When Ice Ribbon Girls’ Pro-Wrestling debuted in 2006, under the auspices of joshi veteran Emi Sakura, it was quite a different animal than it is now. Whereas now the promotion runs shows at puroresu meccas like Korakuen Hall, runs multiple regular dojo shows and has shown the way as far as internet broadcasting with their 19pro show on Ustream, back in the early days of the promotion, you’d have been very likely to see shows run without even the use of a wrestling ring, and a roster of very young tweens and kids. While some of the original class of youngsters have stayed the course and become successes – such as Riho (who debuted a month before her ninth birthday, and is now a grizzled 5 year veteran at the age of 14) and Hikari Minami (the current ICEx60 Champion, aged 16 years old – and about to make her international debut at EVE vs Ice Ribbon in two weeks time), others have fallen by the wayside.
But while older talents such as Tsukasa Fujimoto, Ray, (until recently) Makoto and Sakura herself have taken centre stage of late, Sakura has never shyed away from her original vision of an all-inclusive age system – and nowhere is that better displayed than our “In Video” selection this week – as 14 year old Tsukushi takes on 11 year old Kurumi for the IW19 Championship previously vacated by Chii Tomiya. An incredibly good match and display of technique for women of any age, let alone girls as young as this. This is where you’re tempted to throw out the old “imagine how good they’ll be by the time they’re 20 years old” line – but frankly, they’re great right now. Why wait?
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.
The Big News
Three of the five female contestants in the relaunch of Tough Enough kicking off on April 4th (my birthday, send cake… lemon drizzle) have had ties to WWE in the past. As mentioned on February 17th (before the website went live), Miss USA Rima Fakih was the first contestant’s name to be announced. The 25-year old appeared on Raw at the end of last year to crown Sheamus as the King Of The Ring as part of her guest host duties. She was tweeting four days before the shooting wrapped, so one would assume that she got close, but didn’t make it to the final.
25-year old Michelle Deighton was a part of America’s Next Top Model cycle 4 in 2005 – a show which had something in common with the original Tough Enoughs in that they both had Ken Mok as an executive producer, so shared many aspects of presentation – and was known as a wrestler at that point. After having her hair fried blonde and suffering impetigo during the show, she was eliminated, but showed up on SmackDown in November of that year as both that and Top Model were on UPN at the time.
Since then, she has had a daughter, now 3, and married Survivor star and TNA part-timer Jonny Fairplay – but seeing she was featured on a YouTube vodcast in North Carolina last week and the show is still being filmed in California, one can assume that she has already been eliminated. That must be a slap in the teeth since she’s been involved in wrestling for 11 years and apparently didn’t last as long as Miss USA… (more…)
The descriptively named “19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro-Wrestling” group (or 19 Pro-Wrestling) has announced the institution of a brand new championship in Japan – the IW19 Championship (aka the Internet Wrestling 19 Championship), which is to be implemented soon. The announcement comes on the heels of a long term injury to 19 Pro-Wrestling’s top star, Sayaka Obihiro (more…)