December 28, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan
This was a special Ice Ribbon show produced by Risa Sera and with the title “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… Deathmatch.” It featured three matches with unique stipulations and heavy comedic overtones. My live thoughts can be read here.
In contrast to the other Ice Ribbon dvds I’ve reviewed, this one has commentary. It was done live by Hirotsugu Suyama and retired wrestler Mio Shirai on the house mics and was audible for the live audience. They banter a bit to open the show.
Then the titles run, showing “Risa Sera produce… Psychic phenomenon Deathmatch,” and a pre-recorded piece with Risa talking and interspersed images of her and other wrestlers fighting off some sort of apparition in a forest. Then a few highlights of Risa’s career play followed by her running down the card for this show (including a couple clips of season-related weapons being gathered).
We fade back to the venue and Risa comes to the ring to introduce the show.
1) Tsukasa Fujimoto, Maruko Nagasaki, and Tsukushi vs Akane Fujita, Maya Yukihi and Mochi Miyagi ***
As with the other IR releases I’ve seen, ring intros are not shown and instead we get a clip of Risa talking about this match and a “title card” shown for it. Even the wrestlers were laughing a bit at the running commentary. I believe the stipulation here was the pinfalls had to be related to the four seasons somehow to count. I was a bit lost live (though still liked it). Let’s see if it’s easier to follow now.
Tsukka and Mochi start. They trade wristlocks and hammerlocks and so far I’m finding the commentary more distracting than I did live. Tsukka with a snapmare into a seated position and a hard kick to Mochi’s back to get control. She tries to pick up Mochi for a slam (from suplex position) a couple times with little success as Tsukushi fires up the crowd in support. Mochi almost reverses it, but Tsukka fights out of it and finally gets Mochi up and slams her. Nice, simple sequence that gets a good crowd reaction. Execution is everything.
Tsukka covers but the ref and commentators inform her the slam doesn’t qualify. Tsukka sells being at a loss, then suddenly gets an idea. Maruko and Tsukushi rush the opposite corner to cut off Akane and Maya while Tsukka shockingly puts Mochi on the second turnbuckle facing outward and calls for a powerbomb. Great show of strength and she gets Mochi out to center of the ring in position, but Mochi ends up falling on her in Earthquake splash position instead. Tsukka quickly reverses a whip and then dropkicks Mochi to retake control, then tags in Maruko.
Maruko perhaps unwisely goes for a slam, which Mochi reverses. Mochi then covers Maruko and puts her own arms out (sort of an “airplane” position), and after the ref considers it for a second and exchanges comments with Mio he decides to count it. Gets 2. Mochi calls Akane in, climbs on her back, then they splash Maruko together. The ref starts counting but Mochi is trying to get Akane out since she’s not legal. She calls in Maya and makes her do the same thing, which Maya barely accomplishes because of Mochi’s weight. Mochi forcibly rolls Maya off Maruko and covers for 2. Tag brings in Maya legally.
She hits Maruko with a pair of slams (a LOT of those so far this match) but Maruko reverses a third attempt into a small package, which apparently doesn’t qualify, so no count. Maya tags Akane once she gets free. Akane slams Maruko and the crowd laughs at the commentary. Akane ties up Maruko with her own arms and legs and sits on her, which is good enough for the ref to check for a submission. Akane now spanking Maruko. Ref still checking with Maruko as she tries to wriggle free. She finally does, then ducks a clothesline by Akane, hits a dropkick, and tags out to Tsukka.
Both Tsukka and Tsukushi come in, with Tsukka climbing a neutral corner and Tsukushi crouching under her. Missile dropkick to Akane by Tsukka followed by a running crossbody to the now seated Akane by Tsukushi. Tsukushi puts Akane back up into a seated position for a Tsukka dropkick. Nice sequence. Tsukushi knocks her opponents off the apron and she and Tsukka hit a double suplex on Akane. Tsukka then hooks TSUKUSHI in a crossfire powerbomb position, and spins her up so fast she ends up clutched to Tsukka facing the other direction, and Tsukka comes down on Akane essentially using Tsukushi as a weapon.
There’s a fair bit said about that on commentary as Tsukka pauses for a second, then she lays into Akane’s back with a series of kicks. A vicious one to the chest… doesn’t qualify and no count is made on Tsukka’s cover. The gimmick of the excellent ring technician Tsukka instinctively going for covers after certain moves and thus getting thrown off by the stipulation is amusing and fits nicely.
Her confusion gives Akane a chance to recover and reverse a whip, leveling Tsukka with a double axe handle which the ref counts after some words from Mio. Tag to Mochi and she hits her Earthquake splashes sequence (kind of – no real jumping this time and she looks like she’s stopping and sitting on Tsukka instead of splashing her). This also counts and she gets 2. Tsukka powers out and she looks as annoyed/surprised that those pins were counted as she does worn down.
