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Tape Review: Chikara Pro, "Tag World Grand Prix," night 3, Feb. 26, 2006, with Hero, Castognoli, Delirious, Milano

May 11, 2006 - 11:14:00 AM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Chikara Pro concluded its three-day, 32-team “Tag World Grand Prix” on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2006, at the New Alhambra (ECW Arena) in Philadelphia, Penn. This show features the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals of this massive tournament.

I’ve written this before, but Chikara combines family-friendly wrestling with Lucha-style athleticism, and they have really come on strong in the past year. This event is a showcase of Chikara Pro at its best.

The crowd appears to be about 200 fans. Smart Mark Video recorded the event with multiple cameras, and lighting & sound & editing are good. Commentary, like most Chikara shows, is a rotating crew of, basically, someone who’s free. To start the show, ref Bryce Remsburg and Ultramantis Black provide commentary.

(1) Allison Danger & Ranmuru & Rain defeat Sumie Sakai & Daizee Haze & Mickie Knuckles at 7:18. Good, fast-paced women’s match to open the show! The commentators talked about the buzz surrounding Shimmer women’s wrestling. Danger and Mickie started, and they immediately traded some stiff forearms and headbutts! Haze entered to face Rain, and the announcers talked about how these two women were a team the night before, but developed problems during their match.

Haze hit a Thesz Press on Rain, threw some punches, then she put Rain in a Camel Clutch. Rain came back with a nice crossbody block on Haze, and they traded chops. Ranmuru and Sakai squared off at 2:30, and Sumie hit a nice dropkick. Ranmuru hit a “kangaroo kick,” which is an inverted dropkick, and they traded some fun quick action. Sakai applied a cross-armbreaker on Ranmuru. Ranmuru hit some kicks to Knuckles’ thighs. Mickie hit a spinning uranage on Ranmuru.

Mickie hit a nice Northern Lights Suplex on Danger for a nearfall. Knuckles dove to the floor on all the heels at 6:30. Haze hit a top-rope crossbody block to the floor. Sumie hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Danger in the ring, as the other four women brawled on the floor. Danger got a rollup on Sumie out of nowhere to score the pin! This was quick, nonstop action.

(2) Quarterfinals: Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli (The Kings of Wrestling) defeat Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz (The North Star Express) (w/J.J. Dillon) at 12:35. On commentary, Larry Sweeney has replaced Remsburg. Hero & Claudio, the heels, came out to Queen’s “We are the champions.” Sweeney joked that Claudio needs to hit the gym to tone up. The crowd popped for the NSE. Corbin is a red head, Cruz is the Matt Hardy lookalike, and they are really becoming big fan favorites here. The crowd started taunting the heels with a slow “Heeerooo” chant.

Ryan and Claudio traded armbars, and Claudio hit a shoulder tackle. Darin and Hero squared off at 2:30, and they traded stiff forearms and chops. Hero claimed that J.J. Dillon tripped him! Darin hit a satellite headscissors takedown on Hero. The heels quickly began to work over Darin, as Castognoli hit some European Uppercuts. Hero tied up Darin and hit some chops. Claudio hit a basement dropkick to the face. Ryan Cruz made the hot tag at 8:00, and he hit some back elbows, and a uranage on Hero for a nearfall. Dillon tripped Hero! Funny. The faces hit a team Japanese armdrag. Corbin hit a flip headscissors out of the corner on Castognoli.

Cruz hit a spin kick on Hero for a nearfall, then he hit a lungblower to the chest! In a cool spot, Claudio held BOTH faces, upside down, in his arms, and Hero hit double dropkicks on both faces! Darin came back with an Ace Crusher on Claudio at 11:30 for a believable nearfall. The crowd was HOT! The faces went for the Cruz Control/team Alabama Slam, but Claudio broke it up with a European Uppercut. The heels then hit a double Pyramid Bomb/crossed-arm powerbomb, and Claudio pinned Darin. On commentary, Sweeney said, “That was a tremendous showing by the North Star Express.” The crowd gave the NSE a standing ovation.

