Sunday, May 31, 2015

CHIKARA You Only Live Twice Review

CHIKARA returns, and a new threat show its face!

So this is CHIKARA's return show. As everyone knows, the company was "shut down" following the events of Anniversario: Never Compromise in the Summer of 2013. Since then, Icarus had been fighting to bring back CHIKARA, and at National Pro-Wrestling Day 2014, the forces of CHIKARA united to announce the promotion's return, after having to fight off the emergence of a massive group of rudos (heels) known as The Flood, seemingly led by Ring of Honor's Jimmy Jacobs. All of the happenings of the past year have now culminated in this show. The return of CHIKARA, and it was on iPPV!

CHIKARA You Only Live Twice
Easton, Pennsylvania 5/25/14

First of all, it has to be said that the crowd for this show is HUGE! I believe it was noted that 1500 people were in attendance.

1.) Six-Mag Tag - Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Ares, Nøkken & Tursas with Milo Schnitzler) vs. The Spectral Envoy (UltraMantis Black, Hallowicked & Frightmare): ***1/2

So the show starts off with a clash between the BDK & The Spectral Envoy. Of course, as many people know, UltraMantis Black has a long history with with BDK. Originally, Milo Schnitzler was going to be in this match with Ares & Nøkken, but as UltraMantis Black attempted to do a promo on the BDK, Tursas (one of the original BDK members) jumped them from behind! Now the BDK has two behemoths in their ranks. This was a really good opening match. It was a lot of fun, the crowd was into it, and the history between these two groups certainly added to the atmosphere as well. Unfortunately, the BDK would pick up the win over The Spectral Envoy.

2.) Chuck Taylor vs. "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington: ***

This is the CHIKARA debut for the former Dalton Castle, now known as Ashley Remington. There were a couple of videos online that explained how this came about. Basically, Dalton Castle found out that he was a relative of Darkness Crabtree, who had been "killed" by GEKIDO when they shut down Wrestling is Intense, and that he had left him a sizable inheritance. Crabtree had told him to use his fortune wisely, so Castle transformed into "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington. Here, he's taking on a CHIKARA stalwart in Chuck Taylor. This was a pretty fun match. Ashley Remington is such an entertaining character, and you can tell the crowd has already fallen in love with him. At the same time, I think Chuck Taylor was a good opponent for his debut. Remington would get the win, and after the match, Remington gives Taylor a fruit basket, I guess as a "consolidation prize".

Up next we have a segment with the new owner of CHIKARA, Robbie Ellis. He introduces the new Director of Fun, Mike Quackenbush. He thanks the fans for all of their support over the years, and that "They Are CHIKARA".

3.) Six-Man Tag - The Batiri (Kobald, Kodama & Obariyon) vs. The Odditorium (Sinn Bodhi, Oliver Grimsly, & Qefka The Quiet): **1/4

So here's another match that has a lot of history behind it, as when they made their initial debut, The Batiri were aligned with Sinn Bodhi. Since then, The Batiri turned into tecnicos, wanting to protect CHIKARA against people like Sinn Bodhi (and his new minions in The Odditorium), who were trying to destroy it. This was probably the worst match on the show. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't good either. There were a few good moments, but the match ended when Sinn Bodhi hit a low blow, giving The Batiri the win by DQ. Not a very satisfying finish.

4.) Jervis Cottonbelly vs. Juan Francisco de Coronado: **1/2

These are two competitors who have gained notoriety through the various "Wrestling is..." promotions. The match itself was fine. It wasn't anything special, but the action was fine, and it was a good introductions to both characters in the main CHIKARA canon. The match ended when Coronado turned Cottonbelly's mask, allowing him to hit him with a bridging German Suplex for the win.

5.) Four-Way Tag Team Elimination Match - 3.0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews) vs. GEKIDO (17 & deviANT) vs. The Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard) vs. The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield & "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti): ***1/2

The Throwbacks earned the final spot in this match by winning the 2014 Tag World Grand Prix in Wrestling is Fun!, which concluded the night before. This is also an elimination match, and (I believe) points towards the Campeonatos de Parejas (which are still in flux at this point, as while Jigsaw & The Shard are technically champions, the trio of Princess Kimber Lee, Jolly Roger & Lance Steel have possession of the actual title belts). 3.0 were eliminated first. I should also note that, at once point, Kid Cyclone and some of his fellow students attacked 17, but their teacher, Hallowicked, stopped them, and told them to go the back. Despite being outnumbered by teams from The Flood, The Throwbacks were able to outlast both GEKIDO & The Pieces of Hate to win the match!

