CHIKARA King of Trios 2017 Night 1
I have been out of the loop with CHIKARA for a while now but I figured if I was going to dive back in, King of Trios 2017 was as good a time as any.
House Calamari (Chris Brookes, Kid Lykos & ELIJAH) defeated House Bike Cops (Officer Warren Barksdale, Jasper Tippins, & Donald Kluger)
Being an avid PROGRESS fan I forget that CCK are heels in most places. Apparently, Travis Banks was supposed to be with his CCK teammates but he chose to work BOLA instead. Had he been in this team they’d be a sure fire favorite to at least make the finals if not win the thing, but I thought ELIJAH looked good in his stead. I’m unfamiliar with the CHIKARA team minus Officer Barksdale, who I saw wrestle at the house show I previously mentioned. His cop gimmick did not sit well with the Bronx audience at that show, who chanted “You can’t search me,” at him.
I always enjoy the spot where someone, especially a smaller wrestler, calls for the Brainbuster, only for it to be reversed. Lykos did this three times, so he knows the basic rules of comedy. I couldn’t believe when Kluger called for a monkey flip, and then actually hit it. CCK looked great with their sick tag moves. This match was a solid opener with everyone looking good. ***
House Rot (Hallowicked, Frightmare & Kobald) defeated House Bodyslam! (Michael Fynne, Vasyl, & Emeritus Midnight)
House Bodyslam! are from Denmark, which is cool because as it means more new guys for me to watch. Frightmare and Hallowicked are CHIKARA legends with Hallowicked being a former two-time Grand Champion.
The spot of the match came after Frightmare launched Vasyl’s teddy bear (that’s right) into the crowd. Vasyl proceeded to kill everyone in House Rot with power moves then he wandered off to get his teddy bear, leaving his teammates at a man disadvantage. Hallowicked looked good, and Emeritus was really bad in spots, throwing a couple of awful lariats. **1/2
House Seven Seas (Hermit Crab, Cajun Crawdad & Merlok) defeated House Revival (Johnny Storm, Jody Fleisch & Jonny Moss)
The only people I knew in this match were Jody Fleisch (Mr. 720 DDT), Johnny Storm and…Hermit Crab. Storm and Fleisch provided the best babyface offense on the show thus far. Cajun Crawdad actually has dad bod. I don’t even mean that as an insult, he just looks like a dad wearing a costume and a mask.
Johnny Moss emerged as the star of this match. He dominated the crabs and worked Merlok to a fun stalemate, a story I enjoyed.
Fleisch and Storm were awesome, especially when working in tandem. The finish came surprisingly when Merlok caught Storm off the top and turned it into an Emerald Flowsion, which made three heel wins in a row. I know CHIKARA wants to put their guys over but this felt like a mistake, the UK team was clearly better. They received a standing ovation afterwards. Best match of the show up to this point. ***3/4
House Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, & Trent Seven) defeated House Whitewolf (A-Kid, Adam Chase, & Zayas)
I was excited to see a Spanish pro wrestling team. British Strong Style felt like the biggest stars on the show, but there were Whitewolf fans in the crowd, which was cool to see. The Spaniards were great; they worked fast and furious, easily keeping up with BSS, who are perhaps the best trio in 2017. Pete Dunne was especially vicious and brutal in this one, his offense looking suitably snug for a man called “The Bruiserweight.”
I loved the dynamic of the Spanish team: A-Kid being the flyer and great bumper, Zayas being the big man that threw strikes, and Adam Chase being the ace of the team. Chase impressed me quite a bit here, will be keeping my eye out for him in the future.
This was a hot sprint with the teams gelling so well together I wish it went longer. Bate put away A-Kid with Tyler Driver ’97. Whitewolf got a huge chant after the match, well deserved. Best match on the show. ****
Casa Dorada (Juan Francisco de Coronado, Sonny Defarge, & Cornelius Crummels) defeated House of Sport (James Mason, Mal Sanders, & Danny Boy Collins)
This show gave me a history lesson. The two older gentlemen were World of Sport guys, and James Mason, the youngest of the three, came along after but had a similar style. The only person I’m familiar with in this match is CHIKARA Grand Champion Juan Francisco de Coronado, who I enjoy.
The older British lads beat on Coronado for a while. Usually your chickenshit heel champion has his lackeys take his lickings but Coronado is a hard working champ. Sanders moves like an old man (he is the oldest guy, around 60), but Mason and Collins looked good early on. Collins eventually blows up a bit and Mason went on to carry the team.
