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  1. kas said: " Her strong babyface energy makes her easy to root for, but she can believably snap and be more heelish when the situation calls for it. She's an amazing tag worker - with a particularly stellar tag run with Arisa Nakajima - she's consistently good to great in singles matches, even when working with rookies, and she is really great at elevating her opponents. Offensively she can be a little clunky and slow, but her strong striking along with her creativity more than make up for it - she has this one move which I can only describe as a body scissors hurricanrana roll-up which I had to replay about 10 times the first time I saw it just to understand what just happened. Definitely a contender for best ace in the modern era." Matches Vs Arisa Nakajima 12/13/2017 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTS2SlebE8 (entrances start at 1:02:45) Vs Maya Yukihi 08/03/2019 - https://www.bilibili.com/s/video/BV1x7411k73E w/Arisa Nakajima vs Nanae Takahashi and Emi Sakura 05/04/2016 - https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1F54y1b73s/
  2. Ever since she regained the ICE Infinity title back in July from Risa Sera, Fujimoto had been running through the Ice Ribbon roster. While Tsukushi is only 19, she has over 6 years experience and isn't that far off from being a player at the top of the promotion. The match gets off to a slow methodical start as they work strike exchanges in between the two of them applying submissions. In fact, they rely a bit too much on strike exchanges as transitions in the early going. The match really picks up around the halfway point and is just fantastic the rest of the way. There are so many fun sequences that they work while still managing to tie them together and not let the match get too spotty. This goes to a draw which results in the title being vacated. ****
  3. This match is from the opening round of the ULTRA U-21 Tag Team Tournament. When you have 3/4th of the awesome Best Friends/Avid Rival fued, there is a strong chance that is going to be great. While Akane Fujita is a significant downgrade from Misaki Ohata, to her credit, she works her butt off here and doesn't drag down the match at all. The match is mostly just another example of Best Friends being the best tag team in the world while having Mizunami to play off of. The whole match is just a continuous flow of action while not sacrificing selling and meaning for pace. Just terrific stuff. ****1/4
  4. After feuding for a few months, Best Friends have reunited again. This time they are taking on another reformed tag team, Seven Star Sisters (Ohata & Matsumoto.) This gets off till an intense start as 3S attack Best Friends just as they are finishing up their entrance. They manage to keep the intensity up for the entire match while keeping a steady pace. The double countout finish might be a letdown, but the match does a good enough job teasing losing control that it makes for a reasonable conclusion to the match. Still, this is one of the top joshi matches early on this year. ****1/2
  5. This match felt like it was the antithesis to a lot of the modern wrestling matches that have over-choreographed, sterile action. Everything in this match had a nasty, bitter edge to it. It's rare the there isn't a sequence where there is a brutal or cheap shot that one takes at the other. At the same time, they keep the action going as there isn't really a stretch of the thirty minutes where they slow things down in order to stall to kill time. Another awesome match in the continuing, on-again/off-again relationship of Best Friends. ****
  6. It would have been understandable if these for to treat this match as a throw away. It's your basic "Let's make a tag match out of the top two singles matches on our next show." Arisa and Tsukka don't treat this match like that at all as they spend any time that they are in the ring together trying to rip out the other's soul with her bare hands. Yoshiko and Mizunami don't match that intensity early of the former Best Friends but they do slowly ramp it up throughout. The finish is basically the four of them pairing off so that they can random beat the heck out of each other. Unexpectedly great match. ****
  7. Arisa Nakajima & Manami Toyota vs. Hana DATE & Tsukasa Fujimoto My fucking goodness, Arisa was on fire in this match. She revisits her feud with Fujimoto, and then she's going at it with Hana DATE. Both hate-filled encounters. Toyota stayed out of much of it and just let Arisa go to work. She was like Arisa's giant guardian angel who was there when she was needed. Incredible stuff here. **** Edit: Title should be 'Arisa Nakajima & Manami Toyota vs. Hana DATE & Tsukasa Fujimoto (Ice Ribbon, 10/29/2017)'
  8. Best Friends (Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto) vs. Avid Rival (Misaki Ohata & Ryo Mizunami) Stupendous spotfest. Absolutely phenomenal. ****3/4
