Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only review blog still rocking a mullet until it comes back in style, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we traverse new and completely uncharted territory for us, and cover our very first CHIKARA show in the 3+ years that we’ve been covering wrestling. So what makes this show so special that we would choose to highlight it first and foremost? Simple, this is CHIKARA’s debut on iPPV (thanks to the fine folks at Go Fight Live) and thus they have taken a step into wrestling world relevance that can not and will not be ignored by the likes of us. After all, who among us hasn’t heard tales of the ridiculous happenings in CHIKARA over the years? All kinds of dragons wrestling, an entire stable of demonic ice cream men, comedy matches so sublime that they defy description and everything else that you and your high buddies have spent the early hours of the morning giggling about on your computer screens can all be traced back to this collection of patently preposterous pugilists. So what’s going to happen when they open the door to a massive live audience? What will we think of the promotion as a whole? And what the shit is that bunny doing here? Welp, there really is only one way to find out.
Cewsh: You see, here in CHIKARA they do things quite a bit differently. For example, where WWE or TNA might get a gravely faced narrator to say inspirational things over stirring music while relevant clips of the feuds on the show flit by. But this is CHIKARA boys and girls, so when THEY do an opening video they call up Stan Bush (the man who made the amazing song You’ve Got The Touch from the Transformers movie) and get him to sing a gloriously cheesy ode to CHIKARA over random clips that have nothing to do with anything.
The experience is not unlike having you brain washed out with happy juice and afterwards you come out in a kind of stupidly grinning delirium, ready for anything. If TNA put something like this before their shows every month I would be infinitely less mean to them. Not IWA:MS though. Never IWA:MS.
Cewsh: Okay, now before we get into the actual wrestling on this show, its important for those of you hearing about CHIKARA for the first time to understand what it is. Primarily, the CHIKARA style is built on and around lucha libre rules and the promotions tends to follow lucha libre traditions. As a result masks are very important, wacky characters are everywhere you look and are totally credible competitors and much stock is put into tournaments, multi man tag matches and 2 out of 3 fall matches (and in fact all tag titles matches are contested as 2 out of 3 falls). There are other differences too, like there being a 20 count on the outside and the referee having the ability to disqualify people if it appears they’re not actually trying to win the match and stuff like that. Also important to note is that since they follow lucha rules, any time a wrestler dives out of the ring in a tag match, his partner is automatically tagged in resulting in very fast paced and frenetically paced matches that may not look very familiar if you’re used to WWE’s style of sluggish halfassery.
The purpose behind this match is built upon the fact that in order to get a tag team title shot in CHIKARA your team has to win 3 consecutive matches and both of these teams are currently on a 2 match winning streak, so whoever wins here will get the coveted title shot. Everyone have all that? Yes? No? Ah, good enough.
Now this match is between the Young Bucks (of TNA fame and much Cewsh Reviews hype) and The Colony (consisting of Soldier Ant and Fire Ant). You’re already likely familiar with the Hardy Boyz-minus-1,000-cheeseburgers style of the Young Bucks, so let’s speak a moment about the Colony, shall we? These two gentle…um…insects are two of the most popular guys in Chikara and exactly what I was talking about with the wackiness. Soldier Ant salutes probably 9,000 times during this match which is met always with great amusement by all, while Fire Ant busies himself just flipping his little ass in every direction at once.
It makes for a surprisingly effective team that its virtually impossible to dislike, which is good, since the Bucks here are in HEEL MODE OMEGA and just dick over the Ants whenever possible.
When the Bucks were in TNA, it began to be a little clear towards the end that Max Buck (Matt Jackson to you CHIKARA fans) was really growing into an incredible heel character as this cocky little shithead who you would dearly like to hit with a shoe, and he shows here that that is absolutely still the case. He preens for the crowd, he mocks the ants at every conceivable opportunity and he just generally acts above it all as he and his also very talented brother do their thing. As such, and because the Colony make such lovable babyfaces, this match grabs the crowd from the outset and never lets go as they proceed through jaw dropping spot after jaw dropping spot, each one topping the last. Both teams do so incredible, incredible stuff that you’d have to see to believe, such as Matt’s Corkscrew Moonsault RKO which made me rewind at least three times trying to figure out how he did it.
