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CHIKARA DVD Review – “Quantum of Solace”

Prelude to the Review: I was actually at this show, so getting to see this show from a new perspective will be pretty fun.  That being said, I want to give you guys a great reason to buy these shows.  I don’t plan on doing a PBP, but at least my opinions of things going on in the match.  When there are promos, I’ll be happy to give you thoughts on them.

Match #1: The Throwbacks (Mr. Touchdown & Dasher Hatfield) v. The Submission Squad (Gary Jay & Evan Gelistico)
Commentators: Leonard F. Chikarason & Bryce Remsburg
The Match: The commentary team made a distinct point to remind us that Dasher & Touchdown have 2 points, but have a huge challenge to leave the Midwest with 3 points now that they matter again.  In my opinion, Hatfield has become one of CHIKARA’s most improved wrestlers over the past couple of years, being able to hold his own in the ring with anyone.  This is my first chance to see Gary Jay and Evan Gelistico in a CHIKARA environment.  There’s a lot of hijinx with Gary and Dasher in the opening moments before they tag in Gelistico and Touchdown.  The Throwbacks have started to really gel as a team now that they don’t have the technico/rudo dynamic with them, which has led to fun teamwork and a much more fun Touchdown to me.  Gary Jay’s chops are still pretty strong, and the double team moves of The Submission Squad are still pretty strong.  Good trading off of the advantage, and Touchdown is starting to become a pretty entertaining cat in his own right.  One of my favorite tag moves from the weekend came with Gelistico and Jay getting Touchdown up and Jay swinging around for a Doomsday Device-esque swinging Complete Shot.  The win comes when Dasher and Touchdown seem to hit this tandem forearm/Lightning Spiral.  It gives them three points and the win in a great opener.
Rating: 8/10
Comments: This is a great way to open a show.  Dasher and Touchdown do great work as a team and the two are an amazing baby face tandem that know how to work the crowd the right way to open a show.

Match #2: Heidi Lovelace v. Ophidian
Commentators: Leonard F. Chikarason & Bryce Remsburg
The Match: Can I just say that The Osirian Portal has some of the best entrance music in CHIKARA?  I love Ophidian, and I’m beyond thrilled to have him back as a Technico.  His work is much better as one in my opinion, but my thoughts will change on that momentarily as you’ll see.  Ophidian winds up playing the heel in this match, displayed pretty quickly.  He’s not a giant heel, but the two really start the match with a lot of chain wrestling and submission holds.  Heidi is beyond impressive, and it’s really fun to see her.  There was an incredible chain that led to a bridge on Heidi from Ophidian that has to be seen to be believed.  The match is not for people who want a spotfest, but it’s rather a match that has a lot of rest holds and chain wrestling that actually seemed fair at times.  I didn’t hate it, but it’s also not always my kind of match.  A huge thing in their favor, however, was that both of them knew how to play for their strengths.  Despite my personal proclivities, Heidi and Ophidian put on a hell of a match and they both came off great in it.  Ophidian picks up a huge win.  Post match, Heidi got that handshake she was looking for in the start Ophidian denied her.
Rating: 7.5/10
Comments: After a really hot opener, this sort of slowed the whole pace down and you can tell the crowd quieted up.  It wasn’t a bad thing, but again, just not necessarily my cup of tea.

Mike Quackenbush promo!
Comments: It was a pretty standard in-ring promo from Quack, really.  Considering it was only one of the first shows since the season relaunched, they took an opportunity to get the fans familiar with Quack as the new Director of Fun.  Also, an ALMOST tasteless comment starts the promo from a fan.  You may get a chuckle, however.

