Here we are. The CHIKARMY are creaming their collective pants -- King of Trios is here!
Let's take a look at the teams.
-Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke/Dick Togo/Jinsei Shinzaki)
-Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Ultimate Spider, Jr.)
-Team Dragon Gate (Super Shisa/Akira Tozawa/Kagetora)
-Team Minnesota (1-2-3 Kid/Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin)
-Manami Toyota/Mike Quackenbush/Jigsaw
-The Colony (Fire Ant/Soldier Ant/Green Ant)
-F.I.S.T. (Icarus/Chuck Taylor/Johnny Gargano)
-The Osirian Portal (Ophidian/Hieracon/Amasis)
-Da Soul Touchaz (Acid Jaz/Marshe Rockett/Willie Richardson)
-The Throwbacks (Dasher Hatfield/Sugar Dunkerton) with Matt Classic
-Sinn “Kizarny” Bodhi & The Batiri (Obariyon/Kodama)
-A trio representing the BDK captained by Tim Donst (Donst, Delirous, Jakob)
-Team Australia (Tama Williams/Percy/Kabel)
-TNA star Amazing Red with the Maximos!
-The Spectral Envoy (Hallowicked/Frightmare/UltraMantis Black)
-Team 3.0le! (El Generico, Scott “Jagged” Parker/Shane Matthews)
Let's get this going! Spoilers ahoy!
The DVD opened with a ode to Larry Sweeney. Still can't believe it happened. Twelve large, brother! Glad they did this.
Team 3.0le! (El Generico, Scott “Jagged” Parker/Shane Matthews) vs. The Osirian Portal (Amasis, Ophidian, Hierecon) - 5
As the match got underway, I suddenly had the realization that a singles match between Jonathan Gresham (Hierecon) and Generico would be absolutely delicious. Generico's energy was through the roof tonight. His connection with the crowd was great as always. I loved the eye poke spot Generico busted out. We got the most spectacular dance-off that nearly had tears rolling down my face as it ensued. Generico, my God, Generico is hot tonight. His dancing is off the chain, serving his opponent left and right. There was a "wave" spot in the match, featuring all six men linking hands with the fans, doing the wave. This went a bit longer than it needed to. It took a bit of time to get going with the actual match, but the comedy warmed the crowd up, and the action commenced. 3.0 were hitting some great double team maneuvers, including an assisted spear and lung blower, both of which Ophidian took with pleasure as evident by his good selling of the maneuvers. Gresham hit this absolutely great chin buster that he busts out every now and again. Loved it. Ophidian's moonsault got some sick distance, hitting it perfectly. Great sprint near the end to cap off the match. I did think that the comedy went a bit long, and I could've done without the "wave" spot, but overall it was a good opener.
To the Quarter-Finals: The Osirian Portal
Team Australia (Tama Williams/Percy T./Kabel) vs. FIST (Chuck Taylor/Icarus/Johnny Gargano) - 2
This was really bad. FIST tried working with these guys but it just didn't work. Prior to the match, Tama stated in a promo that the team had been studying FIST for months... he lied. Team Australia didn't know left from right when working with FIST as was evident by their inability to know what was coming next. The lanky Percy T. was thoroughly unimpressive, as was the behemoth Kabel, who rocked a Slipknot mask. Eww. Tama looked alright, but still was lost in the shuffle. Nothing clicked here and it was actually slightly embarrassing to watch. Bet Quack wants his plane ticket money back. See ya in Perth, Aussies.
