I haven't reviewed much Chikara, if at all, or seen a lot to be honest, but this is their big one each year and I dig the concept and thought i'd try my hand on this year's heralded show.
1) FIST (Gran Akuma, Chuck Taylor, Icarus) v. Matt Classic & The Throwbacks (Sugar Dunkerton & Dasher Hatfield) - 4
2) Team Frightening (Mike Quackenbush, Frightmare & Hallowicked) v. Team Big Japan (Daisuke Sekimoto, Yuji Okabayashi & Kankuro Hoshino)- 6
3) Bruderschaft des Kruezes (Ares, Claudio Castagnoli & Tursas) v. Osirian Portal & Sara Del Ray - 5
4) The UnStable (Vin Gerard, STIGMA & Colin Delaney )v. Team Osaka Pro (Atushi Kotoge, Daisuke Harada & Tadasuke)- 5
5) Areoform (Flip Kendrick/ ? ) & Johnny Garango v. The Colony (Green Ant, Fire Ant & Soldier Ant)-5
6) F1rst Family (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz) v. Tim Donst, Pinkie Sanchez & Lince Dorado- 3
7) Los Delicioso (Curry Man & Los Ice Creams) v.Team Perros del Mal(El Oriental, Alebrije & Cuije)- 3
8) the Future is Now (Jigsaw, Helios & Equinox) v. The Jackson 3 (Matt, Nick & Malachi Jackson)- 4
So, Chikara is a very unique entity, this opener was purely comedy and it seems they have no end of performers that can dip into that style without being taken too seriously. Some good athleticism was shown by Sugar, FIST (standing for Friends in Similar Tights, great name) were all decent, i've seen them all before in drawn out singles matches but liked them more as a unit, then Matt Classic, wearing an old 60's take off of Destroyer's mask, wearing really big underwear and only doing airplane spins and the like seem to be having a lot of fun with the match, as was the fans and the announcers, who were really working hard to set the tone of the fed. Overall, it doesn't offend because it was exactly what it was trying to be and done well.
Team Big Japan was impressive, not just with the power they displayed, awesome moves, but they adapted to working in the US really well, showing expression, selling with their face, all that stuff. Some real spectacular spots happened here, incl. Sekimoto (who's travelling all over Japan these days) doing a German Suplex to 2 men. Quack has been basically doing the same program since early 90's in PA, Hallowicked i've seen live and i'd just as soon tile my bathroom, and Frightmare was a little dude (Dominic Mysterio in a mask perhaps?) but took loads of ass whooping pretty well.
Sara is with the BDK, so they were working that angle the whole match. Osirians are hit and miss with me, as Ophidian was with some of the most intricate moves he was trying where he'd wrap himself around someone 3 times before scoring with a move. Pace was slower than you'd imagine for that kind of match but it came together nicely at the end with the hope spot and I loved the visual of Amasis being hung up like Christ then flipped entirely upside down like he was a human roller coaster car.
Another solid match, only guy that really stuck out that was lost was Gerard, he either didn't know what he was going to do or he fucked it up when he did it. Delaney and Stigma were both good in their roles, the Osaka boys all looked fairly good, with quickness, hard strong style and good teamwork. This match didn't drag at all and concluded smartly and succintly.
I def. know what a Colorform is, but Aeroform? anyways, they were sort of bland, some overselling, Gargano was the glue of that team, had good instincts, a real presence, and really dug the triple superkick spot. Ants are a fun watch, in a vaccuum, they're harmless entertainment, all good athletes and now their routine. This never stretched into hour long PWG finishing stuff so I didn't hate it.
Does anyone on this roster work out or eat red meat? The rarity is to even hit 100 pounds, but that's neither here nor there. This BDK team is most certainly this generation's NWO Black and White, except no one can cut a promo in a limo like Virgil. Match didn't leave 1st gear until the last eight minutes, which included a dive spot where Corbin played the role of Danny Doring (ie. multi man dive spot where one guy dives on many people, with the guy in the back, always going down even though no one touched him) Pinkie is a mess and I wouldn't give him cab fare to the hospital if he had a spear through his stomach. Don't buy his submission that "has no counter" either. I've liked Cannon & corbin's work in IWA Mid South but this was sort of lousy.
Hate to make this appear as a discrimination piece, because Cuije (a minis wrestler who probably is an inch taller than my 2 year old daughter) was the highlight of the match but this was pretty droll. Another comedy match, i know, i know, this is Chikara, but I wasn't feeling it. I think i'm in the minority of people that really are sick of Curry Man, his schtick is as old as the free samples of "Instant Death" hot sauce he gets every time he walks into a Korean BBq place. Los Ice Creams, Ice Cream jr and El Hijo del Ice Cream, respectively, dumb team concept, even dumber to watch. Team Perros wasn't exactly top notch either, Albreje and Cuije both looked like they were wearing MerMan masks and were the only bright spot of the match. Comedy went on for a while, creschendo'd at one point, but the match drug on into later rounds when it really didn't need to even though Oriental's moonsault outside was pimp.
