Vol 707: February 11, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan
First time in a while I’m reviewing a disc without knowing any results (as usually it’s somewhat unavoidable due to either passage of time, having seen the shows live, or researching what to buy – the cards alone sold me here). Should be fun. 🙂
Everyone comes out in turn for a few words to open the show (while IR’s standard music plays), ending with new Ice Cross Infinity Champion Hamuko Hoshi.
1) Yuuka vs Kyuuri
This will be an interesting matchup as it features two of IR’s biggest rising stars. Yuuka pushes Kyuuri against the ropes off the initial lockup, and we get a clean break. She then gets the better of some chain wrestling and follows by taking Kyuuri down with a dropkick. Scoop slam sets up a high angle Boston crab and it’s all Yuuka so far. Forearm with Kyuuri in the ropes and Yuuka attempts the running one to follow, but Kyuuri with a great counter right into a Fujiwara armbar. Yuuka rolls out but Kyuuri adapts and modifies into a crossarm submission. Yuuka makes the ropes with her left leg to break.
Hard kick to Yuuka’s arm then a running forearm in the corner for Kyuuri, but Yuuka reverses a second into a running dropkick in the corner then hits another in the center of the ring for 2. Yuuka tries the crossleg scoop slam but Kyuuri blocks and they go into a heated forearm exchange. Nice spot at the end where Yuuka hits three of them, then Kyuuri ducks a big one, but instead of Kyuuri getting control off of that Yuuka adapts, spins around and catches Kyuuri with another forearm anyway. Occasionally varying the normal formulas even a little can really add to the immersion of a match.
Kyuuri takes over with a trio of slingblade style clotheslines for 2. Cartwheel splash gets another 2, then Kyuuri goes for a cross armbreaker, but Yuuka keeps her hands clapsed and momentarily elevates Kyuuri then slams her back down to break. Even though she didn’t get the full powerbomb style counter there it was still a very impressive feat of strength. Yuuka up top and hits a shotgun missile dropkick for 2. Scoop slam and she goes up again, but Kyuuri moves out of the way of the super diving forearm. Yuuka ducks a kick and tries a schoolboy, but Kyuuri grabs Yuuka’s arm, pushes it up, and locks her own legs around it in a great counter hold. Yuuka claws to the ropes to break.
Fisherman suplex attempt is blocked by Yuuka, but Kyuuri ducks a clothesline attempt and nails a lungblower then goes back to the fisherman’s and gets 2. Kyuuri fires up the crowd and goes to the top with a flying crossbody for 2.999. Scoop slam sets up the crossarm submission, but Yuuka cradles her for 2, then ducks a clothesline and gets her floatover backslide for 2. I totally bought that as a slight upset win for Yuuka.
Kyuuri ducks a running forearm and gets a small package for 2. Yuuka rolls through to avoid a rollup attempt, then gets the 120% rollup for 3! Kyuuri is shocked. FANTASTIC selling and attention to detail by Yuuka as she directs the ref away from her injured arm to raise the other one. Nice win for Yuuka over the heir apparent for the Triangle title. Great little match that made the most of the time given. These two have bright futures ahead of them.
2) Miyako Matsumoto vs Misaki Ohata
These are two of my favorites and I personally haven’t seen them in the ring together before, so I’m quite looking forward to this. Lockup and Ohata immediately pushes Miyako back to the ropes and double slaps her chest dismissively on the break. Miyako sells this like she just received Misawa shotgun chops, holding her chest, dancing around in pain, and giving the ref the same slaps to show him what it felt like. After shaking it off and psyching herself back up, we get another lockup during which Miyako runs her mouth and pumps her legs trying to move Misaki and the latter just holds her ground and smiles.
Miyako finally backs Ohata up a couple of steps, so Misaki boots her in the midsection and grabs a wristlock. They roll through each other’s attempts a few times, then Miyako cranks Misaki’s arm for three revolutions, to which Misaki responds by calmly reaching forward with her other hand and covering Miyako’s nose and mouth. Miyako ducks a clothesline and tries to grab the arm again and pose, but Misaki covers her mouth again to Miyako’s dismay.