To the Quarter-Finals: FIST
Team BDK (Donst/Delirious/Jakob) vs. Da Soul Touchaz (Willie Richardson/Marshe Rocket/Acid Jaz) - 4
Whoever said that Willie Richardson can't move needs to watch this match. His speed was up and brother busted out a drop kick! Willie was thoroughly impressive as he busted out some great right hands on Jakob, who was impressing me with his stumbling and selling. His match with Green Ant from Tar Swamp left a really bad taste in my mouth, but he kind of made up for it here. Donst needs to hit the gym as he's looking tubbier than the Michelin Man as of late. He hit this terrible leg sweep on Jaz into the corner that was so sloppy. Rocket (my favorite member of Touchaz) busted out a sweet assisted dive and hit the guardrail Benoit style on his back. Tursas' run-in worked, but the fin sucked. Delirious didn't do crap in this match -- go fig. Match was just kind of there, but it's furthering the Touchaz/BDK feud which is okay by me -- hopefully the blowoff will be much better than this match.
To the Quarter-Finals: Team BDK
The Amazing Red/Los Maximos vs. Manami Toyota/Quackenbush/Jigsaw - 7
This match was off the chaaaaiiin! Jigsaw's selling throughout the match was consistently good and I was digging what I was seeing. Quack hit this really great submission on Red in which hit flipped him upside down, held him in the air, and wrenched his body. Wish he would've held it on longer. The double palm strike by Toyota/Quack must have been great for Quack. He's a super Joshi dork so I'm sure he dug it. Quack was taking it to Red, who was bumping around like the madman that he is, especially after taking a DDT on the ring apron. Frankie Kazarian needs to get a damn notebook and jot some of this down, because Maximos hit this Flux Capacitor-like move on Quack that was utterly sickening. The back and forth sequences in the match were amazing and reminded me of that AJW-style match breakdown that we all love. Topping off the match with Toyota hitting that ever-so-delicious moonsault, Jig hitting an elbow drop and Quack doing that pose that Sweeney always did. Great match topped off with a really special moment. Loved it.
To the Quarter-Finals: QuackSaw/Toyota
The Spectral Envoy (Ultramantis Black/Hallowicked/Frightmare) vs. Team Dragon Gate (Super Shisa/Akira Tozawa/KATEGORA) - 4
The singles match of Tozawa and Frightmare would be amazing, just saying. Tozawa brought that fiery energy that I love to see. His indy work in PWG is amazing, so I was excited to see what he could do here, especially against Frightmare. Tozawa and Frightmare had this great face off - they are just so evenly match and wrestle so similarly that you CANNOT NOT book this match. The only awkward moment in the match between the two was an awkward DDT by Frightmare on Tozawa. KATEGORA looks damn impressive with his striking and maneuvering in the ring. Brian and I were wondering how many enzuigiris he gave the monkey a while back. Hallowicked and Mantis' performance in this particular match wasn't any more special than any other performance they've recently had, but nothing was actively bad. Again, Tozawa's energy was just off the chain, hitting his patented "run up the ropes head butt" and screaming to the crowd. While Shisa was the most underrepresented on team DG's side, his code-red was very smooth and his offense flowed well.
To the Quarter-Finals: Team DG
The Throwbacks/Matt Classic vs. Team Osaka Pro (Atsushi Kotoge/Daisuke Harada/Ultimate Spider, Jr.) - 5
Sugar and Kotoge had some shtick to start the match, featuring a race inside the ring and Kotoge shooting a basketball. Once all that was said and done, the match got underway and was flowing nicely. Spider Jr.'s pantomiming shooting webs got a chuckle out of all of us, as he played the part quite well. Harada's offense was great -- his armdrag on Dunkerton into Classic looked incredible. Let's talk about Classic -- he was on tonight. His comedic timing was great (as Colt's usually is). He teased a dive off the top rope, but was too scared and went for a little splash instead. Colt's performance was rather classic. Team O-Pro's double teaming worked really well in the match, Harada looked particularly good in his part. Overall, the match was a success and came off great.
To the Quarter-Finals: Team O-Pro
Sinn Bodhi/The Batiri vs. The Colony - 4
Obariyon was killing it with the mat wrestling. Where did this guy come from?! I love the Batiri! Kodama's striking was rather great as well, hitting some sick knees to the antennas. Kizarny looked gassed halfway in, and honestly the match would've been better without him slowing it down. The Ants had their typical match, finishing it off with a really high assisted dive by Fire Ant. A decent back-and-forth element and sweet wrestling by the Batiri was overshadowed by Kizarny's performance.
