Chikara finally made its way down to Florida just a few short weeks ago, and it was a tale of two shows. First up, Tampa, i.e. the good show. This was top to bottom a very strong Chikara show overall that featured a rare instance of a first half being longer (and better) than the second half. Many Chikara storylines came into focus on this show, and similar to 2012, we appear to be in store for another mixed bag with some good and bad. If nothing else, one of the more compelling Chikara angles in their history is well underway. In order to get properly started, I thought it would be wise to talk about one of the more return matches.
In the semi-main event of the show, 3.0 successfully defended their Campeonatos de Parejas over Devastation Corporation. This was a rematch of the main event of the first Wrestling is Awesome. To be blunt, I hated that match. This was a million times (or roughly two stars) better. Blaster McMassive in particular gets better with every match and would appear to be on WWEâ€™s radar simply based on his look. Max Smashmaster is still very rough in the ring, but smoke and mirrors covered up some of the flaws. It also helped this was kept to 12 minutes. The ability to not expose weaker members of the roster is important. Iâ€™ll talk about this pretty extensively in this review and in looking at the Orlando show. The psychology was fairly simple as Scott Parkerâ€™s midsection was worked over for much of the match. Much of 3.0â€™s offense was neutralized, but the familiarity from the first match allowed them to adjust and come up with some new tricks. I still have my reservations about this duo, but this was a solid entry into the history of these titles.
The other championship featured Mark Angelosetti defending against Jakob Hammermeier. Hammermeier focused much more on striking and trying to be like every other member of the roster. The shaved head and Zack Ryder tights fit his image and association. Touchdown getting a better match out of Hammermeier than so many others has to be a tribute to his skills as a worker. Did not like the ending though as Hammermeier had a visual pinfall on Angelosetti after the big punch, but Tim Donst and Veronica made their presences felt. Itâ€™s bad enough every Tim Donst match now has an awful ending, but Iâ€™m even more bothered with the idea of this infecting other matches on the card. Touchdown won with a spinebuster and his feet on the ropes after being knocked out. The ending hurt this my enjoyment of this match.
Although not a championship match, King versus Kong was a bit of a dream match. The fact that it went only seven minutes has to be considered a disappointment. Clearly, Eddie Kingston was in a foul mood based on his pre and post-match character. Given his no-showing of the Orlando show, much of the anger had nothing to do with being in character. There were some fun strike exchanges in these seven minutes, but itâ€™s not acceptable for a main event of a high level indy show to not go at least 10-15 minutes. The out of nowhere ending with Kingston hitting one more backfist didnâ€™t help. Amazing Kong doesnâ€™t appear to be in the best of shape or all that healthy. I canâ€™t imagine what sheâ€™s had to deal with these last few years in her personal life, but I still would have liked to have seen a strong performance here. This will likely go down as one of the biggest disappointments of the year.
As mentioned earlier, the first half of the show was indeed better as the show kicked off with a four way eliminator tag team match. Jigsaw spent much of the match avoiding Mike Quackenbush before sneaking up and getting a roll-up fall over his former mentor. Brilliant booking as it keeps the issue between them hot and gets Jigsaw some extra heat. Also, with Green Ant as Quackâ€™s partner, he also wasnâ€™t put in a position where he had to job out. In fact, he got the first fall of the match by making Kobald tap out to the same move he defeated Eddie Kingston with last month. Icarus and Sugar Dunkerton canâ€™t decide whether they like or hate each other, but theyâ€™re still teaming together. Here, they got their first point. Icarus even acted like a babyface and adapted his offense. Fans chanting and cheering for him has to be considered awkward given his history, and his situation with Dunkerton is at least slightly more interesting now. As far as the match overall, I appreciated that this got 20 minutes since the action was good, and teams werenâ€™t asked to lose to transition moves in five minutes. It renders other matches unbelievable if guys can lose to quickly in other situations. Good storytelling and action led to a fun opener.
Gran Akuma and Johnny Gargano finally got a chance to have a one-on-one match, and it was good as you would hope. They got 12 minutes and used all of them productively. I feel like this was a total â€œF Uâ€ match as they showed everything they can do and showed why they deserve more opportunities in more places to truly have the kind of matches theyâ€™re capable of. Gargano is the Open the Freedom Gate champion and world yet travel, yet in Chikara, heâ€™s a caricature. Akuma is also taking himself seriously and should be treated as more than just a guy who fills in tag team matches or loses to Jakob Hammermeier in eight minute matches. For being the second match of the card, this was about as good as it gets given the position.
Archibald Peck is someone who I call the Andy Kaufman of professional wrestling as he always stays in character but can adapt in so many ways. On this night, he wrestled Obaryion and got a DDT over. In 2013. Peck called this his new move, but we all know the DDT has basically become a transition move in modern professional wrestling. Obaryion is someone who I believe is held back by his lesser partners. He got to have a fine singles match with Peck. This was the third consecutive good match of the night that Peck won with the small package. It would be easy to think of Peck in the same vein as Colt Cabana, but Peck seems to be constantly changing and evolving his moveset as well as the way he uses comedy in a wrestling ring.
