Ice Ribbon from Korakuen Hall! Ice Ribbon #986 ~ Ice Ribbon in Wonderland!
If you watch Japanese wrestling enough, you have seen some shows from Korakuen Hall. This legendary venue has been home to some of the greatest matches that anyone in Japan, or the world for that matter, has seen. Smaller companies in Japan take this to heart and see Korakuen as a way to showcase their best talent and work on a larger stage, and Ice Ribbon is no exception to this practice.
Since I started covering Ice Ribbon this summer, and Joshi wrestling in general, you probably noticed that the majority of the shows tend to be a bit smaller than say a New Japan crowd, with a more intimate setting and presentation. While those shows are fun to watch, nothing beats a big presentation like the one these gals gave on 08/24 in Tokyo, Japan. For the people who read this blog regularly and are aware of how much I can gush over the talent and presentation of Ice Ribbon, this review won’t come as a surprise, but this was the best show I have seen from this company to date, and the line up that gets announced at the end of this one is looking like it will probably top this one too!
Don’t you dare sleep in Ice Ribbon! As far as in-ring work, these women are hard to top. Let’s get on with the review of New Ice Ribbon #986 ~ Ice In Wonderland!!
Match #1: (ICExInfinity Title Tournament Match) Maya Yukihi vs. Ram Kaicho
I was impressed that this was put as the opener. Maya is the last Champion and Ram is a woman who is being set up for big things later on down the road. There was a lot of forward-thinking to this match.
Some other things to note is that this show is produced by Samurai! TV. That means no Ai Hara on commentary, but we did get the Samurai! TV team. We also got an amazing opening video package that sets the table for the tournament.
Ram came to the ring with her 666 lackeys, and she was so over with this crowd. Maya even got a couple of boos, which I thought was pretty funny. They started with a lock-up attempt, but Ram ducks under and flipped off Maya. They went for another lock up, and Ram did it again, and the crowd ate it up. Maya got mad right here. She grabbed Ram’s middle finger and then she started to work it over. That was pretty funny. Maya then grabbed a hold of Ram’s hair and start to twist it and flipped off Ram while holding her still.
Ram used a pretty funny counter to escape. She dropped down to her knees and crawled under Maya. Once she is out of Yukihi’s grasp, she is also able to roll up Maya for a near fall.
Yukihi wasn’t finished though. She grabbed ahold of Ram’s hair again and this time she tangles her up in the ropes towards the hard camera and she flipped off Kaicho one more time. As Ram is trapped, Yukihi came off the opposite side and connected with a knee to Ram’s back. Yukihi went to the top to try for a plancha, but Ram crawled under the canvas and hid, so Maya couldn’t connect.
Maya had some trouble finding Ram after this, and Ram took advantage with some offense, which included a 619 that was countered into a backbreaker from Yukihi. Maya is then able to get Ram down in a Boston Crab. Ram almost makes the rope when Maya pulls her back to the center and goes for a Scorpion Death Lock. Ram took this opportunity to kick Yukihi in the face and broke the hold. Ram tried to gain some momentum here, but Maya counters her running attack by popcorning her once she hits the rope, and when she dropped down to the canvas, Yukihi hits a stalling knee while Ram is draped on the bottom rope, similar to Sareee’s dropkick.
Maya went for a Blackout, but Ram reversed it with a Rear Naked Choke. Yukihi uses the turnbuckle to break the hold, but Kaicho stayed on Maya, getting her in a nerve hold. Ram signaled for her Ram-Maker, but after she hit her pose, Yukihi was able to duck the clothesline and attempt her attack on Ram. When she came off the rope, Ram was able to get a schoolboy in for a near fall. When Maya stands up she gets rolled up with a small package, and when she kicked out of that, Ram went for a backslide. Both of those were near falls.
Ram hit her 619 and followed it up with her Rainmaker/Ram-Maker, but Maya wasn’t out yet. She kicked out, and Ram started getting heated up more. She attempted a chokeslam, but Maya countered with an STO followed by her sliding kick, but Ram kicked out when the pin came. Maya placed Ram near the ropes for her Snowton Bomb, but Ram rolled underneath it when Yukihi came down. Ram goes for a Gedo-clutch, or more appropriately, a Miyacoco Clutch, due to her feud with Miyako Matsumoto, but Maya kicked out. Ran got fired up and tried for another running attack, but Maya rolled her up and ended up on top in an Oklahoma Roll for the pin.
