Cheerleader Melissa defends her newly-won SHIMMER Championship against Nicole Matthews, Athena looks to settle the score with Mercedes Martinez, and four women make their debuts.
1. Courtney Rush pinned Rhia O’Reilly with a Skyward Suplex.
2. Melanie Cruise & Mena Libra defeated Shazza McKenzie & Veda Scott. Cruise got the pin following a top rope legdrop on McKenzie.
3. Sara Del Rey beat Leon following a big powerbomb.
4. Sweet Saraya made Davina Rose tap out to the Knightmare (half crab).
5. Jessie McKay beat Mia Yim with the Boyfriend Stealer.
6. Ray pinned Kellie Skater with a Phoenix Splash.
7. Hailey Hatred & Kalamity beat LuFisto & Kana. Hatred pinned LuFisto following a running powerbomb.
8. Ayumi Kurihara & Ayako Hamada retained the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship by beating ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates. Hamada pinned Danger with the AP Cross.
9. Athena defeated Mercedes Martinez with the O-Face.
10. SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa retained the title by beating Nicole Matthews with the Air Raid Crash. (more…)
It’s day two of the SHIMMER tapings in Berwyn, IL (you can find out the results, thoughts and photos from yesterday’s DVD tapings by clicking here), and a number of matches have been announced.
After defeating both Canadian Ninjas in singles matches yesterday, Cheerleader Melissa defends her SHIMMER Championship against Jessie McKay, aware that Sweet Saraya has apparently put a bounty on her head.
Elsewhere, the Tag Team Championship will be on the line as holders Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara defend against high-fliers Ray and Leon in an all-joshi affair, Mercedes Martinez takes on Hailey Hatred, and the unlikely team of Sara Del Rey and Courtney Rush will meet ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates.
As with yesterday, we will be adding the results to this post as they happen, and Stew will offer his thoughts from ringside later. Click after the jump and keep hitting refresh to follow the goings-on. (more…)
Cheerleader Melissa walks into these four DVD tapings as the SHIMMER Champion, while Ayumi Kurihara and Ayako Hamada hold the Tag Team Championship. Although no matches have been announced, we offered some thoughts about what could happen, but they are just musings and nothing more. We will all find out together how things will unfold.
Stew is in Berwyn, IL watching the shows live, and will offer up thoughts on the tapings later on. For now, we will bring you results as they happen, so keep refreshing the page to keep up with all the developments.
Click after the jump to dive in. It’s going to be a busy one. (more…)
A new joshi name will make her debut at SHIMMER for the volumes 45-48 tapings on March 17-18. Ray will make her first appearance in front of a US audience in 5 weeks’ time.
If you have never seen her, Ray is a high-flier who is as graceful in the air as anybody you have ever seen. The Hong Kong-born 29-year old was trained by SMASH owner and former WWE & ECW superstar Tajiri, and debuted in 2003. Wrestling primarily in IBUKI before its closure in February 2010, the Ray character was given a rest, and out came another one for her debut in SMASH – Lin Bairon, or Lin “Bitch” Bairon, depending on her mood – before reviving Ray in February last year and aligning with Ice Ribbon, winning the promotion’s International Ribbon Tag Team Championship with Emi Sakura along the way. In addition, Ray was the first CMLL-REINA International Jr Champion, beating Zeuxis in the finals of a 7-woman tournament last October, but dropped the belt to Silueta a week later during a tour of Mexico.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Ray, we’ve got video after the jump, so dive on in… (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
Last month, we featured an “In Video” post highlighting the cartwheeling Ice Ribbon sensation Ray as she captured the first CMLL-REINA Jr Championship in a match at REINA.12, defeating CMLL‘s own Zeuxis in a three fall match. Since then, the champion was busy, heading off to Mexico almost immediately thereafter for a several week long stay. During the course of the trip, she had cause to defend her newly won championship against another CMLL regular, Silueta. Any excuse to highlight Ray is fine with us – so check it out, why don’t ya?
