven’t seen done elsewhere. I highly recommend IR in general, and even more so the opportunity to see them at their home base.