After nearly two months of silence post-Aniversario, hints of something new from CHIKARA arose with the premiere of “Ashes – Prelude” on the Wrestling Is channel on YouTube. The video features Mike Quackenbush in what appears to be a recounting of events involving the origins of CHIKARA; asked by a local city worker about the space being leased, Mike talks about his plans to start a wrestling school called “the Wrestle Factory.” Shortly thereafter, a website called theashesof.com was discovered with a link to teaser shorts on Vine and the date of the next video, “Man Down.”
The next month saw the release of “Man Down,” featuring Green Ant and Fire Ant on a search for their missing comrade Soldier Ant. They arrive at the home of former CHIKARA regular Worker Ant, looking for some answers. While the retired Worker couldn’t help them out, he does give Green Ant a gift: a box with his old wrestling gear, and a suggestion that Green Ant “is a worker now”. Their story would continue with an encounter with Ultramantis Black at the Fujiwara Arm Bar, who confronts them about their lack of trust for former Swarm member AssailANT (1).
The next video in the series, “Garbage,” begins the story of Icarus rallying the wrestlers of CHIKARA together after the events of “Aniversario: Never Compromise.” Taking place around the time of a Dragon Gate USA show with a CHIKARA showcase match, this video shows us Icarus’ attempt to get the support of former F.I.S.T. ally Chuck Taylor. Refusing to help, Chuck suggests Icarus move on and “look for some bookings.” This rejection would be repeated by Tim Donst (2), Ultramantis Black (3), and Eddie Kingston (4) in later videos.
Icarus wouldn’t be the only one looking for answers after Aniversario, however. Following the shutdown of Wrestling Is Awesome, the team of 3.0 (Shane Matthews and Scott Parker) would begin their search for Archibald Peck in the video named “Ashes – Thwarted” before confronting Peck’s lawyer, RD Evans (5). Their search would take them to a shed in Parts Unknown where Archie, and some major clues and developments, would be waiting (6).
AssailANT, who felt he had just begun to earn the trust of the CHIKARA fans after joining The Colony due to Wink Vavasseur’s CHIKARAbermetrics, found himself in a heated confrontation with DeviANT and the Colony Xtreme Force in the videos “Ashes – Fuel” and “Ashes – Flood.” His loyalty was questioned and put to the test; after everything that happened, would he stand with CHIKARA, or side with the “flood” that was looking to wipe out all traces of the promotion?
Meanwhile, Icarus’ search for allies brought him to the Wrestle Factory (7) and the home of Mike Quackenbush, where his mentor admitted he was finished with trying to save the promotion after all the injuries sustained in saving CHIKARA in the past (8). Just when he thought all hope was lost, the unlikeliest of allies came in the form of former rivals The Colony, who agreed to help not for Icarus “but for CHIKARA” (9).
The “Ashes” series comes to a conclusion around the time of National Pro Wrestling Day (10), with the sense that something big was going to happen (it did, but we’ll get to that in a future article). The finale, taking place after NPWD, shows The Colony meeting up with AssailANT at the Fujiwara Arm Bar. After much discussion–including AssailANT’s revelation that he chose to stand with CHIKARA not merely for himself, but for his family–Green Ant presents the Worker Ant gear to AssailANT, echoing Worker’s message to him: “You’re a worker now.” The video ends with AssailANT seemingly accepting this charge (11).
The return of CHIKARA on May 25 wasn’t the only big news coming out of NPWD. Later that week, it was revealed that “The Ashes of CHIKARA” will be released as a feature-length movie. The film will cover the events of the “Ashes” series, as well as various teasers shown on Vine and YouTube; some of these teasers were sent to various members of the 101 fan forums via Dropbox as a part of the big alternate reality game played throughout Season 13. The film will premiere in Collegeville, PA on May 5, and will be released worldwide on May 9. Preordering the film at shop.wrestlingis.com will grant you early access to download the HD mp4. The film has a soundtrack available on iTunes and Amazon, featuring some great music from the film and YouTube series.
I’ll be covering the live events that took place during that season, along with the uber-Rudos known as The Flood, in the next article. So, stay tuned for the next edition of The Fall and Rise of CHIKARA…same CHIKARA time, same CHIKARA channel!
1. Ashes – Where Everybody Knows Your Name
2. Ashes – Fickle
3. Ashes – History
4. Ashes – Dead Horse
5. Ashes – Deja Vu
6. Ashes – Solitude; Ashes – When?
7. Ashes – The Letter; Ashes – Sweat Shop
8. Ashes – Ideas
9. Ashes – Believe
10. Ashes – Torch (more of a teaser of what was to come at NPWD); Ashes – Rise
11. Ashes – Workin’