Posts Tagged ‘Chikara’

A Frog Will Save Us All

October 26th, 2015

As you have heard, I am a fan of Chikara pro wrestling. I went to see the Chikara show in Jeffersonville and watched and later spoke to FarmerFrog, a humble frog from Minnesota who loves working in the fields, tacos, princesses, and red flannel.
 
Although he is from Minnesota, he speaks with a European accent that I can’t place. Perhaps he is Estonian. Perhaps he is actually the legendary, beloved Estonian Thunderfrog!
 
Perhaps he is the wielder of the Hammers of War and Peace, the linchpin of the Baltic Siege, wrestling’s wackiest faction.
 
But wait! Thunderfrog was killed in the ring by Deucalion in the summer of ’14. There’s no way this could be the same guy, er, Frog. Unless, of course, he has suffered amnesia after the Deucalion attack and started a new life for himself in the land of the Twins, Timberwolves, and the Vikings. Perhaps this Frog is not yet aware of his true destiny. 
When he came to the ring for his match, he gave me a giant hug. At the intermission, he hit on Mary Sparr and when she rebuffed him, he referred to her as “Miss Too Cool For School”.
This marks the second occasion that a Chikara wrestler has stayed in character while hitting on Mary. The first time, a goblin gang called The Batiri screeched at her “PRETTY… PRETTY PERSON! TALK TO US! COME TALK TO US!”
Thunder. . .er, FarmerFrog lost his match the other night to Prakash Sabar but I still like him. If I only rooted for wrestlers who only won, I’d be stuck rooting for John Cena and not much else.

 

Yet Another G.D. Open Letter To Miley Cyrus

July 25th, 2014

Dear Miley,

 

I know by now you have to be tired of these stupid open letters but this time I’m not going to tell you that you are ruining society with your g-string and lewd dancing. I’m writing to tell you about a fan of yours who is no longer with us. Believe me when I tell you, this guy was your biggest fan.

 

I’m talking of course about the Estonian Thunderfrog, professional wrestler and strongest creature in all the Baltic States.

 

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Miley, I know that you probably don’t watch wrestling. You’re very busy and don’t have to the time to check out wacky independent wrestling in the Philly area, but Thunderfrog was totally your biggest fan. He loved you so much. Thunderfrog loved drinking buttermilk, eating horsemeat and Miley Cyrus. These things gave him strength and made him very successful and popular with the fans.

 

 

 

 

Thunderfrog did not take ill. Rather, he was brought to a premature end by a creature known to some as “Deucalion” at a Chikara wrestling show over the previous weekend. The loss of Thunderfrog has hit his three best friends (the Latvian Proud Oak, the Lithuanian Snowtroll and Jervis Cottonbelly, World’s Sweetest Man) . . . well, like a wrecking ball.

 

Nothing can bring back the Estonian Thunderfrog, but his memory will always remain with those of us who had the pleasure to watch him in action and/or interact with him at shows. Miley, do you remember when the great country singer Ray Price died and you gave him a  “RIP” shoutout on your Instagram? Remember how a bunch of your young, ignorant fans were like “OMG wut who’s he nobody LOL!” The loss of Thunderfrog is a Ray Price moment for me. Not everybody knew who he was but the ones who did knew what would be missed.

 

If you could, Miley, say a prayer for the Estonian Thunderfrog. Perhaps even dedicate a song to him at your next concert. He considered you a princess. He considered every girl a princess. He loved dancing and fun and being happy. Every time I hear one of your songs, I will think of him and be happy.

 

 

 

You know, I don’t even think he got to hear that “Come Get It Bae” thing you did with Pharrell.

 

 

 

Return From Oblivion

May 22nd, 2014

Chikara is coming back.

 

I have written extensively on this site about pro wrestling and my relationship to it as a fan. If you are a regular reader of this blog then you are probably familiar with some of the things that are going on in my life. I have gotten even closer to the morality play of ‘rasslin over the last year somehow. Life has turmoil in it. Perhaps I use wrestling as a beacon that maybe not just that good will triumph over evil but that happiness and joy will triumph over misery and darkness.

 

In June last year, Chikara’s online pay-per-view Aniversario:Never Compromise was disrupted. Nearing what was sure to be the end of the main event between Eddie Kingston and Icarus, a fleet of security dragged both men and the referee out of the ring, destroyed the set and shooed the audience out of the building. Chikara would be shut down for the better part of a year. Until this Saturday’s You Only Live Twice pay-per-view online, which will be the first Chikara event since that infamous shutdown.

