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DVD Review: Chikara Pro, "Tag World Grand Prix, N2" (2-25-06) with Cannon, Milano, Skayde, JJ Dillon

Nov 21, 2006 - 11:15:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Chikara Pro held its three-night, 32-team “Tag World Grand Prix” from Feb. 24 through Feb. 26, 2006. I have previously watched & reviewed night 1 and night 3. I recently picked up night two, from Reading, Penn., on Feb. 25, 2006.

I’ve said this before, but Chikara Pro stresses family-friendly wrestling, colorful masked characters, comedy and lucha-style action. It’s not for everyone, but it has a strong fan base, even though the shows don’t draw huge crowds. On this night, attendance is perhaps 150-200, which is really good for Chikara Pro.

* The DVD opened with Arik Cannon backstage, talking about being the co-winner of the 2005 TWGP, and this year, he can’t find a partner. (Chikara Pro has done a great job with Cannon’s character – he left the top heel faction, but none of the faces are accepting him, either. No one trusts him.) Cannon promised he would compete tonight.

* All 16 teams competing on night 2 were introduced and brought to the ring for a big picture.

* Lance Steel and Lance Steel talked backstage. (They are the same person, plucked from different points in the space-time continuum. No, seriously, that’s their gimmick!) One Lance Steel was upset that the other Steel was hanging out with Dragon Dragon.

* Arik Cannon came to ringside, and he called Andy Sumner to the ring to ask him to be his partner. Sumner quickly told Cannon, “no!,” and he left.

(1) Round 1: Lance Steel & Lance Steel (Lancelot) defeat Fire Ant & Soldier Ant (The Colony) at 10:13.
On commentary for the first few matches is Larry Sweeney & UltraMantis Black. This is the debut for the Colony; they wear ant-like outfits, with masks. Soldier Ant wore camouflage, and Fire Ant wears bright red & yellow. The Steels are time-displaced warriors from the 15th century, and they wear identical outfits and masks. Soldier Ant started with one Lance Steel, and after a standoff, Soldier Ant saluted. Fire Ant tagged in, and he hit a headscissors takedown, but he hit Steel in the chest (on his chest protector), and hurt himself!

Steel hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker over his knee at 4:00, then the Steels hit a Joust/running punch on Soldier Ant. Fire Ant hit a Blockbuster for a nearfall, and the Colony were suddenly in control. Lance Steel hit a double Finlay Roll – with both of the ants on his shoulders! Nice! Lance Steel made the hot tag, and he hit some clotheslines, chops, and a Spinebuster on Soldier Ant. Steel applied a Boston Crab, but Fire Ant made the save. Fire Ant did a Fireman’s Carry into an Airplane Spin on Steel. However, the Steels applied simultaneous Boston Crabs, and both ants tapped out. Solid fun.

* In a backstage promo, JJ Dillon said he is excited to manage the North Star Express, Ryan Cruz & Darin Corbin. He told them they need to not take too many risks early, as they have to win five matches to win the tournament. “I’m going to try to give you the benefit of my experience,” Dillon said.

(2) Round 1: Ryan Cruz & Darin Corbin (w/ JJ Dillon) defeat Drew Blood & Devon Moore (Notorious Inc.) at 8:01.
Good match for the time given. Blood & Moore wore identical black shirts and black & red pants; I’ve seen them on past Pro Wrestling Unplugged shows I’ve reviewed. Notorious Inc. (the heels) attacked from behind, but the NSE quickly hit double armdrags and a double basement dropkick to the head. This is the Chikara debut for Notorious Inc. Cruz and Moore (the thinner member of Notorious Inc.) started, and Cruz hit a shoulder tackle and a headscissors takedown, and they had a really good exchange. Moore hit a nice enziguri on Corbin.

Drew Blood hit a flying kneedrop on Corbin. Notorious Inc. hit a double basement dropkick in the corner on Corbin at 4:00. OUCH! Notorious Inc. worked Corbin over. Blood hit a running knee in the corner. Cruz made a hot tag, and he hit some clotheslines and a spin heel kick on Moore. Cruz hit a lungblower to the chest, and he launched Corbin onto Moore in the corner. Blood pulled out a weapon, but JJ Dillon hopped on the ring apron and took it from him! Cruz then hit the Boomshakalaka/gutwrench sideslam, then they hit the Cruz Control/team Alabama Slam to pin Moore! Good action.