The heels used many tricks from the heel playbook with cheating galore and chickenshit tactics. When Coronado was in with Mason the match was at its best. There was a botch that the crowd forgave, and Coronado scored the dirty pin victory, putting the heels on this show at 4/4. This match was ok, maybe a bit too long. **3/4
House Furies (Fire Ant, Solo Darling, & Travis Huckabee) defeated House Fight Club (Millie Mckenzie, Kyle Fletcher, & Omari)
This match was a ton of fun. The youthful FCP team wrestled with all the piss and vinegar you could hope for. Millie was especially highlighted, even being the dominant force in the match at several points like when she suplexed each member of the established CHIKARA team hither and yon. Solo looked good as well, even hitting a tornado suplex on the larger Kyle Fletcher. I really appreciate how CHIKARA does intergender stuff in that they don’t make a big thing of it, they just do it. Travis and Omari got off to a rough start together but reeled it in with some good grappling.
Down the stretch the pace picked up and it became a frantic scramble to get the win with everyone looking good. There were some very good near falls and Travis particularly impressed me here. Millie was eventually isolated and had to tap out to Solo’s Sharpshooter/Cloverleaf maneuver but it didn’t matter, three stars had been born in FCP. The CHIKARA team waved FCP to get back into the ring, and the crowd gave them a huge “Fight Club Pro” chant, which was well deserved. ***1/2
House SENDAI Girls (Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako, & Cassandra Miyagi) defeated House Xyberhawx ( Sylverhawk, Razerhawk, & Nytehawk)
Along with BSS, House SENDAI is what drew me to the show. They won this tournament last year and are therefore defending their crown.
Meiko Satomura is such a star, and such a pro. When she was in there not only was the interest level in the match raised, but the quality of work as well. There was a well worked heat segment on Dash, the smallest member of House Sendai, before the hot tags came and it broke down. I enjoy Miyagi’s insane character. The hawks doing dives was sound animal psychology. I wanted more Satomura because she was so badass, but this was good, everyone pulled their weight. ***1/4
House Throwback (Dasher Hatfield, Mark Angelosetti, & Simon Grimm) defeated House Attack (Deputy Damian Dunne, Jim Obstruction, & Lee Obstruction)
Hey, the former Simon Gotch everyone! The Hunter Brothers were unusually sloppy and I wonder if this gimmick was holding them back. The Throwbacks were great as usual and Grimm worked like a major league wrestler, especially when on offense. Really fun match with a hot finish, and the babyface win sends the fans home happy. ***3/4
This show was an easy watch. The trios match formula didn’t feel repetitive, as there was enough variety in styles and performers to keep me engaged. Not a show of the year, but a recommended viewing especially if you like getting eyes on different talent in different scenes.
- Night 1 MVP: Pete Dunne
- Night 1 Breakout Team: Whitewolf
- Night 1 Breakout Star: Millie McKenzie
King of Trios 2017 Night 2
After a good outing on Night 1, Night 2 featured the quarterfinals of the Trios tournament as well as a new tournament for eight high flying wrestlers. Yes, there is a tournament within the tournament. It’s tournamenception.
Rey de Voladores Semi-Final Round Elimination Match: Ophidian def. A-Kid, Omari, and Phantasmo
The Whisper is Ophidian now. Quack’s explanation as to why is bananas, it’s CHIKARA storytelling 101. A-Kid got over huge in night 1, as did Omari and they were over in this match as well. Everyone had their working boots on here and the flying was great fun to watch. A-Kid showed great underdog charisma and Phantasmo held the match together with his veteran presence. This is the kind of spotfest that makes indie shows fun. ***3/4
King of Trios Semi-Final Round Match: Casa Dorada (Juan Francisco de Coronado, Sonny Defarge & Cornelius Crummels) defeated House CCK (Chris Brookes, Kid Lykos & ELIJAH)
And just like that, CCK were faces again when faced with the dastardly champion and his squad. There were some gross out spots early on that I did not appreciate. A CCK double team elicited a “sick fuckin tag move” chant from the crowd. Chris Brookes made use of his babyface experience in PROGRESS and delivered a very fun hot tag sequence, and Kid Lykos had some great shine spots as well.
Down the stretch we got a ton of near falls and the action was fast and furious. Defarge almost took Chris Brookes’ head off with a rebound lariat. Both teams utilized many team moves on the other and the finish came when Defarge and Crummels pinned ELIJAH with an assisted avalanche monkey flip that looked very cool. Good match. ***1/2
Rey de Voladores Semi-Final Round Elimination Match: Jody Fleisch def. Chuck Mambo, Red Eagle, Jr., and Sylverhawk
Chuck Mambo debuted here for CHIKARA and he’s a fun character. This one got going fast, with almost no feeling out process. The Hawk and the Eagle got their shit in early, as if fighting over a worm. Mambo went for a People’s Elbow but wore too many elbow pads, which was a great comedy spot. Fleisch was the standout here, showing great athleticism and ring generalship.