 

And my question now is: Where were you when I needed you?

 

I got into Chikara a few years ago. When the company went dark, I felt like someone who discovered the Beatles for the first time but in 1968 and they break up eighteen months later. “Man, these guys are great. What do you mean they broke up?” I wanted to disappear into a world that they created. I wanted a temporary escape and they took it away from me. I tried to make do with other indie wrestling, which is always hit or miss. But Chikara wasn’t just a wrestling promotion. It was the place for me. Chikara made me so proud to be a wrestling fan. It was art, it was strange, it was hip and fun, and then it was gone.

 

I have listened to George Harrison sing “Beware Of Darkness”, but I can’t beware. It’s already engulfed me. Where were you when I needed you? I’m not the superfan who knew the history of the promotion and lorded that knowledge over newbies. I just had a tough year. Chikara was the happy place I could go to and then it wasn’t there anymore and I had to beg for it online with #IamChikara like a dog in some kennel because of some ARG for hardcores but maybe I’m not hardcore and I just wanted it all to come back because it was a distraction from my real-life problems. Where were you when I needed you?

 

A Dream About Eddie Kingston

February 22nd, 2014

The following is true in that I had a dream that featured pro wrestler Eddie Kingston and chose to write down the details of it in order to tweet it to him.

Eddie Kingston: a man who doesn't want to hear about your dreams

Eddie Kingston: a man who doesn’t want to hear about your dreams

 

A young Eddie Kingston quits high school and runs away because people are firing arrows at him.

 

He keeps running and soon he is in Southern California running down a gravel road. Sometimes he stops and hits the deck as a top-down convertible passes by aiming machine gun fire at him.

 

He continues to run like Forrest Gump in that jogging montage. A song is playing with vocals from a unknown vocalist. Eddie chimes in for a verse of the song, which turns out to be about him.

 

The untitled-so-we’ll-call-it “Ballad of Eddie Kingston” ends up being thirty minutes long and the second half of it is sung by Steve Perry of Journey. The “ballad” becomes a major hit and is praised for being, as this reviewer puts i,t “the ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ or ‘American Pie’ of contemporary Christian rock-pop.”

 

Eddie attempts to long-jump the first paved road he sees. It is a busy street with a median. He clears the median but lands on the hood of a moving car.

 

The song is adapted into a movie, as Eddie plays himself in a post-apocalyptic California trying to protect a family of three from top-down convertibles driven by atheist thugs who shoot the hashtag #justfacts into the open.  Damien Sandow has a cameo in the movie, dressed like Aladdin.

 

After the #justfacts drive-by, Eddie tells the family about his fall from faith. He talks about traveling across the country to half-heartedly tell schoolkids to worship Jesus and not do drugs. In his school lectures, he makes up a story about playing on the soccer team and trying pot for the first time while rehabbing for a leg injury.

 

I woke up after that.

Born. From. Oblivion. Chikara?

October 2nd, 2013

I have written about the late great wrestling promotion Chikara before in this space, with its’ legendary strange characters and exciting, high-flying action. An entire Colony of good Ants fighting against a disenfranchised Swarm of bad Ants, only to start feuding with a shallowly marketed Extreme Force of corporate-approved Ants. A time-traveling marching band major with a doppelganger who intensely fought the big man on campus football star, Mr. Touchdown. And perhaps most sorrowful of all, the hated Icarus who became estranged from his bad guy teammates until he was utterly alone but finally had the support of the Chikara fans on the night of the final Chikara show in June.

 

It was the main event of an iPPV, Aniversario: Never Compromise, where the once-hated Icarus challenged the once-beloved “War King” Eddie Kingston for Kingston’s Grand Championship. In the closing moments, it looked as if Icarus had Kingston dead to rights, locked in an enigmatic submission known as “the Chikara Special”. We were seconds away from a new Grand Champion.

 

What happened next? Chaos.

 

A phalanx of operatives from Condor Security ran into the ring and broke up the match. They carried Icarus, Eddie Kingston and referee Bryce Remsburg out of the ring and arena. More Condor operatives followed and angrily, loudly ushered the audience out of the Trocadero in Philadelphia while other Condor men began tearing down everything around them. Wink Vavasseur, Chikara’s much-despised Director of Fun, sat in a disheveled state watching the unraveling madness while eating an apple. Fans screamed and chanted in protest but were eventually ushered out of the building.

