CHIKARA “Smack in the Middle” Live Report.

On Sunday, June 24th 2012, Team Hellions went to our first ever CHIKARA show.  Held in Syracuse NY at the home of PWInsider.com 2012 Independent promotion of the year, 2CW.  Through a great collaboration of promotions the fans and marks of Syracuse and upstate NY were gifted our first CHIKARA show.  Kevin Hellions, the soon to be Mrs Hellions, along with previous podcast guest the Educator and his nephew all headed over to the Pastime Athletic Club.  It is always hot in that building in the summer, plus none of us ate before heading to the show.  Those two problems could have led to an uncomfortable and thus unpleasant show.  However, the show was so much fun there was not one complaint among us.

Lets get down to the play by play.

We arrive at the venue at about 3:30  for a show about to start at 4.  We have all been to enough shows to know that they never start anything on time.  Yet, as we’re walking to the end of the line I hear the familiar voice of Leonard F Chikarason.  I was of course wearing my official Team Hellions logo shirt and waved to Leonard as he was calling in the official CHIKARmy members.  The line moves fast and smooth and to the shock of us all, we are in the door by 3:40.  I walk up to the ticket counter and it is once again the LFC.  He immediately recognizes me and thanks me for coming to the show.  We have a brief talk and Elise Hellions smiles because she loves seeing me be a mark.

We luck out and find four seats together in the front row.  In fact I tweeted a picture of it last night.

How great is that?!  For only $20 a ticket too!  Some of the CHIKARA stars were signing autographs for the fans and selling merchandise.  People seemed to be in awe of these wrestlers.  Sure, we’ve been lucky enough to see some of them before in 2CW.  But a CHIKARA show is just different.  All of the masks and colors and characters.  Its like a wrestling show and a comic convention had loads of fun one night and popped out CHIKARA.

2CW wrestlers show up to support this event and lets hear it for both sides.  While there was a lot of fun ribbing, neither side said anything bad about the other one (not that I heard).  Sure, each camp said there’s is the best, and that’s what should be said.  But neither said the other one sucked.

The event starts with Green Ant against deviANT.  Already the battle between the Swarm and the Colony is drawing us in.  I’ve been following all recent CHIKARA shows (and I really need to do a write up for High Noon and Chikarasaurus Rex soon) but my group has not.  Thankfully Mrs Hellions reads comics.  “What’s going on here?”  Alternate reality evil versions of CHIKARA guys.  “Oh, okay.”  I really should have had her take a closer look at the merchandise table to see some of the comic book inspired DVD covers.  Green Ant and deviANT put on a great opening match.  Intense enough to draw in the fans from the opening match, but not too crazy to over shadow later matches.  Green Ant gets the win and it was a great start to the afternoon.

Sugar Dunkerton takes on Jacob Hammermeir next.  This is when everyone falls in love with the show.  Jacob stops the introduction, does his own and then leaves to come back out.  From the hair, the voice, and the silly ring entrance my crew was already entranced by Jacob.  Then there is Sugar.  I was sold when I saw his Converse All Star wrestling boots. Lost my mind on that one.  The only thing that made this better is when Sugar channeled his inner Sho’Nuff from the classic martial arts film The Last Dragon.  “Kiss… My… Converse!”  The mind that was once lost came back only to be lost again.  If Sugar comes up with a finishing move called “The Glow” he will become my favorite wrestler of all time.  Sugar gets stuck in a headlock, and escapes in the most original way you’ve ever seen.  He has the referee hand him the basketball and fools Jacob into headlocking the basketball.  Great spot.

Also, lets talk about CHIKARA being family friendly.  Sugar was checked for foreign objects before the match.  The crowd wants the referee to check his basketball too.  They start chanting “check his balls”.  Sugar brings this to a halt and asks “what part of family friendly do you not understand.”  The crowd knows Sugar is right and changes it to, “check his basketballs”.  For this and more, I have never laughed so hard at a wrestling show in my life.  For good reasons.

Back to the match.  Sugar was great.  Jacob squeaks out a victory though, and really it was probably for the best.  We just had a face win the previous match.  Jacob should win.  Sugar is a character that can be over no matter how many times he loses.  Dammit.  I should have asked him if he arrived in the WABAC machine.

Its another match between the CHIKARA faithful and the Gekido when Jigsaw takes on Shard.  I’ll have to rewatch the night when the DVD from Smart Mark video is released but maybe the match of the night.  Jigsaw hit one of the greatest most picture perfect dropkicks I have seen in all my life.  An absolutely incredible match that I cant wait to watch numerous times in the future.  Jigsaw picks up the win and picks up many spots in every fans “best wrestlers” list.

Sara Del Rey took on the newly bald Tim Donst in what I called a hair vs nair match.  The crowd didn’t get too into this match until the end and I can explain why.  One, while hardcore fans are aware of Tim’s current story line many in the room were not.  Thus the hair jokes flew over their, um, heads.  Pardon the near pun there.  However, the other story is that this is the first time many of us have seen Sara Del Rey in a while and she is much smaller.  She is of course not fat.  Never has been.  But she has lost some of the muscle mass and has a new sleeker look.  Could this be a reinvention now that her running mates, the Kings of Wrestling, are in FCW?  Who knows.  She looks fantastic though.  Donst beats the hell out of Sara.  If it were any other woman we would be scared for her.  Any other woman would look the weaker.  Not Del Rey.  While she got her butt kicked for much of the match she fought back for the win.  She truly is the current Queen of Wrestling.

