The last time I went to a Chikara show, I was invited to go by one Pulse Glazer nearly two years ago to the 2008 King of Trios tournament. I had an amazing time then and last night’s Easton, PA show only went to reiterate what I betting on.
Chikara is awesome.
I think I spent more time enjoying myself last night than I did at all the 2009 Ring of Honor shows I’ve been to combined. And really I think its a shame that Chikara doesn’t run shows in New York City as my friends and I would be hitting up every single one. Honestly I think the company should make the effort to expand closer to the city because if there’s any place that the company really needs to get over in, it’s New York, not Philly. New York is the place that legitimizes you. Besides Philly is just way too oversaturated right now. Chikara, Ring of Honor, and Dragon Gate USA all fight for the limited dollars of the IWC wrestling fans and I don’t think the city has the market to sustain three promotions. Time will tell but with Philly getting FIVE shows in a span of the next month. (Two Chikara, Two Ring of Honor, and One Dragon Gate USA), I think the city will be getting burned out on independent wrestling very soon.
As it was, I didn’t get to the show until a little after bell time due to getting a little lost on the way to the venue. The venue was surprisingly well packed (and here I was expecting a ghost town – damn was I glad to be wrong) and some pretty entertaining chants. The opening contest was already under way with Lince Dorado going up against Vin Gerard. However keep in mind that the match was only about 5:57 minutes in length so we couldn’t have missed much. The finish came as we warned Lince Dorado not to go for a Shooting Star Press. He went for it anyway and missed, only to be struck down by a 2K1 bomb. Overall it wasn’t much, but it was a nice way to warm the crowd up.
Next up was Claudio Castagnoli vs. Player Uno. This match was pretty entertaining and had the awesome no-hands spinning torture rack that people were talking about in New York from the final Danielson/McGuinness Ring of Honor show. However my favorite spot of the night was nothing more than a European uppercut in the corner preceded by a “Tiger Uppercut!” by Claudio. I literally jumped out my seat marking out when Claudio pulled that off. Fun times. Fun times. Anyway Claudio picked up the victory in a pretty fun match-up with the aforementioned no-hands spinning torture rack after the referee was knocked away by accident and missed a roll-up by Dos.
Following this match was a four tag-team elimination contest featuring The Young Bucks vs. The Osirian Portal vs. The Throwbacks vs. F.I.S.T.
This was probably the best match of the night, with the crowd semi-turning on The Young Bucks towards the end of the match. Hilarious opening where Icarus and Dunkerton had a tip-off for a basketball. Icarus is a heat machine and really reminds me of Jimmy Rave in the kind of way that I’m sure you understand. The thing I like about Icarus for all the shit he gets is that for the most part, it’s genuine heat. He doesn’t really use stall tactics or anything to get the boos he does and that is impressive for the most part. That didn’t help though as F.I.S.T was the first team eliminated when Dasher Hatfield managed to roll up Icarus for the elimination.
Next eliminated were The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & Sugar Dunkerton) when Sugar was hypnotized by Amasis and just wasn’t able to recover. Hatfield tried to snap him out of it but was thrown out of the ring and the dazed Dunkerton was finally pinned and eliminated. Finally it came to the Portal and Bucks. These guys had quite an awesome back and forth exchange and the victory came for the Portal when they managed to hit a splash/legdrop combo from the corners.
Next up was the weakest match of the night between Helios and Hallowicked. After the awesomeness of the tag match prior, the crowd was burned out. Some cool spots but nothing extremely memorable other than the 630 splash Helios managed to pick the victory up with.
Jigsaw vs. STIGMA was next. This was particularly memorable for me since I got Stigma to laugh at me for asking for a high five. Later as Jigsaw and Stigma were brawling outside, I asked Jigsaw to show some compassion on STIGMA, only for ‘Saw to explain in the middle of punching STIGMA in the head that he really didn’t like “this guy”. It’s little touches like these that make Chikara so very enjoyable.
Anyway there were some awesome spots on the outside before the match moved into the ring. A lot of back and forth, yay and boo, action between the two wrestlers when Jigsaw landed a Sunset Bomb for the victory. However as he was having his hand raised in victory he was attacked from behind by a hooded assailant. This turned out to be Gran Akuma, who Jigsaw has been feuding with in Dragon Gate USA. Nice touch on continuity.
That said – this match had probably the worst referee I’ve ever seen. Barber was his name I think. The guy looked like Screech. He did quick five counts on the ropes only to reach four and to just stop without seeing the hold broken. “1-2-3-4…… hey I said to break the hold….” And his pinfall counts looked like the prissiest taps against the mat that I’ve ever seen. It really took away from what was supposed to be a grudge match.
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champioship match between Mike Quackenbush (c) and Sal Rinauro was next.
This wasn’t much of a technical classic as much as it was exhibition of Sal. For the most part Sal managed to get himself over as someone hilarious and entertaining without really taking much of a single bump the entire match. Realistically – Quack applied headlocks for the majority of the five minutes of the match and managed to pin Sal with a headlock takeover. However the match belonged to Sal who had us dying with laughter. From jawing with the audience only to have Quack surprise him and running into the ring post, to the simple fact that he got beaten with a headlock takeover, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Sal in Chikara.
UltraMantis Black & Crossbones went against Green Ant & Carpenter Ant next. I got distracted during the finish when VÃ¶koder grabbed Mantisâ€™ staff. As he argued with the ref, UltraMantis hit Green Ant with the staff and a crazy Praying Mantis bomb for the pin. This was also passable but held more of the audience’s attention than the Helios/Hallowicked match.
In a match for the CHIKARA Young Lions Cup Player Dos (c) went up against Frightmare. A portion of my section was for Frightmare but Dos picked up the wins with the B13 (super snapmare driver) from the top rope. Dos did a lot of talking to the audience and Frightmare and it kept us in the match, although it felt like they were holding back a bit too much.
In a 2 out of 3 falls match for the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas, it was Fire Ant & Soldier Ant (The Colony) (c) vs. Brodie Lee & Grizzly Redwood (The Roughnecks). Watching Grizzly act like the little heel who could is hilarious but kind of sad. Referee Bryce Remsberg (the best referee on the indy circuit) was taller than him.
Anyway this a pretty entertaining match with Grizzly thinking he could hang with the Ants and Brodie Lee facepalming. The match then went into high gear when the Ants hit the Spiked Beach Break on Grizzly getting the first win. Brodie then came in and absolutely savaged the Ants, including almost paralyzing one by dropping him on his neck. There was also an insane suicide dive by Brodie Lee into the crowd that has to be seen to be believed. However Brodie couldn’t carry the team as the Ants separated Grizzly from Brodie and hit the Spiked Beach Break on Grizzly again for two wins in a row.