Welcome back to BRM’s Monthly “This Day in Wrestling History” Review Series! At the beginning of the year, I said that before this year is out, you would all learn how just how insane I am by the way I have meticulously I have planned all of these reviews out. As we’ve all learned in 2020, sometimes a monkey wrench gets thrown into things, whether it’s COVID shutting the world down, or me screwing up basic math and messing up my TNA pattern. Well… another monkey wrench (although this time at least the core reason was a positive development) was the Speaking Out movement causing CHIKARA to at the very least suspend operations (for real, this time), and, consequently, me not being confident in buying anything from their video library because 1) I’m not sure who handles the purchase and if it’s still working, or 2) who actually gets the money now that it has moved to IndependentWrestling.TV, so even though I had teased it at the end of last year’s November CHIKARA review, From Zero to Hero (& Castagnoli), I did not purchase a copy of the next show, Brick!, which I had planned to watch this year.
But sometimes, through adversity we can find a bright spot. Instead of that show, I am going to watch a different CHIKARA show. A show that allows me to return to the original purpose of this review series, which was to force myself to watch some of the many DVDs that I bought years ago and still have yet to even begin watching. And it’s also a show that took place on the same day of the month as Brick!, so in my big list keeping track of various details about these reviews that I keep, I’ll only have to change the statistics for what year this month’s review is from rather than the promotion and the day of the month. And yes, I do keep lists of all of those things. As I said, I’m more than a little bit neurotic… just like the man who put together the pivotal moment in CHIKARA history that is The Sordid Perils of Everyday Existence.
SHAYNE HAWKE PROMO - Meh. Mitch Hedberg’s version of the ant farm joke was better. The stuff on disliking Soulja Boy was fine.
SHAYNE HAWKE vs. SOLDIER ANT (w/Fire Ant) - 5/10
There was a great moment on commentary where Leonard F. CHIKARAson pointed out that Soldier Ant’s saluting gimmick doesn’t really make sense because you’re only supposed to salute someone of a higher rank than you, and Quack thought for a second and basically admitted that he should have thought of that before coming up with the gimmick (but obviously without saying anything that didn’t make sense in kayfabe).
The match was fine, with some decent action, good babyface/heel dynamics, and a little dose of the expected comedy without devolving into a farce.
SHANE STORM vs. HYDRA (w/UltraMantis Black) - 4.5/10, but…
When it comes to CHIKARA reviews, I always struggle with how much I should spoil. On the one hand, this stuff is over a decade old at this point, and most people aware enough of CHIKARA that they might seek out an old show already know why I’m starting my review of this short match in this manner. I’d even wager to say that things like this are the reason a new fan would choose to go seek out older CHIKARA shows, as the wrestling from everything up until about 2007 isn’t really good unless you’ve got someone like Quack, Hero, Kingston, Akuma, or Claudio in there. But on the other hand, the spoiler-free viewing experience probably helps CHIKARA more than any other promotion, so I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone who has just heard that “CHIKARA has really great storylines) and has decided to start watching it without spoilers.
If you are a member of the latter group and reading this review for any context you may have missed after you watch this show, I applaud you. For your sake, all I will say is that the story of this match was UltraMantis interfering, but his final interference wound up costing Hydra the match, breaking Storm’s losing streak… and you’ve just witnessed one of the most pivotal moments in CHIKARA’s history. Keep watching. It’s worth it (until the beginning of 2014, anyway).
EL PANTERA & LINCÉ DORADO vs. OSIRIAN PORTAL - 6.75/10
Chris Hero and Mitch Ryder are now on commentary for this match to hype up Ryder’s mask vs. hair match with Lincé tomorrow night. Their heel commentary definitely strayed into the realm of racism. We got some great athletic stuff early on, particularly from Lincé and Amasis, although Ophidian also showed off his own, different type of athleticism. The match was quite good. The heels won when Ryder distracted Lincé, resulting in him getting rolled up.
PASSION HASEGAWA PROMO - This was all in Japanese and had no subtitles, so I don’t know why they even put it on the DVD.
CHUCK TAYLOR vs. PASSION HASEGAWA - 6.5/10
WE got some comedy at the beginning and then this actually got pretty good
CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI PROMO - Bad. He was hard to hear and came off goofy
CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs. MIYAWAKI - 7.75/10
I had zero expectations going into this match but these two really knocked my socks off. Miyawaki worked over Claudio’s knee and they did a great job of working it over in small ways throughout the match and always coming back to it. Throw in some OUTSTANDING nearfalls and a hot crowd, and you’ve got a really damn great wrestling match.
