You can order the show on DVD here and MP4 download here, and read a full write up here. You should definitely watch this excellent music video featuring clips from the show set to a massive tune by Editors.
You can order the show on DVD here and MP4 download here, and read a full write up here. You should definitely watch this excellent music video featuring clips from the show set to a massive tune by Editors.
CHIKARA’s three-day dream slam of Japanese Women’s Wrestling, JoshiMania, had its first show last Friday at the historic ECW Arena. The event delivered an authentic Joshi Puroresu experience to American fans, with the added bonus of bringing stars from several different Joshi promotions. CHIKARA advertised this event as being a “Once in a Lifetime” opportunity for fans to see this sort of action without having to fly to Japan first. CHIKARA didn’t lie. Here’s how the weekend started:
December 2nd, 2011
ECW Arena – Philadelphia, PA
The first thing, and perhaps only thing, you need to know about JoshiMania Night One is this: Tsubasa Kuragaki put Archibald Peck and one of the Ice Creams in a torture rack at the same time. The same time. Having the laws of physics challenged by one of the lesser known Joshi stars in the opening match set the bar fairly high for the rest of the evening. Japanese female wrestlers are known for their pride and competitive nature. The JWP women made it known from the outset they hoped to dominate this weekend (too bad the brilliant team of Peck and the Ice Creams were in the middle of that).
Of course, as everyone who has read our articles on her over at Diva Dirt knows 1, Manami Toyota is not satisfied unless she has put on the very best match on the show. That probably went double this Friday as Toyota was presented with the Diva Dirt Legacy award before her match with Toshie Uematsu. Toyota showed not only that she deserved the award for her past achievements, but also for her continuing performance and growth as a wrestler. Toyota has said that she felt invigorated by her trips to CHIKARA over the past year, and the new maneuvers she flaunted during JoshiMania were an example. Toshie, on her final tour of the US before her retirement early next year, was amazing as well. She showed once again that her larger than life character never overshadows her pure wrestling ability. It was an excellent match, perhaps the best either had had in the US.
Hoping not to be outdone by their guests, CHIKARA’s FIST and The Colony put on an exciting title bout. The ants showed off some JB Angels-esque fire while FIST resorted to L.C.O.-esque dickery. Dick won out, FIST retained, and Stargano remains a top champion in two of the United States’ finest wrestling promotions.
And then there was the much anticipated battle between Aja Kong and Sara Del Rey. As the most terrifying forces on their respective continents, the two death queens had been on a collision course for years. Somehow, Philadelphia managed to survive the inevitable crash.
Kong showed a lack of respect for Sara early on, refusing to shake hands. Sara returned the favor by barreling head first at her idol when the bell rang. The match was dark and unyielding. Sara kicked Kong as hard as she’s kicked anyone. Kong delighted in leaving handprints on the Death Rey’s chest, her thudding chops shaking the Queen to the core. After several minutes, but before either pulled out their MDK-level moves, Sara was able to dodge a Uraken and score a surprise pin on Kong to take the huge victory. A hard-fought battle for both, but each faced even tougher ones as JoshiMania went on.
It was the tag team contest between the team of Ayako Hamada and Cherry against the team of Mio Shirai and Mayumi Ozaki that proved to be the best of the night. While all women were familiar with one another,they don’t share any extensive history2. Still The beautiful and devious team of Mio and Ozaki worked very, very well together. The veteran Ozaki brought out her top shelf stuff this weekend, not that Ayako Hamada gave her a choice in the matter. Ayako was excited, and a bit nervous, about her CHIKARA debut. Of course, she performed to her usual standard of excellence.
The match also contained a revelation: Mio Shirai is a fucking star. Her mix of personality, style, humor, and sadistic violence won over the crowd. She helped make this semi-random tag flow gracefully. Mio showed she could keep up with two all-time greats in Oz and Hamada, and here’s hoping her success in the US pays dividends for her when she returns to Japan.
And that was Night One. A fantastic night of wrestling, no doubt, but JoshiMania was just getting started. You can already purchase the DVDs for all three nights at Smart Mark Video. While you wait on those to ship, enjoy the rest of the photos below the cut.
But just one more thing! Dig, if you will, this picture of The Beautiful One, Veronica, as she lays into a fan that she felt was a bit too bold. Maybe she’s just too demanding? She’s never satisfied with those in attendance. I took the photo as I wondered, “Why do they scream at each other?”
