As the year reaches towards its end, the dynamic independent wrestling promotion CHIKARA reaches the climactic conclusion of its 11th season. It’s been a year based on dissent and revenge and on Sunday, December 2nd, it all comes to a head in Philadelphia for their iPPV, Under the Cowl. It’s available to stream live at Smart Mark Video at 4pm for $16.99.
Here’s what’s on tap.
Stipulation: Championship Match for the CHIKARA Grand Championship
At last year’s season finale, “the War King” Eddie Kingston decisively defeated Mike Quackenbush to be crowned the very first CHIKARA Grand Champion. The gruff anti-hero of CHIKARA has taken his spot seriously and has become a fighting champion, albeit usually defending against those who slight him in order to goad him into a defense. Over the year, he’s succeeded in taking down challengers Vin Gerard, Brodie Lee, Kevin Steen, Jigsaw, Dasher Hatfield, Sara Del Rey and Tadasuke. While insistent on defending the title of the company he loves, his body hasn’t been holding up entirely well over the year and his knee has had a bullseye on it for quite some time.
Tim Donst came to CHIKARA as a positive young kid trying to make a name for himself with his amateur wrestling background. Over time, he became bitter and turned on his friends, joining up with the invading stable, the BDK. He rose up the ranks in the BDK and ended up winning the Young Lions Cup during his tenure with the group. He became obsessed with proving himself to be the best Young Lions Cup winner of all time and this led to a lengthy feud with the original Young Lions Cup winner Hallowicked. Donst pulled every cheat he could and even tried outright murder against his rival, but in the end, Hallowicked won. Donst became a broken shell of a man after that, worshipping Hallowicked like a god, but feeling depressed over his own lack of identity. While the BDK is long disbanded, Donst and personal ring announcer Jakob Hammermeier remained a team together. They were best friends, but after the loss against Hallowicked, Donst has become cold, distant and abusive to the adorable Jakob.
Back in 2007, when Tim Donst was still very new, he was thrown into a match against a villainous Kingston. Back then, Kingston insisted on having a match against then-rival Hallowicked, but it was refused due to several issues. He took his aggressions out on Donst in a brutal match that first showed what kind of damage Donst was capable of fighting through. Over the years, they’ve clashed several times, always reminding of their first meeting. After Kingston’s last title defense, Donst attacked him and came to a realization that Kingston is the crux of all of his problems. Kingston never did get his commuppance for his bullying actions and yet people still cheer him. Donst started a credo that, “Karma doesn’t exist, but Tim Donst does.” The two were forced to team with each other in an 8-on-8 Cibernetico match, where Donst turned on Kingston near the end. When their team won and they were the only two remaining, the rules stated that they had to fight it out. That fit Donst just fine and through some underhanded actions, he took Kingston down with a warning that he’d take the Grand Championship at Under the Hood.
Stipulation: Championship Match for the Campeonatos de Parejas, Best 2 out of 3 Falls
The 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty shouldn’t need much introduction. Jannetty wrestled through the 80′s and early 90′s as one-half of the tag team specialists the Rockers along with the legendary Shawn Michaels. In recent years, he’s become a trainer at the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory and even accompanied the Young Bucks to the ring at last year’s season finale. Sean Waltman has wrestled under many monikers over the decades, but the 1-2-3 Kid is the one that got him to the dance. He returned to that gimmick for the first time in many years at King of Trios 2011 and since returned a year later at King of Trios 2012.
The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) are themselves tag team specialists, drawing many comparisons to the Rockers and the Hardy Boyz. They’ve been a major staple in the independents, most notably Ring of Honor. 2012 has given us a Cold War of sorts between CHIKARA and Ring of Honor and one of the biggest shots fired was when the Young Bucks defeated FIST for the Campeonatos de Parejas (tag belts) at the last iPPV. Considering CHIKARA a haven for nerds, they looked down on the company and acted delighted in stealing away one of their three championships. While Ring of Honor may have lost the war, the Bucks still hold the titles and don’t plan to lose them any time soon.
