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Aug 17

Chikara 15.6: “Let ’em Eat Cake”

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: This is the second show in the UK tour, and see the previous post in this series for some comments on the practical issues of writing four shows on consecutive days – principally, that nothing can happen on this show that would be essential knowledge for the next two shows of the tour, since those audiences won’t have seen this one.  This particular show is the high water mark of that issue; it consists almost entirely of Challenge of the Immortals tournament matches, in the early stages of a round robin that runs through to the rest of the year.  So while it’s certainly useful to burn through some of these early matches and get the scoreboard looking a bit more meaningful, very little of immediate consequence actually happens on this show.

When and where: It’s Saturday 4 April 2015, and we’re… still in Wolverhampton.  Yes, that’s right, they did a four-date UK tour and half of it was in Wolverhampton.  We’re moving on to Cardiff and London next.  The show is sold out.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: Crown & Court v Dasher’s Dugout, Match 1 (more…)

Aug 10

Chikara 15.5 – “For British Eyes Only”

Posted on Monday, August 10, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: This is the first of four shows taped in the UK over the spring bank holiday weekend.  Although Chikara has occasionally ventured outside North America before, it’s the first time they’ve run a UK tour.

There are some obvious practical difficulties in writing for a four-show weekend.  You can’t really do stories that develop over the course of the four shows, because the audience on night four won’t actually have seen the earlier shows.  (They might have read the results on line, but that’s it.)  And all four shows need to have cards announced in advance.  And of course you’re limited to pretty much the same roster members for all four shows.

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Jul 31

Chikara 15.4 – “Altar Egos”

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Hey, there’s a pre-credits skit on this one.  The Bloc Party attempt to re-enact DX’s invasion of WCW, but they can’t get into the arena, so they give up.  Okay then.

Where and when?  It’s Sunday 8 March 2015, the day after the previous show.  We’re in the Norfolk Masonic Temple in Norfolk, Virginia.  It’s an actual theatre with proper lighting and sound, though it’s not ideally laid out for wrestling, since most of the audience is on one side of the ring, and so is the camera.  It’s some way from being full.  It may have been an overambitious choice of venue.  This happens sometimes when they go to new towns and take a guess.

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Jun 27

Chikara 15.3: “Out on a Limb”

Posted on Saturday, June 27, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Three shows into the year, Chikara gets back to its regular schedule of running multiple shows over one weekend per month.  Between shows, they’ve also announced “Challenge Of The Immortals”, a tournament which will run for the rest of the year.

There are a lot of COTI matches coming up in future shows – a lot – so let’s run down the rules:

  • There are ten teams of four.  Director of Fun Mike Quackenbush (the GM) appointed the team captains, who then took turns to draft members from the roster, followed by a brief window for trades.
  • It’s a double round robin – every team faces every other team twice.
  • Each match can be a singles, tag, trios or atomicos (8-man tag) match.  The team captains are supposed to decide between them.  The same two teams can’t meet in the same type of match on both occasions.  (Singles and tag matches don’t count towards title contention.)
  • A team gets one point for every match it wins.  The team with the most points at the end of the day is the winner.
  • Everyone on the winning team gets a vaguely-defined “Golden Opportunity”, which is effectively a money in the bank title shot, though you could use it for something else if you really wanted.

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Jun 20

Chikara 15.2 – “National Pro Wrestling Day 2015″

Posted on Saturday, June 20, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Well, I did say these would be erratic.

National Pro Wrestling Day is Chikara’s annual free charity show, which basically means they run the live show for donations, and there are regular exhortations to donate to the year’s selected charity.  It’s notionally also a celebration of pro wrestling generally.  This is the third one.  The first two were (in storyline) not Chikara shows – this was terribly useful because it meant there was an actual show where they could pay off the shutdown angle in 2014.  This year it’s an official Chikara show, and pretty much a regular one with a couple of outsiders and not much in the way of explicit angles (though some stuff is set up for the future).  Anyone with a complicated story pretty much skips this show entirely.

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Apr 18

Chikara 15.1 – “A New Start”

Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Okay, so.  I did a preview of this show, the first Chikara show of 2015, back in January, and then never came back to the topic.  But I figured it’d be interesting to look back on all this year’s shows a few months behind, to see where they ended up going.  It’s going to be more of an episode guide thing, I guess.  At time of writing, five shows from this year have been released (the fifth came out while I was writing this, and I haven’t seen it yet); a further three were taped in the UK last month and should be out shortly.

These posts are going to be pretty erratic, by the way – don’t expect any sort of regular schedule.  If anything, I’m confidently expecting to drift further and further behind.  “A New Start” is the season opener, so this is going to be unusually lengthy; most shows will have a lot more matches that we can skip happily over in search of the bigger picture, and the next show is particularly light.

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Mar 30

Wrestlemania 31

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Right, the biggest WWE show of the year.  The fact that it’s now thrown in with the Network subscription, and that the network is available worldwide, makes it logically less significant financially than it used to be.  And that’s probably why there are no big name guest stars this years.  On top of that, the company’s increasingly dodgy writing has not provided the most inspiring build.  But it should still be good in the ring.

I’m watching this on the WWE Network as I write.  I haven’t read the results, as usual.  So basically first draft.

Okay, let’s get started.

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Jan 27

Royal Rumble 2015

Posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Oh, alright, then.  I’m going to watch this show, so why not set out a few thoughts as I do that, and open a comments thread for anyone who wants to chip in?

I’m watching this on Monday night on Apple TV – which, by the way, doesn’t have a WWE Network app in the UK, whatever the WWE website may claim, so I’m Airplaying it from an iPad, which is terribly convenient.

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Jan 24

Chikara 15.1: “A New Start”

Posted on Saturday, January 24, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

So, then.  As trailed last month, we’re going to take a crack at covering the 2015 Chikara season.  We won’t be doing every show – probably just the main ones to check in on how they’re doing, and I might do them as reviews rather than previews, given that I suspect relatively few readers of this blog are actually watching.   Obviously we’re moving here into territory which far fewer people will be familiar with here, but quite aside from being a far more entertaining use of my time, I do think Chikara makes an interesting contrast with the dominant product.

This is also going to be a very long post, since there’s a lot to set up here – not just the show, but the promotion as a whole and many of the characters.  And I haven’t had as much time as I’d have liked to cut down the first draft, but hey, the show’s on Sunday.

Let’s start with a primer on how things work in Chikara.

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Dec 14

WWE TLC

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

If the WWE Network does indeed launch in the UK at the start of January as suggested – and reportedly that’s the date that was already agreed with Sky when the contract was renewed a few months back – then in theory this should mark the end of PPV in the UK.    Well, as long as you have decent broadband and aren’t deterred by the whole idea of internet streaming – which admittedly still leaves a significant chunk of the audience.  And oddly, TLC isn’t a PPV in the UK – it’s airing on Sky Sports.  So really, UK PPV as we know it ended in November.  Still, you get the point.

This seems to make TLC a suitable place to draw a line under these columns, since, point one, we’re now talking about network specials rather than PPVs, and point two, the current quality of WWE television is so mind-numbing that the build to these shows is more of a chore to sit through than a pleasure to write about.  I’m thinking I might do some Chikara coverage in 2015 instead – much less viewed, but vastly more interesting to write about.

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