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Tape Review: Chikara Pro, "Tag World Grand Prix," night 1, Feb. 24, 2006, with Hero, Castognoli, Delirious, Necro surprise

Apr 21, 2006 - 10:17:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Chikara Pro held night 1 of the “Tag World Grand Prix” on Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, in Hellerstown, Penn. For the second consecutive year, the Tag World tournament features 32 teams, and the event covers three consecutive nights. The consensus from everyone I spoke with was that night 1 was the best show of the three days.

I’ve written this before, but Chikara Pro stresses family fun, lucha-style action, colorful characters, and comedy. They are the “anti-ECW” promotion out there, and they’ve definitely found a niche. One other note: because this is lucha rules, when a wrestler rolls to the floor, it counts as a tag to his partner, and that’s important in a tag tournament!

The crowd here is perhaps 200 to 250 fans, which is a nice draw for this promotion. The building is well lit, sound is good, and Smart Mark Video taped the event with multiple cameras. On commentary early is Mike Quackenbush (who was out with an injury; he’s now healthy and back competing) and Mr. Zero. I didn’t care for Zero’s voice, but WOW, is he knowledgeable! Zero definitely has studied a few wrestling tapes!

* The show began with the grand opening ceremony, as each of the 16 teams competing on the show were introduced.

* Crossbones cut a backstage promo, and he demanded to know who is Hallowicked’s mystery partner.

* Arik Cannon hit the ring, and he said he still didn’t have a partner for his first-round match on Saturday (night 2). He asked Mark Wolf to be his partner, but Wolf said he hadn’t been in the ring in eight months, and he declined the offer.

* Who is Hallowicked’s random partner? The first name pulled from the hat was Rockin’ Rebel, who was not there. The second name pulled was Roderick Strong… who also was not there. The third name pulled… is Delirious! Delirious slithered out from the back, and we are ready to get the first match underway!

(1) Round 1: Delirious & Hallowicked defeat Crossbones & Rorschach at 9:26. Good opener. Crossbones & Rorschach both wear black & orange outfits and masks; Crossbones is heavier and has good charisma. Hallowicked is one of the top Chikara students. Delirious went crazy as the bell rang, and he squared off with Rorschach. They traded kicks to the gut. Delirious hit some headbutts, chops, and a series of 30 clotheslines in the corner!

Hallowicked entered at 3:30, and he faced off against Crossbones. Crossbones hit a nice running kick for a nearfall. Rorschach hit a double armbar on Hallowicked. Crossbones unloaded some hard spine kicks, then a buttbump in the corner at 7:00. The crowd rallied behind Hallowicked (who is usually a heel here!) Hallowicked hit a dive to the floor on Crossbones. Delirious entered and hit the BAM leaping lariat on Rorschach. Rorschach came back with a modified Death Valley Driver on Delirious. Delirious nailed a Doomsday clothesline on Rorschach for the pin. Fun action.

* Allison Danger cut a backstage promo. She noted that her team is one of only a few back from last year’s tournament. She boasted that she pinned Sakai the last time they met.

(2) Round 1: Sumie Sakai & Ranmuru defeat Allison Danger & Alere Little Feather at 7:57. This is a women’s match within the tournament. I’ve only seen Ranmuru a few times; she wears a mask and has short hair. Danger started against Ranmuru. Ran hit a nice kip up and a dropkick. Danger hit some armdrags, and they had a standoff. Nice action. Alere entered, and she applied a headscissors lock on Sakai; we quickly had a four-way headscissors lock spot. Danger hit some stiff forearms and a neckbreaker, then some rolling fisherman suplexes on Ran at 5:30.

Ran hit an enziguri and a Legsweep. Little Feather hit a DDT on Ran. Sakai made the hot tag, and she hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Alere. Sakai hit a back suplex for a nearfall, a moonsault, then a fisherman’s buster, to pin Alere. Solid women’s match.

* Sal & Vito Thomaselli (the Iron Saints) cut a backstage heel promo, saying they are sick of all the tag teams that proclaim to be the best. Vito said if the Tag World was so great last year, how come the Iron Saints weren’t part of it? They acknowledged that they were the IWA-Mid South tag champions.

