Who said you can’t train an actor or model to be a wrestler?
Well, there’s a caveat to that – they have to be trained hard, treated the same as anyone else and not given free passes. As discussed at the start of the year in relation to former model, singer and dancer Yuzuki Aikawa, there is no reason why someone who came from a showbiz background can’t become a great grappler, as long as they are taught the same respect for the business as the average Joanne who decides to get into it. As we also discussed in that piece, the same could be said for former actress and current Ice Ribbon ICEx60 Champion Hikaru Shida.
Aikawa was viciously beaten at the start of her career to make sure that she knew that wrestling is physical, and her status and beauty would not be enough for her to get by – in other waords, she paid her dues – however she achieved success quickly, winning the Wonder of Stardom and Goddesses of Stardom titles in rapid fashion. Conversely, Shida’s rise to the top was more traditional, having to wait 9 months after her debut in July 2008 until she started picking up regular wins. That’s where we go for this week’s Retro – April 5, 2009, in a match against Chii Tomiya as part of the promotion’s Itabashi Spring Festival. While it may be short and a little messy, both give it the beans, and you can tell that both are on their way to being something pretty special. (more…)
We at Ringbelles adore Chii Tomiya. The pint-sized little hellraiser of Ice Ribbon put smiles on our faces with her mischievous actions, coupled with great skill and a demeanour that meant that no matter how badly behaved she was – and she really l’enfant terrible of the roster – you couldn’t hate her. Not even slightly.
After departing Ice Ribbon last August to work as a freelance competitor, Tomiya changed her name to Micro out of respect to her trainer Emi Sakura who gave her the Chii Tomiya name, and wanted to keep it associated with her original home promotion. Debuting under her new name in the Happy Hour! promotion in September, Micro lost to Keiko Aono, then wrestled sporadically for JWP while naming Pro Wrestling Wallaby as her new home – a curious decision, hanging her hat with one particular company after intending to be a freelancer, but people are entitled to change their minds. Her matches were few and far between, but last week, Micro’s career hit a valley, as PWW publicly fired her for “unprofessional behaviour” and “inappropriate remarks”, though there has been no elaboration on what that could be.
Hopefully Micro can pick herself up and thrill and entertain us as she did at Ice Ribbon, as we miss her dearly. So for a bit of a trip down memory lane, we take a look at her match from June 1 last year, where she challenged then-IW19 Champion Hikari Minami at 19 Pro‘s first anniversary show. Minami has only won the championship five days before, though as we know from Ice Ribbon, titles can change hands at any time… (more…)
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.
After three weeks of leading with Melina, let’s have something different…
A report by Power Slam Magazine claims that former WWE Divas Mickie James and Christy Hemme are earning around $100,000 in TNA, while everyone else is unlikely to be earning much more than $38,000, and that’s only if they’re booked on a regular basis. As they’re only paid on a per appearance agreement, there’s a strong chance that it could be a considerable amount less. It’s likely to be acts like Velvet Sky – who is in favour with TNA – who is on that amount, while others will be on less.
If you factor in that they need to pay their own expenses for things like road transport and accommodation during house show circuits, and then tax needs to be paid on their earnings, that’s a really shitty wage for wrestlers in what is supposed to be the number 2 wrestling promotion in the United States. In the past, we’ve heard of female wrestlers in TNA having issues with their income – Gail Kim left because of it, Kharma pointed it out after she was released from the promotion, Taylor Wilde admitted having to work at Sunglass Hut while as Knockouts Champion to make ends meet, and Madison Rayne was reportedly unable to work the house show circuits at one point last year because the income wouldn’t have covered her costs.
If that is the case, good for James and Hemme – you’re getting a good amount of money for the work that you do. In fact, the biggest praise must go to Christy herself, who would be getting that much for being a ring announcer, and doesn’t have to take any punishment in the ring. I support them getting as much money as they can. After all, we live in a capitalist society – unless you’re reading this in China, Cuba or North Korea… (more…)
Back in the July 5 Roundup, we let you know about Nanae Takahashi’s 15th anniversary plans, and how she would be facing Women Superstars Uncensored World Champion Mercedes Martinez in the semi-final of the Queen of Stardom tournament to crown its first champion. That event took place on Sunday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in front of a full house of 1,310 paying fans, with Takahashi not only defeating Martinez, but going on to beat Yoko Bito – who got by Mika Nagano earlier in the night to make it to the finals – to claim the championship in the promotion that she helped to create.
