Over a year since the company went dark CHIKARA returned to iPPV with “You Only Live Twice.” Since National Pro Wrestling Day, the return of the promotion has sparked a divisive argument amongst wrestling fans. Many were stoked for the promotion’s return while a vocal contingent of fan has derided the story line that led to the company’s hiatus. Despite the disagreement among fans, the return of the beloved promotion is a monumental day for independent wrestling. So, without further ado let’s get to the review!
Great video entrance for the show, it reminded me of a title credit montage from a cheesy spy movie. The crowd was hot early and was doing the wave. Even the ring announcer, Gavin Loudspeaker, got a chant early on.

BDK vs. The Special Envoy: The BDK got a “No One Missed You” chant early on. Clever crowd. The Special Envoy was out next to a huge pop. Ultra Mantis Black tried to cut a promo on the BDK but his team was jumped which led right into the match itself. Early on, the BDK controlled the match with a series of hard strikes and chokes on the ropes. The Special Enjoy took then took control with some nifty teamwork, including an Iconoclasm into a neck snap followed by moonsault double knees to the face. The BDK eventually got the win the Ragnarok. The match drug at the start but The Special Envoy’s highflying offense got the crowd’s juices flowing. I think the finish came out of nowhere, which hurt the match. ** 1/2

Chuck Taylor vs. Ashley Remington: Chuck Taylor was a nice surprise to say the least. He and Remington worked a very nice match that had some nice technical spots. Taylor got to do his slow motion senton spot and jawed with the crowd during the match. Remington has excellent charisma and showed some nice technical acumen, which showed when he used a modified Trailer Hitch for the win. After the match, Remington presented Taylor with a basket of fruit as a peace offering. **¾

Mike Quackenbush was introduced as the new Director of Fun and gave an excellent speech about the communal aspect of professional wrestling.

The Batiri vs. Sinn Bodhi & The Odditorium: This trio’s match felt a lot like the first one of the event. The Odditorioum kept beating down on The Baitiri and using chokes and such. The pace of the match picked up again with The Baitiri using a series of strikes. During the heart of the comeback, the Odditorium hit one of The Baitiri under the belt to draw the disqualification to set up a return match somewhere down the line. **¼

Jervis Cottonbelly vs. Juan Francisco De Coronado: Before the match, De Coronado tried to cut a promo, which was inaudible due to crowd noise. Cottonbelly was over huge and passed out roses to the crowd. Heck, he even shook everyone in the front row’s hand to prove what a swell guy he is! Highlights of the match were De Coronado’s cowardice being on display earlier as he pleaded with Cottonbelly to not hit him with a crossbody off the ring apron only to be met with one moments later. To quell the cranky de Coronado Cottonbelly tried to rock him to sleep followed by a side slam. De Coronado was able to put away Cottonbelly away with a German suplex after turning his mask around backwards. **¾

3.0 vs. 17 & deviAnt vs. The Pieces of Hate vs. The Throwbacks: The early portion of this match was hot and heavy right out of the gate. There were lots of reversals, quick tags and double team moves galore. A few nice comedy spots were thrown in to add a little flavor to the match as well. Dasher Hatfield was the star of the match, played the man in peril to perfection over the course of the match, and kept the crowd hot until the closing seconds of the match. Hatfield’s partner, Mr. Touchdown, gave his team the win with a delayed superplex, which was an excellent spot. My description of the match does not do it justice so seek this one out it is a ton of fun. ***¾

Jimmy Jacobs vs. Archibald Peck: Archie was given a hero’s welcome by the Funplex crowd. His fun was ruined by the “Zombie Princess” who punished the R.D. Evans look alike early on the floor. Jacob’s beatdown continued in the ring until a Sling Blade by Peck changed the momentum. Peck repaid Jacob’s beating in kind with a flurry of not one but ten DDTs! Just as it was looking like Peck had the match in hand Jacob’s minions, who accompanied him to the ring, distracted Peck long enough for Jacob’s to hit a springboard ace crusher for the win. Outside of the DDT flurry, nothing about this match really stands out. Jacobs won via nefarious means and that possibly heralds that the feud must continue. **¾

The Colony vs. The Colony: Xtreme Force: Teamwork was the story of this match. Both teams displayed excellent double and triple team moves. I was very impressed with the precision and crispness of Green Ant’s moves. However, not even the seasoned teamwork of The Colony could best their Xtreme Force counterparts who won with an inverted crucifix powerbomb into the turnbuckle. After the match one fan proclaimed, “There is no God” in reaction to the match’s outcome. Thankfully, The Colony was able to reclaim their stolen King of Trios medals and giving them a moral victory. ***¼

Icarus vs. Eddie Kingston: This was the main event of the show. The crowd was clearly in Icarus’s camp over the course of the match. Early in the match, despite the moniker of his opponent, Eddie Kingston flew twice, hitting a suicide dive and a stomp to the head from the second rope. Kingston would continue to dominate as the watch wore on. Every time Icarus would take to the air or his speed to confuse Kingston a series of hard strikes would give the Grand Champion the advantage. CHIKARA’s locker room poured out mid match to support Icarus. Combined with their and the crowd’s support Icarus survived a super uranage and spinning back fist. After surviving, everything the champion could throw at him Icarus finally locked Kingston into the CHIKARA Special for the win. The crowd made this match feel special. To their credit, Icarus and Kingston played their roles to perfection. A solid main event, one that I give *** 1/2. Post-match the heels came to ring side for a huge brawl. A mammoth man that reminded me of the original Bane from the Batman comics revealed himself as the leader of the dark side.

Final Thoughts

I rated a majority of the matches on this show as **¾. To me that symbolizes the feel of the show. The in ring action was average but the little things made the show stand out. The vaunted CHIKARA fan base was loud and proud all card long. I loved the crazy characters and their antics. The faces surrounding the ring for the title change was a nice touch. The heels going over in many matches foreshadowed that the battle for the soul of CHIKARA was not over. Overall, this is fun show that starts Season 14 of CHIKARA off on a strong note.