The tectonic plates under Ice Ribbon have shifted in a major way over the past few years.
The end of 2021 saw Suzu Suzuki, Maya Yukihi and Risa Sera all leave Ice Ribbon. Last year, Tsukushi Haruka retired at only 24 years old. More recently, Nao Ishikawa departed the company to become a freelancer while Asahi is now out on loan with Actwres girl’Z.
Amid all this movement and change, a star has risen. Satsuki Totoro, a stout warrior with a winning smile, has taken over as Ice Ribbon’s central figure.
Totoro, who debuted in 2017, is equal parts playful and murderous in the ring. She often enters the ring with a stuffed tiger on her shoulder and her lively expression makes it clear she has fun in there, but this is also a woman whose diving senton looks like it flattens organs.
Totoro teams with Yuna Manase as BIG DEKAI and the two powerhouses won the International Ribbon Tag Team Championship in 2022. The duo also landed a spot in the PWI Top 100 Tag Teams list.
Her biggest career achievement to date has been claiming Ice Ribbon’s top prize. Totoro knocked off Saori Anou on March 19 to win the ICE×∞ Championship for the first time.
Wrestle Inn had the chance to speak to Satsuki about her ICE×∞ Championship reign, her partnership with Yuna Manase and the various recent departures from Ice Ribbon thanks to English to Japanese (and vice versa) translation from Kyosuke @puroresu_boi.
Q: After dethroning Saori Anou for the ICE×∞ Championship, you’re at the top of Ice Ribbon. What will be the key to success in that spot?
Satsuki: No matter what happens, I will push and power through. I will be the lighthouse for other wrestlers whenever they are lost and shed a light to Ice Ribbon as their top champion.
Q: Do you want to see foreigners come into Ice Ribbon to challenge you for the ICE×∞ Championship?
Satsuki: The first foreign wrestler that pops up in my mind is Yappy! I want to defend this title against everyone in the ICE RIBBON roster, and of course, Yappy is one of them. Also, I’m bigger among most Japanese joshi wrestlers, but I believe that there are wrestlers bigger than me overseas, and I want to fight against those big wrestlers!
Q: Where have you most improved as a wrestler from your rookie year in 2017 to now?
Satsuki: I believe that my spirit has gotten stronger.
Q: Last year, you won the International Ribbon Tag Team Championships alongside Yuna Manase. What is Yuna Manase like as a tag team partner, what helps you two to work so well together?
Satsuki: I believe that Yuna Manase is an individual who is enthusiastic, kind and understands what people are going through. Whenever I had a worry or felt down, Yuna-san was always there for me. She would share past experiences and talk to me about her worries. We would always share our feelings whenever we felt depressed or down. That’s the start of our story. At first, Yuna-san was pushing and pulling me forward, but as time passed, the feeling of “I want to push and pull Yuna higher!” has gotten stronger. In the end, we became friends who constantly want to push each other to their limits. That’s why I believe we became a tag team that people would call “amazing”.
Q: You’ve been in the ring with the great Tsukasa Fujimoto dozens of times. What lessons have you learned from facing her?
Satsuki: Ahhh, how should I put it? I learned that having a playful spirit (not to be confused with having a playful match) would be a good spice, that was a thought that I had after facing her many times. This was back when I was still a rookie, but I would feel really nervous whenever I would have a match with Fujimoto-san. But when the gong rang, it was really fun battling it out with Fujimoto-san. It felt like Fujimoto-san was having fun during the match and I could feel her energy transferring to her opponents. Also, Fujimoto-san is amazing at finding good characteristics in humans, so that’s something I want to learn from her.
Q: What is the origin of your finisher “Moving like a Thunderstorm”? How did you come up with the name of that move?
Satsuki: Actually, I came up with the name first and then started to makeshift the move from there! I got the idea from a military flag of the Japanese military commander Shingen Takeda who wrote “Furinkazan” (Direct translation: Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain). Furinkazan means “As swift as the movement of the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, as strong as a mountain.” That’s not all too, there is a continuation of Furinkazan where one of the kanji characters is “Moving like a thunderstorm”, where it means “to be fierce as the thunder.” I was impacted by these words, so I decided to think of a move that would stun opponents when they are hit with such great force. After that, I talked about it with other members on the roster and started to sculpt it, where all that resulted in what you see in the ring today!
Q: Are you the strongest wrestler on the roster? Who would win in an arm wrestling match, you or Yappy?
Satsuki: In pro-wrestling, I believe I am the strongest in the Ice Ribbon roster right now. If it was an arm wrestling match, perhaps YAPPY might win? Like, whenever we train together, her arm is insanely strong whenever we do arm exercises!!
Q: There have been a lot of departures from Ice Ribbon in the past few years including Maya Yukihi and Suzu Suzuki. How did it feel to see them go? Did you see them leaving as an opportunity for yourself?
Satsuki: Of course, there was that feeling of sadness, but there was also that wonderful thought of having your focus on the future and being independent. Them leaving opened up many opportunities not just for me but many other members on the roster as well. The reason why Saori Anou called me out for the title match was because of my comment on their departures where I stated that “I will become the centrepiece of ICE RIBBON!” So, if that’s not an opportunity, I don’t know what is.
Q: What’s going to make Ice Ribbon stand out in the next few years as other joshi companies continue to grow?
Satsuki: Well first off, I think it’s important that we should enjoy the art of pro-wrestling and become stronger as professional wrestlers. When you are building a house, it’s always important to have a strong foundation to keep the house strong. It’s the same with promotions, to keep Ice Ribbon’s head up high and reaching for the stars, I want to make the core of Ice Ribbon stronger. And to make the core stronger, leave it to ICE×∞ Champion, Satsuki Totoro!
A big thank you to Satsuki Totoro (@totochan326) for giving us the time for this interview, and a special thanks to Kyosuke (@puroresu_boi) for translating all of it.
Check out Ice Ribbon’s YouTube page for clips, show recaps, and more. Be sure to follow Ice Ribbon’s main account (@ICERIBBON_jp) and English-language account (@IceRibbon_eng) on Twitter.
Be happy with pro wrestling!