December 28, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan
This was Risa Sera Produce 2 and felt quite different than the other Ice Ribbon shows I’ve been to. All the matches had heavy comedic overtones, but it was done very well and surrounded by excellent action. The main event also got more and more serious and dramatic in tone the longer it went.
Maruko Nagasaki, Tsukasa Fujimoto and Tsukushi vs Akane Fujita, Maya Yukihi and Mochi Miyagi started the show. The announcers (including retired wrestler Mio Shirai) did live commentary through most of the show, which worked well given the lighter tone. I was a bit lost here, as they was some stipulation affecting when pinfalls could be counted I didn’t follow since I can’t speak Japanese. But it was easy to catch the gist thanks to facial expressions and body language of the wrestlers (particularly Fujimoto). Good action too, making this a strong opener.
Next up was a Cell Phone Destruction Tag Match with Miyako Matsumoto and Neko Nitta vs Hamuko Hoshi and Yuka. Yep, a match where the loser of the fall has their cell phone destroyed. See what I mean about comedic overtones. A second stipulation was added shortly before the show that if the match went to any kind of no contest, it was Risa Sera’s phone that would be destroyed. I had been questioning why the four involved wouldn’t just agree to a double countout or to run out the clock to save their own phones at Risa’s expense, and to my delight the always entertaining Miyako Matsumoto seemed to propose just that to start the match. All four began posing and stretching for a couple of minutes, until Risa came out to plead her case. Again I didn’t catch what was said, but the general effect was turning everyone on Miyako and the match began in earnest.
This was a highly entertaining back and forth match, with a nice underlying story of Miyako increasingly getting on her partner’s nerves and causing Neko grief until the latter breaks up Miyako’s apparent pin victory and feeds her to their opponents.
Injured wrestler Kurumi was brought out with hammers for the destruction ceremony, complete with ten bell salute for Miyako’s phone. Miyako suitably freaked out as her beloved phone was destroyed, including her opponents getting a couple of hammer shots in when Kurumi was finished. Although I generally prefer straight up wrestling, the humorous stuff can be fantastic when done right. It was done perfectly here. Miyako in particular is a master of it.
The main event was a 60-minute Four Seasons Ironman Match featuring Risa Sera. Her opponent changed after each decision, and they all brought some sort of season related weapon with them. This match had everything, including numerous intense brawls through the crowd (and outside the building a couple times).
Risa’s opponents were Tsukushi, Isami Kodaka (twice), Hamuko Hoshi, Yuko Miyamoto (twice), Neko Nitta, Akane Fujita, Tsukasa Fujimoto, and Mochi Miyagi. Weapons ranged from pollen filled balloons to buckets of snow to a barbed wire baseball bat. One of the more amusing sequences was Akane Fujita dumping igakuri all over the ring as her “weapon,” then Tsukasa Fujimoto coming in next with a broom and calmly using it to sweep all the igakuri away before attacking Risa.
The first half or so of the match was heavy comedy, but still emphasized Risa’s resiliency and had good wrestling related spots worked in. As the match went on the live commentary dropped away and things got a lot more serious, leading to a great finishing sequence with Risa fighting off Isami Kodaka as time wound down.
It’s been an adjustment to me to have some match types where the results aren’t meant to matter, and this was ridiculously lopsided. But it wasn’t meant to be serious until the end, when it became a testament to Risa’s toughness anyway. As a friend told me, “It’s not about the winning and losing, it’s about the journey.” This was a hell of a journey for Risa, and she had numerous bumps and bruises (including a nasty one on the left side of her face) illustrating it.
Overall this was another fantastic show from Ice Ribbon, and Risa really outdid herself. That the roster can put on numerous shows with such different feeling and atmosphere speaks volumes about the level of talent involved.