Babs of AwesesomeWisdom.com has been writing a series articles analyzing the complex story lines and characters of CHIKARA. Given the promotion’s alleged impending Doom, we thought this piece by her was very timely.
Wrestling is often compared to other forms and methods of art and entertainment, from popular culture, like sitcoms to sophisticated culture, like ballet. So why not compare it to Ancient Greek Theater? Today, those ancient works are perceived as the dry, boring domains of academics; however at the time the plays were a popular and enjoyable type of entertainment. The plays examined the human condition through entertaining tales of love, lust, friendship, betrayal, revenge, and violence. Sound familiar?
There were three types of Ancient Greek plays – comedic, satyr, and tragic, which is our focus here. In tragedies the protagonist is a man of importance and status who experiences some misfortune, usually caused by his own actions and behaviors. The hero’s suffering is attributed to a flaw in his character, most commonly hubris or an inability to cope with the consequences of his mistakes. Tragedies often invoke the concept of fate: the hero can’t prevent making the mistake that begins his misery, even if he tries. The aftermath of the hero’s mistake and it’s effect on everyone around him drive the plot of the tragedy to its conclusion. Most tragic plays end with the hero in pain and misery, but there are some that have happier endings.
Although Ultramantis Black often claims to be the most devious villain in pro wrestling, I view him as a tragic hero of CHIKARA. Consider his feud with Delirious. Mantis made two tragic mistakes that set the feud in motion. The first occurred when he decided to obtain the Eye of Tyr back in 2008. He gained the Eye of Tyr by nefariously learning to apply the technico-only CHIKARA Special and teaching it to Chris Hero, in exchange for him wrestling for Dr. Cube in Kaiju Big Battel. In return for Hero’s services, Dr. Cube gave Mantis the Eye.
Black’s second tragic mistake was using the Eye to control Delirious. He could have used it on anyone, but Black chose the violent and unpredictable Delirious in order to destroy the Incoherence faction, as it was led by his former partner Hallowicked. Using great power to exact petty, personal revenge is, of course, a recurring theme in Greek tragedy.
There are two caveats that come with using the Eye. If the user gains it by underhanded methods, like Mantis did, bad luck and tragedy will befall them. Those things will also occur to any user who does not give away the Eye of Tyr after using it. Mantis decided he didn’t believe in the curse and did both. He was smart enough to get the Eye, but foolish enough to ignore the dangers and consequences. This is Mantis’ tragic flaw, his hubris. Mantis’ stubbornness and overconfidence in his own cunning made him feel invincible. He was wrong and he wasn’t the only one to suffer because of it.
While Mantis eventually realized the error of his ways and turned technico, his actions had already set a course of events in motion. Bringing the Eye to CHIKARA led to the BDK’s formation and invasion. Ares claimed that the Eye had been stolen from his family and vowed to get it back. When he did, the BDK used it to gain control over Delirious and turned him into a weapon. While the havoc wreaked by the BDK was not directly Mantis’ doing, but for his actions none of it would have happened.
Mantis made it his mission to fight the BDK, but those efforts brought more bad fortune, as it eventually unleashed the Dark Army. Mantis won the Eye back from Ares at High Noon. However when he destroyed it to give Delirious back his free will, Delirious vowed to make him suffer for two years for the abuse he experienced.
While Ultramantis Black and The Spectral Envoy were able to win King of Trios, they have spent much of the time since the first High Noon fighting Delirious’ army of The Batiri and Ophidian (it was Mantis’ staff that was The Catalyst for Ophidian’s transformation into The Serpent Spirit.)
Since destroying the Eye of Tyr, Ultramantis Black has been in multiple wars, almost de-masked, injured bad enough to miss the beginning of this Season. There still may be time for Delirious to gain more revenge against Mantis and make our tragic hero suffer further. Or maybe Mantis will be lucky one of those lucky heroes that gets a happy ending. Maybe he finally defeats Delirious and his army. But with the potential end of CHIKARA looming, maybe it’s already too late.
You can read more of Babs’ work on the CHIKARA101 Boards and AwesomeWisdom.com, and follow her on Twitter at @FemmeJoMo. See the end(?) of CHIKARA this Sunday by ordering the Never Compromise iPPV here on Smart Mark Video.