Match #3: The Baltic Siege (Latvian Proud Oak & Lithuanian Snow Troll) v. The Bloc Party (Mr. Azerbaijan & Prakash Sabar)
Commentators: Leonard F. Chikarason & Bryce Remsburg
The Match: First off, if this is your first exposure to these groups, you may not necessarily get it or even like it.  Again, this is one of those situations that IS NOT for everyone.  That’s part of CHIKARA’s charm though.  I read on a message board recently that some fans are referring to Sabar as X-Pakistan.  If you haven’t seen it yet, YOU WILL.  That being said, I absolutely love The Baltic Siege.  They’re a fun duo and there’s something about that Proud Oak.  The match opens with a “YOU’RE NOT SEXY!” chant at Mr. Azerbaijan, which had its charm.  They did note that The Bloc Party is without The Polar Baron, and they also did explained some of the origin of Sabar, mentioning he’s a Georgia native that relocated to Pakistan.  The commentary on this one is exceptionally full of pop culture references and humor, which your mileage may very on.  I don’t think this match dragged the show down, but the comedy wasn’t something everyone got.  Maybe we need more European History students watching CHIKARA?  Baltic Siege wins with a quick roll up on Azerbaijan.  Post match beat down, which kept this storyline hot for the second match involving it later.  There was some heel antics with the flags of the Snow Troll and the Proud Oak, which will come into play later this season…at least one would think.
Rating: 7/10
Comments: Was it funny?  Mostly.  I think I had more fun with it live than I did watching it on the DVD.

Match #4: deviANT v. Worker Ant
Commentators: Scott “Jagged” Parker & Mike Quackenbush
The Match: This is the fist time we’ve seen a member of The Flood on this show, and they show their disconnect from the locker room by coming out from another area.  There’s a lot of history here as Worker Ant has only recently adopted the name, as he is the former Swarm member known as assailANT.  With him firmly now wanting to be a member of CHIKARA, his former partner has become his enemy, even more now that The Flood has made no bones about wanting to destroy Chicago.  The two took this fight into the crowd, which didn’t exactly feel as intense as it could have for a brawl.  A lot of the brawl didn’t even take place until after Worker Ant had to break an almost 20 count, but after that, things began picking up a bit.  A big plus on deviANT’s story for the match has him working over the hand of Worker Ant, which hit the post pretty badly in the early parts of this match.  Worker Ant is exceptionally underrated at what he does, and I actually really enjoy his stuff.  Even if you’re the third best in your trio, you have to keep in perspective those other two are Silver Ant and Fire Ant, two exceptional wrestlers.  Worker is probably the best brawler of the group, which fits him.  I’d like to mention at this point that I love Quack on commentary, because I love to hear the right moves being called.  Worker Ant wins with a pumphandle into a GTS-like knee.
Rating: 7.5/10
Comments: A match that started slow ended pretty strong.  It was a solid match and definitely made both Ants look good.

Match 5: Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard) v. AC/DC (Arik Cannon & Darin Corbin)
Commentators: Scott “Jagged” Parker & Mike Quackenbush
The Match: Pieces of Hate have a new theme from when I last saw them live, Chicago’s Tag World Grand Prix last May. I actually love this one way more than the previous.  I also always thought AC/DC was a joke name for Cannon & Corbin, but they have matching gear for the team name, and I was a little surprised to see Cannon in actual tights instead of those pants he normally wears.  Cannon and Corbin are both good wrestlers, but Corbin may be one of the most underrated guys on the indies.  I did appreciate Parker taking time on commentary to get Quack’s feelings about Jigsaw in The Flood, but more importantly…WE GET SLOW MOTION WRESTLING!  AND COMMENTARY!  How do you not love that?  There was also some of the most amusing and irrelevant commentary about seafood and the complexity of the Attitude Adjustment.  Jigsaw and Shard have great double team moves, and their chemistry has been on point from the start, even moreso now.  The experience each team has as teammates shows, and it’s helped make this match simply exceptional.  One of my favorite double teams may just be a double foot stomp and coast to coast dropkick from the PoH with Corbin in a tree of woe.  A rightfully so “This is awesome!” chant breaks out for the two teams, and the PoH wins with a SICK Canadian Destroyer/Jig ‘N’ Tonic sequence.
Rating: 8.5/10
Comments: This was probably the match of the show up to this point.  It was a great showing from Cannon and Corbin, who get nowhere near the amount of love they should as a CHIKARA team.

