Friday, July 29, 2011

The Very European Beginning of the End?: Chikarasaurus Rex Preview

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Quack. Claudio. One Last Time.

Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel, is a two day event which will cap off what has been an excellent month in professional wrestling. Saturday's card takes place in Reading, PA at the Goodwill Fire Hall on 100 Madison Avenue (doors open at 6:30 PM) . Sunday's event will be in Philadelphia, at the former ECW Arena at Swanson and Ritner (doors open at 3:30 PM). Both cards will be known for their guest stars, and have gained a sort of accord because of them. Granted, Mima Shimoda, Johnny Kidd, Portia Perez, two imports from the Ice Ribbon promotion in Japan, Adam Cole, El Generico, Colt Cabana and of course, Johnny freaking Saint, would be enough to sell anyone on going to one or both of the shows.

Hell, I was already going to the Philly show, and thanks to a series of fortunate turns in events, I'm more than likely heading to Reading as well, mainly because I'm a Chikara fanatic and go to every Philly show possible. But even so, the two English legends of Saint and Kidd were huge selling points for me. Not only am I huge into English chain wrestling, but they're both William Regal approved. Who better to give his stamp to guys you may never have seen before than the surly English legend?

However, there is another reason, one that has nothing to do with Chikara storylines or happenings (but at the same time, everything), why people need to go to these shows. Night one has a match between Claudio Castagnoli and Mike Quackenbush. Yeah, that may not sound all that special right now, because they've had several matches against each other over the last decade. They're inexorably linked, especially given the events of 2010, with Quack leading the Chikara faithful against Claudio's charging Germanic invaders, the BDK. Tomorrow night's match takes on a more wistful tinge given that Claudio, along with his tag team partner Chris Hero, are reputed to be on their way to WWE.

That makes this match between the two titans of the indie world perhaps their final encounter ever. That puts a much different spin on things than when this match was originally charted out as part of the 12 Large Summit. Nominally, Claudio would come into this match as the mega bad guy, and Quack as the protector of all that was good. He'd stand as a barrier between the evil Swiss evildoer and the honor of being called the first ever Chikara Campeon del Mundo. With the specter of Claudio leaving, this match might become the first of a prolonged farewell tour from the indies for the King of Wrestling. What better opponent to kick that tour off with than his longtime rival and colleague in Quack?

Of course, there are any number of things that could demean everything I'm writing here. Quackenbush could always join Claudio in WWE (highly unlikely). Claudio may end up back in the indies after a year for whatever reason (more likely). I mean, remember the last time he was signed by Stamford? He didn't even make it to developmental before he got his future endeavor well-wish. Of course though, I have more of an optimistic view on this, and I seriously want Claudio and Hero to succeed at the next level. They more than deserve it.

So, it's with that in mind that I write this match off as a very special occasion. Hell, the match the next night in Philly, Claudio taking on his BDK partner and stablemate everywhere else in the indies Sara del Rey in another 12 Large Summit match. Honestly, I'm not sure why WWE didn't take del Rey as part of a package deal with the Kings, since with the signing of Kharma and the extension of Divas matches beyond the normal 20 seconds, they seem to be serious about pushing women's wrestling as more than time filler. Still, that's the card she's been dealt. This match to me was a big deal before Claudio's rumored leaving was even an option. Now? Well, there may just be an electric atmosphere in The Arena, way more electric than any match between two BDK members ever would have been before now.

That isn't to say the weekend is all about Claudio. Again, the lineup is stacked. Saint and Kidd will go 30 minutes in six separate five-minute rounds on Saturday; Sunday, Saint will team up with Quack and Kidd with Cabana to provide obvious Match of the Year candidate bait. The fact that Shimoda will follow in the footsteps of Manami Toyota is a huge deal in and of itself. Quack is serious about giving the fans of America a proper Joshi education, and for that, he deserves some major props. Team 3.Ole reforming for two matches over the weekend is music to my ears.

And hell, maybe the most entertaining part of the weekend could very well be the culmination of the Flex Express. Green Ant has been on a mission, and although it wasn't a mission from God like it was for Jake and Elwood, it was handed down from Lady Liberty and from the person whose original run in 1993 inspired this whole story:

(Go to 2:50 on the video to start)

Yep, that's right, Lex Freaking Luger is on board with the Flex Express. That. Is. Awesome. If you don't know, well, Greenie has been out to take down Tursas. He body slammed the Finnish Warlord at King of Trios en route to the Colony defeating the BDK in the second round of the tournament. He's been on a tour of America (and oddly enough, Canada too), and now he's ready to be the first man to levy a pinfall loss on Tursas in a singles match… ever?

The fact that the culmination of the Flex Express may only be the third or fourth biggest thing going down this weekend shows you that Chikara doesn't screw around when it comes to building up its events. Believe you me, this is an event. IF you're anywhere in the greater Philadelphia area this weekend, come on down to Reading or Swanson and Ritner (or both) and partake. You seriously won't be disappointed with the English legends, the Joshi standouts or the patriotic young ant looking to slay a monster.

But most of all, you'll get the chance to be there for the start of something special, the beginning of a farewell tour for one of the cornerstones of Chikara. I'd say that's worth the trip.

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

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