* Daizee Haze and Rain talked backstage. “I guess we can put our differences aside tonight,” Haze said. Haze called Rain a “fair-weather friend.” They obviously don’t really like each other!

* Arik Cannon AGAIN came to ringside. He called out Niles Young, and asked Young to be his partner! Young wobbled to ringside, clearly limping. Young told Cannon he needs fluid from his knee drained. “Why would I trust you?” he asked Cannon. He called Cannon a “turncoat,” and he left.

(3) Round 1: Icarus & Gran Akuma (Team F.I.S.T.) defeat Rain & Daizee Haze (Team Shimmer) at 9:41.
This intergender match had GREAT heat. Sweeney on commentary immediately acknowledged that the women don’t get along. Akuma – who is now bald, without a mask, and looking rather creepy – tied up with Haze, and they traded standing switches, and the announcers said that Akuma was just toying with her. Akuma picked her up and cradled Daizee like a baby in her arms. Haze hit a nice headscissors takedown, an X-Factor faceplant, and a dropkick, and Akuma bailed!

Icarus faced Rain at 3:00, and she slapped him in the face and hit a chop, then a crossbody block, and a Lungblower to the chest, and Icarus, too, bailed to the floor in frustration! In the ring, Akuma NAILED a Tajiri-style spin kick to Rain’s head, and a creepy grin crossed his face! The crowd loudly booed Akuma for hitting a woman like this! “I’ve never seen Gran Akuma smile before, until right now,” Sweeney said. Akuma hit some kicks to the chest as Rain was tied in the ropes! Icarus hit a fisherman’s suplex on Rain for a nearfall, then a nice dropkick to her face, and Rain squealed in pain.

Akuma tied Rain in a painful-looking pretzel at 7:00, bending Rain in half! However, Haze was able to make the hot tag, and she hit a flying clothesline and a Thesz Press, with some punches to Akuma’s face. Akuma hit a sitdown powerbomb for a nearfall, but Rain made the save. Rain hit a Tornado DDT for a nearfall on Icarus, and she tied him in an Octopus, but he was able to turn it into a backbreaker over his knee! Haze went for a missile dropkick, but she accidentally nailed Rain! Icarus tossed Haze to the floor. Icarus then nailed a Pedigree on Rain, and he tied her up on the mat, and Rain tapped out. Good match with great crowd heat.

* Jagged & Shane Matthews (Team 2.0) cut a backstage promo, declaring themselves the underdogs of the tournament that will be cheered on by the fans. They were quite smug and arrogant. They talked about how they are the IWS (Canada) tag champions.

* Back to ringside, where Arik Cannon AGAIN climbed in the ring, and this time, he asked Jervis Cottonbelly to the ring! A guy came out dressed in the Cottonbelly outfit, but this guy is clearly taller, older, heavier, and with a LOT more back & chest hair. “You’ve really let yourself go,” Cannon told Cottonbelly. Cannon then rescinded his offer for Jervis to be his teammate! Funny.

(4) Round 1: Mr. Zero & Shane Storm (Men At Work) defeat Jagged & Shane Matthews at 7:41.
Eh, this match did nothing for me. Storm is still a bit heavy here (which really highlights how much weight he’s lost in 2006!) Team 2.0 came to the ring to Michael Jackson’s “Beat it.” Shane Matthews wore black pants, and Jagged wore a black singlet. Matthews claimed immediately that Storm had pulled his hair, and he yelled at the ref to disqualify Storm! Storm hit some armdrags. Mr. Zero tagged in, and he applied a Camel Clutch on Matthews. Team 2.0 hit a team neckbreaker on Mr. Zero at 3:00.

