I haven’t mentioned CHIKARA that much lately, but right now, the unorthodox wrestling federation has a lot going for it. For one, they just released two DVDs for their recent shows Bruised and New Star Navigation. The former of which has a neat cover based on the first battle of Hulk vs. the goofy-masked Wolverine, but I’ll feature that one later, when I have a better, less diagonal image.
Speaking of DVDs, the company has just let loose its first wide-release DVD, The Best of CHIKARA. If you find yourself in an FYE, Sam Goody, Best Buy, or wherever you get your DVDs, they just might have this baby waiting for you at $9.99. Come on, that’s a great price for the sweetness within.
This weekend comes the final three shows of CHIKARA’s 2007 season. On Friday the 16th, it’s The Battle of Who Could Care Less. On Saturday the 17th, we get The Sordid Perils of Everyday Existence, whatever that means. Finally, the season finale is on Sunday the 18th with Chapter 11 in Philadelphia.
With CHIKARA having such a pulse at the moment, I figure I’d hitchhike onto their success with another interview. This time the unfortunate victim is Leonard F. Chikarason. Mr. Chikarason isn’t a wrestler by any means, but plays the role of the company’s Director of Fun. He, you know, makes matches and stuff. He also does a big chunk of commentary and shows up whenever pictures are taken in the ring.
See? That guy.
Mr. Chikarason was gracious enough to take a moment and join me in the 4th Letter Helicarrier (it only goes five inches off the ground, sadly) and answer my questions. Because, you see, not only is Leonard F. Chikarason an avid comic fan, but he too has experience being bullied by “The King of Diamonds” Eddie Kingston. Yes, that’s me in that video. I swear I’ve lost 20 pounds since then.
For the people who don’t know the score and totally skipped this article’s opening paragraphs, who are you and what is it that you do?
- Leonard F Chikarason, CHIKARA director of fun, all around decent guy.
How did you become the CHIKARA Director of Fun, anyway?
- Hand picked from a pool of talent by Bob Saget himself.
Let’s get to the topic of the site and discuss some comic stuff. While commentating on a match, you once admitted that you read DC’s Countdown. Are you still reading it? If so, why? If not, what was the final breaking point? Because really, Countdown?
- Yes, I do. I enjoy parts of the book, the Piper/Trickster stuff, the Darkseid appearances, the early Mary Marvel stuff. While I will admit it’s nowhere near as good as 52, I’m I guess whatever you would call the opposite of a Marvel zombie.
Not pictured: Trickster convincing Question that they’re not guilty of murder because of sock puppets.
Other than that weekly train wreck, what series are you keeping up on these days?
- Tons of stuff, nothing as shameful as Countdown apparently. Green Lantern’s good, Flash is good again (thankfully), Fables, Y: the Last Man, Booster Gold, JSA, X-Factor. I could literally go on for days…
Mike Quackenbush wears a ring attire that is homage to Black Bolt of the Inhumans. That begs the question: At about what point do you think Quack was replaced with a Skrull? I’m thinking it was during the back surgery.
- Good gravy, I hope not! What a foolish idea, people being replaced by Skrulls with the same abilities and no one noticing…
What would be your favorite show, moment or match in CHIKARA’s five year-plus history?
- I hear a lot of people enjoy night 3 of Young Lions Cup 3 from Pittston. I’ll have to concur. Quack vs. Hero from Anniversario? was really good too.
Several months back, CHIKARA rookie Create-a-Wrestler was the centerpiece in a contest where the fans could “create” him and finally give him his own identity. In the end, he became Moscow, the Communist Bovine (t-shirt, please). I’d have to think that there were plenty of gimmick ideas that were just as out there and possibly beyond reason. Any you could shed some light on?
- Many of them were mentioned on the Create-a-Wrestler podcast, such as Hungry Hungry Hobo and Freddie Blassie Jr. I feel the best one won though. As for shirts, we’ll get the R & D team on that ASAP.
Moscow with Player Uno. There’s an Earthworm Jim joke in there somewhere.
Maybe this is just me, but I believe Tim Donst ought to get himself a cyborg arm like Bucky Barnes. After all, Bucky is going to become Captain America and Tim Donst IS America. What do you think?
- I think Gran Akuma may be a creation of Ultron. I also think Tim Donst is perfect just the way he is.
You might be onto something there. It would explain his cold demeanor, ruthlessness and that super creepy smile.
Loeb and Mad’s Ultimates 3: Bad idea or worst idea?
- Hitch/Millar taking Fantastic Four away from McDuffie is a MUCH worse idea.
This Wednesday is the big climax to World War Hulk and we’re going to finally get our big Hulk vs. Sentry match. You’re the Director of Fun. What kind of stipulations would you add to liven up this epic battle?
- Keep it clean and get continuity back in line for the Hulk movie this summer.
Chuck Taylor vs. Power Pack. Who wins?
- Speaking of continuity, isn’t Julie Power all grown up in Loners? That may take the edge away from Chucky T, but even if it was the adolescent version, I’d give the edge to Mr. Taylor.
This upcoming weekend is the season finale for CHIKARA. After that, there’s a three month break before coming back with a vengeance with the fan-favorite King of Trios tournament. How does Leonard F. Chikarason spend his time during these vacations?
