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 “Tomorrow Never Dies” Review

TND_340Pre-Show Notes
-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…

2Heidi 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.

3Ashley 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, 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 “Thunderball” Review

0578356001414325080_filepickerPre-Show Notes
-Gibsonville, North Carolina. The New Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium. October 25, 2014.
-I went to North Carolina for the first time two summers ago. Great place, good people.
-You’re welcome.
-It’s the first show after King of Trios 2014! Notable happenings included:
1) The reformation of the BDK under Jakob Hammermeier.
2) Jigsaw departing Gekido and the Flood.
3) The unmasking of Deucalion, revealing a scary killer with no irises.
4) A Devastation Corporation victory, allowing the Flood to leverage that into THINGS!
5) Eddie Kingston paragon interrupted Jimmy Jacobs, quitting the Flood, which he had joined only a month before.
-On an unrelated note, I love Mass Effect.
-Tonight’s Bond movie is a Sean Connery selection. Anything I know about it comes from a Mad Magazine parody entitled “Thunderblah.” I found my dad’s old collection in the attic as a young man.
-Solid crowd tonight. Decent venue too, other than the Confederate flag inlaid on some other flag across the hard camera.
-King of Trios fallout time!

vlcsnap-2014-11-15-10h38m15s111The Spectral Envoy (Frightmare, Hallowicked & UltraMantis Black) defeated the Bloc Party (Mr. Azerbaijan, Prakash Sabar & the Proletariat Boar of Moldova) via Pinfall
Both of these teams are looking for redemption tonight after being eliminated in the first round of King of Trios; Bloc Party by Team UK and the Spectral Envoy by the Flood.

Also, OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS! MR. AZERBAIJAN IS CHUCK TAYLOR! No wonder he won all those Azerbaijan Sexiest Man Contests… Seriously, what a credit to Chucky T that he is able to wrestle in such a completely different style that I never noticed before tonight.

Frightmare was picked on and isolated early, as is his custom. He finally reached his partners, only for both of them to eat Gores from the Proletariat Boar. UltraMantis got beat up until Frightmare toped everyone and sent Mr. Azerbaijan into a Rydeen Bomb for the win.

Solid match. There was little doubt as to the winners, but it was worth the ride.

vlcsnap-2014-11-15-10h39m48s13.0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews) defeated the Aftermath (Chet Sterling & Trevor Lee) via Submission
The Aftermath are a couple of local guys. I can assure you that Trevor Lee will not be local for long. He is ripping it up in PWG right now. 3.0 sits at two points and will earn a title shot with a victory tonight.

The Aftermath attacked 3.0 to start things off. Continue reading

Chikara “King of Trios, Night 3” Review

Chikara-TriosPre-Show
-Palmer Center. Easton, Pennsylvania. September 21, 2014.
-I’m calling my shot! The Flood vs. The Golden Trio in the Finals. The Flood prevails.
-Also, can we get something with AR Fox and Rich Swann tonight? No? Awwww…
-The Throwbacks seem to be calling their 3D “Prime Time” now instead of that assisted Lightning Spiral. Or maybe Leonard Chikarason is just confused. In any case, I’m sticking with the old Prime Time and calling their 3D the “3D.” Makes sense, I hope.

vlcsnap-2014-10-21-16h12m22s10Icarus & The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & Mark Angelosetti) defeated The Flood (Eddie Kingston, Jimmy Jacobs & Volgar) (w/ The Lithuanian Snow Troll) via Submission
Already? Welp, my prediction lasted all of ten seconds. Still, I like the decision. More importantly, what POW is left for Deucalion to use as a distraction?

The Flood came out to the loudest sustained boos I have ever heard in Chikara. It’s a circular testament to both how good Chikara’s storytelling has been this weekend and how much better an engaged crowd can make a promotion’s storytelling.

Icarus, finding the anger and rage he lacked when two of his students were murdered last night, attacked Jimmy Jacobs in the corner, setting off one of the hottest brawls I’ve ever seen. The Flood took control and started working over Dasher, who eventually made the hot tag. Icarus and Eddie Kingston faced off during a great moment interrupted by Spears to both men.

Icarus, as usual, can’t handle a Blue-Ray on Kingston, but hit it with Dasher’s help. 3D! Volgar breaks up the Chikara Special only to fall prey to a 3D and Chikara Special himself. Volgar taps!

vlcsnap-2014-10-21-16h12m59s139After the match, Icarus freed Lithuanian Snow Troll, who celebrated his freedom with a low-blow on Icarus. 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 “Vivre Et Laisser Mourir” Review

urlPre-Show Notes
-Centre LGH. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. August 17, 2014.
-Icarus’ first title defense tonight. Does this make the Grand Championship a world championship? Or does it need to be defended across an ocean?
-Our title tonight is the French version of Live and Let Die.
-I’ve never seen a Roger Moore Bond movie.
-Also, Yaphet Kotto!
-The song, on the other hand, I’m all about. Wings, Guns N’ Roses, doesn’t matter. I’m in.
-Yes! A crowd worthy of Chikara tonight! Nice work, Montreal.
-Last chance for Canadian stereotype jokes!

vlcsnap-2014-09-27-11h34m46s238The Colony (Fire Ant & Worker Ant) defeated Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr.), the McGoths (Bloodlust McGoth & Spooky McGoth), & The Osirian Portal (Amasis & Ophidian) via Pinfall
Chikara has not let up on their fun 4-way openers. The matches are plenty good, and this one was no exception. I’d just like them to have some substance or consequence beyond the scramble for Campeonatos de Parejas points. Osirian Portal had two points and would earn a title shot with a win.

Sadly, Los Ice Creams weren’t at “Quantum of Solace.” One day, I will do Los Ice Creams’ weird arm waving thing. It also seems like the audio and video are out of sync on my Smartmark MP4. If this is their fault, it’d be the first time.

Los Ice Creams and the McGoths were featured heavily in the match. The Colony never even saw the ring for 11 minutes. Their first appearance was part of an awkward sequence where everyone crushed Los Ice Creams the corner. The Colony is the most consistently exciting team in Chikara. How have they bungled them so badly this weekend?

Finally, Los Ice Creams took out the McGoths with a flying butt bump. The Topes win a game! The Topes win a game! As they celebrated, Fire Ant connected with a crossbody, eliminating them. Los Ice Creams are the most consistently entertaining team in Chikara.

Down to the Osirian Portal and the Colony, the finish was hella exciting. Continue reading