Chikara Pro: Anniversario! 5/24/2003

Written by: Arnold Furious
From 24th May 2003. Chikara was formed in 2002 by Mike Quackenbush and Tom Carter (the former Reckless Youth) two Indy standouts who couldn’t seem to catch on anywhere and get the breaks they so richly deserved. With WCW and ECW going by the wayside there was more space for Indy wrestling and a lot of companies started up in 2002. Ring of Honor and TNA included in that. Not to mention MLW, 3PW that year and PWG followed in 2003. Chikara was among the new companies that sprouted up. In order to gain an identity among the new promotions Chikara made a point of being weird and eclectic. They have influences from all over the world including the newer Japanese styles, lucha-libre and British wrestling. Chikara gradually increased it’s fanbase through word of mouth. Seeing as the word of PWG seems to have gotten out there now it’s probably time for Chikara to get some recognition. With that in mind here’s their first anniversary show.

Blind Rage v DJ Skittlez

Rage is “wrestling’s Goth Rock Monster”. He looks a bit like Jerry Only only, yanno, good at wrestling. He also doesn’t let Skittlez get through the entranceway without hitting him with a tope. The tape editing brings the awesome with popup’s with little factoids on. “Rage and Skittlez have met in 4 previous matches” reads the first one as they lock up. Skittlez takes over with chops as another popup reveals they have 2 wins each. This is already the most innovative Indy tape release I’ve ever seen and we’re only about 3 minutes in. Although there’s no commentary a popup calls the first big move of the match “hot shot”. That popup noise is going to get on my nerves after a while. Like already. I like it for little facts and even for them putting the psychology on there but calling dropkicks is just annoying. They badly need commentary for that. The part where they’re talking about the psychology of an eye rake and how it takes time for vision to clear is good stuff though. Rage steals Skittlez’ shirt and struts around wearing it. Skittlez looks exceptionally green btw. Although his nicely innovative RPM backslide gets 2. Who’d have thought you could wind up on a backslide? Rage carries the pacing of this one but still uses too many spots because both guys aren’t great at chaining or striking. Rage also does a really obvious jump into a Manhattan Drop. I guess inexperienced would sum both these guys up pretty quickly. Rage superkicks Skittlez in the neck and hooks up the STF, which is his finisher. Skittlez, the bigger man, drags himself into the ropes. Rage attempts a rana but Skittlez counters into the STF himself. OOOOHHHH! Rage also gets the ropes presumably because he knows the move so well. Skittlez goes for some big power move but Rage’s agility allows him to counter into an inverted DDT. Rage heads up for a moonsault but takes too long. Skittlez follows him up but Rage gets out into a powerbomb and hooks up the STF again in the hopes that Skittlez is too winded to get the ropes. Rage hooks the arm in as well for some great psychology but Skittlez powers out. Hmm, not sure I like that. Skittlez uses his power again to prevent himself being Irish whipped. That should happen more often. Rage finds himself stuck in the ropes and Skittlez hits the RAINBOW BOMB off the top for the pin at 9.52. **1/4. I don’t like the finish being so easy for such a hurt man but the psychology leading up to that was strong and they put together a nice little match considering their collective inexperience.

Double Jeopardy Battle Royal

Oh lord. Ok, in this are Ninja Mexicano (masked martial artist), Lester Crabtree (an old man gimmick, which totally rules. He has an old man mask with grey hair and comes out with a Zimmer), Love Bug, Brock Singleton, Dragonfly, Marshal Law, Melvin Snodgrass, Mike Kruel, Jolly Roger and Reckless Youth. Ninja Mexicano and Crabtree start out. “What am I supposed to do?” – Crabtree. The opening tie up leads to a dancing routine, which ends because Crabtree has a dodgy back. Crabtree gets whipped across the ring but can’t run so he just shuffles across the ring at the slowest imaginable pace. This could be the greatest gimmick, ever. Out comes Love Bug to join this thing and he seems totally bemused by the action. Bug throws Mexicano over at 1.38. We clip to the arrival of Brock Singleton who looks a lot like Davey Boy Smith. His first act is to throw Bug out at 1.56. Keep in mind this is clipped. Dragonfly is in next. Clipped again to Marshal Law entering. It’s a fat guy with a helmet and a cape on. Crabtree gets thrown out. BOOOO! In comes Snodgrass and he’s also an old man. “Watch yourself, they’re all jerks” – Crabtree’s sage advice to the newcomer. There’s more clipping as Kruel enters and Dragonfly is dumped. Jolly Roger enters and he has a pirate gimmick. Reckless Youth is Tom Carter, by far the most accomplished wrestler in this thing. His immediate impact is to throw everyone that’s left out leaving just him and Mike Kruel who win at 3.50 shown. Well, I can’t really rate something that was almost entirely clips but the Crabtree stuff was GOLD. Solid GOLD.

