DVDs - VGames - Books CHIKARA "King Of Trios 2011 Night 3" Roundtable Reviews 4/17: Radican, Leahy, Eaton rate & review finals of tournament
Jun 5, 2011 - 11:50:07 AM
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Brian Leahy, PWTorch Specialist (7.5)
King of Trios Night 3 was a fitting end to a fine weekend of great action from Chikara. Though (understandably) slightly less focused on the tournament than the first two nights, there was still ample good quality action and satisfactory completion of short and long term story arcs to please both the hardcore and casual fans of Chikara.
The two semi-final bouts got the card off to a great start, as The Colony took on The Osirian Portal while F.I.S.T tangled with the sole remaining fly-ins in the Trios Tourney; Team Michinoku Pro. The matches were of comparable quality, and were (in every positive sense) run of the mill Chikara trios bouts. Where Chikara truly triumphed here was arriving at the semi-final stages with two bouts where, in the moment, any two of teams could believably have advanced to the final. That being said, The Colony vs. F.I.S.T final was the right decision to make, and the semi-finals did a perfect job in showcasing the heart and resilience of the earlier and the win-by-any-means ethos of the latter.
Jigsaw vs. Ultimate Spider, Jr. was fun while it lasted, but amounted to little more than getting a little more value for money out of USJ’s fly in costs. Later on the card, in a similarly thrown together but slightly more fun bout, Kingston vs. Tozawa was every bit the hard hitting affair that you’d expect it to be. It’s unfortunate that, given the weekend format, Chikara didn’t have any time to hype either of these bouts or give them more time, as on another show on another day both could have amounted to much more than a couple of fillers on a tournament final night.
I am not a fan of gauntlet matches, so just the thought of Chikara’s 10 team gauntlet was almost enough to put me in a catatonic state. I was pleasantly surprised then, to watch the match evolve into an entertaining series of short tag team matches, highlighted by the chauvinistic antics of Matt Classic & Darkness Crabtree and some fine wrestling from the Osaka Pro duo of Kotoge & Harada. Marred slightly by a botched final pin-fall, and resulting audience confusion/silence, the gauntlet was easily the best match of its kind that I’ve seen in a long time.
Toyota vs. Eagles was a stormer of a women’s match, and gave Toyota the opportunity to actually wrestle a match instead of simply hitting her signature moves as she was reserved to in her trios matches over the weekend. They fitted an awful lot into their 12 minutes, and Eagles, despite the loss, came out of the match looking all the stronger for absorbing so much punishment from a legitimate wrestling legend who can still “go” in an authentic, hard-hitting style after almost two and a half decades of ring action.
The Rey de Voladores final was a decent, if not exactly great match. There’s no doubting Waltman’s and Generico’s commitment to the bout, as both pulled out all the stops for over quarter of an hour, but, for me at least, there was a few too many botched spots and the match lacked the flow one would expect of a match receiving the praise that this is getting elsewhere. In the end however, the almost palpable emotional between Waltman and the crowd makes this another match worth watching from the April KOT weekend.
The main event was, rightfully and thankfully, one of the best matches of the weekend and the crowd were solidly behind The Colony and opposed to F.I.S.T . The match played perfectly off of the events of the weekend, and after some believable close calls for both teams, a huge assisted splash from the Ants proved to be enough to capture their first, long overdue, King of Trios tournament victory.
To reiterate the point made in previous roundtables and RWC Audios, all three nights of Chikara’s King of Trios 2011 warrant a collective purchase, and are best viewed in the manner in which they were intended to be watched: as a weekend of sometimes nostalgic, sometimes fun, but always entertaining wrestling. Highly Recommended.
Jimmy Eaton, Torch Specialist (7.5)
A great finale to a fantastic three-night comedy/wrestling extravaganza from the fine folks at Chikara. While I thought the wrestling wasn't as solid overall, and the comedy not as frequent, this was still a great show with funny moments and superb wrestling. The show continued to get better as the show progressed with the final couple of matches being more than a reason to check out this show. Not to mention an awesome women's match between Manami Toyota and Madison Eagles. Seriously, it was nearly the match of the night for me.