 

Many things have transpired since that June iPPV but what sticks with me is the mixture of emotions in the wake of Chikara’s unceremonious end. The sorrow and emptiness, emotions far removed from the Chikara vibe of excitement and fun. This was not your standard wrestling angle, where a resolution leads to new questions. This was an empty feeling in the gut. Something was unresolved at the end of Aniversario and there are far too many questions to put down here for the casual fan.

 

Aniversario was the last Chikara show. All future shows (dates had been listed for shows in California, North Dakota and Minnesota) were immediately cancelled. Was this a real farewell and an incredible way of “leaving them wanting more”, to use a showbiz adage?

 

If anybody refused to take this lying down, it was Icarus himself. The man who would be Grand Champion. He began a campaign to bring back Chikara. He held rallies in Easton and Philadelphia. He started a Tumblr, #IamChikara. Most importantly, he mobilized the last of the true believers on Chikara’s message board to work with him. On Monday during the WWE sports-entertainment show RAW, he attempted to turn #IamChikara into a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. And with the help of the fans, it happened if only for a few minutes.

 

More importantly, not only did #IamChikara trend, it mobilized a good majority of Chikara alumni. People who had entertained on a Chikara show, recent and long-gone also joined in on the fun. They announced themselves as being a part of Chikara too (Eddie Kingston being a noted exception).

 

“I am he as you are he as you are we and we are all together.”

 

I have no idea what is next. It is a long journey out of darkness, out of sorrow and regret. It is an instant-gratification world and this is the opposite of that. How long will this go? Rebuilding is not something that is overnight, especially in the wake of oblivion. Chikara is more than a hashtag or a trending topic. It’s a community. And we must build it up again.

 

bornfromoblivion

Five Reasons To Like Chikara

May 26th, 2013

There are many reasons why I like the wrestling company Chikara. I will list four of them below, in preparation of their June 2nd Internet Pay-Per-View Aniversario: Never Compromise. As you may know, I’m a big fan of the pro wrestling. I’m smart enough to understand the scripted nature of the performance, yet I yearn to be drawn into their reality. I never have to explain this when I talk about a TV show or a movie. Why is that?

 

Here is my list, kids? Top five reasons to like Chikara, with corresponding video.

  • Dasher Hatfield

(video is 1 1/2 min.) Dasher Hatfield is the “old-timey king of swing”, a Throwback to a manlier era of baseball when Red Sox were Red Stockings and relief pitching was nowhere to be found. I bought his mask at a show in Indianapolis. He is a tecnico (or good guy).

 

  • Archibald Peck

(video is 39 sec.) Archibald Peck, seen here being outsmarted by the aforementioned Hatfield, is the most complicated character in recent history. A marching band major who lost his best girl to the nerd-hating Mr. Touchdown, “Marchie Archie” attempted to find his inner jock by becoming Mixed Martial Archie. But when he lost a loser-leaves-Chikara match, Peck moonlighted under a mask as The Mysterious And Handsome Stranger (complete with best friend Sapphire, a bird). Oh, and apparently Archie has ripped through the space-time continuum. I still haven’t figured the whole thing out.

 

  • Los Ice Creams

(video is 33 sec.) Ice Cream, Jr. and El Hijo del Ice Cream are two of the most devious, cunning, vicious wrestlers to ever come out of Mexico. To call them “rudo” (or bad guy) is to do an injustice to the term. They have run roughshod over Chikara for nearly six years and their path of destruction may never end.

Also, they are delicious ice creams.

 

  • Chuck Taylor’s grenade

(video is 1 1/2 min.) Chuck Taylor, the “Kentucky Gentleman”, carries a freaking grenade with him which he can use to dispatch most any enemy. Taylor uses it here in a six-man tag against the Colony, and the fans cheer for it even though Taylor is clearly a rudo. Honestly, would any decent human being use a grenade in wrestling?

 

  • The Colony (or So Many Ants)

(video is 44 sec.) Watch this for the hilarious use of a relevant Dave Matthews Band song. The history of the Colony is too complicated to sum up here. As of right now, there are currently eight ants in Chikara. At one point there were Green Ant, Fire Ant and Soldier Ant who made up the tecnico team of the Colony. Then they feuded with a rudo team of ants called the Swarm, of which deviANT and assailANT remain. Then the head muckety-muck at Chikara decided to cynically cash in on the Colony’s good name by creating The Colony: Xtreme Force, which features Missile Assault Ant, Arctic Rescue Ant, and Orbit Adventure Ant. Instead of being tecnico or rudo, the Xtreme Force are self-styled as “TOTALLY RADICAL”.

I swear I’m not making any of that up. It’s even more complicated in person.

