Chikara Season 14 Superlatives

chikara-footer-logoNow that Season 14 is in the books, it seems like a good time to look back and reflect on Chikara’s year that was. 2014 saw Chikara’s resurrection and return. That alone was a huge deal, but was it worth it? Did Chikara deliver the goods this year?

Generally, yes they did. Wait, that didn’t sound right…Generally, YES!

With a few minor exceptions, Chikara brought the heat all year. I don’t know if it was worth the absence, but I can tell you that I’m far less inclined to complain about Chikara’s “lost year” than I would have been before. The in-ring product was good to great and Chikara gave us a story I never thought professional wrestling could deliver. Fan favorites were killed and never returned. “POWs” were brought back, changed. Years of stories were paid off. I didn’t predict any of it because I couldn’t even imagine pro wrestling doing these things.

So, Season 14 delivered quality wrestling, novelty, and serialized storytelling on a scale previously reserved for HBO. It mostly worked. Everything made sense, was usually well-paced, and made an emotional impact on the viewer.

My negatives for the final season are few and far between. Plus, I’d feel stupid complaining about anything when most of my previous complaints were eventually revealed to be part of the story. The only unresolved issue was how the Flood expected to kill Chikara. How were they going to do destroy the promotion? By winning matches somehow? Claiming all the championships? Killing Chikara’s wrestlers? If the first two, how would that destroy the company? If the last one, why wrestle at all? Why not just ambush them all the time? Ultimately, I didn’t know what the Flood’s goal was and I can’t feel suspense without knowing that.

Overall, I’d give the season a solid 8/10 or something like that. I loved it and regret none of the almost immoral amount of time I spent watching it and writing about it.

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There’s a lot to be excited about in Season 15. The biggest question is Continue reading

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 2” Review

Chikara-TriosPre-Show
-Palmer Center. Easton, Pennsylvania. September 20, 2014.
-Rey de Voladores (King of Flyers) returns! The four-way between Kota Ibushi, Jigsaw, El Generico, and Malachi Jackson from 2009 is on my shortlist of the greatest matches I’ve ever seen.
-There’s not much to be said here that wasn’t said before, so let’s break down the remaining teams.
WON’T WINS:
GEKIDO: Internal dissention between Jigsaw and the others
Team UK and Spirit Squad: Do I need to explain?
The Colony: Injury to Worker Ant, already won tournament
MIGHT WINS:
3Peck0
Might win because…Happy, they all deserve it, would be victory for Chikara, sort of unpredictable
Might not because…Maybe too happy, hard to take them over the Flood team
The Flood
Might win because…Deucalion, Jacobs, and Kingston are the big bads of the Flood, lots of potential distractions, story needs the drama a major victory would bring
Might not because…Volgar wins King of Trios
Golden Trio
Might win because…They are the top three guys in Chikara
Might not because…They already have all the gold. what’s the point of more?
Devastation Corporation
Might win because…Big and scary, seem like they are going to be around a while
Might not because…Haven’t been around long enough to “deserve” it, more intriguing Flood option on the table

vlcsnap-2014-10-21-15h44m53s170Shynron defeats Chuck Taylor, Rich Swann, and Tigre Uno via Pinfall in a Rey de Voladores Four Way Elimination Match
I am so excited to see Rey de Voladores back. I’m also excited to see Rich Swann. When he was here in 2011, he was just a flippy dude. Now, he’s one of the better wrestlers in North America. It was also an inspired, if easy, decision to put Taylor and Swann together. They were stablemates in Dragon Gate USA for a while. Swann is greeted by the Chikarmy with his familiar “All night long…” chant.

Taylor cut a hilariously racist promo before the match. I can’t hate this guy. I just can’t. Tigre Uno is here from TNA. All I ask is that Shynron doesn’t win simply because he’s the Chikara guy. If you want to honor the real King of Flyers, either Swann or AR Fox is your winner.

To summarize, there were lots and lots of awesome flips and it was awesome. Taylor was knocked out first by a Swann frog splash. The crowd booed. Swann tapped to a sweet Tigre submission. The crowd booed. Shynron eliminated Tigre with second rope 630 Senton!

You know what? Screw it. Give Shynron the title as long as he uncorks something similarly crazy in the Final. His normal matches don’t always work because he’s all flips. But if you have a mini-tournament based on flippitude? Yeah, that’s his entire life’s purpose. I’m fine with it being validated.

vlcsnap-2014-10-21-15h46m42s2373Peck0 (3.0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews) & Archibald Peck) defeated GEKIDO (17 & The Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard)) via Submission
Gekido comes out and Jigsaw seemed depressed due to his brother disowning him the day before. That makes sense, right? My guess is that 17 isn’t very good at pep-talks either.

