In November 2011, CHIKARA Pro wrestling hosted its first live pay-per-view to cap off the company’s historic tenth “season” of existence by crowning CHIKARA’s first singles champion, the Grand Championship. After several grueling months of wrestling, two CHIKARA mainstays and stars in company creator Mike Quackenbush and Eddie Kingston earned the rite to battle for the prize. Lets find out who walked away with the gold and if this show is a classic.
November 13, 2011
Three Point Special: The winning team would earn enough victories in a row (three) to challenge for the Campeonatos de Parejas Tag Team title. As you’d expect from a Young Bucks match, it didn’t take long before the pace quickened and bodies began to fly. Shockingly enough, it was The Colony initiating the speed increase, beautifully mixing arm drags with head scissors. The Bucks’ penchant for double team maneuvers turned the tides in the Jackson brothers’ favor, resulting in Soldier Ant on the bad part of town. The fans rallied behind the masked duo, eventually giving Soldier Ant the strength to fight through such attacks as a double team over-the-knee neck breaker and tag in a red-hot Fire Ant – who exploded out of the corner with a cross body block.
The heights Fire Ant reached were becoming more and more awe-inspiring during the match’s final minutes. The Bucks’ ability to be exactly where they needed to be to help each other left The Colony in a bad position. It seemed like the end was near for Soldier Ant thanks to More Bang For Your Buck when he miraculously got his knees up to stop Nick’s 450 Splash portion of the maneuver and move out of the way of Matt’s moonsault. Stunned by this turn of events, Matt Jackson was prone to Soldier Ant’s cradle for the three count.
The perfect way to begin an event. The action was fast and innovative as it was crisp – never entering the dreaded “indy-riffic” territory.
Gender Bender: Sara Del Rey was one of the original members of the dominant Bruderschaft des Kreuzez faction (also known as the “BDK”). Following a win over fellow stable mate Claudio Castagnoli during the 12 Large: Summit to crown CHIKARA’s first singles, Del Rey decided to step away from the group and do her own thing. The BDK didn’t take kindly to this and began a war with Del Rey. Sara held her own up to this point and looked to continue the trend against Jakob Hammermeier.
And continue she did as the birthday girl not only twisted Jakob up like a pretzel, but also almost kicked his chest in with some of those patented roundhouse strikes. Just when it seemed Sara would get an early win, Jakob almost stole the victory with some flash pinning combinations. Del Rey would stop each pin attempt, eventually finishing her outmatched opposition with the Royal Butterfly to put another nail in the faction’s potential coffin.
Though a little longer and evenly matched than it needed to be, it was a fine second bout of event – intergender or otherwise.
Don’t Trust a Snake: The Osirian of Ophidian and Amasis came to the ring after the second bout to make a big announcement. According to Amasis, his doctors informed him his wrestling career was over and The Portal was no more. It seemed the two partners would “Kid N’ Play” dance their way into the sunset when Ophidian sprayed poisonous mist in Amasis’ face. To add insult to injury, Ophidian unmasked his friend to a chorus of boos and several fans crying, “Why?” Covering “The Funky Pharaoh’s” face with a towel were referees and security as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. A great segment that needed to be done to advance both the careers of a tandem that had done everything in CHIKARA and might not be seen again thanks to Amasis’ injury, and giving Ophidian a new lease on his career.
Red, White, Blue & Green: Before the match there was an amazing video package highlighting big moments of this feud where Green Ant became the Lex Luger to The BDK’s Tursas’ Yokozuna – even going as far as to get a tour bus. That’s right, the Flex Express was rolling through America. In the first battle between the two saw Tursas defeat the Ant draped in red, white and blue; burying Ant underneath the American flag. Green Ant hoped to avenge all of his shortcomings in his defense of the USA against the BDK’s masked Finn monster..
