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Contemplating CHIKARA 03.22.09: A Jumbo-Sized King of Trios Preview!

March 22, 2009 | Posted by Kevin Ford

Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of Contemplating CHIKARA! Before I continue, I want to sincerely thank everyone who read my first column. I was overwhelmed at the amount of response it generated, and it re-affirmed my decision to join the 411 family. Thanks again, and keep the comments coming! I love reading them.

This weeks version of Contemplating CHIKARA is a big one. We are now six days away for the biggest event on the 2009 calendar for CHIKARA; The King of Trios tournament! This column will discuss all the first round matches of the tournament, as well as all the other currently scheduled non-tournament bouts in CHIKARA.

Since 2005, CHIKARA has kicked off the first quarter of the year with a gigantic team tournament. Although there was a Tag World Grand Prix in 2003, it was nowhere near the size or grandeur of its 2005 and 2006 counter parts. After the first Campeones de Parejas were decided in 2006 Tag World (still heralded by many as the best tournament in company history), CHIKARA decided to kick off 2007 with the first King of Trios tournament. They repeated feat in 2008, in a weekend that gave CHIKARA much notoriety and very successful selling DVD’s (they are still the top 3 sellers on Smart Mark Video’s website after being on sale for over a year). It’s no wonder than that CHIKARA would repeat one of its most popular weekends again in 2009.

This year, CHIKARA has assembled 48 men that will comprise 16 teams competing for the right to be called the 2009 King of Trios. Men from the U.S., Canada, Japan, Mexico, England, etc. have come from all around to compete. This year’s tournament arguably has the most star-power than years prior, with many long-awaited CHIKARA debuts. With that said, let us look at the first round matches.

We kick things off with a little inter-promotional battle. The First Family of Arik Cannon and The North Star Express (Darin Corbin & Ryan Cruz) come in representing the F1RST pro wrestling group. They look to take on Team EPIC WAR, representing the West Coast group of the same namesake. Making up the group is Ryan Drago, Tony Kozina, and the company’s first champion and independent wrestling star, Austin Aries. I believe all three men on Team EPIC WAR will be making their CHIKARA debuts this weekend, but the members of the First Family are no strangers to CHIKARA action. In fact, Arik Cannon won the 2005 Tag World Grand Prix and is a former Young Lions Cup champion. The North Star Express also did very well in the 2006 Tag World Grand Prix making it to the quarter final round, and challenged for CHIKARA’s Campeones de Parejas in September of 2006. The First Family made quite the impact in the 2008 King of Trios putting on what many consider to be the best match of the entire tournament facing El Generico and The Super Smash Bros. It should be noted that Aries broke Cannon’s neck in 2005, so some bad blood may be rekindled in this match. The First Family is looking to make it past the first round this year, while EPIC WAR wants to make a big impact on their first opportunity in CHIKARA. Needless to say, these two teams will have the quite the…EPIC battle come King of Trios. Oh c’mon, I had to do it.

Next up is another interesting first time meeting. The Osirian Portal (Amasis, Escorpion Egipcio, & Ophidian) take on yet another West-Coast independent wrestling team: Team Pro Wrestling Guerilla, consisting of El Generico and The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson). The Osirian Portal represent CHIKARA wherever they go, and would be more than happy to defend CHIKARA while pleasing their master Osiris. Interestingly enough, this match pits the CHIKARA Campeones de Parejas against the PWG Tag Team Champions. The Bucks had to defeat The Age of the Fall to win the belts, and El Generico himself is a four time PWG World Champion (and CHIKARA tournament veteran), so if you think this a team of slouches, you’re sorely mistaken. Escorpion Egipcio has also made quite the impact in his relatively short CHIKARA stint, proving to be quite the powerhouse and a useful asset to the Portal. It’s hard to expect what’s going to happen when these two teams meet. This match also marks The Young Bucks CHIKARA (and maybe even East Coast) debut.