* Icarus cut a backstage promo; his partner, Gran Akuma, stood next to him but he doesn’t speak. Icarus said they are the only team to still be intact through all three tournaments. Icarus said they’ve had a change in attitude since they joined up with Chris Hero. This was a good, intense promo from the previously-goofy Icarus! Akuma, who no longer has a mask, just stood there with an evil grin. Icarus made fun of Eddie Kingston, saying he has gone soft, because he wouldn’t hit a woman on night 1 of the tournament.

(3) Quarterfinals: Gran Akuma & Icarus defeat Sabian & Eddie Kingston at 13:24. Good match. Kingston and Akuma started by trading armholds. Icarus and Sabian tagged in, and the crowd booed Icarus. Icarus tried for a leapfrog at 3:30, but Sabian caught him with an accidental low blow. Kingston hit some rolling suplexes on Icarus, then he powerbombed Sabian onto Icarus. Sabian hit a back suplex, then a catapult senton for a nearfall. Icarus hit a guillotine legdrop on Sabin for a nearfall. Sabian hit a Lionsault on Icarus at 7:00.

Icarus hit a Death Valley Driver on Sabian. Akuma entered, and he hit some spin kicks to the chest and a brainbuster, but he missed a frogsplash. Kingston made the hot tag at 9:30, and he hit a belly-to-belly suplex, then a T-Bone suplex, and he dropped Icarus on the top of his head! Sabian hit a rolling dive to the floor! The heels hit a team faceplant for a nearfall, but the move was a bit off. Sabian hit a top-rope doublestomp on Icarus’ chest!

Akuma nailed a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall on Sabian. Kingston and Gran Akuma traded kicks and blows. They brawled on the ropes in the corner, where Akuma hit a second-rope Yoshi Tonic/Code Red/sudden swinging sunset flip, for the pin.

(4) Quarterfinals: Delirious & Hallowicked defeat Mikami & KUDO (w/unnamed woman) at 8:50. Really good match, especially for the time given. Mike Quackenbush is now on commentary, and Bryce joins him in the booth. All four wrestlers brawled immediately. Mikami hit a springboard dive to the floor on Hallowicked. Delirious and KUDO traded armdrags. Hallowicked tied up KUDO’s legs and he applied a modified Figure Four Leglock. KUDO hit a nice enziguri on Delirious. Mikami hit a senton on Delirious, and KUDO hit some spine kicks on Delirious.

Mikami hit a 619 on Delirious at 4:00. KUDO hit a slingshot double knees on Delirious. Delirious hit a dropkick to KUDO’s back, then his Panic Attack/running knee in the corner, and the crowd rallied behind Delirious. Hallowicked made the hot tag, and he hit an enziguri on KUDO, then a powerbomb. Mikami hit a missile dropkick on Hallowicked. Delirious nailed the BAM leaping lariat on Mikami, then on KUDO, and all four were down at 7:30.

There is a ladder set up, and Mikami climbed it, and he hit a Swanton Bomb on Hallowicked, but Delirious made the save. KUDO hit a Tajiri-style spin kick on Delirious, but he missed his flying double knees to the chest. Delirious hit a nice dropkick on Mikami. Delirious then hit the Bizarro Driver on Mikami for the pin. I wish this had been longer!

* Delirious cut a post-match promo in his hilarious gibberish. The announcers stressed that Hallowicked has apparently been turned face by teaming with Delirious.

* Osamu Nishimura & Katsushi Takemura cut a backstage promo in Japanese. Then, in broken English, they said that “Nobody can beat us.”

(5) Quarterfinals: Skayde & Milano Collection AT defeat Osamu Nishimura & Katsushi Takemura at 11:07. Good match. Osamu wore black trunks, and Takemura wore white pants. I am unfamiliar with them. Quackenbush called this match solo, but he was a bit too quiet. Osamu and Milano started, with Osamu hitting a shoulder tackle, and Milano applying a headscissorslock. The crowd was hot early! Osamu hit some hard European Uppercuts. Skayde entered and he faced Takemura.