Matthews hit a dropkick on Mr. Zero, and they worked Zero over. Jagged hit a running knee to the head. Matthews hit a Russian Legsweep for a nearfall. Jagged hit a snap suplex for a nearfall, then a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. Team 2.0 hit a team uranage move on Mr. Zero at 6:30. Storm got in the ring and he hit some bodyslams. He held up his ‘stop sign’, which froze Jagged in place! (Silly Road Runner type humor). Mr. Zero hit a sideslam on Matthews for the pin. Blah.

* Dragon Dragon & Retail Dragon cut a backstage promo. Retail Dragon was confident they would win the titles.

Now on commentary was ref Bryce Remsburg with Eddie Kingston!

(5) Round 1: Shinjitsu Nohashi & Amigo Suzuki (Team Toryumon) defeat Retail Dragon & Dragon Dragon at 7:45.
Nohashi looks like WWF-era Hakushi, with a traditional Asian white garb. Suzuki dresses with a Mexican flag look, although he’s Japanese. Both of these guys look SHARP in the ring. Dragon Dragon is dressed in what is essentially a high school mascot dragon outfit. It is simply not a wrestling outfit. Retail Dragon (dressed like Ultimo Dragon) is actually quite good. Amigo and Retail Dragon started with a NICE exchange and standoff. Amigo suddenly hit some punches and a spine kick! Nohashi tagged in and hit some intense thrust jabs to the throat, and Nohashi looks INTENSE.

Nohashi hit a nice running forearm in the corner at 4:00. The Japanese team hit a team neckbreaker. Retail Dragon fired back with a neckbreaker over his knee on Amigo, and the crowd rallied for him. Dragon Dragon tagged in (keep in mind, in this outfit, he can barely move), but he whipped an opponent with his tail, then he hit a DRAGONscrew legwhip, and some DRAGON spine kicks, then he applied a DRAGON sleeper, and the crowd roared in approval. Seriously, then fans were going nuts!

Nohashi hit a dive through the ropes on Retail Dragon. Amigo tied Dragon Dragon up in the ropes, and he couldn’t escape! Team Toryumon worked together on Retail Dragon, as they hit a double flying headbutt on Retail Dragon. They then hit double Flying Benoit Headbutts! Nohashi hit a nice crucifix takedown for the pin! This was a fun match, and the crowd loved all of Dragon Dragon’s spots. The Japanese guys looked great.

(6) Round 1: Skayde & Milano Collection AT defeat Dr. Cheung & Darkness Crabtree at 5:30.
More comedy stuff. Dr. Cheung had a spinning stethoscope, and he came out to John Cena’s “My time is now!” song, and he had plenty of ‘bling bling’ around his neck! If you haven’t seen Crabtree before, his gimmick is that he is in his 70s or 80s. Milano and Crabtree started, with Crabtree purposely running the ropes slowly, and he couldn’t do a leapfrog. Skayde entered and hit some quick armdrags on Dr. Cheung. Crabtree went for his bottle of pills, but Skayde stole them and took some pills!

Suddenly, Skayde and Crabtree were trading quick armdrags and kip ups, as the elderly Crabtree had life in his legs from the pills. Milano hit an enziguri. Dr. Cheung did the “You can’t see me” hand motion, then he hit an FU, he pumped up his sneakers, and he hit the Five-Knuckle Shuffle/fistdrop, to a CHORUS OF BOOS on Milano. Funny. Skayde and Milano each hit chops on their opponents. Milano applied the AT Lock on Darkness Crabtree, as Skayde applied a modified Figure Four Leglock on Dr. Cheung, and both opponents tapped out! Comedy more than wrestling.

DVD 1 ends at 1 hour, 39 minutes.


* Arik Cannon came to the ring AGAIN! He asked Jigsaw to come out, and he prettymuch begged Jigsaw to be his partner. Jigsaw reluctantly agreed this time. On commentary now is the duo of Eddie Kingston & Larry Sweeney.

