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CHIKARMAGEDDON: Is this the end for CHIKARA Pro?!
May 30, 2013 6:41 PM   Subscribe

On the eve of their 4th internet pay-per-view extravaganza, rumours abound of a cataclysmic denouement for the unique independent wrestling company. With wrestlers prone to accidental time-travel, dimensional warping and mind-control by ancient, cursed artifacts (not to mention outbreaks of goblins vs balloons and international games of duck-duck-goose whenever Osaka Pro come to visit), the Chikara workplace is stressful enough, but under the power-crazed directorship of Wink Vavasseur, and purported backstage strife, the promotion has been hemorrhaging talent for several months...

In a business infamous for mixing truth with fiction, Chikara's fictional ingredients are so dense and elaborate that even the smartest of "smart marks" have found themselves looking on in child-like wonderment.

Are we to believe we're seeing wrestling from a parallel timeline? Or, perhaps more amazingly, are we to believe that we're seeing wrestling with multi-season storylines planned years in advance?

For beginners, an in-depth summary of Chikara up to the beginning of the current season.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee (24 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
What.
posted by joecacti at 6:51 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


While I don't get to watch as much Chikara as I would like, it's seriously one of the most entertaining promotions out there. And if you want to see what the indy leagues of wrestling can do when you put all of them in one place for one day, go watch this year's National Pro Wrestling Day (cheap enough at $15 for 8 hours of show). It's so amazing to see how many talented wrestlers there are.
posted by deezil at 6:56 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh god.

I was not a wrestling fan until maybe a month ago when my best friend was babbling on about wrestling and suddenly I heard something like 'and so the time-traveling band leader was a secret agent and deceived the leader of the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple (the second one)...' and I said 'stop. Explain from the beginning. What?!'

And somehow from that I started grilling him about the whole thing and now I am big into Chikara.

The worst part is that I'm not even sorry about it. It's fascinating: a sprawling story, told largely through loosely improvised physical interaction, in which the actors and the fans participate on two levels at all times.

I like Chikara because I don't get upset worrying about people hurting each other on purpose, which was always what repelled me about other wrestling I've seen. I know it's all just spectacle, but when I watch Fire Ant and Jigsaw I don't feel like I'm participating in blood sport.

If you are reading this and think wrestling is dumb, do yourself a favor and watch some Chikara, preferably with someone who knows what the heck is going on. It's awesome.
posted by winna at 7:01 PM on May 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


And if it ends a month after I found it, I will be the saddest person on earth.
posted by winna at 7:04 PM on May 30, 2013


Yeah - I used to watch wrestling as a kid (you know, the Hulk vs Rowdy Roddy, and that whole 80 crew).

Grew out of it by 86 or 87.

Never looked back, but man, this shit is epic and awesome and I want to watch it all! It takes it to the next level. Thank you for the post, and booooooooooo if it's quits already!
posted by symbioid at 7:08 PM on May 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chikara is like the Adventure Time of wrestling.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:14 PM on May 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seriously, watch this match from Night 1 of CHIKARASAURUS REX between Fire Ant and Jigsaw. It's so much fun to watch!
posted by winna at 7:24 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Chikara is like the Adventure Time of wrestling.

Chikara time, come on grapple your friends...
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 PM on May 30, 2013


BTW I don't think we should be worried about Chikara going anywhere any time soon. A quick glance at indie wrestling marketplace SmartMarkVideo.com reveals solid success as their shows perpetually dominate the bestsellers list.

Doomsday theories have it that owner and wrestler Mike Quackenbush, who is teasing an imminent retirement (whether of the actual variety, or more likely the Terry Funk variety), may close Chikara's doors in what would surely be an act of staggering megalomania that would harm independent wrestling worldwide. Personally I think anyone who knows anything about Quack should know this theory is ludicrous in the extreme.

A more plausible theory suggests that Quackenbush could be planning to discard the Chikara trademark in order to protect the company through his oncoming divorce proceedings. By dovetailing such grim necessities with the product's cataclysmic story arc, he would make lemon juice out of what must be a very big and painful lemon.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:41 PM on May 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


So its sanctioned cosplay with pile drivers?
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:34 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


So its sanctioned cosplay with pile drivers?

Piledrivers are actually very rare these days; they're dangerous moves (since a botched piledriver usually means risking a broken neck) and accordingly get used much less often. The WWE has banned the sit-down piledriver outright; CM Punk and John Cena agreed to do one between themselves earlier this year and if they weren't the two biggest stars in the company they probably would have been fired, but the shocked reaction from the announcers (who didn't know it was coming) and the crowd should explain how rare it is.
posted by mightygodking at 9:02 PM on May 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nanukthedog: “So its sanctioned cosplay with pile drivers?
I keep telling my friends at film school that there must be a market for pro-wrestling style boffer or latex combat games but they always look at me like I'm crazy.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:03 PM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep telling my friends at film school that there must be a market for pro-wrestling style boffer or latex combat games but they always look at me like I'm crazy.

I insist that you drop whatever you're doing and watch a few videos of Kaiju Big Battel, which is kind of Chikara plus more ornate costumes minus wrestling.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:23 AM on May 31, 2013


I dunno, roll truck roll, there was a lot of wrestling-style moves in the promo on their page? what is the difference between what they're doing and wrestling? That thing where you grab the other dude and roll over him with your arms and legs locked together like a crazy human Ferris wheel I know I've seen before because it's so showy.

