Last weekend, I took a trip to New York City to watch a CHIKARA show. Between that and the Boston show that followed, CHIKARA has done six shows since their return announcement at February’s National Pro Wrestling Day. CHIKARA likes to focus on overarching storylines every season and in this one, it’s about CHIKARA vs. a massive villain group called the Flood. Wrestling has had many, many good stable vs. evil stable storylines – CHIKARA specially – but there are two things that make this specific one unique.
First, the Flood isn’t just a stable. It’s a super stable made up of other stables like Devastator from Transformers. Or, to keep the nerd references going, it’s like the Secret Society of Supervillains from DC Comics circa Infinite Crisis. It’s several dozen bad guys from CHIKARA’s past banded together under one banner. I don’t even know if there were this many members of the nWo at any single point.
Second, this war actually has a body count. Going with the comic book nature of CHIKARA’s storytelling, they’re actually killing off wrestlers like it was an event comic. Kind of. For the most part, they aren’t outright saying “dead,” but they are heavily insinuating it.
That’s pretty cool to me because as much as I love a cool stable angle, once it starts going it can be really hard to figure out a satisfying ending. It usually just peters out, the heel team turns against each other, or they do some kind of, “If they lose, they have to break up forever,” stipulation. Even the popular BDK storyline only came to an end because two members burned their bridges with the company, one member got signed by WWE, one left wrestling in general, one turned face, one was written off for health reasons and one wasn’t local enough for the full-time schedule.
The big story from mid-2013 to mid-2014 was that CHIKARA was simply kaput. The corrupt owners Titor Conglomerate ended the company and the workers headed off into a handful of far-less-popular offshoots. CHIKARA guy Icarus started a grassroots campaign to get Titor to sell the rights off while the offshoot promotions were systematically crushed by old heel factions out to destroy what was left of the company until Icarus united the CHIKARA faithful against the Flood at National Pro Wrestling Day and announced the return of CHIKARA.
During that time off, the promotion Wrestling is Fun had a ten-man tag match featuring future Flood members Oleg the Usurper, Max Smashmaster, Blaster McMassive, Flex Rumblecrunch and Jaka. Their opponents were no match for them, but what nobody saw coming was what Oleg did to fan-favorite Dragon Dragon.
My God! That’s barbaric!
At the final Wrestling is Intense show, the main event was Jervis Cottonbelly and octogenarian luchador Darkness Crabtree. 17 and deviANT, members of the long-forgotten GEKIDO, showed up and took them out. 17 threatened to end Jervis unless the promoter ended the company on the spot and he got his wish. While Jervis was spared, Crabtree wasn’t moving and had to be carried to the back. It’s unknown if that beating is what did him in or if it was simply old age, but it was revealed a few months later that he was dead. All of his vast fortune was handed off to his nephew, who joined CHIKARA as the charming “Smooth Sailing” Ashley Remington.
At National Pro Wrestling Day, there was a six-man tag between warring, masked, Euro grapplers the Baltic Siege and the Polar Baron’s Bloc Party. The friendly European trio of the Baltic Siege was captained by the Estonian Thunderfrog, whose gimmick is “that time Thor became a frog” only he’s a wrestler. Personality-wise, he’s like a cross between the “Wild and Crazy Guys” from SNL and Toki Wartooth from Metalocalypse. At the end of the battle, Thunderfrog debuted a new design for his Mjolnir-like hammer (which only he may lift, natch) and jumped off the top rope, using it to crush the sternum of the Brown Morning of Belarus.
The Brown Morning was dragged out of the ring and while he never wrestled again, commentators later stated that he merely suffered a career-ending injury. It’s not quite a death, but it’s important for later.
CHIKARA later released a film called Ashes of CHIKARA that showed the events of the company’s disappearance, leading up to National Pro Wrestling Day. Icarus was helped out by Hallowicked and his trainees, mostly youngsters taking up old CHIKARA gimmicks. One of them, Private Eye Jr., was tasked with keeping an eye out at National Pro Wrestling Day (which seemed easy enough, since his head is a giant eye). When the Flood arrived, he fumbled with his phone for too long and was far too late. Flood member 17 snapped his neck and we haven’t heard a word about him since. He dead.
The end of that show featured the reveal of the Flood’s leader as Jimmy Jacobs (I have to imagine Vin Gerard was penciled in for the role but backed out). A big fight broke out and the CHIKARA guys ultimately won, sending Jacobs and the rest packing. Jacobs later cut a promo about how by trying to destroy CHIKARA, they were trying to protect them from something much, much worse than they can imagine.
CHIKARA’s first show back was the iPPV You Only Live Twice. The very first match was supposed to be fan-favorites the Spectral Envoy taking on BDK members Ares, Nokken and manager Milo Schnitzler, but then out of nowhere Tursas – the giant Viking who is arguably the heart and soul of the BDK – returned and took Milo’s place. The BDK won their match and for the most part, the show fell into the Flood’s favor. Through cheating, they won matches and lost one via disqualification, following it with a beatdown on the Batiri.
The show seemed to end it on a high note, at least, when CHIKARA’s hero Icarus got a long-awaited rematch against Grand Champion Eddie Kingston. Icarus won and his CHIKARA buddies celebrated with him. The show went off the air and everyone was happy.