Amazing storytelling even though the action wasn’t incredible. but the booking was so well done. We got a former champion who almost got pinned by an upstart who has a big following. Although Yukihi wasn’t really in serious peril, she did almost get caught in some pins, and she was also in control through most of the match, so it is a good way to get both women over. After the match, Maya went to shake Ram’s hand, and at first, the 666 guys were worried, but after Ram got up, she took Maya’s hand and thanked her for the match.
Match #2: (ICExInfinity Title Tournament Match) Tsukushi vs. Rina Yamashita
My favorite wrestler in Ice Ribbon, and maybe wrestling in general, right now is Tsukushi. You can look through older posts to see me gushing over her, but I don’t think that appreciation is unfounded. When I first started reading up on this card, this match kept on coming up as the best one, and it even was a suggested match to watch from Cagematch.net, which is pretty picky when it comes to Joshi wrestling.
But let’s not get too bogged down with Tsukushi. It takes two to tango, and Rina has been the perfect partner all summer. These two have been beating the tar out of one another every time they meet up in the middle of the ring, and this one was no exception.
The two met in the middle and shook hands, but as soon as the bell rang they started hammering one another, hitting each other at the same time with forearms. Surprisingly, Tsukushi got the upper hand here, with Rina falling to one knee as Tsukushi kept raining down strikes.
Rina got her bearings and then grabbed Tsukushi with a double leg, and after she got her smaller opponent up, she took her to the corner and gave her an Irish Whip into the opposite buckle. Rina ran after her, hoping to get in one of her lariats to start softening up Tsukushi, but as soon as Tsukushi hit the corner, she turned and had a big boot waiting for Rina. Rina stopped short, showing that she has Tsukushi figured out somewhat after their earlier meetings. The crowd loved that spot, and Tsukushi looked a bit concerned, which is slightly out of character for her. It was a great spot and the selling from both women made this. Already, this match was very impressive.
Rina was able to get Tsukushi with a hair biel, but surprisingly, Tsukushi got right back up and got a hair biel of her own on Yamashita. Then both women started fighting over one another’s hair. It really painted a picture of both hating one another, and not just wanting to win for a chance at the belt, but also not wanting to lose to the other person. Rina was able to hit a scoop slam after some struggling, but when she went to hit the rope, the faster Tsukushi was already behind her, hitting the same rope right after she did. Rina turns and then gets rolled up in a victory roll, but Tsukushi doesn’t even go for the pin. She starts doing double stomps on Rina’s body.
Tsukushi attempted a cross body but Rina was able to catch her and then hit a fallaway slam. Then, Rina finally got Tsukushi in the turnbuckle and started hitting her lariats. They looked vicious here too. She went for a pin after, but it’s only a near fall. Rina worked over Tsukushi quite a bit here, and it was probably the only heat in the match, as most of the action was back and forth throughout. Rina gets in a Scorpion Death Lock (as a side note, people need more submissions here, as everyone can’t be doing the same Scorpion Death Lock all the time) but Tsukushi was able to make the ropes. Rina stepped on Tsukushi’s hands and taunted her, and after a huge vertical suplex and another near fall, Rina started pelting Tsukushi in the head with kicks.
Out of nowhere, and I mean that no one seemed to expect it, Tsukushi hopped to her feet, did a go behind on Yamashita, and then hit an awesome German Suplex. To see a little tiny person like Tsukushi hitting a perfect German on a woman so much bigger than she is was just incredible. I can’t even describe how cool this spot was. Rina rolled to the rope, and that was a mistake because it set up perfectly for Tsukushi’s stalling dropkick. Tsukushi wasn’t done either, as she got right back to her feet and hit not only a second but a third, back to back to back. Tsukushi started getting pumped here, and the crowd and the seconds around the ring are all buzzing and yelling.
Tsukushi went to pick up Rina, and as soon as Rina gets her vertical base back, she hits an amazing lariat. But Tsukushi started hitting back, and then they both were exchanging again. This time both were spent, and it was a double down. The crowd was really loud then.