Forearm exchange. Tsukka eventually ducks one of Mochi’s, hits the ropes, and lands a beautiful hurricanrana rollup… which isn’t counted. Tsukka releases it with a frustrated scream while grabbing her head and looks like she’s about to lose her mind. She’s now soliciting advice from the crowd on moves while shushing Mio. Tsukushi coaches her through an idea from the apron, only for Mochi to catch her off the ropes and just swing her away to crash on the mat. Mochi splashes Tsukka’s back against the ropes, then rolls Tsukka back and places her legs over Tsukka’s for 2. Ok, given my adoration of Tsukka and lack of understanding I’m just going to pretend the ref is biased.
Tsukka with her wheelbarrow rollup into a hard kick to the chest spot. And she’s finally had enough and tags out to Tsukushi. Crossbody off the top to Mochi, then Maruko comes in. They whip Mochi into the ropes but she runs through the double clothesline and takes them both down with a shoulderblock off the rebound. Tsukka eats a clothesline on her way in to help. Tsukushi and Tsukka are on their knees next to each other and simultaneously eat the running belly to the face. Tsukushi spinning around like a top and both selling it like molten death made that move look impressive to me for the very first time.
Powerbomb attempt by Mochi but Tsukushi drops behind her and rolls her up, but pulls Mochi all the way to standing, works her way into Code Red position, then follows it all the way through into a jackknife cover. Akane and Maya get by Maruko and Tsukka to save. Tsukushi made that complicated exchange look fluid and natural. Tsukushi with a flurry of stiff looking forearm shots and hits the ropes, but eats a huge Thez Press from Mochi followed by a side Russian leg sweep for 2. Mochi grabs Tsukushi’s head and falls backward to ram it into her belly as she falls (ugh) but Tsukushi shakes it off for a second and lands a double stomp before collapsing. Both roll to their corners and Maruko and Maya come running in off tags.
Maya swats away a dropkick and hits a running shoulderblock, then covers Maruko off a slam. I think this is the first time that team makes a cover without a count. Maruko fights back and we get another forearm exchange. Nice touch: Maruko’s so light Maya’s forearms always send her back to the ropes, but Maya only moves a little when hit at first then steps back more and more after each as Maruko gets fired up. Tsukka and Tsukushi catch Maruko at the ropes after one of Maya’s shots and push her off for momentum into a dropkick that takes Maya down. Cover without a count, and Tsukka runs in to slap some sense into the back of Maruko’s head. They whip Maya into a neutral corner, then Tsukka, Tsukushi, and Maruko hit running dropkicks on Maya in the corner in sequence.
Tsukka coaches Maruko on what to do and the crowd gasps, an a second later I understand why when Maruko hits a standing summersault onto Maya. Akane saves. Maruko looking for a uranage but Maya fights it off. Whip to the corner reversed but Maruko goes up and over into a sunset flip when Maya follows. 2 count.
Maya recovers and lays Maruko out with a chokeslam, then hits a running summersault for 2 as Tsukka and Tsukushi save. They rush Maya, but get caught with a double leg lariat and sent out of the ring. Akane in to help and hits a sitout slam on Maruko. Maya up top for a hard swanton onto Maruko and gets the win.
This played better live for me, where I got more caught up in the action and wasn’t as aware of the commentary or the billion scoop slams. And no doubt I would have gotten a lot more out of this if I understood Japanese and could have followed the stipulation. Outside of SUMMERsault splashes being acceptable the season related aspect was lost on me.
Still an enjoyable opener though, which blended a humorous concept into a competitive match nicely. Tsukka was fantastic conveying the basic idea of what was happening with her not quite getting the hang of the stip and her mounting frustration though facial expressions and body language, and it added a lot to the match (even if the pacing suffered a little when wrestlers had to stop and “think about” what to do next). The action in general was quite good too.
2) Cell Phone Destruction Tag Match: Miyako Matsumoto and Neko Nitta vs Yuuka and Hamuko Hoshi ***3/4
Talk about high stakes. 😉 The loser of the fall will have their cell phone destroyed. The phones are verified before all being turned over to the ref as Mio and Hirotsugu banter. Handshake between the teams and Miyako and Yuuka start, but Miyako grabs a mic.
A second stipulation was added shortly before the show that if the match went to any kind of no contest/draw Risa Sera’s phone would be destroyed instead of one of the participants’. I had been wondering why the four involved wouldn’t just agree to run out the clock or something to save their own phones at Risa’s expense, and to my delight that’s exactly what Miyako suggests. Everyone seems on board, as Yuuka practices summersaults, Hoshi does her pose routine, and Neko plays/lounges in the ropes. Miyako herself does handstands in the corner, then practices balancing on the top (and freaks out as Yuuka and Hoshi playfully shake the ropes to mess with her).
