I’ve been slow on doing my last FAVORITE OF 2013 list because it involves wrestling. For some reason it’s been harder to sit down and get to it. I still have a couple AAW shows to check out, a few Wrestling Is, and so much out there I’ve missed. One of the reasons the list has been coming out slow is that I’ve been missing Chikara Pro. There is a couple other feds that are close to being top to bottom entertaining (PWG mainly. CZW is close. I’m sure if I could watch more Puroresu I’d name NJPW) but Chikara has one edge to them-the company’s commitment to storytelling and narrative in the world of pro-wrestling may be unparalleled. You see, Chikara closed its doors in June of 2013.
Leading up to the closing a couple of Podcasts over at Mandible Claw that went into the years worth of storylines that surrounded the wrestling company. In short talking about the constant slate of invaders to the company, the questions surrounding the owners of the company, alliances, shifts in attitudes, magical items and time travel. You read those last two right. The Eye of Tyr, a mystical item at the center of several battles. The time travel tied to Archibald Peck who, in his first Chikara match, was hit with the Back Fist to the Future by Eddie Kingston. For years in the storylines developed and merged and it was not until the podcasts I started taking a look for myself. Checking up on half a dozen websites tied into it all. So leading to the June show of Never Compromise much was coming to a head.
Chikara’s premiere groups were ripped apart. People quitting because of issues. The patriarch of the company fired. Archibald Peck meeting Kingston again and being Back Fisted to a loser leaves town match the previous year and thus out of the company. So came the iPPV which I missed and had to read the results of. My enthusiasm was drained suddenly.
Chikara is done? NO!
After a little while I got it together to watch the iPPV Aniversario: Never Compromise. The pre-show with Mr. Touchdown successfully defending his YLC cup against Saturyne in a strong match. The 2012 King of Trios Spectral Envoy taking on the retroactively crowned KOT 2011 champs Colony: Xtreme Force. The bastardization of the Colony with its “90s cool” lost to the Envoy. Delirious got his win back on Dasher Hatfield. The real Colony, along with newest member and former enemy assailANT took on the Devastation Corp. in an insane 6 man and won. Amasis defeated his former partner in a great sarcophagus match. Announcer and play by play man Gavin Loudspeaker upset Tim Donst. The Pieces of Hate won the tag titles from 3.0. In the finale, main event, the first and only Grand Champ Eddie Kingston defended on the one time most hated man in Chikara-Icarus. Icarus, after years of being “WORST IN THE WORLD” because the new face of the company and almost had the title until Condor Security, stooges for Titor Conglomerate who owned Chikara ended the match and tore down the venue. Kicking everyone out.
Real ending to an indy company with over a decade under their belt? The dirt sheets and rumors hit. Some claiming the real company owner had serious issues to force him to close. Some said it was just not making the money despite the strong crowds and DVD/stream sales. Real or fake Chikara was dead. Now the various Wrestling Is promotions existed for the Chikara fix and some of its roster. First Fun! and later Respect, Art, Heart, Cool, Intense and Awesome plus Kaiju Big Battle. Small companies with varying level of success. But what about Chikara? Take the first letter from most the adjectives, the ‘!’ from Fun! and K from Kaiju you can get CHIKARA! Neat? All this and Titor was seeking to sell of Chikara’s assets and dismantle everything about the company.
Then things started to happen. WrestlingIs youtube started a series called Ashes. Slowly but then weekly vignettes catching up on Chikara wrestlers. Mostly focused on Icarus as he was seeking out allies to bring the company back. As this played out Chikara’s enemies came out to strike. First Wrestling Is Intense on their third show was closed by the remnants of the GEKIDO. Dr. Cube and his men from Kaiju bankrupted Awesome. This lead to 3.0 out to search for Archibald Peck in a series of Ashes vids. Sin Bohdi (briefly Kizarny in WWE) bought and closed Art. Cool was targeted and finished by the BDK (a group that once contained WWE’s Antonio Cesaro). Fun! was spared but the next night a wrestling stable known as the Wrecking Crew were paid off to destroy Respect. Around this, before Respect and Cool closed, a few interactive things happened. A three on three wrestling match thrown by Icarus and others for fans only for enemies to come out and abduct a fan. That lead to a scavenger hunt to get him back. In the midst, under everyone’s noses, Chikara as an entity was sold to an auction house. A real auction house. One co-owned by 70 year old pro wrestler Robbie Ellis.