They fought up to the top rope and Rina got hit so hard while sitting on the top that she fell into the ring, but her legs were still hooked on the top rope, and she powered herself back up and started hitting Tsukushi again. Tsukushi was able to get her down again in a Tree of Woe after some headbutts and the hardest forearms of the night before coming down with another double stomp. That was only enough for another near fall.
Tsukushi started trying to hit her Tiger Suplex, but Rina countered with a Northern Lariat, followed by another lariat that looked like it almost took Tsukushi’s head off. But Tsukushi got behind Rina and hit her Tiger Suplex, and Rina kicked out. She was barely able to answer the three count, and she barely rolled her shoulder off the mat. Tsukushi goes for her Hazukaze, but Rina was able to pull off a Cazadora German Suplex to counter that. Rina went for another lariat, but Tsukushi ducked under and hit the opposite rope again. This time Rina was waiting with a forearm. Rina then hit two lariats in a row, but Tsukushi was still able to kick out. Yamashita then called for a Splash Mountain Powerbomb, hit it in the middle of the ring, and got the three count for the win. Amazing match.
The only reason this match wasn’t perfect was due to it being so short. It also was only second on the card, which is bananas. The placement didn’t hurt it, but it could have used even just two to three more minutes.
Match #3: (ICExInfinity Title Tournament Match) Risa Sera vs. Giulia
Two amazing competitors in one match, but they do have to follow Tsukushi and Rina Yamashita, so let’s see how they fared.
Giulia started hot, throwing a running Yakuza Kick as soon as her feet touch the canvas. The ribbons from the entrances were still in the ring and she started working on Risa Sera. Sera rolled outside to avoid further attacks, and when Giulia followed after, Risa threw her into a corner post before attacking her with a chair from ringside. Sera came off like she was taking this very seriously and was having to go to a dark place to get herself through. Sera gave Giulia a big swing into some chairs.
They got back in the ring and Sera was able to sink in a Campana before Giulia tried her own submission, an Octopus Stretch, but Sera turned it into a rasha hasami, but she doesn’t get all of it and Giulia got back up and they exchanged strikes.
Giulia hit the rope but was met with a knee by Sera, but when Sera went for her attack off the ropes, Giulia was able to connect with her Yakuza Kick again. When Guilia came off the rope again, Sera was able to lift her into the Ayers Rock, but after she hit it was only able to get a near fall.
Sera went for double knees but Giulia moves out of the way. Giulia went for her Glorious Buster, but Sera slipped out. They exchanged blows before Sera went for another rasha hasami. followed by double knees off the second rope, almost like a Vader Bomb. Giulia was able to get back to her feet and hit her Glorious Buster here, seemingly out of nowhere. That was only enough for a near fall.
Giulia attempted another one but Sera was able to escape, hit another rasha hasami for the victory. Amazing match.
Match #4: (ICExInfinity Title Tournament Match) Hiragi Kurumi vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto
The opening of this match was Tsukasa trying to roll up Kurumi and Kurumi using her power to try to put her opponent away. One thing that stood out was a scoop slam followed by a double stomp where she stood on Tsukasa’s chest while looking down at her. Cool spot.
Tsukasa used her speed to her advantage by hitting a wheelbarrow victory roll followed by a corner dropkick, which was then followed by a stalling dropkick. The last dropkick was a missile dropkick. Tsukasa looked in great form for the tournament. She is amazing.
Tsukasa got Kurumi down for another series of kicks, but when Fujimoto went for her PK, Kurumi was able to move and roll up Fujimoto for a near fall. Tsukasa went for a lariat, but Kurumi was able to get in a Bossman Slam. Kurumi hit an amazing back suplex but it is only a near fall.
Tsukasa got out of a Nut Driver attempt but Kurumi followed it up with a superkick, but Tsukasa hit an enzuigiri to counter. Tsukasa started rolling away to get back to her feet and Kurumi hit a double stomp, and it looked really good.
Fujimoto hit her Tsukadora for a near fall, followed by Infinity, but that was a near fall as well. Fujimoto hit a spin kick, and then followed that up with the Tsukka-Chan☆Bomb for the win.