Ultimately the Ants win, much to the delight of the crowd (which was the largest in CHIKARA’s history) and the Bucks slink off, angry and dejected, but despite their grumbling everyone was really a winner here. Even though this match followed many of the criticisms that people have leveled against the Bucks over the years (little psychology, too many spots) the truth is that that is a totally acceptable thing in the opening match of a big show and made both teams look incredibly exciting. This match got the fans out of their seats, got everyone excited and put the spotlight on the Colony on the way to their big title match. The only way it could have been more satisfying is if it had had a run in by Levar Burton.
What’s that? Marty Jannetty was there?
Man, that’s not the same thing at all.
72 out of 100
Cewsh: Intergender matches are still sufficiently rare in America that this match may strike you as odd at first glance. After all, if all you’ve ever seen are the WWE Divas, you could certainly be forgiven for thinking that women wrestlers don’t have any business mixing it up with male wrestlers. So perhaps you’re conjuring in your head an image of a tiny frail thing with huge fake breasts squaring off against a powerhouse about the destroy her. Unfortunately for your vision, the woman involved here is noted badass Sara Del Rey and the man involved is…well…this guy.
Ah yes, Jakob (pronounced Yay-cub) Hammermeyer. The intrepid mouthpiece of CHIKARA’s biggest heel stable, he made life hell for Del Rey for ages while they were in the same stable and now that the Queen of Wrestling has finally left all that behind and has begun to strike out on her own, there’s just one piece of hyperactive, badly accented Eurotrash to take care of. Unluckily for Jakob, that would be him.Now this isn’t so much a match as a sustained beating, so I’ll spare you the in depth details. What is worthy of mention are the facts that:
a) The idea that TNA has refused to hire Del Rey because she’s not hot enough is just awful.
b) Jakob Hammermeyer is perhaps the most unpleasant man I’ve ever seen in wrestling (in a good way), and it is a joy to watch him be harmed.
c) Anyone who carries extra ties in their underwear for occasions when just one tie will not do is probably dangerously insane.
Anyway, so Madam Death Rey knocks ten kinds of shit out of the hapless Hammermeyer, including some time spent trying to make his fingers point at the floor and the ceiling at the same time and some other time spent giving him a high velocity dental examination with her foot.
This match isn’t particularly long and isn’t particularly significant compared to other matches on the card. But after the fun spotfest of the opening match, a short crucifixion of a hated heel by a beloved killer babyface was a terrific idea. The fans stay involved, everybody is still riding a wave of blissful happiness and Sara Del Rey gets some unfinished business taken care of. Not too shabby for 5 minutes. Not too shabby at all.
64 out of 100
Cewsh: Now its promo time, as beloved mischief makers The Osirian Portal head on out to address the crowd in street clothes. Unfortunately, this isn’t an occasion for their usual dancing and jokes and more dancing, because Amasis has some troubling news. He explains that his doctors have told them that he can’t wrestle anymore because even the small bumps would be too much for his beaten down body and he could wind up in a wheelchair. He tells the fans how much he loves them, and apologizes for having to leave them behind but refuses to allow them to bear witness to a career ending injury. Most of all, he apologizes to his partner of all these years, Ophidian, for having to break up their team so abruptly. He asks if its okay for them to do one last dance together, and they start to break it down and then they stop and hug and go home and everyone is happy and stays together forever.
What? I have that last bit wrong? Well what happened then?
Welp, there you have it. Ophidian spits venom in his injured best friend’s face, kicks him in the spine at full speed and then strips him of his mask once and for all. On the list of “Fun and Relaxing Ways To Retire” this ranks slightly below being dropped into a pit by Mr. Burns. At least then the snakes who kill you aren’t your best friends in the world (unless you’re the guy who feeds the snakes, in which case you knew things were going to end badly anyway).