Next up is a match that has hard-hitting fun written all over it. On one side, you have a group of used-to-be CHIKARA loners who have recently teamed up over their mutual disdain for…well, just about everyone. The Roughnecks (Eddie Kingston, Brodie Lee, & Grizzly Redwood) showed the CHIKARMY how effective they could be as a trio beating CHIKARA veterans Ultramantis Black & Crossbones, as well as Sami Callihan, to make it into the tournament. They will have their hands full with Team Uppercut, one of the odds on favorite to take the whole thing. Captained by a two time Tag World Grand Prix winner, former Campeon de Parejas, and co-teacher at the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory, Claudio Castagnoli, he alone should be reason enough for any opposing trio to take notice. However, Claudio enlisted two men who make their CHIKARA debuts this weekend: wrestling veteran Dave Taylor, and professional wrestling juggernaut, and the man who some consider the “Best in the World”, “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Claudio wanted a team of men who could break jaws with a single maneuver, and boy did he ever find his men. Claudio gained a respect for Dave as they squared off in the 2008 Ted Petty Invitational back in September. Danielson however has been at odds with Castagnoli since early August. Claudio decided for the sake of winning to put aside his personal differences and ask Bryan to join him. Claudio missed 2008’s King of Trios due to a tour in Japan, and went under the guise as a member of Los Ice Creams in 2007 for the sake of revenge on The Kings of Wrestling. This year, Claudio is more determined then ever to take the tournament. The Roughnecks will have something to say about it when they step in the ring, especially since Brodie and Claudio had quite the feud for the better part of 2008. Fans are also anticipating a first time meeting between Bryan Danielson and Eddie Kingston. Will the technical prowess of Team Uppercut be enough to fend off Brodie’s brigade of bruisers? This is probably the first round match-up I am most looking forward to.

A chance for the underdog to shine presents itself here with The Soul Touchaz taking on Team CZW. The Soul Touchaz made their CHIKARA debut back at the 2008 edition of King of Trios, becoming the most popular and requested team of the weekend. The Soul Touchaz impressive matches against Team Blood, Sweat, and Ears and Team F.I.S.T. left CHIKARA no choice but to invite them back for the 2008 Young Lions Cup weekend and CHIKARA’s first Mid-West venture. Team CZW (Pinkie Sanchez, and 2 Girls, 1 Cup (Beef Wellington & Greg Excellent) come in representing another popular Philadelphia based independent wrestling company. Pinkie is a former CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion while 2 Girls, 1 Cup are former CZW Tag Team Champions. Pinkie also broke out in CHIKARA in 2008 competing in the Young Lions Cup tournament and in La Lotería Letal. While Excellent is making his CHIKARA debut this weekend, Beef Wellington competed back in the 2005 Tag World Grand Prix teaming with The Bear and making it to the second round. Each team has experience in CHIKARA tournament action; it’s just a matter of who wants it more. Trauma also replaces Soul Toucha Acid Jaz, as Jaz was injured at the 2008 Candido Cup. Will the Soul Touchaz make an even larger impact at this years King of Trios, or will Team CZW take control in what they claim is “the house they built”?

So, you like violence? How bout dudes punching and kicking each other in the face? Well my friend, has CHIKARA got a match for you! The only team to be in all three versions of King of Trios, F.I.S.T. (Icarus, Gran Akuma, & Chuck Taylor) will take on The Death Match Kings (Necro Butcher, Toby Klein, & Brain Damage). In recent months, F.I.S.T has undergone a transformation from a semi-comedic group of great wrestlers to a serious group of ass-kickers. If you need proof, look no further than F.I.S.T’s destroying of The Colony back in February. F.I.S.T not only kept their perennial rivals out of King of Trios, but Chuck Taylor retired Worker Ant with a brutal Omega Driver on the floor. Icarus and Taylor also did a considerable amount of damage to the other ants the night after, and talked about how they were out to prove they were the most dangerous trio in CHIKARA. What better way to prove then to beat the Tough Crazy Bastards and Brain Damage? Necro Butcher made memorable appearances in CHIKARA (as himself and CP Munk), known especially for destroying ROH students Matt Turner and Anthony Franco, causing Franco to retire from wrestling altogether. Necro makes his triumphant return to CHIKARA with a man he’s held gold with, “Mr. Insanity” Toby Klein, and one half of Vulgar Display of Power, Brain Damage. This is F.I.S.T’s chance to prove that there claim as to being the most dangerous CHIKARA trio is no joke; will the Death Match Kings prove them wrong?

