Time certainly flies. Scotland’s Kay Lee Ray competed in her first match in Japan earlier today as part of Emi Sakura‘s Gatoh Move promotion, a little over two weeks since it was announced that she was going to be heading over there. However, when you’re flying by the seat of your pants, things tend to be more exciting, so you can only imagine how she’s feeling right now.
Her debut on the show in Itabashi, Tokyo, Japan was not a victory, as she and former Ice Ribbon starlet Riho were beaten by the Queens Revolution – namely former JWP and Daily Sports Tag Team Champions Hailey Hatred and Kaori Yoneyama, marking the first time the pair have linked up in more than a year. However, the defeat did not involve Ray’s shoulders being pinned to the mat, as it was Riho who took the fall when Yoneyama rolled her up while the 20-year old gaijin was on the arena floor. (more…)
Allysin Kay, Santana Garrett, Ryo Mizunami, Heidi Lovelace, Thunderkitty, Su Yung, Shazza McKenzie, Angelus Layne, Sweet Cherrie, Mary Lee Rose, Deziree, Missy, Medianne, Xandra Bale, Leah Von Dutch, Jewells Malone, Serphentina, Angie Skye & Pink Flash Kira all share a common thread with me in relation to all the wrestling I’ve seen in the last few weeks – seven shows since October 26, and two more to come this weekend, where I can add Kaori Yoneyama and Angelina Love to that list. They are all wrestlers who I have seen live for the first time, and I think that’s a massively important thing to be excited about.
While at SHIMMER, the discussion took place about Lexie Fyfe’s announcement as part of the heel team for the elimination match which headlined volume 50, with the assertion that if you merely read the results, or even saw it on DVD, it would not generate the same reaction or experience as watching it live. At the Berwyn Eagles Club, RPM by Sugar Ray hit and there was a wave of excitement as the recognition sunk into fans’ heads, realising that Fyfe would be wrestling her first SHIMMER match since May 3, 2009, where she and Malia Hosaka fell to Ariel and Nikki Roxx. It was a nice throwback to a previous generation, and provided a lovely nostalgic feeling. Had you just seen the result on paper, or knowing that it was going to happen, it may not have garnered the same buzz. (more…)
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…)
It is strange to call someone a veteran when they are just 15 years old, but that moniker holds true for Riho. Having debuted on Ice Ribbon‘s third ever show at the age of 8, she has been a mainstay in the promotion for its entire existence. However, real-life and loyalties to her trainer will see her bid farewell to Ice Ribbon and seek new challenges elsewhere…
Open The Puroresu Gate reports that at the roundtable which usually concludes Ice Ribbon cards, the former ICEx60 Champion – who won the belt when she was 12 from Miyako Matsumoto, was the youngest person to main event a Korukuen Hall show, and was the first person to win the promotion’s Triple Crown of ICEx60, Triangle Ribbon and International Ribbon Tag Team Titles – announced that she would leave the promotion to focus on her upcoming high-school exams, similar to fellow former champ Hikari Minami (though Minami is planning to return), and is also looking to rejoin the side of her trainer Emi Sakura in Thailand – possibly as part of her growing Gatoh Move outfit at some point in the future.
Following her announcement, Aoi Kizuki requested to be Riho’s final Ice Ribbon opponent at the Korukuen Hall show on September 23, which was accepted. Tsukasa Fujimoto then described Riho as “the sun of Ice Ribbon”, saying she was Ice Ribbon and vice versa. (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
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.
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.