The third night of King of Trios traditionally has a Tag Gauntlet where ten or so teams come out one after the other. While the 1-2-3 Kid was already around for the weekend, he surprised everyone by bringing his short-lived WWF tag partner Marty Jannetty with him. The two appeared towards the end and defeated both the Powers of Pain and Los Ice Creams, gaining them two points towards title contention. Later on, they earned their third point against the Heartthrobs. The Young Bucks respect what the 1-2-3 Kid and Jannetty once were, but not what they’ve become. The two of them winning the WWF Tag Team Championship was inspiring, but that was also about twenty years ago. They see no problem in retaining their belts.
On one side, we have the Spectral Envoy, led by UltraMantis Black. The over-the-top supervillain used to be obsessed with world domination, but his experiences against the BDK faction led to him rekindling his friendship with longtime rival Hallowicked. Along with Hallowicked’s insane protégé Frightmare, the Spectral Envoy became a tightly-knit trio and brought UltraMantis his first taste of major success in all his many years in CHIKARA as they won the 2012 King of Trios tournament. They couldn’t have done it without the help of the returning Crossbones, the longtime minion to UltraMantis. Rounding out the team is Blind Rage, a wrestler from CHIKARA’s first year who originally turned UltraMantis to the dark side. He’s allied with him back in the day, but hasn’t been seen in exactly five years… coincidentally in a big tag match against Delirious’ team.
Their opponents are led by Delirious, once a madcap goofball, now an ominous agent of vengeance. Despite his deep friendship with Hallowicked, Delirious is obsessed with making UltraMantis suffer and has created an army of other macabre members of the CHIKARA roster. The sinister and snake-like Ophidian recently went under a transformation of his own, unmasking his former partners Amasis and Hieracon and sacrificing said masks to a higher power. He watches over the Batiri, a trio of demonic trolls made up of Obariyon, Kodama and “the Prince of All Goblins” Kobald. For reasons never truly explained, the four of them are completely loyal to Delirious to almost a religious degree.
To keep a long story from getting too long, UltraMantis Black mind-controlled Delirious with an artifact called the Eye of Tyr, the BDK stole the artifact and made Delirious their slave and after over two years, Delirious was freed of its spell. He isn’t willing to forgive or forget that UltraMantis stole two years of his life and has since warned that he will make two years of UltraMantis’ life a living Hell in return. He’s stalked him from afar during his matches and eventually sought out Ophidian and the Batiri to be his followers. He has been fairly hands-off for 2012, but made an appearance during the finals of King of Trios. Thankfully for the Spectral Envoy, Crossbones made his return and disposed of Delirious before he could do any damage. Delirious has since recovered and has only begun to make UltraMantis pay.
Stipulation: Winning Team Becomes #1 Contender for the Campeonatos de Parejas
3.0 is a tag team made up of “Big Magic” Shane Matthews and Scott “Jagged” Parker. The two are so over-the-top in their mannerisms and behavior that it’s somehow both obnoxious and inspiring. It’s only been until recently that they’ve found their groove as a team, so every battle they take part in paints them as underdogs due to their losing history. During 2012, they spent a short time on top as the Campeones de Parejas, but are intent on getting back that spot.
On the other side, Chuck Taylor and Johnny Gargano make up one half of FIST alongside Icarus and their reluctant partner Sugar Dunkerton (who they hate just as much, if not more so). The duo from FIST make fitting counterparts to 3.0 as both teams exceed in the loudmouth department. These two went into 2012 as the Campeones de Parejas, lost the titles under controversial means, regained them shortly after and then lost them yet again.
There’s been a lot of lead-up between this match. Back in March, 3.0 earned a title shot against the champs, but Gargano was on the shelf due to a back injury, so he was replaced with FIST teammate Icarus. The deciding fall of the match came to an end when Matthews made Icarus tap to the Boston Crab. Taylor and Gargano weren’t allowed an instant return match despite the unfair situation, but won all three points towards title contention in a single Four Corners Elimination Match by pinning all three opposing teams. Around this time, 3.0 got in a rivalry with the Bravado Brothers from Ring of Honor, who horribly damaged Parker’s ribs after a match out of spite. This was only a day before the scheduled 3.0 vs. FIST title defense and Parker’s injured ribs gave FIST the advantage they needed to become the Campeones again.