Match #5: Miyako Matsumoto & Hideki Suzuki vs. Jiro Kuroshiro & Matsuya Uno
It’s time for the comedy match, and this one features Ice Ribbon’s resident comedy wrestler, and now DDT mainstay, Miyako Matsumoto. She is teaming up with Hideki Suzuki, which made for an interesting pairing. Suzuki is a no-nonsense type wrestler who came up in the Inoki Genome Federation in 2008, which is a work/shoot promotion that Antonio Inoki himself ran. The other team, Jiro Kuroshio and Matsuya Uno, make a lot more sense because Jiro and Uno are both comedy wrestlers. Jiro has been around since 2011, and he has had some really good matches mixed in with his comedy stuff. If you have ever seen the Japanese wrestler who wears a blazer through his matches, that’s the guy. Again, this made for an interesting match, but it was probably the weakest one on the card.
The men start and whenever Suzuki grabbed a hold of Jiro for a headlock, Jiro started crying out loud. I thought that was pretty funny. Suzuki sent him off the ropes and hit two shoulder tackles, but Jiro did a kip-up and posed with his blazer. Suzuki threw Jiro into the ropes for a third tackle, but Kuroshio reversed it, hit an amazing dropkick, and then followed that with a front handspring into his pose. Jiro then hit an amazing Asahi Moonsault.
The action spilled out into the crowd, and it wasn’t too bad. Matsumoto grabbed the ice spray they use on the wrestlers after their matches, and she began to spray Uno with it. Jiro started laughing at Miyako, taunting her while she was attacking Uno. Hideki walked up behind Jiro and held him still, and Miyako came off one of the top of the tunnels in the arena, but Jiro moved and Suzuki ended up getting the brunt of the plancha. Matsumoto got mad too, hitting Suzuki, her partner. Uno and Kunoshio get Matsumoto in the ring and both begin stomping her.
Miyako and Kuroshio had a strike exchange, and Jiro ended up taking the advantage. Suzuki eventually got back in, and Uno got a Rear Naked Choke in on him, but it wasn’t anything to be worried about for the submission specialist. Suzuki was able to break the hold using the corner buckle and then put Uno on his shoulders. Jiro came in to break it up but he got scared of Suzuki and fell flat on his back in front of him. Then, Hideki grabbed Jiro’s legs and began to spin him around in a big swing, with Uno still on his shoulders. Everyone fell except for Miyako.
Miyako is able to get enough offense in to try her pose and kick from the top rope, and she has Suzuki help her, but Kuroshio started shaking the top rope, and Suzuki gets scared that Matsuya Uno is going to get up, so he just threw Miyako off the top onto Uno, and Uno wasn’t there. Holy crap, that was funny. So Miyako gets up and slaps Suzuki before hitting him with a Shining Wizard.
Jiro and Suzuki eventually got cleared out and it left Matsumoto and Uno in alone. Miyako was able to hit her Shining Wizard on Uno, but can only get a near fall. She then hit a butterfly suplex, but that also is only a near fall. Uno comes back and counters with her double under hook facebuster, and that is enough to put Miyako away for the three.
After the match, Miyako pretty much blamed Suzuki for the loss, even though she got pinned and she hit him with a plancha and a Shining Wizard. Suzuki got so mad he threw her leg across the ring apron and then stomped her out in the ring. Uno started cutting a post-match promo, and Miyako couldn’t answer her due to Suzuki’s attacks.
Suddenly, Ram came out, being carried on the shoulders of her supporters. I am not even lying. Suzuki asks her if she will replace Miyako. This is funny, because over the past couple of weeks since Ram showed up, she has been a thorn in Matsumoto’s side, and this was just insult to injury. Ram accepts, and next month we have a match set up where the three women will have their male partners, and whoever gets the pins, that woman from the team becomes the new Triangle Ribbon Champion.
Match #6: Banny Oikawa, Hamuko Hoshi, Satsuki Totoro, Suzu Suzuki & Tequila Saya vs. Asahi, Ibuki Hoshi, Kyuri, Maika Ozaki & Thekla
This was another buffer match so that the women in the tournament could get a break, and it wasn’t half bad.
Ibuki went right for Hamuko and everyone else started brawling too. The first part of this match was a mess, but one of those fun messes where everyone is beating the tar out of one another. Everyone cleared out of the ring except for Suzu Suzuki and Asahi, who were exchanging dropkicks back and forth. Asahi hit a really big one and she got a near fall on Suzuki.