Takemura hit a powerslam and some chops, and the Japanese team beat up on Skayde. Osamu applied a headscissorslock at 5:00 on Skayde. Takemura hit a basement dropkick on Skayde’s face, as Skayde was tied in the Tree of Woe. Takemura hit a catapult senton for a nearfall. Skayde made the hot tag to Milano at 8:30, and Milano hit a basement dropkick to Takemura’s lknee.

Osamu hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip on Milano, and he worked over Milano’s leg in the ropes. Osamu hit a top-rope kneedrop on Milano’s knee, and Osamu applied a Figure Four Leglock. Milano hit an enziguri on Takemura. Takemura hit a Death Valley Driver on Skayde. Out of nowhere, Skayde hooked both of Takemura’s arms, got a rollup, and pinned him! “The loss came out of nowhere,” Quackenbush said.

(6) Shane Storm & Equinox & Jigsaw defeat Miyawaki & Shinjitsu Nohashi & Amigo Suzuki at 12:34. Equinox wore his red & blue outfit. Nohashi wore white karate pants, and Suzuki wore white trunks, and he’s blonde. The crowd was hot to start. Jigsaw opened against Nohashi, and they traded armbars. The Japanese team hit double falling headbutts on Jigsaw. Storm entered, and he traded armdrags with Suzuki. Equinox tagged in, and he dove to the floor on Suzuki. Jigsaw and Equinox hit double top-rope dives to the floor.

Nohashi hit a summersault dive on all five other wrestlers at 4:30. Nohashi did an ‘Old School’ walk along the guardrail on Equinox. Miyawaki hit a hard elbow drop on Equinox in the ring for a nearfall. Miyawaki hit some HARD chops that popped the crowd. The Japanese team took turns working over Equinox, as they each hit flying back elbows in the corner. Miyawaki hit a second-rope powerbomb for a believable nearfall at 8:30. Equinox hit a reverse DDT on Miyawaki. Jigsaw made the hot tag, and he hit a superkick on Miyawaki.

Miyawaki hit a Flatliner on Storm. Suzuki nailed a Tiger Suplex on Storm for a believable nearfall. Miyawaki hit an inverted DDT on Storm. The Japanese team hit double Benoit flying headbutts. Storm came back with a Shining Wizard on Suzuki. Jigsaw hit a German Suplex on Miyawaki. Nohashi hit a crucifix on Jigsaw. Equinox then hit a Shooting Star Press on Nohashi for a nearfall. Jigsaw hit a jump-up hurricanrana off the top rope on Suzuki! Storm then hit “That Japanese Move”/shining wizard on Suzuki for the pin! The final few minutes were really hot, and the crowd gave them a standing ovation.

(7) Arik Cannon & Joker & Ian Rotten defeat Kevin Steen & Sal Thomaselli & Vito Thomaselli at 9:40. Good match. Cannon’s team is the faces, but the fans taunted Cannon with “Kool-Aid” packets. Sal and Joker started with some mat holds, but they soon were trading stiff forearms. Joker hit a hard clothesline. Cannon and Steen entered and they traded chops, punches and forearms. Vito and Ian entered at 3:30, and Ian hit some big open-hand slaps. On commentary, Quackenbush and Ultramantis Black said they never imagined they would see Rotten in a Chikara ring!

Ian applied a Fujiwara Armbar. The faces all took turns working over Vito’s left arm. However, Joker tagged in, and the heels began to work Joker over. Sal & Vito hit a nice clothesline & Legsweep combo for a nearfall. Steen hit his summersault guillotine legdrop on Joker. There was a fun six-way sleeper spot at 7:00. Ian hit some Dusty elbows on Vito in the ring, as the other four brawled on the floor. Vito hit a hurricanrana on Ian, off the top rope, and they crashed onto the four on the floor!

In the ring, the Thomasellis hit a team flapjack on Joker, then a Pendulum doublestomp on Joker. Ian hit a hard DDT on Vito. Cannon nailed the Glimmering Warlock/step-up enziguri on Steen, then a Saito Suplex on Sal. Cannon then nailed a Glimmering Warlock on Sal Thomaselli for the pin.

