Young Lions Cup V: Night One – Reading, PA

One of the most unique independent wrestling companies out there today is certainly the Pennsylvania based Chikara. They put an emphasis on a progressive style of wrestling heavily influenced by the world of Lucha Libre. For more information you can check out Chikarapro.com. In each of the past five years they have presented a tournament featuring the best young wrestlers from around the country called the Young Lion’s cup. This year the tournament takes place over three days and features 24 of the top young talent both in Chikara and elsewhere vying for the title of Young Lions Cup Champion.

Night One – Reading, PA

The first installment of the tournament began with an introduction of the 12 competitors vying for the first spot in the finals to be held on Sunday in Hellertown, PA. Hereafter we will refer to this as the Reading bracket. The format for both brackets is similar to Ring of Honor’s “Survival of the Fittest” or Maryland Championship Wrestling’s “Shane Shamrock Cup.” There are six singles matches and six man elimination semi-final to determine the Reading bracket winner. The wrestlers were:

El Hijo del Ice Cream: He is one half of Los Ice Creams a rudo luchador tag team that terrorizes their opponents with chilling offense. Hijo’s primary finish is the “Cold Stone Stunner.”

Ice Cream Jr.: Junior is the other half of Los Ice Creams and equally as cold hearted and funny as his Los Ice Creams compatriot.

Lince Dorado: The Golden Lynx is a luchador coming to the Chikara Wrestlefactory to learn a more American style of wrestling and broaden his horizons. He has a habit of nuzzling up against is opponents to get inside their head and hissing at them when angry, just like a cat.

Hydra: A character like Hydra is what truly makes Chikara unique. While he is small in stature he truly believes that he is a gigantic sea monster and wrestlers accordingly.

Niles Young: Young is a wrestler who has seen some fame and success in CZW. He is accompanied to the ring by Noel who is an excellent valet and truly adds to his matches.

Cabana Man Dan: The Cabana Man comes from the Philippines and is a an accomplished grappler in his own right. It is, however, his “Flip Flop Chop” that is his most dangerous weapon.

Rex Sterling: Mr. Sterling comes from North Carolina and is an excellent wrestler. He has gotten some Do or Die shots in Ring of Honor and it is not inconceivable that he will one day join that roster.

Hex Gage: Hex is a solid wrestler with some spectacular high flying moves and decent charisma. He knows how to work a crowd and has a future in wrestling once he gets some polish and experience.

Player Uno: The 8 bit Luchador is a product of the Chikara Wrestle Factory. He uses inspiration from the best video games as his offense including the Goomba Stomp, Frogger Splash, Shoryuken, and Hadoken.

Amigo Suzuki: This Michinoku Pro star frequents Chikara and brings with him the best of puroresu with a Mexican flair. One could argue that he is the most accomplished grappler in this half of the bracket.

Chuck Taylor: Taylor has a bright future in wrestling. He is already the IWA: Mid South champion and a member of Chikara’s Rudo stable extraordinaire the Kings of Wrestling, both with good reason. He is charismatic and a skilled grappler using taunts and jeers not unlike Spider-man to get into the heads of his opponents in albeit a cockier and more malicious manner.

MosCOW, the Communist Bovine: If Hydra represented the lighthearted spirited heart of Chikara, the MosCOW embodies it. The bovine battler is a product of the Create-a-Wrestler contest and I could not be happier with the outcome. He is a wrestling cow in a red singlet bearing the hammer and sickle.

Now onto the Show!

Young Lions Cup Opening Round Match
El Hijo del Ice Cream vs. Lince Dorado

This match was Lucha Libre at its finest. The action was fast paced and both men were flawless in their execution of a variety of arm drags, ranas, mares and other staples of lucha offense. Lince ended up scoring the victory after wrestling from behind most of the match. He trapped Hijo in an entanglement submission for the victory.
Winner: Lince Dorado

Young Lions Cup Opening Round Match
Hydra vs. MosCOW, the Communist Bovine
Not surprisingly this match was comedy wrestling at its most hilarious. MosCOW used both cow based and Russian based offense. The match began with Hydra trying several times to knock over the Cow from the communist block. He succeeded in tipping the cow and even tied him in the ropes and tried to eat him with a plastic fork. Still it was not enough as a side Russian leg sweep from MosCOW was enough for the three.
Winner:MosCow, the Communist Bovine

Young Lions Cup Opening Round Match
Niles Young w/Noel vs. Player Uno
These two had a tough act to follow but succeeded in putting on a solid match. Apparently, Uno’s weak point is his head as Niles Young’s headbutts were by far the most successful of Niles’ offensive attack. Young had clearly done his homework though as he used the lovely Noel to distract the 8 bit Luchador before she told him that his princess was in another castle. Despite the best efforts of Young a quick rollup was enough to get the three for Player Uno.
Winner: Player Uno

Young Lions Cup Opening Round Match
Chuck Taylor vs. Cabana Man Dan
Chuck Taylor is all sorts of awesome. In my opinion he was outclassing the Cabana Man with his taunts and wrestling. He did show extreme fear of the flip flops, and rightfully so. Much to the delight of the Reading fans the Cabana Man was able to use the flip flops and lambaste poor Chuck. While this should have been a disqualification no one seemed to mind. Chuck was able to get the win with his Omega Driver and advance to the finals.
Winner: Chuck Taylor

Young Lions Cup Opening Round Match
Hex Gage vs. Ice Cream Jr.
Gage, as I mentioned, is a skilled high flyer and a sound grappler. The low ceiling at the venue proved to be Gage’s undoing however. He was unable to adapt to the environment and Ice Cream Jr. was able to spread the dreaded sprinkles in the ring and deliver a jackhammer onto the sprinkles for the win. Gage had to be helped to the back due to the unmitigated cruelty and violence on behalf of Ice Cream Jr.
Winner:Ice Cream Jr.

