Muscle Venus unify the REINA x World & Ice Ribbon Tag Team Championships

Tsukasa Fujimoto‘s year of winning things continued at the weekend, with she and her Muscle Venus tag team partner Hikaru Shida unifying the REINA x World Tag Team and Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team Championships in Nagoya, Japan on Sunday.

We discussed in June about how Fujimoto had enjoyed a strong six months since assuming the mother hen role in Ice Ribbon, and had captured a slew of titles along the way, both inside and outside the promotion in both the singles and doubles ranks. A week and a half ago, she won the Dual Shock WAVE Tag Team Tournament with partner Misaki Ohata, and they challenge GAMI & Tomoka Nakagawa for the WAVE Tag Team Titles tomorrow. She’ll likely be riding high after capturing the International Ribbon straps with Shida for a second time (and for a fourth time in total), and by the end of tomorrow, she could be holding tag team titles in three different promotions…

Going into the tournament on Sunday as champions, both REINA x World titleholders Muscle Venus and Ice Ribbon’s doubles holders Kurumi & Tsukushi didn’t enter the proceedings until the semi final stage, with two matches taking place in the opening round to see who would face them. The youngsters would fight Cherry & Meari Naito, who beat Maki Narumiya & Aki Shizuku to advance, while Shida & Fujimoto took on Neko Nitta & Shuu Shibutani, who had defeated Hamuko Hoshi & Sayaka Obihiro. Both pairs of champs defeated their opponents to advance to the final, with the more experienced duo gaining the victory after Shida pinned Tsukushi to unify the belts.

What this means for the titles is up for debate. The Ice Ribbon belts have more heritage, but are probably not as well regarded as the REINA x World titles. One scenario is that one set of belts is absorbed into the other, though it’s probably unlikely. It may be more the case that the titles are defended simultaneously like with the JWP and Daily Sports Tag Team Championships, but we will wait and see.

While this is a another big feather in the cap for Fujimoto’s great 2012, we mustn’t forget about Shida, who has made great strides this year too. Enjoying most of the year as the ICEx60 titleholder before dropping it to Mio Shirai in September, she also started the year as a double champion – holding the International Ribbon Tag titles with Narumiya – and main evented Bull Nakano‘s retirement show. Those are certainly some very enviable qualifications, and are coupled with the fact that she is also set to debut for OZ Academy in the very near future at the invitation of Aja Kong. Hikaru Shida should also feel very proud of herself.

– Lee Burton


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