MIKE QUACKENBUSH, TIM DONST, & THE SUPER SMASH BROTHERS vs. ROBBIE ELLIS, MITCH RYDER, & TEAM F.I.S.T. (Gran Akuma & Icarus) - 2/10
I had forgotten how embarrassingly bad Player Uno’s early gear was. Portions of this match were also quite ugly. Large parts of it were a slow, dull mess.
CHIKARA YOUNG LIONS CUP MATCH: Helios(c) vs. Fire Ant - 5/10
This was a very flippy seven and a half minutes, but they had enough psychology to not make it feel like a total flipfest.
CHRIS HERO PROMO - GREAT!
MASK VS. HAIR MATCH:
Equinox (mask) vs. Chris Hero (hair) - 7.25/10
This match was all about the finish, and they knew that going in, so they just came up with some cool spots to do, put in some good solid work, and did a lot of excellent flash pins and false finishes until the big moment came. Unfortunately, the big moment looked pretty weak because the camera made it clear that Hero made almost no contact with Equinox when he was “kicking” him. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t matter as much if you don’t know what’s coming because the shock of Hero escaping from the CHIKARA Special is what you focus on, but knowing what was coming, I was waiting for this big moment and it wound up looking kind of weak. Hero definitely made an effort to make up for that with his subsequent vicious forearms and perfect douchebaggery when he locked in the CHIKARA Special to make Equinox tap and then with his post-match taunting, though.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - EXCELLENT! Hero was just the greatest bully ever without actually touching Equinox, and the look of shame on Vin Gerard’s face as he was exposed was tremendous… and then got even better when Hero explained to everyone to everyone who Vin Gerard was in the meanest way possible, making Gerard feel like a babyface even though he did, in fact, like his way into the promotion after washing out of the WrestleFactory.
By the end of this, the fans were giving Vin Gerard a standing ovation and chanting “EQUONIX!” And then the poor kid got up to go to the back… and there are the more veteran wrestlers blocking his path and tossing his suitcase at him, and he is forced to shamefully walk out the back door. AMAZING!
INCOHERENCE PROMO - It’s an Incoherence promo
2 OUT OF 3 FALLS MATCH FOR THE CHIKARA CAMPEONATOS DE PAREJAS:
Incoherence(c) vs. Up In Smoke - 7/10
Up In Smoke are dressed like Incoherence for some reason, so we start off this big title match with a bunch of stupid, pointless comedy, including people shoving the referee. The first fall was petty much all comedy, and the second fall also began with the usual Delirious running around like a crazy person when the bell rings. This led to everyone going backstage, leaving the fans sitting in their chairs and staring at an empty ring. They reemerged soon afterwards, with Cheech & Cloudy no longer in their Incoherence costumes and pretending to have not been running around in costumes.
Well… that was twelve minutes of my life I’ll never have back. They wasted all of this time in a world title main event on one of the biggest shows of the year with goofball comedy… and it wasn’t even good comedy, either. It was just the same joke over and over again. Up In Smoke are dressed like Incoherence. We get it.
And after that, they went on to have two falls that were terrific. Why not just have great wrestling for all three falls? CHIKARA has spent half a year building up to Up In Smoke managing to accomplish the rare feat of earning themselves a second title shot in one calendar year… and then they spent the first chunk of this match just pissing it away with goofball bullsh*t? WHY?! There is a time and a place for comedy. A main event is rarely ever but, and a title match is NEVER it.
LANCE STEEL vs. RETAIL DRAGON - 4.75/10
This was the opening match of the show, so I’m really not sure why they put it at the end here as a bonus feature instead of just sticking it at the beginning. This was pretty good for the time it got, with a fine story of working over an injured body part and a darn great finish.
Also, there was a Podcast-A-Go-Go that I didn’t watch because I have better things to do, like catch up on wXw or NXT UK.
This was a meh show from CHIKARA. There was some good stuff on it, but a lot of disappointment as well. It’s definitely must-watch for any CHIKARA fan due to the momentous storyline moments, but if you’re not looking for those, it’s pretty skippable. I’m glad I finally took it off of my shelf and watched it, but odds are it’s going back on my shelf and will never be watched again. Next month, we bookend our year a neat little way (so no, it’s the remaining PWG show with a holiday-themed name).