To the Quarter-finals: The Colony
Team Minnesota (1-2-3 Kid/Arik Cannon/Darin Corbin) vs. Team Michinoku Pro (Great Sasuke/Dick Togo/Jinsei Shinzaki) - 6
Man, Waltman looked really great tonight. He shaved that disgusting facial hair and came in without a ratty bandanna. His selling throughout the match was the best of any man, and that's saying something with the likes of the M-Pro team in there. Corbin hit his usual slo-mo spot. It was here that Sasuke caught me off guard - he played the part amazingly. He was also laying in his strikes on Corbin really well, especially a stiff kick to the back of Corbin's head. Waltman worked with Shinzaki and sold his rope walk better than anyone I can recall as of late. Waltman also hit a really sick dive! Dude is on fire tonight. Togo wasn't outdone by his buds, though. His selling was just as good as Waltman's. Togo really played up his glassy-eyed selling throughout the match and I was digging the hell out of it. Sasuke's deathmatch career started to show as he took a sickening flop onto an upright chair. This match was nuts and crazy good. Watch it.
To the Quarter-Finals: Team M-Pro
Match Avg: 4.6
See: SAT vs. Quacksaw/Toyota; Throwbacks vs. O-Pro; Team Minnesota vs. Team M-Pro
Colt Cabana vs. Archibald Peck - 4
Peck has a lot of energy in the ring and definitely qualifies as a showman, overselling shoulder tackles and bumping on the mat like an upset Terry Gordy. The comedy worked really well here because it was different from a lot of Cabana matches in that Peck seemed to be going along with it and milking it for all that it was worth. Fans were really getting into him. By no means was it a match for the ages, but it worked well in the entertainment category.
FIST vs. Team Osaka Pro - 6
Icarus worked the crowd to a T in this match, doing everything an more to make them hate him and his tattoo. Gargano's in-ring seems to be getting sharper and sharper every time he steps in the ring, especially with his striking. O-Pro brought that great lucharesu aspect to the match, hitting the ropes faster than the patrons of Philadelphia hit the cheese steak stand. Spider was isolated throughout the match more than Barrow, Alaska in the dead of night, and continued to look the ring like a lost cat. FIST kept heeling it up in the corner with cheap shots on Spider. Really found myself wishing the hot tag would've gotten a bigger pop, but instead (to borrow a quote from Jess) was frigid. In non-typical lucharesu fashion, team O-Pro made sure to really lay their shots, especially Kotege's running knee to the back of Taylor's head, Spider's drop kick on Icarus, and Harada's KNEE TO THE FACE on Taylor that made me go nuts. Everything just clicked here and worked great.
To the Semi-Finals: FIST
Rey de Voladores – Zack Sabre, Jr. vs. Pinkie Sanchez vs. El Generico vs. Marshe Rockett - 6
Sabre was killing Pinkie to start the match, working over his knees by slamming them into the mat and generally owning Pinkie on the mat. I was digging this match because the more it progressed, the stiffer and more brutal it got -- by Sabre Jr, if you couldn't guess. He was just being a jerk by twisting Generico's finger while in an armbar. The more and more I think about it, Sabre Jr. vs. Generico would be an amazing singles match. Pinkie brought that unstable mental patient quality to the match by jumping around like a squirrel on speed and screaming like a banshee. We got the typical heel ref Sabado antics which took away from the match, but it got Pinkie a lot of heat and worked well. The ending to the match was the best part and alone was amazing, with Generico hitting the top rope brainbuster on Sanchez. If you watch this, keep an eye out for Pinkie's sell of this because it was seriously one of the best I've seen.