Honestly, the allusions to Edge’s promo early this year along these same lines both made this segment very uncomfortable and incredibly effective. My first reaction was to be bothered about them using this angle to do a wrestling heel turn, but the more I think about it, the better I feel. Amasis’ last night in wrestling involved him putting over his best friend and involved him being one of the most memorable things about it. I’m no Funky Pharaoh, but I’d take it.
69 out of 100
Cewsh: Okay, bear with me here.
We’re all familiar with Colt Cabana, the indomitable jokester of indy fame and even famier fame of being CM Punk’s best friend. Here in CHikara he’s exactly the same as the Coly Cabana we know and love, but currently he is embroiled in a huge feud with Archibald Peck who is…well…
Yes. Arichbald Peck is an evil band leader of all things. So what kind of beef does Colt Cabana have with an evil band leader? Simple. Peck has been abusing the pun named mascot based on Colt Cabana, Colt Cabunny. Yes again, in the finest traditions of CP Munk, Colt Cabunny is a walking, hopping bunny mascot. Peck has been forcing him to hang around and do his bidding, so the poor bunny is forced into doing despicable things, or conceivably Peck will blow a trumpet into his sensitive bunny ears. Obviously this is unacceptable to Colt, so he is on the warpath to rescue his little buddy.
Now if at any point during your reading of that intro you thought was going to be a serious and/or emotional match then I well and truly feel sorry for you because you are about to be sorely disappointed. There could conceivably exist a world in which Colt Cabana and an evil band leader named Archibald COULD have a serious match, but this is not that world, and in Chikara of all places this is a tad bit unlikely. In fact, the match begins with Peck trying valiantly to assault Cabana at least four separate times, resulting in him being totally humiliated without Cabana even appearing to notice that anything was happening at all. Peck doesn’t take this well and promptly sits down in the corner and pouts because things aren’t going his way.
Colt says he’ll give him a chance, so Peck gets up and charges Colt like a bull. Shocking this goes poorly too. In fact, the opening minutes of this match are just a showcase of 101 ways to fuck with you opponent in a wrestling match as Peck is embarrassed again and again by the shenanigans of Mr. Cabana. Peck pouts and refuses to wrestle again, to the extent that even Bryce Remsburg, the referee, just starts openly mocking him. But Cabana is soon distracted by his beloved bunny and this gives Peck the opportunity to actually get some offense in and suddenly we’re in the middle of an actual match. Peck actually makes a good accounting of himself, taking the fight to Cabana as best as he can and actually getting the big man on the ropes a time or two, until finally he gets frustrated and demands that the bunny smash Cabana in the face with his baton and proclaim his allegiance to the Peckster.
Yes, the bunny sides with the good guys and saves the day, reuniting the man with his mascot. Then they dance, because that’s what you do when you are reunited with the bunny version of yourself. Look it up.
The thing to take away from this match isn’t so much anything about Cabana, who was his usual self, or even the bunny. The thing to take away here is that Archibald Peck is one of those great indy wrestling heels that are so rare, that have almost no actual credibility, but are so, so good for matches like this where they can entertain the crowd like nothing else. Peck was in masterful form as the bratty band leader way out of his depth and it was his antics that made this match tremendously enjoyable for me. Cocky heels are a dime a dozen these days. I’ll take the heel that goes right past cocky into delusional land any day.
70 out of 100
Cewsh: If you feel like you’ve heard the name Gregory Iron before, its because you very likely have. Iron is a handicapped wrestler who has struggled all his life with cerebral palsy that has left his right arm virtually useless and has somehow managed to become a more than solid wrestler despite it (unlike, say, Zack Gowen, who has one leg and is a terrible wrestler). Recently during his “hiatus” from WWE, CM Punk appeared on a random indy show and got in the ring to tell everyone how much respect he had for Iron for making it in spite of his condition, which jumped Iron out of relative obscurity into the indy limelight. Recently Iron also challenged Vince McMahon to either put him in the 2012 Royal Rumble or to fight him one on one, neither of which will happen, but which gained him some more exposure. Icarus, on the other hand, is the owner of the world’s lamest back tattoo. So let’s do this.