Click through the link for another uniquely lucha match, this time from AAA, which gives new meaning to the term “Dark Match”
While the joshi scene in Japan isn’t what it once was, there are still quite a number of promotions out there pumping out quite a lot of good stuff – each struggling to develop its own identity in the sea of puroresu indy feds. One such promotion is the fairly new REINA promotion. Officially debuting several months ago (May 2011) following a few pre-launch “Fiesta” shows, REINA has (at publication date) ran over a dozen events in front of small but enthusiastic crowds, and tried to forge its own personality by incorporating a lucha style and having a strong bond with the oldest lucha libre promotion in the world, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). As a result, a number of CMLL luchadoras have made their way across to Japan for extended tours – CMLL World Women’s Champion Amapola, Marcela, Silueta, La Commandante and Zeuxis (the latter three of whom have appeared as regulars), as have various other gaijin, such as Mia Yim, Kellie Skater and Luscious Latasha. It makes for a unique blend of wrestlers and styles.
While REINA recognises CMLL’s World Women’s Title (and in fact will be hosting another defense of the belt in a few hours at REINA.13 as Amapola defends against Ayumi Kurihara, it has taken the opportunity to develop a brand new co-recognised champion with CMLL. The belt, debuted in July and named the CMLL-REINA Campeonato Internacional (International Champion), is intended to be fought over by wrestlers with under ten years of experience. A tournament was held, with CMLL’s Zeuxis and Ice Ribbon’s Ray as the two finalists – with the two squaring off as the headline attraction of REINA.12 at Edogawa-ku Tobu Friend Hall on October 9th.
Click on after the page break to see the remainder of the match
Pro Wrestling Illustrated sent WWE and TNA and a message last week – sort out your women’s divisions.
They did so by crowning SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles as its number one in the annual Female 50, which marked the first time in its four year history that someone from outside the national promotions had taken the honour – Awesome Kong, Mickie James and Michelle McCool had won previous years. Mickie was the highest-ranked Big Two employee at number three, with WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez taking the runner-up spot. In fact, the women on the independent circuit had a strong showing in the top ten, with Cheerleader Melissa, MsChif and Sara Del Rey making sure that the women who accept their own bookings took up half of the final countdown.
Understandably, the PWI list isn’t perfect – after all, it doesn’t take into account Europe, Asia or South America, and only ranks Australasian talent that has competed in the US. Therefore, it’s a pretty strangled list – had it been opened up further, Britani Knight, Hailey Hatred, Amapola and others would have likely been included – but it’s a vast improvement on previous years, though with the proviso that it still has a long way to go before it can be a comprehensive rundown.
Still, it’s a massive pat on the back to Eagles, who doesn’t even live in the US – though she was residing there for a portion of the year – and has never even had a tryout in WWE or TNA, yet is still recognised by a world-reknowned magazine for being the best female wrestler in the world. When you take into account the fact that PWI still portrays wrestling as being a legitimate, competitive sport and judges the list by wins and losses, it would be hard to deny the 6’1” Australian the top spot, or Mercedes runner-up place either. After all, both had been champion of their respective promotions for the entire year; both had racked up win after win, and had put on incredible matches to justify their desire and will to be the champion. When you consider that the only real competitor for the top spot from WWE was Kelly Kelly or Layla, you can see why they only ranked at 15 and 13 respectively. Pretty much every Diva was booked badly over the last 12 months – and seeing as that is how PWI assesses who goes where, we have to look at the writing over the performances – and nobody has gotten over to the point where you would want to spend money to see them. (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.
April Davids made something of an impression during her short visit to the Ice Ribbon school in Japan. After turning up and being allowed to train with Emi Sakura and the rest of the crew, the 20 year old from Manchester got stuck into the action straight away. Refusing to let a broken finger on her left hand stop her, Davids made her mark on Ice Ribbon’s twice-weekly shows, formed a team with Hikaru Shida and also made it onto the internet broadcast of 19 Pro last week (which you can watch until July 29 by clicking here).
Davids also managed to upset the balance in Ice Ribbon too, pinning the ICEx60 Champion Tsukasa Fujimoto for the mat using her Lancashire Toss (deadlift German suplex) to gain a win at 19 Pro along with Shida against Fujimoto and Tsukushi. The following day, Fujimoto was successful along with partner Hikari Manami in beating Davids and Chii Tomiya, though it was Manami who got the pinfall over Davids – not the ICEx60 Champion herself.
It seems like this has bothered the champ a bit. In a translated tweet sent by Fujimoto, she vows to get hold of Davids as soon as possible – that being at Pro Wrestling EVE v Ice Ribbon on October 8 & 9: (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.