Ice Ribbon “10th Anniversary Show” on 5/4/16 Review

Event: Ice Ribbon “10th Anniversary Show”
Date: May 4th, 2016
Location: Yokohama Bunka Gymnasium in Kanagawa, Japan
Announced Attendance: 1,552

Welcome to the biggest Joshi event so far in 2016! As the name of the show implies, this is Ice Ribbon’s 10th Anniversary show, and they pulled out all the stops. The big story coming into the show was the return of Emi Sakura, one of the original founders and trainers of Ice Ribbon that left the promotion back in 2012. This isn’t a full time return, she just came back for the Anniversary show and it wouldn’t have been the same without her as she had such a big role for much of the promotion’s history. We also get a Meiko Satomura appearance and for some reason Kazunari Murakami showed up. Here is the full card:

You can click on the wrestler’s name above to go to their profile here on Joshi City, if I have one. I am going to go ahead and get this out of the way – the show aired on Samurai TV which means it was condensed to two hours. On top of that they still have the highlight packages, interviews, etc. so the in-ring time will be reduced which will lead to clipped matches. I don’t blame Ice Ribbon, yes if it was on Nico Nico it probably would air in full but no promotion is going to pass on being on a more popular channel. But it is still worth noting since this card had a lot of matches so many will be clipped.

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Bete Noire, Matsumoto, and Maruko Nagasaki vs. Nagahama, Makoto, and Ryo Mizunami

pinThis is quite a way to kick things off with the variety of wrestler quality, but there is some method to the madness. Noire is a Scottish Freelancer that wrestles in Ice Ribbon from time to time, and she is teaming with an Ice Ribbon rookie in Nagasaki and one of the best Freelancers in Joshi in Matsumoto. On the other side is an equally interesting team, Nagahama is a young WAVE wrestler that frequently wrestles in Ice Ribbon and Mizunami whom is a major player in WAVE. Makoto being this low on the card is my only disappointment, she is the current Ace of REINA but was in Ice Ribbon the first six years of her career. So it would have been nice if she had a bigger match with her current status in the Joshi scene, but at least she is here which is the important thing.

We join this match in progress, with Nagasaki and Nagahama up on their respective teammates shoulders playing chicken. Nagasaki wins by taking off Nagahama’s armband, but she is attacked by Makoto and company. Makoto and Nagasaki stay in as legal and Makoto hits a rolling senton for two. Nagasaki sneaks in a schoolboy for two and Makoto tags in Nagahama, and Nagahama dropkicks Nagasaki. Bridging suplex by Nagahama, she picks up Nagasaki but Nagasaki quickly applies a wrist-clutch roll-up and picks up the three count! The Maruko Army wins!

This was extremely clipped so I can’t really give an opinion on the match, aside to say that I thought it was neat that the Ice Ribbon rookie got to pick up the win. I haven’t gotten a chance to see much of her but what we really briefly saw here she looks good. A waste of Matsumoto, Makoto, and Mizunami but what can ya do, all these early matches will be clipped something fierce.

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GENTARO and Sasaki vs. Kodaka and Miyamoto vs. Matsumoto, 235, and Ueki vs. Papillon Akemi and Murakami

I am not even sure how to introduce this match. There is a hell of a backstory to it, which I don’t know all of, but you can safely assume that this will be a comedy match based on the bulk of the participants. There will likely be a gun at some point, some dancing, and general confusion. This is a classic Ice Ribbon match but with wrestlers like Ueki in it, it will just be ramped up a bit for the Anniversary Show. I don’t know why one team has three wrestlers. Mio is the referee!

ice5.4-2Murakami and Matsumoto start off, Matsumoto slaps Murakami and then runs like hell. Sound decision. But she isn’t running from him, but up to a mat up on the stage so they can grapple. Murakami goes after her and rakes her face on the ramp, but Akemi comes to her rescue and everyone beats down Murakami. Wrestlers are brawling everywhere, with some staying on up the stage while others are in the crowd, pins are apparently legal up on the stage where Murakami is grappling with random wrestlers. Matsumoto is insanely up in the bleachers, she stands up on the rail and dives down onto wrestlers on the floor. We clip ahead to Matsumoto being in the ring on the top rope, about to do a move on Akemi, but Murakami comes in so she hops down. Murakami sits down on Matsumoto in the corner, Matsumoto rolls up Murakami with assistance and everyone holds down Murakami for the three count! Matsumoto, 235, and Ueki win!

