Ice Ribbon "New Year Ribbon" 2014
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 4th, 2014
Another new promotion for 2014 reviews! Ice Ribbon got a reputation many years ago for having children wrestling in matches, because over the years they have had some underage wrestlers. But they also of course have veterans and quality wrestlers that sometimes get overlooked. Ice Ribbon is hardly the only promotion that uses underage wrestlers (Mexico has been using teenagers for many many years as do other Joshi promotions), but after a few of their videos of kids wrestling went online years ago it is a stigma it has kept in some circles. So hopefully over the year as I review their events, you will see there is a lot more to Ice Ribbon than just the age of a few of their wrestlers. Here is the full card:
- Mio Shirai and Miyako Matsumoto vs. 235 and Kaho Kobayashi
This was a commercial DVD as this event was not aired on TV, currently Ice Ribbon does not have a TV show dedicated just to their promotion (occasionally their matches do show up on clip shows). Let's get to it.
Mio Shirai and Miyako Matsumoto vs. 235 and Kaho Kobayashi
Matsumoto goes off the ropes and hits a double chop, cover, but Kobayashi kicks out. Matsumoto tags in Shirai, and Shirai kicks Kobayashi in the back. Kicks to the chest by Shirai, Kobayashi crawls to the corner and she moves when Shirai goes for a kick. Shirai goes up to the top turnbuckle but Kobayashi throws her off and delivers a dropkick. Senton by Kobayashi, cover, but it only gets a two. Kobayashi tags in 235, elbows by 235 to Shirai into the corner, and 235 hits a jumping elbow. Irish whip by 235, reversed, and Shirai elbows 235 in the face. Kobayashi runs in the ring but Matsumoto does as well, Irish whips by Matsumoto and Shirai and they both kick their opponents down. Matsumoto and Shirai pose for the crowd with Matsumoto leading the way, but they get rolled up from behind for a two count. Shirai throws Matsumoto out of the ring, Irish whip by 235 to Shirai to the corner and 235 hits an elbow. Jumping knee by 235 and she goes for a suplex, but Shirai blocks it. Sleeperhold by Shirai but 235 slams Shirai to the mat. 235 goes off the ropes and hits a crossbody, she goes off the ropes again and hits a second one. A third crossbody by 235, cover, but it gets two. 235 goes off the ropes but Shirai punches her in the face. Kick by Shirai and she applies a side headlock, but 235 reverses it into a sleeper. Matsumoto runs in the ring but Shirai kicks her back, Irish whip by 235 to Shirai but Shirai shoulderblocks her down. Waistlock by 235 to Shirai, and Kobayashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick to Shirai. Roll-up by 235 to Shirai, but it gets a two count. Small package by 235, but it gets two as well. Backslide by 235, but Matsumoto breaks it up. 235 goes off the ropes but Shirai catches her with a knee to the stomach. High kick by Shirai and she nails the scissors kick. Cover, but Kobayashi breaks it up. Matsumoto throws Kobayashi out of the ring while Shirai applies a figure four necklock to Shirai, and 235 has no choice but to submit. Your winners: Mio Shirai and Miyako Matsumoto
Match Thoughts: Even though this was a short opening match, I still was able to pick up each wrestler's gimmicks and style without any issues. Matsumoto clearly likes to pose and mess around during matches, and Shirai is the type that doesn't really like doing that. 235 and Kobayashi more played it straight but 235 was the weaker link (even though Kobayashi is a newer and younger wrestler). For the most part I enjoyed the range of styles that we saw here, but I am so glad that Shirai was in the match as she was the main one holding it together. 235's offense looks weak and while Kobayashi looked fine she didn't do anything to stand out. Matsumoto is cute but I don't think a long match would work with her shtick... having Shirai there as her foil made it work. The match did drag when Shirai was not involved and aside from her the action tended to stall, but overall it was an entertaining opener. Score: 6.0
Neko Nitta vs. Shuu Shibutani