 

These are five reasons why Chikara is my go-to for wrestling and entertainment. I haven’t even gotten into some of the other great characters or the in-ring action or the depth of the storytelling (well, I kinda did with the ants and the time-rift). You will fall in love like I did if you just give in. Chikara is calling you. Aniversario: Never Compromise.* June 2nd, on Internet Pay-Per-View.

 

 

 

*(spanish for Anniversary: Never Compromise)

All The Agents And Superhuman Crew (Review)

May 13th, 2013

Some thoughts on the Chikara download I just purchased from Smart Mark Video and watched.

 

Nine matches took place at “Agents And Superhuman”, the first of which is a tag match features Fire Ant and AssailANT against Soldier Ant and DeviANT. In the past, Fire Ant and Soldier Ant had been great teammates but now were separated by the moneymaking schemes of the Director of Fun. While Fire Ant and AssailANT had begun to coalesce into a functioning unit, Soldier Ant bristled at DeviANT’s pushy demands and left the ring (and his “partner” to take the loss). It’s a fine start and pacesetter for what lies ahead.

 

Soldier Ant (left) and Fire Ant hold a sit-in in protest of fighting each other.

 

The next match features old-timey baseball throwback Dasher Hatfield and incoherent Delirious, which ends in less than a minute after Hatfield pins Delirious with a rollup. As a fan of both, I would have liked to see more. After the surprise rollup, a shocked Delirious assaults Hatfield with help from Kobald of the Batiri.

 

The third match is another tag match featuring Los Ice Creams against the other two members of the Batiri, Kodama and Obariyon. Los Ice Creams are two masked luchadors who look like ice cream cones. Kodama and Obariyon are demons who look like twin Glenn Danzigs with green and black face paint An entertaining match balancing the pure silliness of Los Ice Creams and the vicious style of the Batiri, who get the win after a flying DDT on El Hijo del Ice Cream and then they sued Jerry Only.

 

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The fourth match is a singles match between Frightmare, the undersized but no less lethal member of the Spectral Envoy versus Ophidian, former member of the Osirian Portal and one half of the creators of The Most Illegal Move In Wrestling History. Ophidian is paranoid that his former partner Amasis is lurking in the building, and accosts multiple audience members who are wearing Amasis fan masks. His perpetual distraction allows Frightmare to gain a quick victory after a few minutes. It’s a short match but like some of the others on this show, the story will have to play out on future shows.

 

The fifth match is a tag match between the team of Jigsaw and The Shard and the thrown-together team of Sugar Dunkerton (70’s funky basketball throwback) and Icarus. This match has parallels to the first match of the evening, but where Soldier Ant is reluctant to team with his partner DeviANT, the good-natured Sugar is willing to put in a good faith effort as a sort-of member of F.I.S.T.. Unfortunately, Icarus leaves him stranded for a good chunk of the match (perhaps as a dues-paying experience) and Sugar takes the loss after being pinned by Shard. Incidentally, this is the FIRST match to feature wrestlers NOT wearing masks or makeup (Sugar and Icarus).

 

The sixth match is a non-title encounter between Chikara’s Grand Champion Eddie Kingston (a New York tough guy) and Green Ant, a popular member of the Colony. Kingston calls himself “the last of a dying breed” and in terms of slow-building, smash-mouth pro wrestling one would have to agree. Green Ant gives him a great match and they go back and forth until a surprise appearance by Kingston’s hated rival Kevin Steen, who comes out to taunt the Grand Champion in advance of their match the following night. They are separated by the severely undersized Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur, who is knocked down (or probably tripped over his own two feet) in the fracas. Kingston returns to the ring and Green Ant forces him to submit to gain the upset. Steen leaves, Wink is upset and blames Kingston for his fall, making the following night’s match between him and Steen one for the belt. This is a great match with a sketchy but mostly clean ending.

 

Seventh on the show is a six-man tag. On one side are the aforementioned Steen, teaming with Nick and Matt Jackson, the Young Bucks (at the time, Chikara’s Campeonatos de Parejas – or tag team champions). On the opposing side are Canadian tag sensation 3.0 (Scott Parker and Shane Matthews) and the mysterious Gran Akuma. Steen bills himself as “Wrestling’s worst nightmare” and who can blame him, for his unconventional mind games and hard-hitting style. Most of the match features Akuma taking the beating before getting a tag, which brings in both of 3.0 despite the rules and setting off one heck of an extended sequence culminating with Steen and the Bucks winning.