I know I didn’t need to do something resembling play by play, but if you have a certain favorite wrestler and you don’t see their name above, then they didn’t do a hell of a lot on what was shown. We got no guns which seems like a wasted opportunity and needless to say it was too clipped up to really get into. A few nice spots though, love Matsumoto’s dive off the balcony.

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Akane Fujita, Hamuko Hoshi, and Mochi Miyagi vs. Kurumi, Manami Toyota, and Tequila Saya

The not-completely-serious action continues, although this is a touch closer to a real match than the last match. The most exciting thing about this one is the return of Kurumi, who has been out with an injury since last July (she is only 16). She teams with the legendary Toyota and Saya, a brand new Ice Ribbon wrestler that debuted in March. They are against The Lovely Butchers and Akane Fujita. A mixture of veterans and rookies, with really only Hoshi and Miyagi being a regular team.

ice5.4-4This match actually starts from the beginning, with Hoshi and Kurumi trying to knock each other over with no luck. Kurumi is triple teamed and posed on, and we clip ahead to Kurumi hitting a powerslam on Fujita. Kurumi tagged Saya, crossbodies by Saya but she only gets a two on Hoshi. Dropkick by Saya, Fujita grabs Saya from the apron however and Hoshi hits a body avalanche. Hoshi tags Miyagi, Miyagi throws Saya into the corner so she can tag Kurumi back in. Chaos ensues as Saya and Toyota come in the ring, and Saya hits a diving crossbody. Missile dropkick by Kurumi to Miyagi, and she covers her for two. Kurumi goes up top and hits a flying body press, but the cover is broken up. Hoshi helps and throws Miyagi onto Kurumi, Fujita slams Kurumi and both Hoshi and Miyagi hit diving body presses. Miyagi picks up Kurumi but Kurumi kicks her and applies La Magistral for a two count. Lou Thesz Press by Miyagi and she hits another one for a two count. Miyagi goes up top and hits a guillotine leg drop for two. Cover by Miyagi on Kurumi, and she gets the three count! Fujita, Hoshi, and Miyagi win the match!

We got about half of this match, so we are getting better. It was clipped to highlight Kurumi, which is great as it is her first match back but it meant we didn’t get to see any Toyota which was sad. Kurumi did look really good in her return however, and for a fresh rookie, Saya did pretty well also. Hoshi and Miyagi are an acquired taste but are solid, and Fujita is fun as well. Too clipped up to recommend but it was nice to see Kurumi again.

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(c) Cherry vs. Misaki Ohata vs. Kyuri

ice5.4-5This match is for the Triangle Ribbon Championship. The Triangle Ribbon Championship is not an overly serious title, as past holders include Neko Nitta, Chon Shiryu, and Miyako Matsumoto. As the name implies, all the defenses for the championship are triple threat matches, with the first person that gets the pin getting the belt. Ohata is a nine year veteran and wrestles in a number of promotions, including WAVE and Michinoku Pro, while Cherry is affiliated with DDT. Kyuri is an Ice Ribbon trainee and is 17 year old, so she is the baby of the bunch. Cherry won the title on March 12th, 2016 and this is her first defense.

Kyuri is double teamed right off the bat, but then they turn on Cherry, which doesn’t go well as Cherry attacks them both in the corner. We clip ahead to Kyuri hitting a diving crossbody on both wrestlers, getting a two count on both. She hits another crossbody on Ohata before hitting a Back Stabber on Cherry, Ohata German suplexes Cherry onto Kyuri but it only gets two. Ohata picks up Cherry and hits a spinning chop followed by a dropkick, but Cherry dumps her out of the ring. Ne Kohistral by Kyuri on Cherry, and she gets the three count! Kyuri is the new champion!

While I doubt this match would have rocked my world anyway, it was only a five minute match and was clipped on top of that. I love Ohata so I hate seeing her in such a short match, but she did have the most memorable spot of the match so there is that. It isn’t worth skipping because it was too short, but if you are fan of any of these three there is not enough here to get excited about.

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Kyoko Kimura vs. Maya Yukihi

Business is picking up a bit now, as we are getting to the meat of the show. Kyoko Kimura is probably best known these days as the leader of Oedo Tai in Stardom but she is one of the most respected veterans in Joshi. Maya Yukihi debuted in Ice Ribbon in late 2014 and is still working out some kinks, she is still improving but has a ways to go. Earlier this year, in an interesting development, she joined Ozaki Army which is the lead heel stable in OZ Academy. So the cute nice rookie started wearing black and cheating to win. She is accompanied to the ring by Mayumi Ozaki, the leader of Ozaki Army and the founder of OZ Academy.

