The wrestlers of Chikara finally made their way to Chicago on their first leg of their annual Midwest tour on Friday, June 24th and in just over three hours put on one heck of a show.
The night opened with the unfortunate news that three of the advertised wrestlers wouldn’t be at the show tonight. Ares of the BDK had a family emergency that kept her off the show, while local luchadors Emperador and Ripper of GALLI were not able to make the event. Thankfully, Chikara worked on the fly to make sure everyone still got a great show, even adding a ninth match to the card.
The show opened with the Throwbacks, Sugar Dunkerton and Dasher Hatfield, teaming up with the 19th century “inventor of professional wrestling” Matt Classic to take on all three members of the Batiri. Miscommunication between the Throwbacks and Classic allowed the Batiri to control the offensive for most of the match, and ultimately pick up the win. Sugar Dunkerton could be heard lamenting why they couldn’t get MVP to make the show instead of Classic.
Next, Ophidian worked a match against a young local wrestler of which this Examiner didn’t catch the name. He seemed to be something of a mat technician, but most of the match was about Ophidian’s domination, and the Chikara star picked up the win.
Soldier Ant and Green Ant took to the ring next, in the first really great match of the night. They took on Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor of FIST in a really brutal match that still managed to fit several of the comedy spots for which both the Colony and Taylor are known. In the end, Taylor and Gargano came out on top after a brutal double team.
The second added match of the night featured Young Lions Cup Frightmare taking on local favorite Heiracon (a.k.a. Jonathan Gresham) in a match of the high flyers. The match actually stayed surprisingly grounded for the two stars, and ultimately came to an end after a surprise pinfall from Frightmare.
The final match before the intermission featured Sara Del Rey of the BDK versus FIST’s Icarus in the first of three 12 Large Summit matches of the night. (The Summit is a Round Robin tournament designed to crown Chikara’s first heavyweight singles champion.) The match easily took the match of the night honor as both Del Rey and Icarus threw everything they had in to putting on one good solid 15 minute match. A battered, beaten Sara Del Rey ultimately picked up the win as the Chikara faithful cheered a BDK member for the first time in months.
Intermission sadly featured Mike Quackenbush’s only appearance for local fans that night: a meet and greet and in-ring photo with the independent wrestling legend. Hopefully his next trip to Chicago will give local fans a match.
After the break, the event returned for the 2nd of the three 12 Large Summit matches of the night. Claudio Castagnoli battled Hallowicked in a fight of the big men, and they really rocked the ring with some absolutely brutal moves. Claudio used his regularly dastardly tactics to win, including a low blow and his feet on the ropes.
The final 12 Large match featured Fire Ant and Ultramantis Black. Despite the Colony’s usual popularity, Mantis was the clear favorite with the Chicago fans, and much to their delight he picked up the win after not one but two Praying Mantis Bombs.
In a first ever meeting between the two, Eddie Kingston took on local legend Colt Cabana. Cabana started the match with his usual comedic flare, but Kingston ultimately turned things serious with his brutal offensive. Both men beat the living daylights out of the other. The finish came when Cabana dropped Kingston face first on to the side ropes, only for Kingston to spring back up and deliver a brutal Backfist to the Future to lay out Chicago’s own wrestling star.
The final match of the night ended a feud starting on last year’s Chikara Midwest Tour: Chicago’s own Da Soul Touchaz versus the BDK. Tursas teamed with Tim Donst and Jakob Hammermeier (substituting for Ares) and in usual fashion, jumped the faces before the match could start. For most of the battle, they brutally laid in to Willie “The Bomb” Richardson while Marshe Rockett and Acid Jaz watched helplessly from ringside. Fortunately Willie was able to make a comeback and tag in his allies, but the BDK would bring their numbers edge once again in to play. While Sara Del Rey distracted Senior Official Bryce Remsburg, Claudio took to the ring with a lead pipe in hand. Fortunately for Acid Jaz, C-Red made his return, appearing from the crowd to grab the pipe and help Da Soul Touchaz lay out Claudio and company. They quickly disposed of Donst and held Tursas to the outside, giving time for Willie to climb to the top rope. With a little support from C-Red and Jaz, Willie flew through the air and landed a brutal flying elbow on Jakob to put away the BDK and end the feud to the delight of the partisan Chicago crowd.
The show was amazing fun live, and this Examiner encourages all Eastern Iowa wrestling fans to make the trip next time Chikara comes west. A DVD version of the show should be available soon from Smartmark Video.