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 round 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 Three Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Hellertown, PA
The first two nights, of course, featured the opening rounds of the tournament, Night Three was a more standard Chikara show. Like the first two nights there were ten matches. Also some of Chikara’s top stars were back, most notably Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli and “Sweet and SourÃ¢â‚¬Â Larry Sweeney. They were all in the Midwest during this weekend competing for Ring of Honor which was attended by Pulse Glazer, and you can click the link to read his write-up of the show. But this is an article about Chikara, and arguably the most entertaining show of the Young Lions Cup weekend. You can make you own decision on that by reading my reviews of Night One and Night Two at their respective links.
Now onto the show!
The show opened to the familiar tones of “We Are the ChampionsÃ¢â‚¬Â by Queen and it brought out half of the Kings of Wrestling in the form of Larry Sweeney, Mitch Ryder, Max Boyer, and Chris Hero. First Mitch put over how great all of the Kings were, and then Hero took the mic and said that tonight’s show was about one man Chuck Taylor. The Young Lions Cup finalist, and fellow King of Wrestling, made his way to the ring. It was an all around love-fest for Taylor and the Kings including a very manly group hug.
After that the show was ready to begin in earnest. The ring announcer was however interrupted by Chikara Director of Fun Leonard F. Chikarason who informed the announcer that Chikara Campeonas de Parejas Team F.I.S.T. wanted to address the crowd. Icarus and Gran Akuma issued an open challenge which was answered by Los Ice Creams
Opening Contest (Non-title)
Team F.I.S.T.-Gran Akuma and Icarus vs. Los Ice Creams Ã¢â‚¬â€œ El Hijo Del Ice Cream and Ice Cream Jr.
Los Ice Creams proved to be some of the most entertaining wrestlers of the weekend. The Campeonas de Parejas were overwhelmed by their frozen opponents. They seemed unprepared for the gelatinous assault. But Team F.I.S.T. are one of the top tag teams on the independent scene and were soon able to gain control. In a shocking upset however, Los Ice Creams were able to score the victory after a Doomsday Butt Butt into a La Majistral cradle.
Winners: Los Ice Creams
Chikara Six Man Tag Team Awesomeness
The Order of the Neo Solar Temple Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ultra Mantis Black, Hydra, and Crossbones vs. Player Uno, Super Xtremo, and MosCOW the Communist Bovine
As I have stated in the past six man tag matches are the bread and butter of Chikara. This match was all sorts of entertaining. I have written about most of the other competitors in the match in my previous show write-ups, so here is a brief word on Ultra Mantis Black and Crossbones. Mantis is the angry insect evildoer and frequent commentator on the Chikara DVDs. Mantis also has Christmas themed tattoos on either shoulder, don’t know why. Crossbones is the real life heavyweight horror and easily the largest competitor on the regular Chikara roster. His kicks are second only to perhaps Gran Akuma in violence and he is a force to be reckoned with.
The match was a mostly comedic affair. Initially Mantis refused to compete against MosCOW, and Hydra just thought that the communist bovine was delicious. Hydra also must have felt that MosCOW needed some fattening as he put some grass into the ring. And since anyone who took basic music theory knows All Cows East Grass, MosCOW dined on the grass. Hydra and Crossbones tried to tip the cow, but to no avail. MosCOW then got up and began delivering Russian Dance kicks and the Russian Sickle clothesline ala Nikita Koloff. All of this offense was not enough for the cow and his teammates as Ultra Mantis Black was able to score with the Praying Mantis Bomb on Xtremo for the victory.
Winners:The Order of the New Solar Temple
Young Lions Standout Singles Match
Amigo Suzuki vs. “Well ManneredÃ¢â‚¬Â Billy Roc
As stated this match featured two of the top wrestlers from the Young Lions cup, and this could have just as easily been the final had things played out differently. These two put on a great match and Roc was able to score the win after a frog splash.
Winner: “Well ManneredÃ¢â‚¬Â Billy Roc
Tag Team Explosion
Jimmy and Colin the Olsen Twins vs. The North Star Express: Ryan Cruz and Darin Corbin
These are two of the top under the radar tag teams on the indy scene today. The Olsens most frequently wrestle for NWA: Upstate and The North Star Express are Chikara regulars from the wilds of Minnesota. The match started fast and furious with Cruz and Colin exchanging pinning combinations at a lightning pace. This brought the Chikara crowd to their feet. Then Corbin and Jimmy were tagged in and the pace slooooooowed down. Corbin and Jimmy exchanged arm drags, forearms and other moves at an absolute snails pace. The Chikara crowd rewarded their efforts with an equally slow “This is AwesomeÃ¢â‚¬Â chant.
After the opening antics Cruz and Colin were tagged back in and rather than going for a equally fast exchange they started pulling each others hair, and had to be broken up by their respective teammates. With the comedic portion of the match over they settled into an excellent tag team contest. After some excellent exchanges Colin Olsen rolled up Ryan Cruz and grabbed the ropes for the win.
