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Apr 25

Holds to Astonish – Episode 2

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2016 by Al in Podcast, Wrestling

It’s been long-promised (warned of?), but now it’s here – Paul and I are taking a short detour into the world of comic book-influenced wrestling promotion Chikara Pro, catching up with commentator (and fellow comics podcaster) Leonard F Chikarason about Chikara’s upcoming UK tour, its new base of operations at the Wrestle Factory, its current Grand Champion Princess KimberLee and lots more besides. If you’re just here for comics and not up for wrestling chat, feel free to skip and come back in a few weeks, when we will be back to our regularly (un)scheduled broadcast.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think in the comments below, on Twitter, over email or via our Facebook fan page, and remember, we’ve got super-fabulous shirts on our Redbubble store.


Mar 30

Chikara 15.13: “Shock and Aww”

Posted on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

Yes, I know I said I was going to start skipping the lesser shows, and I know I haven’t skipped one yet.  But Shock and Aww is an important show in Chikara’s 2015 season, for reasons which will shortly become clear.  It also has a ludicrously catchy theme tune.  (“Wrestling is so much fun!  Shock and aww!  Shock and aww!”)  Anyway, we can at least start skipping past some of the less important matches.

It’s 14 June 2015, the day after the previous show.  We’re in the Bethel Park Family Center in Indianapolis.  It’s basically a basketball court.  There’s a decent size crowd, though you wouldn’t know it from the hard cam, which somehow contrives to keep most of them out of shot.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: The Arcane Horde v. Crown & Court.


Mar 4

Chikara 15.12: “Sword of Destiny”

Posted on Friday, March 4, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

So.  We’re now far enough behind that I’m going to start skipping the less important shows in order to keep somewhat in touch.  But this one is worth covering, because it’s a bit of an epic – it comes with two dark matches recorded at a meet-and-greet in the afternoon, and introduces a new gimmick that will start cropping up on almost all Chikara’s shows going forward.

It’s 13 June 2015, and we’re in the Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago.  They come here every year (in fact, they’ll go back in October).  It’s a rather nice ballroom type venue.

Pre-show Match 1.  Missile Assault Ant v Arik Cannon.


Jan 19

Chikara 15.11: “Aniversario: A New Attitude”

Posted on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

Chikara’s birthday was on 25 May 2002, which it celebrates every year with Aniversario – sometimes a show, sometimes a weekend tour, it varies.  It’s one of the fixtures in their calendar, but some way behind King of Trios, or for that matter the season finale; it’s more of a well established marker post in the year.  Frankly, the Challenge of the Immortals tournament format that dominated 2015 doesn’t lend itself to a major show at this point, since virtually every story is building to something much further down the line.  The result is a relatively normal looking card, but with a bigger than normal crowd.

When and where: It’s 24 May 2015 (the day after the previous show), and we’re in the Palmer Center in Easton, Pennsylvania.  This is essentially Chikara’s home venue, if you leave aside their actual training facility.  It’s a community centre gym, but a pretty substantial one.  We’ll be back here for King of Trios later in the year.  It’s a sell out.  There’s a prominent advert at the back of the hall for Electric Monkey energy drink, which is a real thing, and is product placement.  Remember that, it’ll be coming up in a bit.

1.  Elimination match: N_R_G (Race Jaxon & Hype Rockwell) v. The Battle Hive (Amasis & Worker Ant) v. The Nightmare Warriors (Frightmare & Silver Ant) v. Kevin Condron & ???.


Jan 2

Chikara 15.10: “Back to Skull”

Posted on Saturday, January 2, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

This is the first of a series of mini-shows held in the Wrestle Factory, Chikara’s training school in Philadelphia.  They more or less replaced the local shows that Chikara used to run under the banner “Wrestling Is Fun”.  WIF was, at least in part, a device to let Chikara run shows during the period when the company itself was supposedly shut down (since it was supposedly a separate company), and with that storyline completed, it’s served its purpose.  In 2015, with so many tournament matches to get through, pretty much everything had to be classified as an official show.  This one was chucked in as a bonus if you bought “Aniversario”, the major show that took place the next night.  It does have some material that’s important to storylines, though, which is why I’m not skipping past it.

When and where: It’s 23 May 2015.   As mentioned, we’re in the Wrestle Factory – more accurately, the new Wrestle Factory, because they’ve just relocated.  It’s small, but there’s lighting, there’s a proper entrance set, and the walls are lined with banners for the ten Challenge of the Immortals teams.

1.  Amasis v. Missile Assault Ant (more…)

Dec 16

Chikara 15.9: “Spring Breakout”

Posted on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: In the real world, the Chikara 2015 schedule is now over.  But here on the blog, we’re following along a good few months behind.  It’s been nearly a month since the last show, when Hallowicked defeated Icarus to win the title.  Usually Chikara does several shows in a weekend, but “Spring Breakout” is a one-off.  This one is storyline heavy, since it has to pick up on the characters who weren’t on the UK tour, and it’s the last chance to set up the matches for “Aniversario”, one of the big shows of the year, which is in a few weeks time.

When and where: It’s 2 May 2015 and we’re in St Joseph’s School in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  It’s a school hall, but a pretty decent one as indie wrestling venues go.  No proper lighting, but hey, it has sound and a stage.  Chikara play it fairly regularly, and they’ll be back later in the year.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: BDK v. Crown & Court (more…)

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.