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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor
Chikara Pro, the comedy & lucha libre family-oriented promotion from Pennsylvania, traditionally ends its “season” in November, takes off the months of December & January, then returns with a big tournament to kickstart its new “season” in February.
This year, Chikara Pro decided to hold a “Trios tournament,” held over three nights. This is a review of “King of Trios, Night 2,” from Barnesville, Penn., on Feb. 17, 2007. This venue appears to be an armory or a VFW hall, with plain white walls but decent lighting. The ceiling is a bit low, but Chikara uses a short ring, so the flips to the floor aren’t as far of a drop. Smart Mark Video recorded the show with multiple cameras, and they always do a good show with producing these shows. The crowd here is perhaps 150 to 200, which is really good for Chikara. (Chikara usually counts on DVD sales to support the product, as crowds aren’t usually big.)
On commentary was Ultramantis Black, who rarely wrestles now, but he’s a fun heelish play-by-play man. (So often, the play-by-play is non-partisan or supports the faces, so this is fun and different.) A variety of wrestlers join Ultramantis throughout the show.
* The DVD opens with Masamune from Osaka Pro cutting a promo backstage. He’s a Japanese man, and he wore black gear and a mask with fake dreadlocks, and his promo was all in Japanese. So, I have no idea what he said, but I like these promos nonetheless.
(1) Gran Akuma defeats Masamune at 12:03. If you’ve checked out my prior Chikara reviews, you know I’m a huge fan of Akuma; he has a bald head and he’s known for his variety of stiff kicks, and he’s a heel. Icarus (Akuma’s partner) joined Black on commentary. They opened with some nice reversals and armdrags, and Masamune stalled. They traded hard chops in the ring. Masamune hit a dropkick, some hard kicks to the back, and he applied a half-crab, but Akuma reached the ropes at 4:30. Masamune hit a hard slap to the face in the corner! Akuma hit a hard kick to the chest, and he twisted the left leg and applied a nice leglock.
They traded hard spine kicks! Akuma hit a hard basement dropkick to the back of the head for a nearfall at 7:00, and he applied an Octopus, and he was in charge. Masamune fought back with a Flatliner and a nice twisting enziguri, and they were both down, and the crowd rallied for both men. They got up and traded stiff forearms, and Masamune hit a Blue Thunder Bomb, and he slapped on an anklelock, and he pulled back on Akuma’s head while the anklelock was still applied! Akuma eventually reached the ropes.
Akuma set up for a Tombstone piledriver, but he swung Masamune forward into a nice flatplant move. Masamune fired back with an Ace Crusher for a nearfall at 11:00. They traded rollups. They did some standing switches with the ref getting pushed out of position, allowing Akuma to hit a low blow mule kick and get a rollup with his feet on the ropes for the pin. Good match, and a great way to start this show.
(2) Chuck Taylor defeats Create-a-Wrestler at 8:12. Blah. Create-a-Wrestler is apparently a joke about creating wrestlers for your videogames. He wore a generic mask and a Chikara T-shirt. Taylor, the reigning IWA Mid-South champion, was heavily booed. They opened with basic standing switches, and Taylor hit a shoulder tackle. CaW hit a drop-toe-hold into the turnbuckle. Taylor hit an overhead belly-to-belly suplex at 3:00, then his nice standing dropkick for a nearfall, and he choked CaW. The action went to the floor, where Taylor hit some spine kicks, and he was in charge.
The announcers talked about a “naming contest” and turning Create-a-wrestler into the type of wrestler you want him to be. Silly stuff; it didn’t work for me, and I usually enjoy the Chikara silliness. Taylor missed a moonsault, crashing on his gut. CaW hit a twisting overhead neckbreaker for a nearfall at 7:00. Taylor fired back with a Mafia Kick for a nearfall, his fallaway chinbreaker across his foot, and a rollup with a Backlund Bridge, and he grabbed the ropes for leverage, to get the pin. Basic, and nothing memorable.
* Team PWG (Scott Lost & Chris Bosh & Joey Ryan) did a backstage promo. Bosh said that his opponent, Pantera, is “the best janitor I’ve ever seen.” Ryan, who is really turning up the cheesy 1980s Tom Selleck look, joked that they flew all the way from California, only to have to fight Mexicans again.