It wouldn’t be CHIKARA without some high flying wonderfulness, and that’s what you get in this one. The newest trio to CHIKARA, The Future Is Now (Lince Dorado, Equinox, & Helios) take on a trio from the Dramatic Dream Team promotion from Japan (Kota Ibushi, KUDO, & Michael Nakazawa). The Future Is Now have been the only trio to defeat The UnStable in trios action so far in CHIKARA. Although they have been on somewhat of a losing streak lately, they seem well motivated when it comes to King of Trios. Lince won last years King of Trios tournament, Helios made it to the semi-finals (and only lost because the BLK OUT cheated), and Equinox is the current Young Lions Cup holder, so they have all the tools to win. On the other hand, Team DDT poses quite the challenge. KUDO has been in every year-opening CHIKARA tag tournament since 2006, and has always made quite the dent. In fact, KUDO made it to the finals of King of Trios in 2007. Michael Nakazawa was in Team El Dorado last year in the King of Trios, making a lasting impression for using massive amounts of body oil much to the disgust of his opponents. Nakazawa also was not afraid to ingest the oil were it to be to his advantage. Rounding out the team is DDT star Kota Ibushi, who has held his fair share of gold, and is currently the DDT KO-D Tag Team Champion with Kenny Omega. Ibushi has astounded people with his amazing acrobatics and kicking abilities. Ibushi was forced to miss his CHIKARA debut at the 2008 Tag World Grand Prix due to a shoulder injury, and has no doubt been waiting to come back since to make the impression he wanted to back in November. It’s a tough call when it comes to these two teams to see who will win; it’s best to just to sit back and be in awe.

Another toss up is this match-up right here. Mike Quackenbush stated in January that he was looking to assemble a trio that symbolizes “a dying fraternity in professional wrestling.” The fraternity in question are professional wrestlers who hold the moniker of “The Master of A Thousand Holds.” Quack was able to find two very fitting confidants. First off is one of Jorge “Skayde” Rivera, a close friend and mentor of Quack. Jorge has wrestled for CHIKARA numerous times in the past, and has become a favorite special attraction. Jorge teamed with Mike at last years King of Trios, and made it to the quarter-finals with him, and also made it to the finals of the 2006 Tag World Grand Prix with Milano Collection AT. His CHIKARA tournament experience, along with his general wrestling prowess, makes him an optimal partner. Quack’s other partner is none other than British World of Sport legend, Johnny Saint. Saint is world renown for his technical prowess and at 66 years old can still hang with the best of them (as proven with his two singles encounters with Quackenbush in 2008). Saint will shockingly be making his United States wrestling debut at King of Trios, so this is quite the opportunity for those in attendance. Opposing them is Incoherence (Delirious, Hallowicked, & Frightmare). Delirious is a well traveled wrestler, and held tag gold with Hallowicked for nearly a year in CHIKARA. Hallowicked is also the only person in CHIKARA history to win the Tag World Grand Prix, hold the Young Lions Cup, and the Campeones de Parejas in CHIKARA history. Hallowicked has been in CHIKARA since day one and knows the ins and outs of just about everyone. Frightmare has only been in CHIKARA for a few months, but already shows gratuitous amounts of potential. He and Hallowicked also seem to have a strange bond that makes them quite the duo. Will the Master of A Thousand Holds be able to tie up Incoherence in knots? Or will the mentally insane trio outwit the mat technicians?