Another clothesline by Misaki ducked and Miyako tries to force Misaki to pose, but gets caught with a snapmare instead and eats the seated dropkick. Misaki finally realizes she’s not necessarily happy with the results of placing her hand over Miyako’s mouth, and wipes it off on the ref’s shirt. Misaki calls out something to the crowd’s “oohs,” then hits a double sledge and an elbow drop, then bows to the crowd to applause. Misaki turns the prone Miyako around on the mat, then chops her chest to flip her over, then spanks her with chops a couple times. Miyako tries to roll away, but it only results in Misaki standing on her stomach near the ropes. Misaki’s just decimating and toying with Miyako thus far.
Face slam to the mat and Miyako complains loudly and constantly as Misaki sets up a camel clutch. Tiring of it quickly, Misaki applies the hold over Miyako’s mouth to shut her up. Amusing bit as neither Misaki nor the ref are certain whether Miyako’s giving up because her mouth is covered, so Misaki removes her hands slightly, but Miyako starts screaming again so they go right back into place. Misaki tires of this and slams Miyako’s face into the mat again to break the hold.
Misaki fires up the crowd and hits a curb stomp for 2. Miyako shows signs of life by reversing a whip into the corner, but Misaki completely laughs off her subsequent running forearm and avoids a running dropkick by swatting Miyako away on her backside. Misaki finally seems to take it one step too far by calling Miyako names, as the latter immediately catches Misaki with the running doublechop afterwards. Only gets 1, as appropriate for Miyako’s first effective offensive move of the match. Miyako absurdly argues with the ref that the 1 count was in fact 3. She tries to position Misaki on the mat but Misaki stands up despite Miyako’s efforts to push her back down.
A Miyako forearm prompts a look of annoyance from Misaki who nails one of her own to send Miyako back to the ropes and doubled over. The next several exchanges go the same, until Miyako ducks one of Misaki’s and makes her pose. Misaki looks dejected that she fell for that, and Miyako gets a schoolboy rollup for 2. Misaki lays on the mat in frustration and Miyako sort of applies a spinning toehold, and asks Misaki to give up prompting a very flat “no.” So she reapplies it four more times with the same result, with Misaki’s “no”s getting louder more out of annoyance than pain. Miyako drop an elbow across the leg and pulls back, finally seeming to cause Misaki some pain. Misaki still emphatically refused Miyako’s pestering to give up.
Miyako slams Misaki after a rope break and Misaki starts to bring her knees up as Miyako jumps over her to start Mama Mia posing. Miyako turns back around and despite Misaki’s knees still being half up she kind of goes for a splash and kind of gets kicked away by Misaki. Rare awkward sequence from these two. Miyako crawl to the corner and gets hit with Misaki’s awesome seated crossbody. Misaki goes up top as Miyako stands and beckons her into the corner. Miyako foolishly charges and get caught in the over the ropes hanging armbar. Nice athleticism shown by Misaki as she keeps her legs hooked in the ropes when releasing the hold, then essentially does a situp to get back on the top turnbuckle. Missile dropkick gets 2, and Misaki grabs Miyako’s arm as the latter kicks out to go right into a Fujiwara armbar variation. Miyako eventually rolls out of it, so Misaki simply kicks her in the same arm.
Several standing switches on Misaki’s German suplex attempt, until Miyako drops down and rolls Misaki up for 2. Small package gets another 2 for Miyako. Misaki kicks at Miyako, but the latter then ducks the spinning double sledge, hits the ropes, then very slowly and awkwardly twists through grabbing Misaki’s leg. Once she has it she forces more posing and drops Misaki with an STO for 2. Miyako positions Misaki and goes to the top, poses with the refs help, and of course jumps right into Misaki’s raised boots. Misaki follows with a running crossbody to a seated Miyako for a close 2.
Spinning double sledge hits and Miyako just crumples, and Misaki goes up. She amusingly calls the ref over to try her own Super Mama Mia, and gets the pose for a split second before splashing Miyako for the win.
This was exactly as expected, with Miyako getting her antics and a couple of offensive flurries in in between Misaki mopping the floor with her. I could have gone for something slightly more even and as mentioned Miyako struggled with a couple of spots which broke the flow a bit, but that all goes along with her gimmick and overall this was quite fun.
3) Hamuko Hoshi and Maruko Nagasaki vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto and Tsukushi
I believe Tsukushi had been announced as Hoshi’s next challenger (in March) at this point, but I’m not positive. Wait, now I’m pretty positive as Tskushi pulls her hand back from Hoshi’s pre-match handshake (after shaking with Maruko just fine). Hoshi and Maruko ambush their opponents with running dropkicks to start the match. Tsukka and Tsukushi are whipped into the same corner for a running forearm by Maruko, splash by Hoshi, then double team buttblocks.