Some may complain that Takahashi winning the championship is a bit of a swizz, considering that she’s a founder of Stardom and has been booked to be the first champion. I can understand that complaint, considering it seems that it’s an exercise in ego-stroking, but I believe it means more than that. For example, Nanae winning the title is a recognition of her work since debuting in 1996, and if she is the best wrestler in the promotion – which is somewhat likely, considering its main function is to season younger wrestlers to get them ready, then should she not be the first champion to give the title some traction, so when one of the younger wrestlers matures, it will be a more prestigious title to win? (more…)
As part of the build up for the Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon weekender at the Doncaster Dome in the UK on October 8 and 9, the Ice Ribbon stars – including Tsukasa Fujimoto, Makoto, Kurumi, Tsukushi, Hikaru Shida, Emi Sakura, Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi – got together to make a short hype video and prove that Japanese women are SO happy all of the time.
While I like the excitement, I hope that as the show draws nearer, we get some threats, aggression and competitiveness coming out. While it’s nice to see wrestlers shaking hands and liking each other, I’d like a BATTLE between duelling promotions. I suppose that will happen when we know which wrestlers will be participating and the matches are announced.
Click after the jump for a fan video hyping up the card, featuring footage from the EVE title tournament weekend, and Jenny Sjodin‘s title win over Britani Knight two weeks ago. (more…)
The future of women’s wrestling in Britain was looking bright. In May 2010, Pro Wrestling: EVE debuted with a lot of fanfare, announcing a working relationship with World Association of Wrestling, meaning Sweet Saraya and her daughter Britani Knight would be part of the proceedings, along with other WAW talent Destiny and Amazon (and later, Liberty and Melodi). The partnership seemed to be working well, with training seminars being held with WAW, and EVE making Britani its first Champion two months ago.
Fast forward 13 months, and things are looking much muddier.
Last Saturday, less than two hours before Britani would defend the EVE title against Jenny Sjodin at an XWA Wrestling show in Morecambe, Saraya took to her Facebook to say that the relationship with WAW and EVE was being permanently severed, and would not be healed. In addition, it also said that WAW talent would no longer be on EVE shows.
While our Twitter exploded with requests for information, both from fans and wrestlers themselves, I was sat in the crowd at Morecambe unaware, much like EVE promoter Dann Read and the participants in the match. As it turned out, not even Saraya’s daughter knew that this decision was going to be made, nor that it had been made public and was being discussed.
There was no massive incident that caused the split, but more of a lot of little niggles that eventually became too much. Britani travelled to Morecambe against the wishes of family members as she was ill, with swollen legs and voice gone, presumably still suffering the after-effects of the glandular fever that she wrestled with on the EVE Championship weekend. According to Saraya, she did so because of promises made by Dann Read that he wanted to get her booked all around the country and get a number of successful defences under her belt – thereby increasing EVE’s national exposure. It seems that when Saraya learned that Britani would be dropping the title that night, it went against what they were told would be happening with Britani, and saw it as a betrayal of trust. We must point out that it isn’t down to Britani being upset with the booking decision and refusing to drop the title – it apparently is down to promises being made then then reneged on.
Saraya also went on to say that she would be reviving World Association of Women’s Wrestling – a promotion which promoted a number of cards between 2006 and 2009. (more…)
Two title changes highlighted a historic evening at the Ice Ribbon dojo in Saitama, as the groundbreaking “19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro-Wrestling” show on uStream celebrated its first anniversary. The show, which topped 1000 live views, lasted longer than usual (almost 100 minutes) and featured three big matches. In the opener, the inexorable rise of “Team Sexy” (Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi) culminated in the capture of the International Ribbon Tag Titles from Ice Ribbon founder Emi Sakura and her partner Ray. An all-action bout, peppered with countless near falls, saw Ray in particular excel at keeping the match together. It’s worth noting that while Hoshi & Miyagi have had the rocket strapped to their backs of late since forming their partnership, Miyagi in particular is still very inexperienced, having debuted only five months ago (on Christmas Day, 2010). The finish was a bit untidy, with Miyagi’s original attempt at a second rope Styles Clash on Ray falling apart. Some improvisation later, and Miyagi hit the crushing move to win the titles. Sakura & Ray are arguably the two most reliable wrestlers in the promotion, but it’s also exciting to see Ice Ribbon get behind new stars as they’re doing with Team Sexy. Whether it ends up as too much too soon remains to be seen, but this was a lot of fun.
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.
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…)