So, you’ve seen our main six picks in our 2013 “A good half year for…” series – Kellie Skater, Ayumi Kurihara, Mickie James, Heidi Lovelace, Nikki Storm & Madison Eagles – and you can see even from those picks that we made our decisions on different criteria, and we stand by our picks as women who have all raised their stock since the turn of the year. However, the selection process of choosing a final six for full write-ups meant drawing up a longlist of potential picks, and we figured we’d wrap up the series by sharing a few of those women we thought had a great six months, but fell just below making the final six. Click through after the page break for… a few others. (more…)
I’m still buzzing after Insane Championship Wrestling’s Fierce Females show on Saturday, which culminated with Kay Lee Ray winning her first ever championship when she won the tournament to become the inaugural Scottish titleholder. Beating Rhia O’Reilly and Viper in two very different contests, she proved that she is versatile and dependable as a main event talent. However, it was more than just KLR who impressed, with her defeated opponents also impressing, along with Carmel Jacob, Bete Noire, Erin Angel and Blue Nikita putting together great outings, and North American talent like Leah Von Dutch and Crazy Mary Dobson also entertaining. In fact, those two elements got me thinking…
First off, women’s wrestling fans are doing themselves a disservice by ignoring Europe. While places like America, Canada, Japan and Mexico are places which get a lot of attention, there are now three major all-women’s indie promotions to speak of in the UK alone, and plenty of skilled women from all over the continent looking to make their mark, and they can make it in the likes of Fierce Females, Pro Wrestling: EVE and Bellatrix because of their differing standpoints. (more…)
Last week, I repeated my previous assertion that two championships would change hands at NCW Femmes Fatales XI in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Saturday. Lo and behold, that’s what happened – with the Bellatrix World Championship and the Femmes Fatales International Titles being won by Courtney Rush and Mercedes Martinez respectively.
Martinez’s victory over Kalamity is only part of her story in the show. She continued her cross-promotion feud with LuFisto following her defeat to the Super Hardcore Anime at Women Superstars Uncensored’s An Ultraviolent Affair in February by attacking her foe during LuFisto’s challenge for the SHIMMER title against Saraya Knight. The steel chair attack to LuFisto’s head was enough for Knight to lock in the Bridal Rocking Horse for the stoppage and retain the belt, meaning that no matter what happened with Mercedes’ challenge to Kalamity, the Martinez/LuFisto programme would continue.
As it turns out, the programme will likely feature the International Championship, as the Latina Sensation used a Fisherman Buster onto a steel chair to gain the pinfall and bring The Oncoming Storm’s 17-month reign to an end. (more…)
Ringbelles Roundup (5 March 2013) – Paige’s rise, AJ Lee’s fall, Femmes Fatales XI, ABC Catch and more
On Saturday night in Kalamazoo, MI, Paige defeated AJ Lee at a WWE house show in a match refereed by Hornswoggle. The following evening in Cleveland, OH, the same match took place with the same outcome. The results of a WWE house show don’t usually mean much, but in these instances, they may mean a great deal.
First off, let’s look at the 20-year old Briton. It’s the second time that Paige has been on the road with WWE since she first reported to developmental in Florida 14 months ago – the first time round saw her team with Layla to beat Aksana and Natalya in tag matches in South Carolina at the start of December. However, she’s been given an even bigger shot in the arm by wrestling singles matches and beating AJ – the most over woman in WWE last year. (more…)
Tsukushi is gonna be the only Triple Crown Champion taking the high school entrance exam!
That’s the quote from Hailey Hatred in reaction to 15-year old prodigy Tsukushi emerging victorious in the tournament to crown a new Ice Ribbon ICEx60 Champion, following Maki Narumiya being forced to vacate the belt through injury. She defeated newly-crowned Triangle Ribbon Champion Miyako Matsumoto in the finals earlier today to add a third title to her trophy cabinet – going along with her International Ribbon and REINA x World Tag Team Championships which she holds with Aoi Kizuki.
It’s a massive achievement for the hugely-talented three year pro, who’s been gaining plaudits along the way, including former Ice Ribbon matriarch Emi Sakura – with the two holding the tag straps in the past – and the legendary Manami Toyota, who gave her the seal of approval 18 months ago.
ICE Ribbon present their year-end big show from Korakuen Hall, their first RibbonMania without founder Emi Sakura, and look to the future right from the opener to the main event.
1. New Wrestler Elimination Match: Risa Sera, Hiroko Terada (debut) & 235 (debut) beat Rutsuko Yamaguchi (debut), Eri Wakamatsu (debut) & Ayano Takeda (debut) (8:26).
