Hello folks, how have you been? It’s been a while. I am making a return to The Indy Corner to preview one of my favourite events on the wrestling calendar. You can keep your G1’s, 16 Carats and BOLA’s – King of Trios is where it’s at for me. Chikara’s annual trios tournament has brought in a cavalcade of wrestlers from around the world in past years. Past tournaments have had teams representing various companies: Ring of Honor, PWG, TNA, Dragon Gate, Michinoku Pro, even IPW:UK! It has also brought in wrestlers from days gone by: Demolition, Haku, The Powers of Pain, The One Man Gang, Glacier, The 1-2-3 Kid, Aldo Montoya, Tatanka, even Johnny Saint! While the wrestling style of Chikara predominantly lies in a hybrid of Lucha Libre and World of Sport, the tournament gives an unparalleled level of variety other companies generally can’t compete with.
Last year’s tournament came under some fire from critics and fans alike. Tickets went on sale before any wrestler or team was announced for the show and when they were, there was a great deal of disappointment. Instead of these big and obscure names from the past and international talents, it was mainly random teams drawn from the main storyline of Chikara vs The Flood. The only international talent was Mandrews and the Dunnes for Team UK and the names from the past were LAX and the Spirit Squad. Not bad talent at all, but not the extraordinary surprise that Chikara fans were used to from their favourite company. This year, Chikara clearly learned their lesson. It was as far back as May that they announced the first trio for the shows – the Bullet Club tandem of Styles and The Bucks. The hottest independent talents in the world, arguably. The next five or six trios announced were either international talent or obscure past stars. The rest of the teams are taken from the company’s Challenge of the Immortals series. Tickets went on sale after the first three or four trios were named, which was received with much better feedback than 2014.
So with that, here are the teams for the tournament in bracket order and how I feel each tandem will do.
Team 1 – United Nations: Juan Francisco de Coronado, Mr. Azerbaijan and The Proletariat Boar of Moldova vs Team 2 – Team Attack!: Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne and Flash Morgan Webster
The United Nations are Chikara regulars, a heady mix of foreign comic foil, a rough man-beast and the pinnacle of Ecuadorian class. They also shouldn’t last very long in this tournament. Team Attack! are representing arguably the Chikara of Wales and the company that hosted and provided a preshow during Chikara’s UK tour. Andrews is getting well known in the States now, Dunne was impressive in last year’s tournament and Webster will be looking to impress in his US debut. In what is essentially a rematch from last year’s opener between The Bloc Party and Team UK (with one partner change in each team), I see the result being the same with Team Attack advancing. As far as the rest pf the weekend, I can’t see them going much further than the quarter finals and it will be interesting to see what matches they end up in on Night 3. Andrews currently has 2 points towards title contention. Could he make it to 3 before the weekend is up so he can return to challenge Hallowicked?
Team 3 – Bruderschaft des Kreuzes: Jakob Hammermeier, Nøkken and Soldier Ant vs Team 4 – Fight Club: PRO – Dan Moloney, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven
The other UK representative are from the West Midlands top promotion, who provided hosting duties and preshows for the English leg of Chikara’s UK tour. Nice of Chikara to return the favour with inclusion in the tournament, eh? Moloney is a late replacement for MK McKinnan and is the only member of the team I am unfamiliar with. Bate and Trent comprise Moustache Mountain and are a very impressive team. Moloney and Bate also team regularly, so teamwork between the three shouldn’t be much of a problem. Due to the bracket, a meeting between the two UK teams would be very nice to see. If only it wasn’t for their opponents. The BDK have been a Chikara mainstay for several years, though this is the first time they have been comprised with this particular trio. The leader, Jakob Hammermeier, took control of the group at last year’s event and has seen much success due to the recruitment of Soldier Ant, whose return after several years away saw him come back meaner and tougher than ever before. There is still no explanation as to what happened to him or why he acts like he does, but several encounters with his former stablemates in the Colony have seen him weaken at the sight of them performing his trademark salute. Looking down the brackets, there can be no Colony interaction in the tournament until the finals, so that storyline will probably be put to the side for the moment. This match is actually a toss-up and, even though the BDK were one of my favourites to win the whole thing, the idea of having two UK teams facing off might be too enticing for Chikara not to book.