  9. Best Friends (Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto) vs. Avid Rival (Misaki Ohata & Ryo Mizunami) This was a 20-minute rollercoaster of double team moves and surly elbow strikes. Arisa/Ohata seems to be the end goal of this best of three series, and I dug the heat building segments between them. ****1/4
  10. This is the first of a three match series that these two teams are having during this month. Twelve and a half minutes wouldn't be enough time for a lot of wrestlers to have a fleshed out, action packed match but it's more than enough time for these four. They start rolling right away and since they are both experienced, talented teams they are able to pull off really slick stuff even at a quick constant pace. The only real negative here is that they rely use missed/countered double teams as transitions a bit too much that as the match goes on you start to expect double teams to miss rather than hit. A hell of a way to kick off this series though. ****
  11. International Ribbon Tag Team Title #1 Contendership: Best Friends (Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto) vs. Lovely Butchers (Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi) I feel like there has been too much Lovely Butchers at the top of Ice Ribbon cards lately; they're easily my least favorite joshi at the moment. But this fucking ruled. They brought an aggressive approach to this match, answering Arisa & Tsukasa's nastiness with some of their own. There's a backdrop here from Miyagi to Arisa that looked bone-crushing, and Fujimoto executes one of the best Tsukadora's I've ever seen. The pacing is fast, and the heat just keeps building. ****1/2
  12. This is a rematch from a show that happened in early May. This gets off to a hot start and keeps the action going through most of the match. There are some iffy moments as they go a little too fast in a sequence or get a bit too ambitious with a move. Sareee is a standout here as she comes off strong against both members of Best Friends. The Nanae/Tsukka sequences looked strong too as they keep building up their personal feud. The match does lose momentum toward the finish as they go a little too long. Still, this is yet another quality match from the best joshi group out there right now. ***3/4
  13. This is a terrific performance from Best Friends. At the same time, it's an interesting look at the inexperienced duo of Kyuri and Ozaki. While both of them have some rough moments they also show flashes promise. Maika has some nice Hiroyo Matsumoto-style power spots and Kyuri pulls off some really nice counter and comeback spots. A good match to check out if your interested in getting a look at some of the other girls on Ice Ribbon's roster. ***1/2
  14. It's no coincidence that the amount of attention and praise that Hiroyo Matsumoto has received recently has coincided with the number of high profile opponents that she has had. Here, she takes on Ice Ribbon ace Fujimoto. While this was a pretty good match, it felt like they were previewing a more meaningful match in the future. Still, there was a lot of really good work here making it more than worth your time to watch. ***3/4
  15. Best Friends (Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto) vs. Nanae Takahashi & Sareee This was fast, furious hard-hitting tag team action, and what the glorious sparkling D is all about! ****1/2
  16. Best Friends (Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa Fujimoto) vs. Lovely Butchers (Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi) Nakajima was beating the shit out of the leopard-print glob of mediocre known as Hamuko Hoshi. Kicking her in the head, stomping her nose, slapping her across the face, KNEES -- good shit. I loved it. I love Arisa! Hamuko no-sells a Venus Shoot in a ridiculous sequence. Miyagi goes crazy with Thesz presses. I can't tell if Fujimoto genuinely struggled to lift Hamuko for the Japanese Ocean Cyclone in the finish or if that was part of the 'drama'.. either way, this was mostly fun and fast-paced. A solid restart for Best Friends. ***1/2
  17. Given her experience in Ice Ribbon, it should come as no surprise that Fujimoto can have a good match with an inexperienced worker. Still, Kadokura looked pretty damn good here and shows that Chigusa Nagayo still can be a great trainer. While she doesn't do anything flashy, Kadokura is extremely good at taking advantage of any opportunities given to her plus is great at being the rookie looking to get the big upset. Can't wait to she how she does in the Catch the WAVE tourney. Tsukka is Tsukka here, just another great performance from one of the most underappreciated joshi talents. One of the better vet/rookie matches from this year. ***3/4
  18. Arisa Nakajima vs. Tsukasa Fujimoto Training with Nanae has turned Arisa into a savage. She was decimating Fujimoto in truly wicked fashion; her offense looked so intense and raw, especially those vicious knees against the ropes. Fujimoto reciprocates with unruly kicks and stomps to the head. Arisa mocks Tsukasa's Ocean Cyclone, but instead of properly performing the move she just drops Tsukasa flat on her face, total disrespect. I thought they worked well towards the time limit draw, the pacing was red hot and they kept things fresh and dramatic up until that point. ****
