Chikara “The Living Daylights” Review

TLDaylights300Pre-Show Notes
-7.19.2014. Stage 48. New York, New York.
-This was the first of Chikara’s two July shows, both held in the Northeast.
-Amasis returned to action after missing all three June shows for “reasons beyond their control.” That’s a quotation, by the way, not an expression of doubt.
-Hopefully, this show won’t be the Timothy Dalton of Season 14. Let’s Go!
(Ed. Note: I was recently alerted to the fact that “George Lazenby” was probably the joke I was looking for there. I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to Mr. Dalton and his family.)

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h08m01s173The Batiri (Kodama & Obariyon) defeated the Bloc Party (Mr. Azerbaijan & the Proletariat Boar of Moldova), the Colony (Fire Ant & Worker Ant), & the Flood (Haack & Slaash) via Pinfall
Four team elimination matches are a Chikara staple and with good reason. They always feature good action, some nice storytelling, and are generally just an awesome way to fill out a card with all the dudes who wouldn’t otherwise be on the show.

The Flood was knocked out first by a Worker Ant Pumphandle GTS to Haack at 5:30. Or maybe it was Slaash. I don’t know how differentiate between the two. For the most part, they were just a couple of NPCs to fill out the match.

Bloc Party took control, but Fire Ant pinned Mr. Azerbaijan after a crazy Tornado DDT, eliminating the Bloc Party at 10:34. After a nice tecnico-recognition moment, the Colony went to work earning that third point for a shot at the Campeonatos de Parejas.

It was not to be. Fire Ant went for the same Tornado DDT, but Obariyon reversed it into a school boy for the win at 12:40. The Colony’s points come off the board and the Batiri sit at one point.

Nothing transcendent here, but a nice way to kick off the show.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h20m18s188Juan Francisco de Coronado defeated Eddie Kingston via Submission
After an awkward thumb war segment that made the MP4 for some reason, Juan Francisco de Coronado made his entrance, which now features the Ecuadorian flag and a poor man’s “November Rain” intro.

I LOVED this match. If Eddie Kingston looked distraught and mopey during Chikara’s June shows, he was downright bored tonight. He made clear how disinterested he was in wrestling some Chikara rookie. Kingston didn’t take de Coronado seriously and swatted away all of Juan Francisco’s offense.

This Chikara/Flood story is great, but it sometimes feels a little too Saturday morning cartoon or comic book. Anthropomorphic ants and off-brand Banes are great, but they don’t contain that human element. Kingston is the most compelling guy in Chikara right now, primarily because he brings that inner conflict, that emotional struggle, to this story.

Juan Francisco eventually landed a German Suplex on an apathetic Kingston before locking in the Coronado Clutch. Kingston was more annoyed than in pain, but tapped out at 3:24 so he could leave.

Loved. It.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h19m00s160Missile Assault Ant defeated Silver Ant via Pinfall
So far, Missile Assault Ant has been Chikara’s breakout star of 2014. He’s looked great in tag team action, but there’s perhaps no better barometer for a wrestler’s skill than a singles match against Silver Ant.

As it turns out, Missile Assault Ant is pretty darn good. Silver Ant played up his annoyance with Missile’s taunting. Silver controlled the majority of the match and seemed to have the win in the bag with a sleeper. However, Missile stole a flash pin at 12:04, beautifully playing off of Silver’s overconfidence and lack of focus.

Missile was definitely outmatched, particularly during the chain wrestling portions, but he kept up and didn’t embarrass himself. It actually reminded me of Green Ant’s early matches with Mike Quackenbush and Colt Cabana. Green Ant was still a little *ahem* green, and was definitely not as good as Chikara’s elder grappling statesmen, but was clearly going to be very good, very soon.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h22m34s236The Flood (Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Nøkken & Tursas) & the Odditorium (Kizarny, Oliver Grimsly, & Qefka the Quiet)) defeated Jervis Cottonbelly, the Baltic Siege (Estonian Thunderfrog & Latvian Proud Oak), & the Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & Mr. Touchdown) via Pinfall
The crowd busted out a “We want Jacob!” chant, which I’ll second, as long as he’s not wrestling. Sinn Bodhi was randomly announced as Kizarny. I love the idea that a noted copyright enthusiast like WWE doesn’t care enough about Kizarny to send a cease and desist letter. “Kizarny? No, we’d rather not admit that we employed him at one point.” Jervis gets a “Somebody’s gonna get their head hugged!” chant. Nice work, New York.

One particularly fun sequence led to the Throwbacks clearing the ring and receiving good game buttslaps from Jervis and Baltic Siege. However, those three aren’t exactly poster children for American jock culture, and instead just clasp the Throwbacks’ buttocks, allowing the Flood to railroad everyone.

After a great back-and-forth affair, Kizarny steals the match at 14:58 with a sunset flip on Estonian Thunderfrog smack in the middle of an outside dive sequence.

Thunderfrog doesn’t take the loss well, assaulting Kizarny after the match as everyone else brawled on the outside. As revolutionary as the Flood storyline has been, it’s definitely been missing the passion, hatred, and vitriol a story like this demands. If the Flood is looking to destroy the company, then things should really be boiling over more than they have been. Chikara forces, in particular, seemed especially riled up in this one.

The Flood won the brawl. Tusas crushed Jervis with a flying splash, but Touchdown saved Proud Oak from a similar fate. Tursas crashed and burned while Estonian Thunderfrog leapt from a turnbuckle, BASHING TURSAS WITH THE HAMMER OF PEACE! Tursas goes limp as Milo Schnitzler and Nøkken indulge the trope with their best Episode III Vader impressions. Thunderfrog walks away, asserting that “he’s gone to sleep for a long time.”