Match #6: Estonian Thunderfrog v. Proletariat Boar of Moldova
Commentators: Scott “Jagged” Parker & Mike Quackenbush
The Match: The Boar is accompanied by Mr. Azerbaijan and Prakesh Sabar.  He also happens to look like the most built of the three, but I guess that’s the point of him.  Just a warning here: if you didn’t like the Baltic Siege and Bloc Party stuff prior to this match, you may not like it now.  If you’re a fan of it, you’ll be just fine!  The Estonian Thunderfrog might be one of my favorite new characters in CHIKARA, and I’m hoping to see more of him in the company.  Also, I can’t help but mention he’s really not a bad wrestler either.  The Boar does a great job keeping his offense simple to power moves, which works for the character all things considered.  The two do a great job trading off their offense and making the other look impressive, so it’s great on the give and take in my opinion.  The use of the hammer was quite fun, and again makes me love the Thunderfrog.  However, a spear to the Boar in mid-air helps him get the win and end a rather entertaining match.
Rating: 8/10
Comments: I gave it an 8 because I didn’t think they overdid it on the comedy, but I certainly loved the give and take and the abilities of both Frog and Boar.  It wasn’t a perfect match, but if you take it at the face value of a comedy match with guys who are fun to watch, it changes your perspective.

Match #7/Main Event: The Spectral Envoy (Ultra Mantis Black, Hallowicked, & Frightmare) v. The Wrecking Crew (Blaster McMassive, Jaka, & Oleg the Usurper)
Commentators: Scott “Jagged” Parker & Mike Quackenbush
The Match: Oleg and Jaka are new to the CHIKARA roster, having been brought in via The Flood and Sidney Bakabella.  All three have been fun to watch over in the Wrestling Is promotions, so this should be no different.  Also, The Spectral Envoy may be some of CHIKARA’s most popular superstars in the company.  They had no problem getting the crowd on their feet simply by actually getting their music played.  It was a hot start though, the Wrecking Crew doing what they do best with brawling and attacking.  The commentators were quick to note that Max Smashmaster was supposed to be in this match and was replaced at some point, but I don’t think it took away the quality of it.  The Envoy did a great job showing how well they worked as a trio, which is big considering that they’re the regular group compared to The Wrecking Crew.  One thing I do like since the last time I’ve seen McMassive is that he’s added a little more personality and bravado since the early days of the Devastation Corporation, and it’s paying off.  Also, let the record state that Oleg is surprisingly agile, proving that CHIKARA may have some of the best big men in wrestling as far as in-ring ability goes.  McMassive had an amazing running powerbomb after an attempted hurricanrana, and it fully displays just how much he’s improved in the past year plus.  The big thing is that when this match picks up, it REALLY picks up in a fast paced match that’s really the tradition of CHIKARA tag matches in any and all formats.  A surprise save from Blind Rage helps start the finish, leading to Mantis cinching in the CHIKARA Special on Oleg for the win.
Rating: 9/10
Comments: This match has a lot of everything.  There’s a little bit of fun, a lot of great action, and the action is crisp and doesn’t feel like it’s spotty or choppy.  Everything works in the place they have it and the pace it’s supposed to go.  Everyone came off great in it, and nobody looked bad by the end, not even the losers of the match.  It was the perfect way to end the afternoon show.

Final Thoughts: CHIKARA pulled off a great afternoon show in Chicago.  Even the worst matches weren’t bad matches, and everything came off as being moderately fun at worst to incredibly fun at best.  It was the perfect welcome back to a city that has nothing but love for this company.  This show is Recommended.

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One thought on “CHIKARA DVD Review – “Quantum of Solace”

  1. first time reading your stuff, but nice to see someone carrying on the CHIKARA tradition here.

    That said, I think you over-rated a lot of the stuff on the stuff. Being there live may give you a bit of a personal basis, so I suppose that’s forgivable.

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