Stereo slams, but Tsukka and Tsukushi both bridge out of pin attempts and land stero dropkicks. Tsukka and Hamuko leave the ring and Tsukushi works over Maruko for a minute before cheapshotting Hoshi on the apron and calling in Tsukka for alternating “running on opponent’s back” spot. As usual Tsukushi messes with her partner during this, attempting to drop toehold Tsukka onto Maruko. Tsukka half stumbles instead, pushes Tsukushi out of the way and finishes the spot. Amusing.
Tsukushi with a surfboard, then a dropkick into the ropes, but Maruko dodges the seated version and ties Tsukushi up for a running dropkick of her own. Maruko with a nice spinning sunset flip for a close two after a whip into the corner reversal. Tsukushi forearms Maruko, then when the latter returns the shot Tsukushi uses the momentum to turn around and nail Hoshi on the apron with one. It’s little touches like that that make Tsukushi so good. Maruko falls into the ropes after a stunner by Tsukushi and nails a dropkick off the rebound to give her enough space to tag Hoshi. The champ comes in with a big shoulder tackle, but Tsukushi kips right up with a kick to the midsection… which doesn’t have any effect because belly power.
Hard forearm exchange and another nice touch: Tsukushi being vicious and aiming all of her forearms for Hoshi’s face instead of her chest. Tsukushi eventually gets the best of it but then rushes Hoshi who does a standing Vader splash and sends Tsukushi flying. Running belly to the face countered with a dropkick, but whatever Tsukushi had in mind to follow is countered with a big lariat for a close 2. Tag by Tsukushi after some more back and forth brings in Tsukka, and in a great sequence Tsukushi missile dropkicks Hoshi into the opposite corner and Tsukka hits the running seated dropkick as soon as she stops rolling, which Tsukushi follows with a seated crossbody seconds later. Hoshi staggers to her feet and Tsukka hits her own missile dropkick for 2.
Tsukushi comes in again but Hoshi flashes the power and reverses a double suplex attempt to put both Tsukka and Tsukushi down. Scoop slam on Tsukka sets up a second rope splash, but Tsukka moves then wears Hoshi out with kicks for 2. Tsukka jumps back up top, but Maruko grabs her until Hoshi can recover and pull Tsukka into a fireman’s carry. Tsukka tries to wiggle into a sunset flip, but Hoshi sets down on her for 2. Reversed to complete the sunset flip for 2, which is reversed back again for 2. Tsukka ties a rollup from the mat but Hoshi sets down again to surprise her for 2.999. Crowd bought that as a possible finish. Enzugiri puts Hoshi down, and Tsukka hits the ropes to do Hoshi’s own “rolling over downed opponent” spot to her. Doesn’t really have the same impact given Tsukka’s size, but it amused the fans.
Perhaps a little too confident, Tsukka turns her back on Hoshi to tag, but gets leveled with a German suplex instead. Hoshi tags Maruko and the latter hits a trio of running dropkicks on Tsukka for 2. Tsukka reverses a scoop slam to take over, calls Tsukushi in, then lifts her partner from crossfire powerbomb position into essentially a spinebuster onto Maruko for 2. Tsukka immediately locks in a crossface while Tsukushi holds off Hoshi, and makes Maruko claw and scrape to get to the ropes to break. Double dropkick by Tsukka and Tsukushi gets 2 when Hoshi breaks up the pin. Attempt of the same on Hoshi is countered with a double clothesline and Tsukushi rolls outside.
Hoshi and Maruko go up top in opposite corners and hit subsequent missle dropkicks on Tsukka for 2. Tsukushi comes in to help, but gets caught with a spinning uranage by Maruko, then Tsukka eats one as well for 2. Tsukka pushes Maruko into the ropes from the mat but the followup rollup is again countered, this time by Hoshi hitting her “rollin over downed opponent” as Tsukka spun around for the rollup. Maruko tried to follow with a roll of her own but Tsukka had brought her legs up so the two just kind of got tangled. Maruko pulls her up and hit a uranage for a close 2. Tsukushi and Hoshi fight to the outside and Tsukka counters another uranage into a rollup for 2. Tsukka tries to cave Maruko’s chest in with a kick for 2. Unfortunately for the resilient Maruko, the veteran immediately locks in a double arm stranglehold and Maruko has no where to go and no choice but to give up.
