It’s fair to say that we at Ringbelles have become quite the fans of Ice Ribbon – on the back of their weekly, free to air 19pro Ustream show, the easily accessible English information about the product (on twitter, tumblr and facebook) and the fact that their wrestlers are just really fun to watch – so when I got the chance to watch Ice Ribbon’s most recent Korakuen Hall show a mere two weeks after it happened, I jumped on it. Ice Ribbon usually run shows at their small Warabi Dojo in the Saitama area, but every so often they run Korakuen Hall in Tokyo (one of seemingly hundreds of promotions that run there regularly), and this most recent edition, entitled “Ice’s Adventures in Wonderland” promised the most enticing IR lineup at Korakuen this year.
The ethereal intro video introduces the main stories running into the show – Manami Toyota mentoring and encouraging Tsukushi, Sayaka Obihiro returning to face the challenge of JWP’s Kaori Yoneyama, Makoto’s final appearances (for now) with the company before heading off to SMASH, the feisty Riho challenging SMASH’s head man TAJIRI and the ICEx60 Title defense of Tsukasa Fujimoto against the dynamic Hikari Minami.
You know there are times when you buy a DVD and you put it in your collection, but don’t watch it, thinking you’ll get round to it at some point when you get the chance? The problem is, you buy more DVDs, watch them and the one you planned to watch in the very near future just gets forgotten about, until you see it one day and feel so guilty that you’ve neglected it for so long?
That’s the story with me and World Women’s Wrestling‘s Champion v Champion DVD. I bought it three years ago and always meant to get round to it, but the backlog of shows builds up and even though I had the best intentions, I never watched it. Until yesterday, when I finally slotted the disc into the player and settled down to see what I had been missing.
World Women’s Wrestling came about as an all-female offshoot from Massachusetts-based New England Championship Wrestling, a promotion which has been about since 2000, and has seen wrestlers such as John Cena and Kofi Kingston wrestle there early in their careers. It has also boasted an impressive women’s division back when many independent promotions presented solitary matches with a rather small roster – with IWA: Mid South being an obvious exception. On the strength of their hard work, WWW was formed in 2006, a few months after NECW created a Women’s Championship, which was first held by Mercedes Martinez.
Meanwhile, over in Rhode Island, PWF Northeast also had its own Women’s Champion, and both promotions agreed to co-recognise the titles, and eventually amalgamate them. When the first WWW show was held in March 2006, both titleholders were babyfaces – Nikki Roxx held the NECW Women’s belt, while Ariel was the PWF Mayhem Women’s Champion – though things would change before this title for title showdown… (more…)
I don’t know why – I’m sure some will say I’m being pig ignorant or obtuse or something – but I don’t know much about Shelly Martinez. Sure, I know the basics, that she was Ariel in the revived WWE incarnation of ECW, she left there due to some altercation or other with Batista and then she enjoyed a run in TNA as Salinas, the feisty valet of tag team LAX. But that’s about it. I can’t tell you why I don’t know much about her, but that puts me in a fairly privileged position for this review of Girl Talk with Shelly Martinez, a shoot interview from Highspots conducted by SHIMMER interviewer and ArenaChicks commentator Amber Gertner.
This is Amber’s first attempt at a one-on-one extended interview, and straight out of the gate, I’m going to tell you that she did a great job. She has a plan on where she wants the interview to go and what topics she wants to cover, though isn’t afraid to deviate from her crib sheet if something sounds interesting. She also contributes to the conversation – and it’s a proper conversation, not a list of questions rifled to the interviewee – when she has personal opinions or insight into a subject.
It’s something Amber agrees with. Before writing this review, I asked Amber for some thoughts. When it came to the conversation, she admitted that “It was a real pleasure to conduct my first shoot interview with her. I felt it was more like an intimate chat rather than just a shoot interview.” (more…)
In 2009, Anarchy Championship Wrestling based out of Austin, Texas started an annual tradition when they promoted the first “American Joshi Queen of Queens” tournament (won by Daizee Haze). I got it and enjoyed it, and really didn’t think much of anything about ACW until the next show came along. This is therefore the first ACW DVD I’ve picked up since then, and the lineup looks stellar – so let’s see if the action delivers.
We start with some sort of skit with a group calling themselves The Submission Squad. I recognise Athena, but I have no idea who the others are. Whoever they are, they are completely annoying. One of them is wearing a belt of some kind, and I assume they’re wrestlers. You wouldn’t necessarily know that to see them. The skit involves someone called Davy Vega who may or may not have had a plane crash and who may or may not have crawled four miles from the wreckage of the plane to get here. One of the guys says “What the hell is going on?”. I agree with this.
Next up is Jessica James backstage. She is apparently a last minute addition to the tourney, and it becomes clear that she’s up against Sara Del Rey. “Crap”, she says. Again, I agree with this comment.
We’re now inside the building, and there are more men that I’ve never seen before talking about things I know nothing about. I hit FF. After three consecutive skits, we get… a skit. This again features Athena and some of the annoying guys from the first skit. All things told, that’s ten minutes of the DVD and I haven’t seen a wrestling ring yet. Oh dear. (more…)
Up for review here is Ice Ribbon‘s “Ribbon March” show at Korakuen Hall on March 21st, headlined by ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto defending her title against the masked Ray. This was the first big Ice Ribbon show since the Tohoku Earthquake/Tsunami that crippled the country only ten days prior, so this show not only has the emotional weight of the disaster on its shoulders, but is presented basically “bare bones” as far as presentation is concerned, due to energy conservation – so no special lighting effects etc.
