THE SPECIALISTS SPECIALIST - INDY SCENE: Preview of CHIKARA's "The Cibernetico Returneth" October 22nd - Hellertown, PA
Oct 18, 2005 - 10:40:00 AM
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By Barry Kasten, Torch Contributor
Welcome to week two of my Specialist column. The IWA-Mid South show I profiled last week was said to be a lot of fun. Check out Chris Vetter’s Indy Results column on the Torch website for the results of the show. This week I get to profile a promotion that I have only seen a couple DVD’s of but have heard many good words about, CHIKARA! I had a basic understanding of the promotion from reading message boards and watching the couple shows I have seen. However, I was able to get answers to several questions from both the CHIKARA website (chikarapro.com) and in e-mail correspondence with the promotion. Let the wackiness begin!
Brief Introduction to CHIKARA
In January of 2002, “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush and “Reckless Youth” Tom Carter founded the Chikara Wrestle Factory. The Wrestle Factory is a school where aspiring wrestlers can train for a position in the professional wrestling industry. The current head trainers of the Chikara Wrestle Factory are Quackenbush and Chris Hero. They are joined by a trainer in Ultimo Dragon’s Toryumon promotion, Skayde, a few times per year. Although run by the promotion, the Chikara Wrestle Factory is not the same thing as the actual CHIKARA promotion. After five months of training students, the CHIKARA promotion was opened in May 2002. CHIKARA is the Japanese word for “strength” or “power”.
Mike Quackenbush (on shoulders) and Claudio Castagnoli (image courtesy of Chikarapro.com)
CHIKARA is influenced by more wrestling styles than traditional companies. The primary influence appears to be Lucha Libre (Mexican wrestling). Many CHIKARA wrestlers utilize European matwork and striking as well as having some Japanese infuences. Many matches in CHIKARA are conducted under Lucha Libre rules. From Chikarapro.com: “The basics of Lucha Libre rules are as follows: Count outs occur when a wrestler fails to return to the ring before a count of twenty. Disqualifications are rendered immediately for lowblows (fouls), or unmasking an opponent. An automatic tag is registered if the legal man in the ring touches the arena floor. These rules also provide for an unusual call named "castigo excesivo" or "excessive punishment." That is to say, the referee can disqualify a wrestler or team that is not trying to win the match (not attempting any pins or submissions,) but is instead just beating up or attempting to otherwise injure an opponent. While rare, the referee does have the ability to disqualify for excessive punishment under this system of rules.”
CHIKARA’s signature events each year include The Tag World Grand Prix (February), Aniversario Weekend (May), Young Lions Cup (July), and the Torneo Cibernetico (October).
CHIKARA is a strange blend of international wrestling styles and odd characters. They attempt to gear their events for fans of all ages and often feature wrestlers from other countries. Currently scheduled for upcoming fall shows include Toryumon’s Milano Collection AT, Chuichiro Arai, and Skayde. The shows I have seen included some humorous wrestlers including Ken the Box (wrestler who the fans love but is too wide to get into the ring…a clothesline he hit outside the ring got a huge reaction), CP Munk (chipmunk costumed grappler that has a Pepsi tattoo and made the “Straight Edge” hand gesture repeatedly), Retail Dragon (appearance appeared similar to PWG mainstay Super Dragon…with a Wal-Mart vest!), and Darkness Crabtree (elderly wrestler who hobbles around the ring until the mysterious Dr. Cheung feeds him pills, transforming Crabtree into an agile performer). CHIKARA considers six and eight man tag matches their specialty. This further shows a Lucha Libre influence and the promotion enjoys the creativity that multi-man tag matches allow. The focus of their next show, the Torneo Cibernetico, is a unique multiperson match.
Show Spotlight: CHIKARA – "The Cibernetico Returneth" October 22, 2005 in Hellertown, PA
Torneo Cibernetico comes from the CMLL promotion in Mexico. It is a 16-man elimination match. The wrestlers are divided into two teams of eight wrestlers each and only one man can win the match. Indeed, that means that members of the same team may end up facing each other if the opposing team is wiped out. Wrestlers enter the ring in a pre-determined order that is referred to by CHIKARA as a “batting order”. Wrestlers can only tag out to the wrestler behind them in the “batting order” rather than the usual tag match where the wrestler can tag any of their tag partners. The remaining wrestlers on the team wait on the arena floor until the person in front of them tags in and they move to the apron. I like the use of the term “batting order” as it familiarizes American fans with the rules of the match by providing a familiar reference to baseball.
Chris Hero (image courtesy of Chikarapro.com)
Torneo Cibernetico: The Rudos (Heel) team features Chris Hero, Arik Cannon, Claudio Castagnoli, Icarus, Gran Akuma, Hallowicked, Blind Rage and UltraMantis Black. The face the Tecnicos (babyface) team has Mike Quackenbush, Eddie Kingston, Sabian, Jigsaw, Shane Storm, Skayde, Milano Collection AT, and a vacant spot since Reckless Youth was injured by members of the Rudo team and put out of action.
Hero, Cannon, Castagnoli, Icarus, and Akuma of the Rudos make up the “Kings of Wrestling”. Hallowicked, Blind Rage, and UltraMantis Black of the Rudos are the “The Dark Breed”. There may be some tension with the Rudos as Icarus began his career under a mask as Ichabod Slayne, teaming together with Hallowicked and Blind Rage. However, Icarus (Ichabod) turned technico two years ago and lost his mask to Blind Rage, creating a rift between the current King and his former mates. The long history between these men is sure to add a wrinkle to the demeanor of the team. Returning champion Jigsaw returns for this year’s contest. Jigsaw went on to capture the Young Lions Cup from “Sweet and Sour” Larry Sweeney in the company’s annual July event. I have seen him compete on IWA-Mid South events and enjoyed his matches.
I believe the Cibernetico last year went far in excess of an hour so there is only one other announced match on the card, although five matches are expected overall.
Matt Turner and Antonio Franco (Former ROH students) vs. Crossbones and Rorschach
Turner and Franco have been further developing themselves in front of live crowds in CHIKARA. Crossbones and Rorschach both wear masks and have lucha influences.
The show takes place on Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30 PM. All tickets are $10. The event takes place at the American Legion Hall located at 935 Main St., Hellertown, PA. Hellertown is less than an hour and a half from New York City and Philly so if you’re around those parts, the Cibernetico Returneth!
Barry Kasten is overjoyed to be the Indy Specialist. He is gearing up for homecoming weekend at the University of Wisconsin as the Badgers take on Purdue this weekend. Get a hold of him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments you may have.
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