Decent tag match with Tsukushi doing a ton to forward her issue with the reigning champ and Maruko showing a lot of heart before succumbing to Tsukka’s onslaught. Not everything clicked here, but it was a strong, well worked match regardless with great effort all around.
4) Risa Sera vs Maya Yukihi
Both members of Azure Revolution seem a little tentative to lock up against each other here, starting with a double overhand wristlock that Risa initially gets the better of but Maya begins to power back out of. Risa doesn’t like the way that’s going so boots Maya in the midsection, snapmares her over, then locks in a bodyscissors. Risa really works it by bridging up repeatedly a few times, then breaks goes into a camel clutch. Maya makes her fight to apply it and then struggles to escape. Slow beginning but they’re telling a story with it and it’s working so far.
Risa just pounds on her partner for a bit, including forearms to the back and dismissive kicks to the chest when Maya tries to strike back from her knees. Several hair-mares and choking in the corner from Risa follow. Interesting to see Risa playing the dominant, uber-confident veteran putting here partner in her place a bit here. Wonder if this was already foreshadowing subsequent Risa’s climb up the card.
Boston crab cinched in for a while, then converted into Risa’s sweet hanging version (holding her opponents arms) when Maya tries for the ropes. Once Risa breaks and picks Maya back up the latter tries to reverse a whip, but Risa simply stomps on Maya’s foot. Risa off the ropes, but Maya levels her with a shoulder tackle for Maya’s FIRST offensive move of any kind in the match a good five minutes in.
Whip into the corner followed by a running knee to Risa by Maya, then a scoop slam and an elbow drop for 2. Seems a bit early for a chokeslam attempt and sure enough Risa fights it off easily, however after she hits the ropes Maya counters with an STO for 2. Hitting the ropes seems to be a bad idea in general for Risa this match. NICE transition by Maya, grabbing Risa’s arm into a cross armbreaker attempt as Risa kicks out. Risa keeps her hands clasped and reaches to the ropes with her feet for the break. Risa counters a hammerlock with a drop toehold and hits her signature repeated running knees to the back for 2.
Forearm exchange, with Risa largely absorbing Maya’s and her own knocking the latter back the ropes each time. Risa drops Maya to her knees with a trio of shots, but Maya jumps up and rolls Risa into a full cross armbreaker this time for a split second before Risa’s long legs get the ropes. Maya staying on the arm, slamming it repeatedly into the mat. She whips Risa towards the corner, but it’s reversed and Risa hits a running elbow followed by the running knees to the downed Maya, then pulls her out of the corner for 2.
Fireman’s carry reversed into a sunset flip for a close 2 for Maya, then she savate kicks Risa in the head as the latter rises for another 2. Maya rolls Risa into another crossarmbreaker, and they both sell it like crazy as a possible finish with Maya cranking it and Risa screaming in pain and bouncing around as much as she can until her legs finally get the ropes. Maya selling exhaustion, which delays her just enough for Risa to catch her with a dropkick. Swinging side slam follows for 2. Fireman’s carry slam and Risa goes for the cover, but Maya with a surprise small package for 2. Running double knees against the ropes by Risa sets up the Ayers Rock (sitout Fireman’s carry slam) for 3.
Interesting match. They worked a lot in and made it feel fuller and longer than its ten minute length. Maya looked better than I’ve ever seen her here, selling well and working the arm the whole match with laser focus setting up one big moment where it felt the obvious victor might actually be in jeopardy. Risa dominating the entire first half of the match was something different and made her seem a dominant force, something that was presumably built on on their way to crowning her champion. These two are capable of more, but good, tight main event here.
As usual couldn’t follow the discussion, but there seemed to be a lot going on. Yuuka was pouting and giving Misaki a hard time about something (with Misaki laughing) until Tsukka stepped in and said something that cheered Yuuka up. Misaki and Yuuka then cheerfully shook hands and slid back off to the side together. Maruko was really emotional about something a little later. Tsukushi taunted Yuuka about something, leading to the latter standing up and the two facing off for a second. Once everyone’s had a chance to speak, Maruko leads the “Happy Ice Ribbon” cheer to wrap things up.
