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Best of Chikara
by Sassy

I ordered the Best of Chikara DVD for two reasons. The first being that I had heard Chikara did lucha libre type work and I am very interested in that form of wrestling. The second was because I had heard good things about Chikara. This DVD has a variety of matches and I was not disappointed.

I will list the matches and the winners of the matches as they appear on the DVD. Please give me a break, readers, this is my first Chikara experience. I’m still getting used to the masks. While I will try to highlight certain portions of each match, this is one of those DVD’s that you have to see for yourself. If you like real technical wrestling, this is the DVD for you!

Young Lions Cup IV Night 3
Philly, PA
06/25/2006

Team F.I.S.T.(Icarus & Gran Akuma) & Claudio Castagnoli, Rudos
Vs.
Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Shane Storm, Technicos

Winners: The Technicos
Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Shane Storm when Icarus removed Shane Storm’s mask.

The wrestling mat in this match sounds hard and doesn’t appear to have much give when a body lands. I have seen Claudio Castagnoli in ROH shows and am very impressed with him. He is a tall wrestler but very agile and moves as well as the lighter, smaller wrestlers. I am not familiar with the other wrestlers in this match. I have learned there are “Technicos” (baby faces) and that would be the team of Quackenbush, Jigsaw and Storm and “Rudos” (heels) and that would be F.I.S.T. and Claudio. Jigsaw and Shane Storm were the only two wrestlers wearing masks.

According to the rules of this type of wrestling, removing another wrestler’s mask deliberately is grounds for disqualification not to mention an insult to the wrestler who has lost his mask. One rule I was not aware of: if a member of the team exits the ring and their feet touch the floor, another member can come into the ring as if a “legal tag” had been made. While this match appeared slow to me, this was not a brawl match. This was very much a technical match although the Rudos did play dirty now and then. More than once, team maneuvers were accomplished. According to the ringside announcers (one of them was Larry Sweeney), Quackenbush had back difficulties from previous back surgery but it did not appear to diminish his performance. This was an excellent match in terms of wrestling maneuvers. All six of the men involved are very capable wrestlers and did a magnificent job. It was noticed during the match that Claudio wears a size 13 shoe. I knew he was a big boy…if you got hit by one of those boots, you’d know you were hit. Sweeney was very concerned about Claudio’s skin tone during this match and in some of the upcoming matches that involve Claudio. Sweeney seems to think that Claudio is much better now that he has finally gotten a tan. I hate seeing Claudio as a heel, but his performance was impressive. There were some excellent highflying moves during this match and several near pins. There were moves I had never heard of but the announcers did a great job of naming moves during the match.

Crushing Weight
Hellertown, PA
07/22/06

Shane Storm (masked)
Vs.
Chris Hero

Winner: Chris Hero with a roll up and a three count.

I have seen Chris Hero before and he is always a heel and quite good at it. This match was set in what appears to be a small gymnasium with regular chairs for seating. The room is so small that the crowd is in danger every time a wrestler leaves the ring. The ring is not very far off the floor. Each time one wrestler goes flying outside onto the floor, the crowd scatters to avoid being taken out. Hero is another large wrestler who used his knowledge of wrestling maneuvers. These two worked well together in this match and Hero took quite a bit of heat from the crowd. Several times Hero stopped what he was doing in the ring to argue with the mouthiest members of the audience. I should note there are no protective mats outside the ring to cover the floor and, even if there had been, the two men ended up almost all the way to the walls at one point during the match. I don’t care how small the crowd was or how small the room was, it did not stop these two wrestlers from putting on a great show. I may hate Chris Hero as a heel, but I have respect for him in the ring after watching this match.

Tag World Grand Prix Finals
Tag World Grand Prix No. 3
Philly, PA
2/26/06

Milano Collection AT & Skayde (masked), Technicos
Vs.
Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli, Rudos

Winners: Rudos. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli when Hero pins Skayde for the three count.