(8) Semifinals: Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli defeat Delirious & Hallowicked at 18:41. Very good action. Quackenbush & Kingston called the action. Delirious was a frozen statue before the match began, then he went crazy as the bell sounded, and he cleared the ring. Hero started with Hallowicked, and they traded quick rollups and some good chain wrestling holds. Hallowicked hit a dropkick, and Hero bailed to the floor. Delirious and Claudio entered at 4:00, and Delirious jawed at Claudio, then he worked on his left arm.

The heels hit a double suplex on Hallowicked for a nearfall, and Claudio hit a slingshot elbow drop, then a hard European Uppercut. Hero entered, and he tied up Hallowicked’s arms. The ref missed Delirious making a hot tag. Hero applied a one-legged crab on Hallowicked at 11:00. Hallowicked came back with an enziguri on Hero. Claudio applied a sleeper on Hallowicked. Hallowicked turned it into a stunner. The announcers again mention Hallowicked getting a face pop. Delirious made the hot tag, and he hit the BAM leaping lariat on Claudio.

Delirious hit 30 short-arm clotheslines in the corner, then a bulldog on Claudio, then a hurricanrana on Hero. Heron hit a senton on Hallowicked. The crowd was hot! The heels hit a Team Hero’s Welcome for a believable nearfall at 15:30 Hallowicked hit a hurricanrana for a believable nearfall on Castognoli. Delirious hit some chops and a headbutt on Hero. The faces beat up on Hero, and Delirious nailed the Panic Attack/running knee on Hero.

Hallowicked hit a moonsault doublestomp for a believable nearfall. Delirious hit a Death Sentence/elevated guillotine legdrop for a nearfall on Claudio. Claudio blocked Delirious’ attempt at the Shadows Over Hell backsplash, and Claudio hit a European Uppercut. Hero then picked up Delirious, flipped Delirious off his shoulder into a slam to the mat, and Hero pinned Delirious. Very good match, and the crowd gave them a standing ovation.

(9) Semifinals: Milano Collection AT & Skayde defeat Gran Akuma & Icarus at 8:10. The heels immediately jumped Milano & Skayde. Skayed hit some quick armdrags and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Icarus. Milano applied double half-crabs on BOTH heels. Nice spot. Akuma hit a hard spine kick on Milano. The heels began to work over Milano, as Akuma hit some more vicious kicks! Skayde entered at 4:30, and he hit some hard clotheslines and a stunner on Icarus. Icarus applied a single-leg crab on Skayde, but Skayde reached the ropes.

Milano hit a flying senton for a nearfall on Gran Akuma. Akuma hit some more kicks, a DDT, then a frogsplash for a nearfall at 7:00. Skayde hit a plancha on Icarus. Milano hit a corkscrew Lionsault on Gran Akuma. Milano applied the AT Lock/headscissors & armbar submission lock, and Akuma tapped out. Very good, hot match.

(10) Yago defeats Necro Butcher at 6:23. A very, VERY hard-hitting short match. Necro came out to “I won’t back down” by Tom Petty. They shoved each other, then traded some chops. Necro hit some headbutts. Yago hit a basement dropkick to the floor and some strikes and kicks. The crowd was hot! Yago hit a heart punch. On commentary, they say that Yago is 38, but only been in professional wrestling for two years; he has an extensive background in kick boxing. Yang hit a running dropkick on the floor. In the ring, Yago hit a running knee, a spine kick, then he applied an STF at 3:30.

Yago hit a twisting Fisherman’s buster. They traded hard clotheslines. On commentary, Kingston can barely contain his glee as he watched this hard hits. Necro hit a Tiger Driver for a nearfall, then right & left punches to the body, but Yago got his arms up to block the blows. Yago hit a Tajiri spin kick. “I love this,” Kingston said. “This is what professional wrestling is all about.” Yago nailed a Dragon Suplex to score the pin. Excellent stiff-style match.