Jody winning was the right call. He was a total pro and star here, and could’ve worked BOLA this year and fit right in. His finish on Sylverhawk was one of the more dynamic sequences of the weekend thus far. Fleisch hasn’t missed a step, he’s just old. Everyone book this man. ****
With that, the Rey de Voladores finals were set to be Ophidian vs. Jody Fleisch on Night 3.
King of Trios Semi-Final Round Match: House SENDAI Girls (Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako, & Cassandra Miyagi) defeated House Seven Seas (Merlok, Hermit Crab, & Cajun Crawdad)
This was great. The story here was the Sendai Girls were better than the crab guys, but Dash and Miyagi could not stand up to Merlok, the hoss of the Seven Seas. It really made you want to see Satomura get in there with Merlok, because we all know she could take him. Miyagi, who’s supposed to be the crazy one, was even afraid of Merlok and pondered exiting the ring rather than continue to strike him. Dash ran at him full force just to eat a Samoan Drop that led to the heat segment.
As on Night 1, Dash was a great babyface in peril. Crawdad singing, “Proud Mary” by CCR whilst doing the Gator Roll was wrestling perfection. “Rollin’! Rollin’! Rollin’ on the river!” This match gets an extra ¼* for that.
Best part of the match was Satomura getting the hot tag and proceeding to kick everything in sight to death, eliciting an ovation from the crowd. This was a much better outing from the House of Seven Seas than Night 1, this was great fun. With the gator roll bump this gets ***3/4
King of Trios Semi-Final Round Match: House Rot (Hallowicked, Frightmare & Kobald) defeated House Furies (Fire Ant, Solo Darling & Travis Huckabee)
This is the first match of the weekend with heat between the teams, as Frightmare is apparently responsible for the extinction of the colony. Fire Ant went right after him from jump, brawling into the crowd. This was okay with me given the story and that no other match had crowd brawling up to this point of the weekend. Fire Ant did a sick dive hanging off the side of a pillar. Fire Ant was a great fiery (pun intended) babyface here.
Huckabee continued to impress me here as he reminded me of a lesser Roderick Strong. Solo had some great spots that you’d never see a woman wrestler usually do and the heel/face dynamic really invested me and the crowd into the match.
Fire Ant valiantly survived a Frightmare onslaught only to destroy him with 3 Beach Breaks. He is then DQ’d due to not going for the pin, and only attempting to harm Frightmare. I appreciate that this rule was explained at the beginning of both shows, so it doesn’t feel like AS lame a finish. And I guess it progressed the story, but it still is kind of lame, which is a shame, because this match was really good. ***1/2
Fire Ant continued to kill Frightmare after the bell. “This is outside the parameters of fun”, says Quack on commentary and adds, “Fire Ant really lost his cool.” The absence of irony here is staggering. Never change, CHIKARA.
World of Sport Rules: Mike Quackenbush vs Johnny Kidd
This was my first viewing of a World of Sport rules match in its entirety. It’s a style of year’s past, and these men performed it beautifully. Quack is still great; he pulled out some of the best counter wrestling I had ever seen and the mat grappling was exquisite. The crowd being engaged in everything helped enormously. There were Jr. tag matches in NJPW with a million high spots that didn’t get reactions like reversing a straitjacket hold did in front of this crowd.
I don’t know how others will feel about this. If you’re into the style, you’ll love this match, but if you’re not, I can see how you’d get bored of it. As it went along, I realized that I truly loved it. I didn’t know how I was going to feel going in, but these men were engaging me through their performances. I can’t think of a match where catching a kick was so meaningful for the finish besides HBK vs Austin at WrestleMania 14. “Thank you both” chants well deservedly echoed throughout the building afterwards. If this is Kidd’s final match it’s a hell of a way to go out. ****1/4
King of Trios Semi-Final Round Match: House Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, & Trent Seven) defeated House Throwback (Dasher Hatfield, Mark Angelosetti, & Simon Grimm)
BSS were goddamn stars once again. Their entire presentation is on point. Mr. Touchdown and Pete Dunne had a heated exchange of words before the match even starts and I realized how much I’d love to see a singles match between the two.
This was great, as I thought it would be. The Throwbacks prove they’re major league level wrestlers by keeping pace with BSS at every turn. There were multi man match spots I hadn’t seen before. Simon Grimm’s offense looked great once again; he was a submission and striking machine.
The go home sequence was the best one of the weekend so far, as finishing sequences are attempted, reversed and broken up. This was a truly engaging back and forth affair, and a worthy main event. Best trios match so far. ****
What a great show! Better than Night 1, which I thoroughly enjoyed. There was really nothing bad on the whole card. There was solid stuff which peaked at great, I highly recommend this.