Mike Kruel v Reckless Youth

They do some sweet arm ringers into a drop toehold take down from Carter. You can see from that exchange why Kruel is highly rated on the Indy circuit. They bust out some fine chain wrestling on the mat and the crowd are buying it. Kruel busts out a big belly to belly release suplex to finish the chaining. They went about three minutes and looked pretty solid for most of it. Someone throws a streamer at Kruel, which is a little odd. They go back to the mat where Kruel slows it up with a chinlock. A long chinlock. A really long chinlock. Carter gets a few exotic cheeky roll up’s for near falls. Carter up’s the ante by busting out the quebrada and a diving knee strike. Kruel looks like an idiot for standing there and taking them but somewhat redeems himself with a neckbreaker for 2. This match is pleasant enough but the wrestling is good rather than great. Kruel goes to a guillotine choke but Carter’s experience and ring awareness gets him into the ropes. Carter with a Golden Gate Swing and the frog splash gets 2. The selling is all over the place here. After that move both guys stay down for some time but the lead in to it had them both fresh as daisies. Kruel hits a clothesline and suddenly he’s fine but Carter is fucked. Then Carter is fine again and Kruel is struggling on the ropes. Hama Chan Cutter off the top but Kruel’s foot lands on the ropes and he survives. Kruel then double legs into a pin and uses the ropes to win it at a cheap 10.16. **1/2. The chaining was nice to see but the match fell apart when they went to the high spots. The finish is also daft as the referee spots the ropes on the first pin then misses the blatant cheating just seconds later in the same position.

Phantasmo v Private Eye

Phantasmo is full on lucha-libre style complete with the mask and brightly coloured ring gear. PE is the “undercard angel of justice”. He comes out in a suit with a magnifying glass. But that’s not the best part. His whole head is an eyeball. His entrance music is “Private Eye”. I think it’s the UDO version. It’s not Alkaline Trio. I can tell you that much. He tries to dance to it and clap but has no sense of rhythm at all. He also has no depth perception. At least he shouldn’t. He only has one eye. We clip immediately to a fight on the floor. PE with powder to Phantasmo’s eyes and then swiftly finishes the match off at 28 seconds shown. I guess that was pretty fucking ugly then. The time on the screen is 4.41.

Main event – Mike Quackenbush/Gran Akuma/Icarus/Ultramantis/Mister ZERO v Hallowicked/Wild Cards/The Conundrum