(7) Round 1: Arik Cannon & Jigsaw defeat Sexxxy Eddy & Kevin Steen at 16:07.
Eddy wore his ridiculously small trunks – I hoped those would be banned in family-friendly Chikara! (Without those trunks, Eddy has no gimmick!) Cannon and Steen started, and they traded shoulder tackles and punches. Steen blocked a sunset flip, and he hit a doublestomp, a senton, and a backbreaker over his knee, then his flip guillotine legdrop. Steen gave Eddy a bodyslam onto Cannon at 3:30. Eddy worked over Cannon. Cannon hit a standing neckbreaker, and he tagged in Jigsaw, who hit some chops.

Jigsaw hit a basement dropkick on Eddy’s knee, then a spine kick. Cannon tagged in and hit some chops. At 6:30, Cannon placed Eddy’s feet on the top rope, Jigsaw hit a doublestomp onto Eddy’s back, and Cannon hit his twisting neckbreaker! Nice spot! Cannon tied up Sexxxy Eddy, and he chopped Eddy repeatedly, and the faces were in charge. Jigsaw hit a guillotine legdrop for a nearfall at 9:30 on Eddie. Sexxxy Eddy came back with an airplane spin slam and made the hot tag to Steen. Steen chopped Cannon, then he hit a chest-first Lungblower on Jigsaw. Steen hit a nice T-Bone Suplex on Jigsaw at 13:00 for a nearfall.

Cannon hit a Saito Suplex on Steen for a believable nearfall. Eddy hit a modified German Suplex on Cannon. Jigsaw hit his jump-up hurricanrana out of the corner on Eddy, then Jigsaw hit an enziguri for a nearfall. Steen applied a Crippler Crossface on Jigsaw, but Cannon made the save! Steen went for the Package Piledriver, but Cannon avoided it. However, Cannon couldn’t hit the Glimmering Warlock/step-up enziguri. Jigsaw tried to hit the Jig n’ Tonic/reverse tombstone, but he couldn’t get it. Cannon NAILED the Glimmering Warlock on Steen. Cannon hit some sharp kicks on Eddy, and Jigsaw hit a top-rope guillotine legdrop on the prone Steen for the pin. Good match.

* All five guys in the ring – including ref Bryce Remsburg – danced after the match. Silly fun, and the crowd enjoyed this.

(8) Round 1: Nishimura & Takemura defeat Sean & Phil Davis (The Heartbreak Express) at 7:03.
Pretty basic match. Sean cut a promo backstage, saying they would get all the pretty ladies tonight. The HBE hit the ring to Warrant’s “Cherry Pie.” Bryce Remsburg joined the commentary team here, and he said this was the oddest of the first-round matches; I agree. Nishimura wore black trunks, and Takemura wore white pants. Phil opened against Nishimura, then Takemura hit a hard clothesline, and the HBE stalled on the floor. Takemura hit some hard chops on Sean. Phil hit some basic eye gouges on Takemura and choked hit.

Sean hit a bodysplash on Takemura at 3:00, and they beat up Takemura on the floor. The Japanese teammates are in great physical shape! In the ring, Sean hit a Stinger Splash on Takemura! Takemura hit a clothesline, and he made the hot tag at 6:00 to Nishimura, who hit some hard European Uppercuts on both Davis brothers. Nishimura applied a sleeper, then an abdominal stretch on Phil. Nishimura then got a backslide out of nowhere to pin Phil Davis. Disappointing match; the finish came out of nowhere, and Nishimura was barely in it.

* Sean grabbed the mic in frustration after the match, saying “We were cheated!” He finished with his catch-phrase, telling the fans, “you’re just jealous!”

(9) Round 2: Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz (w/JJ Dillon) defeat Lance Steel & Lance Steel at 7:54.
Basic match. Mike Quackenbush was now solo on commentary. Cruz and Steel started. (Again, the Steels have ‘chest protectors’ as part of their 14th-century armor.) Cruz hit a chop and hurt his hand. Cruz did a shoulder tackle, but that also hurt. Steel hit a clothesline to the floor. Steel and Corbin squared off, and Corbin hit a nice headscissors takedown. They did a humor spot of several dropdowns – it looked like kids playing leapfrog. The Steels began to work over Cruz, and they hit a dropkick for a nearfall at 3:00.