This past weekend CHIKARA put on its “Summer Blockbuster” double-header with two big shows filled with international talent and pivotal matches. Last year’s Chikarasaurus Rex was our first live CHIKARA event. It was highlighted by two Dragon Gate vs CHIKARA six man tags and the appearance of Tommy Dreamer, Amazing Kong, and Cheerleader Melissa. This year’s expanded production featured the 12 Large Summit, along with an Ice Ribbon, CMLL and British invasion. A lot has changed in the year for CHIKARA, as the company continues to expand and improve. Here’s how the bigger, badder, better sequel went down:
1. 12 Large Summit – Fire Ant defeated Jigsaw by arm lock submission – Much is at stake in every match of the 12 Large Summit, a point-driven round robin tournament to crown CHIKARA’s first singles champion. If that wasn’t apparent during the highly technical opening moments of this bout, it certainly became clear when Fire Ant made his second suicide dive onto Jigsaw, propelling both into the last row of seats.
The match was filled with greatness from the two tournament dark horses. The performance from Jigsaw was particular gutsy as he was just making his return to the ring after a bicep injury. Clearly not 100%, Jigsaw had to wrestle the latter half of the match with virtually one arm. A sick penalty kick and brainbuster combo almost gave him precious victory, but a few arm locks later and Jigsaw had no choice but to submit. Fantastic opener.
This is massive. Chris, Greg, and Ayzali took an incredible amount of pictures of CHIKARA this weekend. Nearly 360, covering every angle of CHIKARA’s return to Chicago as well as their appearance the next night near Detroit. Chris also provided a write-up of the Chi-Town show. Enjoy these shots and share with your fellow CHIKArmy members!
1. The Batiri: Obaryion, Kodama, and Kobold def. The Throwbacks: Sugar Dunkerton, Dasher Hatfield, and Matt Classic with a Blockbuster – A back and forth match until a miscommunication between Classic and Dasher led to Kodama pinning Classic.
2. Ophidian def. Isaiahs Velasquez with the Cobra Clutch - A fine match which saw Ophidian gain the win by blocking a superkick with astonishing skill and locking on a bridging Cobra Clutch for the submission win.
3. FIST: Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano def. The Colony: Solider Ant and Green Ant with the Hertz Donut – An excellent match that capped off with some hard-hitting double team action by FIST and Gargano’s Hertz Donut for the pin on Solider Ant.
4. Young Lions Cup holder Frightmare def. Hieracon with a rollup in a Non-Title Match - Hieracon came close, but Frightmare survived a crossface and Lightning Spiral and secured the pin.
CHIKARA King of Trios is done. You can read the full play-by-play of Night Three here. You can even buy the shows sometime later today at SmartMarkVideo.com. You should probably do that, because you won’t easily find a better event in pro wrestling.
The Colony are your KOT 2010 Champions. Green Ant managed to secure the win over FIST with just one arm and one antenna. Despite being classless, cheating scumbags, I found myself strongly pulling for FIST. With the continued disintegration of BDK, CHIKARA’s heroes need new villains and FIST are the most dangerous group in the company; at least since they sent the chair using, Bon Jovi singing Great Sasuke of Team Michinoku Pro packing with a powder attack at the end of another amazing trios match.
Night two of CHIKARA King of Trios managed to top Night One in pretty much every way, which is saying a lot (you can read full results here). The night started with a fantastic match between Mr. Archibald Peck and Colt Cabana. Peck, who may or not be making waves in ROH as Barrister R.D. Evans and known as the King of ACW as Robert Evans, is the complete star pro wrestling star. Much like Cabana, he holds any audience in the palm of his hand, and the over-the-top band major gimmick only enhances it.
Match of the night probably belongs to Team FIST vs Osaka Pro. It was an incredible 20 minutes that managed to bring the entire crowd to their feet, and it was just the second match! Great work from all involved. FIST showed they could hang with some of the most innovative and athletic in Japan, while at the same time completely pissing the crowd off with their antics. It’s a fine line to walk, but few do it better.
The two four ways for the high-flyer mini-tournament were both great. Zack Sabre Jr. was very British, Pinkie Sanchez was very jerkish, and the 1-2-3 Kid was very 1990s-ish, in the good way.
