1. Challenge of the Immortals – Fire Ant, Worker Ant & Amasis vs Juan Francisco de Coranado, Mr. Azerbaijan & Prakash Sabar
The CHIKARA portion of the show kicked off with a match from the season-long Challenge of the Immortals trios tag series, as Battle Hive of Fire Ant, Worker Ant & Amasis took on The United Nations of Juan Francisco de Coranado, Mr. Azerbaijan & Prakash Sabar. ‘The Funky Pharaoh’ Amasis quickly called for a dance off and we were treated to the dancing skills of Mr. Azerbaijan, before Prakash attacked Amasis and the match got underway. Lots of fast paced action in this one, with a bit of comedy mixed in and everyone getting their time to shine. Fire Ant showed off some of his lucha skills, while I was also impressed with the strength of Worker Ant. The tide turned ultimately in Battle Hive’s favour, Worker Ant & Amasis setting up Fire Ant for the Ant Hill on Prakash Sabar for the win and all-important points in the Challenge of the Immortals series.
Before the show continued, the ‘Director of Fun’ Mike Quackenbush made his way to the ring. Quack thanked the fans in an attendance and gave a typically impassioned speech about his love of professional wrestling, also taking the time to introduce British wrestling legend Johnny Kidd to the crowd. Quack teased the posibility of a future return to the UK, which got a big cheer, before taking his leave.
2. UltraMantis Black vs Blind Rage
Big ovation for UltraMantis Black, leader of the now-depleted Spectral Envoy (after Delirious used the repaired Eye of Tyr to turn Hallowicked & Frightmare against UltraMantis). This wasn’t much of a match, unfortunately. UltraMantis set to brawling with the physically imposing Blind Rage early on and the fight eventually spilled to the outside. After teasing a double count-out, the match looked set to continue, but as UltraMantis was getting back in the ring Frightmare appeared to distract him and Blind Rage rolled UltraMantis up for the three count out of nowhere. An underwhelming finish to a match that never really got started.
3. Dasher Hatfield, Hype Rockwell & Kodama vs Mr. Touchdown, Race Jaxon & Obariyon
An odd trios tag match here that pitted team mate against team mate, as members of The Throwbacks, NRG & The Batiri faced off in what was dubbed a ‘Magic Move match’. A tombola was brought out and the Director of Fun Mike Quackenbush selected a magic move that, if successfully used in the match would ensure everyone in attendance got a free prize! The move turned out to be the Running Powerslam, as popularised by the British Bulldog, and the crowd got a big kick out the move being teased throughout the match. This one was a lot of fun. I’m a big fan of The Batiri and would have liked to see them in a more traditional tag match, but they both performed well, as did NRG & The Throwbacks. Mr. Touchdown in particular put a good shift in, but it was his team that would come out on the losing side of things, after Dasher, Hype & Kodama hit triple running powerslams on their opponents (much to the crowd’s delight) and Jaxon was left isolated. After some big offence, culminating in a splash off the top from Kodama, he was left unable to answer the three-count.
4. Silver Ant vs Oleg the Usurper
Silver Ant, replacing former Grand Champion Eddie Kingston on the tour, had a big task ahead of him here in the form of ‘The Modern Day Barbarian’ Oleg the Usurper and, although he has experience taking down large opponents (namely, the giant Tursas), Oleg proved too much for him here. This one started out with a great back-and-forth exchange, Silver Ant throwing some devastating knife-edge chops, but the power and ferocity of Oleg put pay to his momentum. Oleg was left slightly bemused as the crowd chanted his name to the tune of Olé, which gave Silver Ant an opening and he almost made it count with a suicide dive, but Oleg cut him off with a forearm between the ropes. The fierce barbarian demanded the crowd resume their Oleg chant before continuing to pummel on his opponent and, after almost falling prey to a swift cradle from Silver Ant, picked up the victory with Off With His Head, a big clubbing inside forearm smash to the side of the face. This was a really enjoyable match, Silver Ant’s a well polished wrestler and Oleg plays his role to a tee.
5. Challenge of the Immortals – Blaster McMassive, Max Smashmaster & Jaka vs Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak & Swamp Monster
The second Challenge of the Immortals match of the afternoon saw The Wrecking Crew of Jaka & The Devastation Corporation (sadly, without Mr. Sidney Bakabella accompanying them to ringside) take on The Gentleman’s Club of Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak & The Swamp Monster, with Orange Cassidy in tow. Great to see Chucky T in the UK and a great reception for The Gentleman’s Club. This one was another enjoyable trios tag, Swamp Monster was super over with the crowd and got a good reaction for impersonating Ric Flair. The Gentleman’s Club looked to have victory secured when Orange Cassidy spat orange juice in the face of Jaka, but he barely managed to kick out before the three count before making the tag to the humongous Blaster McMassive. The Wrecking Crew isolated Swamp Monster and it wasn’t long before the finish came, as Blaster hoisted Swampy into the air before Max Smashmaster leapt off the top-rope and drove him to the mat with a top-rope elbow drop.
6. CHIKARA Grand Championship – Icarus (c) vs Hallowicked
Big main event feel for this one, although the crowd were flagging just a bit after a long event in a notoriously hot venue. Icarus was working at quite the pace, determined to put Hallowicked away early on and he brought out a lot of the big guns to do so, hitting the Blu Ray minutes into the match, only for Hallowicked to kick out at two. The match spilled to the outside and Icarus scored with a big tope con hilo that wiped out Hallowicked and the first couple of rows. Icarus tried to follow up with a flipping senton off of the raised stage, but Hallowicked side stepped it and Icarus went crashing to the floor! Hallowicked rolled Icarus in the ring, but could only get a two and when he tried to follow up, the ref took a bump and Icarus countered into the CHIKARA Special! However, with Bryce out of commission, Icarus had to relinquish the hold. Hallowicked turned things back in his favour and hit the Go 2 Sleepy Hollow, but this time it was Icarus’ turn to kick out at the last second. Icarus caught Hallowicked and went for the Blu Ray again, but Hallowicked dropped down and wrapped Icarus up in the CHIKARA Special! A groggy Bryce Remsberg went to check on Icarus and, just like that, the match was stopped as Icarus passed out in the hold and Hallowicked became the NEW Grand Champion of CHIKARA!
This was a really enjoyable event, overall. Everyone always says CHIKARA is a lot of fun to experience live and they weren’t lying! I had kind of drifted away from CHIKARA after the self-imposed shut down, but even without knowing all the current goings on in CHIKARA I thoroughly enjoyed myself, with the UltraMantis Black/Blind Rage match being the only real downer of an otherwise awesome afternoon of wrestling action. The CHIKARA crew are very professional and passionate about what they do and it was that which I came away the most impressed with, as the CHIKARA technicos lined-up outside the venue to shake hands, give out playing cards (our free prizes from the Magic Move match!) and thank everyone for coming out and allowing them to do what they love. Should CHIKARA come back to these shores, I’ll definitely be there and, if you’re looking for a great time with some fun and crazy wrestling, you’ll be there as well.