  19. This is for Best Friends' International Ribbon tag titles as they are challenged by the teenage duo of Tsukushi (18) and Kurumi (16.) This is quite the old-school joshi sprint which is freaky since neither of the challengers were alive during that period. It's easy to write off the Tsukushi and Kurumi do to their age but when you factor in that the both of them have more than 5+ years of experience each they are more than competent opponents. That point comes through strong in the match as both girls manage to create their own opportunities throughout the match in a realistic way. As a result, their big win here comes off as a hard earned victory rather than a fluky upset. ****1/4
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAivOpmbCRc&t=133s This is a semi-final of the tournament for the ICEx Infinity title that was vacated after these two went to a draw at their last match on 11/3. They work at a very quick pace right off the start and get a couple of really nice nearfalls off of rollups. Other than a short crowd brawling section that they seemed to only do to setup a dive, the match stays in the ring with a steady back and forth. In fact, you could almost look at the entire match as an extended finishing run. While this has its pluses and minuses, this two can work a pretty exciting finishing run which leads to a highly entertaining match. ***3/4
  21. To be honest this match is much better if you watch it with some context. Emi was one of the original founders of Ice Ribbon but ended up leaving for "personal reasons," leaving Fujimoto to take over as head trainer/face of the promotion. Emi made her surprise return to the promotion a few weeks earlier as the mystery partner for Takahashi. Also, Nanae has a budding rivalry with Nakajima that started in her SEAdLINNNG promotion and carried over to this. Plus, this match came together after the initial match between Best Friends and Stardom's Thunder Rock fell apart. Anyway, the actual match starts off with a mat exchange between Nakajima and Takahashi, but after that it just turns into a slugfest. Sakura gains control over Fujimoto simply by chopping the hell out of her. Eventually the match is worked like a tag combining two singles feuds as anytime Arisa gets in the ring and goes right after Nanae, likewise with Tsukka and Emi. The finish does turn into a bit like the typical joshi tag finish with a ton of saves, but it works because of the story they established with Fujimoto surviving and overcoming her former mentor. A really awesome match. ****1/4
  22. This is Fujimoto's first title defense since winning the Infinity title a couple of weeks earlier. Tsukka has a really strong ace/veteran performance as she does a great job of selling Yukihi's offense to make her look like a threat, while also leading the way through the match to keep it from falling apart. Yukihi, who has only been wrestling for about a year and a half, does show her inexperience with some of her execution and selling but in other moments pulls off some impressive stuff. There is definitely a star quality about Yukihi, not just with her look but also with the way she carries herself and the ability that she shows in the ring. This isn't just a good match, but an interesting look at the future of Ice Ribbon. ***3/4
  23. This is a big title match as Ice Ribbon's "Ace," Tsukasa Fujimoto, attempts to regain the belt from recently crowned champ, Risa Sera. The story that they work through the match is Fujimoto having issues dealing with Sera's size and power advantage. This forces Tsukka to use her experience and try to maximize any opening that she gets during the match. Sera does a nice job working over Fujimoto's back in order to try a slow her down. The match does go a little sideways at the finish but it doesn't completely throw out what they had been working to before it. ***3/4
  24. Match Link Best Friends keep their great run going by having another high quality main event. The added bonus here is that Best Friends are teasing a break up angle and they do a terrific job of working that into their matches. While she's far from Akira Hokuto, Nakajima is the best women in the world at storytelling in the ring. Nakamori is quite good here, similar to Takako Inoue in tags from '93-'95. I generally hate watching Kyoko Kimura but she kept her annoying tendencies to a minimum and worked more as a straight up hard hitter. Just a great, under the radar, MOTYC. ****1/2
  25. This is a fun draw. I really like Ayako playing the angry vet, even though she's actually only a few years older than Tsukka. Both of them were pretty vicious with their strikes even though they worked the match in a standard, fast-paced, action style. I've been down on Ayako for about the last year but she's looked really good the last few matches that I've seen her in. Fujimoto continues to be one of, if not the, most underappreciated women in joshi. ***3/4
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