The Osirian Portal vs. Team Dragon Gate - 6
This match worked so well it was ridiculous. We followed a really great building formula that started off with a ground-based attack by both teams and moved on from there, keeping elements of submission wrestling laced throughout. I was digging Amasis' performance throughout the match. Normally, Amasis is my least favorite member of the Portal (I still enjoy his work), but here his showmanship really shined through. As he ascended the rope for a body press, Tozawa got his knees up and Amasis took a splash right onto Tozawa's patellas that looked gnarly. Amasis' selling was incredible, screaming in agony and begging for the tag. As the match progressed I suddenly realized something: Team DG is the perfect team. Kagetora brings the striking game, Shisa brings the lucha element, and Tozawa balances the two and compliments both styles. Match was just really smooth and worked great.
To the Semi-Finals: The Osirian Portal
Arik Cannon vs. Eddie Kingston - 4
Both guys were busting out their big offense early on, with Cannon hitting Total Anarchy on Kingston, who was draped over the guardrail on the outside. Kingston's selling was yet again in a "A" category, with winces and grimaces galore throughout. Kingston took a Saito suplex and landed on his shoulder, and continued to sell it as the match continued and even after the bell ring. Little touches like that are why he's so great. It didn't get a lot of time which garnered its rating, but the ending was great with an ode to Sweeney as both men embraced and draped a Sweet'n'Sour t-shirt of the ropes.
Team BDK vs. The Colony - 2
Aaaaand here's your runt of the litter. This match stunk. Not only did it not go anywhere, it took forever to get there. This BDK team looked really horrendous throughout the match. Now, I'm not the biggest Colony fan, but they do bust out some great performances every now and then... this wasn't one of them. Bad timing, bad in-ring, no flow. Bad match for this caliber of a show.
To the Semi-Finals: The Colony
Rey de Voladeores number dos: Frightmare vs. Obariyon vs. Red vs. 123 Kid - 4
This match was really a showcase for Waltman. He got huge pops and everyone was digging his work and chanting, "You still got it." I have to say I agree. Obariyon was the mega-heel in the match, getting booed by the fans and basking in all the glory. Kid kept hitting those nice spinning kicks in the corner and nearly took Obariyon's nose off with a particularly stiff looking one. The eliminations started going fast after Red got taken out. I wasn't particularly sure what to think because by no means did I dislike the match, but it wasn't anything to write home about if you feel me. Ya feel me? Ya fallow me, cam'ra guy?
Quacksaw/Toyota vs. Team M-Pro - 6
Alright so here we've got something I've been wanting to see for a long time: Quack mixing it up with the M-Pro guys -- especially Sasuke. Loved the mat wrestling between Shinzaki and Quack -- definitely something great to witness. Togo was playing up his heel persona, grabbing Toyota by the hair and laughing at the crowd. Toyota busted out a dive off the top rope that looked sweet, along with working with Quack for a double palm strike on Sasuke that looked like it knocked him into next week. I've also determined that Sasuke gets jollies from being in pain. The dude took a senton onto an open chair laying on it's side. In my opinion, the finish fell a bit flat by the time it came around after teasing it for a couple of minutes, with Sasuke hitting a powerbomb on Quack while Toyota and Jig were in submissions. Really cool feel throughout the match with the veteran element to the match.
To the Semis: Team M-Pro
Match Average: 4.6
Watch: FIST vs. O-Pro, first Voladores match, Portal vs. Team DG, M-Pro vs. QuacksawYota
The Osirian Portal vs. The Colony - 4
I feel that The Colony is more in their environment in this match working with a seasoned team they are used to. The mat wrestling in the beginning of the match was working really well and was a sight for sore eyes after the last Colony/BDK match the night prior. Both teams were taking their time and it was showing. To say these two teams are evenly matched is a huuuuge understatement. There was this awkward roll through spot with Amasis and Green Ant in which Green Ant rolled through into a pinning combo only to get up and whip Amasis into the corner. That's like ordering a compendium and all the single issues of The Flash franchise -- flashiness without function. Things started to breakdown and both teams started hitting their offense. Gresham had a glaring botch with Soldier ant after going for a knee strike that featured more collapsing than a Jenga tournament, but made up for it with a smooth-as-silk shooting star press. Solder hit a neck breaker from the top rope that seemed like it took an unnecessarily long time to execute. I found myself really expecting more from this match, which didn't deliver on the level it should have.