(3) Round 1: Sicodelico Jr. & Lince Dorado & El Pantera (Team Mexico) defeat Joey Ryan & Chris Bosh & Scott Lost (Team PWG) at 14:04. This is the Chikara debut for all six. Ryan rubbed baby oil into his chest. He faced Sicodelico, who is a tall, muscular Hispanic man in a red mask & black trunks. Sicodelico easily overpowered Ryan, and he hit a hard kick to the leg at 3:30, and he out-wrestled Ryan, who cowered in the corner. Lost entered and faced Dorado, who wore a gold mask & gold pants. (The first name is pronounced Lynn Say). Dorado hit some nice deep armdrags and he hit a nice headscissors takedown, then a running kick to the face and a Lionsault for a nearfall!
Bosh entered to face Pantera at 6:00. Pantera wore a black outfit, and he’s heavier than his teammates. Ultramantis Black said that Pantera was in the WWF Superastros sub-promotion, and he wrestled at the 1998 WWF “No Way Out” PPV, and he’s been in the wrestling business for 23 years! Wow! Bosh hit a monekyflip, but Pantera landed on his feet, and Bosh was stunned. Sicodelico Jr. hit Bosh on the floor and tossed himinto the ring. Dorado hit a crossbody block on Bosh for a nearfall. Bosh came back with a superkick on Lince at 9:00. Lost hit a Londonsault dropkick on Dorado, and the heels began to work over Lince. Ryan hit a dropkick.
Bosh hit his clothesline over his knee for a nearfall. (Bosh by the way has stepped up his look, going with better ring gear and he’s shaved his chest.) Lost hit a nice DDT. Dorado hit a double dropkick and an enziguri, and he made the hot tag to Pantera at 12:30. Pantera hit a hurricanrana and a nice mule kick off the top rope, then he dove to the floor on Bosh! Ryan hit a superkick on Sicodelico for a nearfall, as the other four wrestlers fought on the floor. Lost was whipped into the ringpost on the floor. Sicodelico got a rollup on Ryan in the ring for the sudden pin! Good action.
(4) Round 1: Hallowicked & Cheech & Cloudy defeat Fire Ant & Soldier Ant & Worker Ant (the Colony) at 9:30. Fun Chikara-style silliness. The Colony are actually pretty decent workers. Ref Bryce Remsburg joined the commentary booth with Ultramantis. Cheech and Worker Ant started out with some very basic headlocks and standing switches, and Cheech did a Gory Special across his back. Cloudy and Soldier Ant entered at 3:00, and Bryce joked that the young-looking Cloudy is still 15. Cloudy hit a hurricanrana, and Soldier Ant hit a headscissors takedown. They hit double crossbody blocks and both rolled to the floor.
Fire Ant and Hallowicked entered for the first time, and they traded some nice reversals, with Fire Ant hitting a cool Tumbleweed into the corner and a hurricanrana to the floor, and Hallowicked kept rolling … and rolling! Hallowicked rolled out the door and outside! Moments later, Hallowicked returned at 6:00 and smashed a huge chunk of snow on Fire Ant! FUNNY, as Fire Ant writhed in pain, as if the snow was “putting his fire out!” The crowd went nuts. Again, this is Chikara silliness, and this crowd loved it. Cloudy and Cheech tied up Worker Ant, and Hallowicked nailed him with a Mafia kick to the back of the head. Cloudy & Cheech then did their team 619 spot.
Fire Ant made the hot tag, and he did “Fireman’s Carries” on each opponent. Fire Ant was then launched to the floor on Cloudy & Hallowicked. The Colony members hit a team neckbreaker & powerbomb combo on Cheech. Fire Ant hit an elevated doublestomp on Cloudy at 9:00! Hallowicked nailed the “Go to Sleepy Hallow” (CM Punk’s new finisher) kneestrike to the head on Worker Ant, then a Mafia Kick, and Hallowicked pinned Worker Ant. This was nonstop action with fun (sometimes messy) spots, but little selling. I enjoyed it, though.
* Maxime Boyer & Shane Matthews & Jagged cut a basic backstage promo saying they would win the tournament. All three of these guys look fairly identical with short black hair. I’ve seen all three wrestle before, and Boyer is by far the best of these three. They are billed as “Team Canada.”
(5) Round 1: Shane Storm & Jigsaw & Mike Quackenbush defeat Maxime Boyer & Shane Matthews & Jagged at 13:53. Fun match. Ref Bryce Remsburg joined UltraMantis Black on commentary. Boyer – the impressive one on the team – is now the Young Lions Cup champ, a title for wrestlers under the age of 25. Matthews, who has a beard, started against Jigsaw, and he shoved Jigsaw to the mat and he flexed. Quackenbush hit a bulldog on Matthews. Storm faced Jagged, and they traded basic standing switches, then Storm out-wrestled Jagged for a bit. At 4:00, Boyer faced Quackenbush, and UltraMantis called this a “dream matchup,” and these two traded some very good mat reversals. In a cool spot, Quack tied him up, upside down!
