Chikara “For Your Eyes Only” Review

FYEOPre-Show Notes
-Windsor, Connecticut. Nomad’s Adventure Quest. November 16, 2014.
-Nomad’s Adventure Quest is apparently the name of a thing. How about that?
-This week’s Bond was another Roger Moore joint. Playing the Greek villain was the same guy who played General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back. Nice work, only competent Imperial leader!
-Also… Grand Maester Pycelle? OH MY GOD, PEOPLE, GRAND MAESTER PYCELLE IS GENERAL VEERS!
-Plenty of fallout from the night before. Shard is dead. 17 may or may not be an impostor. My money’s on Gary Sinese!
-Real talk, though, I liked that movie.
-Tonight’s main event is 3.0 challenging for an unprecedented third reign as Campeonatos de Parejas. The Promised Land awaits, but the Throwbacks will certainly have something to say about that!
-In unrelated news, if Chikara needs anyone to write clichéd teasers, I’m cheap. Just saying’…
-Also, is this their first title defense and four months of feuding with the Flood? Damn…

vlcsnap-2014-12-04-17h43m08s168The Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive & Max Smashmaster) defeated Ashley Remington & Jervis Cottonbelly, the Batiri (Kodama & Obariyon), and the Bloc Party (Prakash Sabar & the Proletariat Boar of Moldova) via Pinfall
A four-team tag match and no Los Ice Creams? IT’S LIKE I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU ANYMORE, CHIKARA! The Devastation Corporation sits at two points. I don’t think anyone else has any. Is it time for Devastation Corporation to cash in on that Trios victory? Also, Chikara somehow found someone smaller than Gavin Loudspeaker to referee this match.

There were plenty of shenanigans early that eventually turned into a rare mid-match 8-man brawl. Then back into hug-related shenanigans. Then another brawl. Then a Boar Gore to Jervis, who just can’t catch a break. Cottonbelly and Remington were eliminated first. Boar awesomely stared down Ashley while rolling Jervis out of the ring.

The Bloc Party worked the Batiri over next as the Devastation Corporation made the strategic decision to wait for another elimination. Smart strategy from Bakabella’s gang. Meanwhile, Continue reading

Chikara “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” Review

OHMSSPre-Show Notes
-Haverhill, Massachusetts. Haverhill High School. November 15, 2014.
-If you missed “Moonraker,” Archibald Peck is dead. Anything can happen. Everything is exciting and simultaneously sadder.
-It’s George Lazenby time! Hopefully tonight’s show is closer to the film and further away from Lazenby’s performance…
-“OHMSS” is apparently being held in every high school gym in America. 2001 Conference Champs!
-The shadow hanging over this weekend is the season finale, “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Good money is on this weekend helping set up that event. But hey, sometimes the setup is better than the finish. Here goes!

vlcsnap-2014-12-04-17h24m40s85The Flood (Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Jakob Hammermeier & Nøkken) & Oliver Grimsly) (w/ Slaash & Milo Schnitzler) defeated 3.Cheeri0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews & Jervis Cottonbelly) via Pinfall
Milo Schnitzler handled the introductions and earned Jakob’s disdain by mispronouncing his name. Milo was also sporting hair and a goatee, sort of killing off the “Make You Think About Nazis without Saying Nazi” vibe the BDK had going for it. That’s probably a good thing, by the way. 3.0 came out with old-timey mustaches, which Matthews was not feeling.

Oliver Grimsly was alone representing the Odditorium tonight. Given that they are still on the schneid, it’s possible that Deucalion killed Sinn Bodhi and Qefka in between shows. Grimsly can go, though, so I’m glad he’s here. Jervis got worked over by the rudos as soon as the shenanigans ended.

3.0 got the hot tag and things picked up a couple of notches. Some nice fast pace action ended with Jervis on the receiving end of Jakob’s Knockout Punch. It was a fun little match to kick things off. Everything clicked in the ring and the BDK picked up another strong win, adding to their development as a feature player in the overall feud.