As they begin more stretching / playing around, Risa comes running out with a mic to plead her case. Hoshi then takes the mic from her and it seems they’re asking the crowd who’s phone they want to see destroyed. The crowd twice responds “Miyako” instead of “Risa” and the Dancing Queen freaks out as the match begins for real. Poor Miyako’s perfect plan ruined.
Yuuka hits a running dropkick on Miyako for 2, followed by a shoulderblock from Hoshi for the same. Then NEKO gets in on the Miyako bashing and hits her own running dropkick and covers, but the ref won’t count because they’re partners. Miyako’s suitably pissed and bullies Neko into a neutral corner where she throws a temper tantrum and stomps on Neko’s back a bit. The ref calms them down and Miyako goes to the apron, shoving Neko towards their opponents on the way out. Yuuka stays in for the other team and they reset.
Side headlock by Yuuka out of a collar and elbow tie up. She’s sent into the ropes but knocks Neko down off the rebound, then shows off the summersault rolls she was practicing earlier to avoid a biel (nice touch). Neko responds in kind, then swats away a dropkick, but Yuuka kips up and lands an armdrag. Neko sweeps her legs, Yuuka pushes her off, then the opposite in turn, and we have a momentary stalemate. Quick, smooth sequence of wrestling. Yuuka doesn’t delay much though in landing a dropkick to retake the advantage and tagging in Hoshi.
She summersaults under a right hand from Neko and it’s “seductive” posing time. Neko saves me by going full cat mode, rolling around Hoshi and swatting at her playfully until grabbing her leg. Hoshi responds with a double axe handle. Neko fights up then forcibly sends Hoshi face first into the mat, and follows with ramming Hoshi’s head down several more times. Camel Clutch, broken by the ref when Neko decides to scratch Hoshi’s face.
Hoshi tied up in the ropes and Neko hits the far ropes for speed, but then comes to a stop, climbs up behind Hoshi, and scratches her face again. She calls Hoshi “busu” (roughly translates as ugly girl) then tags Miyako. Miyako’s comes in with energy, but immediately has Hoshi reverse a whip and send her into a neutral corner. Hoshi then applies the insult to Miyako, followed by a running splash and Hoshi’s butt blocks. Bulldog gets 2.
Miyako “fights back” with thrust chops to Hoshi’s chest, which are all ignored as Hoshi calmly stands there and takes them. However when she retaliates Miyako ducks behind her and forces her to do the Mama Mia pose, then sends her face first to the mat. Miyako hits the ropes and goes for a double stomp, but as her feet hit Hoshi’s belly Hoshi rolls away and Miyako falls backward and hits her head. The announcers are losing it on commentary laughing. Belly to the face, but Miyako responds with a double thrust to the belly, crawls to her corner and aggressively tags in Neko.
Running forearm in the corner, then Neko tries to side slam Hoshi, but she’s too big. Instead Neko ducks behind and pulls Hoshi across her back for an attempted submission. Yuuka comes in to break but gets cut off by Miyako, who puts her in an abdominal stretch (and pushes down on Yuuka’s head to make the hold look painful). The ref puts a count on Miyako since neither she nor Yuuka legal, and both holds are broken. Neko goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a shotgun dropkick on a kneeling Hoshi and follows with a wheelbarrow rollup for 2. Hoshi catches her off the rope with a standing splash to regain control. Running belly to the head gets 2.
Tag to Yuuka an she comes in with a big running dropkick to Neko in the corner, but Neko claws her face. Yuuka ducks three tail shots and counters a fourth by clapping in front of Neko’s face, which knocks Neko cold (I’m definitely missing something there) and the match only continues because Miyako dodges past Hoshi and just barely connects with a kick on Yuuka to save Neko. Yuuka off the ropes but Neko lands the spinning tail shot this time (OUCH!) then side slams Yuuka for 2. Neko tags Miyako then climbs their corner for a top rope shotgun missile dropkick. Miyako covers for 2.
Miyako forearms Yuuka against the ropes, but of course eats a dropkick when she bounces off the far ropes to attack. Both up and Yuuka easily gets the better of a forearm exchange, then ties Miyako up in the ropes for a hard running one. Miyako stumbles to the center and gets knocked down by another, then Yuuka hits a sweet diving version to the prone Miyako for 2. Yuuka op top but Miyako dodges the crossbody attempt and Neko comes in for a running back elbow. Double Shining Wizard (from opposite directions) gets an incredibly close 2 on Yuuka.
