It’s a jungle out there.
Take a look at the Upcoming section – most specifically the section for October and November. In the space of a month, you have three iPPV shows (SHINE will be one of them, most probably on October 19), as well as the SHIMMER weekend, nCw Femmes Fatales and Pro-Wrestling: EVE. In a four week gap, there are hugely advertised women’s cards taking place across the western hemisphere. If you expand the boundaries a bit to include the start of October, there is the new UKWW/WAWW venture in the UK, the debut of REINA x World in the US, PWWA in Australia and Joshi4Hope in Japan. No doubt, if you’re a fan of women’s wrestling, you certainly have a lot of stuff to choose from. Unfortunately, it may be too much for a minority in a minority like women’s wrestling certainly is.
On August 8, Pro-Wrestling: EVE promoter Dann Read tweeted his thoughts on the matter: “Its been obv for a while but I’m now feeling that the women’s scene in the US is becoming over saturated to a potentially harmful level.”
The first apparent victim of this rapidly expanding calendar was Ohio-based Independent Women’s Internet Wrestling, which shut up shop last week after one – albeit well received – show in July which crowned Cherry Bomb as its first champion. In a message posted on its Facebook page last week, it said; “As you know there is SHIMMER and WSU and Femmes Fatales which provide women’s wrestling action as well as Pro Wrestling Eve in England. And now there are two new promotions Shine and Blow which are going to be having regular and affordable iPPV’s featuring top talent.
“I see little reason in attempting to compete with a fraction of the resources. Even on a hobby promoting level it’s too expensive and too little return to pursue any further.” (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…)
New International Tag Champions Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi have a big challenge on their hands on March 20th at Korakuen Hall, as they face the legendary joshi puroresu queen Manami Toyota in a title defence. Toyota’s partner? That will be up to Toyota herself, who will handpick her partner from the regular ICE Ribbon roster.
It’s an intriguing match for a couple of reasons, not least of which is the fact that Toyota has history in the promotion with both members of the new championship combo. In the second half of 2011, Toyota defeated the 14 year old Tsukushi on a couple of occasions, but was sufficiently impressed that she was moved to take the youngster as her partner in the International Ribbon Tag Title tournament at Yokohama’s Radiant Hall on September 24th. Together, Toyota & Tsukushi made the finals (with Tsukushi picking up the pinfall in both the quarters and semi finals), before dropping in defeat to Sendai Girls’ DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko in the finals. Tsukushi was able to show Toyota her growth during an extended mid-match confrontation at Bull Nakano‘s EMPRESS show last month, and in fact it was Tsukushi’s team (led by Dump Matsumoto) which emerged victorious on that day. Likewise, Fujimoto has also crashed into the imposing wall of Toyota lately, falling in defeat at Sendai Ribbon on January 7th.
So who are Toyota’s likely options? (more…)
This is a new review style for Ringbelles, and one that I’ve adopted (with blessing) from Thomas Holzerman on The Wrestling Blog. I’ve never seen the need for huge swathes of play-by-play recapping, so this format appeals to me. It hopefully will tell you all you need to know about the show, and what I thought about it in an easy to read and digest format. It’s my first time reviewing a show like this, so feel free to offer any suggestions or opinions… thanks.
“Just Starting Out In The World Of Pandemonium”
• The opening video of Emi Sakura walking along the painted lines on a road, and being joined on her journey by various members of the Ice Ribbon roster was quite lovely. Whimsical, carefree and actually quite cinematic. Emotional too, as Sakura wiped tears from her eyes over her imminent departure from ICE Ribbon (she would wrestle her last match for the promotion on January 7th, citing “personal reasons”)
• To fit the 2hr time block, some of the undercard matches are clipped/joined in progress, but there’s more than enough to enjoy about each of them, from Aoi Kizuki’s happiness, a fairly inconsequential elimination tag match (which includes over-the-top-rope elimination rules) and the bizarre nature of the Ice Ribbon vs UMA Corps match.