Finally, we round out the first round with a match that has a bit more back story than one would expect. The Cold Front, united by their names thematic commonality (Al Snow, Iceberg, & Glacier) take on one of the most successful trios in CHIKARA currently, The UnStable (Vin Gerard, STIGMA, & Colin Delaney). Glacier made a surprise appearance at last years King of Trios getting a huge positive reaction from the crowd. Although he lost in the first round when teaming with Los Ice Creams, he also competed in a four way on Night 3, where he submitted to none other than Vin Gerard. No doubt Glacier looks to gain a measure of revenge on Vin this year, and what better way than to oust the most hated trio in CHIKARA from the tournament? Al Snow makes his CHIKARA debut this weekend as well. While UnStable member Colin Delaney may claim to be an ECW superstar, I think we can all agree Al Snow is far more connected with ECW. Snow gets to prove why the original ECW put the current ECW to shame in the arena ECW made infamous. STIGMA and Iceberg? Well, maybe they can have an eating contest or something. Regardless of all this however, The UnStable demanded to be in the tournament after two successful trios matches against some of CHIKARA’s best in February. Although Leonard F. Chikarason hated to do it, he couldn’t argue with their points and put them in. Will The UnStable be able upset fans and the CHIKARA office alike by winning this tourney, or will their opposition leave them out in the cold?

Aside from the trios matches, we have three guaranteed matches occurring. First off, Inter-Species Wrestling has sent CHIKARA a championship match as ISW Champion and CHIKARA regular Player Uno defends his title against Twiggy, who hasn’t been in CHIKARA since 2006. A relatively unknown independent promotion, the Lethal Wrestling Alliance, sends four of their talents to CHIKARA for tag action. Night two will see The Submission Squad (Pierre Abernathy & Evan Gelistico) take on Davey Vega & Gary The Barn Owl. Finally, CHIKARA is bringing back their annual Tag Team Gauntlet! This years gauntlet will have 12 teams total. So far, Cheech Hernandez & KC “Cloudy” Day (winners of the 2007 tag gauntlet) and The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple (Ultramantis Black & Crossbones) have been announced as participants. Crossbones made it to the finals of last years gauntlet with Hydra, but was unseated by Demolition (yes, THAT Demolition. So awesome.)

BUT WAIT! In addition to all that, CHIKARA is holding a Fan Conclave on Saturday afternoon, March 28th at the Arena. The conclave will have autograph sessions, games (including Rock Band to be played with the wrestlers), the opportunity to get in the ring and cut promos with the wrestlers, and a mini-concert from ring announcer Louden Noxious! It’s free for members of the CHIKARMY and $6 for the general public.

With all that said, it is so clear that this is a weekend you do not want to miss. If you have the means, I’d get yourself to Philadelphia next weekend. Night One is the only night you’re guaranteed to see all 48 participants in action, as many of the wrestlers will go home once eliminated. Also, if you’re in the New York City area, a bus trip is being planned. If interested, a link will be provided at the end of the column.

King of Trios 2009 takes place on Friday March 27th, Saturday March 28th, and Sunday March 29th. The Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 PM (doors open at 7 PM) and the Sunday show starts at 4:00 PM (doors open at 3:30 PM). If you can’t make it for some reason, make sure to scoop up the DVD’s at Smart Mark Video when they’re released. I personally will be in attendance for all three nights, so come say hello if you’re there. That also means that there will NOT be a new edition of Contemplating CHIKARA next weekend. However, there will be quite the King of Trios recap when I return.

Thanks everyone, and I’ll see you at the matches, or in two weeks!

And now for an obscene amount of links!
CHIKARA’s official website: http://www.chikarapro.com/indexENG.shtml
Buy King of Trios tickets!: http://www.chikarapro.com/tickets.shtml
Fan Conclave Information: http://www.chikarapro.com/conclave.shtml
CHIKARA Fans: http://chikarafans.com/
NYC King of Trios Bus Trip!: http://chikarafans.com/?page_id=2240
Buy all your CHIKARA DVD’s at Smart Mark Video: http://www.smartmarkvideo.com/
CHIKARA Podcast-A-Go-Go: http://chikarapodcast.com/


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Kevin Ford

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