FIST eventually lost the belts in a hard-fought match against the Young Bucks where due to the invading threat of the Young Bucks stealing away CHIKARA’s belts, FIST were actually the ones the crowd cheered for. FIST spent most of the remaining year dealing with being stuck with Sugar Dunkerton as their fourth member while 3.0 continued to feud with the Bravado Brothers. Recently, FIST won two tag matches (including one against Icarus and Sugar), giving them two points. 3.0 won a Four Corners Elimination Match where they got two of the falls, also giving them two points. That means that in this match, the winning team gets three points and a title shot. The other guys will be back to zero to start all over again.
Stipulation: Championship Match for the Young Lions Cup
ACH (standing for Attitude, Charisma and Heart) is new to CHIKARA. He was invited to this year’s Young Lions Cup tournament after making his name in the indies. Despite only competing in three matches in CHIKARA, all part of that tournament, he’s succeeded in impressing many with his unique, charismatic and agile wrestling style. The man appears to break the rules of physics at times, including his ability to do a front-flipping kip-up off his stomach.
“Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti, otherwise known as “the Interception of Perfection”, is one of the true highlights of CHIKARA in 2012. The nerd-hating quarterback has succeeded in putting together one impressive win-loss record in his rookie year. Usually teaming with his goody-two-shoes step-cousin-in-law Dasher Hatfield, Mr. Touchdown tends to pull out a victory by hook or by crook. And when it’s by crook, it’s usually behind Dasher’s back, much to the delight of his cheerleader girlfriend Veronica.
Months back, ACH and Mr. Touchdown made it to the finals of the Young Lions Cup tournament. The two fought tooth-and-nail and while Veronica was able to distract the ref from making the count after ACH hit a second-rope 450 Splash, Dasher carried her off backstage so to keep this marquee match honest. As Dasher had hoped, Mr. Touchdown cleanly defeated ACH and won the Young Lions Cup. He’s held onto the trophy ever since and having licked his wounds, ACH wants another shot, insisting he’s better and stronger than ever.
I’m going to have to go out of order on this one. Mike Quackenbush is the founder and head trainer at CHIKARA, known as “the Man of 1,000 Holds” due to his encyclopedic mind when it comes to in-ring attacks and counters. For years, he’s fought alongside Jigsaw, known as his prized pupil, to the point that they even had a reign as the Campeones de Parejas for a while. They’d regularly ally themselves with the Colony, a popular trio of ant-based wrestlers with a roster recently made up of Soldier Ant, Fire Ant and Green Ant.
At the beginning of the year, a stable came to be called GEKIDO, which included an evil version of Jigsaw named the Shard and an evil Colony called the Swarm, which included deviANT, assailANT and combatANT while being led by a masked master of holds named 17. The Swarm and Shard were washouts of the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory’s system who came back with intent on destroying the CHIKARA locker room without paying the dues they’re supposed to endure.
Along with Eddie Kingston, the aforementioned CHIKARA representatives feuded with GEKIDO over the course of the first half of 2012. Usually at 17′s hands, various people in the CHIKARA roster were permanently injured while Mike Quackenbush had his wrist broken and Fire Ant damaged his leg. CHIKARA finally got a major win over them in a 10-man tag at the last iPPV. As the CHIKARA guys celebrated, Quackenbush grabbed 17 by the hands, told him something ominous and broke his enemy’s fingers.
CHIKARA’s oblivious Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur – whose incompetence has allowed GEKIDO to get away with so much in the first place – created a new system called Chikarametrics that would create new teams and stables based on math that only made sense to him. While this included teaming up 3.0 with Gran Akuma and putting Sugar Dunkerton with FIST, this also meant reconfiguring the two ant teams. Soldier Ant and assailANT were traded by his edict, making it so that the Colony is Fire Ant, Green Ant and assailANT while the Swarm is deviANT, combatANT and Soldier ANT. Nobody liked this and Soldier Ant considered himself a prisoner of war.
