The Future of Joshi series is an effort to highlight the best, young talent in Joshi pro wrestling for fans to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond. Led by Scott Edwards, a number of Joshi podcasters, writers, and fans took part in hyping up the best young talent from the scene as 15 wrestlers will be highlighted as well as honorable mentions. The first wrestler to be highlighted in the series is Ice Ribbon’s Asahi.
When Ice Ribbon watched Suzu Suzuki, Risa Sera, Maya Yukihi, and many others leave the promotion at the end of 2021 and then Tsukushi Haruka retire in May 2022 with Tsukasa Fujimoto going on hiatus as well, there were many questions as to who would step up for the promotion with seemingly no answers. But what many learned quickly is that Ice Ribbon had themselves a special roster of young talent developing and getting prepped to lead the way. And no one has shown they’re willing to step up more than the incredibly talented Asahi.
Now just 20 years old, Asahi has taken on a ton of work for Ice Ribbon to help the promotion build itself back up. She hasn’t been ICExInfinity Champion yet or held any championship for that matter, but she hasn’t had to. That’s how important and great she’s been since being trusted in a prominent position. A position that might as well be called “Ace” by now.
Abid provides insight into what Asahi has done since becoming a pro wrestler and being given the chance to shine at the top of the promotion.
From the moment I saw her wrestle from Ice Ribbon’s Yokohama Bunka FINAL show on Aug. 9, 2020, I felt an instant connection with her as a fan. The moment she walks through the curtain, her being a babyface, an underdog, and this overall infectious energy she brings whenever she wrestles on shows, I just couldn’t help but root for her. Asahi was trained by Mio Shirai and debuted against the great Manami Toyota on Aug. 27, 2017, at Korakuen Hall. She took a break from pro-wrestling in 2020 to focus on her studies, but since coming back in late 2021, has been such a joy to see perform.
She reminds me of the late Hana Kimura, and what I mean by that is her smile, and the infectious energy she brings. Especially her smile because whenever I was having a bad day mentally, I would watch Hana’s matches, and that would cheer me up. Same for Asahi as well, from the moment she walks through the curtain, all the pain, and sadness I had just instantly goes away. She’s my favorite wrestler in the world right now.
Her recent match at RibbonMania 2022 challenging Saori Anou for the ICExInfinity Championship was the best match of her five-year career and one that I highly recommend watching. She’s vastly improved since making her debut in 2017. One day she will be the ace of Ice Ribbon and the ICExInfinity Champion leading Ice Ribbon into the future. – Abid (@abid5706)
Abid noted that the ICExInfinity Championship match that Asahi had at RibbonMania 2022 against Saori Anou was indeed the match of her career. She showed that fighting spirit that any future ace needs to have but also came seconds away from beating Saori Anou for the championship, feeling like no matter what happens, she should be the one to do it when the time comes. Her hard-hitting strikes might shock someone who sees her for the first time as her happy, go lucky demeanor changes every single time the match goes on and she turns it on.
In an interview I did with Asahi for Fightful, she explained that being in the world of pro wrestling every day is the best.
“I love pro wrestling, but while I’m still looking back at one match, the next match is already coming… It’s so busy,” Asahi said in the interview. “But being immersed in pro wrestling every day is the best!”
That mindset, the energy is what you can feel when watching Asahi compete. She’s talented in the ring but this love for the sport of pro wrestling is why she’s so good. It’s why so many Ice Ribbon fans connect to her more than anyone else in the promotion.
Someone who loves pro wrestling as much as Asahi should be a fan-favorite of everyone. Eric Howard, the host of The Joshi Pod, explained that in his write-up about Asahi and where she’s going in her career:
I am not sure there is anyone in the wrestling business that loves wrestling more than Asahi. Like many, she started training at such a young age. Unlike many though, her skill level is far above just about any other 20-year-old with five years of experience in wrestling history. She has learned from the best at Ice Ribbon. Asahi will be a top star in Ice Ribbon as long as she wants to be. I am more excited to see her wrestle outside of Ice Ribbon in 2023. There are potentially some real special matches in her future with some of the rising talents in Actwres girl’Z. Her breakout is pretty much guaranteed when she gets more eyes on her matches. – Eric Howard (@TheJoshiPod)
Asahi’s participation in Actwres girl’Z and more recently PURE-J has been what is pushing her to be even better. It’s one thing to repeatedly compete against the best in your promotion but going on the road to see her skill compete with the best of others has been a lot of fun to witness as a fan. Her match against PURE-J’s top young stud Crea was one that stood out to me. Yes, she can rise to the occasion in major title matches and at home in Ice Ribbon, but doing it in PURE-J puts an emphasis on how she’s one of the best talents in Joshi.
The Future of Joshi highlights the very best and Asahi has done the work to put herself in the conversation. Ice Ribbon is going places in 2023 after rebuilding in 2022 and it’s undeniable that she will be at the head of that as the promotion’s ace.
To follow along with what Asahi is doing, make sure to follow her on Twitter: @_asahi0827
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