– Takeda eliminated 235 with a Fisherman Suplex (3:46). Terada eliminated Takeda with an Anaconda Vice (4:31). Sera eliminated Wakamatsu with a modified Shubain (6:31). Yamaguchi eliminated Terada with a Heel Drop (7:16). Sera eliminated Yamaguchi via over-the-top-rope elimination (8:26).
2. Duel 120Kg!!: Jaiko Ishikawa beat Kuzira Oshima (4:31) with an Abdominal Stretch.
3. 4 Way Match: Makoto Oishi & Neko Nitta beat Cherry & Meari Naito and Hailey Hatred & Kurumi and Aki Shizuku & Shoko Hotta (8:21) with a Cross Kneelock from Nitta on Naito.
4. Yumiko Hotta vs. Hamuko Hoshi – Time Limit Draw (15:00).
5. Kazunari Murakami beat Miyako Matsumoto (5:19) with a Haraigoshi.
6. International Ribbon Tag Team Title & REINA World Tag Team Title: Aoi Kizuki & Tsukushi beat Kyoko Kimura & Sayaka Obihiro (c) (17:36) with a Denden Mushi from Tsukushi on Obihiro – New Champions.
7. Special Tag Match: Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo beat Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto (20:51) with a Taiyo*Chan Spanish Fly from Taiyo to Fujimoto.
8. ICEx60 Title: Maki Narumiya beat Mio Shirai (c) (13:28) with the You’ll Never – New Champion.
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’s been Golden Week in Japan, which has meant a slew of wrestling across the country. However, we have a brief history lesson first…
Golden Week starts at the end of April and runs through until May 5, and incorporates a number of Japanese public holidays, including honouring the birthday of the late Emperor Hirohito, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day – which is to commune with nature – and Children’s Day, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It is also the longest vacation period of the Japanese year, and many people are given paid time off as many companies completely close during that period. For that reason, Japan has a lot of spare time – many people travel, and the west coast of the US and Canada sees a slew of Japanese tourists during that time, but others stay at home, and can entertain themselves during their leisure time by watching pretty much any wrestling promotion that they choose, as most of them hold a show, while some stage supercards. Here’s a rundown of some of the things that went down during Golden Week in the world of joshi:
Kurumi’s push in Ice Ribbon continues – she and Ribbon Takanashi won the Golden Ribbon Mixed Tag Team Tournament on Saturday, defeating Hamuko Hoshi & Hoshi Tango, Hikari Minami & Dynasty and Maki Narumiya & Masamune to win the whole shebang. As well as winning tournaments to win the IW19 Championship and to earn the right to become Manami Toyota’s tag team partner to challenge for the International Ribbon Tag Team Titles at Ice Ribbon March, 12-year old Kurumi is quickly becoming the tournament queen in the promotion. Don’t bet against her in the future – you’ll lose money if you do so. (more…)
Back on April 1, 2000, Manami Toyota was already a bona fide legend. Having already claimed singles and doubles championships in All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling, GAEA, JWP and OZ Academy, winning tournament after tournament, as well as accruing ten five star matches and two Match of the Year awards from the Wrestling Observer, Toyota had already done it all by the turn of the millennium.
So why is that date so special? Well, as it happens, April 1, 2000 was the date when her tag team partner for the upcoming Ice Ribbon March event was born.
Last month, Stew discussed who could end up being Toyota’s teammate for her challenge of the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship against Tsukasa Fujimoto and Tsukushi. Names that were suggested included Ray, Hikari Minami and Hikaru Shida, with outside bets on Miyako Matsumoto, Dorami Nagano, Maki Narumiya or Riho. As it turns out, none of them would gain the honour – after seeing off Matsumoto and Narumiya in a four woman tournament that also included Neko Nitta, Kurumi earned the right to tag with Toyota against the champions. It is a massive show of support for the 11-year old, who has come a long way since we first started watching her wrestle close to a year ago… (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…)
The team of Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi triumphed over Hikaru Shida & Maki Narumiya in the main event of ICE Ribbon’s “Yokohama Ribbon” show today at Radiant Hall, becoming the 23rd generation of International Ribbon Tag Champions when Fujimoto pinned ICEx60 Champion Shida at 16:45 following a Venus Shoot. The title reign represents the second reigns for both Fujimoto (28 years old) & Tsukushi (14 years old), although it is their first reign as a team. Fujimoto had previously held the titles with Hikaru Shida (during the period where Fujimoto held all three of ICE Ribbon’s major championships concurrently), while Tsukushi held the titles as recently as December as part of a brief run alongside Emi Sakura. The International Ribbon Tag Titles seem to have been in a constant state of flux for much of the last half year, which has seen eight different title reigns and two periods of vacancy, and one hopes that the belts will find at least somewhat of a more permanent home around the waists of two of IR’s most prodigious talents. Interesting to note that Fujimoto pinned Shida for the win. Not only would it have been far more likely to see Fujimoto beat the junior member of the team (the rookie Narumiya), but considering it was Shida who beat Fujimoto on Christmas night to win ICE Ribbon’s top singles belt, perhaps this indicates an ICEx60 Title rematch is not far off? Perhaps at IR’s next excursion to Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall next month? (more…)
Legendary Bull Nakano returns on her 44th birthday to finally bid farewell to her fans, and shines a light on the current stars of joshi puroresu
1. Ayako Hamada beat Aja Kong (15:14) with an AP Cross.
2. Guillotine Drop Match: Kayoko Haruyama & Ryo Mizunami beat AKINO & Maki Narumiya (13:34) with a Diving Guillotine Drop from Mizunami on Narumiya.
