“Funny doesn’t equal money” – Jim Cornette
I’ve always agreed with that. I’ve never liked comedy in wrestling. An occasional wise crack, or joke, is fine. Being sarcastic in promos or making fun of an opponent is acceptable. But, being a silly, over the top, goofy, “character” is stupid. It’s not only stupid, it demeans a sport that is already laughed at by so many. Santino and his cobra, Eric Young in his underwear, and “mentally handicapped Eugene, and others like them, make wrestling fans look pathetic. I absolutely hate those things, and anything like them. This is why I’ve avoided CHIKARA. From the little I had seen, it seemed way to over the top in the silliness realm for me. When one guy has a waist lock on his opponent, then his partner comes in and waist locks him, then the other guys partner follow, etc. etc. I just want to scream. Looking at six wrestlers, each holding a waist lock on the other, in some human centipede line, is just…DUMB. If wrestling had more of that, I’d no longer be a wrestling fan.
That said, as a wrestling journalist, I felt I needed to give CHIKARA chance, by watching an entire card. I thought “You only live twice” their most recent iPPV, after being gone nearly a year, would be a good place to start. I began by looking up their wrestlers, and reading about them. I knew all about Jigsaw. I love him in DGUSA and Evolve, and really think they should be using him at the top of the card. I knew all about Eddie Kingston from ROH, and AAW. I also began enjoying The Batari on AIW shows. Mr. Touchdown has been on a few Evolve shows as well, and while I didn’t love the gimmick, I realized he had real talent. So I wasn’t unfamiliar with a lot of CHIKARA’S wrestlers.
So I tuned on on iPPV on Saturday, May 24th to watch the strongly hyped ‘You only live twice.’ The first thing I noticed was the large crowd. While I was impressed by that, my two local indy companies draw 1000 fans plus all the time. I’ve never understood how CHIKARA gets all the hype they do. Not because they aren’t good, I just don’t see how they are so much better than others that draw well. That’s part of the reason I was watching on this day. What is so “special” about this company?
The ring announcer is different looking than any ring announcer I’ve ever seen. He’s dressed casually, has long hair, and the crowd interacts with the pre match announcements (chanting “ONE FALL” when he announces this match is scheduled for). I found it odd, but acceptable. The crowd seemed to be having fun, which is good. The first match was BDK (Tursas, Ares, & Nokken) vs. The Spectral Envoy (UMB, Hallowicked, & Frightmare). I don’t review matches, as most of my readers know. It was a decent match, but it seemed to me that The Special Envoy outclasses BDK by quite a bit, but BDK won the match. BDK was sort of slow, and pondering, the opposite of most of CHIKARA’S roster. It didn’t feel to me like the right team won, but I’m new to this CHIKARA thing, so I let it go.
The second match was Chuck Taylor vs. “Smooth Sailing” Ashley Remington. I am completely unfamiliar with Remington. He comes out in a sailor’s hat, looking like a rich, spoiled, prep school punk. I thought Chuck Taylor would have his way with him easily, but that isn’t what happened. The crowd seemed to love Remington, and he actually defeated Taylor. While Remington was decent in the ring, I don’t get why the crowd loved him so much. Taylor was great to put him over, but now we had two matches that made no sense to me at all. Neither were bad matches, but both seemed off to me, especially the endings.
The new owner of CHIKARA gives a speech, and introduces Mike Quackenbush as the new ‘Director of fun.’ I’m guessing that’s a GM role in CHIKARA. I find that kind of silly, but nothing I can’t get past. Crowd loved it, so whatever. However; my bet is this crowd loves anything CHIKARA does.
Next up was The Odditorium (Sinn Bodhi, Oliver Grimsley & Qefka the Quiet) vs. The Batiri (Obaryion, Kodama, & Kobald). As I said earlier, I enjoy the Batari, and they were very good here. I didn’t care for the Odditorium at all. I feel they were outclassed in this match. It ended when the Odditorium was disqualified for hitting a low blow on one of the Batari. Seemed like a strange finish to me for a big return show on iPPV. I suppose it’s to set up return matches, but I wasn’t impressed enough by this match up to care about future matches between them.
Juan Francisco de Coranado vs. Jervis Cottonbelly was next up. Juan seems like a legit good wrestler. Jervis is another masked guy, which CHIKARA is famous for. He’s also the kind of character that I think is just way too over the top. I’m not even sure what he’s supposed to be. Since I try and not be overly negative, I’ll just say that Juan won the match.