Ibuki and Hamuko both got in and started brawling, pulling one another’s hair while throwing strikes at one another. Ibuki got in a good shot, to which Hamuko put her arms behind her back and let little Ibuki throw another strike. When she does, it does nothing to Hamuko. Ibuki started laying in more strikes but Hamuko cut her off with a big lariat.
Hamuko Hoshi went for another lariat here, but Ibuki hit a great Rolling Elbow, and when Hamuko turned her back, she then grabbed her and hit a lung blower while Ozaki came off the top with a senton. Both Hoshis kept at each other until Hamuko was able to hit her rolling pin and then tag in Saya. Saya tried to get in some offense right away, but after she hit a back elbow, Ibuki came back with a lariat that put her down. Ibuki had an amazing showing this night.
The next part of the match was mostly just the women hitting their moves on one another. Thekla got in her spear on Saya, which looked good, before Asahi was able to follow up with a cross body off the top. Saya is also hit with an inverted powerbomb and facebuster/Codebreaker combo before Ibuki hit a TKO for a near fall. Saya’s partners had to make the save there.
The tables turned on Ibuki there, as she was hit with Banny’s top rope crossbody, Suzu hit a spear, and then Hoshi was able to hit her Sumo Lariat. Saya held Ibuki for a second Sumo Lariat, but Ibuki moved and Hamuko hits her partner and Ibuki went to roll up the other Hoshi, but it got broken up.
Ibuki tries to escape through Saya’s leg, but Saya reached down and got in her facebuster for a two count. Saya called for the Tequila Shot, but Ibuki ended up rolling her up they exchanged near falls, with Saya going for her Gran Maestro De Tequila and Ibuki doing her own La Magistral. Finally, Ibuki Hoshi hit Tequila Saya with Hamuko Hoshi’s rolling pin to get the three count.
After the match, Ibuki grabbed the mic and started cutting a very heated promo at Hamuko Hoshi. She looked pretty close to tears, and the passion in her voice sounded real, even though I wasn’t able to understand the gist of the promo. Hamuko opened up her arms and Ibuki jumped into them, and they both started crying. It was really sweet and it was the best thing about this match. Burning Raw, which is the team consisting of Giulia and Tequila Sera, had their belts on and they offer to give a shot to Ibuki and Hamuko at the next event. Hamuko and Ibuki both accept.
While I loved the promo at the end and I also liked the match, it was too short and I don’t understand the habit of champions offering their belts up to contenders themselves so easily. But, it does create fun matches, and the last time it happened was Jayla Dark and Satsuki Totoro, and that match was decent. It was a fun match, and it also served it’s purpose.
Match #7: (ICExInfinity Title Tournament Match Semi-Final) Maya Yukihi vs. Rina Yamashita
There was a lot of hype surrounding Tsukushi and Yamashita when I first watched this card, and I wondered after why this one didn’t get a lot of hype as well. Of the two main events, this one was the “better” one of the two. Not to say that the match after this sucked, it was just that this was super competitive and told a completely different story. But I can also see the reasoning behind that now, so it isn’t that big of a deal, to be honest. Just something to note while or before watching.
The opening of this match was Maya trying to get in a boot, and Rina trying to hit her lariats. They went back and forth a lot during this match. I would say the entire bout was as seesaw as you can get. They both continued with their strikes until Maya rolled up Rina for a near fall, and then Yamashita did the same, and they both retreated to their corners for the crowd to applaud.
They both kept on hitting one another as hard as they could, and everything from the beginning of this match was them taking a hit, and then the other woman taking a hit. Eventually, Yukihi did a snap mare and then did her kicks while Rina was sitting, but Yamashita just taunts Maya and asks her if that’s all she can do. Maya hit a sliding kick that hit square, but Yamashita wasn’t out, so Maya hit another even harder one. Yamashita blocked a kick and then went for a forearm, but Yukihi was able to snatch onto her arm and sink in an armbar. It was an amazing spot.
Rina used the corner to break the armbar and then started doing her kicks while Maya sat there. She hit her sliding kick, and then she put Yukihi in the corner and hit two of her lariats before attempting a pin. It was only enough to get a near fall.
