It’s that time of the year. Thankfully Chikara have managed to come back for a second trip and I’ve been lucky again to attend the Chikara’s UK Tour. Taking place over two weekends in 7 different cities (Newport, Wolverhampton and London before heading to Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and then Glasgow) it once again brings the fun of Chikara to the UK shores with the help of their local pals Fight Club: Pro.
Tonight was the first night of the tour as it kicked off in Newport, Wales. It partnered with Dragon Pro Wrestling as the host promotion as Chikara, Attack! and Fight Club talent all met under one roof. We saw tag matches, four ways, a hard knocking battle and a championship match to finish the night.
To kick us off Trent Seven of Moustache Mountain is on the mic, working at a host of sort, welcoming everyone and introducing them to what was ahead. He gets the chance to riff a little, almost like a little stand up segment, where he brings laugh after laugh, including a moment where he gets a father in the crowd to ‘throw’ his infant (Baby Owen Hart) up in the air.
Four Way Match for the Dragon Pro Wrestling All Wales Championship: Big Grizzly (C) vs Danny Jones vs Matthew Horgan vs Panda Club
A showcase match for the local promotion providing the venue tonight, Dragon Pro Wrestling, for their All Wales Championship.
A fun opener match here, even if Grizzly did managed to break his belt when trying to throw it down in his corner. Big Grizzly tried to use his weight advantage here, whilst all of the men and panda battled it out. Panda in particular was able to get pretty stiff with the bigger Grizzly, but all of them were able to give a strong showing.
Big Grizzly wins to retain the Dragon Pro All Wales Championship.
Four Way Match: Officer Warren Barksdale vs Travis Banks vs Frightmare vs Chris Brookes
The first mix of Chikara and homegrown talent in a match.
Officer Warren Barksdale is making use of the little known Georgia – Newport partnership here and is here to enforce the law, which is especially needed tonight with Brookes in the ring. Travis Banks and Chris are having a lot of back and forth and well Frightmare is here to bring glory to Nazmaldun. The Chikara style and Fight Club’s hard hitting British Strong Style just mesh so lovely and this match is a shining example. We get comedy, hard hitting strikes and even harder hitting moves. Banks and Brookes keep going at it during the match, including a moment at the beginning where the two share the ring and we get a contest of chops. Brookes just can’t hurt Banks, who keeps asking for more, until he distracts the referee and goes low! The ref didn’t see it… but the second in command Officer Warren Barksdale did! Brookes in trouble now, he’s getting a fine! Well until Barksdale makes the biggest possible mistake and turns his back on the founder of the CCK, letting Brookes nail him between the legs with a punt. If that didn’t highlight the vileness and pure evil of Chris, he would show it later by drinking from a water bottle and spitting over the downed Barksdale. We had some dives to the outside, and with me in the first row splash zone I did end up with Banks on my lap. (which meant another awkward backrub!). We had a tower of doom, which Officer Barksdale, now a falsetto thanks to the earlier punt, manages to freeze as his gloves come off! Frightmare brought his usual devastating moves to this one, including Kneecalepsy and Instant death. But Brookes manages to steal the win in this one.
Again, even with four members in the match it didn’t feel crowded, everyone had enough to get their moves in.
The Batiri (Kodama & Obariyon) vs The Facesmashers (Dan Moloney & Wild Boar)
A hard hitting tag battle.
This one held no punches. Batiri and Facesmashers really went for it in this one, with Facesmashers taking the early advantage with a blind sight. And they work Obariyon over for a lot of this one, putting the boots to him as Moloney and Boar keep him grounded and use every trick to keep him from tagging. Using ref distractions to double team as they keep him down. He does eventually get the tag, Kodama getting in to wreck havoc. It proves to be the table turning move they needed, Batiri getting a real foothold in this one now. Including a few Skull Bronzing strikes.
Batiri win, leaving the Facesmashers on the mat after this battle. They leave but change their minds, taking Dan Moloney off backstage for who knows what.