Miyako drags Yuuka in position as Neko holds off Hoshi and goes up top. She has the ref steady her and gets the pose for the Super Mama Mia, but Hoshi breaks free and gets Miyako across her shoulders. Yuuka up and nails a dropkick to Miyako’s head as Hoshi falls into a Samoan Drop. Nice double team. Hoshi pulls Miyako up to standing and Yuuka hits a beautiful top rope crossbody. Neko gets by Hoshi to save the pinfall.
Miyako starting to recover and catches Yuuka off the ropes with an ankle dropkick, but Yuuka fights off the rollup Miyako usually follows with. Neko in and they whip Yuuka into the far ropes, but she ducks the double clothesline and shoves Miyako into Neko. As they’re still tangled she goes for a running dropkick, and Miyako shoves Neko into it to save herself. She then has Neko hold Yuuka for a running forearm, but Yuuka gets free and Neko takes it. Miyako doesn’t seem to care much. Yuuka and Miyako fight over a waistlock and Miyako seems to get control and holds Yuuka for a Neko forearm, but then decides just to shove Yuuka into Neko instead.
Yuuka goes for her bridging backslide on Miyako, but Miyako counters and hooks the leg deep for 2. Miyako then gets her signature rollup but Neko’s had enough of her and breaks up the pin at 2 (to cheers). Ever reasonable Miyako tries to reconcile by slapping Neko in the face. Neko directs Miyako out of the ring but the latter swings instead and Neko ducks behind her and hits a lungblower. The odds are not good for the Dancing Queen now. Hoshi comes in with a lariat and Yuuka hits a crosslegged Fisherman’s suplex, then everyone (including Neko) piles on Miyako for the pin. This is why you shouldn’t annoy your partner too much.
Afterward there is the cell phone destruction ceremony. Hoshi and Yuuka sit in one corner happily cradling their returned phones, as Miyako’s phone sits on a table in the center of the ring and Neko holds her in another corner as she dejectedly contemplates her phone’s fate. Kurumi comes out with hammers and Miyako loses it in the corner, desperately trying to crawl away from Neko. Yuuka, Hoshi and Mochi come over to block and help keep Miyako back. The phone gets a ten bell salute and I’m losing it as Yuuka and Hoshi use their returned phones to document the death of Miyako’s.
Miyako grabs a mic and pleads for mercy to boos and laughs, trying to pull Mochi with her towards the center of the ring. Kurumi and Mochi eventually hammer Miyako’s beloved phone into oblivion and as Dancing Queen plays and poor Miyako faints. There was more to the hammering than what was shown (including Yuuka getting a shot in) but the point was made.
Ice Ribbon continues to prove that they know how to do comedy right, and Miyako in particular is a master. The key is everything was still related to the match that was happening and the action was still great. The post match ceremony was hilarious, and this whole thing was entertaining from start to finish.
Pre recorded interview with clips talking about the first Risa Sera Produce show and the “Human Hair Death Match” Risa had against Maki Narumiya, as well as setting up tonight’s main event.
3) 60-minute Four Seasons Death Match featuring Risa Sera ****1/4
This is essentially an Ironman match for just Risa, with her opponent changing after each decision. Each will be bringing some sort of season related weapon with them to be used. Risa comes out with a ladder and props it in the corner to do her prematch playing to the crowd. She’s in awesome new gear for this, with black Aikido pants, a white tube top (with clear straps), and flower patterned forearm sleeves.
Tsukushi is the first opponent and comes to the ring with a couple bags full of balloons. She dumps them around the ring and it seems they’re filled with pollen (or maybe dust). The bell ring and Tsukushi immediately dropkicks Risa into a corner, then gathers a couple balloons and makes Risa hold them while seated in the corner. Running dropkick to the balloons pops them against Risa’s chest, releasing the contents into her face.
Tsukushi places some balloons on the mat and pulls a stunned Risa in front of them, but Risa has more than enough time to collect herself and catches Tsukushi off a crossbody attempt from the top, spins her around to Risa back, and slams her “on” the balloons. Unfortunately the balloons were kind of blown away as they fell and none popped. Tsukushi suffering the effects of the slam though, so Risa scoops her up and tries again, but again the slam fails to pop any balloons. Risa shows good natured frustration and the crowd is amused.
Risa sets up Tsukushi in the corner holding a couple balloons, and the double knees finally allow her to explode some (although one popped before Risa got there). Risa covers for 2. Forearm exchange gives way to charging each other with balloons, and they pop into both wrestler’s faces to trigger dual sneezing fits and they both tap out for a draw.
Risa’s still coughing and sneezing as Isami Kodaka comes out as her second opponent carrying a barbed wire baseball bat. Odd cut jumping from Isami coming out of the curtain to just as he was entering the ring. Couldn’t have been more than a few seconds. Not sure the purpose served or why anything would be cut at all from a match specifically advertised around the fact of being 60 minutes long.