The Colony (Fire Ant, Green Ant, & Soldier Ant) vs. The Osirian Portal (Amasis, Ophidian, & Hieracon) was a good match to start the show but I couldn't help but feel like the crowd is exhausted. Not a great sign to start the final night of a huge tournament. There were some sloppy spots in the match which took me out of the moment but again, not terrible by any means. Just didn't do a ton for me, although for an opener, it got the crowd where it needed to be to set the pace for the rest of the night. The Colony is really, really over building on their story of being screwed over the year before. (**1/2)
FIST (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, & Icarus) vs. Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke, Dick Togo & Jinsei Shinzaki). This was a fun match and it never ceased to amaze me how guys at the age of Team Michinoku Pro can still move like they do. Great display here but the ending seemed to fall a bit flat and I'd rather see the veterans put over younger guys clean. Overall though, another great reaction from the crowd as they ended their tournament run. (**3/4)
Ultimate Spider Jr. vs. Jigsaw had me excited but it didn't seem to do quite as much for me. It wasn't bad by any means, just felt more like filler. I enjoy both gimmicks though and both guys can flat-out fly. It was a shame because both guys could have done so much more and while the comedy shtick it fun to a point, it didn't seem like much of a story was told throughout their relatively short match. So while they hopes were too high, it was still a decent match. (**1/4)
The "Annual" 10 Team Tag Gauntlet match was a fun match with some hilarious moments throughout including Matt Classic and a surprise appearance from Sara Del Ray and Daziee Haze. It's too much to go through this whole thing but I also enjoyed Grizzly Redwood and Brodie Lee's teaming at the mid-way point. The final two teams of Team Dragon Gate and Team Osaka Pro was a solid tag match and I'm looking forward to the winning team's pending title opportunity. They also did a bit of a points system throughout the match but quite frankly I forgot about it after the first few teams. It probably wasn't even needed to be honest. (***1/4)
Madison Eagles vs. Manami Toyota was fantastic. Both women were awesome with Eagles looking great in defeat. When someone kicks out of a big finisher, it really makes the one kicking out look good. Especially when the commentary is talking about that said move winning matches previously. Good job with the attention to detail by all parties. The match made Shimmer look very respectable with the champion looking good in defeat, and the promotion was put over multiple times throughout the match. The mix of near-falls and reversals was impressive throughout as well, with both women using their unique styles to put on a hell of a match. One of the best women's matches I've personally seen. (***3/4)
Eddie Kingston vs. Akira Tozawa really exceeded my expectations. I was never a big Kingston fan but he's growing on me the more I see him. It could be that being in the ring with Tozawa helped too, but it was nevertheless a really stiff, competitive match. Both guys hit their key spots and Tozawa looks good in defeat after kicking out of Kingston's running elbow. It looked like a much more vicious finisher than it usually does, which was a plus. (***)
Rey de Voladores Final: El Generico vs. 1-2-3 Kid was a great match where Sean Waltman showed that he still has some great stuff left in the tank. He played to the crowd well as did Generico with both getting nearfalls that had me on the edge of my seat. The final five minutes of the match were awesome. Generico getting the win was the right thing to do here but with both guys kicking out of signature moves, the crowd eating up the action, and the finish only coming after the painful looking top-rope brainbuster from Generico. Great effort by both competitors and after the match, it was a touching moment to see Sean Waltman so appreciative of what the fans were saying (Including "You still got it!", "Please come back!", etc.), (***3/4)
King of Trios Final: FIST (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano, & Icarus) vs. The Colony (Green Ant, Fire Ant, & Soldier Ant) This really lived up to not only the main event, but the finals of a big tournament as well. Awesome sequences, near-falls galore, and really solid in-ring story-telling. The Colony may not have had the best match every night, but they had it here with F.I.S.T. Great efforts by everyone and the huge towering splash to end the match was just icing on the cake. They worked Green Ant's arm for most of the match that setup some fun spots down the stretch including a HUGE splash with Green Ant off the shoulders of Army/Red Ant, off the top rope, for the win. I never thought I'd be talking about Ants and wrestling, but low and behold, there you have it. (****)
Overall, this was a solid conclusion to the three-day tournament with some really, really great moments and others that were just there as filler. Filler isn't always a bad thing. The stories throughout the night were really well done with the commentary putting over the product, and big deals were made out of both tournaments that concluded. Chikara Pro isn't for everyone, but it's a really great change of pace from your normal Indy promotions and mainstream "sports-entertainment". I'm really looking forward to checking out the tournament next year and after watching this trio of shows, something tells me I'll be making this a tradition. A big thanks to Sean for including me with this coverage as I had a blast covering it with the #RWCA gang. I've got a whole new perspective now on comedy in the world of professional wrestling and Chikara Pro is currently number one in that category. Once again, a highly recommended show and really needs to be seen with Nights 1 and 2 to be fully appreciated.
Sean Radican, Torch columnist (7.5)
This was another good show from the annual King of Trios tournament. The show got off to a slow start, but rebounded once the Tag Team Gauntlet began. The semi-main event with 1-2-3 Kid taking on El Generico and the main event featuring the Colony taking on F.I.S.T. delivered a strong go-home punch.
The first three matches of the show didn’t set the tone for a great night of action, especially Jigsaw vs. Ultimate Spider Jr., which featured an exchange of big moves with very little storytelling. Once the annual Tag Gauntlet match took place, things picked up. Matt Classic teaming with Darkness Crabtree provided some hilarious moments, especially when Classic thought Haze and Del Rey were ring girls. The action between Team Osaka Pro and Team Dragon Gate at the end of the gauntlet was also really good after the gauntlet started slowly.
The action continued to improve with a very good singles match between Toyota and Eagles. The announcers did a good job of providing background on Toyota for those of us not familiar with her signature moves. Eagles delivered a really good performance and wasn’t hurt by losing to Toyota in the end.
Tozawa-Kingston was another good match on the card. Kingston’s look holds him back from climbing the ladder in the industry, but he delivers really good promos and wrestles a physical style that matched up perfectly with Tozawa here. Tozawa has put together an awesome resume of work in 2011 and this won’t make his “best-of” collection, but it was still a good match.
The semi-main event that featured El Generico beating 1-2-3 Kid in front of a red hot crowd was the high point of the show, although the main event came close. I really enjoyed the atmosphere for the match. Although there was a sequence of spots that didn’t come off as planned, I thought both guys did a good job of covering up the mistakes. It was awesome to see Kid get so much love from fans after the match and his post-match promo was awesome. Kid’s appearances on these shows will be among the top memorable moments from the independent scene when the year is done.
The main event started slowly, but built into an excellent match built around Green Ant’s arm injury. F.I.S.T. used every shortcut in the book, but ultimately their heel work backfired and Green Ant got the win with a cool looking ant hill splash off the top rope. I loved the post-match ceremony that saw the Colony receive medals like they had won an Olympic event.
I highly recommend purchasing all three nights of KOT 2011. You’re really missing out if you don’t watch the entire tournament unfold. It’s a lot of time to invest, but the payoff is well-worth your time. These shows are also an excellent starting point for anyone looking to get into CHIKARA.
[Torch art credit Marco D'Alfonso (c) PWTorch.com]
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