Also, Oliver Grimsly won! Maybe Sinn Bodhi was the problem… After the match, Milo’s showboating got him in trouble with the rest of the BDK. Come on, Milo. There’s no “I” in “Bruderschaft des Kreuzes.” Or “me,” now that I think about it.

vlcsnap-2014-12-04-17h27m15s100Missile Assault Ant defeated Princess KimberLee via Pinfall
Princess KimberLee is back after blowing the roof off of “King of Trios Night 1.” This was mostly an extended squash for Missile Assault Ant, but I really enjoyed it. Chikara usually does intergender matches well, but sometimes there’s this formula for the rudo not taking the woman seriously and she has to “earn” the rudo’s respect throughout the match. Missile Assault Ant was terrifically overconfident throughout the match, but it felt like it was because of his strength advantage rather than his opponent’s gender.

More importantly, Continue reading

Chikara “Moonraker” Review

urlPre-Show Notes
-Richmond, Virginia. Greater Richmond Convention Center. October 26, 2014.
-Jimmy Jacobs challenges Icarus for the Chikara Grand Championship!
-Tonight’s Bond movie was of a Roger Moore persuasion. Apparently Moonraker was really average, but made boatloads of cash. It’s the one in SPACE! I seem to remember playing Nightfire, which shared some settings and character types. It might have been my favorite non-Goldeneye Bond game.
-Real talk: If Jacobs doesn’t win, how or why is the Flood even a thing. Is that too extreme at this point? Doesn’t the Flood have to do something at some point other than kill of a few ancillary wrestlers? Regardless of what happens tonight, this storyline has the feeling of a multi-year arc. I get the feeling that “Tomorrow Never Dies” is going to unload something big on us.

vlcsnap-2014-11-15-10h48m58s165Shynron defeated Missile Assault Ant via Pinfall
This is a rematch from “The World is Not Enough,” where Shynron squashed Missile Assault Ant in two minutes because there is no God. Apparently Shynron lost to Missile Assault Ant in a Young Lions Cup qualifier, meaning this match is actually a rubber match. In a pre-match promo, Shynron said that Missile Assault better have a great ground to air attack because he’s the best flier. They’re called surface-to-air missiles, Shynron. Now I hate you more.

Missile Assault Ant used his strength and technical ability while Shynron used his ability to flip. Missile dominated until Shynron came back with some aerial maneuvers, finally winning with the second rope 630 Senton.

That finisher will never stop being impressive, but Shynron still has a lot of work to do. He was much better in this match than the Silver Ant match at “Thunderball,” but there were lots of times where it seemed like Shynron didn’t quite remember the sequence and left Missile Assault Ant awkwardly waiting to take a move.

vlcsnap-2014-11-15-10h49m38s44 vlcsnap-2014-11-15-10h50m05s66 vlcsnap-2014-11-15-10h50m14s159Archibald Peck, Ice Cream Jr., Mark Angelosetti & Shane Matthews vs. Ashley Remington, Dasher Hatfield, El Hijo del Ice Cream & Scott Parker
So, let’s get this straight: The four wackiest teams and friendships in Chikara are being split onto opposite teams. There is no way this isn’t the best thing ever…

Everyone began against their better half. The Throwbacks had a crazy grappling sequence, 3.0 had a stalemated lockup, Los Ice Creams had an awkwardly long hug, and Ashley Remington and Archibald Peck broke up that hug so they could have an awkwardly long hug of their own. Ashley busted out the gun fingers, accidentally shooting Peck in the stomach! Peck tried to get revenge, but Continue reading

Chikara “King of Trios, Night 1” Review

Chikara-TriosPre-Show Notes
-Palmer Center. Easton, Pennsylvania. September 19, 2014.
-King of Trios, ladies and gents, the greatest weekend in professional wrestling. Three years of tremendous wrestling, great comedy, and fantastic storytelling.
-Last year, The Spectral Envoy defeated Team Ring of Honor in the Finals to secure the Trios Medals for Chikara, and finally giving fan favorite UltraMantis Black some tangible recognition in Chikara. It was also, in my opinion, the best King of Trios in the history of King of Trios.
-King of Trios is actually what brought me to Chikara in the first place. Between the praise given to the tournament by Brandon Stroud and noticing that the 2009 Tournament featured Bryan Danielson AND Claudio Castagnoli in a trios called Team Uppercut, I knew I had to check it out.
-Tonight, it’s all first round action! Eight trios matches.
-No Bond references this week.
-One day, I am going to go to King of Trios. It probably won’t be for a couple more years, though. Maybe that should be my gift to myself for finishing graduate degree number two?