Ophidian did not wrestle on this show, but he tried to kill the spirit of Amasis with a staff. Amasis would have none of this and attacked. He never got his hands on Ophidian, but a match between them is coming.
I winced at the thought of Sean Waltman having another Chikara match when he was announced for this show against Hallowicked. I cringed at some of the recklessÂ moves and dives he attempted to perform even more. Thankfully, he was okay and did a great thing losing to Hallowicked. Wicked is clearly set up for the number one contendership now and got a victory over someone with a lot of pedigree. The very definition of a three star match as this was good but nothing extraordinary.
I guess in some sense weâ€™re saving the best for last. Colony Xtreme Force, one of the most divisive groups in Chikara history already, made their debut in a match that inexplicably received nearly 25 minutes. I understand the idea of letting characters breath, but there is no good reason for Arctic Rescue Ant, Missile Assault Ant, and Orbit Adventure Ant to be exposed they were this weekend. The clear concept that came across is these three ants are more about themselves and getting credit from the crowd moreso than listening to their leader or trying to win matches. The characters were quite amusing, and the Tampa crowd was willing to play ball. Xtreme Force established themselves on the rudo side after an incredible sequence between Fire Ant and Soldier Ant ended with a handshake. Poor assailANT got to job out once again to the new ants. I liked this match but felt if it was cut in half, everyone would have been better off. The same stories could have been told in 12 minutes instead of 15. I liked this match and was all about the new Colony. Then the next night happened, but Iâ€™ll talk more about that in â€œThe Watchmakerâ€ review.
For some good matches in the first and second half, Iâ€™d say to give this show a watch. I love where the Jigsaw/Quack stuff is going as that appears to be the strongest angle going. Everyone on the roster at least has something to do this year unlike in yearâ€™s past. We can argue whether itâ€™s good or not, but I like the idea of all the roster members being engaged.
Quick times, results, match ratings, and entertainment ratings:
Announcers: Bryce Remsburg, Scott Parker, Gavin Loudspeaker, Leonard F. Chikarason, Steve Weiner, and Mike Quackenbush
-F.I.S.T (Sugar Dunkerton and Icarus) pick up one point in a four way eliminator over the Batiri (Kobald and Kodama), Mike Quackenbush and Green Ant, and Shard and Jigsaw. Icarus pins Shard after Feed Me More/21:05/***1/4/***1/2
-Gran Akuma defeats Johnny Gargano with the tenchi crash/12:18/***1/2/***1/2
-Archibald Peck defeats Obaryion with the la mahestral cradle/9:47/***/***1/2
-Hallowicked defeats Sean Waltman after Go 2 Sleepy Hollow and the running boot/9:48/***1/4/***1/2
-Colony Xtreme Force (Soldier Ant, Missile Assault Ant, Arctic Rescue Ant, and Orbit Adventure Ant) defeat Fire Ant, assailANT, Saturyne and Dasher Hatfield when Arctic Rescue Ant pins assailANT with a leg drop off the top rope/24:16/**3/4/***
assailANT is being over enthusiastic again. Arctic Rescue Ant skies on assailANT. Orbit Adventure Ant wonâ€™t tangle with Saturyne. Timing is way off. These guys need a lot of work. All about themselves and not the team. Soldier Ant and Fire Ant having an incredibly fun exchange. Xtreme Force attack Fire Ant. Why put them over in their first match and job out assailANT?
-Young Lionâ€™s Cup: Mark Angelosetti successfully defends successfully against Jakob Hammermeier via pinfall after a spinebuster and putting his feet on the ropes/11:06/**1/2/**1/2
-Campeonatos de Parejas: 3.0 (Shane Matthews and Scott Parker) defeat the Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive and Max Smashmaster) two falls to one/12:16/***1/4/***1/2
-Eddie Kingston defeats Amazing Kong/7:15/**3/4/***
For more information in CHIKARA Pro, including tickets and event information,Â please check their website.Â While you can purchase DVDs there as well, you can also purchase their DVDs onÂ Smart Mark Video.Â Â This is a great way to save on shipping and not have a DVD clogging your shelf (if thatâ€™s what youâ€™re concerned about). Itâ€™s super easy to purchase and then download on your computer. I could not recommend this service strongly enough whether youâ€™re buying CHIKARA or many other promotions.
To get a great sense of history and participate in discussion of the company,Â check out their official messageboard. One thing the promotion does really well? Videos. They have frequent (almost daily) updates on theirÂ YouTube channel.
As someone who is not nearly the CHIKARA fan as certain others, even I need to look up information and have a good CHIKARA resource. I can can think of no better place to do this and also read exclusive reviews of every CHIKARA show in history than atÂ The CHIKARA Special.Â Kevin Ford maintains this little blog and also updates aÂ CHIKARA Special TumblrÂ with news and videos nearly every day.
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