-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2300 Arena. December 6, 2014.
-2300 Arena is the renamed ECW Arena. I have no nostalgia, however. That was a bit before my wrestling-fan time.
-It’s the season finale!
-Barring the revelation that it was all a dream, the Flood will still be around for Season 15. Some sort of a game-changer is bound to happen tonight, however!
-Tonight’s Bond film is probably the blandest of Pierce Brosnan’s films. It wasn’t as enjoyable as Goldeneye or The World Is Not Enough, but not as terrible as Die Another Day, mostly because very little is as terrible as Die Another Day.
-Stick around for a Slazenger1-less set of Superlatives in a week or so. Consider it a final evaluation of Season 14 combined with the Slammys.
-After that, however, only time will tell if I continue these reviews into Season 15. Kevin Ford over at the amazing Chikara Special seems to be picking back up with things. This project was always more of a “nature abhors a vacuum” sort of thing anyways. These have been a blast, but I can love Chikara without them.
-Without further ado…
Heidi Lovelace defeated Missile Assault Ant (w/ Arctic Rescue Ant & Orbit Adventure Ant) via Pinfall for the Young Lions Cup
This pre-show podcast match (watch it hereLINK) is to crown the 11th Young Lions Cup Champion. It was a long way to the finals for both of these wrestlers. Lovelace beat Arctic Rescue Ant, Princess KimberLee, Proletariat Boar of Moldova and more to get here while Missile Assault Ant survived the likes of Race Jaxon, Prakash Sabar, and Shynron. The last Young Lions Cup Champion was Mr. Touchdown. Touchdown, however, didn’t get to do much with it other than have a couple of good defenses against ACH and Saturyne.
Speaking of Saturyne, I wonder how she and her abs are doing these days…
Missile Assault Ant isn’t a fan of sportsantship, but Heidi doesn’t back down. Missile took her head off with a boot and took control, aided by his two stablemates. Heidi showed her fighting spirit by shaking off the Triple Northern Lights and kicking out of a dropkick at 1.
Heidi eventually came back and took out Xtreme Force with a dive before shoving Missile Assault Ant into a teammate, setting him up for a spike hurricanrana for the win. I don’t buy Missile Assault Ant losing after Heidi’s first offense of the evening, but I’m not disappointed by the result. Heidi has worked her butt off and that finisher does look vicious. Solid start, kicking off an important show with an important match for an important thing.
Ashley Remington defeated Juan Francisco de Coronado via Pinfall
Juan Francisco came out with two lovely Ecuadorian ladies sporting the pinnacle of Ecuadorian fashion. As the match began, Bryce told us the match could only be won by pinfall following a German Suplex.
The usual smooth sailin’ chicanery started the match before Juan Francisco took control after Spearing Remington through the ropes onto the floor. The back and forth match stayed relatively high-octane the whole time.
Remington hit a spinning facebuster and went into a cover. Barber refused to count. After some counters, Juan Francisco hit the match’s first German Suplex, but Ashley kicked out at 2. Juan Francisco followed that up with a German Suplex on the apron. Remington came back, however, lifting de Coronado from the apron into the ring in one smooth (believe that or not) motion for the German Suplex win.
This was a fantastic match. If anyone needed a reminder that both of these guys are incredible wrestlers, this was it. They told a beautiful story of two evenly talented guys who really don’t like each other. I also loved all the counters throughout the match. It’s almost as though both men are professionals who might have already wrestled each other twice…
After the match, Remington brought out the fruit basket. I was secretly hoping Remington would blast Juan Francisco with it, but I don’t think anyone is ready for Heel Remington yet.
Eddie Kingston defeated Jimmy Jacobs (w/ The Lithuanian Snow Troll & Volgar) via Pinfall
Finally, Kingston got his hands on the man who manipulated him into joining the Flood and who followed through on all of his promises. I mock Kingston’s hatred of Jacobs a little, no one likes being used. Furthermore, Kingston has two points. A win gives him the shot at the Grand Championship he wants so badly.
So, Kingston is winning the match to set up the main event of next year’s premiere? Aw, crap. I’ve ruined this one for myself, haven’t I?
This match was between, as Leonard Chikarason said, a man who wrestles with his head and another who wrestles with his heart. Kingston beat Jacobs down early, but distracted himself by taking out Lithuanian Snow Troll. Jacobs took control with a Shiranui on the floor and a guillotine choke in the ring.