vlcsnap-2014-10-21-15h26m30s120Team UK (Damian Dunne, Mark Andrews & Pete Dunne) defeated The Bloc Party (Mr. Azerbaijan, Prakash Sabar & The Proletariat Boar of Moldova) via Pinfall
Sean Waltman, occasional Trios participant, was weirdly on commentary for a few matches. He made the requisite jokes about Prakash Sabar, whose gimmick is Arabic X-Pac, and kept apologizing for being speechless. Waltman was a member of Team WWF in 2012 and was defeated by El Generico in the 2011 Rey de Voladores Finals.

Bloc Party controlled most of the match, which included a pretty awesome pump-handle into an Implant DDT. Team UK showed a lot of heart, persevering through a pair of Gores to get the win with a Shooting Start Press. Nothing terribly special, but a nice match to kick things off.

vlcsnap-2014-10-21-15h27m55s222GEKIDO (17 & The Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard)) defeated Knight Eye For The Pirate Guy (Jolly Roger & Lance Steel & Princess Kimberlee) via Submission
Great choice for a first round match-up here, especially for those who have followed their rivalry at Wrestling Is Fun! In a pre-show promo, Shard said he has a lot to prove. Jigsaw told him to stay focused. 17 insisted he’s calling the shots for his team, which will certainly not play a role in their defeat.

Interestingly, Jigsaw was in a similar position as he was in 2012 when he was in the tournament with a distracted, vengeful Mike Quackenbush. Also of note, Jigsaw and Jolly Roger are real life brothers. As it turns out, that mattered. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Chikara “You Only Live Twice” Review

livetwiceIntroduction
-May 25, 2014. Palmer Center. Easton, Pennsylvania.
This is why I love professional wrestling. You should probably read this so you understand my wrestling values, if you will.
This is why I love Chikara.
-I didn’t plan on reviewing Chikara’s 2014 shows. However, it’s been a week and Googling “Chikara Diamonds Are Forever Review” returns zero reviews. I like doing things that no one else seems to be.
-You’re not going to get star ratings or hold by hold replays here. I’m going to focus on match quality and how it works with the characters and the stories Chikara is trying to tell. If it sounds good, buy it and watch it! You can find pretty much everything Chikara has ever done on Smartmark Video. They are good people.

ashes-of-chikara-movieThe Ashes of Chikara
The Ashes of Chikara is a feature-length film that tries to bridge the gap between “Aniversario: Never Compromise,” where Chikara was “shut down” by evil Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur, and National Pro Wrestling Day, when Chikara was reborn, repelling The Flood, a group of rudos bent on destroying the last remnants of Chikara.

It’s incredibly ambitious and had the potential to be great. After all, the story of a bunch of evildoers slowly destroying the things we love seems like a great blueprint for drama. Unfortunately, it suffered from horrific execution. Continue reading

I AM CHIKARA

You love movies.

Now imagine that every movie is a Michael Bay movie. They’re big. They’re dumb. They’re entertaining to the right audience, but they aren’t exactly what one would call art. A hundred movies are released every year and all of them have Shia LaBoof and robot nutz.

Except you’ve stumbled upon some indie films by some guy named Paul Thomas Anderson. Could you convince anyone that film can be an art form? That it can tell a meaningful story? That it can reveal something about the human condition? That it can make you feel something?

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

I love professional wrestling. And in several days, I’m taking what amounts to a pro wrestling pilgrimage. I’m going to my first CHIKARA show.

If I needed to prove that professional wrestling can be art, about 85% of my evidence would come from CHIKARA or from WWE guys like Cesaro, Sami Zayn, or Luke Harper who once wrestled in CHIKARA.

Just one year ago, it seemed that CHIKARA had died. Continue reading