ice5.4-3Yukihi starts the match holding a whip and immediately uses it on Kimura, Ozaki gets up on the apron and helps as well until the referee finally calms things down. Yukihi looks like she is into S&M with the black outfit and the whip, which may or may not be what they are going for. Kicks by Yukihi and she hits a knee, Ozaki returns to the ring and she hits Kimura with a chain. Kimura knocks down Yukihi and jaws with Ozaki, boots by Kimura and she stomps on Yukihi’s face. Kimura gets a drink from a water bottle and slowly spits water onto Yukihi’s face, Yukihi doesn’t like that and fires up a bit and she hits a series of slaps. Lots of slaps by Yukihi. Yukihi goes up top and hits a somersault legdrop, cover by Yukihi but it gets two. Kimura slides behind Yukihi and applies a sleeper, Yukihi struggles but just as she is dozing off in runs Ozaki to break it up. Kimura and Ozaki trade elbows, Ozaki spits red mist into Kimura’s face and Yukihi rolls her up for a two count. Kicks by Yukihi, she covers Kimura but it gets another two. Yukihi gets a chain and hits Kimura in the head with it repeatedly, Ozaki holds Kimura but Yukihi kicks Ozaki by accident. Hard punch by Kimura and she hits a chokebomb, picking up a two count. Heel drop by Kimura and she puts Yukihi back in the sleeper, and this time no one is there to save Yukihi as she goes to sleep! Kimura gets the win.

This was clipped (I know I keep saying that but I don’t want people to think they are going to watch the full match), but I think we got the gist of it. I don’t… know if Yukihi is trying to be sexy with her black leather outfit as she whips people, but she is probably ticking off a few boxes of what some guys find desirable. Anyway, Yukihi still has issues with her strikes, her kicks and slaps both look weak. But when she wasn’t doing strikes, everything else worked well, with Kimura always being on point. Ozaki and Kimura had some good chemistry and the ending stretch was perfect. This is the best match of the card so far mostly due to Kimura, and overall it was entertaining.  Mildly Recommended

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Meiko Satomura vs. Tsukushi

One of the greatest wrestlers in the world has graced us with her presence. They show a nice highlight package before the match showing Tsukushi and Sakura beating Satomura and Sachiko way back in 2011, which just shows these two have some history even though they have never had a singles match. But Satomura really holds a grudge, so here she is in Ice Ribbon to take on the 18 year old who in her career has already held four different championships (including the top title in Ice Ribbon). Even though Tsukushi is young she is quite accomplished, so while Satomura will always be the favorite to win she will still get some competition from the wrestler half her age.

ice5.4-7Satomura and Tsukushi start politely with a tie-up, Tsukushi dropkicks Satomura but Satomura shrugs it off. Satomura punches Tsukushi in the face but Tsukushi dropkicks her in the knee. Satomura blocks the hurricanrana and kicks Tsukushi in the head, sending her to the mat. Crab hold by Satomura and she applies a STF, she picks up Tsukushi and slams her hard back down. Short armbar by Satomura but Tsukushi inches to the ropes and forces the break. Satomura kicks Tsukushi in the chest but Tsukushi dropkicks her in the knee and hits another dropkick in the corner. Ankle hold by Tsukushi and she boots Satomura in the chest, she goes up top and she hits a missile dropkick. Tsukushi dropkicks Satomura in the corner but Satomura comes back with kicks. Hard elbow by Satomura but Tsukushi rolls Satomura to the mat and applies a kneelock. Satomura quickly reverses it but Tsukushi gets into the ropes, Tsukushi gets up and elbows Satomura but Satomura sends her back down. Tsukushi goes off the ropes but Satomura kicks her in the head, the referee starts a Ten Count but Tsukushi slowly gets up just to eat a backdrop suplex. Kicks to the chest by Satomura but Tsukushi elbows her and nails the tiger suplex hold for a nearfall. Tsukushi goes for the Harukaze but Satomura catches her legs and flings her to the mat, elbow by Satomura but Tsukushi slaps her. Harukaze by Tsukushi, but Satomura barely gets a shoulder up. Satomura gets away from Tsukushi and hits a Pele Kick, Death Valley Bomb by Satomura and she gets the three count! Meiko Satomura wins the match.