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h31m34s27On one hand, it’s incredibly troubling that Thunderfrog killed Tursas. Killing dudes seems to run counter to the tecnico way. Nøkken and Milo allowed us the rare opportunity to empathize with the Flood. The agony on their faces made it apparent that the Flood aren’t just mindless foot soldiers. They are teams and comrades and friends too.

On the other hand, the Flood is trying to destroy Chikara and had previously killed Kobald. We don’t consider Luke Skywalker evil because he killed a few (hundred) stormtroopers. Conventional heel/face dynamics just don’t apply to a story like this.

At the end of the day, I’m cool with this. Not only did Chikara even the body count but they’ve found a weapon that could potentially bring down Deucalion and save Chikara for good. That’s a big story device right there.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h37m09s58The Pieces of Hate defeated the Osirian Portal via Pinfall
The Pieces of Hate came out carrying the Campeonatos de Parejas belts after taking them back from Knight Eye for the Pirate Guy at Wrestling Is Fun’s “Bananastar Galactica.” Finally, some hardware to go along with my favorite entrance theme in Chikara.

If Kingston/de Coronado gave me my first “Wow…” of the evening with its storytelling, this match won my second with its wrestling. There was no chain wrestling here. No holds. No feeling out. Only one “isolate the face” sequence. They basically just wrestled the second half of a tag match. Just high-octane double-teaming and nearfalls for the whole dang thing.

Chikara doesn’t do this style of match often, and I’m glad because these matches have the habit of crossing over into ROH’s “No Sell & Sprint into the Next Move” wrestling. However, the action was crisp and they spaced things out enough that the nearfalls stayed believable. The Shard got a cheap win with a low blow on Ophidian at 10:17.

I’m not a fan of Amasis or Ophidian when they are in singles competition, but they are PURE GOLD as a tag team. And speaking of tag teams, Pieces of Hate are simply up there with the Young Bucks, Harper & Rowan, and the Colony as the best American teams in wrestling right now.

Put them together and you get a narrow MATCH OF THE EVENING!

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h41m02s76Ashley Remington defeated Chuck Taylor via Pinfall
This was a rematch from Remington’s wonderful debut at “You Only Live Twice.” Mike Quackenbush complimented Remington for looking good in seafoam green before accurately pointing out that not many can.

The rematch was a good mixture of wrestling and comedy, just like the original. Ashley Remington got the win with a German Suplex at 8:11, which, seemed to be Chikara’s move of the night. However, Taylor’s feet were on the ropes. Will we get Taylor/Remington III?

Remington again delivered a fruit basket to his fallen foe. Taylor can’t bring himself to hate Remington, as much as he would like to. Both of these guys are dynamite characters and dynamite wrestlers.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h45m25s151The Spectral Envoy (UltraMantis Black, Frightmare, Hallowicked, & Blind Rage) vs. The Wrecking Crew (Jaka, Max Smashmaster, Blaster McMassive, & Flex Rumblecrunch)

This match was a showdown between the most fearsome teams in this feud. The Spectral Envoy had been on a roll since the BDK put them down at “You Only Live Twice.” For their part, the Wrecking Crew’s only loss this year was in trios action against the Envoy at “Quantum of Solace.”

A huge brawl started off what would be a great all-around match. You’re going to get good action and great psychology from these guys, and the Wrecking Crew’s improvement virtually guarantees a fantastic match.

It wasn’t transcendent, though. Frightmare kicked out of a barrage of flying maneuvers that culminated in a Smashmaster swanton before later kicking out of an Off With His Head from an interfering Oleg the Usurper. It was sort of unbelievable. And in the “disrupts your suspension of disbelief” way, not the “amazing web gem” way.

Frightmare grabbed Oleg’s helmet and bonked Blaster twice before hitting a Kneecolepsy and tapping him out with the Chikara Special at 14:16.

Don’t get me wrong; this was a very good match. It’s just that one of my biggest pet peeves in wrestling is faces kicking out of finishers through the INCREDIBLE POWER OF FACEHOOD while heels get put away without fanfare.

Overall
Overall, this was a tremendous show. It rarely blew one’s socks off, but it was very good from top to bottom. There was not a single stinker on the card. Both Chikara and the Flood looked pretty even as well, something I love seeing before Kingston, Soldier Ant, and Delirious get into the mix. Vengeance for Kobald was finally had and every story took a step forward.

Look for something big at “The World Is Not Enough.” Chikara likes to punctuate their weekends with an exclamation point.

Should I Buy It
For the Wrestling? Absolutely. There wasn’t one disappointing match all evening.
For the Story? Yeah. Kingston’s saga continues. Chikara sends one to the morgue. Other sub-feuds within the Flood/Chikara story were progressed as well.
For the History? Yes. A third of the BDK that ran roughshod on Chikara for two years was killed dead. That sounds like a big deal to me.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h32m49s17

RIP Tursas (2007-2014) Valhalla has gained another warrior

*************************

More Chikara

I Am ChikaraYou Only Live TwiceQuantum of SolaceDiamonds Are ForeverGoldfingerThe Living DaylightsThe World Is Not EnoughPermis De TuerVivre Et Laisser Mourir – King of Trios 2014 (Night One)(Night Two)(Night Three) – Thunderball – Moonraker – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – For Your Eyes Only – Tomorrow Never Dies

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