Matthews and Storm entered and Storm hit a shoulder tackle and a dropkick. Jigsaw and Boyer traded quick reversals and armdrags. Jagged is loud and annoying, reminding me of The Miz in WWE. Matthews & Jagged accidentally hit a clothesline on Boyer at 9:00. Jigsaw hit doublestomps onto all the heels! Storm missed a dive to the floor. Boyer beat up Storm and worked him over in the ring. All the heels took turns beating up Storm. Jagged applied an Octopus hold at 12:00. Jigsaw nailed a springboard dropkick and some back elbows on all the heels.
In a fun spot, Jigsaw hit three consecutive doublestomps on the heels’ chests. Storm nailed a frogsplash on all three heels, and he covered them. Boyer came back with an elevated guillotine legdrop on Jigsaw. Storm missed “That Japanese Move”/Shining Wizard. However, Storm hit an Air Raid Crash/Celtic Cross on Jagged for the pin.
* “Team TNA” of Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley & Sonjay Dutt did a backstage promo. These guys are all over-the-top heels and a bit arrogant tonight. “We’ve come to claim the trio tournament,” Shelley said. Dutt said they are one cohesive unit.
(6) Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley & Sonjay Dutt defeat Ruckus & Joker & Sabian (BLKOUT) at 17:42. Very good match. The BLKOUT team are gangstas from CZW who have really taken off in the past year, and they wore their CZW tag belts to the ring. The crowd was HOT for this one! Sabin and Ruckus started off with some QUICK arm reversals, amping up the pacing from some of the earlier matches. Shelley entered and he tied up Ruckus’ legs, hit a shoulder tackle, and blew his nose on him! Ruckus came back with a nice headscissors takedown. Shelley worked over Ruckus’ left arm. Joker tagged in at 3:30 and faced Sabin, and Sabin hit a headscissors takedown. Dutt faced Sabian, and Sabian hit a nice dropkick, a hurricanrana, and a dive to the floor!
Dutt came back with a missile dropkick in the ring. The TNA heels began to work over Sabian. Dutt hit a sloppy Arabian Press, and Shelley got a nearfall at 6:00. Shelley hit a basement dropkick to the back. Sabin hit some jabs to Sabian’s jaw. “Similar sounding names, not similar in appearance,” UltraMantis quipped. (Funny, as Sabian is a short, thick black man.) Team TNA hit a team suplex, and they all hit guillotine legdrops. Shelley hit an enziguri, and he traded chops with Sabian. Shelley tied Sabian in a rowboat, pulling back on Sabian’s arms, allowing Dutt & Sabin to hit basement dropkicks to Sabian’s unprotected face at 10:00!
The crowd rallied for Sabian. Joker & Ruckus got in and helped BLKOUT take control of the match. Sabian hit a dropkick to Shelley’s gut as Shelley was held upside down, and the BLKOUT team beat up Shelley. Ruckus nailed a spin heel kick to the chin. Joker hit a back suplex for a nearfall. Sabian hit a catapult senton for a nearfall at 13:00, and all the BLKOUT members hit dropkicks on Shelley. Shelley came back with a doublestomp on Joker’s back. Sabin hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a Tornado DDT for a nearfall. Ruckus hit a handspring-back-kick on Shelley, then a Famouser Legdrop.
Ruckus went for the Razzle Dazzle/cartwheel-back-elbow, but Shelley cut him off and applied the Border City Stretch on the mat! Nice! The TNA squad all applied submission spots at 15:30 for a believable finish. Dutt hit an enziguri on Joker. Ruckus hit a team DDT, then BLKOUT hit a team Lungblower on Dutt. Ruckus connected on the Razzle Dazzle on Dutt. Joker hit a rolling Tumbleweed on Dutt for a believable nearfall! Sabin hit an enziguri as Shelley hit a superick on Ruckus! Sabin picked up Ruckus, hit the Cradleshock/modified Michinoku Driver, and scored the pin. “What a match we’ve seen here!” Ultramantis Black exclaimed. The crowd applauded both teams.
* Icarus cut a backstage promo. His hair has grown out to (what I consider) normal – he used to have really long, stringy hair, but he was shaved bald last year after losing a hair vs. mask match. Icarus was more cocky and ‘on’ with heelish charisma than I’ve seen from him. He said that Player Uno doesn’t match up to his caliber in the ring.
