Frank Sisters Produce (Ice Ribbon) 1/5/19 Live Thoughts

January 5, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan

Earlier the same day Ice Ribbon had  strong show at Yokohama Radiant Hall. This was a few hours later, and was not a “normal” Ice Ribbon event. Entitled “I Like Frank More Than Three Bowls of Rice,” this was produced by the “Frank Sisters” of Akane Fujita, Kurumi Hiirgi, & Mochi Miyagi and had a decidedly different feel.

 

 

1) Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Ibuki Hoshi

Ibuki’s a fantastic, natural fiery underdog (and in a different way than say Asahi is) and really shines in matchups like these. She had a nice showing of resilience against the force of nature that is the Lady Destroyer before Hiroyo put her away for good.

 

 

2) Mochi Miyagi & Papillon Akemi vs Makoto & Moeka Haruhi

I’ve only ever seen Akemi before as Emi Sakura W in Gatoh Move, but the gimmick’s very similar here. This was weird, but reasonably fun. Makoto & Moeka might have been the defacto heels, but I found their aggression and games of one-upmanship towards Akemi somewhat amusing and was pleased when they pulled out the win.

 

 

3) Hot Dog Eating Contest Match: Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hamuko Hoshi vs Maya Yukihi & Tae Honma 

Tsukka certainly did not look happy coming out for this. After losing her title and participating in a jump rope match within days prior to this, it was a rough week for her.

Music would randomly be played during this tag match, at which point any wrestler currently in the ring could eat hot dogs (brought in by the respective teams’ seconds). The team that ate the most hot dogs eaten at the end of the match won (winning the fall to trigger the end of the match by pin or submission was worth five “virtual hot dogs” in the final count).

 

 

This was absurd in all the best ways. It was viscerally hard to watch them stuff their faces and then bump on their stomachs seconds later, and as usual with Ice Ribbon everyone was fully invested in making even the most ridiculous of situations wonderfully compelling. This was given proper time to emphasize the gimmick, with the match going almost twenty minutes, and the wrestling in between the eating was top notch.

 

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Tsukka won the fall with the stranglehold while Tae was still chomping on THREE hot dogs at once. However, with a count of 22-18, Tae & Maya still won. Subtracting the 5 virtual hot dogs, Maya & (mostly) Tae outate Tsukka & Hammy by 9 hot dogs. O_o TAE IS A MONSTER. Fantastic in ways I can’t properly describe.

 

 

4) Hardcore Tag: Risa Sera & Yuko Miyamoto vs Akane Fujita & Minoru Fujita 

No surprise seeing Risa and Akane break out the hardcore stipulation for their mixed tag. There was a lot of silliness in this that required a go-with-the-flow kind of attitude when watching, but was highly enjoyable on those terms. They played baseball with rubber duckies, duplexed each other on Legos, and so on.

 

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When things got more “serious” Risa’s tendencies to go a little overboard took me out of the match a bit. There’s a line between compelling violence used to tell a story and unnecessary, cringeworthy spots that look like they hurt the person performing them more than the one receiving it anyway. This was a fun for what it was brawl otherwise though, with Risa & Yuko picking up the win.

 

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Main Event) Kurumi Hiiragi vs Kengo Mashimo

In the past several of the intergender matches I’ve seen from Ice Ribbon have been solely about how much damage the woman can take before losing. This had a more fully realized story/layout with Kurumi actually aggressively fighting back and giving a dismissive Kengo a bit of comeuppance before losing.  Kurumi worked really well against her larger opponent and this was a strong way to end the show. Kengo messed with her more after the match, to LOUD boos.

 

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Talked to Tae after the show, during which she related how full she was and expressed a desire to not eat any more hot dogs for a year.  She also cheerfully displayed her “Best Enemy” award from the earlier show.

 

“I Like Frank More Than Three Bowls of Rice” was something different in wonderful ways, and just a blast overall to be at.

Shimmer Weekend March 2019: Quick Thoughts (Live)

March 30-31, 2019 in Berwyn, IL

Shimmer taped Volumes 109-112 last weekend in their home base in Berwyn. Tomorrow morning they will be live from La Boom in Queens, NY  as part of Wrestlemania weekend.

Going into that show I’d like to share some highlights from last weekends shows. The 4 shows had 40+ matches featuring 40+ wrestlers. So there will be matches, performers, etc I won’t be mentioning (and a thing or two I’m sure I’ll forget/overlook).

 

 

First I want to talk about the more unfortunate happenings of the weekend, particularly because I know there’s concern for Mercedes Martinez and Charlie Morgan. The good news is both are doing well all things considered after in ring injuries suffered on Sunday. Mercedes had the wind knocked out of her and suffered what would be later diagnosed as bruised ribs when her partner was powerbombed on her during a tag title defense on Volume 111. It was a scary scene as Mercedes couldn’t be moved for a good 15 minutes after the match, at which point she was carried to the back. Very happy to hear it’s not as serious as it could have been and that she’s recovering. In fact she says she’s ready to go for Shimmer’s show this Friday and will tentatively be defending the tag team championship.

Charlie Morgan suffered a severely sprained ankle during a tag match during Volume 112. She will need some time to recuperate. I hope she has a speedy and full recovery. Charlie has set up a GoFundMe to help with the unexpected medical bills (which has already reached it’s original stated goal).

