Starting September 14th and ending September 16th, CHIKARA Pro, my favoritest wrestling organization, is holding their 6th annual King of Trios tournament. I’ve discussed CHIKARA at length before and even wrote up a primer guide to explain it to new folks. It’s an independent wrestling company and wrestling school headed by Mike Quackenbush, focusing on international styles, incredibly strong storytelling, over-the-top gimmicks and a lot of inspired comedy.
The King of Trios is an evolved version of CHIKARA’s previous big tournament, Tag World Grand Prix. Tag World, which occurred three times before being shelved and then coming back once again in 2008, was a massive tag team tournament filled with CHIKARA students, CHIKARA regulars, teams from other organizations and even other countries. In 2006, the team of Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli won, crowning them the first ever Campeones de Parejas (tag team champions). The company decided to move forward on the concept. The tag tournament was cool, but not exactly too out there. They needed to go further and really grasp the company’s unique identity.
And so, in 2007, from February 17th to 19th, CHIKARA started off their sixth season with the King of Trios tournament. Three days long, the tournament featured sixteen teams of three battling it out for supremacy. Teams were put together based on friendship, experience, style or being part of the same outside organization. It was a strong show and every tournament since has been a highlight to the company. As I’ve said before, it’s less about being a wrestling event and more about celebrating wrestling in general.
I’m going to this year’s show, being my fourth King of Trios weekend. To hype it up a bit, I’m going to be doing a daily series of articles about the show’s history. For each year, I’ll spend one day getting caught up on the card and then an article for each night of the show. Then a little finale to talk about this year’s tournament, meaning 21 days worth of stuff.
All King of Trios shows are available at Smart Mark Video in the forms of DVD ($15), mp4 ($12) or streaming ($10). They’re all worth checking out.
So let’s start off with 2007.
The Story Thus Far…
Season 5 ended with the Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) losing the Campeonatos de Parejas to their protégés FIST (Icarus and Gran Akuma). Hero blamed Claudio, who was also leaving the company due to signing with the WWE. Hero and FIST turned on Claudio and attacked him until Mike Quackenbush and the other tecnicos came to the rescue. Quack gave Claudio a nice sendoff, but unfortunately, Claudio’s WWE career ended before it could even begin due to some contract snafu.
The Young Lions Cup tournament was won by Arik Cannon, who defended the trophy regularly until a surprise loss to “Canadian Dynamite” Max Boyer. Cannon, in a fit of rage, attacked the referee and got suspended indefinitely. Boyer continued to defend the trophy and remained unbeaten.
During the Tag World Grand Prix tournament, Hallowicked’s partner UltraMantis Black was injured and a random draw replaced him with the ever-lovable madman Delirious. The two made for quite the team and became known as Incoherence, with Delirious turning Hallowicked fully to the tecnico side of the good/evil spectrum. UltraMantis hated this and started a new group to combat them called the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple. Along with CHIKARA veteran Blind Rage, they went to war with Incoherence. Incoherence joined forces with fan-favorite duo Cheech and Cloudy (Up in Smoke) and defeated the Order at the season finale.
Eight of the teams compete during Night 1 while the other eight compete during Night 2. Each of these shows includes four opening matches and two quarter finals to finish the show. Meanwhile, competitors not involved are given exhibition matches for the hell of it. For instance, if Gran Akuma’s team is competing on Night 1, that frees up Akuma to have a singles match on Night 2. Night 3 opens with two semifinals battles, goes through a handful of unrelated exhibition matches, a MASSIVE Tag Team Gauntlet match and the finals.
This format changes over the course of the years. Also unique to this year is how each night takes place in a different venue. Night 1 is in Hellertown, PA, Night 2 is in Barnesville, PA and Night 3 is in Philadelphia in the ECW Arena. There’s a major quality difference, although it does make the finals look like a bigger deal in comparison. During this time in CHIKARA history, any show that wasn’t in the ECW Arena featured a ring that was only a foot off the ground. This was phased out over 2007.