(7) Icarus defeats Player Uno at 5:26. Basic match. The crowd LOUDLY booed Icarus. Player Uno is a masked wrestler in a black & white outfit. Ref Remsburg on commentary talked about Icarus’ trios match the next day. Icarus hit a clothesline, some chops, a grazing dropkick, and he slapped Player Uno with his elbow pad. Player Uno returned the chops and he hit a dropkick to the gut as Icarus was upside down on the ropes at 3:30.
Player Uno hit a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall. Uno has a drawing of a “Nintendo controller” on his pants, and he pretended to push buttons. Icarus hit a Reverse Rana, an enziguri, and an inverted DDT for a believable nearfall. Icarus then hit a Pedigree for the pin. A bit one-sided. Icarus really draws great heel heat here.
DVD 1 ends at 1 hour, 55 minutes.
* The Olsen Twins (who look nothing alike!) cut a basic backstage promo, and they are confident they will win their upcoming match.
(8) Yago & Miyawaki defeat Colin & Jimmy Olsen at 9:38. Fun extended squash. The Olsens came out to Britney Spears “Toxic.” They tried to start an “Olsens gonna kill you” chant, but the fans didn’t participate. Funny, really. Icarus was back on commentary with UltraMantis Black. Yago & Miyawaki are much bigger, thicker and stronger than their white opponents. Yago, who has blonde streaks, started against Colin, who is clean-shaven, and Yago immediately nailed a hard spine kick. Jimmy Olsen, who has a beard, hopped in the ring to face Miyawaki. Miyawaki nailed a hard shoulder tackle, and they traded headbutts at 2:30, with Jimmy falling to the mat.
Jimmy hit a back suplex on Miyawaki. Colin entered and hit some stiff forearms on Miyawaki, and they hit a team neckbreaker, with Colin getting a nearfally. Colin hit a twisting fisherman’s suplex on Miyawaki at 5:00. Miyawaki slammed one Olsen onto the other! Yago tagged in, and he unloaded some punches and a spin heel kick on Jimmy Olsen. Miyawaki nailed some LOUD chops on Jimmy, which popped the crowd. Miyawaki applied a Cobra Clutch on the mat, but Jimmy reached the ropes. Yago entered again and hit some Heart Punches and a spin kick on Jimmy.
The Olsens hit a team guillotine legdrop move. Jimmy nailed a top-rope flying headbutt for a nearfall. Yago nailed a German Release Suplex, then he hit a Splash Mountain (Razor’s Edge)/overhead powerbomb on Jimmy for the pin. “They don’t scare me,” Icarus said of his opponents for the next round, but he definitely sold it that he was scared! Jimmy Olsen’s chest was quite red from the chops! Replays of the nice finish were shown. No one thought the Olsens would win this one.
(9) Round 2: Lince Dorado & Sicodelico Jr. & El Pantera defeat Cheech & Cloudy & Hallowicked at 11:02. Pantera started against Hallowicked with some solid mat wrestling. Sicodelico Jr. tagged in, and Bryce Remsburg on commentary said, he’s “Bigger than your average luchador.” Sicodelico definitely is thick with a good build. Cheech entered and he tied up Sicodelico’s arms, then he hit a sunset flip for a nearfall at 3:30. Sicodelico fired back with a Superkick. Lince entered and faced Cloudy. Cloudy applied a modified Cattle Mutilation/double armbar, and he tied up Dorado.
Hallowicked faced Pantera again, and Pantera hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall, and they traded some good, quick reversals. Cheech hit a headscissors takedown on Sicodelico. Sicodelico came back with a hard enziguri on Cheech at 7:00. Cloudy and Dorado traded armdrags, with Lince hitting a nice hurricanrana! This action is really quick! Cheech hit a pumphandle back suplex for a nearfall on Lince at 9:30. Pantera hit a nice tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
Cloudy hit a top-rope dive to the floor. Lince and Cheech traded chops in the ring, and Lince hit a Tornado DDT, then a COOL top-rope cartwheel press onto Cheech for the pin! “What???” Bryce exclaimed at this innovative finish. Good match, but a bit shorter than I’d like for a second-round match.