 

Next to last is a match featuring Hallowicked (of the Spectral Envoy) against “Kentucky Gentleman” Chuck Taylor (from F.I.S.T.). Hallowicked is accompanied to the ring by Spectral Envoy leader Ultramantis Black, who goes to the commentary booth and petitions for Spectral Envoy members to get more title opportunities, as Hallowicked and Taylor have an entertaining match which ends with Hallowicked getting the win after a Yakuza kick.

 

Introductions for the main event are interrupted by the deranged Tim Donst, followed to ringside by his lapdog Jakob Hammermeier. Donst seeks to remind the crowd that wrestling is pain and disappointment, not fun, art or heart. To this point, he takes out a pair of scissors and cuts up Jakob’s t-shirt then forces him to the mat and hacks away at Jakob’s long locks to the horrified screams of the audience (and Jakob’s pleas for mercy).

 

The main event is the real reason why I bought this download: Archibald Peck vs. “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti in a no-disqualification match. I’ve been following this story since last year. . But you don’t need all the backstory. You see their entrances and you understand everything. One of them is a jock, a football star who spikes the pigskin in the ring and screams at the fans that they are “nerds”. The other is a nerd, a drum major and a lanky band geek, who had his best girl taken from him by the football star.

 

War is hell. Archibald Peck knows. (courtesy SMVOD.com)

 

For nearly 25 minutes, these two tear at each other and it does not disappoint They use whatever weapons they can find, from ringside seats to MMA gloves to football pads to a freaking pigeon monument! It is an exciting end to a story of vengeance and redemption for Marchie Archie, who lost his girl, his way, and his pigeon before clawing his way back. It is a story of triumph. Good does win over evil. It’s too good to spoil exactly how, but the only way it could have been better is if the orchestral version of “We Are The Champions” from Revenge Of The Nerds played at the conclusion.

 

 

 

I Really Love Chikara!

May 7th, 2013

Inspired by a viewing of Chikara: Hot Off The Griddle DVD. Certainly worth picking up. Some great matches on it.

 

As you may or may not know, I am a fan of the pro wrestling. I love it when it’s great, when it’s terrible, serious or silly. I love wrasslin’. I love that it is the one of the rare performance and art forms that is better when it is simplified.

 

Two men have a personal issue. One man is the World Champion, the other seeks to dethrone him and become champion himself. One man took the other guy’s girlfriend. Two men were teammates and friends but then one of them turned on the other.  These are just a few examples of the simple yet effective storytelling of pro wrestling.

 

The great thing about pro wrestling is there is an immediate reaction by the audience to what is presented to them. Even with the prevalence of social media, producers of a TV show or movie won’t know how an audience feels about their product until well after production has wrapped. With pro wrestling, you know instantly if something will work or not. And the worst reaction in pro reaction is none. Cheers are good, boos are good. Apathy is death.

 

I have watched a lot of WWE Monday Night Raw and have seen far too many moments of audience apathy. I have sat at home and watched as two men “fought” in the ring and the audience behind them sit on their hands, waiting for something interesting to happen.

 

Maybe the WWE is too accessible. You can watch about eight hours of WWE a week if you have all the channels their shows are on, and they put on live events all over the world and will probably visit a town near you at least once a year if not more. In my childhood, wrestling wasn’t so accessible.

 

 

It’s taken me so many words to get to Chikara, the reason for me writing this thing. I had the opportunity to see them last August in Indianapolis, and had one of the best times I’ve ever had at a show. I didn’t see audience apathy at all. I saw a crowd enjoying itself immensely. I saw performers who the crowd appreciated even if they didn’t like them (hi, Tim Donst). And I wanted more, hence the purchase of a DVD of a live event from April 2012 in Chicago Ridge, lured in by the promise of a great match between women’s star Sara Del Rey and masked luchador El Generico (both of whom are now in WWE working for their farm team, NXT).

 

You might ask who was the bad guy (or girl) in the match between Sara and Generico. I’ll tell you: NOBODY. The audience loved them both. They were technicos (heroes) walking in, and remained that way as they left. Chikara shows me why I loved pro wrestling as a child, and gives me things to like that I didn’t see coming.  There’s another wrinkle in the story: could one of the best independent women wrestlers hold her own against one of the best independent male wrestlers. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s an amazing match and the audience applauded both of them at the end for their efforts.

 

I don’t expect everyone to follow me down this rabbit hole, but then again I’ll never watch an episode of Doctor Who but even I think it’s sick to hear fans say “Season 2” when the show is on its’ 413th doctor.