(3) Round 1: Miyawaki & Yoshiaki Yago defeat Sal & Vito Thomaselli at 10:29. Very good match. This is the American debut of these Japanese guys. Yago is much bigger than everyone else in this match, and he has tattoos on his arms. Yago and Vito traded chops early, with Yago’s sounding much louder! Yago nailed Vito with spin kicks to the face. Sal tagged in, and he hit some stiff forearms on Miyawaki; Miyawaki returned some hard punches, a flying elbow for a nearfall, then some chops. The heels hit a double flapjack on Miyawaki and they worked over is left arm.

Zero & Quack say these Japanese guys were trained by former WWF wrestler Taka Michinoku. Sal applied a cross-armbreaker. Miyawaki hit a missile dropkick, then he made the hot tag at 7:30. Yago entered and unloaded some kicks on both Thomasellis. Yago hit a hard Dragonscrew Legwhip on each man, then a spine kick, a chest kick, and a knee drop for a nearfall on Sal. Vito nailed a doublestomp on Yago’s head.

Sal hit a fisherman’s buster on Miyawaki. Vito hit a lungblower to the chest. Miyawaki hit an inverted DDT at 10:00 on Sal for a believable nearfall. Miyawaki hit a Flatliner, then he applied an STF with a Cobra Clutch locked in, and Sal tapped out. The crowd gave these guys a (well-deserved!) standing ovation. Very good match, and a hot crowd.

* A series of replays aired, showing some highlights from this match.

* Eddie Kingston & Sabian cut a promo. Kingston acknowledged that he teamed with Mickie Knuckles in last year’s tournament.

(4) Round 1: Eddie Kingston & Sabian (Blackout) defeat Ian Rotten & Mickie Knuckles at 15:07. Good match that told a good story. Ref Bryce Remsburg confiscated a fork from Ian Rotten before the match began. Kingston and Rotten started with some standing switches, and Ian hit a kick to the chest out of the handstand position. It appears Kingston has lost some weight. They traded armdrags, they both missed dropkicks, and they had a standoff, and the crowd gave them a nice ovation.

Knuckles and Sabian tagged in and they traded hard kicks to the thigh. Knuckles appears to be taller than Sabian, and a bit heavier too. She applied a Japanese Stranglehold. They hit double crossbody blocks, and both were down. Eddie and Ian re-entered the ring, and they traded headbutts! Mickie planted her knee in Kingston’s back, and Ian hit a backsplash on Eddie. Ian nailed some crossface punches on Kingston. Ian did a rocket launcher, tossing Mickie onto Eddie for a nearfall at 7:00. Mickie hit several Kawada Kicks. Eddie gave Mickie a belly-to-belly suplex, tossing her into the ringpost! OUCH!

Sabian entered, and he hit a back suplex on Mickie. Quackenbush on commentary was doing a great job of telling the story of Mickie and Kingston teaming last year, and how it’s evident that Kingston won’t take any cheap shots on her. Mickie nailed some stiff forearms on Sabian. Sabian came back with a spine kick for a nearfall. Kingston entered the ring, and he gave Mickie a bearhug at 11:00. Sabian hit a senton for a nearfall. Sabian and Kingston briefly argued, as Sabian was upset that Kingston wouldn’t help him cheat!

Ian made the hot tag, and he hit both members of Blackout with punches and clotheslines. Ian flipped himself to the floor on both of them! Mickie then dove to the floor on the opponents! In the ring, Ian hit a hard clothesline on Eddie for a nearfall, but he missed a forward roll senton. Kingston immediately got a rollup out of nowhere to pin Ian. Good match, and Mickie again proved she can trade blows with men.

* Mickey & Marshall Gambino cut a backstage promo, and they talked about how they are IWC champs and the best team from Pittsburgh. They wear identical black shirts and tan pants. Marshall is the larger of the two guys, and this is their Chikara debut.

* Arik Cannon was back in the ring, hunting for a tag partner. He asked Adam Flash, but Flash turned him down.

* Taking over on commentary for awhile is ref Bryce Remsburg and Ultramantis Black.

(5) Round 1: Cheech & Cloudy defeat Marshall & Mickey Gambino at 9:09. Cheech & Cloudy (Up in Smoke) are the NWA Upstate tag champions. All four brawled immediately, and Cloudy nice a nice dropkick. Cheech hit a catapult senton for a nearfall on Mickey. Cloudy hit a basement dropkick to the back for a nearfall. Mickey hit a powerslam for a nearfall on Cheech. Cloudy hit a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall at 5:00.