- Show MVP: Mike Quackenbush
CHIKARA King of Trios 2017 Night 3
The weekend has been a ton of fun so far. Hopefully Night 3 brings it home strong. We got the King of Trios finals, the Rey de Voladores final and even a tag team gauntlet because, well, why not?!
King of Trios Semi-Final: House SENDAI Girls (Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako, & Cassandra Miyagi) defeated Casa Dorada (Juan Francisco de Coronado, Sonny Defarge, & Cornelius Crummels)
I didn’t say this in my Night 2 review because they had a good match, but CCK probably should’ve advanced over House Dorada. I’m sure they would’ve had a better match. Coronado used to be a guy I enjoyed but he’s not conveying himself as a great champion here. And he hasn’t grown as a worker.
This was a very heel/face matchup and it was pretty ho hum until Miyagi’s hot tag. When Satomura got in there business picked up, per usual. There was a satisfying string of offense delivered on Coronado before Miyagi scored the pin on Crummels with the Samoan Driver. **1/2
King of Trios Semi-Final: House Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, & Trent Seven) defeated House Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, & Trent Seven)
House Rot had to forfeit due to Frightmare not being cleared after Fire Ant’s attack on Night 2. No match, House Strong Style advanced to the Finals to face House SENDAI Girls. Pete Dunne’s shoulder shrug was especially applicable here. A humorous “You deserve it!” chant emerged from the crowd.
Officer Warren Barksdale defeated Deputy Damian Dunne
Good cop meets bad cop in a very CHIKARA style comedy affair. I found it harmless fun, though not much of a match. The finish was cool as Dunne was on Los Federales Santos Jr’s shoulders attempting a super chokeslam, when Barksdale dropkicked Dunne, forcing Dunne to reverse rana Santos Jr. Barksdale scored the pin with “Book Em!” a crucifix hold into a DDT. **3/4
Fire Ant def. Kobald
Kobald cut an insane promo. He’s been the best taped promo on every show. Off the wall bananas stuff. It’s for naught though as Fire Ant squashed him with two Beach Breaks. Fire Ant came off as a total badass here, and I don’t know much about CHIKARA booking recently, but he seems like a good option to dethrone Coronado. He’s a super over babyface who’s suffered a recent tragedy and needs some sort of triumph. Plus he’s a CHIKARA original. N/R
Tag Team Gauntlet: Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr.) win, last defeating CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos)
I’m not a fan of this match type, because it’s inherently unfair in the kayfabe sense, and in the shoot sense it also has to be so rapid fire, no match feels complete. There were hiccups in the match when guys were in with people they weren’t used to working. That said, the action was generally good and it was enjoyable overall. ***
Merlok defeated Sylverhawk
Sylverhawk looked good on Night 2 and I was hoping he’d get more offense in here than he did. It’s taken me three nights to admit this but I don’t know what Merlok is even supposed to be. Is he just a general sea monster? He got the win with Emerald Flowsion in a virtual squash. **
Rey de Voladores Final: Ophidian (The Whisper) defeated Jody Fleisch
Man was this ever disappointing. This new Ophidian is a rookie so I don’t want to be too mean, but then again CHIKARA chose to push him so here goes: he was terrible here. Multiple botches and miscues. Sloppy from start to finish. Jody was great but it really does take two to have a good match. You could feel Jody dragging him through every sequence, leading him like a first day of class.
Ophidian posted Jody and he sold it like death. This led to the merciful conclusion of this awful affair. Ophidian winning after such a poor performance felt so wrong, like Braun Strowman being pinned after one F-5 wrong. *
King of Trios Final: House Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, & Trent Seven) defeated House SENDAI Girls (Meiko Satomura, DASH Chisako, & Cassandra Miyagi)
This match was as satisfying as the previous match was disappointing. Dunne and Satomura had a pre match stare down and I got amped as fuck.
Dunne was such a great shitbag in this match. He endlessly bullied Dash to the frustration of Satomura. Pete Dunne beating down on Dash Chisako is the pinnacle of pro wrestling dynamics this weekend saw. Dunne really conveyed the sense that he was proud of himself and enjoying it. I wanted with every ounce of my being to see Satomura come in and destroy him.
The finishing stretch was a class above everything else this weekend. There were multiple near falls and sequences that had me leaping out of my chair. Satomura worked with full fighting spirit and looked to be on the verge of victory when Dunne caught her with a second Bitter End. He scored the pin and House Strong Style are your 2017 Kings of Trios! Man, what a match. The Sendai Girls came out of this smelling like roses. BSS may have won the match but Sendai came away with the moral victory here. This is why I watch wrestling. ****1/2
It’s a shame this was the weakest of the three nights, because it had the best match of the weekend in the main event. That match alone is enough to bump this show into the “Recommended” category, but this truly was the definition of a one match show.
- Show MVP: Meiko Satomura