Jacobs locked down Kingston, but couldn’t keep him down. Volgar pitched in, holding Kingston for a Jacobs Spear through the ropes. That would have been really cool if we hadn’t just seen it last match. Jacobs is a phenomenal wrestler when he’s not stuck in ROH junk matches. And whatever Eddie Kingston’s defects as a wrestler, he wrestles with his heart on his sleeve and never fails to make viewers invest emotionally in his matches.
After some great nearfalls, Kingston finally caught Jacobs with a Backfist to the Future. He hammered him with one more for good measure before winning the match. This was a fantastic match accentuated by a rollicking crowd and tons of emotion.
After the match, Kingston was ambushed by a black-clad Cyclone Kid and his pipe wrench. The crowd chanted “You sold out” to Cyclone Kid, clearly not understanding what was happening. Cyclone blamed tradition for the endless cycle of forgiving Eddie Kingston after his transgressions, but claimed he would not be one of them. He blamed tradition for placing him in a mask and restricting his ability to take it off. He said to hell with tradition and removed his mask, revealing…
Someone named Kevin Condron, who was going to get his revenge on Eddie Kingston and everyone else responsible for the deaths of Equinox III and Create-a-Wrestler II. He was going to start a movement and only his followers would be spared. Condron gave Snow Troll his pipe wrench before freeing him and leaving. Snow Troll tagged along, apparently his first follower.
I loved the ambush and the promo. It was a little tough to hear what Condron was saying at times, but it only made the moment more powerful when he was able to shut up the crowd and get some of them on his side. It’s not like he’s short on legitimate grievances. Several key Chikara players were nowhere to be seen when the Greenhorn Militia took on Deucalion. At the time, Eddie Kingston was actively helping the Flood. No one did anything. No one questioned Eddie Kingston when he returned to the fold.
Condron is the most sympathetic heel of all time. He courageously took on the greatest threat to Chikara and no one had his back. This whole thing was business as usual for the Chikara roster. They didn’t care about the GHM. They didn’t question Kingston because having him on their side was worth forgetting about CAW II and Equinox III. And while everyone else has moved on, Condron couldn’t, because they were his friends and it was his fault. Except it wasn’t his fault alone, was it?
Powerful stuff. I can’t wait to see this continue next year.
The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive & Max Smashmaster) (w/ Sidney Bakabella) defeated the Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & Mark Angelosetti) (c) 2-1 for the Campeonatos de Parejas
As always, this was two out of three falls. The Devastation Corporation is riding the winning streak of their lives, with three straight tag team victories and King of Trios medals to boot. On top of that, they have two straight falls on Dasher in the King of Trios FinalsLINK and a ten-man tag match at “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”LINK For their part, the Throwbacks made it to the King of Trios Finals and are coming off of a clean sweep defense against 3.0 at “For Your Eyes Only.”
Neither side wasted any time getting into it. The Throwbacks used teamwork to stay on top for the first five minutes until Blaster turned Mr. Touchdown inside out with clothesline. Sidney grabbed Dasher’s leg while the Devastation Corporation hit the Death Blow for the first fall.
Dasher was quickly tossed outside and Touchdown was hauled into the ring. It’s not “wearing down” when someone is already worn out, so I’ll say that the Devastation Corporation continued to beat the daylight out of Mr. Touchdown. He kept fighting through the pain, however, for what felt like an impossibly long time. I didn’t know it was possible to have so many hope spots cut off in so many different ways.
Dasher finally tagged in. A double musclebuster, however, could only get a two on McMassive. A Death Blow to Dasher seemed to end the match until Touchdown broke it up with an Oklahoma Roll on Smashmaster for the three. Touchdown got the equalizer!
This smile on my face tells me this match is great and that everyone is doing their job really well.
The Throwbacks can’t have a lot left in the tank, however, and the Devastation Corporation still hasn’t taken much of a beating. Both teams squared off, but the Devastation Corporation gained the advantage. They hit the Death Blow on Dasher. 1-2-NO! Dasher kicked out of his second Death Blow of the night. Blaster and Max set up for another Death Blow on Touchdown, but Dasher broke it up and launched Smashmaster into a Super 3D! Just as I resigned myself to the end of this match, Sidney Bakabella grabbed Jonathan Barber’s hand to break up the count.
Sidney tried to escape his comeuppance, but slipped away, leaving Dasher holding on to his hairpiece. Touchdown was tossed out and the Devastation Corporation hit the Master Blaster, a Doomsday Device Elbow Drop, to claim the Campeonatos de Parejas.