- Spending time with the family, taking an Amtrak train to the hot springs of Colorado, SLEEPING ~!, getting prepared for the next season of shows, mostly.
Now for some questions from fellow CHIKARA fans. Dan of CHIKARAFans.com wants to hear your thoughts on former CHIKARA board member and Toxic Trio associate Cavalier Jones. After his team’s loss in Aniversario 2004, he vanished and was soon replaced by you. What’s become of him?
- Mr. Sagat would prefer I not comment, however, what I can tell you is Cavalier Jones continues to hold a high ranking position in the grand Bob Sagat empire.
Disastronaut wants to know if you view Steve “The Turtle” Weiner as a threat to your job or a potential protégé?
- No way! The Turtle is awesome. I can almost see him as a Mean Gene Okerlund type interviewing the stars of CHIKARA.
xWillx wants to know the odds of ever seeing Darkness Crabtree (age 80-something) vs. the relative youngster Robbie Ellis (age 64). I’d think a match like that would be a major throwback to the days of WCW.
- Keep watching the skies!
The Nude Smurf brought up a good point. How do you get comics and tapes delivered to your reclusive Appalachian mudhut, anyway?
- Not everything Larry Sweeney says on commentary should be taken to heart. Nonetheless, the DVDs are delivered to my mudhut by the great folks at Smart Mark Video and the comic shop I used to frequent before my relocation, Comics on the Green, has a great subscriber service.
Almost done here. What’s something I could ask you that would totally make you so mad that you would just leave this interview in a fit of disgust and rage?
- I was going to stroll after the Countdown question, but outside of dealing with Eddie Kingston, I tend to keep a cool head.
Aw, but I’m supposed to ask you said question so you’ll storm off and it’ll look all controversial! You know what? That’s it, I’m leaving this interview!
*Gavok proceeds to flip over a table in frustration and storms out of the room, angrily slamming the door on his way out*
“What? WHAT? You think you can tell me what ta do?! I’m the last of a dyin’ breed! I made this company what it is! I want Hallowicked! GIVE! ME! Hallowicked.”
“Kingston, get back into the ring or I swear I will force you to read World War Hulk: Gamma Corps.”
“Heh… Yo, listen, I’ll be good.”
Thanks to Mr. Chikarason for being a good sport and humoring me during this busy time. Once again, this weekend is the season finale of CHIKARA’s 2007 season. On Sunday, we get a triple main event, bringing several feuds to a climactic close.
Mitch Ryder claims that the young dynamo Lince Dorado is the son of an illegal immigrant. Feeling the need to pound this “hoochador” out of the country, Mitch challenged Lince to a match and lost in an upset. The Memphis-style veteran lost his cool and beat down Lince so hard after the match that he received a suspension. That forced separation between the two did nothing to cool over their mutual hatred. Now with their feud coming to a head, it’s Lince’s mask up against Mitch’s hair. Someone’s head his going to be a bit breezier in a few days.
Both of these guys were students in the CHIKARA Wrestlefactory since the beginning. After being pinned by Hallowicked in a tag match, Kingston’s envy and frustration came to a boiling point as he attacked Hallowicked and stormed off. There were two attempts at singles matches between the two, but one ended in a no-contest and the other in disqualification. Despite both instances being Kingston’s fault, he spent months demanding this rematch. To calm him down, Chikarason tried giving him matches against younger, less experienced wrestlers like Tim Donst and Ricochet, but those only ended in painful disaster for the younger guys. After lots of bickering between Chikarason and Kingston (Hallowicked can’t bicker, since barely anyone understands him), Kingston’s finally getting his big match. Be careful for what you wish for…
Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero used to be the Kings of Wrestling. Once their lengthy tag title reign came to an end and Claudio was on his way out of the company, Hero had what he thought was the last laugh by commanding his protégés Team F.I.S.T. to put the boots to Claudio. The Kings of Wrestling had changed from a tag team to Chris Hero and his henchmen. As the 2007 season started, Claudio returned with a vengeance and went after the Kings of Wrestling, only to be overpowered by their numbers compared to his lone wolf status. Claudio earned a match against Hero with Mike Quackenbush as the referee. Hero won with some cheating and as part of the deal, the reluctant Claudio was forced to rejoin the Kings of Wrestling.
They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but that didn’t work out so well in the end for Chris Hero. While Claudio’s ire seemed to calm over time and the two were back in form, everything exploded at the Cibernetico match in September. In the 8-on-8 elimination tag match, it ended with the Kings of Wrestling as the winners and Hero, Claudio and Mitch Ryder as the survivors. But with a Cibernetico match, even when there is one team left, there can only be one true winner. Now with the rules of the ring on his side, Claudio was in his right to clobber Ryder, make Chris Hero tap out in the middle of the ring and gain both victory and his freedom.
Since then, Claudio has been mowing down any member of the Kings of Wrestling that gets in his way. He has his sights set on Chris Hero and this Sunday, he’s going to get his opportunity to finally put that King of Wrestling in checkmate.
If you’re in the Pennsylvania area, check these shows out. You’ll be glad you did.