Prelude to King of Trios 2008
A year had past since the first King of Trios and the 2008 take would be the most ambitious version of the tournament ever. No longer would it be in smaller venues, leading into the ECW Arena. This time the ECW Arena would not only house all three shows, but they’d even host a Fan Conclave before Night 2 for all the fans to meet and hang out with the various wrestlers. It’s like CHIKARA’s version of Wrestlemania Axxess, only with less extreme misspelling.
The big change is that rather than go with 16 teams, the 2008 tournament would feature TWENTY-EIGHT different teams. That means EIGHTY-FOUR wrestlers, making this the biggest tournament in all of wrestling. A huge undertaking, but what’s most amusing is that of all these teams, not a single one wants anything to do with Vin Gerard.
Since We Last Left Our Heroes…
Despite winning the King of Trios tournament, the team of Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Shane Storm didn’t gain all that much momentum through 2007. Granted, Quack eventually got his long-awaited match against rival Chris Hero and won via the introduction to his new finisher the CHIKARA Special, but Jigsaw and Shane Storm had no luck in the tag division and couldn’t amount three points despite multiple attempts. The two went their separate ways with Jigsaw leaving the company for Ring of Honor, where he wrestled without a mask, while Storm went on to endure a nasty losing streak.
FIST and Chuck Taylor continued to team up normally and Chuck even became the official third member. They became a Kings of Wrestling splinter group and warred with Chris Hero’s faction until Mitch Ryder convinced them all to join back together and become a dominant stable made up of Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli (reluctantly, as part of a stipulation for a match he lost), Icarus, Gran Akuma, Chuck Taylor, Mitch Ryder, Larry Sweeney and Maxime Boyer. Boyer was later replaced by Shayne Hawke. FIST held onto the Campeonatos de Parejas for much of the year, while Chuck Taylor won the Young Lions Cup against Ricochet.
Over time, things fell to pieces for the super-group. Everyone and their mother was able to make Chris Hero tap to the CHIKARA Special due to Quackenbush teaching it to as many people as possible. FIST lost the Campeonatos de Parejas to the team of Hallowicked and Delirious. Chuck Taylor appeared to have gotten rid of Ricochet for good, but he returned with a mask under the name Helios and won the Young Lions Cup. Then Claudio turned on the team and blazed through all of his opponents until defeating Chris Hero, who had never appeared in a CHIKARA ring since.
Mitch Ryder feuded with Lince Dorado, believing him to be an illegal immigrant who was stealing the wrestling jobs away from Americans. The rivalry led to a Mask vs. Hair Match where Lince won, but at a terrible cost. A Shooting Star Senton hit a little too hard and he went into convulsions, causing panic in the crowd and the show to be cut short.
Another Mask vs. Hair Match ended with Chris Hero unmasking Equinox to reveal failed Wrestle Factory student Vin Gerard, who was not Mexican despite years of claiming to be. Gerard used the masked identity to sneak himself onto the roster as an international superstar and the revelation caused his excommunication from the locker room. This made him very, very bitter.
Eddie Kingston got rolled up by Hallowicked and lost an 8-man tag match, causing him to blow a gasket and start a war with Hallowicked over who is the best Wrestle Factory student. In Kingston’s rage, he needlessly brutalized newcomer Tim Donst in a singles match. Although Kingston was able to defeat Hallowicked in a Falls Count Anywhere Match, he did get rolled up and pinned by Donst in a trios match the night prior thanks to Hallowicked’s assist.
With the heftier lineup, more of the cards are dedicated to the trios matches with less exhibition matches. Though the Tag Gauntlet does thankfully make a comeback on Night 3. Since 28 isn’t divisible by 8, that causes a less-than-fair bracket setup. Four lucky teams get a bye draw, allowing them to skip the first round. In Night 1, one half of the tournament goes through the first two rounds. In Night 2, the other half does the same. By that point, we’re down to eight teams, who compete over the course of Night 3 until one trio succeeds in winning three matches in one show.
Members: Eddie Kingston, Joker and Ruckus
When Eddie Kingston took a turn to the rudo side, his crew followed with him. While Kingston was busy focusing on Hallowicked, his allies made trouble for the Colony. Now that Kingston has proven himself superior to Hallowicked, will he ride that success to lead his team to victory?