There was no time for feeling out processes or collar & elbow tie ups; Green Ant and Tursas were here for a fight and brought that energy to the match immediately as the fans rallied behind their home country’s representative (though there was one Tursas fan in the audience that was heavily booed). Ant took everything Tursas threw in the early minutes, causing a referee-wrestler collision and a shocking near fall on the big man. It seemed everything was going in order for Green Ant thanks to a mix of dropkicks and counter maneuvers like the DDT off a Tursas power slam attempt. Sadly for Green Ant, his patriotic pride cost him as he felt the large body of Tursas crush his own on the mat and in the corner.
The pro-Ant crowd rallied behind Green Ant, giving him the will to fight through a slam on the unprotected concrete floor before slamming the big man in an impressive show of strength. As if that wasn’t enough, Ant Superfly Splashed his downed opponent on the floor! With the spirit of America running through Green Ant’s body, he not only fired off attacks, he survived Tursas comeback onslaught including the Kreuz Bomb (a running Razor’s Edge). Turning Tursas’ attempt to scale the ropes into a superplex, Ant was able to lock in a modified version of the CHIKARA Special to force the Finn monster to tap out to a thunderous ovation.
Green Ant vs. Tursas was the definitive David vs. Goliath affair. The big difference from the biblical story to this wrestling match was the crowd having full confidence in David (Ant) as he took on this monster before he did the seemingly impossible by making Tursas tap out. There were quite a few times during this show where the fans helped a make a simple story and a good match seem like something brand new and innovative.
Don’t Go Messin’ Wit’ a Bunny Boy: Before the match, we got a video package of Archibald Peck commenting on his defeating of Cabana at King of Trios, and his win streak in CHIKARA. According to Peck, when Eddie Kingston hit him with the Backfist to the Future months ago, he actually knocked Peck into the future. Peck’s diabolical plan of using his time knowledge to his advantage didn’t stop with just defeating Cabana and knowing who is going to win in future CHIKARA events. Peck hypnotized Cabana’s friend, Colt Cabunny. Cabana was furious over the fact Peck abducted Colt Cabunny, and promised to fight for the rights of all cabunnies and animals because PETA just wasn’t cutting it.
Though Colt was looking to avenge a friend and bring awareness to animal rights, he had no problem embarrassing Archibald with his comedy wrestling style where he “unknowingly” sidestepped and avoided every sneak attack Peck had in mind. The snarling marching bandleader found himself being outwrestled, outthought and even out-laughed when maneuvers meant to turn the tides in his favor were either countered or used against him. Cabana’s penchant for comedy eventually got the better of him after he tried to get the attention of Colt Cabunny. Peck’s momentum gain helped him ground his funny opponent, giving the fans a reason to rally behind “Boom Boom” even more than before.
It seemed Archibald Peck would prove his time travel theory true as he was on the verge of winning. But instead of attaining victory honorably, Peck decided it was time to cheat and ordered Cabunny to enter the ring and hit Cabana. Cabunny refused – setting off a chain of events that resulted in Colt Cabunny grabbing baton of Veronica – Archibald’s valet and band mate – trying to figure out whom he should hit. Colt Cabunny listened to the crowd, clubbing Peck behind the referee’s back so Cabana could get the pin fall victory.
Just an enjoyable encounter that separated itself from the rest of the card thanks to the bouts bona fide hilarity. And who said pro wrestling couldn’t be funny and productive at the same time?
Adding Insult to Physical Disability: For those who don’t know, Gregory Iron is the same man CM Punk and Colt Cabana helped make headlines during 2011 for putting Iron over as one of the best wrestlers they’d seen in quite a while. One of the main reasons for the endorsement by two of wrestling’s biggest stars on the large and small scale is the fact Iron wrestles with cerebral palsy, and doesn’t have much movement on the right side of his body. Icarus had gone out of his way to claim Iron was lying about his disability due to Gregory defeating Icarus several times throughout the year.