Cruz hit a dropkick, sending one Steel into the other, and the Steels argued after colliding! Darin hit a DDT on one Steel while hitting an ace crusher on the other! Darin then hit his flip senton. The North Star Express hit a double STO uranage, a double gutbuster, and a double basement dropkick to the head at 6:00. Steel hit a Mafia Kick on Darin. Cruz hit a spin heel kick, and all four were down, and the crowd rallied behind the NSE.

Cruz hit the Side Effect, while Corbin hit a Backpack Stunner for simultaneous believable nearfalls. The Steels applied simultaneous Boston Crabs! However, Cruz & Corbin each fought out of the hold, the Steels collided into each other – again! – and the North Star Express got double rollups for the pin! One of the Lance Steels was quite angry, and he refused to shake the hand of the other Lance Steel after the match!

(10) Round 2: Icarus & Gran Akuma defeat Mr. Zero & Shane Storm at 15:33.
Good match. These two teams have had quite a rivalry in Chikara Pro, so there was more intensity in this match than any of the others. Icarus & Akuma hit simultaneous dives to the floor, and all four immediately fought on the floor! Akuma and Storm climbed in the ring, and Akuma hit some stiff kicks to Storm’s thighs. Storm then hit a dive to the floor on Akuma! Mr. Zero hit a faceplant on Icarus, then a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and a Crippler Crossface. Akuma nailed a basement dropkick to Storm’s head. Akuma unloaded some nice kicks, a spin heel kick, and a senton for a nearfall at 3:00 on Storm.

Akuma nailed a doublestomp on the back. Icarus went for a senton, but Storm got his knees up to block it. Ref Bryce Remsburg missed a tag at 6:00, and Akuma worked over Storm’s left leg for several minutes. Mr. Zero tagged in and hit some stiff forearms. In a cool spot, Storm launched off Mr. Zero’s back (as Mr. Zero was hunched over), and Storm nailed an enziguri on Icarus at 9:00! Mr. Zero hit a stunner out of the second-rope on Akuma for a nearfall. Akuma fought back with a nice swinging neckbreaker, then he hit a frogsplash on Zero for a nearfall.

Storm hit the Air Raid Crash on Icarus for a believable nearfall, but Akuma made the save! Icarus hit a swinging DDT on Storm. Icarus hit a Tornado Pedigree on Mr. Zero, onto the floor at 11:30! Mr. Zero didn’t move at all! In the ring, Akuma and Storm traded kicks, and Akuma hit a Flatliner, then a Crippler Crossface on Storm, and the crowd rallied behind Storm, who eventually reached the ropes. Quackenbush noted that Mr. Zero was OUT on the floor. Akuma & Icarus hit a spear & high knee combo, and they both covered Storm for a believable nearfall at 14:00. Storm hit a German Suplex on each heel, then an enziguri on both heels! However, Akuma hit the Yoshi Tonic/Code Red on Storm for the pin! Good action.

* Several people came to ringside to check on the condition of Mr. Zero, and someone said they needed to call an ambulance.

(11) Round 2: Nishimura & Takemura defeat Arik Cannon & Jigsaw at 15:26.
Good match. Jigsaw and Takemura started with some mat wrestling, and Takemura hit a shoulder tackle and a belly-to-belly suplex. Jigsaw hit a nice leg lariat. Quackenbush told us that Mr. Zero was on the way to the emergency room. Cannon tagged in at 2:30 and squared off with Nishimura, and Quackenbush read a list of Nishimura’s accolades in pro wrestling. This was really good mat wrestling, and Nishimura applied a nice headscissorslock. Nishimura NAILED some European Uppercuts. “Those sound like punishment,” Quackenbush observed.

Takemura hit some stiff forearms and a dropkick on Cannon for a nearfall at 5:30. Nishimura tied up the legs, and he snapped backward, hurting Cannon’s knees. Takemura hit a slingshot senton, then a flying back elbow. Cannon hit a standing neckbreaker on Takemura, and he made the hot tag at 8:00 to Jigsaw. Jigsaw tied up the legs, and he pulled back on Takemura’s arms. Cannon tied Takemura into a pretzel on the mat. Jigsaw applied an anklelock on Takemura, and they made quick tags while working over Takemura. Cannon nailed a LOUD chop.