(Also, Saturyne was supposed to be at the show but had travel difficulties.  Next time!)

The Spectral Envoy defeated the Bravado Bros.  The Bravados impressed me a lot.  Which is saying something because I was overly excited to see Ultramantis Black and Hallowicked.  No disappointment there at all.  Both men are so tall and have such a look that its impossible to not look at them.  I’m getting tired here, but its time for intermission!

CHIKARA gives the fans a free photo opportunity with Dasher Hatfield during the intermission.  I would have jumped at that but we had to run outside for a cigarette break (not for me, but I accompanied).  I had the chance to talk with Steve McKenzie and JD Love from 2CW then another brief exchange with the LFC.  I saw a great scene inside.  There was a, shall we say, “special” older man at the event.  He talked to us while we were waiting to get into the building.  He’s carrying around a beat up notebook and an old Bic pen.  Inside, during intermission, I see him asking Veronica Ticklefeather to autograph this old Mead.  I worried about him.  So many wrestlers are worried about being the heel.  Many don’t want to deal with any fan that might need a little extra attention.  Not Veronica.  She was so friendly and gracious with this fan.  It warmed my heart to see how patient and kind she was with him.  As it was my first CHIKARA show I had no idea what I would see later in the show.

Back from break and its time for the Young Lions Cup qualifier. Ryan Rush vs. Mark Angelosetti vs. Tripp Cassidy vs. 2CW’s own Jason Axe.  I should have seen it coming, but I was shocked to see how the match was booked.  Cassidy was out first, and we all expected that because honestly he looked in the worst shape.  Part of the gimmick, maybe, but I don’t think anyone saw Cassidy winning this.  Axe being the next out was very shocking.  As they were at 2CW’s home I thought he would win if not be third out.  Rush looks like a young and short haired Edge.  He had a leap then walk across the top rope that was one of the most athletic moves I’ve ever seen in a ring. Even more impressive given his size.  I see him in Florida within two years.  Mr Touchdown picks up the win, and as he is the most visible CHIKARA wrestler in this match I should have expected that.

Next, assailAnt takes it to Soldier Ant.  Another fun match featuring the rival factions.  I’m a little shocked neither team interfered in the matches.  Is there a no interference rule in CHIKARA?  Again, great work from both men.  It was surprising to see assailANT win, especially when victory was in Soldier Ant’s grasp.  I’d love to see both sides in a tag or 6 man match.

Speaking of tag matches, a giant 8 man tag match was next.  FIST and Ophidian vs. 3.0, El Generico and Gran Akuma.  Holy poop was this ever great.  Mrs Hellions said it should have been the main event and its maybe her favorite match she ever saw.  Great wrestling, comedy spots, and all sorts of craziness.  I’ve never heard so much talking during a match.  Every single one of them was having fun and being as over the top as possible.  It worked, as the crowd was beyond entertained.  A Boston Crab centipede, elbow drops on the water!  Tons of dives and near falls.  The tease of the four post massacre got a huge pop from the crowd.  This is the kind of match that should be shown to non wrestling fans to convert them into marks.  3.Ole and Gran Akuma win this one.

Eddie Kingston defends the Grand Championship against Dasher Hatfield in the main event.  I became a convert to Dasher in this match.  For some reason he never connected with me before, but I saw a star in this match.  Incredible wrestling.  They even told a story and Dasher worked over Eddie’s knee throughout the match.  From videos and podcasts, I have learned that you do not mess with Eddie Kingston.  He dug deep and powered through all the pain his knees were feeling.  That title is important and he’s not giving it up unless he’s incapacitated.  Dasher brought the fight to him and I’ll be keeping my eye on all of his matches in the future.

Side note, I’ve been to WWE house shows and seen them throw the titles on the ground.  Absolutely no respect for them.  Here I watched Gavin Loudspeaker carry the title away to a safe place like a priest carrying communion.  When the belt is presented with respect, it is treated by fans, wrestlers and even the promoters treat it with respect as well.

Our crew had to get going so we left right as the match ended.   I would love to stay and talk to everyone I possibly could after but it was not in the cards tonight.  Ah well, just walking out and that’s it right?  Not this time.  There’s FIST, there’s Gran Akuma, there’s the Colony, ah hell there’s Mike Quackenbush.  Every single one of them lined up to shake the fans hands and say “thank you” for coming to the show.

Are you kidding me?!  Who does that?!  I will always love 2CW, and WWE and even TNA.  All for their own reasons.  My love of comics and wrestling and even something family friendly was all brought to the front this afternoon.  Thank you to the entire CHIKARA crew for this show.  We will return.

2 comments

  1. To add to your comment about Veronica signing for the “special” older man …we were sitting next to a man and his young daughter or grand daughter and she was yelling Touchdown!! during the match which Veronica turned to her and gave her a high five which was cool but after the show ended Mr. Touchdown made his way through the crowd to give the little girl what looked to be a signed picture of himself. I thought that was very cool.

  2. it was also my first live chikara show and i cant believe how solid of a show it was. i thought the same thing about how the wrestlers shook everybodys hand as we left. Thats true class.

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