Members: Joker, Ruckus and Sabian
The Season 6 finale’s last match involved Eddie Kingston getting his revenge on Larry Sweeney and winning their feud. Strangely, Kingston would not be riding his momentum into the King of Trios tournament. Instead, he’s represented by BLKOUT (or “The Blackout”), his stable of mainstays from Combat Zone Wrestling.
Members: Soldier Ant, Fire Ant and Worker Ant
Soldier Ant and Fire Ant debuted in the 2006 Tag World Grand Prix, only to lose in the first round. After having trouble with Los Ice Creams and Lance Steel, the two insects got help from a third partner calling himself Worker Ant (get it?). The three are still new to working as a unit, but they’ll let the first King of Trios be their trial by fire.
The Fabulous Three
Members: Larry Sweeney, Mitch Ryder and Robbie Ellis
“Sweet ‘n’ Sour” Larry Sweeney joins forces with “Marvelous” Mitch Ryder, another CHIKARA regular who shares his habits of being an in-your-face loudmouth with an overly large opinion on his own style. Joining them is Robbie Ellis, a wrestler in his early 60’s who can’t stop boasting about his impressive, muscular physique. One thing the three can easily agree on is that they all look good.
Hallowicked and Up in Smoke
Members: Hallowicked, Cheech and Cloudy
Hallowicked is a pumpkin-headed creature that doesn’t speak coherently. Cheech Hernandez and Cloudy Day are two positive dudes whose actual gimmick isn’t allowed to be outright mentioned because CHIKARA is family friendly. Their names are Cheech and Cloudy and their team name is Up in Smoke. You figure it out. On paper, Hallowicked doesn’t appear to have much to do with these guys, but considering they helped him and Delirious defeat the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple, their experience as a team is already there.
The Iron Saints
Members: Brandon Thomaselli, Sal Thomaselli and Vito Thomaselli
The Thomaselli Brothers come from IWA-Mid South, where Sal and Vito are multiple-times tag champs. While they’re in-between title reigns at this point, they’re still stronger than ever due to adding their other brother Brandon to the mix. This isn’t their first time in CHIKARA, as they were recruited onto Larry Sweeney’s Cibernetico team months prior.
The Kings of Wrestling
Members: Icarus, Gran Akuma and Chuck Taylor
Chris Hero, leader of the Kings of Wrestling, can’t make the show, so he’s allowed Icarus and Akuma to replace him with rising star Chuck Taylor. There’s a definite unevenness between Chuck Taylor’s positive, if condescending attitude and the disgruntled nature of FIST, although FIST (which, by the way, stands for Friends in Similar Tights) appear to be more annoyed at their boss taking the weekend off. Despite personality differences, the three are definitely on the same page.
Los Ice Creams
Members: El Hijo del Ice Cream, Ice Cream Jr. and ???
Los Ice Creams are quite the unique pair in CHIKARA. Two ruthless tricksters who like to mess with their opponents in any way they can. Due to their ridiculous nature and habit of dropping their opponents on sprinkles (which gets the same pained reaction of having someone dropped on thumb tacks), they’ve acquired quite the following. There’s no telling who their partner is going to be, but rumors have it that they’re about to debut a third Ice Cream.
The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple
Members: UltraMantis Black, Crossbones and Hydra
Having lost the war against Hallowicked, the great and devious UltraMantis Black decides to regroup and start his ill-defined goals for world domination. With him are his loyal subjects “The Heavyweight Horror” Crossbones and “The Creature of the Deep” Hydra. UltraMantis is the brains, Crossbones is the brawn and Hydra’s brains are so screwy that he believes himself to be the brawn.
Members: Mike Quackenbush, Shane Storm and Jigsaw
“Lightning” Mike Quackenbush is the founder of CHIKARA and one of the head trainers at the Wrestle Factory. An honorable technician and all-around good guy, Quack is joined by two of his closest students, “The Wrestling Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma” Jigsaw and “The Unionized Traffic Regulator” Shane Storm. The three have worked together in various combinations for a while, so they’re definitely one of the clockworkiest teams in the tournament.