I liked this match a lot, I just wish that Tsukushi had gotten in a bit more. I know she is 18 and Satomura is… Satomura, but Tsukushi does have multiple title reigns so I wouldn’t have minded if she had a bit more success before losing. Tsukushi really only had two nearfalls, the rest of the match was her fighting an uphill battle. Which she did very well, and Satomura was deadly with her strikes in a very entertaining way. A match well worth watching, it just didn’t go to that next level to really pull me in.  Recommended

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Arisa Nakajima and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Nanae Takahashi and Emi Sakura

This match is really special. Originally it was supposed to be Best Friends vs. Thunder Rock from Stardom, but that fell through. What we got in some ways is even more special, as Emi Sakura has returned to Ice Ribbon! Emi Sakura is a legendary trainer, and in 2006 she was the original founder of Ice Ribbon. Besides being the star of the promotion she remained the head trainer, and she is credited as training such wrestlers as Hamuko Hoshi, Hikaru Shida, Makoto, Ray, Tsukasa Fujimoto, and Tsukushi. Sakura left Ice Ribbon in early 2012, and started a new promotion called Gatoh Move. Sakura had not been in Ice Ribbon in over four years, but has come back to help celebrate Ice Ribbon’s 10th Anniversary. She teams with one of her old friends, Nanae Takahashi, against the best tag team in Ice Ribbon and holders of both the Ice Ribbon and JWP Tag Team Championships – Best Friends.

Nakajima and Takahashi kick things off for their respective teams, they jockey for position on the mat but neither gets a clear advantage. Sakura and Fujimoto are tagged in as Sakura faces her trainee, elbows by Fujimoto and she dropkicks Sakura down. Sakura regains the advantage and slaps Fujimoto before tagging in Takahashi, backdrop suplex by Takahashi and she puts Fujimoto in a crab hold. Fujimoto gets to the ropes and Takahashi tags Sakura, Sakura throws down Fujimoto by the hair and chops her into the corner. Sakura puts Fujimoto in the Surfboard, stomps by Sakura and she slams Fujimoto to the mat. She tags Takahashi back in, elbows by Takahashi but Fujimoto returns fire. Fujimoto goes for a hurricanrana but Takahashi catches her and applies a crab hold. Fujimoto gets to the ropes and dropkicks Takahashi, giving her time to tag in Nakajima. Missile dropkick by Nakajima, Takahashi tags Sakura but Nakajima fights off both of them. German suplex by Nakajima to Takahashi and she hits running boots on both her opponents. Elbows by Nakajima to Takahashi but Takahashi slaps her and hits an assisted sidewalk slam for two. Sakura kicks Takahashi by accident, allowing Nakajima to hit a German suplex hold for two. Nakajima goes off the ropes but Takahashi catches her with a head kick, headbutt by Takahashi and she delivers a lariat. Nakajima crawls to her corner and tags Fujimoto, missile dropkick by Fujimoto but Takahashi slams her to the mat. Fujimoto elbows both Sakura and Takahashi, Sakura holds Fujimoto but Takahashi elbows Sakura by accident.

ice5.4-6German suplex on Takahashi with a jackknife by Fujimoto, but it gets two. Fujimoto goes up top but Takahashi joins her and she delivers a superplex, sliding kick by Takahashi and she covers Fujimoto for two. Takahashi goes for a backdrop suplex but Fujimoto elbows out of it, Nakajima runs in but Takahashi hits a hard lariat on both of them. Spinning sit down powerbomb by Takahashi and she makes the tag to Sakura, Sakura picks up Fujimoto and hits a double underhook lift into a backbreaker. Another one by Sakura but Fujimoto gets back in control and kicks Sakura repeatedly in the chest and back. PK by Fujimoto, but it gets two so she hits another one. Takahashi breaks up the pin this time, Fujimoto goes for the Venus Shoot but Sakura reverses it with a powerbomb. Reverse Splash by Sakura, but Fujimoto bridges out of the pin. Kicks by Fujimoto, Sakura tries to return the favor but Nakajima runs in and catches her leg. Double missile dropkick to Sakura, but she kicks out of the pin. Venus Shoot attempt by Fujimoto but Sakura catches her ankle and applies a crab hold. Fujimoto eventually gets to the ropes, Nakajima is in the ring but Sakura superkicks her. Takahashi sits on the top turnbuckle, then Sakura Frankensteiners her onto Fujimoto. Sakura goes up top and hits the moonsault, but Nakajima breaks up the cover. Takahashi drops Nakajima with a backdrop suplex, Sakura goes back up top and both she and Takahashi hit diving body presses onto Best Friends. Sakura drags up Fujimoto and nails a Tiger Driver, but Fujimoto barely gets a shoulder up. She picks up Fujimoto again and drops her right on her head with a backdrop suplex, but again it gets two. Sakura goes up top and calls for the Nyan Nyan Press, but Fujimoto is up and kicks her before she jumps off. Nakajima joins Sakura up top and hits a gutwrench suplex to the mat, Tsukadora by Fujimoto but Sakura barely kicks out. Tsukka-chan☆Bomb by Fujimoto, but this time Takahashi breaks it up. Takahashi elbows Fujimoto but Nakajima takes care of her, enzuigiri by Fujimoto and she finally hits the Venus Shoot for the three count! Best Friends win!