Then the feed returned as the Flood stormed the ring. A foreboding situation already, but then this guy made his way to the ring, along with Delirious and the long-MIA Soldier Ant.
The Bane-like giant stood along in the ring as a huge CHIKARA/Flood brawl filled the outside. Batiri member Kobald entered the ring and went after the monster with his patented Spear. He merely bounced off like he tried to attack a brick wall. The giant picked Kobald up by the neck and then chokeslammed him onto his knee. He left and all the CHIKARA guys rushed to his side. The usually demonic other members of the Batiri were emotional wrecks and they treated it as if Kobald was literally murdered.
Seriously, the Batiri claimed online that Kobald was “gone” and that they were going to be selling all of his belongings. They also made sure to bring up that they would get vengeance for their little buddy by any means. Meanwhile, Kobald’s picture on the CHIKARA site’s roster page was darkened.
The Flood’s leader was later identified as Deucalion. Deucalion is a name coming from Greek mythology. He’s the son of Prometheus and survived a massive flood brought on by Zeus himself. It’s also worth noting that years ago, there was a blog called No Private Army that was about pointing out all the horrible war crimes Titor Conglomerate was involved in. A sadistic mercenary super soldier was brought up at one point, responsible for the senseless deaths of many under Titor’s umbrella. He was known only as “Duke.”
Also, when he made his debut at the end of You Only Live Twice, Flood member Dr. Cube was seen trying to sneak away while shaking his head. Even though victory was theirs, he was still too horrified to remain in Deucalion’s presence, which seemed odd. If you look at the footage, even the guys in the Flood are taken aback when he slams Kobald over his knee.
For the record, by the time You Only Live Twice ended, the Flood consisted of Deucalion, Jimmy Jacobs, 17, deviANT, Jigsaw, Shard, Arctic Rescue Ant, Missile Assault Ant, Orbit Adventure Ant, Ares, Tursas, Nokken, Milo Schnitzler, Sidney Bakabella, Jaka, Blaster McMassive, Max Smashmaster, Flex Rumblecrunch, Oleg the Usurper, Dr. Cube, Haack, Slaash, Sinn Bodhi, Oliver Grimsley, Qefka the Quiet, Soldier Ant and Delirious. So that’s a big stable.
CHIKARA performed three shows one weekend in June and this time, the CHIKARA side started fighting back. With a couple minor exceptions, the CHIKARA vs. Flood matches almost entirely ended in the good guys’ favor. Over the two days, they made the Flood look like fools again and again. The final match of the weekend was a ten-man tag and once again, the Flood was defeated. deviANT ate the pin.
Once again, Deucalion walked out. The five defeated wrestlers in the ring shook in their boots and Deucalion lashed out by delivering his chokeslam/backbreaker to deviANT. The evil ant was taken off the table as punishment for his failure.
Last weekend’s Saturday show featured another ten-man tag, which ended with a sudden roll up from Flood member Sinn Bodhi. They won cheaply, but the five-on-five brawl continued. Tursas and Nokken decimated Jervis Cottonbelly with a series of attacks that ended with Tursas splashing him from the top rope. Considering Tursas’ size, they could have easily sold that as career-threatening. They tried the same against the Latvian Proud Oak and he got pulled out of the ring at the last second, causing Tursas to crash into the ring. Estonian Thunderfrog took out his giant hammer, jumped off the top and slammed it hard into Tursas.
Again, this was treated as absolutely devastating. When a fan told CHIKARA wrestler Dasher Hatfield what just happened, Dasher made sure to note that Tursas was more than just “knocked out.” While the others didn’t approve, Thunderfrog threatened Nokken with his hammer, but thought better of it and instead went to go check on Cottonbelly. The Flood members were pretty horrified at Tursas’ lack of movement and called for the other members of their gang to help move him.
The day after, the Baltic Siege and the Bloc Party had one more battle. An elimination tag match where the winners got to wave their flags. In the end, Thunderfrog was the sole survivor, proudly waving the flag of Estonia. But then the Flood stormed the ring and with them came Deucalion. Once again, another one of CHIKARA’s warriors was broken over his knee.
That was really surprising too, considering Thunderfrog is a pretty popular staple in that side of the indies. I guess the guy under the mask has just decided to hang it up. Either way, Thunderfrog and Tursas’ headshots are darkened out on the site’s roster page.
There are two more CHIKARA shows before King of Trios in September, but there’s yet to be a single team of three announced for the tournament. Instead, we just know that “sure thing” teams have been torn apart. The Batiri won’t be making it. The BDK probably won’t be competing unless Milo starts wrestling. The Baltic Siege most definitely won’t be there.
While I’ll miss some of those wrestlers who “aren’t with us anymore,” I have to say that I love this story. This isn’t just two factions trading pins. This is a war with casualties. We only have a couple months until CHIKARA’s season finale, so I have to imagine they plan to wrap it up in that time.
Now that I think about it, Deucalion is basically the company’s video game endboss. King of Trios is very similar to the video game series King of Fighters, only in those games, when you win the tournament, your team has to face a lone, unstoppable villain. Perhaps Trios will end with the winning team being able to stand up to the titan and turning the tide.