Now this gist of this feud is that Icarus is a huge dickhead who claims that Iron is actually faking his cerebral palsy, and mocks him incessantly about it. All things being equal, the fans incessantly mock Icarus for his awful back tattoo, so that evens out.
Anyway, the match is mostly Icarus dropping bomb after bomb on Iron and Iron somehow surviving it all. Iron does his best Rocky impression throughout it all, firing up for the crowd whenever possible as Icarus just makes his life a living hell. But Icarus’ dickheaded ways wind up winning the day for him as just one ref distraction is all it takes for him to kick Iron squarely in the cherry bombs and hoist him up for once of the most ridiculously nasty looking moves I’ve ever seen (a running death valley driver into the turnbuckles).
But that’s not all kiddies because Icarus, as I have have mentioned previously, shares much in common with the top part of the male phallus. Icarus steals the referee’s belt and just starts wearing Iron out with it until suddenly from behind comes his former partner (who he fucked over) Gran Akuma. Akuma winds up to dust his face off, but Icarus ducks out of the way and Akuma winds up absolutely destroying the unfortunate face of Greg Iron who is not having a very good day.
As a match it was fine and edging on good, as Iron is a very effective face and Icarus sometimes wasn’t actively holding the match back with awkward looking offense. The indy rise to fame of Greg Iron continues here, despite the loss, and only time will tell exactly how the man can rise in the wrestling business that he loves. He certainly has every shred of my support, and since CM Punk and I agree about this, you know the man is legit.
65 out of 100
Cewsh: I have no idea what is going on in this hype video.
What I do know is that Ares is the leader of the BDK stable (who we’ve already seen two members of on this show, Tursas and the indomitable Jakob Hammermeyer) and they have been wrecking havoc all over CHIKARA. Ultramantis Black has been dying to get his hands on Ares, but Ares has been ducking him until now when he finally agreed to have a match with him, but only if it was under these stakes and only if they both chose partners. So now they’re going to settle things in a hair vs. mask match, a classic lucha libre staple. Except, well, CHIKARA style. See, if Black or Wicked lose the match for their team, then they will be unmasked live right here in the ring after the match. Whereas if Tim Donst loses the fall he’ll have his head shaved and if Ares loses he’ll lose the Eye of Tyre.
Yes, he’ll lose a magical Egyptian artifact he uses to do wrestling related evil. Its CHIKARA baby, just roll with it.
Oh, and if Kanye West sees that video, everyone in it will get sued.
The match starts out all brawly with Wicked and Mantis taking it to the mean ol’ bad guys. Now its worth mentioning right off the bat that everyone in this match is good, but that Tim Donst is on a totally different level from the rest of them and perhaps everyone else on this show. As a heel out for himself at every turn who thinks he’s god’s gift to suplexes, he is completely perfect and every time the match focuses on him, it takes a noticeable increase in quality right away. The other guys are no slouches either, though, and this match quickly descends further from a mere brawl to a full on clusterfuck. They brawl through the crowd, they bring out the chairs and hell, Ares even gets himself backdropped off of the ring steps onto a stack of chairs in a moment so cringe inducing that it causes the fans to break out into chants of “HOLY POOP HOLY POOP.”
Before long, though, other people start coming down to get involved like any good stable match, and Jakob Hammermeyer makes his presence felt. Of course he makes it felt for all of 8 seconds before Bane from Batman’s shorter, fatter little brother shows up and hits him with a flag.
With them out of the way, now its Donst time again as he enjoys himself thoroughly with a ring bell a little too much and winds up getting planted on his head for his trouble (this is a theme on this show). In fact, the finishers just start showing up en masse like frat boys to a free beer and date rape party. Things start getting crazy and abruptly Tim Donst slides out of the ring and just walks to the back with no explanation. In the ring, a now helpless Ares finds himself on the receiving end of a face first chair inspection which ends this match once and for all. No more magical Egyptian artifact for you Mr. Danger. Its alllllll gone.