This match was awesome, I enjoyed every minute of it. I was concerned going in that Sakura had been ‘off the grid’ for so long (still wrestling but mostly for Gatoh Move which doesn’t have the same level of wrestlers as Best Friends are) that she would have issues keeping up, but those fears were unfounded. She was really motivated against her former trainee Fujimoto, and since that was the pairing for the majority of the match I have to assume she wanted to help put over her star pupil. Sakura had two different reversals the first two times Fujimoto went for the Venus Shoot but couldn’t block it the third time, and there were so many convincing nearfalls in this match. I also loved that Sakura/Takahashi had miscommunications but Best Friends didn’t, as the more experienced team was more on the same page than the team that hadn’t wrestled together in many years. Some of the moves were just sick in their execution, and everyone came out of it looking strong as even though Sakura got pinned she showed she can still hang with anyone. Her best match in years and overall just a must-see match with not only great wrestling but emotion and meaning as well.  Highly Recommended

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(c) Risa Sera vs. Yuuka

This match is for the ICExInfinity Championship. I feel bad for these two having to follow the last match, the title match should always go last but it can’t get to the level of emotion and execution that we just saw. That being said, I am also happy they are getting the chance as this is the future of the promotion. Risa Sera is 24 years old and is in her third year of wrestling, this is her first reign with a singles title and she has held the Championship since defeating Hamuko Hoshi on March 21st. Yuuka is the underdog as she is only 17 years old and thus far has had no titles, however she did recently win the Catch The Wave Young Oh! Oh! Tournament and also defeated Mochi Miyagi in a singles match. Yuuka is going to have to dig deep the topple the new champion, as Sera isn’t looking to lose in her first defense.

ice5.4-9Yuuka immediately rolls up Sera with a bridge for two, she goes for another one but Sera reverses it and they return to their feet. They grab each other by the hair until Sera flings Yuuka down and stomps her in the corner. Crab hold by Sera and she then puts Yuuka in the Rocking Horse, Sera goes for a double knee drop but Yuuka moves and dropkicks Sera out of the ring. Yuuka goes up to the top turnbuckle and she dives out onto Sera with a plancha, Yuuka slides Sera back in and goes up top, hitting a diving crossbody for two. Sera gets back up and they trade elbows, a hard elbow by Yuuka sends Sera to the mat and she covers her for two. Sera blocks Yuuka’s cross-legged move attempt and applies a high angle crab hold, but Yuuka gets to the ropes. Sera hits a reverse splash kneedrop to Yuuka’s back, elbow by Sera but Yuuka hits a tornado DDT out of the corner. Cross-legged suplex hold by Yuuka, but it gets two. Yuuka goes up top and hits the Angel Thunder, but again Sera gets a shoulder up. Yuuka kicks at Sera but Sera fights back with hard elbows to the back of the head. Falcon Arrow by Sera, she goes up top but Yuuka elbows her before she can jump off and joins her. Frankensteiner by Yuuka and she hits a cross-legged belly to back suplex hold for a nearfall. Sera catches Yuuka as she goes off the ropes with a fireman’s carry slam, she goes for the Ayers Rock but Yuuka reverses it with a roll-up. Sera elbows Yuuka down in the corner and hits a running double knee, Ayers Rock by Sera but Yuuka barely kicks out. Sera goes up top but Yuuka avoids the Diving Double Knee Drop, roll-up with a bridge by Yuuka but it gets two. A backslide with a bridge also gets two, Yuuka goes off the ropes but Sera catches her with an elbow. Ebisu Drop by Sera and she nails a sit-down powerbomb, but Yuuka kicks out. Sera goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the Diving Double Knee Drop, and she picks up the three count! Sera wins the match and is still the champion.

As I mentioned at the top, this was a rough spot for them. It was a perfectly fine match but it had little chance of being better than the two matches that came before it as while both have a lot of spunk they aren’t on the same level as Nakajima, Fujimoto, Sakura, etc. Yuuka in particular is still growing, seems like a bit of a stretch to put her in the main event of their biggest show but they must see a lot in her down the road. The emotion was there by the wrestlers and Sera has gotten a mean streak recently, but the transitions were shaky and I never brought into Yuuka having a chance of winning. Solid and fun, but that is about as far as it went.  Mildly Recommended