Prelude to King of Trios 2009
After 2008 proved how big they could get, CHIKARA figured maybe they should scale it back just a little for 2009. Things became far more refined and bigger indy names were brought in for star power, such as Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries and the return of El Generico. This would be the first year to give us the format that the company would stick with for the following few years.
Previously on CHIKARA…
2008 was a time of friendships exploding. UltraMantis Black brainwashed Tim Donst into becoming a member of the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple, but Donst was only pretending for the sake of gathering intel. Not only did he end up befriending Hydra and convince him to split from UltraMantis, but he found out that Shane Storm was selling Mike Quackenbush’s secrets to the rudos for help in stopping his losing streak. Quack viciously attacked his former friend and Storm became a pariah in the locker room.
Vin Gerard continued to reign victorious against the masked tecnicos of CHIKARA and gained an ally in Shane Storm – renamed STIGMA. Although Fire Ant defeated Gerard at the finals for the Young Lions Cup tournament, Gerard defeated him in the rematch. Gerard and STIGMA also gained a new ally in Colin Delaney, who came back from his less-than-successful WWE run. Together they called themselves the UnStable.
As for last year’s winners, the remainder of 2008 was a mixed bag. El Pantera had a handful of matches before returning to Mexico. Incognito won the big Rey de Voladores tournament. Lince had a series of matches against Eddie Kingston, losing repeatedly but always insisting on another match. Due to personal circumstances, Eddie left the company for much of the year and Lince was inserted into the UnStable storyline. Many fans became unenthused with his push and turned on him quite a bit. It got so bad that during their matches, Eddie would have to shout at the crowd that Lince almost died that one time in order to force sympathy.
When Colin was in WWE for a few months, his brother Jimmy believed him to be on the CHIKARA roster thanks to Gerard whispering in his ear and would unmask different wrestlers to see if they were Colin. Colin betrayed him upon return and Jimmy began his road to revenge by teaming up with Lince. He then decided to become the new Equinox, reprising Gerard’s old identity to successfully get under his skin. By the end of the year, he defeated Gerard for the Young Lions Cup.
The same year also gave us Claudio Castagnoli’s major feud with Brodie Lee as the Swiss wrestler decided to knock that bully down a peg. Their initial matches led to disqualifications and a No DQ match led to the Fabulous Three interfering, so the big blowoff was done via the company’s first and only ever steel cage match. Claudio won decisively.
With sixteen teams, each team would perform on the first night. Night 1 would be only first round battles, eliminating half of the roster in one go. Night 2 would feature the elite eight competing as well as two Rey de Voladores matches. These matches would be four-way elimination style. Night 3 would give us the semis, the finals, the Rey de Voladores finals and, of course, the Tag Gauntlet.
From here on out, this would be the permanent format for King of Trios.
Also, just for 2009, the matches that aren’t for King of Trios or Rey de Voladores would be dedicated to showcasing other promotions.
The Cold Front
Members: Al Snow, Glacier and Iceberg
Glacier had tasted the acceptance of the CHIKARA audience and he wants more. This time, he’s brought a team of his own. The febrile-minded veteran Al Snow, bringing Head with him and rounding out the team is the behemoth Iceberg. The three have all performed on the mainstream stages, such as WCW, ECW, WWE and TNA, so although they aren’t personally familiar with each other and are only linked by their cold-based names, they’re all pretty tough customers. Glacier’s in luck, as he has some unfinished business with one of his first round opponents.
Da Soul Touchaz
Members: Marshe Rockett, Trauma and Willie Richardson
The breakout stars of the 2008 King of Trios return, albeit in a new form. Acid Jaz is on the injured list, so he’s replaced by “the Urban Gladiator” Trauma, a large guy who is almost at Willie’s size. The faction has gotten more acquainted with CHIKARA over the past year, including when the company traveled into their neck of the woods. Accompanied by C. Red and their new valet Diamond, they’re ready to Soulja Boy dance their way to the top.
The Death Match Kings
Members: Necro Butcher, Brain Damage and Toby Klein
The insane brawler Necro Butcher is no stranger to the CHIKARA ring. Years earlier, he was revealed to be the man behind the mask of the parody wrestler CP Munk. He enters his first and only King of Trios tournament alongside his CZW tag partner Toby Klein and Klein’s prized pupil Brain Damage. These three guys may need to scale down their intensity just a little bit for the trios tournament, but you can’t help but pity whoever gets in their way first.
The F1rst Family
Members: Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz
The CHIKARA regulars make yet another go at the trios medals. Arik Cannon and his two protégés haven’t made any major impacts on the company since last year, but at least Ryan Cruz has gotten a haircut and looks slightly less like Matt Hardy. That’s something.
Members: Icarus, Gran Akuma and Chuck Taylor
Two of the only trios to compete in the first two King of Trios tournaments were FIST and the Colony. Rather than give both a spot in the bracket, they were forced to qualify against each other. Not only did FIST win, but they gave Worker Ant a career-ending injury. With that momentum pushing them, they hope to not only make it to Night 3 for the third time in a row, but to this time surpass all the other teams.
The Future is Now
Members: Lince Dorado, Equinox II and Helios
Lince Dorado and Jimmy Olsen ended up being forced into a tag team during a Lethal Lottery one-night tournament. They ended up warming up to each other over their hatred of Vin Gerard and the UnStable, especially after Jimmy donned the Equinox mask. Helios, also vexed by the UnStable, joined with them to become the Future is Now. The three fast-paced, masked good guys are ready to dive through the competition and get Lince his second King of Trios victory in a row.