Post match, Mantis celebrates the winning of the Eye and Wicked celebrates the winning of Tim Donst’s Young Lions Cup trophy, which was not in any way on the line in this match whatever but was sitting there so, you know, why not? I get the feeling that things are only just heating up for Mr. Donst in this situation. Which is good news for anyone who likes good wrestling, good promos or simply a solid hairline and a masculine jaw.
63 out of 100
Cewsh: Here we go, kiddies. The main event of the very first ever CHIKARA pay per view, and the crowning of the first CHIKARA Grand Champion in the company’s history. In one corner the founder and face of CHIKARA, Mike Quackenbush, and in the other the controversial and meteoric Eddie Kingston. Quack is fighting for the right to represent his own company with their top singles title, to prove that he is capable of being that guy after no other company ever gave him a chance to be. Eddie Kingston is fighting for… Well fuck, let’s let him explain it.
Okay, so this match comes loaded with not only championship implications and main event implications, but Eddie Kingston has flat out made this a contest for his very soul in the most riveting promo of the year. Boys and girls, this shit is about to get crazy.
Now if you’ve never seen these two guys wrestle before, Eddie Kingston is sort of your classic roughhouse wrestler. He’s a fantastic brawler, can deliver some punishing puro style suplexes and lariats and relies heavily on his ability to take punishment. Quackenbush, on the other hand, is small, fast and the master of pretty much every wrestling move and hold that has ever been devised, and more than a few that haven’t. His tactic is to simply outwrestle people and catch them unawares, while Kingston will be coming straight ahead, hoping to bully Quack. Oh, and Mike Quackenbush trained Eddie Kingston how to wrestle, so not only will Kingston have to overcome a superior wrestler, but one who knows nearly everything about his style. Its an uphill road for Eddie Kingston on this night, but characteristically, he’s not going to give up.
As they make their entrances, this match already has a big fight feel in the air. Quack comes out with his protégé Jigsaw to respectful cheers from the crowd and immediately the fans break into huge chants for Eddie Kingston as he emerges with his mentor Tommy Dreamer in his corner. Both men get extended intros listing both of their countless achievements to seriously drive home just what a colossal collision of talent this really is to determine CHIKARA’s first king. Despite the fact that these two are friends, and that Quack is something of a role model for Kingston, There is absolutely no joviality between these two as they meet in the middle of the ring to begin. And then the bell rings and the biggest match in CHIKARA history begins to a background of chants for the fallen hero of CHIKARA, Sweet and Sour Larry Sweeney (who committed suicide last year after battling depression for years).
Quack and King feel each other out for awhile to start things out, with Quackenbush showing some overconfidence in his ability to outwrestle Kingston. Kingston, for his part just waits and picks his spots to let out a devastating move in response, and in the beginning things are definitely at a stalemate. Now its worth mentioning that Kingston came into this match with a slight limp from a banged up right knee, and Quackenbush certainly noticed this, because from the beginning he goes right for that knee time and again with hold after hold. Since this keeps Kingston in pain and on the mat, Kingston’s size advantage is completely neutralized early on and as Quack gets nastier and nastier in working the leg, Eddie starts to have trouble staying on his feet at all with one virtually useless leg. It soon becomes obvious that Mike Quackenbush is not fucking around here, as he not only is viciously cruel to his friend’s knee, but he even starts in with eye gouges and other heelish moves just to get even more of an advantage.
Eddie finds himself in a bad way towards the midway point of this match, having trouble seeing and trying to wrestle on one leg against a wrestler the quality of Mike Quackenbush. But he isn’t even close to done fighting for his redemption yet.
And then Quack makes a mistake.
In taking out the knee, Quackenbush had been wearing down Kingston bit by bit. But when, while locking in a figure four leg lock, he takes the time to rub his foot all over Kingston’s face to mock him, something changes in the demeanor of Eddie Kingston. Quack woke the dragon.