Night one of CHIKARA King of Trios is in los libros. Great show and tournament so far. All the Japanese stars were amazing, especially Akira Tozawa, Dick Togo, and, of course, Manami Toyota. Performance of the night, however, might go to Mat Classic who was pitch perfect in a losing effort with The Throwbacks. Hopefully he gets a couple more matches this weekend, especially if he takes the open challenge of Mr. Archibald Peck AKA Robert Evans. They could steal the show/weekend/year.
[Please bear in mind, that these are my personal accounts. They are only being drawn from memory and may show bias, be partially fictional, or veer off topic (from time to time). Also, they don't call me 'The Real Heat' for laughs.]
Post edited for content and comedy by John Hyperion.
As “March Women’s Wrestling History Month Madness” nears to a close (with SHIMMER providing the ‘final four’ shows, this weekend), let’s take a quick (and/or detailed) look at some of what has previously, transpired…
This month there have been several chances to catch great, women’s wrestling action (whether at home or away). I (alongside some knowledgeable, respectful friends) kicked off my celebration, by purchasing Women Superstars Uncensored 4th Anniversary Show. WSU broadcast a great card, via the magic and wonder of internet pay-per-view (remember, back in the day, when nobody thought watching wrestling on the computer would ‘get over’…?? HA!). I’d suggest buying it just for the incredible Main Event Title Match of Mercedes Martinez vs Serena Deeb, but that would be downplaying the excellent performances by Athena, Leva Bates, Jessicka Havok, Sassy Stephie, Jazz, and more. Check it out!
I continued my Mad March to Historic Women’s Wrestling celebration, with a trip to Montréal, for NCW’s Femmes Fatales V, my 2nd FF show (after FF !!!).
Montreal is a great place for wrestling (and wine, and women) and the promotion does not treat its fans like a bunch of jerks…which is very cool. Also, despite sharing much of its main event roster, the shows end up being not at all like SHIMMER, in a good way, that makes the trip worth it. I and two other Joshi Pro lovers had made plans to meet up before the show. However, since Hyperion spent the previous night listening to Joy Division with Irish-Czech-Japanese expats in a downtown flat, and Southside drove the wrestling wagon in from Newark, and I took a sheerdrop brainbuster flight in that didn’t touch ground until a few hours before the show…we somehow managed to miss the pre-event meet and greet. We did make our way to the Centre Sportif Saint-Bathélémy (or, as I refer to it, “The Church of Wrestling”) in time for opening bell.
The pre-show kicked off with Angie Skye and Xandra Bale, in singles competition. Angie used to be a “good girl,” but something has changed (as she has ditched her fun-loving attitude and Squirtle T-shirt for a new pistol-pointing, “kiss and kill assassin” style). Xandra Bale was sporting a new, goddamned cool, “Dark Knight” inspired set of tights, but that didn’t help her, though…as Bale ultimately succumbed to Skye giving her the Hard Goodbye (a variation of the double underhook face buster, which ended in a little more of a running bulldog fashion…it was (un)pretty cool).
Dark match number two, saw the team of The Sherbrooke Connection (Kira and Loue) defeat Missy and her mystery partner Xorphia Vexx. This was a rather quick match, with a lot of tandem offense from The Midnight Ohio Girls; Xorphia and Missy did show some mean offense…but they were just not as much of a cohesive unit, as Kira and Loue. The SC won with the unbeatable combo of matching tights and a double roll-up. Post-match, Vexx & Missy pulled out their copy of The Blame Game: Shoves and Glares Edition. Missy opted to hit the locker room, before (the more imposing, much ‘darker’) Vexx had a chance to undertake her (say those last two words, three times fast…). I’d like to see more of this Vexx character; she’s pretty ‘spooky’ looking (complete with freaky eyes), but we didn’t get a chance to really experience what kind of ‘monster’ she might turn out to be.
The official show/DVD taping began with the debuting “Rate Tank” Kellie Skater (fresh off the heels of a victory at the WSU iPPV) taking on LuFisto’s very first student Sweet Cherrie. This was a good pairing, with the rough and tumble upstart squaring up against the seasoned veteran. Kellie was up to her usual antics (of posing, pumping iron, and poisoning herself with performance enhancing drugs). Sweet Cherrie was not deterred (or impressed), and she brought the fight straight to the ‘indy-structable’ one (intentional). In a true sign that Skater has lost her mind, she even went so far as to utilize a Steiner Recliner (a move made famous by another crazed, muscle head wrestler). Her shortcuts and supplements abuse were not enough, as Sweet Cherrie was able to hit (what almost appeared to be) an Osaka Street Cutter (though it was more of an inverted suplex, into a stunner) for the win.