Members: Delirious, Hallowicked and Frightmare
Sometime during 2008, Hallowicked introduced Frightmare, his savage and psychotic sidekick. The scarecrow-looking mini-madman joins his mentor and his mentor’s best buddy Delirious. Last year they had Helios as the straight man, but this time around it’s pure chaos. It’s a wonder if anyone can reign them in.
The Masters of a Thousand Holds
Members: Mike Quackenbush, Jorge Rivera and Johnny Saint
Although Mike Quackenbush has reconnected with Jigsaw, the two don’t recombine their forces for the tournament this year. Instead, Quackenbush goes with his own super-team of men who have been referred to at one time or another as “the Master of a Thousand Holds”. Having Jorge “Skayde” Rivera at his side is a no-brainer, but the big surprise is having semi-retired mat legend of England Johnny Saint join the team. He’s crossed paths with Quack during CHIKARA’s trek to England and this is the 67-year-old’s first foray in America. He may be old, but he’s still incredibly fit and has enough up his sleeve to outwit anyone to get their hands on him.
The Osirian Portal
Members: Amasis, Ophidian and Escorpion Egipcio
It’s been a good year for the Egyptian rudos. Amasis and Ophidian ended 2008 by earning three points and defeating the Super Smash Brothers for the Campeanos de Parejas. Due to an injury, Amasis had to take leave for a bit and was replaced with their new enforcer, the massive Escorpion Egipcio. He helped keep the belt warm for his recovery. Now the three are in full capacity and are ready to prove how unbeatable they are as a unit.
Members: Eddie Kingston, Brodie Lee and Grizzly Redwood
Eddie Kingston and Brodie Lee have walked similar paths in the last year and a half in the company, laying waste to everyone in their way. Rather than turn their ire on each other, they’ve formed a tough guy kinship and have decided to work together. With them is Brodie’s little buddy, Grizzly Redwood. The short lumberjack lacks the size of his partners, but he’s still chiseled for a man his height and is adept to chopping down bigger opponents. Brodie’s pretty cool with the bearded fighter, but Eddie thinks very – *ahem* – little of what he brings to the table.
Members: Beef Wellington, Greg Excellent and Pinkie Sanchez
Combat Zone Wrestling has always had an on-again/off-again relationship with CHIKARA and it makes sense that of all the representatives to send to their big tournament, they would send three of their goofiest wrestlers. The goofball duo of Beef Wellington and Greg Excellent have just come off a reign as CZW tag champions under the name Two Girls, One Cup… something that you won’t see referenced by CHIKARA. The unorthodox Pinkie Sanchez has dabbled in CHIKARA a handful of times and has been trying to find his place in the company. Hopefully, some success in the tournament will land him some respect.
Members: Kota Ibushi, KUDO and Michael Nakazawa
KUDO and Michael Nakazawa, two Japanese favorites from previous years of the tournament, return and join forces, representing Dramatic Dream Team. The martial artist master of double knees and the oil-obsessed grappler are joined by Kota Ibushi, one of the most impressive professional wrestlers of the past few years. A rising star in Japan, Kota’s reputation precedes him to the American crowd. Those who haven’t heard of him will soon be knocked back by what he has to offer.
Team EPIC WAR
Members: Austin Aries, Ryan Drago and Tony Kozina
The three wrestlers from the federation hybrid that is EPIC WAR should be on the same page, but are anything but. Ryan Drago demands victory, but is also a giant jerk about it. Tony Kozina is pretty neutral about everything and only wishes that his partners don’t abandon him, as he’s had a history with that. Then there’s Austin Aries, who had recently turned heel in EPIC WAR, but is currently so excited about making fans happy with his high-flying excitement. Yeah!
Members: El Generico, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson
What a sweet grouping we have here. “The Generic Luchador” returns to trios action yet again, this time representing Pro Wrestling Guerilla. Along with him are the new hotness of the tag team world, the Young Bucks. Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson come off as the next step of evolution in the pattern of the Rockers and the Hardy Boyz. The flippy brothers will make many appearances in CHIKARA over the years, but their ladder to success starts at King of Trios 2009.
Members: Claudio Castagnoli, Bryan Danielson and Dave Taylor
The larger-than-life Claudio Castagnoli is considered to be one of the top heroes of the company and one of the bigger names of the indy circuit. He captains his own team this year and brings in a rival and a mentor. Bryan Danielson – now world famous as WWE’s Daniel Bryan – has been celebrated as the “Best in the World” and is able to put aside any differences he has with Claudio to work together. With them is seasoned veteran and former WWE trainer Dave Taylor. Much like the Masters of a Thousand Holds, this is a dream team of wrestling. It’s only a matter of time before those two trios face each other from across the ring.
Members: Vin Gerard, STIGMA and Colin Delaney
The anti-CHIKARA trio that used to call themselves Equinox, Shane Storm and Colin Olsen try to shake off their losing efforts from the end of the 2008 season. They know that they need to remind the locker room and all the fans that despite the inclusion of top-notch talent like Johnny Saint, Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries, the three outcasts are still capable of taking the CHIKARA ring by storm. To show their solidarity, Gerard and Delaney have both taken to growing mustaches like that of their partner STIGMA’s mask. That’ll show the world!
Here’s the brackets.
We’ll see how this plays out next time.