Members: Fire Ant, Soldier Ant and Worker Ant
A year of experience has helped the Colony. No longer a group of likeminded rookies, they’ve since become the epitome of a finely-tuned machine in the trios game. Of all the teams, they seem to have the best grasp on the teamwork concept and that just may be enough to get them to the top.
Da Soul Touchaz
Members: Acid Jaz, Marshe Rockett and Willie Richardson
Hailing from Chicago, Da Soul Touchaz are an unknown entity to the world of CHIKARA. Led to the ring by “The Urban Sensation” C. Red, the trio is made up of “Mr. M-80″ Marshe Rockett, “Hott Chocolate” Acid Jaz and “The Urban American Dream” Willie “Da Bomb” Richardson. Due to Willie’s size, he’s the ones the fans and opponents pay the most attention to, but ignoring the skills of his partners is a major mistake.
The F1rst Family
Members: Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz
Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz have wrestled for years as the North Star Express and are bona fide tag team specialists. “The Anarchist” Arik Cannon, former member of the Kings of Wrestling from years past and once Young Lions Cup holder, is their mentor and team captain. The Minnesota-based team has plenty of experience battling it out on the CHIKARA stage and now they’re going to put it all to the test.
The Fabulous Three
Members: Larry Sweeney, Mitch Ryder and Shayne Hawke
When the Kings of Wrestling disbanded and Hero left the company, the remaining members split off into two groups. One of these groups is made up of “Marvelous” Mitch Ryder and “Sweet and Sour” Larry Sweeney, along with Ryder’s hand-picked protégé “Superstar” Shayne Hawke. Hawke replaces last year’s Robbie Ellis, albeit standing on the opposite side of the age spectrum. The youngster is just as spirited and egotistical as his partners, but there is an underlying feeling that he’s the weak link and if anything bad happens, it’ll be on his head.
Members: Chuck Taylor, Gran Akuma and Icarus
The other half of Kings of Wrestling survivors are FIST, returning with the same lineup from ’07. They did really well when they barely got along, but since Chuck Taylor has been accepted as a full-fledged Friend in Similar Tights, they have more experience working as a unit. Although they’ve lost the Campeonatos de Parejas and the Young Lions Cup, they’re definitely hungry to make an impact and avenge their losses.
The Golden Trio
Members: Hallowicked, Delirious and Helios
For the first time in CHIKARA history, a team of tecnicos hold the Campeonatos de Parejas in Incoherence, the team of “The Nightmare Warrior” Hallowicked and Delirious. The other big title holder Helios joins them with the idea being that three champions will easily dominate a trios tournament. Are they better than the sum of their parts? We’ll see.
Las Chivas Rayadas
Members: Chiva II, Chiva III and Chiva IV
Hailing from AAA in Mexico, Las Chivas are an army of flippy goat men in soccer outfits. They’re a mischievous and friendly lot, making them Mexican counterparts to the Colony. What will happen when the two animal trios clash?
Los Ice Creams
Members: El Hijo del Ice Cream, Ice Cream Jr. and ???
Los Ice Creams have joined the tecnico side over the course of 2007 and are ready to give it another go in the King of Trios tournament. The problem is that while they have a mystery partner, the spot is such a mystery that even THEY don’t know who it is. Obviously, this will be a huge handicap towards their attempts at success.
Los Luchadores de Mexico
Members: Lince Dorado, Incognito and El Pantera
“The Golden Lynx of Lucha Libre” Lince Dorado won his big feud with Mitch Ryder, but suffered a massive injury that blinded him in one eye. He’s ready to make his comeback alongside his mentor El Pantera and Incognito. Incognito replaces last year’s Sicodelico Jr. and is more widely known as WWE’s Hunico. They did pretty well last year and Lince has some career momentum going for him. We’ll see if his body will hold up.
The Naptown Dragons
Members: Drake Younger, Dustin Lee and Scotty Vortekz
The Naptown Dragons are named after the nickname of team captain Drake Younger, a scarred-up death match wrestler who is versatile enough with regular mat work to be a formidable foe for anyone he steps in the ring with. Younger has tagged with “Diehard” Dustin Lee and Scotty Vortekz each on regular occasions across Combat Zone Wrestling, IWA-Mid South and Insanity Pro Wrestling. Younger is the only one with any background in CHIKARA and while he’s got the reputation for destruction, his win-loss record in the company isn’t the most impressive.