Before the match begins, there are three referees in the ring and there are two title belts (tag team). I am not sure whom the current champions are when the match begins, however Milano and Skayde appear to be the crowd favorites. I have heard of Milano but have never seen him in action and am not familiar with Skayde. If I understand correctly, he is from Mexico. Again, Claudio and Hero are the heels. Milano is not a large wrestler but works this match as if he was the same size as Hero and Claudio. Hero is surprises me again with his knowledge of wrestling holds—the legal kind. Skayde is the shortest man in the ring but he is quick on his feet and shows a good knowledge of wrestling moves.

Tag World Grand Prix No. 3
Philly, PA
02/26/06

Women’s Trio Match
Allison Danger, Ranmaru (masked) & Rain
Vs.
Daizee Haze, Mickie Knuckles & Sumie

Winners: Allison Danger, Ranmaru & Rain when Danger pins Sumie for the three count.

I have not seen any of these women in action before. I can tell you Chikara is where women can and do wrestle as well as the men. Mickie is a larger girl and tough, but the other girls, even Daizee, although not as large are just as tough. There was more highflying and suicide diving in this match than there have been in the previous matches and all of the women took some hard knocks in this match up. I am always impressed with women who can really work in the ring. I understand some of these women wrestle with the Shimmer organization. If you have not seen these women work the ring, you have not seen women’s wrestling at its best.

International Invaders
Pittson, PA
09/17/05

Jigsaw (masked)
Vs.
Hallowicked (masked)

Winner: Hallowicked who pins Jigsaw for the three count.

I saw Jigsaw in the first match on this DVD but have never seen Hallowicked. I have read about him and was anxious to see him in action. There is a large bug, er, masked cloaked and barefoot man on the floor who is known as Ultra Mantis. The announcer tells us this the first singles match between Jigsaw and Hallowicked ever. The beginning of the match has the men hanging onto each other all around and over the ring. Jigsaw appears to be slightly shorter but it is difficult to tell because even hooked up they are quick. Both men are well versed in wrestling although Hallowicked is quicker to take swings than is Jigsaw. This match takes place in a building with the audience again up close and scrambling to get out of the way when the wrestlers come flying out of the ring. I don’t understand a thing Ultra Mantis or Hallowicked and Jigsaw, if he said anything, wasn’t loud enough for me to hear. It appears Ultra Mantis is either Hallowicked’s manager or master or something along those lines. Jigsaw and Hallowicked are great in and out of the ring. Ultra Mantis takes opportunities outside the ring to work over Jigsaw. From the wicked laugh of one of the announcer, I believe it must be Larry Sweeney. Whoever it is, he is certainly talking up Hallowicked and talking down Jigsaw.

Chikara Atomico
Young Lions Cup IV
Philadelphia, PA
06/25/06

Angel De Fuego, Equinox & The Colony, Technicos Vs.
Los Ice Cream, Crossbones & Rorschach, Rudos

Winners: Techicos, Angel De Fuego, Equinox & The Colony when Equinox pins one of the Ice Creams and gets the three count.

This is going to be one confusing match. Everyone is masked. We have Soldier Ant (part of The Colony) who salutes after moves. This match is being worked as a lucha tag match as described in the first match on this DVD. When one of the opponents goes outside the ring and touches the floor, any of his teammates can enter the ring as a legal tag. We have Fire Ant (part of The Colony) who is a highflier. We have a discussion going on between the announcers about which “Ice Cream” is in the ring, Junior or otherwise. I still don’t know who it is. It does appear that Dos Ice Cream consists of Son of Ice Cream and Junior Ice Cream. Fuego is another highflying worker. Some of these outfits that appear they would slow you down but the wrestlers wearing them don’t appear to be hindered. This match is another show of fantastic and well-oiled wrestling machines that work well together and against each other. We again have Larry Sweeney as one of the announcers who reminds us that the ultimate humiliation is the removal of a mask and in Chikara the removal of an opponent’s mask is an instant disqualification. The Ice Creams are making their debut in this match up. To the best of my knowledge, I have never seen any of these men in the ring. They are worth watching even if it is a little confusing. This match even had a five man DDT – I kid you not! Then we have one of the Ice Creams taking out sprinkles (yes, I said SPRINKLES!) and pouring them all over the mat. I swear these look like real ice cream sprinkles but when whichever Ice Cream it was landed on them, he made them seem like tacks or nails!