 

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I feel a little odd going from sharing information on their injuries to discussing their matches, but I don’t want skip giving proper credit to two of the stand out performers of the weekend. They tore the house down against each other in an excellent semi-main on Volume 110 in Charlie’s anticipated Shimmer/US debut.

Mercedes & Cheerleader Melissa had a good tag title defense against Sea Stars (Ashley Vox & Delmi Exo) on Volume 109 and what was shaping up to be one of the best matches of the weekend defending against Hiroyo Matsumoto & DASH Chisako prior to the accident. Melissa grabbed a chair and got DQ’d to end that match after Mercedes injury. Mercedes has been in peak form and excellent in everything I’ve seen her in for a while now. I was really excited about all of the matchups she was in, and they all delivered.

 

Speaking of the newly named Reiwa Ultima Powers, Sendai Girls’ DASH Chisako made her Shimmer debut this weekend. She’s a 13-year veteran and one of the best high flyers in wrestling. Also a personal favorite of mine, and I’ve been dying to have her in Shimmer for years. She & Hiroyo make a fantastic team, and DASH’s Shimmer debut on Volume 109 of them against the previously mentioned, underrated Blue Nation was a lot of fun. Later in the day RUP would have the best match of the weekend (imho) against Twisted Sisterz (Thunder Rosa & Holidead). The four put on an energetic, captivating clinic on tag wrestling.

 

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DASH & Hiroyo won both contests (the first with DASH’s gorgeous Hormone Splash and the second with Hiroyo’s Rock Drop) to earn a tag title shot on Volume 111. As mentioned above it was amazing while it lasted, and I’d love to see a rematch of any of these matches sometime. Twisted Sisterz reportedly will have another chance to steal the show on Friday, as they seem to be in line for a title shot of their own against Mercedes & Melissa.

 

 

The Lady Destroyer finished the weekend in a really fun encounter against the Undead Bride Su Yung. Hiroyo will ride the momentum of that win to a title shot against Shimmer champion Nicole Savoy to open tomorrow’s show in what will no doubt be an incredible encounter.

DASH finished the weekend getting a singles victory in a short but exciting 4-way against Keira Hogan, Ashley Vox, and the third visiting Joshi of the weekend, Cherry.

 

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Like DASH this was Cherry’s debut weekend. Cherry’s also a veteran, and actually has a couple years more experience than even Hiroyo and DASH. She’s largely a comedy wrestler in Japan nowadays but showcased her technical skills in three matches over the course of Shimmer weekend. In addition to the 4-way, she debuted in losing effort to Charli Evans of Blue Nation to open Volume 110 (Charli working several Joshi a weekend is a trend I very much approve of) and was victorious over Veda Scott on Volume 111.

 

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Going back to Twisted Sisterz, Rosa & Holidead looked fantastic all weekend, and after the previously mentioned loss to RUP and a losing singles effort by Rosa against Shazza McKenzie on Volume 111 the duo finished strong with a solid victory against Miranda Alize & Hyan to give them a touch of momentum going into tomorrow’s title shot. 

 

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Shazza is a bit hit or miss for me personally, but had a really strong weekend with a victory over Alisha Edwards, a closely contested (and tainted) loss to Allysin Kay and the previously mentioned win over Rosa leading to a shot at Savoy to close out the weekend. The victory against Shazza was a final exclamation point on a dominant weekend for the champ, who also defeated Britt Baker, Hudson Envy, and Allysin Kay in four extremely good defenses. Envy looked downright vicious in a wonderful way in her two matches on Saturday (she wasn’t on Sunday’s shows) and AK-47 has been killing it every time she gets in the ring lately.

 

 

The last big story of the weekend involved Heart of Shimmer champion Dust, and the way her Paradise Lost partner Rosemary continually interfered to make sure Dust stayed champion, including in a close contest on Saturday that was somewhat of a breakout performance for challenger Solo Darling.

 

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On Volume 111 The Sinister Sweethearts (Brittany Blake & Samantha Heights) got a chance at revenge in a tag match against Paradise Lost that would earn Heights another shot at Dust if the Sweethearts proved victorious. They did, but Rosemary would get Dust disqualified in said title match later in the day to preserve the title. Shimmer authority figure Lexi Fyfe was having none of it, and Heights will get one more shot tomorrow in the main event with Rosemary banned from the building.

 

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There was a lot more going on, with Shotzi Blackheart’s and Aerial Monroe ‘s matches standing out in my mind. Indi Hartwell is really excelling in a heel role, and introduced new “best friend” / enforcer Steph De Lander to back her up. The pre-show match between Harlow O’Hara and Rocky Radley on Sunday was impressive, and I’d like to see more of both in the future. It was great to have Kris Wolf around for a pair of matches as her career winds down, and the big 8-woman tag tomorrow featuring her in her second to last match will be fun.

 

 

Overall the weekend featured an excellent mix of talent leading to interesting matchups. Not everything was great, and not everything I mentioned was perfect, but overall an enjoyable batch of shows with good effort from nearly everyone and some fantastic highlights. Tomorrow’s lineup looks great, and I recommend anyone who gets the chance check out the show.