(11) Retail Dragon & Sexxy Eddy & Dragon Dragon & Max & Gran Uno defeat Sean Davis & Phil Davis & Larry Sweeney & 2.0 at 8:06. A 10-man tag, with too many guys, and this match is just a mess. Sexxy Eddy stripped to reveal his way-too-small trunks. Sean Davis, the fat guy in the Heartbreak Express, took off his robe to reveal his body. UGH. Retail Dragon (he wears a red outfit, and is similar to Ultimo Dragon’s outfit) hit a nice snap headscissors takedown.

Retail Dragon hit a dive onto Sweeney. Sean Davis hit a Stinger Splash on Gran Uno. Uno hit a top-rope doublestomp on someone’s head at 6:00. All the heels beat up on Uno. Dragon Dragon entered to a big pop (he wears a high school mascot, oversized costume), and he knocked down all the heels by hitting them with his tail. There was a big 10-way rowboat spot, as the faces twisted the heels’ legs. Retail Dragon scored the pin on someone to end this. Blah. Too many guys, the match was not well planned out.

(12) Finals: Chris Hero & Claudio Castognoli defeat Milano Collection AT & Skayde at 17:32 to win the “Tag World Grand Prix” and become Chikara Pro tag champions. Very good match. Quackenbush is on commentary with “Chikara owner” Larry Chikarason. The referee displayed the sharp, brand new tag belts that will go to the winner. Milano and Hero traded armbars, as Quackenbush described this match as “the most important in Chikara’s history.”

Milano tied up Hero’s arms in the ropes. The crowd was hot. Milano tied Hero’s arms & legs on the bottom rope, then he his a basement dropkick, and the heels regrouped on the floor. Claudio entered at 5:00 to face Skayde. Skayde hit some nice armdrags and got some cool nearfalls. (Skayde is significantly shorter than Claudio, but they really mesh well in the ring.) The heels worked over Skayde, and Claudio hit a slingshot elbow for a nearfall at 9:00. Hero tied up Skayde’s legs, and he bridged backward, then he applied a cravat. Skayde made the hot tag at 12:00.

Milano entered and he hit an enziguri on Hero, then a flying forearm on Castognoli. Milano hit a top-rope crossbody block on Claudio for a nearfall. Claudio hit a nice reverse suplex, dropping Milano stomach-first to the mat. Hero hit the slam off his shoulders on Milano (the way he won the semifinal match!) for a believable nearfall here. Milano came back with a superkick, then a twisting Lionsault for a nearfall on Hero. Milano applied the AT Lock, but Claudio made the save.

Milano wouldn’t let go of the AT Lock, even with Claudio hitting him! The crowd was HOT. Hero finally made it to the ropes. Skayde hit a satellite headscissors takedown on Claudio at 15:30. Skayde applied an inverted Figure Four Leglock on Claudio. However, the heels hit a team Pyramid Bomb, and Hero pinned Skayde. The crowd was disappointed that the heels won.

* Hero & Castognoli hugged in the ring, and Gran Akuma & Icarus came to the ring to celebrate with the new champions. Quackenbush stood, and simply glared at the heel champions, as the show ended.

Final thoughts: Tape runs 3 hours, 43 minutes. WOW, what a fun show. With it nearly four hours on tape, it must have been quite a marathon to attend! Most people gave Night 1 the highest marks, but I really enjoyed this show, and thought this was a bit better.

Hero & Claudio had three very good matches here, and I give them match of the night for the semi-finals match with Delirious & Hallowicked. The finals, with Skayde & Milano, earned second-best.

The show started hot with the women’s matchup, and each of the tournament matches was really good. The only low spot on this event was the forgettable 10-man tag match, but it did its purpose of providing a buffer between some hot matches and the big finale.

I’ve said this before, but Chikara is not for everyone. Some people won’t like the focus on comedy or lucha action, but the matches here were all top-notch. This is a great show to start with if you’ve never seen Chikara Pro before. Last year’s tournament – where Chris Hero turned on Mike Quackenbush to side with Cannon & Castognoli – set in motion all the angles for the entire year. Quackenbush’s quiet glare at the heel champions seem to be doing the same thing for 2006.

Thumbs up, and purchase this tape at www.smartmarkvideo.com for $15.


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