With vicious punches, Kingston gets himself out and they start a war of punches that Quack has no chance of winning, and after getting suplexed and lariated half out of his boots, he almost straight up loses the match for his mistake. Somehow he manages to survive though, and as every man who has ever competed for CHIKARA runs out to watch this dramatic scene at ringside, both men start dropping bombs on each other with every big move they have in their arsenal. As Quack puts submission after submission on Kingston, the fans begin to desperately chant “PLEASE DON’T TAP” again and again in support of their choice. Feeling it, Kingston just wont stay down anymore at all. Everything Quack does just seems to fire Eddie up more and after Quack misses with a double knee drop off the top, he comes up limping with a bullseye on his own right knee, which Kingston sets upon like a shark on a steak. Quack tries to escape, but Kingston hits him with a nasty backfist directly to the kneecap and locks in a submission of his own. But even that isn’t enough to end this match.
These two crazy bastards just start belting each other in the face from their knees as they sit there exhausted and beaten. Quack just gives up and starts belting Kingston in the face as hard as he can, incredulous that this man he’s beaten so badly wont just stay down. But that’s exactly what Kingston was waiting for. As Quack loses control of his anger, Kingston somehow makes it to his feet and drops Quack with a Backdrop Driver and then quickly grabs him for a Tiger Suplex as we get a glimpse of Quack’s face, and see a man who knows that he has just lost this match.
BOOM, down goes Quack with the Tiger Driver. BOOM, staggered Quack is by a backfist to the jaw and BAM, down goes Quack with another backfist to the temple. 1…2…3. We have our first CHIKARA Grand Champion, and Eddie Kingston has his redemption.
After the match, everyone floods the ring, Larry Sweeney’s brother and best friend come to the ring to present Eddie Kingston with the championship, and there is not a dry eye in the house as the Last of a Dying Breed hoists the title and dedicates it to his closest friend. If you don’t get the hint that this is an emotional moment, then you must be some kind of robot because seeing Kingston in tears as he’s hugged by Sweeney’s brother is possibly the most affecting thing I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring. Kingston gets his title, hugs everyone in sight and leaves to the idolizing chants of everyone in attendance. Eddie Kingston finally became a man in front of our very eyes. Fucking hell.
This is going to get tossed around by people as a potential match of the year because the match was so emotionally charged. And without a doubt it deserves to be lauded for what they managed to accomplish, because this was something incredibly special they provided here on their first ever truly big time show. It did suffer slightly from the usual indy problems with too many spots and not enough structure, and the end did come out of nowhere a tiny bit, but those are such small complaints next to what they managed to accomplish that I almost feel bad for even mentioning them. This is your independent match of the year without any shred of doubt. 2012 is going to have one helluva lot of trouble keeping up.
Cewsh: I’ve seen a few CHIKARA shows in my day, and I thought I more or less knew what to expect from this one. High flying shenanigans, check. Wacky characters, check. Supernatural storylines that make no sense, check. But what I certainly was not expecting to see on this show was a match that nearly moved me to tears, and what I never considered was that all of these things would mesh together so perfectly in the classic variety show way. There wasn’t any point during this show where I was bored or distracted from watching it, and indeed, I had a goofy grin plastered on my face through much of it. So let’s cast off once and for all the perception that CHIKARA is where only goofy nonsense resides, and let’s regard CHIKARA for what it may truly be. The most complete wrestling promotion in the world from top to bottom. I don’t know how they did it, or when it happened. But ladies and gentlemen, CHIKARA is the real deal. And they won’t be ignored any more.
Well that’ll do it for us this time boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed this trip to the carnival of CHIKARA with Uncle Cewsh. You got a caramel apple of comedy, a big stuffed animal of emotion and even got to ride the roller coaster of spotfests. But now, sadly, its time to go home and get ready for the liver and onions of TNA, as our next review is of their first show of the new year TNA Genesis 2011. But never fear because there is so much on the horizon that it boggles the mind. Everything from UFC 140 to NJPW Wrestle Kingdom VI to WWE Royal Rumble 2001. So what field trip will your decided not creepy Uncle Cewsh take you on next? Only one way to find out…