This next match was one I was looking forward to. The evil nurse Anastasia Ivy (strangely, without her patient Evelyn by her side) went toe-to-toe with the ever outspoken, porcelain mask toting Allison Danger. This was a solid match, with Allison (in her usual fashion) out-wrestling Ivy, early on. There were a lot submission attempts made (by both ladies), and the match seemed fairly even until Allison, (in her usual fashion) got distracted by clowns at ring side. While Danger was busy making a date with the toolbags mother, Anastasia tried to rip her arm off. Behind the ref’s back, Ivy grabbed her signature syringe, and attempted to euthanize(?!?) her opponent. Allison appeared to be in certain danger, until she ‘blocked the shot’, and managed to wrangle Ivy into a very compromising position (with a surfboard, into a double hammerlock, Dragon sleeper); the evil nurse had no choice but to submit to what we are provincially referring to as the “RP Lock Omega” (don’t ask).
Match three featured “La Parfaite” (“The Perfect”) Caroline and Karen Brooks. Two very different ladies, in this match…Caroline makes her way out in protective suit, spraying Febreze at the fans (and in my eyes!)…while Karen does a high energy workout routine, en route to the ring. I’m not sure what the story was here, but things got pretty ugly (in the good way). Karen started off light (duping the ‘Perfect’ one with a bit of comedic antics), but that didn’t last very long. This match degenerated into a striking match (including some very fierce slaps and kicks). Caroline fought out of the corner with an BLATANT low blow, followed up by a “Parfaite-mouser?” (sorry, that was terrible; she hit a leg drop bulldog…a very nice one, at that. Dare I say “perfect”??). Victory seemed not to be enough for La Parfaite, however, as she continued to kick the Hell out of Brooks (post-match).
We were slated for a four-way match, between Cheerleader Melissa, Cherry Bomb, Mary Lee Rose, & She Nay Nay, but Cherry Bomb was unable to make it to the venue (apparently, due to traveling issues). Too bad for Cherry, she missed a great one! Early on, She Nay Nay found herself on the wrong end of Melissa’s ‘street mentality’ (with some harsh language, that proved that “from Diego to the Bay…” you better watch what you say to that woman!). In this bout, She Nay Nay and Mary Lee Rose did a whole lot of double teaming on Melissa (who hasn’t felt that much ‘heat’, in a very long time). Each woman struggled to maintain advantage, as the ever-dominant Melissa was kept ‘contained’ for much of the match. Melissa fought hard, though, and capitalized on some big time counters (including “Tower of Power-bombing” Mary Lee and She Nay Nay from the top AND blocking a double-team suplex with double suplex of her one…a rare feat in women’s wrestling and proof positive, that she has some serious power!). After a close call (and much frustration), Mary decided to hit the back (feigning disinterest in the match). This left She Nay Nay all alone to feel the brunt of Melissa’s wrath; the Air Raid Sirens were on full blast, as Nay came crashing down HARD, to the mat (Cheerleader Melissa on top, as usual). Immediately following, the ever ‘edgy’ Portia Perez and ‘toxic’ Nicole Matthews appeared on the ‘lady-tron’. Portia began by recounting her personal experience of “The Montréal Screwjob” (and how it ruined her 10th birthday), and the NEW Montréal Screwjob (and how it ruined her 23rd birthday via Melissa ‘costing’ her the win the NCW FF title tournament finals). She then proceeded to remind Melissa how she beat her, killed her, and ended her career (HAha!! What?!?). Portia got a bit too heated, even for her, and Nicole had to take over (issuing a tag team challenge for June 4th); she claimed that it would basically be a handicapped match since none of the other femmes like Melissa (STIFF). While distracted by the Canadian Ninjas, Cheerleader Melissa was attacked (from behind) by Mary Lee Rose (who managed to do a number on CM’s leg…so much so, that she needed help to the back). Sort of proving the Ninjas point.