To the Finals: The Colony
FIST vs. Team M-Pro - 6
Sabado reffing a non-BDK match again? That's like Peter Parker being drawn by the DC boys. Gargano was probably having a nocturnal emission being in there with Shinzaki -- JG is quickly becoming my favorite member of FIST. His bumping was great on the praying rope walk. The M-Pro boys were taking it to FIST with all kinds of great offense, featuring a double stomp on Icarus' chest cavity by Shinz that Taylor and Gargano sold on the mat while Icarus clutched his pecs. Sasuke was the lamb led to slaughter in the match, taking the brunt of FIST's offense and getting the fans behind him all the while. The progression in the match had great build with a really great crazy element from Sasuke, who hit a senton on Icarus who was sitting on an opened chair. I just loved the bumping by FIST, especially Gargano. As the match continued, we'd get some great heel offense from FIST, featuring one of the best heat-gaining mechanisms in the biz: powder in the eyes! M-Pro got a huge ovation for their weekend contributions, as well they should have.
To the Finals: FIST
Ultimate Spider, Jr. vs. Jigsaw - 3
A real tit-for-tat, anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better type of match, with both guys showing their athletic prowess in the ring. Action moved at a quick pace, but didn't involve too many high spots, which surprised me. Found myself wishing Jigsaw would've laid in his offense a bit throughout. "Filler" defined right here.
Tag Gauntlet - 4
Jaz/Willie work excellently together. Loved their combo offense including a shoulder block/DDT combo on Cannon. I found myself laughing to death when Corbin came in to face Willie -- like a red-headed, pasty squirrel that had been fed too many sugar cubes by the neighborhood children. Willie hit The Pounce on Corbin and sent him soaring, with Cannon hitting the roll-up and eliminating the Touchaz.
Enter: The Batiri.. who own. These dudes took control and whipped Corbin like a red-headed step-child...wait. Cannon was stiff as all get out with Kodama, nailing him with a sickening lariat among other things. Batiri hit a combo finisher of a back cracker/Super DDT that Corbin made me shake my head at -- he basically no sold the back cracker in order to get up to take the DDT. Yuck. Peace, Corbin and Cannon.
Enter: The Throwbacks who hit some pretty decent offense including a dragon suplex, only to have Obariyon nail Hatfield in the crotch and get DQ'ed.
Enter: Haze/Del Rey. Haze needs more body fat. This is getting ridiculous. Del Rey hit the Royal Butterfly suplex on Hatfield for the quick pin. Someone get a neck brace for Hatfield?
Enter: Mother-freaking DARKNESS CRABTREE and Matt Classic. Really glad to see Crabtree back. He needs his walker, evidently. The shtick had me rolling between Class and Crabtree. It worked because it broke the match up and lasted the perfect amount of time. Haze hit Crabree with a German. See you on Sunday, Gramps.
Enter: The Roughnecks. Everyone was digging Brodie. RN came in, took names, and decimated the female BDK team. Peace, Haze, got eat some fettuccine or something.
Enter: Team O-Pro who were tearing it up in the ring like they owned the place, eliminated Grizz with a pin.
Enter: Team DG. Two choice lucharesu promotions in Japan (their no M-Pro, though) mixing it up in the ring. We got a typical back-and-forth match between the two teams with all the typical spots, with Team O-Pro going over Team DG to get the points. Success, victory, love for team O-Pro!
