January 5, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan
The first of two Ice Ribbon shows at Yokohama Radiant Hall. This was a “regular” Ice Ribbon show while the one later in the day … well, wasn’t. 😉
The opening 6-woman tag of Asahi, Tsukasa Fujimoto, & Makoto vs Totoro Satsuki, Kurumi Hiiragi, & Miyako Matsumoto had a great story of Makoto and Tsukka trying to support a desperate Asahi looking to prove her worth and earn the win anchoring the action. Unfortunately their opponents were just a bit too much for the rookie to overcome and eventually pinned Asahi for the win.
Marvelous’ rookie Maria Takeda, just a couple of weeks after debuting against then Ice Cross Infinity Champion Tsukka, got to wrestle a former champion here in the form of Risa Sera. The arena, prompted by the cheering of the wrestlers at ringside and the quasi-heel antics of Risa, were firmly behind Maria. Risa isn’t quite as good at the “bell-to-bell turn” as Tsukka (see her title defense against Uno from Vol 741 for an incredible example of this formula), but still played her role well here in a decent match. Maria held up her end and looked really impressive for two weeks experience.
Speaking of Uno Matsuya, she got to shine a bit against a visiting veteran as she and Akane Fujita took on Pure-J’s Command Bolshoi & Mochi Miyagi. This was a pretty straightforward, ok tag match overall.
Another opportunity to see mother vs daughter clash graced the semi main as Hamuko Hoshi faced Ibuki Hoshi. They’re great as opponents and I look forward to these matches. In my opinion Ibuki brings out the best in her mother, and this was a nicely intense battle somewhat reminiscent of the opener with the rookie desperate to prove herself and coming up just a bit short.
In the main event the newly crowned (at Ribbonmania, less than a week prior) Ice Cross Infinity and International Ribbon Tag Team Champions teamed together as Maya Yukihi, Kyuri, & Maika Ozaki took on Tequila Saya, Giulia, & Tsukushi. I was expecting a Tsukushi pin on someone to set her up in her traditional role as sacrificial first defense for the new singles champion, but Saya pinning Kyuri set up several interesting things post match and was a nice, interesting call. I really liked the direction the booking took during this trip overall, shaking things up a little in a believable way. This match was an exciting, face paced contest throughout with excellent work by all six.
To close out there was a presentation for 2018 awards. The “Rookie” of the Year award had a bit of unfortunate hilarity, as it was announced as a tie between Saya and Uno. As they celebrated Sato quickly jumped in to correct the announcement, as it was actually a tie between Saya and Giulia. Poor Uno. It was pretty much a given that some form of Tsukka vs Maya would win Best Match, it was just a matter of whether the Ribbonmania main would eclipse their encounter in August in the fans eyes. Not quite it seems, as the August match won. Tsukka also won MVP, the Butchers took Best Tag Team, Ribbonmania was Best Event, and the absent Tae Honma won Best “Enemy” (outsider).
Another strong show from Ice Ribbon to start the day in Yokohama, and a few hours later I’d be back for something completely different.