The Street Fight was up next, and it looked to settle to the long feud between PJ Tyler (now known as “Courtney Rush”??) and always impressive Cat Power. Violence and weapons were ushered in from the get go. PJ started off strong, with a legit kendo stick (choking and striking Cat, early on). This was a long battle, and both women took a lot of punishment. At one point, Tyler was struck very violently in the face (with a weapon) and was forced to retreat. Chairs, garbage cans, baking sheets, and an exposed turnbuckle were other tools of destruction in this war. Both women were bruised and battered, but they would not stop…not until PJ dropped Cat onto the exposed buckle and nailed a “coast to coast” dropick into Cat’s face (which was covered by the metal trash can). After the match, both women set aside their differences and embraced. Cat Power walked off into the sunset and bowed graciously towards the fans (indicating that this was the final match in her career). [Personally, I didn't want to see her go. This was an unannounced retirement match, and I'm grateful to have seen it. They say "no one ever really retires from professional wrestling," and (selfishly) I hope this is true for Catherine Power, as well. She will be sorely missed in SHIMMER and the independant wrestling scene, in general. I'd say "we wish her well...," but that line (all too often) strikes me as insincere. Instead... Thank You, Cat. "May the road rise up to meet you..." and (hopefully) bring you back to us, someday. ♥]
During intermission, a video package informed us that (our current SHIMMER champion) Madison Eagles will be present, at Femmes Fatales VI; also announced, this show will be donating $3 to the Heart and Stroke Foundation (something very near and dear to LuFisto), for each ticket sold.
Back to the action, Anna Minoushka was out next (accompanied by her manager, Mademoiselle Rachelle) to face the wild-eyed Mistress Belmont. This match was a real test for both women, with neither having an overwhelming advantage over the other. When it finally appeared that Belmont was in serious trouble, she yanked the official in front of her, to protect herself from a devastating hip attack (in the corner). With the referee down (and the help of her ‘whip’), she was able to turn the tide on Minoushka and Rachelle (whipping both of their behinds); that is, until Bakais (a replacement referee with a storied history with Belmont) came down to the ring. He managed to disarm Belmont, and warned her of the possible disqualification. As he removed the weapon from the ring, a stunned Belmont was greated with a climatic spear (deep from the heart of Russia, with no Love), allowing Anna to pick up an important victory. Post-match, a concerned Bakais went to check on his ‘Lady B’ (with whom he has had some sort of strange relationship/attraction), but his advances were rejected (as the blue-haired, crimson-eyed wild woman shoved him off and threw a chair in his general direction). A dejected Bakais returned to the locker room, confused and upset. Idiot.
Semi-main event time, and this match was a scorcher! The amazing Kalamity was set to meet the muy caliente Mercedes Martinez. Things got very heated right away, as Kalamity told Mercedes flat out (and in near perfect English) “Shut up, bitch!” WHOA!! Mercedes smiled, and shrugged it off…but that didn’t mean Kalamity was off the hook! These two pummeled each other, from bell to bell. Tons of stiff forearm strikes, audible slaps, teeth loosening kicks, and ring shaking power moves. This match could’ve gone to either woman, but Mercedes was able to hit her Fisherman Buster for the 1-2-3. Something tells me, that these two will have to meet again…and again (that’s a good thing, for fans of wrestling!).
Finally, the moment everyone (including the wrestlers themselves) had been waiting well over a year for…a first-time ever battle between Ayako Hamada and “The Super Hardcore Anime” LuFisto. In a bit of foreshadowing, the fancy pink apron was removed, to expose a tattered blue apron underneath (signifying that this match was going to getting violent and, perhaps, bloody). Ayako Hamada made her entrance first (followed by a man carrying the Japanese flag), and she was very warmly received. Our current Femmes Fatales champion LuFisto (with title, and manager Pegaboo, in hand) was out next along with a Canadian flag bearer. You could feel the intensity rising and immediately knew how important the match was. After a tasteful introduction (complete, with a little girl offering each woman flowers, and the ceremonial throwing of colored streamers), this match was on! Both women showed great respect and wrestling skills during the beginning portion of this match (matching move for move, counter for counter)…but it didn’t take long for the violence to escalate. Out came the strikes, and each woman hit harder (and harder) with each next blow. Proof that no ring can contain these competitors fighting spirit, they brawled all over the building (knocking down any, and every, thing in their way!). Hamada showed Canada (first hand) just how mean she can be with a chair (or twenty!). After knocking LuFi stupid, she violently buried her under a stack of chairs. When the champion was finally able to emerge, she was covered in blood. She continued to take more abuse on the outside, until she was finally able to turn the tables on Ayako. It didn’t stop there, though… We saw Hamada hit one her amazing top rope moonsaults (to the floor!) on LuFi….LuFisto nailed a sick, high angle side suplex (on to a high angle ramp!). It seemed like we would never have a decisive winner…both women kicked out of everything (including some of each other’s trademark offensive maneuvers!); Hell, the fans didn’t even want to see a winner…they just wanted the two to keep fighting forever!! Like all good things, this match did come to an end, however. Just as Ayako looked to seal LuFisto’s fate (via moonsault while holding a chair), LuFi countered with a straight leg press to the flipping Hamada’s midsection, and proceeded to finish her with the Burning Hammer. Both challenger and champion showed an unmatched amount of heart, soul, and class that night. Hamada dressed LuFisto with the championship title and motioned that she, like the fans, wanted one more match. [This contest was a dream come true for eveyone that night. LuFisto idolized Ayako and her matches, and now fantasy met reality, as she bested one of her inspirations. How amazing...how fantastic... "Merci Beaucoup, NCW!!"]