The promo also had a lot of stuff that looked much scarier than Chikara- throwing people into big blocks of bricks and things. I worry too much about people getting hurt to be able to relax when that happens, although the costumes are glorious.

Unrelated to the awesome people in chicken suits wrestling power rangers something that occurred to me last night to get people to watch Chikara; one of the other things I like about Chikara is that it's refreshingly free of sexism and homophobia, at least as much as I've seen. There are female wrestlers in Chikara and they're treated like wrestlers, not like alien interlopers from Planet Sex Object. There's a lady named Sara del Ray who is fierce and splendid who wrestles everyone and is scary in an awesome way. The commenters are witty (frequently the actual wrestlers do the commentating) and they don't objectify the female wrestlers or treat them differently than male wrestlers. It's delightful and a bit sad how refreshing I find it to watch a physical activity with women that treats them like people.

And if the idea of watching people do complicated physical comedy routines with a heavy element of audience participation that's devoid of the bigotry you may have sadly accepted as the default in our culture doesn't move you, there's always Gavin Loudspeaker's dazzling hair.
posted by winna at 8:00 AM on May 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


In that 8-man tag team match: is that a chicken fighting Colonel Sanders?
posted by Pronoiac at 9:50 AM on May 31, 2013


No, that is the mighty Ebessan, or actually Ebessan 2. The first Ebessan passed on the mask and became Kikutaro, who has for this match switched masks again to become Colonel Sanders. So we have Ebessan 2 fighting Ebessan 1 who became Kikutaro but is tonight Colonel Sanders.

The Ebessan gimmick is based on the Japanese god of good fortune. During his entrance you can put sweets or money in his donations box and he'll bless you with his magic flower.

Kikutaro, whatever mask he's wearing, is considered by many to be the best comedy wrestler working today.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:18 AM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


roll truck roll: “I insist that you drop whatever you're doing and watch a few videos of Kaiju Big Battel, which is kind of Chikara plus more ornate costumes minus wrestling.”
This did not disappoint. Thanks, rtr.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:04 PM on May 31, 2013


Apropos of nothing… The Most Illegal Move in the History of Wrestling
posted by ob1quixote at 6:25 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm coming back to the thread late, but this deserved a reply:

I dunno, roll truck roll, there was a lot of wrestling-style moves in the promo on their page? what is the difference between what they're doing and wrestling? That thing where you grab the other dude and roll over him with your arms and legs locked together like a crazy human Ferris wheel I know I've seen before because it's so showy.

Kaiju is somewhere in the pro wrestling family tree, but it's much further from the trunk and roots than Chikara is. I went to a Kaiju show during Wrestlemania weekend and loved it. But it's pretty easy to tell which performers actually have a background in wrestling (several of them also work in Chikara, including the announcer dude) and which ones are coming to it exclusively from a theatre and comedy background.

I do have to say that some people might get a slightly skewed view of what Chikara is like by watching the videos linked in this thread. It's not all comedy.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:13 PM on June 2, 2013


So has the big announcement happened yet? I'm in an airport and couldn't watch the show.
posted by winna at 5:09 PM on June 2, 2013


CHIKARA still exists. As expected, it was all part of a very well orchestrated storyline, although what that is still remains fairly mysterious. The following doesn't really contain spoilers because everything that happened was quite vague and only presented more questions...

It was a stellar show from beginning to end (though Smart Mark's feed was disappointing quality IMO - it was like watching it over skype, a comedown from the perfect quality of prior webcasts). The first big storyline development came with the re-appearance of Derek Sabato as a conspiracy theorist, who tweeted this mysterious image from the ring mid-show - according to his twitter it depicts Conrad Vavasseur (Wink's father?) in cahoots with the big cheeses of something called the Titor Conglomerate; these are probably the baddies to whom Wink plans (or already has) sold Chikara.

The end of the show indicated a catastrophic change, and was very well done in terms of doom-laden imagery and an atmosphere of sheer chaos. I suspect there will be at least one major heel turn as a result, and perhaps one major babyface turn also. Archy made a strange appearance amidst the final events, hinting that his time-travel escapades may be somehow to blame for the madness.

Nobody has any clue where things will go from here, and even though we know it's all fake, we can't help but be worried it's all somehow real! Overall I think it's the most interesting and well-executed storyline wrestling has seen since Scott Hall jumped the barrier at Nitro and began the NWO invasion. I feel like I'm 10 years old again.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:03 PM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, uh...

Metafilter: is that a chicken fighting Colonel Sanders?

posted by Ghidorah at 9:39 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


More info on the ppv:

PWInsider background on the angle

/r/squaredcircle thread presenting the theory that season 12 is an alternate timeline

And another summarising Chikara history & build-up to the event

There are tenuous theories suggesting that the whole crazy story may stretch back to as far as 2005!

The Chikara site indicates that all future dates have been canceled! Nobody has any clue what is going on, or how far they'll take the storyline. Whatever they have planned for this elaborate ARG, they've so far succeeded in setting the online wrestling world on fire with curiosity, and seem to have attracted new fans in their droves.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:06 PM on June 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just dropping this here.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:06 PM on June 4, 2013


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