Young Lions Cup Opening Round Match
Rex Sterling vs. Amigo Suzuki
This might have been the best match of the first round. If there was a way that both men could get into the finals, they both deserved it. Alas, it was not to be and there head to be a winner. Suzuki spent most of the match mercilessly attacking the knees of Sterling. Rex did his best to fight back and many times it seemed like he would be able to score a victory. The leg attacks were too much though and after a violent high angle tiger suplex for the three count; Amigo advanced to the semi-final. After the match, Sterling received an ovation from the crowd for his valiant effort.
Winner:Amigo Suzuki

Intermission: Chikara’s dvds are available through SmartMarkVideo.com, and as a result many other Smart Mark titles are available like IWA:MS and CZW dvds. Yet another reason to attend Chikara live. Chikara’s merchandise is excellent as well.

Non-Tournament Match:
“The Sexiest Man Alive” Rhett Titus vs. Worker Ant
Titus is a product of the RoH wrestling school and can be frequently seen asking people to help tear down the ring after Ring of Honor shows. He is also a solid grappler and has developed more character than most of the other Ring of Honor students. Worker Ant represents the Colony a legion of ants that swarm the Chikara ring. The match was solid and Worker used Titus’ vanity to his advantage. The lucha offense of Worker was almost too much for Titus, but a blocked La Majistral cradle was enough to score a win for Titus.
Winner:Rhett Titus

Non-Tournament Match:
Chrisjen Hayme vs. Billy Roc
Both of these men are competitors in the YLC night 2. Hayme is the Full Throttle Wrestling champion and has a nice looking belt. Roc is a well-mannered fellow and very solid wrestler in his own right. These two were very evenly matched. Hayme was the cocky heel and Roc was the plucky babyface. Roc was full of energy and it was just too much for Hayne as he was able to score the victory via an Asai DDT ala Ultimo Dragon. Both of these men made me excited to see what they could do in the tournament tomorrow as they could easily be finalists.
Winner: Billy Roc

Non Tournament Re-match:
Mitch Ryder vs. Shane Storm
Ryder is a member of the Kings of Wrestling and an old school heel in the style of the greats from Memphis. Shane Storm is the “unionized traffic regulator.” These two had a good match up as they were probably the most experienced wrestlers on the entire card. Ryder was able to score the win via a vicious piledriver. Shane was so shaken up by the move that he needed help to the back.
Winner:”Marvelous” Mitch Ryder

Young Lions Cup Six-Way Elimination Semi-final Extravaganza :
Line Dorado vs. MosCow vs. Player Uno vs. Chuck Taylor vs. Ice Cream Jr. vs. Amigo Suzuki
This was probably the best match of the night. Chikara’s best offerings come in the form of multi-man matches. They prescribe to the philosophy that if wrestling is like a canvas, why only paint with two colors. Well there were lots of colors in this match. It started with various pairings the best of which was Chuck Taylor and MosCOW. Taylor tried to use underhanded tactics and false alliances to get ahead and it did work. MosCOW countered with chops yelling “MOOOO” afterwards in the style of “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

At one point during the match Taylor used Suzuki’s poncho to entice MosCOW like a bullfighter and was able to segue that into a rollup with the help of Ice Cream Jr. and Suzuki to send MosCOW out to pasture.

Player Uno was the next to bow out of the Young Lions Cup. He had been beaten on by nearly every competitor in the match and a tiger suplex from Amigo Suzuki was enough to put him down for the three.

Just as quickly Lince Dorado entered and delivered a hurricanrana almost landing on his own head, but it proved enough to eliminate Suzuki.

The final three were arguably the three top competitors in the Reading bracket. Taylor began laying into Dorado and eventually attacking Ice Cream Jr. saying “Amigos no mas” ending their temporary alliance. It should be noted that Taylor was using poor Spanish throughout the match to antagonize the other competitors, his comic timing is second to none. He is also a stellar heel. He faked being on the receiving end of a low blow which is an immediate DQ in Chikara. Referee Bryce Remsburg believed Chuck and disqualified Ice Cream Jr.

The final two in the match were now Lince Dorado and Chuck Taylor. This was a rematch of the “Rey de Voladores” tournament from earlier in the year. Chuck won the first round, could Lince get some revenge? It almost seemed that he would not get a chance as Taylor attempted the same skullduggery that eliminated Ice Cream Jr. Remsburg was not convinced this time, though. Despite Dorado’s best efforts Taylor was able to reverse a Rana into a sunset flip and score the win, advancing to the finals.

Winner: Chuck Taylor

The first night of the Young Lions Cup was a solid show top to bottom. Any fan of innovative wrestling would enjoy the show. Chikara is unconventional to be sure, but no less entertaining. Taylor was the star of the show without a doubt, but MosCOW may have been my favorite competitor. He played his role to perfection. Check back tomorrow for my results and thoughts on the second night of the Young Lions Cup and

I’ll see you next time

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