April 11, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan
Special no audience show broadcasted from the Ice Ribbon Dojo for free on YouTube in addition to Ice Ribbon’s NicoNico channel.
Tequila Saya and Chiharu are hosting and commentating. Mio is referee.
Nice video production with profile cards displayed featuring the participants for each match and a short Ice Ribbon video played before of each match (as a buffer to separate things and in place of entrances). This is being approached and produced like any of their big shows, which is not only a nice touch but also impressive given the circumstances.
1) Maika vs Totoro
Lots of shouting from Maika and Totoro and cheering from the seconds around the ring, which really helps the energy for a no audience show.
I enjoy this pairing and this was a great little match. Both wrestlers have impressive power, making this a high impact affair.
Maika getting Totoro up in the torture rack late match was crazy impressive. She eventually transfers that into a slam and finishes with the senton from the middle rope in the corner.
Saya and Chiharu briefly interview both participants after the matches. This was another well done touch throughout the show, even if I couldn’t understand much outside of some comments in English from Yappy and Thekla.
2) Akane Fujita vs Thekla
The video, which was fine for the opening match, goes out of focus for this one. They can’t get it to refocus without going in close, so it alternates between being zoomed in just a little too much and being out of focus as they kept zooming in and out trying to fix it.
Hard to judge in full with the technical issues as I personally couldn’t really watched the blurred image for very long at a time, but this seemed solid with just a tiny bit of awkwardness here and there. Looking forward to seeing Thekla (who I was previously unfamiliar with) wrestle again sometime when I can better see.
Of note: There was a second camera being operated from the balcony, so this should not be an issue on the DVD or when eventually released in edited for on Ice Ribbon’s NicoNico channel.
3) Dropkickers (Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi) vs. Mochi Miyagi & Risa Sera
Dropkickers are the reigning International Ribbon Tag Team Champions. This is non-title.
They fixed the camera between matches. Still not perfect on wide shots, but much better than it was, being pretty crisp on medium to close shots and totally watchable. Still a lot of zooming in and out as they test the best distance though.
Early on all the camera problems are momentarily and amusingly solved as they fight to the outside and everything becomes a closeup. Really great energy from everyone as they brawl around.
Tsukushi goes wild with Mochi’s whip, attacking her opponents as well as poor Akane who was nearby. Then with Risa & Mochi laid out Tsukka runs them over with Mio’s baby stroller while Tsukushi gently restrains the referee’s protests. But Mio draws the line on Tsukka trying to swing it like a steel chair and forcibly takes it back.
Back in the ring this settled into an extremely good, fast paced example of IR’s midcard tag matches. It was kept brisk and energetic, and had some added amusement as Risa kept grabbing a personal camera to use, often not to her own benefit. The video selfie footage as she was getting attacked should be interesting to say the least.
This went the full 15 minutes for a time limit draw, keeping the intensity up the whole way. I think was my favorite match of the show.
Tsukka and Risa went crazy at the end trying to get falls before time expired. They keep at it a little afterwards and a frustrated Tsukka snapmares Risa off the far ring apron. During the post match interview a future singles match seems set up.
4) Kurumi Hiiragi vs. Yappy
The semi-regular tag team XL Breakers face off against each other in singles competition here.
Yappy is continuing to improve her skills and is coming across as more and more comfortable in the ring. It’s particularly cool to see her get a bit of a spotlight in this semi-main event singles match. Yappy also does a lot outside of the ring to try and make Ice Ribbon more accessible and understandable to foreign fans, which is always greatly appreciated.
Another good match, playing to the strengths of both combatants in a straight up power battle. Yappy hung in with Ice Ribbon’s dominate monster and fought back as she could, but Kurumi’s onslaught was eventually too much and she prevailed with the top rope splash.
5) Ibuki Hoshi & Maya Yukihi vs. Hamuko Hoshi & Suzu Suzuki
Suzu has retired the Chirin Chirin gimmick for an awesome new look and a more serious attitude and is headed for a title shot against ICE Cross Infinity Champion Maya. She vaulted into title contention by defeating IR’s ace Tsukka in a singles match, which is a huge deal considering Suzu’s been wrestling for less than a year and a half.
Maya recently kind of turned her back on Ice Ribbon to form the group Rebel x Enemy with outsiders Kaichow Ram & Rina Yamashita. It appears to be mostly an attitude thing, as she stills participates in tag matches like this teaming with other members of the Ice roster. Maya’s in colorful new gear, separating this from her Dark Snow character in Oz Academy (although her Oz stablemates Mayumi Ozaki and Police recently came to Ice to set up a tag title challenge for Ozaki & Saori Anou).
The other half of the participants in this match see a mother and daughter rivalry continuing to develop as Ibuki angrily slaps Hammy’s hand away in lieu of a pre-match handshake after shaking Suzu’s (Maya ignored Hammy’s offered hand, and Suzu didn’t offer).
Hamuko and Ibuki start hot, and Hammy brings her daughter outside to the camera in short order for an extreme closeup of her chomping on Ibuki’s arm. Back in Ibuki repays it a bit by stomping her mom during the sexy pose.
Lots of intensity in this one. Suzu looks right at home in with IR’s top wrestlers and I really like the dynamic of having two people who’ve recently added harder edges to their personas feuding.
Ibuki’s also constantly upping her game and looked great. She had some incredible near fall exchanges with Suzu down the stretch before the latter pulled out the win with the Gran Maestro de Tequila.
Strong finish to a strong show. Afterwards, birthday cakes are brought out for Chiharu and Kurumi.
Ice Ribbon achieved something special here, as it really felt like a normal dojo show in atmosphere, and an extremely good one at that (the card was more along the lines of one of their larger venue shows).
The technical issues were only really a big deal during one match, and that’s not bad at all with a reduced staff and people helping with things they don’t normally do (and as I mentioned above the second camera’s footage will be available to them to clean things up for the DVD).
Great effort, energy, and execution were there up and down the card, and everyone involved should be proud of putting on a show like this under tough circumstances.
Edit 4/21/20: Turns out these shows are only available for free on YouTube for a short period, so I removed the original link from the review. But the enhanced, multi-camera version through the first match is now there and the remainder is available with a subscription to their Nico Nico Channel.