Mickey hit a spinebuster on Cloudy, and they both were down. Marshall made the hot tag, and he hit some shoulder tackles and back elbows. Marshall hit a nice jumping powerbomb on Cloudy for a nearfall, then a sidewalk slam on Cheech for a nearfall. Mickey got a nearfall, but the ref screwed up. Cloudy hit an enziguri on Marshall. Cheech then hit a nice Shooting Star Press on Marshall for the pin. Solid.

(6) Round 1: Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli (The Kings of Wrestling) defeat Equinox & Hydra at 13:58. The Kings cut a heel promo, and Claudio acknowledged that he has never lost a match in the previous tag world tournaments. Equinox wears a red & blue full body outfit with a mask, and Hydra, the mystery partner, seems to think he is a sea monster! He has a green & yellow outfit with scales, and he also wore a mask. The faces are definitely much smaller than the heels of Hero & Claudio.

Claudio overpowered Hydra. Hydra tried a chokeslam, but he couldn’t pick up Claudio. Claudio is toying with Hydra, and we’re told that Hydra has only had four professional matches. Equinox tagged in to face Hero at 3:00, and they traded nice mat wrestling. Equinox got a Victory Roll for a nearfall! He then hit a hurricanrana. Hydra tagged back in, but he couldn’t pick up Claudio. Claudio hit a nice European Uppercut on Hydra for a nearfall. Claudio tossed Hydra in the air, and Hydra crashed on his stomach at 7:00.

Claudio hit a gutwrench suplex for a nearfall. On commentary, Bryce wondered why the heels were playing around with their opponents, noting that the Kings have to win twice tonight – and five times overall – to win this tournament. The heels did a team delayed vertical suplex for a nearfall. Claudio hit a double underhook suplex for a nearfall on Hydra. Equinox tagged in at 10:00 and he hit a nice headscissors takedown on Claudio! He then hit an inverted DDT for a believable nearfall on Hero!

Claudio tripped Equinox and pulled him to the floor. Meanwhile, in the ring, Hydra put Hero in a Cravat! Funny. Equinox hit a top-rope press to the floor on Claudio. Hydra hit a Flatliner on Claudio for a nearfall. Equinox nailed a nice satellite headscissors takedown on Claudio, then he applied a Front Guillotine choke! Hero made the save. The heels hit a team Hero’s Welcome/spinning faceplant, and Claudio pinned Hydra. A fun match, as it looked a couple times like the heels would lose (in an upset of all upsets!) because they were toying with their opponents. Equinox is really good.

(7) Round 1: KUDO & Mikami defeat Larry Sweeney & Mana at 7:00. KUDO wrestled in the U.S. for much of 2005; he wears shiny black pants with a yellow stripe. My first time seeing Mikami; he wears black pants and a see-through shirt. Sweeney has facepaint on that is identical to Mana’s. KUDO and Mana stood nose-to-nose before the match began. Sweeney started with KUDO and they did some standing switches. Mana and Mikami tagged in, and Mikami hit a 619 and a springboard dropkick.

Mana caught Mikami coming off the ropes, and he hit a Samoa Drop, then a buttbump in the corner. Sweeney entered, and he hit a butterfly suplex and some Dibiase fist drops. The heels hit double headbutts on Mikami at 4:00. Mana hit a nice reverse suplex, dropping Mikami on his stomach. KUDO hit a Tajiri spin kick on Mana’s head. OUCH. Mikami then hit a swanton on Mana for the pin. Fun, but shorter than expected.

* Arik Cannon is back out AGAIN! He called out Jigsaw, who also doesn’t have a partner for Tag World this year. Jigsaw took the mic and said that Cannon “made last year a living hell” for him. “The answer, is no.” Bryce on commentary said, “Arik Cannon is a man without a country.”

SIDE NOTE: On night two of last year’s tag world, Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo destroyed the ROH students in a vicious beating. It actually led to a fight between Samoa Joe and Necro Butcher in IWA-Mid South last June, as Joe was upset at Necro for the beatdown.