After dinner with the NCW roster, our Team Joshi Love trio took a brief (less than 2 hour) power nap, at the hotel. From there, it was the long drive down to Brooklyn, NY for round two. At the U.S. border, we were treated like international drug trafficking spies…which, I guess seemed appropriate (given the way our ‘homeland’ works). Anyways, we made it through, with (just about) everything in tact. It was a beautiful, quiet drive (with plenty of overcast to protect our tired eyes). Upon arrival to our hotel, we geared up and headed right back out to The Warsaw for CHIKARA’s “Creatures From The Tar Swamp” (I’m not sure what that even means…but it took place on 03/13).
This was my first time in New York, and I Loved it. The venue was super awesome (complete with two screens by the bar, to ensure that you would miss none of the action); the place even had Polish food (like pierogies) for concessions…how cool is that?! Outside the venue, we had to wait for the last of the ‘Chiklets’ (or Chikarmy) to rank and file their way into the building. We kicked with WSU tag team champ Marti Belle (in her, “I’m from around here” street attire). She’s way smaller in real life, but super cool, yo (there was no “I’m a superawesome iPPV superstar” attitude, from her, even though that’s totally what she is). Inside, we prepped for a stacked evening of wrestling (though, honestly, we were mainly here for the Joshi action). The card was headlined, by the long awaited (one-on-one) confrontation, between the BDK’s Claudio Castagnoli and “God’s Middle Child” Eddie Kingston.
To kick off the night of frantic, over-the-top, no holds barred, nonstop action….Gavin Loudspeaker sat down for an acoustic set. I heard a couple of people shout that they wanted him to play Dashboard Confessional’s “Screaming Infidelities.” I would’ve been O.K. with that, but he had something else in mind. Someone must’ve given him the ‘iggy’ that we got little (to no) sleep (on our way to the show), as he performed a CHIKARA inspired parody to the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” I have to admit, it was pretty clever, but he failed to mention any of the female wrestlers in it (what’s the point of playing acoustic guitar if you aren’t giving love to the ladies).
Regardless, the first match of the evening was a bout between (Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes‘ ring announcer) Jakob Hammermeier (Go Team Jakob) and (The Colony’s) Green Ant. Hammermeier made his own introduction, than ran straight to the back to make his official entrance, as a competitor (told you he was awesome). Green Ant was in trouble from the get go, as the official for this match was none other than the BDK’s own Derek Sabato. Without the Colony at his side (as they were busy prepping for their big title match, later in the evening), Green Ant was grossly outnumbered by Jakob, the ‘pocketed’ ref, Tursas, and a few other members of the ‘brotherhood’. As a result, Hammermeier was your winner.
