“The raging waves were so strong that all I have are fragmentary memories from (last) summer.”
Suzu Suzuki, who started the second year of her career on New Year’s Eve last year, laughed while looking back at 2019, but those words did not seem to be just a joke.
Suzu was scheduled to make her debut at the Yokohama Buntai show in August 2018. However, on the day of the announcement she had a bicycle accident and suffered the misfortune of having her debut delayed. It made me think that from this point in time, for good or bad it must have had some kind of impact on her. That 17-year old made her debut on New Year’s Eve 2018. While overflowing with charm, such as her positive character that embodies the spirit of being happy with pro wrestling [Ice Ribbon’s motto], her cute visual style, and her rich visual expressions, gradually she came to be well known.
The ‘raging waves’ came in the second half of last year. There was the Buntai show on September 14th where her opponent wasn’t decided until the day before the show [her planned opponent Asahi suffered heatstroke in the ring in the summer and took a brief hiatus from Ice Ribbon] . In October the shock of Tequila Saya’s retirement ceremony being delayed by a typhoon and Giulia, who was like an older sister to Suzu, suddenly leaving the company happened right before her eyes. In the midst of this, 17-year old Suzu’s passionate statements of “I love Ice Ribbon!”, and “I want to make a bright light shine and make a great ringing of a bell sound throughout Ice Ribbon [the kanji for bell 鈴, is the same as the first character of her surname, and her catchphrase is the sound of a bicycle bell]” were a ray of sunlight in the otherwise tumultuous times for Ice Ribbon.
This was why the ICExInfinity Champion Maya Yukihi accepted her challenge, and her first shot at the top title came about 11 months into her career. At the same time as inheriting the retiring Tequila Saya’s iconic move, the Gran Maestro de Tequila, she was entrusted with the future of Ice Ribbon – it was an intense second half of the year that the term ‘raging waves’ struggles to capture.
A lot happened in the first year of her career. Surely it hardened both her mind and her body. Nevertheless, Suzu clearly sated “It ended up being good experience for my personal growth. I don’t regret it.”
Ice Ribbon allows its wrestlers to do things on the side. For example, her peers Asahi and Ibuki Hoshi are currently high school students. However, Suzu entered Ice Ribbon after graduating from middle school. She focuses exclusively on pro wrestling, and puts her blood, sweat, and tears into it every day. When she returns to the dormitory she watches videos of her own matches. She looks at the pro wrestler Suzu Suzuki objectively, analysing things like “that was bad,” or “this got the crowd to react.” On the flip side of her astounding growth is persistent hard work.
“I don’t want to be taken lightly by people who don’t know anything, and if I’m going to do something I want to do it with confidence. So I train, and I watch videos to study. Since we’re pro wrestlers shouldn’t we want to get into the ring with pride?”
Saying this, Suzu doesn’t think of herself as being on the same stage as her peers. “Because (fighting my peers) was done in my first year. In my second year I want to aim upwards.” In other words, the top of Ice Ribbon. Last year she challenged for the ICExInfinity Title once, and the tag titles twice. This year, “I feel like, ‘I’m going to win a belt! I’m gonna do it!’”
She also wants to take part in a hardcore match or a deathmatch, which she has spoken about since her debut. “You don’t know how long a wrestling career will be, right? So going hard is better than taking it easy!” By walking along the path of a serious pro wrestling career she believes that she can make a louder and clearer bell ring out in Ice Ribbon, so Suzu wrote the kanji for ‘bell’ on her paper. “This year I want to ring an even louder bell than last year. What sort of sound? For example, when I win a belt – ‘kaboom! Yeah! [Imitating crowd noises].” On May 4th there is a show at the Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium. “If the sound of a bell rings at Buntai? Wouldn’t that be the best?” – the 17-year old said, full of confidence. Don’t take your eyes off Suzu in 2020.