Ho. Ly. Shit. I’m concerned about recency bias here, but I’m pretty sure that was Chikara’s match of the year. It was certainly your MATCH OF THE EVENING! The action never let up. The drama was never a letdown. The Devastation Corporation absolutely deserves these belts. They went from dangers to themselves and others to the best big man tag team in North America in the span of about a year. I can’t praise them enough. It’s one thing to be big and strong. It’s another to be big and strong, make your opponents look like a million bucks, and tell tremendous stories in the ring at the same time.
Let’s not sell the Throwbacks short either. They’ve been the only non-Eddie Kingstons selling the Flood invasion. It’s been business as usual for everyone else. SSDF. Same shit, different faction. No wonder Condron is so upset. Dasher and Angelosetti made this feud feel real. It’s a shame both of these teams couldn’t win. They’ve both deserved it all season.
UltraMantis Black defeated Delirious via Pinfall in a Loser Leaves Chikara Match
Ultimately, I’m not sure how I feel about the Loser Leaves Chikara aspect of the match. I appreciate the heightened stakes and high stakes usually lead to high drama. However, that’s rarely the case in a Loser Leaves Town Match where everyone knows who is coming and who is going. Will the guy we’ve seen once this season win? Or the guy at every show who is a perennial fan favorite? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
The wrinkle added to this one, however, is that we really don’t know what will happen. Would you have believed anyone six months ago if they told you that Estonian Thunderfrog and all of Archibald Peck’s personas would be killed off? What’s keeping UltraMantis around, particularly since Delirious has the Eye of Tyr, the greatest disruptor of the status quo in the history of the company? So either guy could win. And of course, Delirious could lose and do something diabolical with the Eye on his way out.
Delirious came down to the ring, perhaps for the last time, to a particularly badass theme and sporting full body paint. He really went full Prince Devitt (Finn Balor?) with this one. “Delirious Never Dies” was written on his back. Delirious almost hit the Praying Mantis Bomb immediately. UltraMantis did thirty seconds later, nearly ending the match before it began.
The two brawled on the outside, before it spilled back into the ring, giving Delirious the chance to hit a Praying Mantis Bomb of his own for a nearfall. Delirious hit the Panic Attack, Shadows Over Heck, and a sloppy Praying Mantis Bomb, but could only get a one count! UltraMantis does not want to go down.
UltraMantis stood up to Delirious, absorbing chops while making it clear he wasn’t going to lose. UltraMantis hit a brutal Regalplex, but Jonathan Barber had gone down. UltraMantis took to resuscitating Barber while Delirious went after UltraMantis’ staff. Delirious snapped the staff in half across UltraMantis’s midsection and hit a third Praying Mantis Bomb.
1-2-No, says replacement referee Derek Sabato! “A deal is a deal” is all Quack would say on commentary.
Delirious couldn’t believe it, but Sabato asserted his presence. UltraMantis Black outslugged Delirious before hitting Cosmic Doom and another Praying Mantis Bomb for the win.
Once again, holy crap. These two beat the bejesus out of each other. The match was both long and remarkably brutal. The long history of abuse, hatred, and revenge between these men fully justified it. I suppose they’re not so different at the end of the day.
My only complaint is the lack of build. Sure, both these guys have a long history and hate each other’s guts, but there was nothing to remind us of that this season. We didn’t need much, but something would have been nice instead of going from zero to Loser Leaves Town. So, it’s a shame we won’t be seeing Delirious anymore. He’s always been an asset to the company. And I’d be shocked if there wasn’t something more to the return of Derek Sabato.
After the match, the rest of the Spectral Envoy came out to celebrate with UltraMantis. Delirious rolled out of the ring and retrieved the Eye of Tyr. Oh God… This is the first time I’ve seen it in use. What’s gonna happen?
Delirious shoved the Eye of Tyr against Hallowicked’s head. Hallowicked went limp while Frightmare made as though his brain was tearing itself apart. When UltraMantis turned around, Hallowicked kicked him in the face. Frightmare appeared not to be as thoroughly indoctrinated, but ultimately followed Hallowicked out.