Takemura nailed a Koppo Kick/cartwheel kick. Cannon hit an enziguri at 13:30, and they were both down. Nishimura made the hot tag, and he hit some hard European Uppercuts, and he slammed Jigsaw’s knee repeatedly. Jigsaw hit a nice basement dropkick on the knee, then a Superkick on Nishimura. However, Jigsaw missed a guillotine legdrop. Nishimura put Jigsaw in a Figure Four Leglock, while Takemura put a Figure Four on Cannon! Both Jigsaw & Cannon tapped out. Good mat-based action.

(12) Round 2: Skayde & Milano Collection AT defeat Shinjitsu Nohashi & Amigo Suzuki at 19:58.
Good match, and best of the show. Quackenbush said that Skayde had a hand in training the other three guys in the match. Milano and Suzuki started, and Amigo applied a nice headscissorslock. They had some good reversals and a standoff. Skayde and Nohashi had some fun, fluid reversals, and Skayde applied a nice STF, then some cool reversals into armdrags. Milano and Amigo squared off again at 5:00, with Milano getting a modified Victory Roll, and they traded rollups. In a neat spot, Milano applied a double Boston Crab on both opponents, and the crowd applauded.

Skayde & Milano did some nice double submission spots on Suzuki, but Nohashi made the save. Skayde hit an X-Factor faceplant on Nohashi. Milano tied Nohashi in the Paradise Lock in the bottom rope, and Milano hit his flying basement dropkick at 8:00. Team Toryumon began to work over Skayde, and they hit double headbutt drops to Skayde’s lower back. Nohashi applied a nice arm submission hold, and the crowd rallied for Skayde. Skayde hit an Ace Crusher on Nohashi, then a satellite headscissors takedown on Nohashi, and he made the hot tag to Milano at 13:00. Milano hit some chops and clotheslines. Skayde hit a tope con helo to the floor on Amigo.

Milano hit his senton on Nohashi for a nearfall. Nohashi came back with a running forearm on Milano, then a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. Skayde hit some chops on Suzuki, and he tied Amigo in a modified Figure Four Leglock, but Suzuki reached the ropes at 16:30. Suzuki hit a Tiger Suplex on Skayde for a believable nearfall. Milano and Nohashi traded stiff forearms. Nohashi hit a standing powerbomb on Milano. Team Toryumon hit a double flying headbutt on Milano for a nearfall at 18:30. Skayde and Amigo fought on the floor. Milano hit a top-rope Ace Crusher on Nohashi, and he was fired up, and the crowd was hot! Milano hit an enziguri, then a modified Styles Clash to pin Nohashi. Sharp match with a style totally different that what is typically seen at U.S. indy shows.

Final thoughts:
DVD 2 runs at 1 hour, 58 minutes. This was a solid show. While I liked both night 1 & 3 of this tournament more, this was a good event. The main event topped all the action here, as Milano, Skayde, and Team Toryumon had a fun exchange with some neat reversals and holds and lucha-style action that was fresh and unique. Bravo to all four.

I’ll give second best to Cannon & Jigsaw vs. Takemura & Nishimura; much like the main event, this was a fun match with a different style of wrestling than what’s typically seen in the U.S. Third-best goes to the intense war between Gran Akuma & Icarus vs. Shane Storm & Mr. Zero.

I rated six matches “above average” (two stars or higher), with the other a bit below average. Some of the comedy stuff is fun – the crowd loved Dragon Dragon’s spots – but it isn’t necessarily good wrestling. I’m just not a fan of the Heartbreak Express, and they didn’t change my minds here. Sean Davis is great at drawing heel heat, though, and he’d be a good manager.

I’m bored with the Lance Steels, and I’m ready for those characters to go away. The Colony have been fun ever since their debut here.

This DVD gets a thumbs in the middle. I like Chikara Pro a lot, and I can recommend several shows this year better than this one, including the other two nights of this three-day tournament. Purchase this DVD at www.smartmarkvideo.com for $15.


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