Short show, with just 40 minutes of ring action, but as usual Ice Ribbon packed those minutes and it was quite enjoyable. Nothing really must see, but four good matches that all felt different and highlighted different styles
Vol 708: February 13, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan
1) Exhibition match: Saya vs Yuuka
Exhibition matches in IR are 3 minute time limit contests for trainees to face regular roster members in preparation for matches on the main show. This was Saya’s first exhibition match, so the first look at her work for any audience. Her opponent is Yuuka, who I’ve often complimented as one of the most impressive rising stars in the business.
Nice touch as since this is an exhibition Saya is in sweats and Yuuka is wearing an IR t-shirt over her normal gear. A fair bit of quick counter wrestling early followed by Yuuka putting the newbie through the paces with snapmares, strikes, whips, etc. Saya did get flashes of offense here and there: scoop slam, dropkick, etc. Also did a great reversal of a Yuuka forearm into a backslide and several close rollups as the match ended. Saya was tentative in the opening seconds (outside of the counters, which looked great), with really weak elbows and a few glances towards Yuuka to get her bearings, but she got past that quick and looked very good overall in this short showcase. Looking forward to seeing her matches as part of the main roster.
2) Miyako Matsumoto & Risa Sera vs Tsukasa Fujimoto and Akane Fujita
The team of Miyako and Risa will always amuse me greatly now after Miyako’s force conscription of Risa during IR vol. 701. The shenanigans start right away, as it looks to be Risa and Akane to begin, but Risa wants Tsukka, but when Tsukka obliges Miyako decides she wants to start as well and pushes Risa back into their corner.
At the bell Miyako runs past a confused Tsukka and knocks Akane off the apron as Risa runs in and hits Tsukka with a forearm, then they doubleteam Tsukka. Amusing. Doubelteams go as normal for Miyako’s partners: Tsukka is whipped to the ropes and hit with a kick from Miyako as Risa holds her partner in the air, then they try the reverse and Miyako is too weak to keep Risa up and drops her on her head. The way Miyako’s cracking up I’m not sure that was planned, but it certainly fit Miyako’s character either way.
Tsukka shows the traditional IR respect given to Miyako by her opponents, namely hair-maring her all over the place then choking her in the corner. Match slows down just a little bit as Tsukka and Akane take turns working over Miyako. The Dancing Queen eventually tries to fight back with the world’s weakest forearms (character detail, not a screw up). Tsukka responds with a hard double chop that sends Miyako scurrying around the ring, to the outside, then trying to crawl towards the back. She runs back towards the ring… check that, AROUND the ring, but Tsukka catches her and it’s back inside for more punishment.
Miyako eventually comes off the ropes with her flying double chop for 2 on Akane and then finally gets the tag to bring Risa in. Risa gets her opponents set up in opposite corners and bounces back and forth between them doing her running elbow followed by running knees in the corner spot on each in turn. Fun sequence. Tsukka sent out and Akane faceplanted for Risa’s triple running double kneedrop spot for 2. Akane reverses a whip and hits Risa with a double chop to create an opening to tag and Tsukka’s back in.
Dropkick in the corner by Tsukka sets up the running version, but Risa charges out of the corner and catches Tsukka with a dropkick of her own. Intense forearm exchange leads to dodging each other off the ropes, then Tsukka tries a rana but Risa holds on and pulls back into a Boston crab variation. Running double knees against the ropes after a rope break, but Tsukka fights out of the Ayers Rock and hits her rollup into a kick to the chest spot.
Tsukka up top and Akane runs over to block Miyako, but the latter amusingly comes in the ropes as Akane was going out to block her and gets in between Tsukka and Risa. Tsukka just nails her with the missile dropkick instead, and Risa boots her partner back out of the ring. BOO to Risa’s lack of gratitude for such a self sacrificing angel.
Another hard strike exchange which Tsukka gets the better of and then whips Risa to the corner for a running dropkick followed by a running forearm by Akane, then Risa falls down in the corner and Tsukka hits the running dropkick again. However as soon as she’s back up Risa hits the spinning side slam for 2. Tsukka’s out of it and Risa nails Ayers Rock, but Akane comes in to break up the pin at 2. Miyako chases Akane out and Risa goes up top in her own corner where Miyako tags in. This can’t be good.