Soldier Ant won the Torneo Cibernetico via Pinfall
Team Chikara (Fire Ant, Silver Ant, Worker Ant, Obariyon, Kodama, Ophidian, Amasis, Jervis Cottonbelly) vs. Team Flood (Jakob Hammermeier, Oleg the Usurper, Jaka, Oliver Grimsly, Nøkken, Volgar, Flex Rumblecrunch, Soldier Ant)
For those unfamiliar with Chikara’s Torneo Cibernetico, it is essentially a 16-person elimination match that has seen some of the best matches and biggest feuds in Chikara’s history. The catch is that captains place their teams in a batting order before the match. Tags must follow that order throughout the match and a wrestler is disqualified and eliminated if they “bat” out of order. This match’s batting order is indicated above. Finally, if one team is completely eliminated, the remainder of the winning team battles amongst themselves to determine the winner.
Jakob Hammermeier captained the Flood team and Worker Ant, for some reason, captained the Chikara squad. Why Worker Ant and not his more experienced teammates? Or the more experienced Osirian Portal? Or the Batiri. I’d pick Worker Ant captain before Jervis, but that’s about it.
To his credit, Worker Ant picked a great order, grouping his teams together for maximum tandem offense. Little of note happened the first time through the batting order except that Worker Ant tweaked his knee lifting Jaka. This was the same knee attacked at “King of Trios Night 1” by the Xtreme Force and Soldier Ant at “For Your Eyes Only” Also, this was the first time we’ve seen Soldier Ant in action all year. There was a brief moment of anticipation as Soldier Ant waited for Fire Ant, but Jakob forced a tag.
Fire Ant got worked over by the full Flood lineup. A cheap shot instigated a massive brawl inside the ring and out, culminating in a series of high-flying maneuvers. The injured Worker Ant scored the first elimination with a Discus Lariat to Jaka. Volgar went out next when the Batiri hit the Skull Bronzing. The Flood scored their first elimination immediately afterwards when Flex Rumblecrunch hit an impressive stampeding powerbomb on Kodama. Soldier Ant came in and continued to no-sell any offense against him. Have the abuses heaped on him as a prisoner of war numbed him to pain? Is he drinking from the Deucalion fountain of power? Soldier Ant knocked out Jervis with a rolling elbow strike.
6 on 6! Fire Ant still wanted to find out what happened to his friend. Jakob tossed out Fire and Solver Ants to get to the wounded ant. Worker Ant might be the better strategist, but Jakob is clearly the better tactician. Still, his plans came to naught as Oleg was rolled up by Worker Ant, whose courage and fortitude have shown through tonight. Grimsly came in and took out Obariyon, but a bunch of strikes from the Osirian Portal eliminated Grimsly. This Flood team could really use a Shard or 17 right about now, couldn’t it? Nøkken eliminated Amasis with a… Praying Mantis Bomb? Like we haven’t seen enough of those tonight. Someone get this guy a finisher.
5 on 4, advantage Chikara, which is promptly undone by Soldier Ant tapping out Worker Ant with a leg-based submission. Obariyon hit a Flying DDT on Soldier Ant, who kicked out at 2! Soldier Ant shrugged it off and hit a Northern Lights Bomb to eliminate Obariyon. Soldier Ant shrugged off the Ophidian Death Grip and eliminated Ophidian with a sleeper hold. Holy crap. What has gotten into Soldier Ant?
It’s all down to the Colony. Silver Ant body-slammed Nøkken and eliminated him with the Chikara Special: Green. Fire Ant took out Flex with a victory roll. Silver Ant couldn’t bring himself to attack his former friend until Soldier Ant mobbed him. The Colony was obviously in agony wrestling Soldier Ant, hoping to see some shred of their friend. Soldier Ant clipped Silver Ant’s knee and Jakob delivered the coup de grace to eliminate him.
Fire Ant flew out of the ring to prevent Soldier Ant from doing any further damage to Silver Ant. Fire Ant overcame Jakob and put him away with a Beach Break. Soldier Ant came into the ring to break up the fall, but thought better of it. Soldier Ant and Fire Ant stared each other down. Fire Ant pled with him, but Soldier Ant choked the life out of Fire Ant and eliminated him with a spinning chokeslam.
First, some general praise. Jakob has come a long way as both a wrestler and ring general. I also love wounded Worker Ant. He tends to be comparatively sluggish in the ring and this gives him a reason not to be able to keep up with his opponent. As an added bonus, it lets him play around with his strength and display his toughness and resolve. Flex has come an incredibly long way since earlier this year as well.
Overall, this was a good match, but not a great Cibernetico. Previous Ciberneticos, like Survivor Series matches of yore, were used to escalate or end huge feuds. Chikara/Flood is a huge feud, but they’ve been doing 10-man tags all season. This match didn’t seem special.