After several minutes of teasing Icarus due to his back covering tattoo and Iron’s seemingly superior ability in the ring, Icarus lured “The Handicapped Hero” in a hotshot that could’ve given his opponent whiplash. Icarus’ neck based attacks grounded Iron while the fans chanted, “Worst in the world!” in reference to the man in control. The taunting got the better of Icarus, giving Iron the chance to fire back with clotheslines, a bulldog and even a big DDT. It seemed the end was near for Icarus when the action went outside. The brawl this bout was turning into saw Icarus clobbering Iron between his eyes with his loaded fanny pack after feigning a chair attack. Though Iron recovered and reentered the ring before the twenty count, “The Handicapped Hero” never truly recovered (even during his fiery comeback) and succumbed to Icarus’ Blu-Ray Death Valley Driver into the turnbuckles to pin Chicago’s favorite wrestler. After the bout, Icarus’ former ally in Akuma stopped Icarus from laying a whipping on Iron. The end result was Icarus high tailing it out of the ring when he ducked an Akuma kick that hit Gregory instead.
Similar to Ant vs. Tursas, Icarus and Iron used a simple story to craft a very good bout helped by the crowd growing more and more emotional by the final few minutes. The end not only left the story open for Iron and Icarus in Season Eleven, but Icarus and Team F.I.S.T facing the wrath of Akuma.
Don’t Cry For Me: Ultramantis Black, one of the biggest rudos (villains/heels) in CHIKARA history, turned tecnico; aligning himself with former stable mates Hallowicked and Frightmare to face the BDK and retrieve the magical Scandinavian artifact the Eye of Try – which has magical mind control powers (don’t roll your eyes at the screen). With the help of Tim Donst, and his infiltration of Black’s old Order of the Neo-Solar Temple group, the BDK stole the Eye of Tyr – which helped lead to their domination of CHIKARA in 2010. Now, alongside his old partner, Ultramantis Black hoped to right the wrongs of his past. But the only way to accomplish that was by attaining the Eye of Tyr. To goad the BDK into a match with the artifact on the line, Hallowicked and Black offered to put their masks up if they lost. But Donst must sacrifice his hair if he took the fall in this bout, and the BDK would to give up the artifact if their team wasn’t victorious.
This highly anticipated No Disqualification bout didn’t take long before things turned up and bodies were meeting steel, wood and chairs fans were once sitting on when the action spilled into the crowd. The fans were going wild as The Spectral Envoy of Black and Hallowicked seemed to be making quick work of their opponents with a mixture of double team maneuvers in the ring and chair based attacks outside. Shockingly enough it was the downed body of Ares that change the tides in favor of his team. Kicking the incoming Tim Donst forward to seemingly stop his partner from falling on top of him, Ares propelled his teammate forward to catch Black with the downward spiral.
The action’s violence started rising to new levels with each passing minute that the BDK were in control. But the duo’s penchant for dishing out incredible pain resulted in their downfall. Ares’ attempt at the Tiger Driver saw him be back body dropped off the ring steps through four chairs on the concrete floor. Donst felt a hurricarana that drove him through a chair. Even Jakob felt the fury of Order of the Neo-Solar Temple’s Crossbones when he interfered to save Donst from a sure three count. When it seemed this was a losing effort for the BDK, Donst decided it was better to live and fight another day; leaving Ares to feel Ultramantis’ Cosmic Destroyer through a chair to end this match in a pin fall victory for The Spectral Envoy and their attaining of the Eye of Tyr.
While the storyline for a first-time viewer might’ve been a little confusing (especially since the Kanye West themed “Blame Game/“Power” pre-match video package did nothing to explain why these two teams were fighting), the action in the semi-main event made anyone watch becoming emotionally invested in the struggle four men were going through. As the announcers said during the contest, this was so unlike CHIKARA, but it was just as entertaining as anything on the card that, like previous matches, left a lot of room for some interesting things in the new year.