Elbow by Nitta, she goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a diving crossbody for a two count. Eye rake by Nitta but she gets distracted by the food bag at ringside and Shibutani kicks her in the back. DDT by Shibutani and she gets the bag of food, taunting Nitta with it. Shibutani picks up Nitta, Irish whip, but Nitta gets the bag from her. Shibutani gets it back but Nitta goes off the ropes and hits a rebound elbow strike. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nitta applies a leg submission hold but Shibutani gets her hand on the ropes. Nitta goes up to the second turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Nitta goes after the bag at ringside and gets it, bringing it back into the ring. Nitta goes up to the top turnbuckle with the bag but Shibutani pulls her off the top turnbuckle by her tail. Shibutani goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Northern Lights Suplex by Shibutani, but that gets a two count as well. Shibutani hits a snap DDT, she goes off the ropes but Nitta delivers a spinning slap to the face. Nitta goes for a suplex but Shibutani elbows her off. Irish whip by Shibutani but Nitta hits a backstabber. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nitta charges Shibutani in the corner but Shibutani moves out of the way. Roll-up by Nitta but Shibutani gets out of it and rolls up Nitta for the three count! Your winner: Shuu Shibutani
Match Thoughts: This was a bit odd to say the least. Nitta didn't show much here but it may be a case that she is so engrossed in her gimmick that she... overdoes it a bit to the point it negatively impacts the match. When they got down to actual action it wasn't bad, it was just disjointed by the odd comedy stuff. Japanese comedy is a bit hit and miss with me, but this one counts as a 'miss'. Score: 4.0
Cherry and Meari Naito vs. Maki Narumiya and Risa Sera
Naito tags in Cherry, doublestomp by Cherry to Narumiya and she ties her up so that her and Naito can stomp on her. Sera comes in the ring but she gets knotted up as well and gets stomped on. Cherry keeps stomping on Narumiya, she goes off the ropes but Narumiya chops her in the chest. Narumiya picks up Cherry and applies a waistlock, but Cherry reverses the hold. Narumiya drops down to get out of the hold and puts Cherry in the Rocking Horse. Narumiya picks up Cherry and goes for a scoop slam, but Cherry blocks it and applies a side headlock. She then rips out Narumiya's hair and throws it out of the ring but Narumiya pusher her off. Double chop by Narumiya and she tags in Sera. Sera picks up Cherry and hits a backbreaker. She then goes off the ropes and hits running double knee to the back. She goes this two more times, cover, but it gets two. Sera backs Cherry into the corner but Cherry rakes her in the eyes. Cherry chokes Sera in the corner, Irish whip, reversed, Cherry stomps on Sera's foot repeatedly and hits an STO. Cover, but Sera kicks out. Cherry goes off the ropes but Sera catches her with a dropkick, but Cherry tags in Naito. Naito charges Sera in the corner and hits a running elbow strike followed by a swinging neckbreaker. Cover, but it gets a two count. Naito applies a camel clutch to Sera but Narumiya breaks it up. Narumiya picks up Naito and puts her in an Argentine Backbreaker before throwing her into the top rope. Sera then hits a swinging side slam, cover, but it gets a two count. Sera picks up Naito but Naito elbows her off and they trade strikes. Sera goes off the ropes but Narumiya grabs her feet from the floor. Naito grabs Sera and chops her, Naito charges up but Sera dropkicks her. Cover, but it gets a two count. Narumiya comes into the ring and puts Naito in the Argentine Backbreaker, hitting a cutter. Sera then grabs Naito and hits a modified Schwein, cover, but Cherry breaks it up. Narumiya pushes Cherry out of the ring, Sera grabs Naito and hits a scoop slam. Sera then goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the diving double knee drop, cover, and she picks up the three count. Your winners: Maki Narumiya and Risa Sera
Match Thoughts: This felt like the longest match ever, I don't even know where to begin. Pretty much from start to finish it was very poorly done, I mean wrestlers were running off the wrong ropes, doing moves obviously just done to kill time (stomping, scoop slam, stomping, knee to the back, stomping, etc.) and in this particular match none of them looked good. Sera and Naito in particular looked really off at times, Narumiya was the only one of the foursome that didn't leave a bad impression. This is definitely one of those matches that if it was say six minutes long I probably wouldn't have noticed but the longer the match got the uglier it got. They have all been wrestling for years so I dunno what was going on here, but just not a good match in any way. Score: 2.5
Hamuko Hoshi vs. Tsukushi
Match Thoughts: Tsukushi is only 16 years old but from what I have seen just on this card she is one of the better wrestlers in Ice Ribbon. Not that it was perfect, they had some hiccups here and there (Tsukushi shouldn't try to put stretch submission holds on someone twice her size), but overall the match flowed well and they did a good 'little young wrestler' vs. 'bigger veteran wrestler' match. Hoshi's offense is unusual but it worked against the much smaller Tsukushi, and Tsukushi eventually realizing only a roll-up was going to get her a victory at all was the right way for the match to go. A fun little match. Score: 6.0