The Conundrum are Jigsaw and Rorschach. A pair of skinny masked wrestlers. The Wild Cards are “The King of Diamonds” Eddie Kingston and ‘Black’ Jack Marciano. You probably know Eddie from CZW. If you know him at all. Marciano hasn’t long debuted. He’s really, really green. He and Kingston argue with the crowd a lot establishing them as the heels. Marciano is now retired with a knee injury. Akuma looks like a superstar the second he walks out there thanks to his well defined muscle structure. Mr ZERO is one of Chikara’s best characters. He’s “the Middle Aged Business Tyrant” and wears a suit and tie along with a mask that makes him look older. Like a less silly Crabtree gimmick. Quackenbush trained most of the guys in this thing, if not all of them, and he’s a decent stand up guy that’s liked by everyone. Hallowicked and Ultramantis start out but Quackenbush doesn’t wait long before entering the match. He gets picked off by the heels and see some nice standing counters with Quack and Jigsaw including a unique escape from the waistlock. Quack busts out so many counters and counters to counters that Jigsaw looks lost. I mean that in a kayfabe sense of the word. Quack gets done by double teaming from the Conundrum but then double atomic drops them into a double half crab. Isn’t that a whole crab? In comes Mr ZERO. With Mr ZERO you’re pretty much guaranteed an Indy stand off. THERE IT IS! Kingston looks really green but solid at the same time. Akuma comes in to deal with him. Kingston really looks green. His head is way low into a headlock takeover from Akuma. He’s telegraphing what’s about to happen to the entire crowd. I guess he’s concentrating on not fucking up. Marciano-Icarus and after 6 minutes everyone has seen ring time. Icarus’ ride with spin is decent. Jigsaw bails to argue with some of the ringside fans. Marciano has a dragon sleeper in the ring. Icarus counters into his own and Marciano is screaming his head off in there. He knees his way out after composing himself somewhat. Kingston works the Tennessee Water Pump on Icarus and then on Ultramantis while everyone dances. In comes Quack but he reverses and Kingston does the move on Marciano to the amusement of the entire crowd. Especially as the heels are still dancing and the faces are just kicking back and laughing. The heels all come in to argue and decide that Quack is to blame as Hallowicked, as team captain, calms everyone down. Everyone shakes hands. Group hug. Haha. Marciano forgets he’s in the match though and Quack sneaks up and chops him a lot. “OOWWW, OW, OWWWW” – Marciano. He’s not got the manliest method of selling has he? Quack feeds Marciano a lot of stuff here as he’s too inexperienced to do it without Quack walking him through the more complicated lucha aspects. It does look a little pre-planned but credit to Quack for making Marciano look capable. The heels have another miscommunication with Marciano blaming Jigsaw for getting in the way so Hallowicked blames a fan in the front row that the heels promptly gang up on. HAHAHA. Kingston throws his hat into the upper deck. That’s fucking hilarious.

Mr ZERO is back in and lariats Rorschach a lot so he covers up to stop himself getting hit. Rorschach runs himself out and misses a lariat allowing Mr ZERO to kick him up the butt. Rorschach falls outside and ZERO is ready to dive. Rorschach runs away. Hahaha. Icarus in with Kingston. Icarus is a high spots guy mainly and loves the flying stuff. The satellite headscissors scores among a few other flips and Kingston has to use power to push Icarus into the heel corner. Rorschach in to face Icarus for the first time, ever. It doesn’t last long and Ultramantis gets the tag. His Ant Man mask is making me smirk every time I see it. This goes very lucha for a while with hand held spot and weak looking armdrags. Mantis slingshots into a sunset flip for 2. Hallowicked tags himself in for the first time since the opening minute. Akuma runs through him. They run more lucha style stuff into a bit where Hallowicked flips around and jumps over an Akuma kick. As he does so, so does everyone on the apron. There’s no way of way of explaining it but it’s an amazing visual and the crowd are still laughing about it afterwards. Kingston in to cut off the laughs with a HEAD DROP GERMAN SUPLEX. Akuma lands right on his noggin and stops moving. Kingston jaws with the crowd to eat up some time but Akuma is ok. Jigsaw in with some more tame offence like a body slam and a fist drop. We look at Marciano fucking with some fan at ringside. Everyone is having a blast out there. Wild Cards with a double headbutt followed by the Conundrum hitting a double facebuster. Leapfrog legdrop from Rorschach gets 2. Akuma has taken a solid beating here ever since that head drop. Hallowicked in with a waterwheel slam. Kingston, the difference maker, returns to put a hurting on Akuma some more. He delivers a suplex for 2. Marciano in with a body block to the legs. Gut wrench suplex and Marciano drops an elbow off the buckles. Not exactly Randy Savage style. Very little height or impact on it. Akuma reverses him into a DDT and that’ll give him the chance for a hot tag. Mantis gets it and Quack flies in with a missile dropkick on Jigsaw too. Icarus attempts the Shiranui but Kingston jumps in there to block it and that sets him up for Marciano hitting a diving knee into a Kingston side slam for 2. The heels decide to gang up on Icarus and do a four man catapult splash using Jigsaw as a weapon for 2. We’re up to 25 minutes here as Icarus continues to take a beating. He manages a desperation clothesline on Kingston but Marciano jumps right in there. Icarus with a dropkick and Mister ZERO tags in. He kicks Kingston outside and follows with a tope. Everyone starts going for dives. You know the kind. WCW used to put the same dives spot in every multiple person cruiser match.