Although the war felt won, Quackenbush was still angry that GEKIDO were still around and wasn’t through with them. Just defeating them in the ring wasn’t going to be enough. In a tag match against 17, he delivered all four variations of his Quackendriver to the point that not only was the match thrown out due to disqualification, but 17′s career was ended. At King of Trios, Quackenbush’s team eliminated the Swarm, but after the match, Quackenbush got a hold of combatANT and snapped his neck. He hasn’t been heard from since. Jigsaw was incensed at this and even Soldier Ant was taken aback. This led to a lot of animosity between Quackenbush and Jigsaw both in and outside the ring. Quackenbush, now in full Frank Castle mode, has insisted that he will make all of GEKIDO pay, eye-for-an-eye style.
With only three members of GEKIDO left, deviANT appears to be the same scummy guy as ever. Shard has been able to get respect from the CHIKARA locker room through a series of hard-fought matches with members of the roster. assailANT, on the other hand, appears to be a turncoat. He’s enjoyed his time as a member of the Colony and is trying as hard as he can to get everyone to like him. His new partners refuse to trust him, but he’s slowly and surely been showing that he’s capable of being a team player to the point that some of the fans are beginning to turn around on him.
After defeating Fire Ant cleanly, Shard started attacking the knee until Quackenbush rushed into the ring to scare him off. Jigsaw tried to hold him back, but Quackenbush went on a rant about how GEKIDO must be stopped. He asked Jigsaw what they should do about it and Jigsaw answered by superkicking Quackenbush in the face and leaving the ring with Shard as a confused Green Ant looked on. If anything, this match will be interesting in seeing what happens when Quackenbush is forced to work alongside the well-meaning assailANT.
“The Old-Timey King of Swing” Dasher Hatfield is a turn-of-the-century baseball player and a staple of the roster ever since his days as Create-a-Wrestler. Since a fan contest had given him this identity, he’s endured through the years as a likeable gentleman with a love for America’s pastime. For a long time he was in a tag team with basketball player Sugar Dunkerton, but for reasons even he doesn’t understand, now only teams exclusively with Mr. Touchdown. While he understands Touchdown’s tendency to cheat, Dasher insists that they can succeed without having to resort to that.
Icarus has been part of CHIKARA since the very beginning and has been the bane of its existence. The leader of FIST, he’s been horrifying audiences for years with his terrible back tattoo and will get fans begging him to keep his shirt on during his matches. He flaunts it in retaliation for those who constantly chant at him for being “Worst in the World” as he’s learned to embrace its badness. Despite being CHIKARA’s favorite punching bag, he’s still won his share of major victories and titles.
Over the course of two days, Dasher twice defeated Icarus in singles competition only for Icarus to attack him after the match and leave him lying with the Pedigree. Dasher wants another shot to teach him a lesson. The big elephant in the room during all of this is the involvement of Sugar Dunkerton, forced member of FIST. Sugar will most likely be wistful for his old partner Dasher, but the way he’s been ignored for the past year mixed with his intent to make his teaming with Icarus work could lead to something ugly.
Other than these seven matches, the show will also celebrate CHIKARA’s return to their home of Philadelphia by crowning a Homecoming King and Queen. This movement is headed by Veronica and considering she’s one of two regular women involved with CHIKARA (and Saturyne is currently on the shelf with an injury), it seems that she’s a lock for being the queen. But who will her king be? Sure, she may feel that Mr. Touchdown is definite, but she’s also had eyes for the Mysterious and Handsome Stranger… a masked man who looks suspiciously like Archibald Peck, the man she dumped for Mr. Touchdown. A masked man who appeared within the last few months with a ton of momentum and a handful of victories. The man who is out for Mr. Touchdown’s blood after he senselessly killed the Stranger’s faithful pigeon Sapphire.
So yeah, check out Under the Hood this Sunday afternoon. It’ll be a good time.