Sure enough, Miyako slams Risa to the mat even though Tsukka had already moved, then rolls forward (still holding Risa’s arms) so she ends up sitting on the mat with Risa in the same position directly behind her. Tsukka kicks the generously presented back (Risa’s) repeatedly while Miyako covers her head as if she’s the one at risk (while being shielded by Risa). Eh, serves Risa right for booting Miyako after she took the missile dropkick in Risa’s place. 😉 Tsukka hits the far ropes and aims to kick Miyako’s chest, but Miyako rolls out of the way. Of course Risa was still right behind her so she took the full force of Tsukka’s kick. Tsukka tries a cover but the ref explains there’d been a tag and Risa’s not legal.
Miyako emphasizes that Tsukka needs to pay attention to her with another baby forearm, so Tsukka pounds on her. Tsukka hits the ropes, but Risa’s still in the ring so Miyako shoves her partner into a shoulder tackle on Tsukka. TEAMWORK, YAY! Miyako puts Tsukka into a corner and directs Risa into a doubleteam version of Risa’s running elbow, then Risa hits the spinning side slam as Miyako goes up top. The ref wants nothing to do with helping Miyako balance, so she calls Risa over. This has taken so long that Tsukka ALREADY has her legs straight up to block as Miyako poses.
Before we can see if Miyako would jump anyway Akane comes in and attacks. Tsukka knocks Risa out of the ring, Akane nails the powerslam, and a Tsukka kick to the chest gets 2. Tsukka locks in a double arm stranglehold and wrenches back. Miyako looks to be fading when Tsukka loses grip on an arm and Miyako frantically tries to escape, but Tsukka gets the hold again. I expected the end right there (especially with Akane blocking Risa from coming in at every turn), but Miyako struggles close enough to get her feet on the ropes to break. Big audience reaction for her endurance there.
Tsukka calls for the Venus shoot, but Miyako ducks underneath and gets her trademark rollup… for 2, as Akane gets by Risa and saves. That would have been quite the upset. Shining wizard gets 2. Tsukka fights back with an enzugiri, but Risa comes in. Ayers Rock, but she hit Miyako with Tsukka’s feet while spinning around. She drags Miyako into a cover for 2 as Akane’s back in to save again.
Risa sends Akane back out and Miyako tries to hold Tsukka in place for Risa’s top rope double knees with a rather gingerly applied armbar. Risa lands on her feet as Tsukka rolls out, but she blames Miyako and Tsukka dropkicks Risa from behind as they argue, sending Risa into Miyako. Tsukka floats over both and uses Risa’s weight to help pin Miyako, but still only gets 2. Akane shoulder tackles Risa and sends her back outside. Miyako tries to get her pinning combo on Tsukka, but it’s reversed and Tsukka pins Miyako with her own move for the victory. Risa sympathetically yells at an already visibly upset Miyako after the match. If only Miyako had had a more understanding, less selfish partner. 😉
This was a ton of fun, with everything I like about Miyako’s style of comedy in matches interwoven with fantastic action from Risa and Tsukka. Akane’s role was limited, but she did well with what she was given. Some great false finishes in there too that added to the immersion.
3) Kyuuri and Tsukushi vs The Lovely Butchers (Hamuko Hoshi and Mochi Miyagi)
Tsukushi gets another opportunity across the ring from the champ, but this time Hoshi has her regular partner in her corner. Kyuuri and Mochi start and the latter uses her size advantage to control her tiny opponent for a bit until Kyuuri escapes a headlock with a headscissors, gets up, and simply kicks Mochi in the head when the latter tries to pose. Disclosure: I am generally disposed against the Butcher’s gimmick and their posing routines so get a big smile on my face whenever anyone attacks them during it. Yay Kyuuri!
Tag brings in Tsukushi, but Mochi levels them both with a shoulder tackle off the ropes. Hoshi in and stereo whips set up stereo splashes and butt blocks in opposite corners, but Tsukushi and Kyuuri hit dropkicks to their opponents backs during the gloating portion. Tsukushi lines the Butchers up face down and she and Kyuuri take turns running on both of their backs. Then Tsukushi pushes the ref into doing it. Might be the one time I don’t complain about an interfering ref. 🙂 Pig face in the ropes on both Butchers, then double chops with them still tied up.