The good news is that the Passion of the Colony was fantastic. Dark Soldier Ant is compelling and his new cyborg nature has piqued my curiosity. He also has some legitimate grievances since Fire Ant and then-Green Ant didn’t really do much but complain when Wink Vavessuer’s sent Soldier Ant into Gekido. One can’t blame Soldier Ant for being abandoned and betrayed. Hell hath no fury like a Formicidae scorned. I’m looking forward to this story next year.
Chuck Taylor Promo
Chuck Taylor apparently has three points and wanted his Grand Championship shot at next year’s season premiere. Quack okayed it and that match is on. I wonder what Eddie Kingston thinks about that.
Can you wrap your head around Grand Champion Chuck Taylor? I can’t see it happening, but I would kill to make it happen. People get lost in Taylor’s silliness and lose sight of the fact that he’s one of the best wrestlers in North America.
One more reason to look forward to Season 15!
Icarus defeated Deucalion via Submission in a Steel Cage Match
After a half-hour of construction, it’s steel cage time, a rare occurrence in Chikara. The match can only be won by pinfall or submission. This could end really badly for Icarus, Chikara, or both.
Icarus immediately went on the offensive, but Deucalion used his mythical powers to take control. Icarus concentrated on Deucalion’s right arm, trying to take away the Chokebreaker. After ten minutes, Icarus had taken some nasty bumps, but had completely neutralized Deucalion’s right arm. That didn’t seem to bring him closer to victory, however. Icarus’ first Spear didn’t move Deucalion an inch.
Deucalion couldn’t hold Icarus for a lawn dart into the cage and Icarus finally took Deucalion off his feet with a Spear, but was too drained to seize the advantage. Deucalion got up first while the Chikara locker room emptied in support of Icarus. Icarus shrugged off two Chokebreaker holds and hit a Shiranui for a two-count. A superkick and a Blu-Ray could only earn a two as well.
Deucalion whipped Icarus into the cage, but Bryce’s two-count earned Deucalion’s ire. Icarus saved Bryce’s life and baited Deucalion to do battle on the top rope. Deucalion got a Chokebreaker ready on Icarus, but Icarus rolled him into the Chikara Special! Deucalion tapped immediately.
The wounded, pride more than anything else, Deucalion rose from the mat and called for the Flood, who sauntered out to the ring. Jimmy Jacobs came to their fore, however, and told the Flood that Deucalion would kill all of them if given the chance. Jacobs told Deucalion that he made his bed and now he’ll die in it.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” sure as heck ended Season 14 on a high note. More than anything else, this show highlighted the importance of emotional investment and how much better it makes a wrestling show. Crowds can make or break a wrestling event. Chikara makes enough trips around the country that they don’t always get a, shall we say, “optimal” crowd. They were hot all night and it, along with the best action we’ve seen all year, made for one of the best shows of the season. I ripped on a couple cities or crowds throughout the year, but ultimately, it’s up to the company. No one buys a ticket for a wrestling show not wanting to be entertained. Make your show great, and people will get into it. They did that here.
Deucalion’s demise had been happening all season if we were smart enough to see it. With an exception or two, I was not one of those people. His rule through fear couldn’t keep the Flood together in the way Icarus was able to rally Chikara. Deucalion really had only himself to blame. He pushed 17 into defection (assuming that was 17). He made Jacobs chose to die or to offer up the Shard, which clearly took a toll on Jacobs. He accepted no excuses until he needed one himself, but by then, it was too late.
I’m not sure I loved everyone suddenly lifting the Hammer of Peace, but it was certainly used to good effect, calling back to Thunderfrog’s successful deployment of the hammer against Tursas and “avenging” Thunderfrog himself.
Meanwhile, “Tomorrow Never Dies” set up some potentially great stories for next year. UltraMantis against the Spectral Envoy. The Colony against Soldier Ant. Kevin Condron’s vigilante justice. Jigsaw is still out there. Does the Flood continue under Jimmy Jacobs? What about everyone who died? Lots of questions I can’t wait to have answered.
And the answers will start January 25th when Season 15 begins. Chikara will be headed to England in 2015! Will we finally have the Chikara World Championship? Plus, the King of Trios 2015 logo looks like Harry Potter font. Is that a clue as to the theme for their titles next year? If so, will I understand any of them?
This is all…
Should I Buy It?
Yes, you should buy it for everything. This was perhaps Chikara’s most consistent effort in the ring. The matches ran from good to great with no filler. Season-long stories climaxed and propelled Chikara into 2015. Deucalion finally got his comeuppance. Buy this show.