Pete Dunne vs Eddie Kingston
A match-up of brawlers.
The Mad King of Chikara is up against the Bruiserweight in this battle. And a battle it was! It was always going to be a stiff battle of attrition, but it was Dunne who struck first. Staggering Eddie with a vicious strike to the side of his head. It really seemed to rattle him too, with Eddie struggling to shake it off during the match. Dunne took complete advantage of it, prodding the wounded Kingston with slaps and his mocking. Despite feeling the after effects Eddie did fight back. Fighting from the floor with strikes of his own. He gave back what he get as they fought all around the ring and the outside.
Dunne won through in the end, Eddie fighting valiantly but eventually succumbing. The strike having left him dizzy and a little weak on his feet.
Four Way Match: Ophidian vs Heidi Lovelace vs Mike Bird vs ‘Bareback’ Benny Figg
So it turns out Chuck Taylor Scoot Tatum Rick Beanbag Bugg Nevans Touch Phillips Stewie Scrivens has a new name… ‘Bareback’ Benny Figg, which earns a Let’s Go Bareback chant. Between Ophidian’s hissing, the antics of Benny Figg and hometown hero Mike Bird’s lack of understanding of Snake this match was full of comedy. Benny Figg proving to be a gentleman when tagging or his refusal to fight Heidi. She does push him a little too far though and he doesn’t hold back for much longer, hoisting up his tights (and then immediately hoisting them back down when it cuts a little much.) Ophidian brought some Snake Style to the fight with his quick strikes and flexibility, including his driving knee strikes and his dizzying corner headstands. Bird, the hometown hero and head trainer of Dragon Pro was his usual self, putting on a strong showing before his home crowd.
This was worked more akin to a revolving tag match, unlike the earlier four way matches. But again everyone got more than enough time to shine. It came down to Ophidian and Heidi in the end, with the veteran serpant locking Heidi in a bridging pin to take the win.
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant)
A matchup of Chikara and Fight Club’s finest.
Moustache Mountain who seemed to have slimmed down this past year from Super Hench to just Hench go up against the recently reunited pairing of Fire and Soldier Ant. As expected lots of antics here, from Trent’s coaching, to Moustache Mountain wanting in on each others scoop slams, to the salute shenanigans…. I lost count in the end. It did involve Tyler being put in the most brutal forced salute I’ve ever seen. The Colony brought the acrobatic quick paced action we know them for, We even nearly had a Chokeslam Mountain (Tyler chokeslam from atop Trent knelt on all fours) but Soldier Ant saved Fire by lifting him on his shoulders for the world’s most giantist chokeslam. During the match we had highlights of why Tyler Bate is destined for huge things, he has that Cesaro strength and he puts this to use to block a double suplex and reverse it as well as his gigantic swings. In which he has another person on his shoulders.
Moustache Mountain take it in the end with their brutal piledriver brainbuster sequence, with Trent rolling with Soldier Ant to prevent the pin break. We get a lot of rolling as it ends up a rolling ball of Ants and facial hair. But they break clean and we get salutes and handshakes before the Colony literally roll to the back.
Main Event for the Chikara Grand Championship: Princess Kimberlee (C) vs Nixon Newell
Our main event of the evening with the Welsh Wonder Nixon Newell taking on the reigning champ Kimberlee.
The crowd was behind Nixon here, and she came out quickly. Handshakes and curtseys barely out of the way before she tries a quick roll up on the Princess. The two traded blows throught the match in a respectful but hard hitting affair. Nixon tried all she could to put the Princess away through the match but there is a reason she’s still the Grand Champion, her spirit and fight is second to none.
In the end it ends as the old saying says ‘nobody escapes the Alligator Clutch’. Nixon faught her heart out but it was just not enough on this night.
So that wrapped up night one, Night two takes place tonight in Wolverhampton at the new home of Fight Club: Pro