He backs Risa into a corner and hits a shot with the bat to her midsection, then sends her into the ropes but Risa ducks a swing at her head and rebounds with a dropkick. Risa sends him to the corner instead of grabbing the bat and her evades her subsequent charge, then run to the opposite corner and back for momentum to nail a running boot. Risa rolled out of the corner into a seated position and hit with a dropkick.
Isami retrieves the bat, hit Risa in the stomach, then rolls the barbed wire across her back. He hits her in the back then positions her sitting in the corner and does a batting warmup routine that the crowd gets into. He swings away from Risa but lets go on the backswing and the bat flies into Risa (which the crowd liked less). Parabola diving forearm in the corner and the ref declares him “safe” (guess he was running the bases). Risa kicks out at 2 then evades a top rope stomp, hits a dropkick, then hits a pair of her running double knee drops for 2.
She slowly powers Isami up onto her shoulders for a DVD in a great spot for 1. She rushes him against the ropes and doesn’t quite get backdropped over, but Isami recovers nicely and grabs Risa to finish powering her to the floor. Sliding dropkick and Isami’s out too. They trade several suplex attempts without breaking their hold on one another and Risa finally get Isami over in a great show of strength. They brawl into the bleachers and apparently falls count anywhere as Isami gets 2 off a kick. He goes to the top of the bleachers and dives on to Risa (at the botom) with a BRUTAL looking double knees for a 3 count. Risa’s looks to be out cold.
Hamuko Hoshi swims to the ring wearing a cap and goggles as Risa struggles to get up on the floor. She rolls Risa in, slams her in the center of the ring, and locks in her Boston Crab variation. Risa with a nice counter consisting of doing a pushup and then extending her legs to flip Hoshi off of her. Risa grabs Hoshi’s legs and locks in the same hold she was subjected to moments before. Hoshi attempts to swim towards the ropes using various strokes, then Risa grabs her arms an impressively lifts her into Risa’s standing Boston Crab with Hoshi suspended in midair. Hoshi holds out so Risa drops her, then tries a whip but Hoshi bounces back with a shoulder block. Ten minutes gone announcement and it already feels like Risa’s taken a lot of punishment.
Running belly to the face connects and Risa bails, then they brawl all the way out the door. I wasn’t one of the fans who followed so this is new to me. There’s a child’s swimming pool set up outside, and after some back and forth Hoshi slams Risa into it. Risa pops right back up, selling the cold of the water more than the slam, and she then forfeits to prevent Hoshi from doing it a second time. Given this was December and all the fans are in heavy coats I’d have done the same thing in Risa’s place. She splashes some of the wrestlers and fans standing around with the remaining water to convey how cold it is.
Back inside music hits for Risa’s next opponent, and we get another slight cut to Yuko Miyamoto entering the ring. Can just the men’s entrances not be shown or something? Risa is soaking wet and has rolled back into the ring and is kneeling in a corner. Yuko has brought a mini garden rake and a pail full of something that not immediately obvious. He tosses out of the ring and takes her right back outside, slamming her face first into the pool this time and she comes up momentarily selling not being able to see. She clears her vision quick though and jumps back from Yuko dumping the pool towards her. He grabs a side headlock and drags her back inside, then rolls her into the ring.
Yuko grabs the pail and demonstrates that it has what appears to be sand inside. He swings it around like a shot put (without letting go) towards Risa but she ducks and runs to a safe corner. He tries it again but she escapes again. So he decides just to dump the pail on her instead, but Risa blocks and they struggle with the pail suspended between them above their heads. For a second they veer to the side and look like they’re going to dump it on the ref, but Risa ends the standoff with a kick to the midsection. The pail is down and Risa hits the ropes only to be hip tossed over the top rope to the entranceway (she holds on to Yuko’s arm though and he comes with her).
They fight over the pail again on the ramp, teasing it going dumping on the crowd, then Hirotsugu gets involved and it becomes a three-way standoff. They go down the stairs and into the crowd (ending up right behind me). Yuko kicks at Risa and shoulders Hirotsugu away, taking control of the bucket. He goes to throw the contents at Risa, but she moves and Hirotsugu takes the full hit. Risa bring Yuko with the now empty pail back to the ring. Risa hits the ropes but Yuko grabs the pail and nails her right in the head, then rolls her up with a bridge for the pin.
Another mini-cut and Neko Nitta’s out covered with sandpaper around her midsection and holding even more. Risa can barely stand and tries to beg off, but Neko whips her into a corner and hits a running splash with the sandpaper. Whip to the opposite corner for the same and a piece of it has stuck to Risa’s back, so Neko helpful removes it by dragging across Risa’s shoulder blades. Then across Risa’s sternum. Neko tries to back suplex Risa onto another piece, but Risa counters with a slam onto it instead. Risa grabs Neko’s extras and places them in the center of the ring while Neko makes an expression of “whatever you’re thinking of doing please don’t.” Risa grabs Neko’s legs, drags her over, and applies a Boston Crab on top of the sandpaper as Neko freaks out.
