Aoi Ishibashi (left) wearing new gear for her return match
photos: Luke Matsuki
Ready for the bell
Aoi Ishibashi made her official long-awaited return from collar-bone surgery. She teamed with rising international star Mia Yim to take on the REINAxWORLD team of Aki Kambayashi and Mini Tomato. Despite a tender left knee, Mia did the majority of the ring work early on setting the pace and tone of the match for Aoi.
Mia and Aoi had teamed several times before for REINA. Most notably last May when they took on the Diana team of Sareee and Kyoko Inoue. Aoi and Mia compliment each other well. Both are athletic and willing to do high-flying moves. Both also like to use the joshi strong style on the ring floor wielding a variety of strikes both kicks and punches. Mia has the strength Aoi lacks and Aoi brings a lightening quickness to the team. I think this is RxW's most reputable tag team at present. If the promotion had to send a tag team out to represent them -- this would be the team of choice. It's great to see them back together! *More photos will be added to this blog post -- especially of Aoi -- as they become available.
Photos are by Luke Matsuki
Mia gets ready for combat
Things start with a flourish as Mia attacks Aki
Aki is down!
Mia taunts her
. . . Mia leaves her calling card between Aki's shoulder blades!
Mia unleashes a missile on Mini T
Bang! Between the shoulder blades! Stiff pop!
Mia for the easy cover
Mia does her Hailey Hatred impression . . . Dead lift, German Suplex . . .
What a show of strength . . .
Of course, Mini T is no Aja Kong . . .
Mia with a nice bridge
Mia with another show of strength -- catching Mini T
. . . then popping charging Aki with her knee . .
Mia continues to be a one-woman wrecking crew
as she dumps Mini T on the prone Aki
But Aki Kambayashi strikes back
Aoi with missile drop kick on Mini T
Aoi with some stiff strikes
Mini T with a missile to Aoi's back side
Aki in charge
Aki with a choke submission on Aoi
Aoi with a stiff kick
Aoi reaches for the tag
Aoi and Mia with sandwich kick on Aki
Mia winds up
. . . but Aki ducks and . . .
Mia punches her partner Aoi
Mia's errant punch knocks Aoi down and gives Aki an easy pin
Aoi Ishibashi with a healthy comeback
In the end, Aki and Mini Tomato won the match. But Aoi and Mia were just happy to leave this match free of further injury. The whole REINAxWORLD family was celebrating Aoi's return to action!