The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple
Members: UltraMantis Black, Crossbones and Hydra
Despite some wins here and losses there, the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple did a big pile of nothing in 2007. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings, so maybe King of Trios will be the team’s springboard into relevance. At the very least, UltraMantis Black has made contact with a fellow supervillain of the wrestling world to give him a hand with their first round opponents.
The Sea Amigos
Members: Call-Me-Kevin, DW Cycloptopuss III and Unibouzu
The chaotic world of Kaiju Big Battel has crossed over with CHIKARA in the past, but only now do their shrunken giant monsters actually compete against members of CHIKARA’s roster. The Sea Amigos are a trio of destructive sea creatures led by Call-Me-Kevin, an amnesiac beast who lost pretty much every one of his battles until turning against his master Dr. Cube and defeating him for the top title. Danger can happen, but against 27 other teams… will it?
The Southern Saints
Members: Marcus O’Neil, Reno Diamond and Shawn Reed
Shawn Reed is a white guy who thinks he’s from the streets (and I guess claims to be Jerry Lawler’s son). Reno Diamond and Marcus O’Neil are the opposite in that they’re two black men who dress like they’re in the Klan. Though since CHIKARA is family friendly, they choose not to wear the hoods. The three southerners band together in hopes to cheat their way to the top. The South will rise at King of Trios.
Sweet ‘n’ Sour Inc.
Members: Tank Toland, Sara Del Rey and Bobby Dempsey
Larry Sweeney appears to be double-dipping a little bit here. In Ring of Honor, he acts as a manager, representing a stable that includes our three combatants. Sara Del Rey, the first female to compete in the tournament, lets her fighting prowess speak for itself. Tank Toland is obsessed with not only his fitness, but that of the rotund Bobby Dempsey. Bobby was hand-picked by Sweeney and Toland to show that they’re so awesome that even someone like Dempsey can become an unbeatable and fit wrestling machine with their guidance. Well, this would be a good test to check their progress.
Members: AkuA and the Immortals of Waipahu
These representatives from Hawaii’s Action Zone Wrestling are an unknown entity in the world of CHIKARA. AkuA is an accomplished fan-favorite from where he comes from, being the only man to hold all the tag titles in Hawaii. With him are two sniveling masked men known as the Immortals, who aren’t just not on the same page as AkuA, but they’re practically in another book completely.
Members: Kobra Kai, La Sombra Canadiense and Super Xtremo
From Canada, the three masked wrestlers from the Blood, Sweat and Ears promotion are forced to band together. Xtremo has wrestled for CHIKARA several times and has no trouble getting along with La Sombra Canadiense. Unfortunately, Kobra Kai is a big jerk who only cares about himself. The skill is there, but any semblance of teamwork is held together by bubblegum and willpower.
Team Dr. Keith
Members: Brodie Lee, Jimmy Olsen and Colin Olsen
Jimmy and Colin have been buddies of sorts with Brodie Lee… well, maybe buddies isn’t the right word for it. Allies who don’t get beat up as much as people who aren’t allies. Yeah, that’s more like it. At the same time, Colin has been making plenty of appearances in the WWE under the name Colin Delaney and due to him signing a contract mere days before the show, the fate of their team is up in the air. Will he be able to fulfill his obligations, or will Brodie and Jimmy be stuck with a random replacement?
Members: Amasis, Ophidian and MECHA Mummy
2007 introduced the venomous snake-man Ophidian, followed soon after by “the Funky Pharaoh” Amasis. Together, the Osirian Portal have been somewhat successful, but now the Egyptian warriors from days past team up with a more futuristic Egyptian in MECHA Mummy. Last seen having destroyed Mokujin Ken, will MECHA Mummy bring Judgment Day to the world of CHIKARA?