Speaking of Jigsaw, his nonverbal communication is always off the charts. He’s been one of Chikara’s best storytellers since trouble began to brew between him and Mike Quackenbush. While a mask might restrict facial expressions, they do force a wrestler to become bigger with their body language, which in turn better conveys emotion and tells a better story. Remember El Generico? Nobody better, except probably Shawn Michaels.

Jigsaw wanted to start, but 17 and Shard forced him out. Jigsaw was sad. Shenanigans to start. Even Shard busts out some humor. Both these teams are expert storytellers in their own way.

The crowd chanted at Jigsaw, who looked more and more despondent as the match went on. Even as Jigsaw landed some signature moves on 3Peck0, Continue reading

Chikara “Permis De Tuer” Review

LTKfrPre-Show Notes
-Centre Horizon. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. August 16, 2014.
-Is there a reason everyone always says both the province and the country when billing wrestlers from Canada? Or maybe the better question is why don’t we do that with our states in America?
-Quebec is actually pronounced like the “Qu” is a “K.” I learned that from a Canadian.
-Permis De Tuer is the French version of License to Kill.
License to Kill? That’s foreboding…
-Did they only sell twenty tickets to this show? The crowd isn’t even two deep around the ring!
-So, Chikara’s never coming back to Quebec… Check.
-I’m saving myself the half hour figuring out match lengths. If that’s important to you, Cagematch and the Internet Wrestling Database are the sites I used.

vlcsnap-2014-09-27-11h11m47s249The Osirian Portal (Amasis & Ophidian) defeated the Sullivan Brothers (Ivan Sullivan & Stefan Sullivan), the Flood (Jaka & Qefka the Quiet) and the Spectral Envoy (Hallowicked & UltraMantis Black) via Pinfall
The show starts with the elimination four-way that seems to be their calling card these days. Does Vegas take bets on Chikara? I don’t care what the odds are. Put your money down on the Odditorium getting knocked out first.

Stefan and Ivan rock the heck out of their overalls, flannel, and camo baseball caps. If there is such a thing as a Canadian hick, that’s what they are going for.

Pay up! Qefka the Quiet was the first eliminated after an errant Jaka headbutt and a Sullivan rollup. The hometown boys get the pin! And the crowd goes wild! Or politely claps…

The Sullivans were eliminated next by an Ophidian Meteora. These Canadian, less racist Briscoes are welcome back any time. There were a lot of redundancies in that sentence, weren’t there? Is there a Canadian version of something that’s more racist? And is anyone more racist than the Briscoes?

Business really picked up when the Osirian Portal and Spectral Envoy squared off. Continue reading

Chikara “The World Is Not Enough” Review

TWINotEnough300Pre-Show Notes
-7.20.2014. Wonderland Ballroom. Revere, Massachusetts.
-This is the second and final Chikara show of July. “The Living Daylights” was held in New York the day before.
-Title match tonight! Plus, Icarus returns to action after missing June with a concussion.
-Wow. That’s a looooooow ceiling… Good thing no one on the card likes to fly. Word is that they were moved from the actual ballroom to the bar for some reason.
-Danielle Matheson did a road diary for this show. It’s amazing and you should read it.
-Is this a bad time to mention that I liked Pierce Brosnan as James Bond? Let’s see if Christmas comes more than once for Chikara fans tonight!

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h54m51s1823.0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews) defeated the Odditorium (Oliver Grimsly & Qefka the Quiet) via Pinfall
3.0 had me in tears to start as they made fun of the low ceiling and the sound effect bell-ringing. This was a nice match to start the show, although it felt way shorter than it could or maybe should have been. 3.0 won with the Sweet Taste of Professionalism at 5:35.

The Odditorium continues to be Circus Slaters, not really a threat to anyone. But, that’s pretty obviously not their job this season. If their job is to make their opponents look good, they’ve been doing great work all year. In fact, they probably deserve a raise.

vlcsnap-2014-08-04-15h55m49s238Ashley Remington defeated Archibald Peck via Submission
Yet another thumb war segment ended up on the official MP4. I’m not sure what these are doing on the final cut, but thank goodness the two twenty-something dudes jobbed to the little kids.

Archibald Peck came out and Halperted the hard cam when the low ceiling kept him from finishing his entrance. Ashley Remington was still sailin’ smooth, although we did get to see a little anger flair up before he smoothed it over with a few deep breaths. Remington and Jervis Cottonbelly have somewhat similar shticks, but this was the first time we’ve seen either wrestle another tecnico. If you don’t love Smooth Sailin’, we can’t be friends.

Everyone loving Ashley Remington might be my favorite gag in Chikara right now. Even Bryce Remsburg and Archibald Peck were smitten with Remington, culminating in a three-way hug that included joyful jumping. This GIF, you guys. Everyone, that is, except Chuck Taylor, who Continue reading