Team 5 – Crown and Court: Princess Kimberlee and Los Ice Creams vs Team 6 – The Arcane Horde: Oleg the Usurper and The Batiri
Two teams not doing so well in the Challenge of the Immortals series are very much in a must win situation. With the Arcane Horde losing their captain Ultramantis Black to injury, the rest of the team must gel well to overcome the odds. Shouldn’t be too difficult for a man the size of Oleg and a team as skilled as The Batiri. On paper, this first round match shouldn’t be a tricky one to call. Crown and Court are a very popular team, with Los Ice Creams getting great crowds reactions to their comedy and blatant cheating, but their win-loss record is not favourable. Kimberlee has put on some great performances lately and deserves to do well. Factor in that Oleg is becoming very popular himself, despite the protests of his manager Sidney Bakabella, who may play a role of how well Oleg does in the tournament, and we be in line for an upset here. However neither team has a chance of winning the whole thing.
Team 7 – The Devastation Corporation: Max Smashmaster, Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch vs Team 8 – The bWo: Big Stevie Cool, Hollywood Nova and Da Blue Guy
Now here’s where things get very interesting. The tradition of a blast from the past continues as we get to see the original members of the bWo in action. They are likely to get a huge reaction and this will be a fun match against the defending King of Trios. The Devastation Corporation have become an impressive tandem (with Smashmaster and McMassive holding the Campeones de Parejas since the last season finale). Past King of Trios tournaments have not been favourable to the defending champions, however, as both The Colony and The Spectral Envoy were eliminated in the first round of the year after they won. I do not expect that to happen to the Corporation though. A fun as this match will be, I expect someone on the bWo side to receive the Death Blow. The Corporation could go on to face Oleg and his partners should my idea of an upset not occur, which may cause a headache for Bakabella as his Wrecking Crew seemingly explodes.
Team 9 – Battleborn: Kevin Condron, Lucas Calhoun and Missile Assault Man vs Team 10 – Dasher’s Dugout: Dasher Hatfield, Mr Touchdown and Icarus
This is probably the most personal of all the first round matches. Kevin Condron has made it clear that he despises the “old guard” of Chikara and in particular Dasher and Icarus. The man who voluntarily unmasked at the season finale has made it a mission to find young guys on the roster and made them be themselves, instead of being encased in their mask. From the Flood member Volgar came Lucas Calhoun, the first to take Condron’s words seriously and be himself, with Missile Assault Man (formerly Ant) being next, though yet to unmask. Dasher’s team made it to the finals of last year’s tournament, but I have a feeling Condron will find a way of sneaking through to the next round. Condron’ team is the only one with current Chikara roster members on it that is not involved in Challenge of the Immortals. That fact coupled with the storyline of Condron wanting some sort of power and standing in Chikara leads me to believe they must be major favourites to win the whole thing. Whatever happens, this will be a great match from a story perspective.
Team 11 – Battle Hive: Amasis, Fire Ant and Worker Ant vs Team 12 – The Bullet Club: AJ Styles & The Young Bucks
Well here is the show stealer folks. Battle Hive are comprised of one half of the Osirian Portal and two thirds of The Colony and have done well in the Challenge of the Immortals so far. The aerial abilities of Amasis and Fire Ant are near unparalleled and Worker Ant is a good powerhouse who is improving every time he wrestles. To say this may be their biggest test to date is understatement. The Bucks are familiar with Chikara, being former Campeones de Parejas. Styles makes his Chikara debut. What can you say about this tandem that hasn’t been said already? Although the Bullet Club in full effect probably isn’t very family friendly (something Chikara is very high on), the style they bring suits this tournament perfectly. This will be an amazing match and it’s a shame that only one of these teams will advance. I imagine that Bullet Club will go through here, at least to the semi-finals which I will discuss in a little while.
Team 13 – The Nightmare Warriors: Hallowicked, Frightmare and Silver Ant vs Team 14 – The Snake Pit: Ophidian, Shynron and Eddie Kingston
When Challenge of the Immortals was drafted, it led to some very unusual teams being formed. These are two of them. Although Grand Champion Hallowicked chose his regular partner Frightmare and the “forgotten monster” Blind Rage, he also chose to break up the Colony by stealing Silver Ant. Rage is absent for this tournament, so the rest of the group make up this trio. The series has had its emphasis on competition, something Silver Ant made very clear early on, that he is not a part of Hallowicked’s army. The Snake Pit trio are seemingly the most random of all the trios. All the three have differing styles, with Ophidian being a technician and a high flyer, Shynron being the best high flyer in wrestling today (a strong statement, but one I believe) and Kingston is a pure brawler. This varied range of attacks from one team makes for a difficult one to prepare for. This is another potential show stealer, with perhaps the Warriors moving forward simply due to the Grand Champion being on the team. Plus it would be interesting to see what happens between Chikara’s darkest stable and New Japan’s darkest stable in the Bullet Club should they advance.