Neko doesn’t give up, so Risa turns her over and drags her back over the sandpaper, then covers for 2. Neko gets to her feet and grabs a side headlock, then drags sandpaper across Risa’s face while in the hold. Risa reverses and gets her own side headlock on Neko, but Neko’s still holding the sandpaper and rubs it across Risa’s exposed midsection to force a break. Risa’s exhausted and down on her knees, so Neko grabs sandpaper in both hands and rakes them across Risa’s back a couple times. They struggle for control, but Neko eventually stretches Risa across her back (and the sandpaper there) for a submission win.
While Risa tries to recover in the corner Akane Fujita comes out next, and dumps a garbage bag full of igakuri all over the ring. Risa does not look pleased at this after just having dealt with the sandpaper. Akane starts throwing them at Risa, with the latter frantically trying to dodge. Amusing moment when one sails by her towards the crowd and Akane apologizes profusely. Risa very gingerly trying to navigate around the ring to avoid them, but Akane catches her and tries a slam. Risa fights it with every fiber of her being and tries to whip Akane, but it’s reversed, and Akane hits the rebounding Risa with a shoulder block to send her back first onto the igakuri.
Akane’s pleased with herself and an angry Risa dares her to try it again, so Akane hits the ropes, but Risa uses a drop toehold instead and Akane goes down headfirst. Risa tries to prepare for a igakuri throwing war, but Akane’s wearing gloves and she isn’t so she can’t pick any up and Akane gets a bunch of free shots. It keeps Risa at bay until she decides just to suffer through it and rushes Akane with a kick to take over. Risa calls for a slam but after a couple of unsuccessful tries Akane reverses into her own. Risa selling major pain and igakuri are stuck to her. Akane then hits a powerslam for 2. Risa tries to turn the tide with a dropkick, but of course she hits the igakuri covered mat as well and both wrestlers are selling the effects. Risa pulls Akane up though and hits a DVD for the pinfall.
Yuuka and Maruko come in as attendants and try to sweep up the igakuri, but the next competitor is already coming out. Amusingly it’s Tsukasa Fujimoto, carrying a much larger broom as her weapon. As Risa recovers in the corner, Tsukka kindly sweeps all the igakuri out of the ring herself. Mio and Hirotsugu keep the crowd laughing during this, and make several comments Tsukka responds to as she sweeps.
When she’s done Risa bows to her in thanks and respect, then Tsukka starts their portion of the match by switching to an overhand grip on the broom and swinging at Risa. Risa ducks, then jumps a low swing and steps on the broom to prevent further use. Tsukka goes for a enzugiri, but Risa ducks and Tsukka lands on the broom. Risa starts a forearm exchange and hits the ropes, but Tsukka gets the broom again and nails Risa with it off the rebound.
Snapmare into a hard kick on a seated Risa, then Tsukka decides to scratch at Risa’s already red back to boos. Hirotsugu has something to say about that that makes Tsukka pause and look to the commentary table in disbelief, then she responds to a “Se-ra! Se-ra!” crowd chant by grabbing the broom again. She ties Risa in the ropes and indicates she’s going to spear Risa from behind with the broom, but Risa moves and tries the same thing herself. This time Tsukka moves, but Risa still has the broom, and she levels Tsukka with it. Nice to see, as I was disappointed earlier when Risa never even tried to retaliate with the barbed wire bat.
Risa signals for the end and seems to want a back suplex on the broom, but Tsukka reverses, tries a regular suplex, then sends Risa into the corner when that fails. Running dropkick puts Risa down into seated position, then Tsukka backs up again and hits another. Cover gets 2 and Tsukka beautifully hangs on to the arm Risa kicks out with and turns it into a stranglehold. Risa powers out and flips Tsukka forward, but Tsukka rolls right back up and slams Risa near a corner. She grabs the broom and goes up top, straddling the broom witch-style to fly off onto Risa. So awesome. Risa moves but Tsukka recovers quickly and hits another broom shot to Risa’s chest. She then shoves Risa outside and all the way to the start of the entrance ramp, then goes back in the ring herself, gets a running start and launches the broom towards Risa.
Risa ducks to the side to avoid it, picks up the broom herself, then drops it for some reason and leaves it to rush the ring. The jockey for control until Risa hits a back slam for 2. Risa hits the ropes but is tripped by Kurumi, who then comes in the ring. Tsukka seems to explain that Kurumi (Walnut) is somehow a permitted season themed weapon. Enzugiri by Tsukka, German suplex by Kurumi, and a jackknife cradle gets 3 for Tsukka.
