Chikara “Smack in the Middle” Wrestling Review.

 

This show took place on June 24, 2012 in Syracuse NY and I was there! Myself, my wife, and the Educator from the House Show podcast were all in attendance. I was a big fan of what Chikara publicly was and was excited they were running a show nearby. Thanks to being a longtime listener of Longbox Heroes, I was excited to briefly meet one of the Chikara announcers, Joe Sposto, in person. I’ve told him, but now I tell the world – I was star struck. Damn shame too, because I would have liked to sit for a minute and actually talk with him. Next time!

I haven’t seen a moment of this show since witnessing it live but a couple weeks ago I used a free trial of IWTV to watch this and a couple other shows: Absolution X, and a CZW show that will be reviewed soon. So let’s watch this through fresh eyes and through the memories of past me that is on camera a lot during the entrances.

Independent review rules apply. Chikara is gone now, for good reason. Some people may have been cancelled that appear on this show. I’m not cheering or supporting anything about these people other than the in ring action of this show. Positive thoughts on a match do not equal endorsement.

DeviAnt vs. Green Ant

Bryce Remsburg and Gavin Loudspeaker have the announce duties for this match. The more wrestling I watch the more I love hearing original commentary. Maybe because modern day WWE is over produced. That said, “that can crack an antenna” had me rolling. It’s a fun match to get going and I know that my crew was already excited for an afternoon of wrestling. I had some but not a great deal of familiarity with the Chikara stories but I was the only one. Yet this is clear who is the heel and who is the face. The wrestling action was fun and fast. Green Ant wins with some sort of pretzel submission move. Good opener.

Jakob Hammermeir vs. Sugar Dunkerton.

Sugar is better known now as Pineapple Pete. Jakob does his own entrance and just steals the show. His trash talk to the fans is fantastic. And it’s not his fault he used a dated reference, it’s yours for not being intelligent enough to get it. The referee checks Sugar but does not check his basketball. The fans chant “check his balls” and this Syracuse crowd needs to be reminded it’s an all ages family friendly show. The crowd apologies and starts chanting “basket ball” instead. My friends are already having a blast. This match had great comedy spots too. Jakob’s ponytail is twisted like an arm and he sells every bit of it. Sugar sneaks out of a headlock and puts the aforementioned basketball in his place. Jakob still pulls out the win with a thumb to the eye and then a neckbreaker. I think this is where the fans in attendance are starting to “get” Chikara.

The Shard vs. Jigsaw.

I really like this alternate evil versions of Chikara stars invading story. Shard is shorter than Jigsaw but jacked. Jigsaw is so so good here. This was the big “oh they can actually wrestle” moment for the unfamiliar in the crowd. There’s a dive to the outside and Jigsaw uses this selling moment to have a fan tighten up his mask. Shard as an evil counter for Jigsaw also knows a counter for every one of his moves too. It’s some great long storytelling for the match and the angle and both comic-y and wrestling. *Sigh* Why did he have to ruin it for everyone? Jigsaw wins after a highcross body. Shard looks like he’s extending his hand after the match. Jigsaw ignores it. Was it a trap, or did he ignore a moment to turn it around?

Tim Donst vs. Sara Del Rey

Tim reminds me of Raven here. A slacker apathetic gimmick. Sara looks smaller than I remember. I always thought she was thicc in that double C good way, but I’m not seeing that here. Again, none of that is a negative. One of the best wrestlers, and looks great too. She’s so ridiculously good. It’s no wonder why she’s in the position she’s in now. Sara goes all out for this crowd too. She hits a back body drop on Tim onto the exposed basketball court floor. Sara hits a dive to the floor and crashes right in front of us. Crowd remembers it’s an all ages show and chants “holy poop”. Sara goes for a pin but Tim is under the ropes so she doesn’t miss a beat and grabs his arm to lock on the kimora. Sara shortly after floats through and rolls up Tim for the pin. I think my wife gained a lot of respect for all of it after watching Death Rey. Pew Pew.

The Bravado Brothers vs Hallowicked and Ultramantis Black.

