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Nov 11

Chikara 15.8 – “Afternoon Delight”

Posted on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: This is the final show in the four-date UK tour, which I have taken an inordinately long time to cover even compared to the original plan.  So I thought it might be an idea to wrap it up.  The storyline pace will pick up after this, partly thanks to characters who weren’t on the tour re-entering the storylines after an eight-hour absence, and partly because the shows will be more spread out, which means there’s more scope for each one to advance the plot.  This is the show that Al went to, by the way, so bonus spotting opportunities there for fans of the podcast.

When and where: It’s 6 April 2015, and we’re in London, England, as a pre-show video package of the tourist sights is keen to stress.  More specifically, we’re at the Garage, which is basically a music venue.  Which means it has decent lighting and sound.  It’s packed.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: Battle Hive v United Nations. (more…)

Oct 31

Chikara 15.7 – “Pier Pressure”

Posted on Saturday, October 31, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Yes, I’m still doing these.  Yes, we’re falling further and further behind.  That was always the plan, since now I know where a lot of this is going.  Anyway, this is the third show on the four-date UK tour.

When and where: It’s Sunday 5 April 2015, and we’re in the Masonic Hall in Cardiff, which the Chikara website gamely describes as “intimate and picturesque”.  It is indeed a charming little room, presently dominated by a wrestling ring.  Looks like a nicely mixed crowd, actually.  The stage set up is a bit rudimentary.

1.  Elimination Match: Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr) v. The United Nations (Juan Francisco de Coronado & Prakash Sabar) v. The Wrecking Crew (Jaka & Oleg the Usurper) v. The Gentleman’s Club (Chuck Taylor & Drew Gulak).

The back story: The four-team elimination match is a Chikara staple.  The winning team will get a point towards a tag title shot for every team they eliminate.  Nobody has any points coming in, but you only need three for a title shot, so a clean sweep could win you a title shot right away.  (This handily explains why anyone would bother tagging in for the first fall.)  All the teams are technically rudos, but only the UN are unequivocal baddies; Los Ice Creams and the Gentleman’s Club are loveable cheats, while Oleg is teasing a face turn.  This is the first time Oleg has wrestled as a member of the Wrecking Crew since being left out of their squad for the season-long Challenge of the Immortals tournament.  But it fits with the storyline of the Crew trying to assert their continuing control over him.  Los Ice Creams are jobbers, but everyone else has a credible shot. (more…)

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.