She celebrates with Kurumi on the outside while Maya brings Risa a drink and Mochi Miyagi’s music plays. Another mini-cut and I’m just going to ignore them from here on since no action is being lost. Mochi has brought mochi as her weapon. Cute, if likely ineffectual. Mochi kicks Risa as the latter gets distracted by the thirty minutes elapsed announcement, and then dumps the individually packaged mochi around the ring. Risa looks confused. Mochi places her on top of it, hits a light Earthquake splash, then does her airplane cover for 2.
She starts throwing the mochi at Risa, which the latter sells like getting hit with rocks. One misses Risa and nails the ref in the legs and he also sells serious pain for a moment. Risa grabs some herself and they throw at each other a bit (Risa’s aim being quite off though), then Mochi pushes Risa to the mat (kind of gently) in the corner and slaps her stomach. Then piles mochi on Risa and goes up for a Vader Bomb. Mochi sells like her own belly was also seriously damaged by landing on the snacks. Risa tries to throw another one at Mochi but misses, then grabs a handful but essentially ends up just tossing them to Mochi. Mochi rushes Risa and beats her over the head with a mochi, then applies a sleeper while stuffing a still wrapped mochi into Risa’s mouth (which Risa had to remind her to do) for the tap out.
Yuko Miyamoto is back again, and takes the collected bag of igakuri swept up early and dumps it in the ring again. He then goes over to Risa corner where she still has a mochi in her mouth, pulls it out, unwraps it, then stuffs it back in and chokes Risa. She resists tapping out so he pulls her to the center and locks in a sleeper. He then turns her around and measures a chop, which comically hits only to make Risa spit the mochi at him, which knocks him back first onto the igakuri.
He rolls out and after taking a momment to recover Risa carefully picks up some igakuri and throws them at him. She then goes outside herself and hits Yuko across the back with a chair. He responds by throwing an igakuri into the audience. Risa indicates some of the crowd should move, then whips Yuko into the vacated chairs. Another chair shot to his back and another igkuri thrown into the crowd in frustration. And one more of each for good measure. Risa starts throwing the igakuri at Yuko, but Isami has come out to the entrance ramp and is throwing some at Risa.
Risa is chasing Yuko with the chair, so he hides behind Hirotsugu. Risa hesitates and Yuko kicks her in the midsection, then grabs both her and Hirotsugu in headlocks and takes them down into the crowd. Hirotsugu hides behind Risa as Yuko gets another bucket of sand, but when he comes back around and throws it Risa dodges and Hirotsugu takes the full brunt again.
Risa’s back near the ring, and Yuko grabs a table from under it and hits Risa across the back.He then sets it up on the floor, puts Risa on it, and goes up to the top turnbuckle. However Risa meets him up there and a kick to the head sends him tumbling into the ring (and onto the igakuri). Risa dumps a box of seashells and looks to DVD Yuko onto them. He sets down and she can’t get him up onto her shoulders for a bit, but she eventually powers him up (to the crowd’s delight) and hits the move for 2. Risa hikes up her billowing pants to climb the turnbuckles, but Yuko moves and her double knee hits the seashells. Oklahoma Stampede on the seashells, but Risa shocks the crowd with a close kickout.
Moonsault attempt avoided, but Yuko lands on his feet. He catches Risa coming in and looks to powerbomb her through the table on the outside, but Risa escapes and dropkicks him to the apron. Risa follows and asks people to clear out, then sets up for a scoop slam through the table. Yuko blocks, nails a huge right hand to put Risa out on her feet, then hits a tombstone driver through the table for another win. Risa might need to be scraped up with a spatula for the next opponent.
Isami Kodaka’s is back again, and brought a snowboard this time. He rolls Risa into the ring and goes for an immediate cover. Smart given what she just went through. Kickout at 2. Isami takes exception to the igakuri and kicks large batches them out of the ring and Neko runs back and forth on the outside trying to block them from hitting the audience. Another cover for 2 on the worn out Risa, and now he gingerly picks an igakuri up and throws it at the announcers. Third cover for 2 without any offensive moves on Risa.
He slams her in the center of the ring and the ladder Risa brought out at the start finally comes into play. He sets it up upside down leaning against the middle turnbuckle and forms a ramp. He kicks Risa a little farther away from it, and in a great touch Risa sells the igakuri she ends up rolling over. Isami grabs the snowboard and goes up to the top, but the snowboard catches as he tries to ride to down the ladder so he essentially jumps onto it then off of it immediately into a splash on Risa. Risa holds on and kicks out just before 3.
Isami repositions the ladder for another try, this time balancing it against the top turnbuckle. He rolls a still stunned Risa closer and goes back up with the snowboard. This time it catches at the top instead of bottom so he essentially runs down the ladder and splashes Risa. Not to be deterred, he goes up a third time and this time the snowboard cooperates, as Isami rides it down the ladder into a splash on Risa. I didn’t mind the repeated spot here as this is something that could believably go wrong for him within the in ring story and he was landing something on Risa each time which accounts for her staying down between attempts. Risa kicks out and he’s not done yet.