Since the start of January National Pro Wrestling Day started announcing participants for their show. A lot of wrestlers who worked Chikara or Wrestling Is. Over the last couple weeks the Ashes videos moved forward greatly with 3.0 finding Peck, Icarus aligning with Colony, and even the villains making it known they were all aligned. All roads lead to #NPWD.
So NPWD came. Starting with Two out of Three falls between CZW champion Drew Gulak and podcast sensation and ambassador of indy wrestling Colt Cabana. The two wrestled to a draw for the last match at Wrestling Is Art before Sinn ‘Kizarny’ Bohdi closed it. A shorter than expected match but a good opener which showed of the technical chops of both men. Cabana took the victory. Second up, representing Wrestling Is Fun! featuring the fan favorites of the Baltic Siege (Estonian Thunder Frog, Latvian Proud Oak and Lithuanian Snow Troll) against the Polar Barons Bloc Party (Proletariat Boar of Moldova, Brown Morning of Belarus and Mr. Azerbaijin). A crazy fun 6 man tag with the baltic Siege winning. Some stream problems effected the match between Hallowicked and Mike Bennett of Ring of Honor. A throwback to finals of King of Trios 2012. What I saw was nice but the lag cut the ending-Wicked won. The first and last Grand Champ Kingston took on a replacement opponent in Chikara/Fun! star Dasher Hatfield. Great interaction with the kids by Kingston. His reaction to the fans “YOU ARE CHIKARA” chants were gold and the ending was an upset with Dasher pulling the win. Eric Corvis, mostly known outside Chikara-verse took on and defeated former TNA star Sonjay Dutt in probably the best match of the night. At least based on the stream. Some more stream issues cut part of Shynron vs. Juan Francisco Coronado. However it was the opening and the second half of the match was very strong. I imagine live this was the best of show. Then representing Wrestling Is Heart Joe Pittman put his cup on the line against Heidi Lovelace. A strong match until…
Gekido, BDK, the Wrecking Crew, Kizarny and his minions, Dr. Cube and his minions, as well as ROH mainstay Jimmy Jacobs hit. Planning to crush one of the last Wrestling Is promotions they took out the two quick. The wrestling group Submission Squad showed up to try and help but were pushed back. Icarus, the Colony and allies came out but were outnumbered. Not really. as many Chikara wrestlers (and a few Wrestling Is) were disguised as minions and an all out good vs. evil riot broke out to the chants of Chikara. Just in time, riding in from Parts Unknown were 3.0 and Archibald Peck. The good guys won this day and the fans were crazy live and online. Chikara was back. Those who stood behind Chikara regardless of past allegiances stood united. Watching Mr. Touchdown and Archibald Peck embrace was a sign of this. These two feuded in 2012-2013 and here they were shoulder to shoulder against a common enemy.
The show ended with a bonus match. A real Chikara showcase as Fire Ant and Green Ant of the Colony teamed with Amasis and Ophidian (The Osirian Portal) and the savior of Chikara Icarus to take on the team of Los Ice Cream (Ice Cream Jr. and El Hijo de Ice Cream) and the Batiri (Kobald, Obariyan and Kodama). Just a fun match playing up the Chikara style of wrestling, sending the fans home with much anticipation of Chikara’s return in May.
Still, there are questions. Why didn’t Eddie Kingston come out to help? Where was the company patriarch Mike Quackenbush? Where was Jigsaw while his tag partner, the Shard, returned to the Gekido? How long has Jimmy Jacobs been involved? Soldier Ant is still missing, so what about him? What about the company ownership? So much still unanswered but those answers will be coming in May.
I’m marking out hard. I need King of Trios tag tournament back. I need the Cibernetico event return. Two of my all time favorite wrestling events. Yes! Chikara is back! I am hyped.