Team El Dorado
Members: Go, Michael Nakazawa and Mototsugu Shimizu
Calling them Team El Dorado isn’t 100% accurate. While Go and Mototsugu Shimizu are regulars from the Japanese wrestling organization, Michael Nakazawa is a freelancer and isn’t held down by any one company. I can’t say I know too much about Go and Shimizu, but they appear to be a lot more straight-laced than their outsider partner, who has a disturbing obsession with oiling himself up excessively as part of his fighting style. Hey, Dino’s not here this year, so somebody has to fill in the quota for crazy Japanese dude that nobody wants to touch.
Members: Martin Stone, Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier
The trio from the United Kingdom are a handful of loudmouthed hooligans who are all tougher than they look. Leading them is Martin Stone (now Danny Burch in NXT), a dominant wrestler who has held all sorts of titles throughout the UK indies. Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier are a long-running tag team called the Kartel and have also scored multiple tag titles throughout Europe. They may talk big, but that doesn’t mean that they’re overcompensating for anything. In fact, that just may cause their opponents to underestimate them.
Members: El Generico, Player Uno and Stupefied
OLE! The ever-ridiculous and talented “Generic Luchador” El Generico has made the occasional appearance at CHIKARA, but this is his first of several delightful showings at King of Trios. With him are the Super Smash Brothers, the team made up of CHIKARA mainstay and video game aficionado Player Uno and his high-flying partner and Vega from Street Fighter enthusiast Stupefied. The representatives from the International Wrestling Syndicate in Canada have the skills to pull off a tournament win, but the teamwork is in question. Uno and Stupefied have had some kinks in their jibing and Stupefied isn’t so happy about Uno constantly wearing tights with a built-in pause button. I mean, really, why would you even do that to yourself?
Members: KUDO, MIYAWAKI and SUSUMU
Also known as “Team DDT”, the finalists from last year’s event return… for the most part. The punch machine Yago isn’t in the lineup, but is instead replaced with SUSUMU, who is less like Yago and MIYAWAKI and more like KUDO in terms of size and speed. MIYAWAKI, meanwhile, has lost a noticeable amount of weight and has somehow de-aged by five years.
Members: Mike Quackenbush, Jorge Rivera and Shane Storm
Jigsaw had flown the coup when it comes to CHIKARA, so Quackenbush replaced him with the experienced mentor Jorge “Skyde” Rivera. Although the players aren’t fully the same, they’re still the team that best represents the company. This variation of last year’s winning team can definitely make it far, but can they go all the way a second time around?
Members: Alex Payne, Rhett Titus and Shane Hagadorn
Curious choice of representatives from Ring of Honor, though I suppose it makes sense. If CHIKARA is based out of a school for budding wrestlers, why not send out students from the ROH Wrestling Academy? All three entrants believe themselves naturally superior to the competition regardless of their experience, but confidence can only bring you so far. “Sugarfoot” Alex Payne, “the Sexiest Man Alive” Rhett Titus and Shane Hagadorn are ready to prove their worth as the future of what wrestling has to offer.
Members: Tim Donst, Andy Sumner and Drew Gulak
Tim Donst, Andy Sumner and Drew Gulak are no strangers to teaming together in a CHIKARA ring. They made their CHIKARA debuts about midway into the ’07 season. Unfortunately, they lost. The three have worked together in various forms throughout the indies, but only Donst has had any real success in CHIKARA. Even then, it’s as an underdog. It’s not a question of how far they can go, but of how long they will last.
Members: Cheech, Cloudy and mc KZ
That… that team name’s not family friendly. Up in Smoke reappear for another go at King of Trios, but since Hallowicked is off with Delirious and Helios, that means they need a new third man. With them is mc KZ, otherwise known as Kzy from Dragon Gate. The rapping Japanese wrestler has no experience working with Cheech and Cloudy, but his upbeat personality and sense of funky optimism makes it easy for them to see eye-to-eye and work together.
Members: Ax, Smash and One Man Gang
Yep. Team WWF. Despite Ax being 60 years old and the others catching up with him, one of the toughest tag teams of the late-80’s joins forces with the large and in charge biker. The power remains, the speed is… well, non-existent and the experience works for and against them. For this one time only, “Pain and Destruction” will be One Man Gang’s middle name too.
Here’s the starting bracket with all the byes for some reason in the same half. Whatever.