He puts the snowboard aside and stands the ladder right side up in another corner. Lots of time spent between his moves, but Risa’s been beaten on so long it makes sense he’d be confident and wouldn’t be in a rush. He powers her over into a vertical suplex then forearms her as she tries to get up and waits to see if she has anything left. Risa answers that with a strong forearm, but Isami responds with a hard one of his own. Risa stays on her feet and they exchange some more. This is a fantastic way to show Risa’s fortitude at this point.
After one to many from Risa Isami has had enough, ties her in the ropes, and grabs the snowboard. He tries to ride it into a move but gets no distance, ends up just standing in front of Risa, and they bow to each other. He tires again with the same result, then simply pushes the snowboard into an empty corner. Risa’s had enough of patiently waiting to be attacked, and boots him in the gut. He responds in kind though then drops her with a short windup punch. They fight for dominance in suplex position and Risa lifts him into a gorgeous Falcon Arrow. Cover gets 2 and Isami’s in real trouble for the first time.
Risa pulls him to center and sets up the ladder. The ring seconds steady it as she climbs all the way to the top using the turnbuckles. Isami kips up though, and runs up the other side of the ladder. She tries to knock him down with a trio of forearms, but he holds on and responds in kind. Risa ties again, and a slap across the face sends him down to the mat. Risa comes off the very top rung with the double knees. Isami kicks out just before 3. Risa up and shaking feeling back into her legs after that high risk move.
She picks Isami up and fights for a DVD, but he blocks and they go into a forearm exchange. The energy they’re still showing and the hard hits they’re giving each other is impressive, especially from Risa. Risa staggers after a running forearm and they exchange a pair of hard slaps.
Risa knocked to her knees but won’t stay down and hits four forearms in succession, but eats the windup punch and is taken down to the mat. Isami grabs her far arm and just cranks back on it with Risa screaming. He leans himself all the way back to the mat still holding Risa’s arm but she won’t give up. The crowd’s going nuts chanting for Risa. She brings her arms back together and rolls into a cover for 2. Isami up quick and nails Risa with a superkick while she’s still on her knees. Scoop slam and he places the ladder on the prone Risa before going up top.
He’s got the snowboard again and lands the double knees on the snowboard on the ladder on Risa. He pulls everything off top of her and covers… for 2. Big ovation and chant for that kickout. Both back to vertical and they fight over a scoop slam, which Risa ends up landing. Running double knee sequence for 2. Risa lays the ladder across Isami and hits another running double knee drop (ouch for Risa!). She pushes the ladder away and covers for 2. Risa pulls some of the seashells out of the corner and looks for a DVD, but it’s reversed into a brainbuster on the shells. The crowd screams for her to kickout and she just barely does.
Isami places her on the turnbuckles and hits a superplex on the shells. Another close escape for Risa as time is running out. Isami sprints up to the top turnbuckle and lands the diving double knees… as time expires! Risa holds him off and survives long enough for a draw to finish the match.
That was insane. The first half or so was heavy comedy, but still featured good wrestling spots among the silliness and started building up how resilient Risa is, which paid off in spades in the second half off the match when things got much more dramatic as she tried to fight off escalating threats. The finishing stretch as she held off Isami and even got some advantages on him was great. Not everything hit or worked perfectly, but they held it together well, the action was nearly non-stop, and the story was Risa’s endurance. Her performance was amazing, particularly given the shape she was in at the end. As an American fan I had to get used to the idea of the results (1w-7l-2d) not really mattering as much as Risa’s journey. It worked though, and the whole thing was a treat to watch overall.
Risa bows to the mat as the crowd gives her a well deserved chant. She takes the mic and thanks everyone. She’s clearly choked up with emotion and fighting tears as she gives her post show speech. Her left cheek is massively swollen and her chest and back are bright red. Even without understanding the words the mutual appreciation between her and the fans comes clearly through. She invites the IR roster into the ring (and makes a point of including Miyako, who was remaining outside) and asks everyone to stand and participate in the “Happy Ice Ribbon” cheer to close the show.
The dvd fades to a credit sequence featuring various pics from Risa’s career to this point. Once that finishes a post show interview with Risa plays (as she ices her left cheek). Poor Risa has bruises everywhere. Wish I could understand this one.
Hell of a show here, and Risa in particular really went above and beyond. Her performance was as gutsy as it was incredible, and IR’s ability in general to mix comedy into their shows so flawlessly and still have intense wrestling at their core impresses me to no end. The variety of atmosphere, match types, and action across their shows is a testament to the great talent level of their roster.