Taking place May 20, 2012 from NYC.
Each and every week there isn’t a major pay per view in the world of wrestling, the At Odds with Wrestling podcast will assign a classic event for each other and for listeners like me to watch. I post my thoughts on Thursdays before the new episode goes live later in the evening. This week’s assignment is this anniversary show from Chikara.
As Joe continues to pick Chikara shows in order, I’ve been moving away from commenting on in ring work. As my familiarity with each wrestler grows, there’s only so many ways I can mention their in ring skills. However, as that focus diminishes I’m paying more attention to the flow of the show and the progression of stories. There are a lot of interesting things on today’s show, so let’s get right to it.
First of all, this is maybe the worst looking canvas I’ve ever seen. A ratty ring mat.
Colt Cabana vs Dasher Hatfield.
I was really looking forward to this bout but something never clicked. I’ve loved both men’s shenanigans in previous Chikara shows but this match never reached that level. I wonder if they’re maybe too similar. Not necessarily comedic, but they both like to have fun in the ring and be serious when needed. I wouldn’t say they wrestle similar styles but I think their styles are close enough. I think Dasher was playing the straight man here and while both men did very well and are true professionals it was lacking. Mr Touchdown comes out to distract and knock Colt off the turnbuckle. Dasher gets the win, without realizing what his sometimes partner just did.
Kagetsu vs Saturyne.
Thanks for showing up Saturyne! Kagetsu graciously gave her a couple moments of offense but otherwise there was no doubt who would win this match and who was calling the shots the entire time. This felt like hazing. Sit down, shut up, and maybe you won’t get hurt too bad. Kagetsu gets a quick and dominant win.
The Colony vs Los Ice Creams.
This match should have opened the show. Somehow I think this is the first time I’ve seen the Ice Creams wrestle. While other wrestlers, like the Ants, are the same people I get the feeling the Ice Creams changed along the way. Depending on who is available and who wants to have fun that night. Fantastic comedy match but with good wrestling throughout. I was entertained as hell watching every goofy spot. Even when I saw it coming it was still fun. My opinion on Chikara has always been over the top ridiculousness but with people who can actually wrestle. There’s always someone in the crowd who hasn’t seen it before, and a match like this as an opener could really get those new fans into the world they’re about to experience. A switch went off in my head and I’m ready to suspend my disbelief and live in this comic world for two hours.
Oh, the Colony wins.
DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko vs The Bravado Brothers.
This was uncomfortable. I know everyone is on the same page here and agreed to how the match would play out. But I felt like I was watching something wrong. If this was a porn I would have turned it off multiple times. I don’t know what my mental limit is between a wrestler taking a beating as part of the performance versus a human getting the shit beat out of them but this match crossed that line. I know both women are great but the size difference erased all hope of enjoying this match. 3.0 come out to distract the Bravado brothers so the women can get the pin, and that was great to see them go over. But I felt like I lost for watching this.
3.0 (Scott Parker & Shane Matthews) vs GEKIDO (17 & The Shard).
How did I just realize who’s under the Shard mask?! Seriously, I wrote down ‘Shard kind of looks like’ …. And then did a search and it is him! Sometimes I need to be told things multiple times for it to sink in. Like when my wife tells me things. Anyways, this match was getting really good. Because neither member of 3.0 is under a mask the GEKIDO focused on wrestling, and not exposing an identity. I love 3.0 and the longer the match went the better they got. I got drawn in and nothing else in the world existed but this match. Then the frickin Bravado Brothers come back out to get back at 3.0. Ruining everything! It’s great set up for a future match but I was still disappointed with a DQ finish.
Sara Del Rey vs Meiko Satomura.
Holy crap. I didn’t realize this match was coming. I try to not pay attention when Joe mentions matches, because I want to be surprised. I saw the match graphic and thought, holy shit. This is arguably one of the biggest international matches to happen. Maybe even more so now. The influence these two women have had on current women’s wrestling is immeasurable. There were so many moments in this match in which I saw other wrestlers. Because those wrestlers are taking parts of both women’s styles and creating their own from that. Watch Sara kick, stalk, or react in frustration and tell me Charlotte Flair hasn’t grabbed all of that. Joe was calling this match and mentioned the hushed crowd. Damn right. I’m in the presence of the Mona Lisa of wrestling matches. I’m going to shut up and observe it with respect. Speaking of Joe, and I know you’re reading this so here’s a question for the show. Did this match have a weight for you? Did you see the card and think, I’m about to call one of the biggest matches I’ve ever seen let alone called? Was there fear, honor, nerves, a mix? Either woman could have won and everyone would be happy. I was thrilled Sara won, and it makes a lot of sense under Chikara’s points system. Women’s wrestling doesn’t get out of the gentlemen’s club and become a sport without these two. I want to watch it again.
The Batiri (Kobald, Kodama & Obariyon) vs Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Delirious, Jakob Hammermeier & Tim Donst) vs The Spectral Envoy (Frightmare, Hallowicked & UltraMantis Black) vs The Swarm (assailANT, combatANT & deviANT).
Four teams of three and only one fall? This match is going to be nuts. And it was. I don’t know how anyone calls such a match and I gave up writing things down. There’s just too much happening. I enjoyed the hell out of using such a chaotic match to set up stories. Brilliant. Delirious and Mantis. Donst and Hallowicked. They come so close to blows until someone on another team jumps in. This was a great way to get everyone close without giving away the big IPPV match. I know WWE loves to do tag matches before a PPV but the soon to be opponents always face off. By having so many people in this match that feeling is still there but without actually touching. The Batiri shock everyone with the win but it made a lot of sense. Mist to the eyes of Jakob. Keeps the Spectral Envoy strong, keeps the Swarm strong, doesn’t take away from any upcoming matches. Good times and I would have been okay if that was the main event.
Eddie Kingston (c) vs Jigsaw.
And then this match happened. Holy shit. Eddie is so good. From day one I knew he was a great wrestler. But the more I watch him the more I see a connection with the fans that no one else has. That is especially noticeable now in AEW. Here’s a guy who busts his ass, has taken hits in life, has been down, but keeps getting back up. He is honest. I’m up today but I could be down tomorrow and that means I gotta get back up in three days. How can you not respect that? That’s all of our lives and to see someone in the middle of the ring who could get an ego instead be just as down to earth as the guy in the back row who had to decide between buying this ticket or putting gas in the car. How can you not cheer the hell out of this guy?
These two beat the hell out of each other too. I love when Eddie is in the ring with someone he likes. Ironically, those matches are even more violent. There’s a level of trust and give that takes place when he’s in the ring with friends. Jigsaw did an amazing job and even knowing Eddie keeps the belt, because I saw him live shortly after this, I reacted with each kick out. Some of the most amazing close calls, the shoulder is barely up, how did Eddie and the referee get this timing down? I love Dragon Ball style booking. I have to give everything I’ve ever given anyone, and that’s still not enough to keep you down. Now let me try something new. Let me try three Backfists to the Future and see if that’s enough to put you down for three.
This was such an enjoyable show. It makes GLOW and Adam’s picks pale in comparison.