3. 50s & 40s & 30s & 20s & 10s: Dump Matsumoto, Kyoko Inoue, Leon, Sawako Shimono & Tsukushi defeated Jaguar Yokota, Manami Toyota, Tomoka Nakagawa, Natsuki*Taiyo & Cherry (16:15) with a Powerbomb from Inoue on Cherry.
4. Kana beat Kagetsu (11:23) with the Kana Lock.
5. Nanae Takahashi, Meiko Satomura & Emi Sakura beat Ayumi Kurihara, Yoshiko & Tsukasa Fujimoto (21:41) with a 450 Splash from Sakura on Fujimoto.
6. Yuzuki Aikawa beat Hikaru Shida (15:11) with a Yuzupon Kick.
7. Bull Nakano Retirement Ceremony
• Ayako Hamada and Aja Kong go from headlining at JoshiMania the previous month to opening the show here. Not that these two toned anything down for an opener.
• The Guillotine Drop match was four women (each from a different promotion) who all use the legdrop, as per Bull herself. Sendai Girls’ Mizunami eventually hit a top rope version on ICE Ribbon’s Maki Narumiya for the win.
• The concept for the ten woman tag match is genius. Each team has one competitor in their 50s, one in their 40s, one in their 30s, one in their 20s and one in their teens. Cherry is a bit of a cheat on her team, as she’s portrayed as a teenager, but otherwise the gimmick works very well.
• Kana vs Kagetsu was a total change of pace – a grappling and striking clinic early, leading to suplexes and submissions later. Stuck between two multi-women tags, it’s a bit of an unsung gem.
• The six woman tag in the semi-main slot was my most anticipated match of the card, and it was the one I ended up enjoying most. Emi Sakura pinned Tsukasa Fujimoto to win, but more about this match below.
• The positioning of a match between Hikaru Shida and Yuzuki Aikawa as the main event on the show (or at least the last match before the extended Nakano retirement) showed a lot of faith in these two. Aikawa is limited in experience, while Shida has only just moved to the top of ICE Ribbon cards. That being said, they did a phenomenal job in delivering a quality main event, with Aikawa eking out the win.
Click through for observations, match of the night and overall impressions (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
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?
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.
As part of the build up for the Pro Wrestling: EVE v Ice Ribbon weekender at the Doncaster Dome in the UK on October 8 and 9, the Ice Ribbon stars – including Tsukasa Fujimoto, Makoto, Kurumi, Tsukushi, Hikaru Shida, Emi Sakura, Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi – got together to make a short hype video and prove that Japanese women are SO happy all of the time.
While I like the excitement, I hope that as the show draws nearer, we get some threats, aggression and competitiveness coming out. While it’s nice to see wrestlers shaking hands and liking each other, I’d like a BATTLE between duelling promotions. I suppose that will happen when we know which wrestlers will be participating and the matches are announced.
Click after the jump for a fan video hyping up the card, featuring footage from the EVE title tournament weekend, and Jenny Sjodin‘s title win over Britani Knight two weeks ago. (more…)
As Stew discussed earlier this week, there’s a much bigger world of wrestling out there than the Divas or Knockouts stuff which leaves us disappointed on a weekly basis. It’s not entirely the girls’ fault – they get fed crap and have to go out there and make the best of it – but considering how often they train and wrestle – especially in the case of the Divas – then some of them should be much better than they are.
There is so much women’s wrestling action every week that your best plan is to vote with your remote and your wallet. However, if you’re short on cash and don’t want to take a punt on something just in case you don’t like it, there’s some free wrestling out there to watch too… as long as you’re not at work or asleep or something… (more…)
Ice Ribbon has announced the tournament to crown a new champion. As previously reported before the site went live, 19 O’Clock Girls’ Pro Wrestling has plans to introduce a fresh title – the IW19 (Internet Wrestling 19) belt. The champion will be decided next Tuesday in a four-woman tournament, with Tsukasa Fujimoto vs Mika Iida in one semi-final, and Mochi Miyagi vs Tsukushi in the other, with the two winners meeting in the final to determine the first titleholder. (more…)