The Grand Finale: For the first time in the nine-year history of CHIKARA, the crowning of the first singles champion was about to happen. To determine the individuals who would gain the dubious honor, the 12 Large: Summit league tourney (dedicated to the late Larry Sweeney) gave two of twelve hopefuls a chance to earn their way into CHIKARA’s first iPPV main event, and hopefully become the company’s first singles champion. By racking up four wins and only one loss, “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush won Block A of the league by last defeating Sara Del Rey (who would’ve been in the main event if she won).
In Block B, Eddie Kingston toppled Jigsaw to determine Mike’s opponent. Following Kingston’s victory, Vin Gerard attacked Kingston in anger of the fact he was the only person to defeat Kingston in Block B, yet didn’t get a title shot. The attack saw Kingston’s knee get heavily damaged, and Gerard fired from CHIKARA. The question of Kingston’s ability to wrestle here was brought into question, but the first class member of the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory refused to let this opportunity pass him by. Of course there was another wonderful video package that highlighted Kingston’s returning to his roots to train for the biggest night of his career, and Quackenbush’s multiple accomplishments that included taking on some of his heroes. Then there was Eddie Kingston’s promo.
With Tommy Dreamer by his side and his knee injured, “War King” Eddie Kingston was fired up and ready for the fight of a lifetime. Though Quackenbush was an honorable competitor, he didn’t hesitate at going after the injured leg of his opponent and trainee alike. With the locker room emptying to join Tommy Dreamer at ringside to watch this match unfold in front a very emotional crowd. Finding a fire deep inside of himself to keep fighting through the pain, Kingston threw everything he could to get himself off the mat. But like his opponent it seemed “Lightning” understood that by any means necessary would result in victory. Mike Quackenbush ignored the rules of honor in attrition to not only perform illegal maneuvers such as eye pokes, but also take Eddie Kingston down by his hurt right leg.
The crowd watched in awe as “The Master of 1000 Holds” wrenched and twisted Eddie’s leg until they had no choice but to gain more volume in their support of a man struggling to even move some ten minutes into this bout. Then Quackenbush made a big mistake: he scaled the ropes after hitting high impact moves rather than stick to his submission based plan. Mike’s double knee drop missed thanks to a moving Kingston, putting him in a hobbling way just like Kingston. Now on even ground, “War King” had the opportunity to showcase his game plan: knock Quackenbush out! Dropping “Lightning” on his head with leverage based suplexes that didn’t depend on his legs, Eddie Kingston slowly rose to find Quackenbush out on his feet; prone to not one, but two Backfist to the Future attacks to drop his trainer for the final time to become the first Grand champion in CHIKARA history.
It’s hard to put the emotion into words that anyone watching the main event experienced. Once again, it was all about the simple story perfectly told in front of a molten crowd that were supportive of the man struggling for retribution in his life, and his career. CHIKARA’s first iPPV main event represented all that’s great about pro-wrestling.
1. The Colony defeated The Young Bucks
2. Sara Del Rey defeated Jakob Hammermeier
3. Green Ant defeated Tursas
4. Colt Cabana defeated Archibald Peck
5. Icarus defeated Gregory Iron
6. The Spectral Envoy defeated Bruderschaft des Kreuzez in a No Disqualification match
7. Eddie Kingston defeated Mike Quackenbush to win the 12 Large: Summit tournament and the CHIKARA Grand Championship
Is it a Classic:
While CHIKARA might ask you to suspend your belief more so than any wrestling promotion in the U.S. right now, it doesn’t skimp on the quality action/entertainment. The show featured an incredible main event that perfectly capped off the show. Prior to the title bout was two excellent tag team bouts, a great grudge match and an appropriate comedy outing while all concluding some long running storylines. The only knock against this show is the same problem most Indy shows without weekly television suffer in their first attempt at iPPV in the lack of time to give the first-time viewer a full synopsis of what some of the biggest storylines meant to the wrestlers and the company. Thankfully, the crowd helped draw the viewer into every match, the video packages were wonderful (when used), and the action helped CHIKARA Season Ten go out with a bang. Hands down, this was one of the best events of 2011, and needs to be seen by every wrestling fan.