6.) Archibald Peck vs. Jimmy Jacobs: **3/4

During the massive assault by The Flood at National Pro-Wrestling Day 2014, Archibald Peck showed up with 3.0 in a Delorean from Back To The Future to aid the CHIKARA roster, so I guess it was natural that we would get this match. It was a pretty solid match. While it wasn't quite as good as I was expecting, it was still a fine match. With the help of his goons, and a foreign object, Jacobs is able to get the win.

7.) Six-Man Tag - The Colony (Fire Ant, Green Ant & Worker Ant) vs. The Colony: Xtreme Force (Arctic Rescue Ant, Missile Assault Ant, Orbit Adventure Ant): ***1/2

There isn't a need to explain the grudge these two teams have. The real thing vs. cheap knockoffs. The story rights itself. The biggest development was that assailANT has now been given the moniker of Worker Ant by the other members of The Colony. This was another pretty good match. Lots of ant insanity, obviously. Solid action throughout this one. Towards the end of the match, it looked like The Colony was going to get the win, but The Colony: Xtreme Force would get the win with an assist from an exposed turnbuckle.

Despite losing the match, The Colony was able to claim some form of victory, as they sent away The Colony: Xtreme Force afterwords, and took back their King of Trios 2011 Medals.

8.) CHIKARA Grand Championship - Eddie Kingston vs. Icarus: ***1/2

So here we have the Main Event. A match that was the Main Event of Anniversario: Never Compromise, where Icarus was moments away from getting Eddie Kingston to tap out to the CHIKARA Special before Condor Security ruined everything and shut down the show. Nearly a year later, Icarus is firmly a tecnico, as the person who was the savior of CHIKARA. These two had a pretty good match. It was about on par with their previous title match (which, as I previous mentioned, ended in a No Contest). Lots of good back & forth action between these two. As the match progressed, the CHIKARA roster (pretty much all of the tecnicos) came down to ringside in support of Icarus. Unfortunately, Icarus took some hard shots, and apparently suffered a concussion during the match (making for a few spots where Icarus was clearly out of it). Despite this, Icarus was somehow able to continue, and eventually got Kingston to tap out to the CHIKARA Special to score the win and the CHIKARA Grand Championship!! 

The CHIKARA roster celebrated with Icarus to close the show....or what we thought was the end of the show. All of a sudden, all of the members of The Flood come down to the ring. They were followed by a massive figure, wearing some sort of gas mask (he resembled Bane, the famous villain of Batman). He was dragging two hooded figures with them. He brought them in the ring, and took off their hoods, revealing them to be Delirious & Soldier Ant! Delirious goes after The Spectral Envoy, while Soldier Ant attacks The Colony!! A huge brawl breaks out, with members of The Flood fighting members of the CHIKARA roster. The large man that resembled Bane remained in the ring, and Kobald decided to go after him. He tried to attack him, but it had no effect. The large man then grabbed him, and hit him with a devastating Choke Breaker (basically a chokeslam onto his knee). Kobald laid motionless in the ring as The Flood left. The CHIKARA Roster quickly surrounded their fallen comrade, with The Batiri being the most distraught. They carried the lifeless body of Kobald away as the show came to a somber close.

Overall: 7.25/10

After all of the controversy that surround the nearly year long "shut down" storyline, we finally saw the return of CHIKARA. As a whole, the show was relatively solid. There really wasn't one particular Match of the Night, as you had multiple matches in the ***1/2 range that were all really good. We saw the debut of one of the most entertaining characters in recent memory in "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington, and Icarus complete his transition to being a tecnico by not only saving CHIKARA, but also by winning the Grand Championship. There were a few matches that weren't quite as solid, but there were more good matches than not-so-good matches. The show finished with a lot of questions, as we saw the return of Delirious & Soldier Ant (who has apparently joined The Flood and is now a rude), the debut of the man who we would later learn was Deucalion, and the first example of his power, as he apparently took out Kobald for good. An interesting return for CHIKARA, to say the least.

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