I went to a wrestling show! And now I am typing about it. Clear geek move.
Show was at a packed Logan Square Auditorium. Standing room crowd, usually into matches. Though there was a weird bit, whenever it'd get too quiet everyone could hear the announcers doing the DVD commentary, especially Gavin Loudspeaker (living up to the name.)
As per tradition (?), the luchadors announced for the Chicago show no-showed. And BDK member Ares was off due to a family issue.
1) The Batari (Obariyon, Kodamam, Kobald) b The Throwbacks (Sugar Dunkerton & Dasher Hatfield) and Matt Classic
First time I'd see the Batari, who were OK. Matt Classic's persona is great and his partners did well. Finish was Matt Classic, not understanding CHIKARA's tag rules (out of the ring also equals tag), arguing with Hatfield and both being beat by Batari members. Classic walked off on his partners, a reoccuring pattern. Fine opener.
2) Ophidian b Isais Velasquez
Replacement match #1 for the missing lucha tag team. I've seen Velasquez on lucha shows - though he's not really a luchador, but an US indy style hispanic who gets lumped in - where he's hasn't impressed me, but he looked good here. Nearly an Ophidian showcase, he locked on his submission for the win.
3) FIST (Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor) b The Colony (Green Ant & Solider Ant)
Good indy style tag match. When I've seen him for DGUSA prior, Gargano came off as a guy trying too hard to get noticed (and a bit shoved too hard in that group.) He seemed much more confident and controlled here. Green Ant was posted on the outside and the FIST duo took out Solider for the win.
4) Frightmare b Hieracon
Night of tag partners in singles action (or night of hearing everyone's music twice.) This was replacement #2, and I didn't think it was quite as good. I'd heard strong things about Hieracon, he didn't impress me much here. Willing to write it off by being a last minute match. Frightmare looked OK.
5) Sara del Rey b Icarus [12 Large Summit]
12 Large Summit is the league-style tournament they're running all summer and until the end of the year to crown a CHIKARA champ. Interestingly, they said the first annual one. Heel vs heel matchup solved by Icarus being the world's most loathsome male possible (within the limits of a "family friendly" show) before the match. Match looked like it was just going to be SDR punishing Icarus with kicks, which everyone would've been fine with, but then it turned into a good back and forth match. One of the better ones on the show, with Sara reversing a pedigree into a bridging pin for the match and the 2 points.
Intermission here. Having the ring announcers walk around and talk and promote things and be entertaining is a lot better than the usual wrestling intermission of "turn up bad music very loudly so no one can have a conversation, even with yourself." Evil ring announcer (they have these now!) Jakob was also amusing, solemnly showing off his t-shirt no one was buying.
6) Claudio Castagnoli b Hallowicked [12 Large Summit]
Kind of disappointing. Maybe not the match to have right after intermission, because it was purposefully slow starting and it took a while for the crowd to get back into it. Never got going as much or as long as I thought it would either. Claudio took the win with I Don't Remember How.
7) Ultramantis Black b Fire Ant [12 Large Summit]
Show stealing match - this was really the match I thought the last match was going to be, and I thought this match would be more like how that one turned out, if that makes any sense. These two were throwing bombs at each other and Ultramantis is much more interesting wrestler than I've given him credit for is another, clearer way of saying it. This was a Moves match and they were good Moves. Dunno for the rest of CHIKARA's crowd, but this one was way behind UMB and would like to see the guy with the usual evil plans win something for a change.
8) Eddie Kingston b Colt Cabana
OK. This was Colt being Colt for the start, Kingston taking it into his match, Colt getting his comeback, and then the backfist to end it. The backfist did not look great from my angle, or maybe I was just totally not expecting it to happen at that point.
9) Da Soul Touchaz (Willie Richardson, Marshe Rockett, Acid Jazz) beat BDK (Tursas, Tim Donst, Jakob) - Jakob was Ares' replacement, which worked out okay. BDK had taken out both of the Soul Touchaz two managers in their last match in Philly, this was the Soul Touchaz chance to get some revenge in their hometown, and the fans just wanted to see the BDK get thrashed. Jakob is good at being thrashed. Soul Touchaz jumped the heels and beat them around the ring until Donst clipped big man Richardson from behind. He was stuck in for most of the match, finally got in a big punch and made the tag to Rockett, who cleared everyone out and did a couple dives. Jazz & maybe Jacob were left in during the ensuing chaos. Del Ray returned to distract the ref on one side, while Claudio came thru the crowd the other side to hit Jazz with a pipe. C. Red - one of Da Soul Touchaz's managers - ran in, grabbed the pipe from Claudio, tossed it to his team, and they laid out everyone from there. A big top rope drop on Jakob finished it. Everyone celebrated and danced and what not after the match.
There was a loud and long Please Come Back chant after the match; as long as they can find two other cities to stop at along the way, can't imagine it'll be another 3 year wait. I'll have to go to Philly if it takes that long again and these shows are going to be as good as this one was.
No mater how bad Russo is, or how bad you may think Hornswoggle is, shit, even the whole Katie Vick shit wasn't as bad as this crap.
I think there's a place in wrestling for well done comedy, for not taking itself seriously; the point of spending $20 to go to a show is to have fun, and you might notice that the people in the crowd watching are generally having a good time.
Russo's comedy is usually either juvenile or plain dumb, and usually poorly dumb. Katie Vick was shock tactics designed with the idea of getting real anger towards Triple H, only the overshot their mark (by like a 100 miles) and turned people off. The simple difference between this stuff and Hornswaggle is I find this stuff amusing and not so much the other guy.
The thing that the YouTube clips don't do a good job of illustrating, unfortunately, is that CHIKARA is all slow motion wrestling and Dragon Dragons (thought I might like it if it was), but that there's also a lot of "serious" wrestling. The entire promotion is not pie throwing contest, the comedy tends to be in the undercard and the show tends to get more serious as the show goes on. I've gone to indy shows where things are treated 100% seriously for 3 hours and nine matches, and I don't really go to those shows any more. I'd rather have something that gives me three or four different types of entertainment than one kind and eight lesser versions of the same.
Originally posted by Cerebus I don't get it. How is going to a high school gym with about 150 people to see THIS...
...even remotely better that what you see on TNA week after week. It boggles the mind. I don't get it.
I once drove 500 miles (literally) to see the North Star Express. I'd go so far as to declare them the greatest tag team of the last two decades. In fact, watching them sell their merch after a show is more entertaining than anything TNA has ever managed to pull off. (Granted, I don't generally bitch about WWE putting nonsensical comedy in the middle of a show, I bitch about them not being any good at it.)
Most of TNA's criticism comes from booking that makes NO SENSE, not botched comedy.
As for WWE, they have comedy bits that are well done, but a lot of the time they either drive a joke into the ground or go so lowbrow it is unenjoyable. Little Bastard being used as a weapon by Finley, COMEDY. Hornswaggle doing anything but getting kicked in the face by R-Truth, CRAP.
I can't help but admire David McLane. He knows how to do one thing, run a women's wrestling entertainment show, and no matter how many versions of it fails, he waits a decade, dusts himself off and goes right back to it.