(c) Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Kurumi and Kyoko Inoue
Shida picks up Inoue and hits a vertical suplex, she picks her up again but this time Inoue hits a suplex. Shida grabs Inoue and is able to hit the vertical suplex but Inoue quickly returns the favor. Inoue tags in Kurumi, Kurumi goes off the ropes and hits a shoulderblock to Shida. Two more shoulderblocks by Kurumi but Shida hits a scoop slam. Kick to the stomach by Kurumi, she goes off the ropes but Fujimoto knees her from the apron. Jumping knee by Shida, cover, but it gets a two count. Fujimoto comes in the ring and Shida flips Fujimoto onto Kurumi, Shida then picks up Kurumi and hits a landing piledriver. Cover, but it gets a two count. Fujimoto is tagged in, she kicks Kurumi in the chest and covers her, but it gets a two count. Fujimoto applies a modified crossface but Inoue breaks it up by shoving Fujimoto into the hold. Double Irish whip to Inoue but she lariats both of her opponents down. Kurumi hits a rolling senton onto Fujimoto in the corner, Inoue then jumps in Kurumi's back and they hit a body press onto Fujimoto. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kurumi picks up Fujimoto but Fujimoto slides off her back and hits a dropkick. Kurumi avoids Fujimoto's kicks to the face, Fujimoto picks up Kurumi and goes for an enzigieri but Kurumi avoids it as well. Seated senton by Kurumi, cover, but Shida breaks it up. Fujimoto then hits a sunset flip onto Kurumi but it gets a two count as well. Shida and Fujimoto go up to the top turnbuckles, but Kurumi knocks Shida off of one while Inoue climbs up with Fujimoto and hits a superplex. Kurumi then comes off the top with a diving body press, cover, but Shida breaks it up. Inoue throws Shida out of the ring, Inoue picks up Fujimoto and holds her up for Kurumi, but Shida knocks Kurumi off the top turnbuckle and Fujimoto hits a hurricanrana onto Inoue. Shida dropkicks Inoue out of the ring, Fujimoto goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a plancha down onto Inoue. In the ring, Shida picks up Kurumi and hits a body slam, she then picks her up again and slams her in front of the corner. Fujimoto and Shida then get on different turnbuckles and hit a double missile dropkick onto Kurumi. Cover by Fujimoto, but Kurumi gets a shoulder up. Fujimoto sits up Kurumi and goes for a kick, but Kurumi ducks it and its La Magistral for a two count. Enzigieri by Fujimoto, she goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the Diving Rolling Neckbreaker. Cover, and Fujimoto picks up the three count. Your winners and still champions: Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto
Match Thoughts: This was a fun match as it was fast paced but very well structured. Inoue is limited a bit these days but this is the perfect role for her as she can do her monster stuff but allow Kurumi to do most of the faster work. Kurumi doesn't wrestle like she is 13, I wouldn't have known her age just based on her wrestling ability, she has been wrestling for several years now and appears to be quite polished. Not as long a match as you'd hope for a title match/main event but they packed a lot into it. Good effort by all, Shida in particular was impressive, looking forward to seeing more of her this year. Score: 7.0
Best Match: Hikaru Shida and Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Kurumi and Kyoko Inoue. A no brainer as it was really the only match on the card that really elevated itself beyond just being a solid match. All the wrestlers played their roles well and it was one of the only matches on the card that didn't really have any missteps. I wish it could have been a bit longer, why that other tag match got more time is beyond me, but still a really fun match worth watching.
MVP: Hikaru Shida. All four ladies in the main event were impressive but I thought that Shida stood out the most. She appears to have the full package as she is attractive but also skilled in the ring, and she just 'carried' herself different than the other wrestlers in the match. Her offense was very polished and to the point without a lot of extra fluff. I know she wrestles in a lot of different promotions in Japan so I assume that I will be seeing more of her as 2014 continues.
Overall: The main event did wonders to make the show better, but it still didn't really save it overall. When you have a five match card, all the matches have to deliver on some level, or at least accomplish some type of goal. Two of the five matches didn't do that, and while the main event was definitely good it was too short/too late to really make the event as a whole worth watching. A diehard Ice Ribbon fan would probably be satisfied, but if you are a casual fan or trying to get into a new promotion I wouldn't start with this event.