Tag World Grand Prix No. 3
Philly, PA
02/26/06

North Star Express, Ryan Cruz & Darin Corbin
Vs.
Kings of Wrestling, Claudio Castagnoli & Chris Hero

Winners: Kings of Wrestling, Claudio Castagnoli & Chris Hero when Claudio pins Corbin for the three count.

No one is wearing a mask in this match up! Larry Sweeney must be one of the announcers again because he is telling everyone about how great Claudio is looking with his tan and how he can improve it even more. I have not seen Cruz or Corbin in action. I like Claudio and am learning to appreciate Hero more each time I see him in the ring. North Start Express are risk takers and do well in this match even though they are smaller than Claudio and Hero. This match also has lucha tag rules. Hero again gets quite a bit of lip from the audience. JJ Dillon is outside the ring as part of North Star Express (manager?). JJ doesn’t seem to be shy about interfering in the match, managing to trip Hero inside the ring. The announcers seemed to think that Hero might have been faking a trip but I think there truly was a trip. Later in the match there is an actual – yes you can see it – blatant trip to Hero by JJ. And once again, Claudio and Hero are the Rudos in this match up. Claudio and Hero are a fantastic tag team when they work together in the ring. It would be interesting to see them as opponents.

Negative Bala

Mike Quackenbush

Vs. Claudio Castagnoli

Winner: Mike Quackenbush with a roll up and a three count.

Not fair! I like Claudio and he is now up against Quackenbush who put on a fantastic show in the first match on this DVD. Both of these men are magnificent wrestlers and they work as hard in this match as they have worked in the matches before. Quackenbush is so fast but Claudio is no slouch in the speed department. Claudio is much taller and I’m suspecting weighs more than Quackenbush. Every time Claudio is sent out of the ring it looks as though his ribs hit the ring apron. Quackenbush does a high dive to send Claudio to the floor once he is out of the ring and Quackenbush lands on his feet. It is very difficult for me to not want one of these men to lose but I know they can’t possibly work this ring for much longer. It is one fast paced match but neither man is slowing down. Claudio can’t even pin Quackenbush after a power bomb on the unforgiving ring mat.

Crushing Weight
Hellertown, PA

Eddie Kingston
Vs.
Larry Sweeney

Winner: Eddie Kingston via pinfall.

Oh, yeah, and this one should be worth waiting for! I have never seen either of these men in the ring but have heard quite a bit about Kingston. Sweeney I have seen only in a manager position and he was rude, obnoxious and a pain. The match begins outside on the floor with Kingston appearing to be the aggressor. It is more of a brawl than a wrestling match. And Sweeney fights just as dirty, if not dirtier, than Kingston. This match has blatant chokes and punches. The match is being held in another small building with a smaller crowd on regular seats around the ring. The ring is close to the floor and there is no padding outside the ring on the floor. Kingston isn’t doing much once the match begins and it appears to be all Sweeney. I can’t tell from the audience who the favorite in this match is. Sweeney takes off wrist tape to choke Kingston and then removes a top turnbuckle cover to use as a weapon. Sweeney gets the same lip from the audience that Hero has been getting in earlier matches. At one point Sweeney takes down the straps on his outfit and a man in the audience tells him to put it back on. Even the announcer admits Sweeney is getting a little lip from the crowd. Kingston finally comes to life and goes to work on Sweeney. I can’t believe Sweeney kicked out when Kingston went for the pin. I’m not sure how Sweeney would do in a technical wrestling match but he is a great brawler. Kingston takes a lot of hits to the throat area. Sweeney tries for a pin and can’t believe he didn’t win the match when Kingston puts a foot on the ropes. Kingston is pounding Sweeney right and left and Kingston still can’t get the three count. Sweeney’s title was on the line in this match, but I’m not sure what title was up for grabs. Kingston won the title by winning the match.

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