The Future is Now, seriously? Powerman 3000 said that in '98 and we see how well that worked out for them. Bucks seemed sort of neutered which isn't a bad thing compared to their old indy habits. Could you imagine trying to get a bank loan with the name Malachi Jackson? good lord. Besides still doing backflips to attack a singled out arm, Gen Me is adopting their more interesting heel characteristics incl. Matt taking a pot shot at his mirror in the Hardys. Man, the exchanges between Equinox and Malachi were as graceful as Edward Scissorhands trying to play Operation. Helios is a dynamic ariealist, but that's about it. Never been impressed with Jigsaw; he and Malachi try some improbable offense that makes me want to torch every crossword puzzle I come across from now till the grave. If this ends well, it's a 4. okay it's a 4.
9) Team Big Japan v. The Future is Now - 7
10) BDK v. Team Perros del Mal- 6
11) FIST v. Team Osaka Pro - 5
12) The Colony v. BKD Lite (Donst/ Sanchez/ Dorado)- 5
Big Japan came to play, all 3 guys came off looking like studs here, they actually work really well with the lightning fast quick guys, more so here than than the first bout where Sekimoto really shined and the other guys were just good background players. Jigsaw stuck out as the best guy on his team this time around, just being in all the right places and hitting some decent offense, incl. a sizzling roundhouse kick. The 4 way German suplex was, even to a jaded old reviewer, awesome, but damn Equinox, f'n rookie, throws a dropkick right after it as the crowd prepared to let loose large puddles of piss all over the already piss covered floor of the Alhambra. That's a guy who doesn't know shit about psych, completely killed the heat of that giant spot. Ending was tits, solid b cups.
Liked this match too, Claudio was perfect comedic foil for the tiny ladybug thing Cuije while also seeming a threat. Tursas did more here, and seemed to be only good for a few seconds spurt but proved he wasn't later on, although his timing is atrocious. Ares is useless. Albrejie is a bumper man, he was there for every big spot, thought he showed a lot of charisma and leadership during this one.
Kotoge & Harada, Osaka Pro tag champs, were dynamite in this one, from the kick-punch-kick combo that looked like E Honda on mescaline, to the final slew of double team moves at the end. Most of this kind of functioned like a by the numbers house show match with little fire, but then they threw this whole massive near fall thing on at the end that really didn't build up at all. More like the Young Bucks than the Young Bucks were the night before. But overall, still some fun moments to be had, like Kotoge somersaulting into the front row then slapping hands with the fans for a few moments before going back to the match.
Really crazy but strangely placed suplex where both men go over the top rope early on. Match started with a fight outside, a refreshing change from most of the clean contests we've seen but quickly went back inside using the Ants as face fodder for the unlikely bullies made up of a chubby Internet porn advocate, a masked part time Subway employee and a coke fiend found in the corners of Quackenbush's training school. Match went on with the Ants fighting from behind in some good sequences including a shooting star that probably could have watched New Jersey with the float Dorado got on it. Turned into a high flying/ near fall-a-thon for the last stretch with them showing a lot of innovative moves but no one being able to absorb all that they saw, a common one way street for indy wrestlers these days. Looking forward to the semis.
13) Team Osaka Pro v. The Colony- 3
14) BDK v. Team Big Japan - 4
I thought this was really weak for a semis of a major tournament. Was abbreviated, pretty by the numbers quick tag match where no one really shines or sticks out just guys stringing moves together in an illogical order. Of all the divefests over this tourney (and trust me there's been bunches) Fire Ant's was by far the worst, flipping over the top and sliding down the back of one guy as the other 2 just sort of meandered down to the ground. Finishing jump was cool but that's it.
also the weakest of the Big Japan teams' performances of the weekend, not sure if both teams having to fight in the finals predicated that or not. Tursas was embarrassing; struggling to get someone off the mat before deciding to fix his tights instead, Ares taking a kick to the face to ignore it and hit a fireman carry move into a Michinoku driver. The end was a big old farce, NOAH on it's worst tag card, where everyone is holding someone else down while the other 2 guys try to duke it out, Ares winning with a powerbomb Erik Watts would be ashamed to throw.
15) BDK v. The Colony - 4
Hey, isn't this the fed Bob Saget was commissioner of? You're telling me Green Ant couldn't get a seat next to Greg Giraldo on his Comedy Central roast? We're treated to a desperate plea from Quackenbush in the back that probably comes off as pointless as a halftime pep talk from Marvin Lewis these days. They tried a little bit of everything here, most of it falling short. Wild brawl to start, check, tit for tat with holds, check, random unfinished powermoves from both teams for not that near falls, double check. Just saw 6 guys who have worked hard throughout the tournament but were looking towards the finish line, then there's the finish, swerve city, felt like some mutant understudy of Vince Russo's followed him around an AIW show or something.
Overall, a fun tournament, just as wacky and entertaining as last year's even if the final 4 matches and finals were as lackluster as most of the lunch options on a Perkins menu.