• The first ever ICEx60 Champion Seina retired on the show in a match with her little sister Riho.
• Minori Makiba also retired, having been special referee for Seina vs Riho.
• Both Makiba and Seina had apparent farewell speeches read to them by friends from the past, each complete with dipped lights and background music. Former IR competitor Makoto returned to read Makiba’s sendoff, while Hikari Minami was apparently overcome and unable to read the her speech for Seina. Riho read it instead, and the speech apparently called for one final match between Minami & Seina.
• Seina therefore had two “retirement” matches back to back, essentially – Neither the match with little sister Riho nor the impromptu match with Minami were particularly long, but both were dripping in emotion.
• The semi main event was a three way mixed tag match – which seemed quite storyline based, and was unfortunately fairly incomprehensible to me. There was dancing. A lot of dancing. Shenanigans too. A lot of shenanigans.
• Hikaru Shida overcame her peer Tsukasa Fujimoto to become the ICEx60 Champion for the first time.
Click through for the meat and potatoes of the review
Day two of Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon is underway with a double header, kicking off with a matinee show before the finale this evening.
Matches that we know are taking place on tonight’s card include Shanna challenging Hikari Minami for the ICEx60 Championship – decided after Shanna and Erin Angel‘s loss to Emi Sakura and Minami on last night’s show – and Sakura will challenge Jenny Sjodin for the EVE title after the Female Fight Machine retained the belt by defeating her tag team partner April Davids in the main event.
Speaking of Davids, she is most likely not going to be wrestling on today’s shows after suffering a suspected broken ankle during her match with Sjodin. She originally damaged it while receiving a superplex, and was made worse when she dived from the top rope to the outside onto the champion. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Click after the jump for the results of the matinee show. (more…)
The weekend we’ve been waiting for since it was announced back in April: Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon, featuring some of the best wrestlers in Europe against some of the best joshi talent in Japan. Later of this evening, EVE Champion Jenny Sjodin (who became a double champion in August when she defeated Aurora Flame for the NWWA Championship) will defend against her Northern Shooters tag team partner and European Empire teammate April Davids.
However, before the three #EVEvICE (as it is being hashtagged on Twitter) events take place, with the first starting this evening, Southside Wrestling Entertainment are holding a matinee show at the same venue – Gym Combat in Nottingham – with the four Ice Ribbon competitors facing each other in tag team action, with Emi Sakura and Hikari Minami defeating Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto, with Sakura getting the pinfall on Shida following a moonsault.
Click after the jump for more photos from this afternoon’s exhibition tag team match as well as the results and subsequent thoughts of night one. (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.
The Ringbelles team has been discussing the alleged fee being charged by Melina for her independent appearances, as have numerous wrestlers and promoters. PWG Champion Kevin Steen tweeted “$3000 plus first class air and hotel?! F–k…I’ve been charging way too little”. Colt Cabana followed suit, saying “My wrestling fee has now gone from 2 diet cokes and a cupcake to 3 bajillionfajillion dollars… Pay up, promoters!” Anarchy Championship Wrestling promoter Darin Childs also weighed in by taking to his Twitter: “As a promoter I should never do things like this, buuuut can we all LOL together at Melina’s appearance demands?”
Melina – and Women Superstars Uncensored, who have booked her for November 19′s iPPV – have denied that the $3,000 booking charge is accurate. In addition, Melina made her first post-WWE appearance on Saturday night at Family Wrestling Entertainment in New York, managing Eric Young in the main event. Would a smaller promotion such as FWE have paid that much for an appearance and not even have her wrestle a match?
Granted, she was charging $20 for an autograph and and extra $15 for a photo – and that didn’t include entry to the show – which could have supplemented a smaller fee than an alleged $3,000, but it still seems a slightly inflated price for a local promotion, right? Still, for argument’s sake, let’s say that the $3,000 is accurate, and Melina and WSU are trying to downplay the fee. Is it wrong for Melina to charge that much? After all, if promoters were willing to pay such a lofty sum, surely that can’t mean that it’s too expensive? (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.