(10) Round 2: Mike Quackenbush & Shane Storm & Jigsaw defeat Alex Shelley & Sonjay Dutt & Chris Sabin at 25:01. Best match of the show. Storm and Dutt started with some good reversals. Sabin and Quack faced each other, and the crowd was HOT. Sabin applied a half-crab at 3:00, but Quackenbush escaped, and they had a standoff. Jigsaw hit a top-rope crossbody block, then a guillotine legdrop on Sabin for a nearfall, but Shelley made the save. Sabin hit a spin heel kick. Dutt hit a springboard twisting legdrop on Jigsaw. Dutt hit a basement dropkick on Quacks knee at 6:30. Dutt nailed a plancha to the floor on Quack & Jigsaw.
Shelley applied a Border City Stretch on Storm, but Storm reached the ropes! Sabin accidentally chopped each of his partners. Jigsaw hit a hurricanrana on Sabin, then a corkscrew plancha to the floor on Sabin. Quack & Storm immediately followed that up with simultaneous dives to the floor on Shelley & Dutt at 9:30! NICE! In the ring, Sabin nailed a Flatliner on Jigsaw. The heels each took turns working over Jigsaw, and they each tried to peel off his red mask! Shelley hit a Russian Legsweep, and he tied Jigsaw up in an Octopus on the mat. Sabin nailed a basement dropkick on the head. Dutt hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 14:00.
Storm entered, and he went for That Japanese Move, but Shelley blocked it. Dutt hit a catapult guillotine legdrop on Storm, and Team TNA now worked over Storm. Shelley applied an abdominal stretch, as he pulled on his partners’ hands for leverage at 17:30. Dutt hit an assisted senton move, but Quack made the save, so Team TNA began to beat up Quackenbush. Shelley hit a Lungblower to Quack’s chest, and Dutt hit a moonsault onto Quack’s back as Quackenbush was still across Shelley’s knees! Cool. Storm made the hot tag at 19:30, and he unloaded some stiff forearms on Sabin, then he hit a clothesline that sent Sabin to the floor.
Quackenbush hit his reverse Samoan Drop, planting Shelley stomach-first on the mat. Shelley came back with a tilt-a-whirl move into a Border City Stretch on Quackenbush! Team TNA each applied a submission spot on the mat, but the face team reversed all the moves and applied their own submission spots. Quack hit a palm strike in the corner. Shelley nailed a dive through the ropes onto Quack at 22:30! Sabin tied Storm in the Tree of Woe, and Sabin hit a running dropkick on Storm’s face! Dutt followed that up with a modified Van Terminator to Storm’s face!
Shelley hit a frogsplash on Storm for a nearfall. On the floor, Shelley hit a Shellshock/spinning faceplant on Quack! In the ring, Storm got a backslide on Sabin for a believable nearfall. Dutt came back with his Backflip Driver and a corkscrew 450 Press on Jigsaw for a believable nearfall. Jigsaw picked up Dutt and hit the Jig N Tonic/modified Styles Clash for the pin! The fans gave these men a standing ovation, and it was well deserved. Team TNA teased they would shake hands, but instead they left. Fun, fun match.
DVD 2 runs at 1 hour, 1 minute.
Final thoughts: There is a lot to like here; this is Chikara Pro style at its best. The main event earned best match, as I really like everyone in that match (except for Storm, who’s not quite as good as the other five). The action is quite and fun, with some humor and juvenile spots mixed in. I’ve said this before – Chikara Pro is fun, family wrestling, with plenty of colorful characters and bright costumes, with an emphasis on lucha action. This main event mixed those elements wonderfully.
Second-best goes to Team TNA vs. BLKOUT in round 1, as that much was quite hard-hitting, and there were times that it appeared the CZW guys were going to pull out the big victory. That match has some good back-and-forth action. Gran Akuma vs. Masamune was a sharp, hard-hitting opener, and that earned third-best, just beating out Team PWG vs. Team Mexico in round 1.
What didn’t work: Create-a-Wrestler bombed. I wasn’t interested in this gimmick, and the crowd seemed to share my apathy. Player Uno, Jagged and Shane Matthews are mediocre at best – at least they were all squashed. I’d like to see the “dream match” of Quackenbush vs. Boyer that Ultramantis Black talked about.
I have to go back to the spot where Hallowicked threw a chunk of snow onto Fire Ant, and Fire Ant sold it, rolling on the floor, writhing in pain. It was HILARIOUS. The crowd loved it. If you don’t chuckle at this spot, well, Chikara Pro isn’t for you.
This is not Ring of Honor. The crowd is small, and there aren’t great graphics or huge light poles. But the ring is well lit and the action in the ring is fun. I really like that Chikara Pro mixes in these promos between matches, giving these guys a chance to speak and establish their characters.
This DVD earned a thumbs up. Purchase it at www.smartmarkvideo.com for $20.
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