* In a backstage segment, ROH school graduates Matt Turner & Anthony Franco talked about facing the comedy team of “Colt Cabunny” and “CP Munk,” two wrestlers inside mascot costumes (think a high school mascot.) Hey, it’s Chikara, and the crowd loves these characters. Franco said he’s “usually against animal cruelty,” but not tonight. Turner said he is “going to kill the Easter Bunny.”

(8) Round 1: Colt Cabunny & CP Munk (Team World Wildlife Fund) defeat Matt Turner & Anthony Franco at 5:32. CP Munk came out with the Pepsi tattoo on his arm and boxer shorts, and Cabunny wears a singlet… and this is a good spoof of CM Punk & Colt Cabana. Bryce on commentary said this would be an “easy first round win” for the ROH students. Eddie Kingston now joined Bryce in the booth.

The ROH students attacked Team WWF. Turner put Cabunny in some armdrags. Turner pulled the head off of Cabunny…and it’s JOKER from CZW! The crowd was a bit surprised, but the match continued. Joker hit some hard chops on Turner. Franco entered and he hit a spear on Munk. Franco went for a bulldog, and, in doing so, pulled the head off CP Munk… revealing that NECRO BUTCHER is inside the mascot outfit! The crowd went NUTS! “I’ve seen it all,” Remsburg screamed on commentary. This is hot action! Necro hit some headbutts on Franco, then some chops.

The crowd chanted, “Necro!” Franco hit a back suplex on Necro Butcher on the floor at 4:00. Team ROH worked on Necro. Joker hit a suplex, tossing someone into the corner. Matt hit an RKO on Joker. Necro NAILED a short-arm clothesline on Turner to score the pin. Fun, short match; the Necro surprise is what everyone talked about.

* Replays/highlights of the action aired. Quackenbush & Mr. Zero returned to the announcers table.

(9) Round 2: Delirious & Hallowicked defeat Cheech & Cloudy at 12:13. Good match. Delirious, as usual, went crazy when the bell sounded, and he tossed a chair in the ring, then he chomped on the ropes. Cloudy and Hallowicked started the match, and Hallowicked applied a leglock on the mat. Cloudy hit a nice snap headscissors takedown. Delirious tagged in to face Cheech, and Delirious scared Cheech with his craziness. Delirious hit the BAM leaping lariat at 4:30.

Hallowicked hit a basement dropkick to Cheech’s face. Cheech hit a nice clothesline on Hallowicked. Cloudy hit an enziguri on Delirious for a nearfall at 7:00. The heels worked over Delirious, and Cloudy choked him. The heels made some illegal switches. Delirious put Cheech in the Tree of Woe, then Delirious tossed Cloudy into Cheech! Hallowicked made the hot tag, and he hit a headscissors takedown on Cheech. Delirious hit the Death Sentence/elevated guillotine legdrop.

Hallowicked hit a Reverse Rana on Cheech for a nearfall. OUCH. Cloudy made the save. Cloudy hit an enziguri on Hallowicked. Cloudy hit a Victory Roll for a nearfall. All four fought in the ring. The faces hit simultaneous Michinoku Drivers, as Delirious pinned Cloudy, while Hallowicked pinned Cheech. Fun match.

(10) Round 2: Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli defeat Sumie Sakai & Ranmuru at 14:16. The women’s team is announced as a combined 216 pounds! The crowd chanted, “Sumie’s gonna kill you!” Claudio dropped to his knees to mock the diminutive Sumie. Sumie ran on the heels’ backs, and she bit Claudio. She put Claudio in a cross-armbreaker, and she pulled his hair. Hero and Muru tagged in at 3:30. Ranmuru hit a dropkick, but Hero no-sold it. Maru hit a satellite headscissors takedown, then a Victory Roll. Sumie hit some stiff forearms on Hero.

Claudio nailed Sumie with a gutbuster over his knee, then he hit a field goal kick. They worked over Sumie, hitting blows to her stomach. Sumie hit Tornado DDT on Hero at 9:30. Ranmuru entered, and she hit a hard kick to Hero’s head. Claudio hit the Crucifix Faceplant on Ranmuru. Sumie hit a missile dropkick on Hero for a nearfall at 12:00, then a frogsplash. Hero tossed Sumie onto Ranmuru. Ranmuru hit two enziguris on Hero for a nearfall. The heels won it with a team powerbomb (it was a bit off) on Sakai, for the pin. Solid stuff.