Quack is the last man and everyone catches him. Icarus gets picked off again with a heel hook but this leads to everyone else piling back in to slap a submission hold on the guy before him. So all ten men have submissions on. Icarus gets out and goes to the back of the cue and this carries on until a complete rotation is done. The crowd are in bits. EVERYONE gets the ropes and the crowd applauds. That’s pretty awesome and needlessly over the top. Quack singles out Marciano for some abuse and a shotei puts him down. Slingshot stomp gets 2. ZERO in with a Blue Thunder on Jigsaw for 2. This has completely broken down. No idea who’s legal. ZERO gets caught in the tree of woe and Jigsaw goes coast to coast on a dropkick. Icarus is all pissed off and goes after Kingston for revenge for the earlier head drop. This is just madness. There hasn’t been a legal tag in five minutes. EXPLODER ’98 from Kingston gets 2. A large “boom” is pumped into the edit. Springboard DDT from Icarus gets 2. This has completely broken down. Ultramantis picks off Rorschach for the Colt 45 but that doesn’t get it done. Hallowicked with a running Michi Driver on Akuma for 2. Akuma dodges a running palm strike into a DDT and the Falcon Arrow gets…2. I thought that had to be the finish. Everyone piles in again and both sides look for the suplex. This leads to four roll up’s for near falls. Wild Cards double spinebuster Akuma then add in a double team STO for 2. Wild Cards both look for powerbombs but Quack and Akuma hold hands to block it. This leads to double roll up’s, which in turn leads to double Oklahoma rolls to break up the pins. Also for double two counts. YOSSINO Special and the El Cristo are hooked TOGETHER by the Conundrum but neither victim gives up. There hasn’t been a legal tag in about 10 minutes here. It’s such a mess. Akuma & Quack both hit dives on the crossover. Hallowicked flies into a rana on Icarus but can’t follow up. Rydien bomb gets 2. He goes for another but Icarus counters out and hits the Shiranui for 2. In come Mantis/ZERO to get caught in a dropkick sandwich by the Conundrum. UltraZERO gets caught in double Kryptonite Krunches by the Conundrum…for 2. They get backdropped out and in come the Wild Cards. ZERO gets kicked in the face by Kingston. ROYAL FLUSH, which is like a swinging DDT gets 2. What’s it going to take to finish this? ZERO & Mantis have timing issues setting up their version of the 3-D. We get this huge 10-way pin attempt for 2 as EVERYONE kicks out. I can’t even begin to describe how that worked. Everyone is still in the ring, which makes pinfalls impossible. Icarus tries to climb over three guys in the corner to hit something but Hallowicked RUNS UP THEIR BACKS and hits a FISHERMANBUSTER off the top. Kingston doesn’t want the pin yet though. He wants to tap Icarus in the Kondo Clutch, which is a reverse Texas Cloverleaf. Quack with the LIGHTNING LOCK and Rorschach has had enough and taps out at 43.27. ***3/4. Some amazing innovation but the match completely fell apart in the second half becoming a spot fest with some occasional good stuff unlike the first half of the match, which was just an excellent 10 man tag.

Final Thoughts: Chikara is a very innovative promotion although that’s probably just because it borrows from such a tremendous array of places that unless you’re familiar with all of them you’ll find something new in here. The main event was somewhat star heavy. The undercard suffered because of this but the main event was terrific. Because they lost sight of the simple nature of making a match during the main event it made it overly complex. I think over the past five years I’ve slowly lost my appetite for spot heavy matches and unfortunately that’s what this became after a great first half.

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