Team 15 – The Gentlemen’s Club: Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak and Swamp Monster vs Team 16 – Team AAA (Drago, Aero Star and Fenix)
And the hits just keep on coming! Chuckie T’s club makes it’s first foray into the King of Trios tournament (and sadly, it may be it’s last). They made a surprise appearance at last year’s show in an insane 8 man tag and have been a hit in the Challenge of the Immortals series. Swamp Monster in particular has been hilarious in everything he’s done. How Drew Gulak is able to bring his more serious demeanour to this group and make it work is masterful. On the other side of the ring though is arguably the biggest international team to enter King of Trios in some time. They may be dubbed as Team AAA, but to me and many others they are Team Lucha Underground. The huge hit show has been a breath of fresh air to wrestling television and even though these aren’t the biggest names on that show, they make up a core of luchadores that are guaranteed to give you a match worth watching .In Drago, I may have found my all-time favourite luchador. The mask is incredible and how the hell he does what he does with that tongue is anyone’s guess. I have a good feeling that the Lucha team will advance and go quite far. I can’t be the only that’s really hoping we get the AAA stars against Bullet Club, can I? Whatever happens, this match will too be insane and I can imagine how Swamp Monster will interact with them, especially Drago.
So, some very interesting combinations of trios in the brackets there. A lot of possibilities have entered my mind as to what could happen. I really would love to see Bullet Club vs AAA, but for that to happen, then Battleborn would have to be eliminated. From the layout, it seems the top half of the group is fodder for the Devastation Corporation to bore it’s way to the finals again, with the second half housing some tremendous matches resulting in some teams I don’t want gone so early having no choice but to be eliminated. The UK teams have competition in their opening round matches that are beatable, so the idea of a UK team getting to the semi-finals is not out of the realms of possibility. However I can’t see the BDK being eliminated early either. AAAAAAHHHHHH there’s many possibilities!!!! Right, I am thinking from a story point of view that Kevin Condron’s team of Battleborn are favourites due to the fact they have nothing else to go for. They’re not in COTI, so this is the platform that Condron is craving. But they would have to go through some very big talent to get to the finals. However, a Chikara regular team is usually the one to get the nod, so I will go with Battleborn to win King of Trios, with a backup prediction of the BDK.
With King of Trios being a three day event, there are other matches and events that take place. Night 2 will see the always welcome sight of Smooth Sailin’ Ashley Remington taking on Jaka. Also Nights 2 and 3 will see the annual Rey de Voladores tournament. Two 4-man elimination matches on Night 2, with the winners meeting on Night 3 to crown this year’s King of the Flippy Little Boys (copyright Chuck Taylor). Only four names confirmed at the time of writing: Matt Cross, Mascara Purpura, Pinkie Sanchez and Too Cold Scorpio. Night 3 will also see Heidi Lovelace defending the Young Lion’s Cup (a title nowhere near as important as it used to be) as well as the annual Tag Team Gauntlet match. Usually comprising of ten teams (though it has reached 16 in the past), only two teams are confirmed, with the rest no doubt taken from eliminated trios as the weekend goes on (though there may be a surprise or two!). One confirmed team is NRG, comprising of Race Jackson and Hype Rockwell. Although they’re better than they were when they debuted a year ago, I find these guys to be very sloppy and they don’t get me very invested in their matches. The other confirmed team is none other 3.0 (booyah!). Now this I think will be very interesting. The last time Shane Matthews and Scott Parker were in a Chikara ring, they lost a Campeones challenge in two straight falls to the Throwbacks. They were upset at the result of the match and haven’t been seen since. Will we see a new attitude or will it be the same as always? We will find out very soon.
Chiara themselves tell me they’re looking to put King of Trios on their Chikaratopia site as soon as possible. In previous years, Smart Mark Video put out the shows the day after they took place. However Chikara now do everything in house, including post production and recorded commentary. I hope they avoid this for the moment, as the live commentary is always something I have preferred from Chikara just because everyone that did it was so good at it. Since they changed to post production commentary, it lacks the energy that the live atmosphere brought to the shows. Either way, I shall be attempting to avoid results as much as possible and watch these shows with great anticipation. I hope this preview makes you as excited for the shows as I am. Just give King of Trios a try – you may never regret it!
There is a poll over on this very site and you can vote who YOU think will win this years tournament, direct link – HERE