How did the Spectral Envoy never get picked up by a national company? They have a look. They have size. They have talent. I have Mantis’s autograph from this show. “Go to Sleepy Hallow” is one of the best finisher names ever. There’s a chicken fight spot in this match that is one of the most entertaining and funniest spots I’ve ever seen in wrestling. The Bravado Bros look like they should be riding Team Mongoose bikes in Rad. The double team moves and last moment pin breaks keep building up into a climax which sees the Envoy go over.

Jason Axe vs Tripp Cassidy vs. Mr Touchdown (w/ Veronica Ticklefeather) vs Ryan Rush in a Young Lions Cup match.

Hey, its Joe on commentary! Along with Sugar. Jason is a familiar talent for the late 2CW company which usually runs this building (and maybe provided the ring and/or promoter’s license if I had to guess?). Mr Touchdown vs Veronica’s ex boyfriend Archie was such an incredible story at the time. I watched what I could from Chikara’s online and YouTube stuff and was so invested. I think her outfit was tied with the earlier chant for the most borderline adult thing of the evening. Sugar is surprisingly good on commentary. I had a blast listening to these two. Axe pins Tripp. Rush pins Axe. Mr Touchdown doing drills and then working them into splashes was an inspired spot. Rush was unfamiliar to me going in but he looked impressive in this match. Pop up spine buster and Mr Touchdown wins.

assailANT vs Soldier Ant.

Soldier Ant is Drew Gulak?! Joe and some other guy call this match. The Educator heads to the bathroom. Watch it happen! The ring is apparently at the regulation 36 inches above the floor. This is a requirement I was never aware of before. The floor is exposed once again for a suplex. Soldier Ant gets rocked and falls back, getting pinned. It seemed like everyone involved was surprised and I’m curious if this was a mistake or just really well done. Solider Ant is not happy and hits both a Samoan Drop and a suplex to the exposed floor post match.

FIST and Ophidian vs 3.0, El Generico, and Gran Akuma.

3.0 is now known as Ever-Rise on NXT and 205 Live and they’re so good! Obviously they have a great love of wrestling and it comes through in everything. Some of the best promos in the business. They need a bigger spotlight. I lost it during the pre match promo when they are on top of the Pastime Athletic Club in gorgeous Syracuse NY saying “this could all be yours”. Yes, from the SU dome to the mall to I-81. What more could anyone want? FIST is Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, and Icarus. Icarus is so wonderfully annoying. He sits in the crowd and I was losing it. There’s a lot of subtitles that I didn’t pick up on while watching live. There’s an extended sequence over a puddle of water in the ring involving an elbow drop. A four person Boston Crab with Generico putting on a camel clutch up front. The match is so fast, has so many great spots and near falls. Including a Ready to Rumble inspired Four Post Massacre! Shane Matthews has Ophidian in a Walls of Jericho. Everyone else stops their counter from getting in the ring and we have the tap out victory.

Eddie Kingston (champion) vs. Dasher Hatfield.

We start this match like we start all good things, with an Eddie Kingston promo. Another guy that is just ridiculously talented. I feel lucky to have seen so many great wrestlers on this show. Eddie is here to beat someone up and make rent. How can you not love that? How can a fan not support such a character? I love that Eddie is here, and every show, to kick someone’s ass. But if you can hang with him and give him a good fight, he will let you know you’ve earned his respect. Some people give respect to all and give you an opportunity to lose it. Some people demand you earn every bit of their respect. And life gets a bit easier when you realize that difference in your interactions with anyone above your own station. I love how well Bryce plays into the match too. There’s a moment where Dasher kicks out and both Eddie and Bryce have incredible looks of shock. Eddie gets the victory but Dasher points out it was close. Eddie comes back to help Dasher to his feet and then leaves. Respect earned.

There’s a bonus scene that didn’t play for the live crowd! Where is Archibald? He’s walking like lonely Bruce Banner past the WWE Headquarters! How long ago was this show? 8 years? It is amazing how much has changed and what paths everyone has been on.

Is that Chikara toons app still around? I remember playing around with it for hours.

This will always be my only Chikara show I attended live. At some point I need to spend a lot of time with IWTV because despite what happened, there is still a lot of talent that busted their asses to put on good matches for these shows.

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