As we reported at the weekend, Riho is leaving Ice Ribbon after being with the promotion for the entire existence of the company. She’s leaving following her match against Aoi Kizuki on September 23 to focus on her high school entrance exams. Now 15 years old, Riho debuted at the age of 8 and won the ICEx60 Championship when she was 12. When she returns, she says it will not be for Ice Ribbon but for her trainer Emi Sakura in Thailand.
Riho’s departure is the latest in an expanding list of wrestlers who have left Ice Ribbon in the last 12 months or so. Chii Tomiya (now Micro), Ray, Makoto and founder Emi Sakura have all said their farewells, while Dorami Nagano has been missing since June, Sayaka Obihiro hasn’t had a match since July and Hikari Minami is also taking some time away to prepare for high school. For the most part, none of these acts have been replaced, and precious few have debuted in the last year.
Some have benefited. Kurumi has come on leaps and bounds to the point where she is one half of the International Ribbon Tag Team Champions; Aoi Kizuki returned at Christmas and has been a smiling presence since then; Maki Narumiya has improved too, and names like Hamuko Hoshi and Maeri Naito have also had more attention bestowed onto them. However, the top of the card looks a little sparse these days, with ICEx60 Champion Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto heading things up, names like 14-year old prodigy Tsukushi the next level down (and presumably will also be thinking about school soon), and Narumiya and Kizuki also around there. (more…)