(11) Round 2: KUDO & Mikami defeat Yago & Miyawaki at 16:18. Hands down, match of the night, as the four unknown Japanese guys stole the show. KUDO and Yago opened by trading kicks to the thigh. Miyawaki is much bigger than Mikami, and Miyawaki hit a headscissors takedown, then a big shoulder tackle. Mikami hit a nice hurricanrana, then a headscissors takedown. KUDO entered, and he hit a spine kick on Miyawaki, then some knee strikes to the chest.

Mikami hit a senton for a nearfall on Miyawaki. Miyawaki came back with a running basement dropkick. Yago entered at 6:00, and he unloaded some kicks on KUDO. Mikami hit a 619, as KUDO held Miyawaki in the ropes. The crows was fairly quiet at this point, as they didn’t know any of these guys. Yago hit some hard kicks on KUDO, then he applied an ankle lock at 9:00, then an STF, but Mikami made the save. The crowd rallied behind KUDO.

Miyawaki hit some Dragonscrew Legwhips on KUDO. Yago entered, and he hit some hard punches on KUDO. Mikami made the hot tag at 12:00, and he hit a missile dropkick, then an awesome senton for a nearfall, then a 450 Splash for a nearfall on Miyawaki. Miyawaki hit a hard clothesline on Mikami. KUDO hit a Tajiri Kick. Yago hit a Dragon Suplex on KUDO. KUDO hit a Shining Wizard, and all four men were down! The crowd got on its feet in appreciation of this exchange!

Miyawaki hit a side slam then he applied a half crab on KUDO, but KUDO reached the ropes at 15:00. KUDO hit some more Tajiri-style spin kicks on Miyawaki for a nearfall. Mikami hit a swanton. KUDO hit his top-rope flying knees to the chest to pin Miyawaki. WOW. These guys got a standing ovation from the crowd, as the fans chanted, “Thank you!” Quackenbush put the match over on commentary, too. “That match, was nothing short of epic,” Quackenbush said.

* A series of replays of the match aired.

(12) Round 2: Sabian & Eddie Kingston defeat Joker & Necro Butcher at 14:02. (No Cabunny or Munk outfits anymore!) Good match. On commentary, Mr. Zero & Quackenbush talked about how Joker and Kingston are tag champs in CZW, but are on opposite teams here. Joker and Kingston started against each other, with Kingston hitting some stiff forearms. Joker hit a hurricanrana, and they had a standoff. Necro Butcher tagged in, and he hit some hard kicks on Sabian, then he hit a Tiger Driver for a believable nearfall at 4:30.

Necro was in charge, hitting chops on Sabian, then applying an iron claw, and he hit a double clothesline on both Blackout members. Sabian hit an enziguri on Joker, then a running dropkick in the corner, but he missed a corkscrew press. Kingston hit a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall on Joker at 7:00. Kingston and Necro traded some HARD punches. OUCH! Necro hit a clothesline for a nearfall, but Sabian made the save. Sabian then hit forward roll dive to the floor on Necro. Joker hit a corkscrew plancha onto all three wrestlers!

Necro did a forward roll dive, off the top rope, onto all three wrestlers at 10:30! Serious, Necro did a dive! In the ring, Joker hit a powerbomb over his knees on Sabian. Kingston hit a back suplex on Joker. Sabian hit a top-rope doublestomp on Joker’s chest for a nearfall. The crowd was hot! Sabian hit a Tornado DDT on Joker for a nearfall. Sabian then got a rollup out of nowhere to pin Joker. Good action.

* A series of replays of the final match aired to close the show.

Final thoughts: The tape runs 4 hours, 10 minutes. Wow, that must have been a long show to see live!

This was an excellent indy show, and well worth purchasing. Match of the night goes to the Japanese guys in the second round. The main event was plenty stiff, and that earned second-best match. Other top matches were the Thomaselli’s first-round loss and Delirious & Hallowicked second-round victory.

As I noted to start this review, Chikara has definitely found its niche. The action is quick and fun, some of the characters are silly and over the top, but it came together into a big, exciting event.

Purchase this tape at www.smartmarkvideo.com for $15.


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