Rina attempted a Scorpion Death Lock, but Maya wouldn’t turn over, so the bigger woman stepped on her face and then was able to get Yukihi over. Once Maya made it to the ropes for the break, Rina hit her with a really hard chop that echoed through the arena. Rina went for a lariat off the rope, but Maya hit her while she hit the rope and then was able to hit her stalling knee while Rina laid on the bottom rope. This is only enough for a near fall and a one count at that!
Rina was up then, and she was pissed. She gets to her verticle base and hit Maya hard, and Yukihi came back with another hard strike, and it’s another exchange. They both threw strikes at one another at the same time, and Maya was able to kick Yamashita’s arm while she is throwing her lariat. Then Maya hit a high kick, followed by a superkick, followed by a buzzsaw kick, but she was only able to get a near fall here! Insane!
Rina’s face is busted up, and it looked a bit swollen. Maya went for another attack, but Rina hit her lariat and they both were down on the mat for the ten count. Both answered it by five. Rina hit a lariat, followed by a sliding one while Maya was sitting, followed by an hammerlock lariat. But none of these could finish off Maya. There was a Splash Mountain attempt from Rina, and Maya was able to get in a Manami Roll, but Rina was able to roll Maya up for her pin for a near fall. Maya got to her feet but was met with an insane lariat, the hardest of the night, and that is saying something.
Rina called for one more Splash Mountain, and when she went to throw Maya, Yukihi was able to wrap her legs around Rina’s head and get in a hurricanrana for the three count and the win.
Match#8: (ICExInfinity Title Tournament Match Semi-Final) Tsukasa Fujimoto vs. Risa Sera
Risa came out looking like she was in a completely different mindset than usual. She came out in her all-black gear, and she looked pumped from the get-go.
They got some chain in to start things off before Risa Sera starts with the advantage. Then, Fujimoto went for her counter, getting in a wheelbarrow victory roll for a near fall. Fujimoto attempted an enzuigiri next, but Sera was able to duck and grab Tsukasa’s legs afterward, getting her in a big swing with a bunch of rotations.
Sera threw Tsukasa outside and began beating on her at ringside, throwing her into the ring post before going on the apron and attempting her double knees, but Fujimoto moved and she came down knee first on the arena floor. Fujimoto followed this up with an amazing plancha off the top.
Fujimoto tried her Infinity but Sera was able to block it, and they both began to jockey for position. Sera got Tsukasa up for a fireman’s’ carry, but Fujimoto turned it into her Octopus Stretch. Sera was able to counter this and get in her rasha hashami followed up by double knees out of the corner, but it’s only enough for a near fall.
Fujimoto went for a hurricanrana, but Sera was able to sit down on it and turn it into a Boston Crab. Fujimoto didn’t tap, so Sera picked her opponent up and hit a corner powerbomb. But Tsukasa turned it around here, hitting Risa Sera with a corner dropkick followed by a stalling dropkick on Sera. They started exchanging strikes before Sera hit her Ayers Rock, and then Tsukasa hit her Infinity finish and there was the double down.
Tsukasa was able to hit her PK, but Sera wasn’t done yet, and she came back and hit some stalling double knees while Tsukasa is in the corner. She then followed it up with a Falcon Arrow, but it isn’t enough to finish off Fujimoto.
Sera got some more offense in, and then Tsukasa was able to hit her Tsukadora followed by her Inifinity, but she wasn’t able to get the pin with either. She then sets up for her Tsukka-Chan Bomb, but Sera was able to escape, so Tsukasa hit an ezuigiri that connected and then was able to hit the Tsukka-Chan☆Bomb, but it’s only for two.
Tsukasa went for her Venus Shoot, but Sera was able to catch her at the top, hitting her and exchanging strikes before she can hit her move. She then grabbed Fujimoto and hit an Avalanche rasha hasami, but Fujimoto kicked out again. Sera went up top, hit her double knee from the top, hit another one immediately after, and she finally got the pin. That was an amazing tournament, and it set up for the biggest match, in my opinion, Maya Yukihi vs. Risa Sera. Both members of the Azure Revolution go to battle for the ICExInfinity Championship!
FINAL SCORE: 6/10
Due to it taking me a while to get this one done, the next Ice Ribbon review should be up soon, so keep your eyes peeled for another one! This was the biggest Ice Ribbon show to date, and while it was a bit more taxing than usual, I enjoyed it, and I would watch this card if you have the opportunity. It was one of the most fun shows of the year.