Amidst the evil-doers celebration, The Osirian Portal hit the ring (in their ancient, stylish ways) to battle Tim Donst, Pinkie Sanchez, and Tursas in a trios match. This match was fun and chaotic. Tursas was very difficult to contain, and (at one point) Ophidian tried to put the big man to sleep…only to receive a sick “Hart Attack” type clothesline (by Tim), off Tursas’ back, onto Donst’s own knee (look for this to be a future VDK highlight…absolutely sick!). The good guys seemed outmatched, until the lightning quick Hieracon was tagged in. He had the BDK on the run, but (again) the brute force, of the larger men in the ring, took over. Ophidian and Amasis borrowed a move from Taito’s Nintendo game “Wrath of the Black Manta” and did a stacked clone attack (with Ophi on Amasis’ shoulders, synchronizing left and right strikes to Tursas head and body…great stuff!). Naturally, this match ‘broke down’ and bodies started flying everywhere in (and out of) the ring. When it seemed like all hope was lost, the heroes emerged triumphant (after nailing Pinkie with 100 1/2 moves). [Oddly enough, Hieracon took an absurd amount of bone shattering strikes to the head, face, and chin...but he not only remained standing, he was still able to run the ropes! I'm glad the Osirian Portal won, but I think that kid's mask needs to be checked. It's either enchanted, or loaded with a very hard substance to protect his head; I don't find that kind of 'cheating' very becoming of a 'technico'].
What happened next, I’m still not sure of. The Unstable (Vin Gerard and STIGMA) came out for a match that was supposed to take place with the 3.0 (Scott Parker and Shane Matthews)…but it never happened. As Gerard was seemingly accosting a female fan, Matthews rushed out and went nuts on him. Parker had to usher the fan (and his partner) out of the building (very weird, and very uncomfortable…). For his troubles, Vin ended up with a huge knot on his head. This match was quite literally, “no contest.” Gavin unconvincingly tried to convince us the Chikara Podcast-A-Go-Go would hold answers. A-No-go.
Next the woman to took center stage, as Toshie Uematsu squared off with Sara Del Rey. This was the only women’s bout of the evening, and it was a great one. Toshie is a very talented performer, and Sara is, well…you should already know. The rotten Del Rey (though a wonderful grappler) showed very ‘poor form’ in this match (and I don’t mean her wrestling). She refused to shake the hand, of our visitor from the Land of the Rising Sun. She taunted the “Diminutive Daredevil” (a moniker too small for the big time Uematsu), by stealing her CHIKARA shirt and refusing to return it. Toshie flailed and cried, but finally got even, by stomping the Queen of Wrestling’s foot and recapturing her T-shirt. No sooner than she had neatly folded it in the center of the ring…big, bad Del Rey came and kicked her so hard, that the shirt (and Toshie) went flying. Del Rey slightly dominated much of the match, but the wiser (and craftier) Uematasu made her work for it. Sara nailed a massively, heavy powerbomb (that would make former men’s “world” champions quiver), but Toshie managed to kick out! Unfortunately for our Joshi, this was immediately followed by the Royal Butterfly, and Death Rey maintained her winning ways, unfortunately. Sara put in her bid for “Jerk of the Year” with her actions in this match (she also proved BDK really are Space Nazis from an alternate future). I can’t wait to see someone else ‘dethrone’ her.
Post-match, in a touching moment, Uematsu-san addressed the 力 audience, first in English then more detailed in her native tongue. Though I speak no Japanese, it was completely understood (by her tone and manner) that she was acknowledging the great disasters (and tragedies) that had befallen her homeland. After a humble and gracious bow, the fans saluted her by chanting “Arigato!” (until she exited to the back).
Our last match before intermission, was a tag-team Lumberjack match. Dasher Hatfield & Sugar Dunkerton (The Throwbacks) took on Grizzly Redwood & Brodie Lee (The Roughnecks). Both teams were surrounded by technicos and rudos (including The Soul Touchaz, Icarus, and the beat down Unstable…just to name a few). This was a wild war, which I knew nothing about prior (as this was my first ever CHIKARA Pro live event). I was mainly impressed by Dasher and Grizzly, in this one; Sugar and Brodie did just fine, but I truly feel Hatfield and Redwood carried the load for their respective teams. All four men took a beating, and the baseball bat was even brought into play. Grizzly showed off his might, by hoisting a member of the Throwbacks onto his shoulders…only to have Lee come flying off the top, to knock him off!! Dasher’s baseball-like head was bleeding at the nose, but I don’t think it was from any strike…but rather, I’m convinced it was his brain bleeding (after he took a brutal head bump, on a half-nelson german suplex!!). I’m not gonna lie, I felt that the lumberjacks (not counting Redwood) were relatively, ineffective in this battle. After tying Brodie Lee to the ring post, Sugar was able to nail a mean top rope senton for the win.
