Chikara AniversarioCT

05/24/2008

Knights of Columbus Hall, Wallingford, Connecticut, United States

(reviewed 10/21/2019)

Hey, Chikara’s back in front of an appreciative Connecticut crowd. Unfortunately my friend Andrew is among their number, this massive ogre seated front row facing the hard cam. Viewer discretion is advised if you end up watching this show.

Mike Quackenbush & Shane Storm vs The Osirian Portal (Amasis & Ophidian)

One point apiece here so someone’s going home unhappy. Won’t be the crowd, though, because this match rules. Wallingford is hot hot hot and hugely into what these guys are doing, which is one of the better outings from these students of late. The Portal are able to take control by going after Storm’s nose, which Eddie Kingston has already broken twice this year, but the good guys are never kept down for long. As much as Storm’s been finding his mojo again of late, it’s always Quack who’s breaking up pins and making cutoffs. He connects with the Quackendriver III to secure their second point and send the rookies back down to zero.

As Vin Gerard makes his entrance for this next match, someone in the crowd makes a very funny comment and asks if he’s in Poison.

Vin Gerard vs Jimmy Olsen

Gerard goes for his usual open but Jimmy sees it coming and gets the best of the rudo, shoving the torn Equinox mask over his head and knocking him all over the venue. When Jimmy accidentally cracks his hand against the ring post going for a chop, Gerard’s able to go after the injury and take control. This is only a preview of what’s to come but already these guys mesh together real well, as Gerard’s aggressive heeling fits perfectly with Olsen’s earnest appeal and snug offense. Jimmy’s able to withstand one of Gerard’s dirty tricks when he fakes a knee injury but he can’t kick out of a pin attempt when the rudo’s grabbing hold of the ropes for leverage.

Both men run into each other afterward in a rare post-match promo backstage. Jimmy wants nothing to do with the guy as he’s got his mind set on the future, on things like the Young Lions Cup and his brother Colin returning from sabbatical. Gerard interrupts him and says that Colin’s never coming back before leaning in to whisper where he’s gone. Jimmy, appalled, storms off and Gerard murmurs about how the truth stinks before slinking away.

Super Smash Bros. (Player Uno & Stupefied) vs Up in Smoke (Cheech & Cloudy)

Ahhh, so good! Best Up in Smoke spotfest since the secret match of the decade and arguably SSB’s first big breakout match. They don’t end up winning this but I’d say their performance here is what led to the success they found later in 2008. Lots of slick spots and clever teamwork in this one, just about the platonic ideal of a fun midcard tag match. Stupefied’s stupendous amazing highflying can catch anybody off guard but it leads to him crashing and burning, allowing Up in Smoke to take him down reliably. Uno’s explosive offense likewise does a lot but he struggles in a two-on-one setting. Even when they manage to take control there’s just a million little ways their opponents can slip free, which eventually results in Uno accidentally double stomping his teammate and finding himself on the wrong end of a shining wizard/powerbomb backbreaker combo. SSB are stuck at zero as Up in Smoke earn their first point in forever.

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN MICHAELS VS THE UNDERTAKER FROM WRESTLEMANIA 25: Don’t have a lot to say about this one but I think it’s kind of a flawless match. It’s every bit as polished and intense as Shawn/Taker and doesn’t suffer from any of the bloat or muddled storytelling. I’m not trying to make out like this is some narrative masterwork or an unheralded classic but, like, it does what it sets out to do perfectly and Shawn/Taker doesn’t. Isn’t that enough, in the end?

VERDICT: Better than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25

Jorge “Skayde” Rivera vs Turbo

Sadly this is Turbo’s last Chikara match of the year and basically his last ever aside from a one-off tag in 2009. Thankfully he goes out on a fairly good match with his trainer. The surprisingly good matwork he showed last night only gets him so far against a guy like Skayde, so instead he sticks mainly to faster, flippier efforts. Unfortunately they still run into some problems. Turbo seems to knock himself loopy at one point, resulting in a few awkward moments of dead air that they’re thankfully able to move on from, but soon thereafter they run into another regrettable clash of cultures. At one point Skayde’s got his student in a grounded armlock and Turbo smacks the mat to try and get the crowd clapping to build his momentum. He waves his finger around to show that he wasn’t tapping, as that’s often not the way people submit to holds in lucha libre, but after a debacle earlier in the year referee Bryce Remsburg is quick to call for the bell. Both luchadors are unwilling to end things there, so they keep wrestling in front of a muted crowd who slowly get back into the action. Clearly, though, Turbo is feeling the effects from his earlier accident and after a few minutes of rolling around, Skayde pins his student with the hold bearing his name.

In a cute moment, Director of Fun Leonard F. Chikarason welcomes the next Young Lions Cup entrant to the ring: Steve “the Turtle” Weiner. His fellow New Englanders hoot and holler as he bounces around the ring in glee.

Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr) vs The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple (Hydra & Tim Donst)

Yeah, first Ice Creams match in six months! They have their usual sort of match with the Order, full of all sorts of tricks and goofs that kills a whole bunch of time. It doesn’t land 100% of the time, of course, but it’s real fun. Hydra continues to look far more effective than ever before, pulling off satellite headscissors takedowns and fancy armdrags that delight me to no end, but he and Donst still struggle against the dastardly desserts. It’s only by turning the Ice Creams against each other—inadvertently or otherwise—that they’re able to get ahead. Somehow, eventually our two heroes are able to trap the Ice Creams in a goofy double Hydra Lock and… they tap out? And… Donst and Hydra earn… three points? …?!??!

I swear to god, these dorks are gonna make me cry.

Backstage, F.I.S.T. are looking for revenge against the Colony. Gran Akuma says that all great teams suffer setbacks but they’re looking to bust heads tonight. Icarus admits that they’ve never been able to defeat the ants in Chikara but with Chuck Taylor now at their side, they’ll do whatever it takes to find their long-awaited victory. Chuck closes out by vowing to eat the ants alive, tearing them apart piece by piece.

F.I.S.T. (Icarus, Gran Akuma, & Chuck Taylor) vs The Colony (Fire Ant, Soldier Ant, & Worker Ant)

Fun little thing. This is much more explicitly comedic than the best F.I.S.T./Colony stuff is but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it features goofs as famous as the ones here:

Not for everyone and certainly not something that should be in every match, but a silly spot I enjoy greatly. F.I.S.T. are able to take control after that invisible grenade, keeping Soldier Ant down with effective and sometimes illicit strategies. Eventually he’s able to force a tag by hitting a big elbow suicida, allowing both of his partners to come in and run wild ahead of their own dives. Finishing stretch is a little sloppier than I’d like but it really bangs at points and hits on the themes that make these teams—and tag team wrestling in general—so good, namely exciting teamwork and coherent strategies. The ants’ bond allows them to make up for each other’s weaknesses but when they all get too caught up in going for the Ant Hill, they allow Icarus to come barreling in and break up their biggest move. That wipes out Fire Ant, the Awful Waffle neutralizes Worker Ant, and Soldier Ant goes down to a Sole Food/Yoshi Tonic combo.

Mitch Ryder growls through a promo with Shayne Hawke backstage. He hasn’t forgotten about the haircut Lince Dorado gave him last year and El Pantera isn’t gonna be able to save the young luchador from the beating he’s gonna get for it. Hawke reminds him that if they win tonight they’ll have three points and Mitch closes by saying it doesn’t matter if it’s the luchadors, Incoherence, or whoever because everyone opposing them are going down.

The Fabulous Two (Mitch Ryder & Shayne Hawke) vs Lince Dorado & El Pantera

Masked men are at zero points, so they’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose here. Unfortunately Pantera has taken that to heart, as he basically sleepwalks through this, his final Chikara match to date. It doesn’t help that this is a real old school sort of match full of stalling and crowd work and the like. The crowd isn’t totally against that even if it follows two longer, much more exciting matches but when Hawke makes a crass joke about Lince’s seizure last year it just about kills them dead, driving them to entertain themselves with self-indulgent chants and jeers. Once these guys settle down into the real meat of the match it’s actually pretty good but Wallingford is just no longer interested. Pantera eventually gets the hot tag but doesn’t do much with it, as moments later Mitch low blows Lince behind the ref’s back and scores with a rollup. Three points for the Fabulous Two earns them a title shot in July.

Standing out in the parking lot, Brodie Lee vows to become the top dog of Chikara by defeating Claudio Castagnoli. It’s time to take Claudio behind the shed and pop one in his head because today is his day.

Brodie Lee vs Claudio Castagnoli

Way, way better than their first match back in April, not that it would take much. This one is another stepping stone to bigger and better stuff down the line but it succeeds in ways the first match didn’t. Both guys make sure to wrestle like big guys, for one, really blasting each other with shots that you can hear clear as day in this little room. They also do well to make this match feel like a struggle instead of a bunch of moves back and forth, even if that formula eventually wears itself out. Since this matchup doesn’t lend itself well to control segments or anything like that, these guys are just throwing moves around and after ten or twelve minutes of the same thing it gets kind of old. Thankfully they don’t overstay their welcome. This time it’s Brodie’s turn to lay out the referee and even though they keep fighting for a while, hitting a few signature moves that don’t quite get visual pinfalls, the big rig is eventually disqualified when Bryce comes to.

Claudio chases after his huge opponent, looking to gain his revenge by way of a post-match Ricola Bomb, but Brodie slips free and bails to leave the Swiss stewing.

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