Next up was one of the best matches of the night. In a four way, tag team scramble match it was 3.0 (Scott “Jagged” Parker & Shane Matthews) vs. 17 & DeviANT vs. The Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard) vs. The Throwbacks (Mr. Touchdown & Dasher Hatfield). I really, really, enjoyed this match. Everyone in it performed way above par and made me care about the results. The Throwbacks are an excellent team that won it in the end, and made me care about them as a tag team. Great stuff here.
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Archibald Peck was another good match. I am however, not a fan of Peck’s gimmick. A band member, with big hat and crazy looking band uniform is just silly in my opinion. CHIKARA fans seem to love him, but don’t ask me why. Jacobs is a great talent, and the goons that escorted him to the ring, in their weird masks, were pretty cool too. While I enjoyed most of this match, at one point, Peck gave Jacobs 10 straight DDT’s, of which Jacobs kicked out! That’s where this match lost me. I hate stupid stuff like that. No one should kick out after 10 consecutive DDT’s. Jacobs won the match.
Another great match followed that saw The Colony: Xtreme Force (Arctic Rescue Ant, Missle Assault Ant, & Obrit Adventure Ant) vs. The Colony (Fire Ant, Green Ant, & Worker Ant/AssailANT). I quickly was made to understand that the Xtreme Force was a blatant rip-off of the Ant’s gimmick, and that the Ants hate them, and are out to eliminate them from wrestling. While there were far too many “Ants” in the ring for this match up, it was excellent. I’m a big fan of the Colony and it was nice to see them get the win here in a very good match.
The highly anticipated main event was next, as the only Champion CHIKARA has known, since their inception, Eddie Kingston, would defend against the man that campaigned hard to get CHIKARA back, Icarus. I love Kingston as CHIKARA’S ‘Grand Champion’ because he just isn’t like anyone in CHIKARA. I knew Icarus was winning though, because this has been hyped as much as Daniel Bryan was for Wrestlemania. After a good match, that saw Icarus struggle quite a bit, he overcame the odds, and the CHIKARA locker room surrounded the ring (this was kind of cool) and got Kingston to submit to the “CHIKARA special.”
So, what is so special about CHIKARA? I still don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed enough of this card to say it is good wrestling. It’s apparent that having a zany gimmick increases your odds of appearing on a CHIKARA show. Other than Kingston, I am hard pressed to think of any regular for CHIKARA having a simple “I’m a wrestler” gimmick. Everyone seems to play a pretty heavy character. I understand CHIKARA is based off comic book ideas and premises, but even as a major comic book fan, I’m not sure I need that in wrestling. The few scenes I saw from the CHIKARA movie “Ashes of CHIKARA” looked horrible. Thing of WWE’s “The Hurricane” in the worst skit you can remember him in, and that is what the movie looks like to me.
So overall, it was a “good” wrestling show. I liked several matches, and didn’t like several of them. I enjoyed several of the gimmicks/characters, and hated others. I respect that they drew nearly 1,500 fans on a Saturday afternoon, but my two local indy companies have done close to that as well. Will I watch another CHIKARA show? Very possibly. Will I watch them all? No, I won’t. Do I think you’re foolish for being a huge, diehard fan of CHIKARA (if you are) no I don’t. Would I place CHIKARA on my must see list of indy companies? I would not. Would I say CHIKARA needs to be avoided? No, I wouldn’t say that either.
CHIKARA is good, it definitely fills a niche. If you love Lucha Libre, silly characters, masked wrestlers, and six man tag matches, then CHIKARA may be a dream come true. If you like gritty, realistic, old territory style wrestling, then CHIKARA isn’t for you. If, like me, you appreciate good, solid, wrestlers, then check out the ones I’ve praised in this article, and anytime you see them advertised, if you can spare the cash, check them out, at CHIKARA, or anywhere they will be appearing. I didn’t see any six man waist locks. I didn’t see any real crazy, stupid humor, and I did see some solid matt wrestling on “You only live twice.” So maybe CHIKARA isn’t as silly as I feared. I suspect though, that if I watch regularly, the silliness I hate so much would be more prevalent than I prefer. As such, I’m no CHIKARA hater, but I do not buy into the hype. CHIKARA is another good indy company, nothing more, nothing less. I will gladly listen to anyone that agrees, disagrees, or wants to comment in any way. One thing is for certain, no one can I say I’ve never given it a chance.