Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Summit Hits the Heartland: Chikara Weekend Preview (and AIW too)

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Haters gon' hate... but will they if Icarus gets bullied by SDR?
Last year, Chikara made its debut in the Detroit area and returned to Cleveland for the first time in a few years. There will be no such wait for either area, and they even threw in a Chicago date for a rare tripleshot of shows that will surely take the Midwest by storm

The tour kicks off tomorrow night in Chicago with The Case of the Bulletproof Waldo. Doors at the Logan Square Auditorium will open at 7 PM CDT, and you can still get tickets. Trust me, if you haven't already, you definitely want to get them. There will be three big matches in the 12 Large Summit taking place at this event. There are two matches taking place in Taylor the next night as well. What is this 12 Large Summit? Well, if you don't know, it's the original 12-person round robin tournament to be announced this year. The winner will be crowned the first ever Chikara Campeon del Mundo. There are two blocks (A - Claudio Castagnoli, Hallowicked, Icarus, Ophidian, Mike Quackenbush, Sara del Rey; B - Brodie Lee, Eddie Kingston, Fire Ant, Jigsaw, UltraMantis Black, Vin Gerard), and I assume that the winners of said blocks will face off for the right to be the Champion

Only two matches have been contested so far, both of them being upsets with Gerard going over Brodie and Hallowicked defeating Quackenbush. This weekend's slate of matches for the tourney should be good. In Chicago, we have Claudio battling Hallowicked, del Rey locking up with Icarus and Fire Ant taking on Mantis. At the Taylor show, which takes place Saturday at the Taylortown Trade Center with doors opening at 7 PM EDT, Mantis will battle Kingston, while Quack tackles Ophidian. OF all these matches, the most interesting to me is the Icarus/SDR tilt. They're both rudos, well-entrenched rudos to be even more specific. Icarus' smarmy demeanor and heat-garnering back tattoo have made him the target of hatred to almost every crowd he's performed in front of. Conversely, del Rey, despite being a female wrestling in a man's ring, has become one of the biggest bullies in Chikara, really beating up on the smaller males at will. Of course, the crowd will gang up on Icarus early, but I have to wonder if he'll remain the de facto heel during the match if del Rey starts abusing him. If that happens, then Chicago would truly become one of the most special Chikara crowds instantly.

Aside from the tournament action, there are some really cool matches going on this weekend. Tomorrow night's main event in Chicago features native sons, Da Soul Touchaz, looking to exact some revenge for the heinous crimes perpetrated against them by the BDK since last year's The Germans in a six-man tag match against Ares, Tursas and Tim Donst. After dominating the BDK for the first part of last year, the Chicagoland trio has not been able to defeat them ever since the evil German stable decimated their manager, C-Red, in a sneak attack. This should be a pretty hot match. Another Chicago native, Colt Cabana, will take to the ring to battle Eddie Kingston in a special attraction match. I wonder how Cabana's comedic antics will match up with the War King? That one should be interesting to say the least.

Rounding out the Chicago card will be a trios match between the Throwbacks (featuring Matt Classic) and the Batiri, a tag match featuring Soldier and Green Ants from the Colony against Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor from FIST and a special attraction tag between Ophidian and Hieracon of the Osirian Portal and two standouts from Chicago's GALLI promotion, Emperador and Ripper. I'm not familiar with GALLI, but I've heard it's another American lucha libre fed, so I'm looking forward to seeing this one on DVD.

The non-tournament matches on the Taylor card are headlined by a rematch from last year's King of Trios final. The 2010 Champions of Claudio, Ares and Tursas will take on the 2011 Champions from the Colony in a match that's being billed as the war to settle who the ultimate Kings are. Both these teams are no strangers to each other, and I feel like this could be your match of the weekend.

Also on the card will be some guest stars from CLASH Wrestling. Greg Iron will tangle with Icarus in one match. Iron fell victim to Icarus earlier this year in Reading, and he's looking for some revenge. If he can beat the tattoo off Icarus' back, he'll be a fan favorite in no time. Also on the card will be a trios match featuring six of CLASH's best and brightest. Cameron Skyy, who participated in last year's Young Lions Cup, will team with the tag team Too Sweet to take on CLASH Champion Gavin Quinn and the H3RD. TWB superfan Dorian Jackson will probably be able to tell you more about this match than I can.

Rounding out the card, Hieracon will take on Gerard in singles action, Hallowicked and Frightmare will wrestle Taylor and Gargano in one tag match, and the Throwbacks will battle the BDK's team of Donst and Jakob Hammermeir in another.

Sunday's card in Cleveland doesn't have any 12 Large Summit matches, but it's still pretty loaded. The show, titled The Evil That Lies Within, Pt. 4, will emanate from St. Gregory's Byzantine Hall in Lakewood, OH, and doors will open at 3:30 PM. The top two matches on the card should be dazzlers. The assumed main event is an atomico match featuring Quackenbush teaming with the Colony against Team FIST and Gerard. That one should be standard operating procedure for a Chikara multi-man match. Good for the crowd in Cleveland, that usually means fireworks. The other big match is a Young Lions Cup defense by Frightmare against the devious Kodama. This is an extension of the greater feud between the Spectral Envoy and Sinn Bodhi's Batiri, and I fear that Frightmare's title reign could be in jeopardy here. Whatever it is, it'll have a lot of heat behind it.

As for the other two members of the Envoy, Mantis and Hallowicked will have other old scores to settle as they gun for Ares and Donst of the BDK. Wow, it seems like there are a lot of old BDK-related feuds and arcs coming to the forefront this weekend. Could we be seeing a lot of closure to some of the issues between Chikara and the marauding Germans? It's possible, but at the same time, while the Brotherhood has been somewhat castrated, they're still very much a threat. The other two Batiri are in action too with them participating in a four-corner elimination tag match. In the other three corners will be Aeroform (Louis Lyndon and Flip Kendrick), the Olsen Twins (Colin and Jimmy) and Los Ice Creams. It'll be interesting to see if any one team will garner three points so they can challenge the Campeonatos de Parejas of Quack and Jigsaw.

Rounding out the card in singles competition, Dasher Hatfield battles Tursas, Hieracon battles Kingston, Hammermeir takes on Cheech Hernandez and Dunkerton will meet Ophidian. As an added bonus, following Chikara's show will be Absolute Intense Wrestling's Absolution 6, which is their biggest card of the year. Their show will be headlined by Gargano, who is their Absolute Champion, trying to fend off a challenge by Donst, whose stock has risen in the Cleveland indie promotion in the last year. Also on the card, Facade will battle Sabu and Kingston will take on former ROH standout BJ Whitmer among other matches.

All three Chikara shows, and the AIW show even, look really cool. There may not be a whole lot in the way of guest stars, but I feel like if you want a real feel for Chikara, you need to see them when it's mainly their regulars in tow. They have a very talented roster, and that will be on display this weekend, whether it's deciding matches in the 12 Large Summit or just other business-as-usual action. If you're in Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland or if you're willing to road-trip, you gotta go and see at least one of these shows. It'll be worth it.

Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein - Please visit his site to view the plentiful amounts of pictures he's taken for DGUSA, ROH and other indie feds: Get Lost Photography

Remember you can contact TH and ask him questions about wrestling, life or anything else. Please refer to this post for contact information. He always takes questions!

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