Kyuuri and Hoshi head back out and Tsukushi decides the best way to press her commanding advantage is to try to scoop slam Mochi, who has 50 lbs on Tsukushi. Unsurprisingly this tactic does not work, and Mochi reverses the slam and tags Hoshi to completely reverse the momentum of the match. Hoshi splashes for 2, but Tsukushi counters with a headscissors, dropkick, and scoop slam on Hoshi. Ok, it was a good idea that time. Also reminds us how deceptively strong Tsukushi is.
Tag to Kyuuri, who hits a shotgun dropkick and then tries to power Hoshi over in back bodydrop position. Not so much. Hoshi gets her Boston crab variation and turns so she faces Tsukushi on the apron, who looks on in disgust. Kyuuri struggles to the ropes for a break. She then absorbs some Hoshi palm strikes and tries to judo throw the latter, but Hoshi sets down to block and tries a short arm clothesline, only to have Kyuuri duck it and hit a stunner then complete the judo throw for 2. Great sequence.
Kyuuri tries to grab Hoshi’s arm out of the kickout, but Hoshi rolls through and whips Kyuuri to the corner. Splash attempt is reversed into a one legged monkey flip and Kyuuri goes for a cross armbreaker. Mochi comes in and splashes Kyuuri, but Kyuuri just stacks Mochi on top of Hamuko and locks the cross armbreaker on BOTH. Ref allows it, but is clearly only asking Hoshi if she gives up. Mochi rolls back onto Kyuuri trying to get the ropes, and it moves the whole pile just enough that Hoshi gets her leg there for a break.
Kyuuri hits the ropes but gets caught by a Hoshi shoulder tackles, then a tag leads to Mochi’s triple Earthquake splashes for 2. Kyuuri flips out of torture rack position into a Fujiwara armbar. Mochi fights to the ropes as Tsukushi holds off Hamuko. Back and forth a bit until Kyuuri hits her slingblade like clothesline three times in succession for 2. Tag and Tsukushi hits a high crossbody from the tope, but rolls all the way to Hoshi’s corner and attacks her, allowing Mochi to get up and ambush Tsukushi from behind. Splash in the corner misses when Tsukushi escapes to the apron and she goes right back to beating on Hoshi.
The annoyed Butchers bring her back in the ring for a doubleteam, but she catches them both with a dropkick, and goes back to beating on Hoshi. She ducks a retaliatory clothesline and pushes Hoshi into Mochi, knocking Hoshi out of the ring and leaving Mochi in the corner for a running forearm from Kyuuri follwed by the seated crossbody from Tsukushi. Tsukushi hits the ropes but gets caught by Mochi on a crossbody attempt, and Mochi hits a nice spinning side slam.
And we’re back to the nonsense, as Mochi hits the running belly to the face then tags in Hoshi for one of her own for 2. They fight over a waistlock until Tsukushi rolls forward with Hoshi and floats around into a seated abdominal stretch. Hoshi eventually powers into a roll toward Tsukushi to get out of it. Tsukushi up to the top rope, but Mochi grabs her from the apron and Hoshi pulls her into position for a Samoan drop. Hoshi up to the middle rope, but Tsukushi rolls inside the splash attempt. Crossbody from the top on Hoshi by Kyuuri, then a missile dropkick from Tsukushi from a different corner for 2. Codebreaker by Tsukushi into a lungblower by Kyuuri, who holds Hoshi over her knees for Tsukushi to hit a double stomp off the top rope. Fantastic. Gets 2 as Mochi saves.
Tskushi hits the ropes to attack Hoshi, but Mochi cuts her off with a Thesz press. Sandwich splash on Tsukushi, then a double backdrop suplex for 2. Northern lights get 2 for Hoshi as Kyuuri saves. Kyuuri clothesline takes out Mochi, then a Hoshi lariat returns the favor. Hoshi caught off the ropes by a Tsukushi dropkick for 1, then a Hoshi lariat gets 1 on Tsukushi. Tsukushi hits the ropes and runs into a standing splash for 2. Running belly to the face counters with a rana rollup for 2. Sweet move as Tsukushi jumps into a doublestomp on Hoshi’s chest as Hoshi kicks out. Tsukushi tries a headscissors roll, but Hoshi sets down on it for 2. Hoshi hits the ropes and does her horizontal roll over Tsukushi… for the win?! Huh.