Madison Eagles vs. Manami Toyota - 7
So I'm pretty much having an epileptic fit over here because I dig the hell out of both of these chicks. This match ruled. Madison brought it more than I have ever seen her bring it before. If her performance isn't stepping up to the plate, then I don't know what is. Toyota brought her A-game to the match, hitting some sick offense, folding the already Eagles in half like a broken accordion. Thank God for this match, it went the perfect amount of time and had head drops rivaling some of the great 90s AJW moments. Watch this, but clean up after yourself.
Akira Tozawa vs. Eddie Kingston - 5
Hello! Tozawaw has mixed it up with Hero, Steen, and others in PWG, so let's how did he do with a singles match here in Philly? Damn good. Kingston is a 90s AJPW mark - we can all tell by his high impact offense in the ring and general puro heavyweight style throughout his matches. Tozawa doesn't belong in Dragon Gate. He's too good. Book this kid in the main at the Kingdom show in 2012. It'd be delicious. This particular match had me torn though, because while the action was really good in the ring, the match wasn't given enough time to unfold properly. I would've much rather seen the match build and build and culminate in that great sprint that 90s AJPW is so well known for. Nevertheless, what we got was good, but it could've been better f they'd have been given the appropriate amount of time to tell a story, but instead, we got a mix between the speedy DG style and the classic puro heavyweight style. Still a really cool feel to the match, but it could've been so much more.
RdV Match: 123 Kid vs. El Generico - 7
You want to talk about emotion? This match had it. While Waltman did botch the top rope brainbuster, I had nearly forgotten about it by the time the match was over because the emotion and magical atmosphere was just running so high that nothing could put a damper on it. Waltman showed how much he could go over the last two nights, but this performance was one hell of a success story. He hung in there with Generico and put on a hell of a match. What a cool element, too: a top indy guy facing an innovator of 90s. Generico appeared to be working stiffer than usual, and Pac was returning the favor gladly, taking his head off a couple of times with spinning kicks to repay Generico for those ever-so-lovely Yakuzas in the corner. The final sprint to this match was something in itself to behold and must be seen to believe. When Generico hit the top rope brainbuster, there was a Vesuvius-level eruption in the Asylum that buried the city of Philadelphia like Pompei. My God, what a moment. What a weekend for Waltman. What a tourney!
KoT Final: FIST vs. Colony - 5
I honestly didn't know what to say here for a while and had to think about what I was going to write. Finally, I started typing so what you see here is what you get. This wasn't the best KoT final ever for a few reasons. The first was the botches. FIST had a couple that were quite glaring, especially Icarus' failed attempted at an out-of-the-ring Shirnui that looked like ass. Second, that last match was a hard act to follow, no doubt, so that was another cloud in the sky during this particular bout that I think caused me to not enjoy it as much as I should have. Third, there was a lag in the middle of the match that was glaring, but I will say that I was happy with Green Ant's performance. Back a YLC of 2010, Green Ant had to have a plate and bar implanted in his arm, or so say the announcers. Whether or not he really did is beside the point because his selling was top notch as FIST worked over the battered arm of Green Ant. This pleases me much. The final sprint was good and honestly, that mixed with Green Ant's performance saved the match. We culminated with a super assisted splash from the top rope by Fire Ant that looked great to top of a match that had it's problems, but nonetheless worked in the end.
So that's KoT 2011 -- a very good tournament indeed. I feel like that positive definitely outweigh the negative, and that overall it was a great success. Well done, boys.
Match Average: 5.1
Watch: FIST vs. M-Pro; Eagles vs. Toyota; Toz vs. Kingston; Kid vs. Generico
"King of Trios: Night 3" - April 17, 2011 (5.1)
"Creatures from the Tar Swamp" - March 13, 2011 (5)
"Chaos in the Sea of Lost Souls" - January 23, 2011 (4.75)
"King of Trios: Night 2" - April 16, 2011 (4.75)
"King of Trios: Night 1" - April 15, 2011 (4.6)
"Caught in a Cauldron of Hate" - February 19, 2011 (4.5)
"Clutch of Doom" - February 20, 2011 (4.25)
"Operation Big Freeze" - March 12, 2011 (4)