10/7 Shore's CHIKARA "Small but Mighty" in Burlington, NC review: Sara Del Rey vs. Mike Quackenbush, Eddie Kingston, Jigsaw, Ultra Mantis Black, and FIST defends the Campeonatos de Parejas
CHIKARA returned to the Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium in Burlington, NC on October 7 for what I hope was not the last time. Their first trip to NC in May was a very good show that opened with what remains my favorite match of the year, Los Ice Cream vs. The Throwbacks. This show was more serious--for want of a better term--than the May show, but it was still a fantastic show that highlighted all CHIKARA has to offer.
1. Jigsaw defeated Obariyon (w/Kodama). The opening match was everything you want out of an opener: fast paced, high flying, and the babyface won. The match was not without its problems. There looked to be a couple of blown spots, nothing glaring mind you, just some awkward looking spots that turned into something other than what it looked to be. In other words, they covered well.
The only bad moment occurred when Jigsaw hit a sitting drop kick on Obariyon that missed by about six inches. The finish was also a little clunky with Kodama interfering, and the ref having to act illogically to keep his back turned. But it wasn't a failure, and Jigsaw won with a double stomp off the top rope.
2. Icarus defeated Hallowicked in a 12 Large Summit Tournament match. The 12 Large Summit tournament will crown the first ever singles champion for CHIKARA at their first ever iPPV on November 13. This match featured the first little bit of comedy as the crowd chanted for Icarus to cover his tattoos with his jacket, after his ink was described as giving a "new definition to artistic determination." Hilarious.
The bit saw Icarus and Hallowicked do the "yea/boo" punches, except instead of punches they would zip up (yea) and zip down (boo) his jacket. We even got the "duck season/rabbit season" finish with Hallowicked pretending to zip up the jacket, and Icarus actually zipping it up and then selling anger at getting tricked. On the technical stand point, the spot of the night was an Icarus leap frog that Hallowicked reversed into a school boy. Most fluid thing I have ever seen. Icarus ended up winning with an Attitude Adjustment type move into the turnbuckles.
3. Most Dangerous Kana defeated Jessie McKay. This was supposed to have been Kana vs. Madison Eagles, but it was announced that Eagles was unable to attend due to an injury. That's a shame because Kana looked to be very competent while McKay was very green. Kana works a very Japanese style with kicks and very cool looking submissions. Kana won by submission with a cross-arm breaker. The Tennessee crowd the next night got Kana vs. Sara Del Rey and I hate them for it. I bet that match was off the charts.
4. Eddie Kingston defeated Kobald (w/Kodama). This match started before the bell when Kodama attacked Kingston on the ramp. Kobald is a little guy, Kingston is not. Kingston came powering back and hit several chops. Kingston has hams for hands so the chops were exceptionally brutal. Kodama got involved all throughout this match, but Kingston won with a big chop to send us into intermission, where Ophidian took pictures in the ring with people for free. Yes, free.
5. Mike Quackenbush defeated Sara Del Rey in a 12 Large Summit Tournament match. This was the match I most wanted to see. I have seen Sara Del Rey wrestle on TV, but never in person, and I had high expectations. She did not disappoint, but the match itself did. I'm sure it is my Southern upbringing, but I never got comfortable with watching a man hit a woman, even in the wrestling ring where I know it is a work. Oddly enough, I don't mind slams and suplexes so much, but strikes and submissions bother me. Something about seeing a man twist a woman up and then her yelling in pain will always leave me uneasy.
Sara did get in plenty of offense (and she and I talked about women vs. men in an interview I will post on Wednesday), but Quakenbush went over with a submission after working Del Rey's leg for most of the match. I was critical of this that night, and managed to cause a slight controversy on Twitter about my statement that Quack doesn't look good going over so decisively since he is the booker of the company.
I want to be clear about this. I am not accusing Mike Quackenbush of using CHIKARA as his vanity project. I am saying he needs to keep aware of the fact that as the booker, anything he books himself to do is going to be more closely scrutinized. Going over so decisively (and as we now know, booking himself into the finals of the tournament just two months after dropping the tag titles) is a decision I question. It doesn't make him an egomaniac or even a bad guy. But much like a man hitting a woman, seeing a guy book himself around championships is something I am personally always going to pull back from.
6. The BDK (Tursas, Jakob Hammermeier, Tim Donst, and Delirious) defeated The Colony and Ophidian. This match was the most chaotic thing that I have ever seen. There were bodies everywhere, with several dives onto the floor and everybody hitting big spots. Ophidian tapped to Tim Donst for the finish to a very good, and extremely fun, eight-man tag match.
7. Ultra Mantis Black defeated Archibald Peck (w/Colt Cabunny and Veronica). This was originally supposed to be Ultra Mantis vs. Vin Gerard in the 12 Large Summit tournament, but Gerard had travel problems and Mantis was awarded two points in a forfeit. Before he could leave however, Peck and Veronica came out and introduced Colt Cabunny, a guy in an Easter Bunny outfit wearing Cabana's ring gear and using Cabana's music, before challenging Mantis to a match. I missed the finish thanks to the guy in front of me, but Mantis won via pinfall in a decent, but not spectacular match.
8. F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano) defeated Momo no Seishun (Atsushi Kotoge and Daisuke Harada) to retain the Campeonatos de Parejas. Tag title matches in CHIKARA are always two out of three falls, and FIST took the first and final falls to retain. The story of this match is not the great back and forth action between the two teams. Which is a shame because the show opened with Gargano and Kotoge (I think, I forgot to write it down because I was amazed) smoothly reversing hammerlock after hammerlock, and all four men working their asses off.
Instead, the story of this match was a head-butt from Kotoge on Gargano. Kotoge called for the crowd to be quiet. Thinking we were about to see a big chop, the crowd complied. What we got was Kotoge slamming his head into Gargano's. The sound was something like thumping a melon, but with a microphone. I spoke with Gargano after the show (in an interview I will post tomorrow) and while I understand his reasoning for doing the spot, I vehemently disagree with him that there are times when it is necessary to take a risk like that. The match was great, but that one spot soured the whole thing for this fan.
When the show was over, Sara Del Rey, FIST, Kana, The Colony, and several others came out and signed merchandise and spoke with fans. I can say with no hesitation that CHIKARA might be the best live show I have been to by a traveling group, and if they come to your area, you would be remiss as a wrestling fan to at least not check it out. It may not ultimately be your thing, and that's cool. But don't be a snob and miss what could be a great live experience. On this night, CHIKARA made Burlington the place to be for great wrestling. I hope they will allow us the opportunity to be that again.
I will also be covering CHIKARA's first iPPV on November 13, 2011 on Go Fight Live. The event, entitled "High Noon," will crown the first ever singles champion when Mike Quackenbush faces Eddie Kingston. Amasis of the Osirian Portal will also address fans. Amasis suffered an undisclosed injury in a car accident back in May. The news in June was that Amasis will be forced to retire. I hope his message is one of return, but only if he can do so safely. Check back on November 13 for live coverage.
Questions? Comments? Anyone, anyone? Let me hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @TheShoreSlant with whatever is on your mind.
And read my first work of fiction: The Following Contest is a Dark Match available exclusively on ebook for all eReaders, smartphones, tablets, and PCs for only 99 cents.
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