Members: Maxime Boyer, Jagged and Shane Matthews
Jagged and Shane Matthews, otherwise known as 2.0, are two guys a little too excited over their own hype. Joining them is Max Boyer, a guy who has the same level of ego, though with a more subdued level of boasting. Boyer is the reigning Young Lions Cup holder and calls himself “Canadian Dynamite” to point out that he’s the third evolutionary step in the pattern of supreme wrestlers Dynamite Kid and Chr… you know, just forget about that part.
Members: American Balloon, Danshoku Dino and Nobutaka Moribe
American Balloon and Danshoku Dino work together in the Japanese fed Dramatic Dream Team under the name the Gay Machine Guns. American Balloon is what happens when a morbidly obese dude loses a lot of weight, but still remains pretty fat. In other words, he’s got a LOT of loose skin, making him look like a human water bed. His partner Dino is like Japan deciding that Goldust didn’t go far enough. The guy is an over-the-top sexual predator who gets a little too grabby. I don’t really have much to say when it comes to Moribe, but as you’ll find out in Night 1, there’s no big loss in that.
Team Kaientai Dojo
Members: KUDO, MIYAWAKI and Yoshiaki Yago
The trio of Japanese wrestlers are no strangers to the CHIKARA rings, all having competed at the previous year’s Tag World Grand Prix. KUDO, a dedicated martial artist, plays the role of the team’s speed while MIYAWAKI and Yoshiaki Yago are pure toughness and blunt force. MIYAWAKI’s slaps can make you cringe one town over while Yago’s heart punches are the stuff of nightmares. At the time, the three aren’t exactly the closest, but much can be said about having the irresistible force and the immovable object working side-by-side.
Team Mucha Lucha
Members: Lince Dorado, El Pantera and Sicodelico Jr.
Puerto Rican newcomer Lince Dorado makes his debut through the King of Trios tournament, set on making an impact. He’s joined by Mexican luchadors Sicodelico Jr. and El Pantera. Pantera is the oldest of the three and acts as Lince’s mentor during his tenure with the company. Perhaps Pantera and Sicodelico Jr.’s experience can offset Lince’s newness, or perhaps that won’t be an issue after all.
Members: Chris Bosh, Joey Ryan and Scott Lost
The Pro Wrestling Guerilla representatives make up three-fourths of the Dynasty faction, along with Scorpio Sky. Although empty-handed, all three have dominated their respective divisions. The skeevy Tom Selleck-like Joey Ryan is fresh off a very lengthy heavyweight championship reign while the tag team of Chris Bosh and Scott Lost – otherwise known as Arrogance – just spent about half a year as the tag team champions. They’ve mastered the ring in both singles and tag team matches, so time will tell if that can translate into trios success.
Members: Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin and Sonjay Dutt
The three TNA entrants are big names in the X-Division, including Chris Sabin as the champion, making them prime picks to mix it up with the likes of the CHIKARA usual suspects. Although Shelley and Sabin have yet to show the TNA audience how good a team they can be, the two have worked together throughout the indies as the Motor City Machine Guns and come to the tournament carrying the NWA International Lightweight Tag Team Championships with them. Sonjay Dutt has no real connection to the two other than having fought against them on occasion, but he’s so in tune with their desire to win that for once he doesn’t mind the accusations that he’s on the roids.
Members: Jay Jaillet, the Patriot and USApe
Jay Jaillet is new to CHIKARA, known for competing around the country as Kidd USA. The patriotic primate USApe is a short-lived CHIKARA wrestler in the form of a gorilla wearing a singlet. Rounding them out is the Patriot! No, not Del Wilkes, but another big guy calling himself the Patriot! This motley crew has no experience working together and are only linked by their joint love for their country.
Here’s our brackets to start with.
We’ll jump right in tomorrow.