Wasn’t that into this at first, but it really picked up as it went. The Butchers are a good tag team when their not playing to their gimmick. The last phase of the match was all about the champ and her upcoming challenger, and I REALLY didn’t expect either to drop a fall here. Not sure whether it hurt Tsukushi’s momentum going into the title shot (no one really expected Hoshi to lose in her first defense anyway and there was still a month to build it) and some unpredictability is nice, so I’ll call this a reasonable choice. I’d like to see more of Tsukushi and Kyuuri as a team. Tsukushi is pissed after the match, and Hoshi taunts her a bit as we fade out.
4) Yuuka vs Maruko Nagasaki
Thrilled to see these two get a main event spotlight. Maruko attacks Yuuka from behind during the latter’s entrance and hits a dropkick in the corner as the bell rings. She sends Yuuka to the outside and grabs a chair (?!) and this is already way off from what I expected. Yuuka ducks the chair strike and hits a forearm to put Maruko against the apron, then goes all the way to the backstage entrance for a running start for another forearm. Maruko moves and Yuuka hits the apron. Scoop slam, then Maruko picks Yuuka up and slams her into the seats in the crowd as people scatter. She then drags Yuuka to the backstage entrance and slam her head into some scaffolding.
Maruko marches her opponent right back down to ringside for another head slam (into the apron this time) and we’re back into the ring with Maruko in complete control. Scoop slam, then Maruko grabs Yuuka legs and forces her shoulders down for 2, then flips over into a Boston crab as Yuuka kicks out. Yuuka twists her body around trying to force herself to the ropes, but Maruko drags her to center of the ring and sets back down just as she gets close. Yuuka claws back to the ropes for the break. Maruko up to the top, but Yuuka cuts her off with a forearm and slams her down, then nails a running dropkick in the corner. Maruko forearm ducked and Yuuka locks in an abdominal stretch. Yuuka has her arms locked and is rocking back and forth with it as Maruko screams in pain to actually sell this as a legitimate attempt to win. Small things like that make a huge difference.
Maruko brushes the ropes with her fingertips, but Yuuka falls back without letting go to turn it into an upside down Gargano Escape. Maruko makes the ropes to break. Running forearm against the ropes for Yuuka, but Maruko fights out of the crosslegged fisherman’s suplex and hits a forearm. Maruko keeps ducking Yuuka’s attempts to retaliate and hitting more of her own forearms, but Yuuka lands a running one to put Maruko down, but the latter rolls out of the way of Yuuka’s diving version. Rollup gets 2 for Maruko. Small package for another 2. Another small package for another 2. She just wearing Yuuka down here. Dropkick lands and Maruko goes up to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Uranage in the center of the ring and Yuuka just barely kicks out before 3.
Yuuka shifts her weight to avoid another Uranage, so Maruko with a forearm strike and hits the ropes, only to eat a dropkick. Yuuka with a crossbody from the top for 2, then tries the crosslegged fisherman’s again, but Maruko breaks and counters with a spinebuster for 2. Both slow to get up. Maruko with some forearms, but hits the ropes and is LEVELED by a Yuuka forearm off the rebound. Yuuka’s beautiful diving forearm off the ropes gets 2. Yuuka finally hits the crosslegged fisherman’s for a close 2.
Scoop slam and Yuuka goes up for a moonsault, which connects for 3! Aftermath is cut short and we fade out quickly as Yuuka seems to be grabbing the ref and pointing to her knee. Looked like she came down on it hard during that moonsault.
Great little main event. It started hot with an unexpected brawl then turned into the heated in-ring contest I expected letting two young wrestlers with HUGE potential show what they can do. I enjoyed this a lot and they packed a ton into a seven minute spotlight while still telling a strong in-ring story and without resorting to an illogical spotfest. Looking forward to longer matches between these two in the future.
Seemed it’s usual amusing comments with setup for future events and matches from what I could tell. Tsukushi definitely had some choice words for the reigning champion (after which Tsukka was cracking up). Risa leads the “Happy Ice Ribbon” cheer and we’re out.
These two dojo shows are quite short, but they don’t FEEL short and they pack a ton of action in without feeling rushed, as well as showcasing numerous different styles. These honestly aren’t really important shows, but they are good shows with interesting matchups and I recommend this as another thoroughly enjoyable disc from IR (as well as a particularly strong pickup for Yuuka fans).