AS I SEE IT
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
CHIKARA Pro Wrestling presented an exciting and fun King of Trios tournament this weekend before three days of solid crowds with 450 paid (some staying home due to snow fears), 550 plus on Saturday (competing with UFC 82), and 650 or more on Sunday afternoon.
Some thoughts on the weekend:
First, even first-timers had to be impressed with how well-organized a independent wrestling weekend this was, which included three shows and a Fan Conclave on Saturday afternoon (which drew surprisingly well). The only delay in anything all weekend was 30 minutes, waiting for the Commission doctor on the opening night of the tournament. Pennsylvania’s Commission is selective about enforcement of many things, depending on who you are and how large your…er, never mind; but shows don’t start without doctors, period.
Second, having a “fan club” for your regulars (which in CHIKARA parlance is called the CHIKARMY) is a good idea. Pay $40 for a year, let those fans in early, make them feel special, and they’ll drive ridiculous distances to come to your shows in parts of Pennsylvania that are two hours away by telephone.
The weekend produced two new star trios:
Team IPW:UK with Martin Stone and The Kartel (Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier) showing Philadelphia fans what good old-fashioned heels are supposed to do, namely work like heels in and out of the ring. They worked well together, coming in to Vindaloo, making it sound like a football club fight song. For our UK readers, if they’d come in to Chelsea’s fight song…especially with the line “We’ll never be mastered by no northern bastards”, it would have been perfect and fit their characters to a T.
The Soul Touchaz with Acid Jaz, Willie Richardson, and Marshe Rockett fronted by C-Red were charismatic as hell, have a great gimmick, and more than hold their own in the ring. Willie Richardson is a big man who looks like WCW’s infamous Ice Train… except for the fact that he has talent, including a top rope leg drop that has to be seen to be believed.The Soul Touchaz actually got a “Please come back” chant and standing ovation from the notoriusly tough Philadelphia crowd after their second round loss to Team F.I.S.T (Gran Akuma/Chuck Taylor/Icarus).
The surprise reactions of the weekend were for:
Team WWE (Demolition Ax, Demolition Smash, and One Man Gang), who got a nice nostalgia pop from the ECW Arena crowd, not to mention a guy dressing like WWF’s “Akeem the African Dream”, complete with that goofy hat that George Gray wore as “Akeem”, following by an “Akeem” dance off with Larry Sweeney to “Jive Soul Bro”.
Ray “Glacier” Lloyd, who partnered with Los Ice Creams on Saturday night, and worked a non-tournament match between King of Trios tournament
Bobby Dempsey, who got a big pop, perhaps in part out of sympathy for the controversial Ring of Honor angle he was put in at the Manhattan Center that saw Dempsey being told by Larry Sweeney to (we’ll use the polite phrase here) “have his way” with an unconscious Alison Danger to “prove he was a man”.After two days of matches, the King of Trios tournament came down to The Colony (Fire Ant/Soldier Ant/Worker Ant), The BLK Out (Eddie Kingston, Ruckus, and Joker) , Mike Quackenbush/Shane Storm/Jorge ‘Skayde’ Rivera , The Golden Trio (Incoherence, and Helios) , Los Luchadores de Mexico (Lince Dorado/El Pantera/Incognito) , The Fabulous Three (Mitch Ryde/Larry Sweeney/Shayne Hawke) , F.I.S.T. (Gran Akuma/Chuck Taylor/Icarus) , and Team Japan (KUDO, MIYAWAKI, SUSUMU) .
In the quarterfinal opener, The Colony defeated Team FIST. This was easily the best opening match of the three days with both teams working well together (since they have done so before in varied combinations) . In the second quarterfinal match, Team Mexico defeated Mike Quakenbush, Skayde, and Shane Storm. This was one of the few results I wish they could have taken back, as Lince Dorado is a bit overpushed for my taste, and I could watch Mike Quakenbush matches for a month of Sundays. In the stiff-fest of the weekend, quarter-final match three saw BLK OUT defeating Team Japan, with the two teams beating the snot out of each other. The final quarterfinal match saw Incoherence and Helios defeating The Fab Three.
In the semi-finals, the first match saw BLK OUT defeated Incoherence and Helios win via DQ to advance to the finals after a faked ball-shot (see, it works when you don’t do it three times a night as seems to happen in Mexico). The promotion continued the Hallowicked and Eddie Kingston feud with the two smacking the hell out of each other (noticing a pattern with BLK OUT yet?). The final match saw Team Mexico defeated The Colony.
The tournament finals saw Team Mexico defeat BLK OUT. Kingston, as usual ,was playing heat magnet. In Philadelphia he does keep having the problem of having to get the local Philadelphia fans not to cheer him, and tried to shush some of us popping for him.
Anyhow, he was getting heat from the CHIKARA fans by mocking Lince Dorado, (whose blown 720 caused him to have been seriously injured in a late 2007 CHIKARA show) drew lots of heat throughout the match making twitching movements mocking Lince. The final had lots of back-and-forth offense throughout. Joker tried to do the fake DQ ballshot spot, but referee Bryce Remsburg (referee in the DQ semi-final match) realized he was getting played again, and didn’t DQ Team Mexico. Lince Dorado, got his revenge on Kingston, submitting him with the “Chikara Special”.
It was a great weekend of action, with great crowds and an example of what happenes when you promote your product aggressively. An interesting note of contrast was that none of the other Philadelphia promotions leafletted the King of Trios weekend, as far as I could see… to me an unforgivable slip-up in terms of missing a promotional opportunity.
Until next time…
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