Back from intermission, the Batiri’s Obariyon looked to snatch up the Young Lions Cup from the Frightmare. The Batiri pulled a fast one during the entrance/introduction phase, as Kodama went in the ring (covered in the druid-like garb), allowing Obariyon to attack from the outside. This would not be enough, however, as Frightmare was able to nail him with Kneecolepsy, and retain his Young Lions Cup trophy.
Sinn Bodhi defeated UltraMantis Black, in a somewhat one-sided battle. The leader of the Neo Solar Temple just never really got off the ground in this one. Something about the crazed Bodhi was too difficult for him to overcome. Could his strangely demented form of Southern style wrasslin’ by Super Vegan Super Villian Kryptonite? I dunno…but it worked. Sinn polished off Black with the Tulala Mae, and UltraMantis was lucky to escape with what was left of his mask.
The 2/3 falls contest for the “Campeonatos de Parejas” was our semi-main event. The Colony’s Soldier and Fire Ants faced off with “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw. Lots of great wrestling action from both teams here. Fall number one came (seemingly) out of nowhere, when Soldier Ant caught Quack in a crucifix pin. Quackenbush was schooling Soldier Ant, but he was ‘technically outwrestled’ with that fall. Opting to “Bret Hart” it, Quack stayed in the match and got his pinfall back (reversing a cradle attempt by the Soldier); however, this tactic by Quackenbush cost him one of his arms (as the Ant’s dissected it, throughout the majority of the match). This prevented Quack from hitting several variations of his Quackendrivers, but there was a method to his mad actions… After the excitement spilled into our laps, and the match was nearing its dramatic end, a very fresh Jigsaw secured the third (and final) fall (utilizing a torture rack powerbomb, from the top turnbuckle, on Fire Ant!!).
Last, but not least, the ‘Biggest Singles Match in Chikara History.’ Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston wrestled, fought, and brawled to the best of their ability. This match saw lots of mayhem. There were multiple takedowns (Kingston headbutting Sabato…then Sabato dispatching Bryce), tons of big moves, Kingstons ribs were nearly broken, members of the BDK were fought off (one-by-one), CC hit a brutal (uncovered) knee strike (which, in my opinion, should’ve drawn blood!)…and that’s only half off it! Despite his valiant efforts, Kingston finally went down to a chain wrapped European uppercut. After the match, the rotten BDK sought to teach Kingston a lesson and brutally whipped the man while he was down. Claudio was so incensed, that he could not (and would not) stop. Even the cold-hearted Del Rey and loco Sanchez eventually, became disturbed by this lashing. For their efforts (of trying to convince Claudio that Kingston had enough), they were almost met with the same violence, themselves! All other members of the Brotherhood left, save for that frat bully Tim Donst (who seemed to revel in Claudio’s brutality). This was difficult to watch, and the fans were relatively ‘silenced’. Who knows where Kingston and the rest of the roster will go from here, in their fight to preserve CHIKARA from the onslaught of the BDK…
After that fairly heavy ending…it was party time!! My crew headed to have Japanese food and drinks with Toshie (at GO Restaurant, owned by a Itsuki Yamazaki, formerly of the Jumping Bomb Angels!). As great as the show was, this was way better!! Toshie is a very different woman, outside of the ring. She was very friendly, and gracious. Though most of us had to use her translator to converse with her, the interaction was a real pleasure. She and her translator were both very charming and fun. Even the owner was unbearably cool. Her response to “Hey, weren’t you one of the Jumping Bomb Angels?” was “Maybe…I think so” (with a very clever smile). Such a great evening, with such great people to cap off a great weekend. You should really join us, next time!
Anthony “The Real Heat” Cervantes
The DDS staff is still recovering from this past, epic, weekend of wrestling, poutine, Dashboard Confessional acoustic sets, werewolf attacks, Jumping Bomb No Sells, border guard harassment, and dinner with former Ironman Heavymetalweight Champions, so the detailed write up will have to wait.
I will say that the CHIKARA show was quite good. Toshie Uematsu vs Del Rey was terrific and the US fans seemed to appreciate Toshie as much as she appreciated them. The Claudio vs Kingston singles battle really did live up to the hype, although the post-match beatdown was quite disturbing and maybe a bit too dark for electro-color world of CHIKARA (even complete jerks like Del Rey and Sanchez thought Claudio went too far). The fantastic Ants vs Quacksaw tag title match has me very excited for King of Trios in hopes the matchup happens with Manami Toyota added in.