Elimination Match: Hikari Minami, Kurumi & Tsukushi vs Tamako, Riho & Maki Narumiya
So we start with a six girl elimination match. I don’t know an awful lot about some of these girls, and in fact one of them (Tamako) is making her pro debut here, while another (Narumiya) had only debuted less than a fortnight earlier. It does feature a bunch of the absolute youngest girls on the roster though… Kurumi is 10 years old, Riho is 13, while Tsukishi and Hikari Minami are both 15 years old. Bizarrely, the aforementioned new girls Tamako (at 21) and Narumiya (at 26 years old) are double the age of some of the other competitors here. Absolutely insane. Anyway – Tamako is super cute, but is clearly not at all ready, muddling her way through 54 seconds with Tsukishi before being pinned by a terrible schoolgirl. Riho works with Kurumi and pins her with a Northern Lights Suplex Hold at 2:43 to even the odds. Narumiya doesn’t look too bad before Hikari Minami pins her with a Finlay Roll – which leaves Riho alone against Tsukishi & Minami. Here’s where it started to pick up. Riho worked for three here, handling both with the polished aplomb you *really* don’t expect a girl of 13 to have. She eliminated Minami via ringout (causing your opponent to hit the floor – a common Japanese variant of the usual elimination rules), duelled with submissions and rollups with Tsukishi before eventually being pinned in 8:40 with a victory roll. The first half of the match was pretty awful, but Riho saved it with some excellent stuff in the second half. Good job.
Despite reporting on NCW: Femmes Fatales and even interviewing its figurehead LuFisto on the ninth episode of the Women Of Wrestling Podcast, until this weekend, I hadn’t watched any of the shows. All of my knowledge has come from word of mouth, reading various reports and from general research.
In fact, it’s much like when I became a wrestling fan in the first place – I had seen WrestleMania VII in bits, but then started buying WWF Magazine in August 1991, which is where I picked up a huge amount of knowledge, history and trivia… as it was a good magazine back then. Eight months on, I had someone tape WrestleMania VIII for me, and everything went into a new level. In a similar vein, I know enough about Femmes Fatales to engage in a decent conversation, but had no knowledge of the DVDs, the quality of the wrestling or the intricacies that you can’t pick up from the written word. So a month ago, I picked up the first three shows, and put the first one in the DVD player yesterday. Here’s what I thought… (more…)
As Stew discussed earlier this week, there’s a much bigger world of wrestling out there than the Divas or Knockouts stuff which leaves us disappointed on a weekly basis. It’s not entirely the girls’ fault – they get fed crap and have to go out there and make the best of it – but considering how often they train and wrestle – especially in the case of the Divas – then some of them should be much better than they are.
There is so much women’s wrestling action every week that your best plan is to vote with your remote and your wallet. However, if you’re short on cash and don’t want to take a punt on something just in case you don’t like it, there’s some free wrestling out there to watch too… as long as you’re not at work or asleep or something… (more…)
Amongst the offerings for sale at the S-Ovation table at the most recent SHIMMER tapings was a DVD entitled “Joshi 4 Hope”, and featured matches from the self-produced show this past November at Shin-Kiba First Ring. As well as the four young joshi talents who regularly impress at SHIMMER and who symbolise the “Joshi 4 Hope” concept (Ayumi Kurihara, Hiroyo Matsumoto, Misaki Ohata & Tomoka Nakagawa), the show featured the Japanese debut of SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles along with an international cast which featured Canadian (Cherry Bomb), American (Hailey Hatred) and Mexican (Sexi Star) talent along with a number of other joshi names such as then NEO Champion Yoshiko Tamura. In fact, it was the first-time meeting between Eagles and Tamura along with an Ayumi Kurihara vs Tomoka Nakagawa rematch that persuaded me to be parted with the cash for the disc. Let’s see what sort of investment I made… (more…)
The PWWA Last Woman Standing tournament took place on July 3, 2010 in Liverpool, Australia and while there are a few women on this DVD whom will be unfamiliar with, there are a few who you will definitely recognize from SHIMMER.
The first match of this very solid tournament belongs to then PWWA Champion Madison Eagles and Shazza Mckenzie. The match started off with some great mat wrestling. You would think Madison Eagles would easily have the advantage due to her finely tuned wrestling & mixed martial arts background, but Shazza did a great job keeping up with the veteran. Madison seemed to be gaining all the momentum and looked like she was on her way to a somewhat easy exit on to the second round, but that was altered when Shazza countered one of her signature moves into a neck breaker. By this point the tables are completely turned and Madison actually looked like she could be taking a very unexpected early exit. She mounted a comeback, eventually getting Shazza up for the “BRAIN BUSTA!” but it’s countered. Shazza then attempted to deliver a move of her own to Madison, but is hit with “Hell Bound” for the three.
Next up we have the Lady Gaga-lite Harley Wonderland sashaying out to the hit song “Paparazzi” for her match against Savannah Summers. The match started off with Harley bullying Savannah and pushing her to the mat twice during both attempts to lock up. The tide quickly turns when Savannah gives Harley a piece of her own medicine with a couple of nice shoulder blocks. Savannah started to pump up the crowd, but her momentum was temporarily stopped when Harley knocked her down with a drop kick. Savannah eventually found her streak, but got herself in trouble yet again, though as the old saying goes “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again” and it works for Savannah as she picks up the win with a roll up. (more…)
Tonight’s Divas match at the Royal Rumble produced two surprises, but neither one turned out to be what many people expected.
Right as LayCool and Natalya were squaring off, Raw’s General Manager interrupted with a message for all three women. Michael Cole reads that with Teddy Long indisposed, the GM is in charge. This match is now a fatal four way: Natalya vs. Layla vs. Michelle McCool vs. the following Diva…
Perfect chance for Amazing Kong to debut, right? Wrong – instead we got Eve. Seriously? The audience seemed to be as confused as everyone at home. (more…)