You may have noticed that for the past week or so, I haven’t said a damn word on this site. That’s because last Friday I went off to Philadelphia for the three day CHIKARA wrestling show known as King of Trios ’08. What a blast.
Me hanging out with Stupefied, El Generico and Player Uno. This should be the new Mount Rushmore.
King of Trios was the biggest tournament in wrestling history, featuring 28 sets of three-man tag teams. The first two days would feature 14 teams each, whittled down to four teams after ten matches and two byes. By the third night, they’re down to eight teams, with several non-tournament matches added on. Follow that? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that there were 31 matches over the course of three days and it was rocktastical.
That’s not to say that there weren’t any disappointments in the roster. CHIKARA top guys Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli are in Japan, so they missed out. Plus some of the more memorable guest stars from last year like Yago, Dino and American Balloon weren’t returning. Despite that, we had some of the reliable mainstays, surprisingly entertaining new guys and some bizarre surprises.
Night 1 was on Friday. Due to my friend Dave taking his sweet-ass time getting ready, we got there a little after the doors had opened. One of the matches of the night involved CHIKARA’s resident team of over-the-top evildoers the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple taking on three of Kaiju Big Battel’s monster athletes Call-Me-Kevin, Unibouzo and D.W. Cycloptopuss III, otherwise known as the Sea Amigos. Prior to the match, the Order’s ringleader UltraMantis Black revealed his earth-shattering alliance with Kaiju’s top villain Dr. Cube and joined him in a round of maniacal laughter.
One of the guest wrestlers was Michael Nakazawa from Japan, whose entire gimmick was an absolute riot. He came to the ring wearing tiny red shorts with two open lines going down the back, showing us more of his ass than anyone really wants to see. More importantly, he’s completely covered with body oil and continues to douse himself with more at every opportunity. Sitting in the second row, I screamed a horrified, “WHY?!” to which he gleefully replied, “Because I’m SEXY!”
He was so greased up that nobody could get a good enough hold on him, not that anyone really wanted to touch him. At one point, when an opponent was on the top rope, he poured the oil into his mouth and spat it out like mist at the guy’s feet, causing him to slip off the top rope. I love Nakazawa.
Also showing up for the first time in CHIKARA was Team IPW:UK, made up of Martin Stone, Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier. These guys came off as rowdy English hooligans and it worked to a T. Every wrestler wishes they could control a crowd as well as these guys could. Plus their theme song “Vindaloo” by Fat Les has been stuck in my head for days.
Saturday had a Fan Conclave event, which was very nice. For a few hours, the fans got to hang around the arena and talk with the different wrestlers. Not only did I get a bunch of pictures with different guys, but they had a Q&A session and over the course of the event, the fans got to play against the CHIKARA wrestlers in Fire Pro R, which was broadcasted on the big screen. Oh, and another CHIKARA guy accepted my offer at an interview.
That night we had the second set of matches. Team F1RST (Arik Cannon, Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz) vs. Team IWS (El Generico, Player Uno and Stupefied) absolutely stole the show. It also introduced us to Da Soul Touchaz, a highly entertaining team made up of “Mr. M-80” Marshe Rockett, “Hott Chocolate” Acid Jaz, Willie “Da Bomb” Richardson and their manager C. Red. I’ve never seen a team win over the crowd as fast as these guys. Especially Willie Richardson, whose 300+ lbs. frame didn’t stop him from keeping up with the rest in terms of speed and agility. After their second and final match, the crowd stood up and gave them a deafening chant of, “PLEASE COME BACK!” which they really looked to appreciate.
Another highlight is the Los Ice Creams match, where we got to find out who the team’s mystery third man was. Usually in these situations, Leonard Chikarason would pull a name out of a hat. The first name would be somebody outlandish who obviously wasn’t in the arena and therefore would forfeit. The second name was usually the correct one. In this instance, the first name was Iceman King Parsons, who of course wasn’t there. The second name was Lance Steel, a CHIKARA regular who would have been a huge letdown of a reveal. The ref came out of the back, saying that Lance wasn’t there, getting a positive reaction from the crowd.
The next name that came up was Glacier, a Sub-Zero of Mortal Kombat knockoff who wrestled for a while in WCW. A lot of the fans thought this was another joke, but wouldn’t you know it, Glacier was there in full ninja armor. The CHIKARA audience was absolutely perfect for the guy, who got some of the most positive ovations in his career, I’m sure. He competed in the Night 3 and seemed to really enjoy the crowd’s chants of, “BLOOD RUNS COLD!” and “GLACIER’S GONNA KILL YOU!”
Poor Hydra can’t catch a break. At least, not the good kind of break.
One of the teams competing that night was Team WWF, made up of Demolition Ax, Demolition Smash and the One Man Gang. Hoo boy. As cool as it was to see these guys together, nostalgia doesn’t hide the fact that they are very old. Ax is 60 years old and he looks to be in the best shape. One Man Gang looks like that creepy, old guy from the later episodes of Ren & Stimpy. At the very least, they did have Larry Sweeney challenge One Man Gang to a “strut-off”, leading to the two of them dancing around to One Man Gang’s old Akeem the African Dream theme song, “Jive Soul Bro”.
The third night finished off the tournament while giving us a handful of matches made up of guys eliminated from the first two nights, such as a tag team gauntlet match. They had screwed around with the brackets, completely screwing with my predictions, as the opening match of the Colony vs. Team F.I.S.T. was what I figured was going to be the finals. Either way, the results turned out to be very exciting and a great way to finish off a fantastic weekend.
I’m stealing this line from someone, but King of Trios isn’t so much a wrestling tournament or a wrestling event, but more of a wrestling party. It’s just one, big good time.
Now that I got that out of the way, I can get back to writing about actual comics. I have to kick it into gear as, much like my Funnybook cousins, I’m totally riding hermanos’ coattails by writing for Pop Culture Shock. Please let me not suck with this.
Here are some more pictures from the Fan Conclave.
Meeting up with Amasis, who I just interviewed a short while back. I had a picture taken with Ophidian, but whoever took the picture decided to only film a tenth of his head.
Hallowicked’s distracted by something shiny.
Me and Hydra. I know what you’re thinking. There go the two most powerful forces on this Earth.
You can’t see it, but Call-Me-Kevin is hugging me here.
Paying homage to my master UltraMantis Black.
Kicking it with Fire Ant, Soldier Ant and Worker Ant from the Colony.