Winners:Ã¢â‚¬ÂThe Feel Good Team of the Decade (copyright “Sweet and SourÃ¢â‚¬Â Larry Sweeney) The Olsen Twins
Youth vs. Experience
Mitch Ryder vs. Lince Dorado
Ryder spent most of the match taunting the young luchador calling him Dorito and laying in the beatings. Dorado’s quickness was his only weapon against the more experienced Ryder. Ryder seemed to have the match in hand until Dorado surprised him with a crucifix for the three.
After the bell, Ryder absolutely went off on Lince Dorado and beat him inside and outside the ring. He did all but bust out the Memphis piledriver.
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.
Return from Intermission Match
“SuperstarÃ¢â‚¬Â Shayne Hawke vs. “LightningÃ¢â‚¬Â Mike Quackenbush
Many companies will put on a “throwawayÃ¢â‚¬Â match after intermission to give fans time to return to their seats. This was not the case in Chikara, however. This match featured YLC standout Shayne Hawke, and Chikara stalwart and all around great wrestler Mike Quackenbush.
Early in the match Hawke tried to take advantage of referee Sabato attempting to convince him that Quackenbush pulled his hair, poked him in the eye and slapped him. Quack responded by pulling his hair, poking him in the eye, and slapping him. The match was back and forth from there. Hawke came within a hair’s breadth of winning the match on several occasions, but after a Quackendriver 2 (crosslegged tombstone) Mike Quackenbush scored the victory.
Winner: “LightningÃ¢â‚¬Â Mike Quackenbush
Tag Team Attraction Match
BLK Out Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ruckus and Sabian vs. The Colony Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Soldier Ant and Fire Ant
Ruckus gained some notoriety in the failed Wrestling Society X experiment. Sabian is small in stature but a top notch high flyer. The Colony are wrestling ants and solid grapplers in their own right. The best efforts of the ants were not enough to score the victory. A Sabian double stomp later, and the match was in the books.
Winners: BLK Out
After the bell Soldier tried to get revenge on his fallen brethren but was tied up in knots by Ruckus and the victim of yet another double stomp. Worker Ant made his way out to try and save the rest of his Colony, but also succumbed to BLK Out.
Tag Team Insanity
The Kings of Wrestling Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli vs. Cheech and Cloudy
Cheech and Cloudy have many times come into contact with the Kings and have put forth valiant efforts, but always come up short. Hero and Claudio were certainly cocky and underestimated the young duo of Cheech and Cloudy. It seemed that Cloudy and Cheech would be able to capitalize on the cocky kings. Hero and Claudio also had their share of disagreements, but their smaller opponents were not able to capitalize there either. Claudio was able to score the win for his team with a Ricola-plex (a cross armed German suplex).
Winner: The Kings of Wrestling
Golden Dream Six Man Tag Team Match
Max Boyer, Larry Sweeney, and Arik Cannon vs. Jigsaw, Hallowicked, and Shane Storm
The last match before the finals featured the previous four Young Lions Cup champions: Max Boyer, Jigsaw, Hallowicked, and Shane Storm. Obviously, this match featured some of the top names in Chikara and they certainly delivered.
This match had one of the most entertaining finishing sequences I have seen in some time. All of the wrestlers went for their finishers. I thought the match was over when Arik Cannon hit his Spider German suplex out of the corner, and after his brainbuster. It was not to be though as Hallowicked locked him in the Chikara Special for the tap out victory.
Winners:Jigsaw, Hallowicked, and Shane Storm
Young Lions Cup Final
Reading Bracket Winner: Chuck Taylor vs. Barnesville Thunderdome Bracket Winner: Ricochet
This was the exclamation point on the whole weekend. In typical Chuck Taylor fashion he managed to taunt and bring tears to the eyes of many of the small children at ringside. It is such a jerk thing to do, but definitely brings him heat from the crowd. The match itself was top notch, and probably the best singles match of the Young Lions Cup. Ricochet used his speed to his advantage, but Taylor was able to kick out of all of Ricochet’s typical finishes. I truly thought Ricochet had the match won after his running shooting star, but then Taylor snapped. He delivered two powerbombs, then a third into the corner followed by a running Omega Driver for the victory and the title of Fifth Young Lions Cup Champion.
The Kings of Wrestling, all eight of them: Hero, Claudio, Boyer, Mitch Ryder, Larry Sweeney, Icarus, and Gran Akuma, all came and congratulated Taylor on his victory to close out the show.
This was the most entertaining show of the weekend from where I sat. The crowd was the largest and the most enthusiastic and that really added a lot to the show. Most, if not all of the Chikara top stars were present at this show. Every match was entertaining, and that is something that can be said about the entire weekend. All in All Chikara was one of the most enjoyable wrestling experiences that I have had in all of my years as a fan. Chikara is totally worth checking out if you are looking for something a little different in the wrestling market. Go to Chikarapro.com for all information on the upcoming shows. I urge everyone who read these reviews to go out and support your local indy fed and even maybe take a trip to see some others. As always I am Big Andy Mac and
I’ll see you next time