CHIKARA Review: Tag World Grand Prix 2008, Night One
Posted by Kevin Ford on 05.07.2009
The Tag World returns for CHIKARA's international debut, and legend Johnny Saint locks up with Mike Quackenbush.
Oberhausen, Germany - 11.8.2008
How does CHIKARA follow up the super successful Global Gauntlet weekend? With the resurgence of an ol’ CHIKARA staple, the Tag World Grand Prix! After taking off one calendar year, the TWGP is back for CHIKARA’s international debut in Oberhausen, Germany. Composed of 12 teams total, the winners of the Tag World Grand Prix will go down in the CHIKARA history books in addition to gaining the necessary three points to challenge for the Campeonatos de Parejas at a later date. Tonight, all the teams will compete in first round action. In addition, in a re-match from the wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament, Mike Quackenbush will take on one of his trainers and idols, Johnny Saint, in a World of Sport Rules match in the main event. With all this action crammed into one night, we can’t waste any more time. Let’s get to it!
Commentary is provided by 2.0 (Jagged & Shane Matthews), Mike Quackenbush, Claudio Castagnoli and Amasis.
Tag World Grand Prix; First Round
The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant) vs. The Fight Club (Lionheart & Kid Fite)
Soldier Ant and Lionheart start off. Each men switches out of each other’s holds, looking for the advantage. Soldier Ant gets it with an arm bar. Lionheart twists out in a forearm strike. Soldier Ant locks on an abdominal stretch/arm bar combination. Soldier Ant takes Lionheart down with a deep arm drag. Lionheart takes a breather. They lock up and Lionheart nails Soldier in the face. Each man comes off the ropes hitting double cross body blocks. They both roll to the outside, tagging in Fire Ant and Kid Fite. Fire Ant hops off the ropes into an arm drag, then another. Fire Ant chops away at Kid Fite. Fite rakes Fire Ant’s eyes and sends him off the ropes. Fire Ant ducks a clothesline and chops Kid Fite. Fire Ant does this once more before tagging Soldier Ant back in. The Colony hits a tandem atomic drop then a tandem dropkick. Soldier hits a diving saluting headbutt while Fire Ant lands a rolling thunder. This gets Soldier Ant a two. Soldier and Kid Fite exchange blows. Soldier Ant hits the ropes, only to be caught in the back with Lionheart’s knee. This gets Fight Club the advantage, which they keep by cutting the ring in half and isolating Soldier Ant. Soldier Ant uses the crowd’s suppoer to work out of a snapmare into a chin lock. Kid Fite hits the ropes, and apparently a fan grabs his foot. While Fite is yelling at the fan, Soldier Ant looks to tag in Fire Ant before Lionheart hits the ring and cuts him off. The Fight Club hits a really cool double team pop up Diamond Cutter only for Fire Ant to break up the pin. Soldier and Kid Fite get into a forearm battle, with the fans chanting “BOO!” and “YAY!”, depending on who hits a forearm. After a double clothesline, Soldier ant finally tags in Fire Ant. Fire Ant comes taking down both members of Fight Club. Fire Ant takes them over with a series of fireman’s carries. Kid Fite captures him with a leg capture DDT, and Soldier Ant comes in when Fire Ant rolls to the floor. Soldier hits a saluting headbutt and a German suplex. Lionheart catches Soldier Ant with a superkick and heads up top. Lionheart misses a frog splash. Once Lionheart gets to his feet, Fire Ant cracks him in the head with a diving Enzugiri! Fire Ant lands the wheelbarrow stunner on Kid Fite. He follows up with an Enzugiri then the Beach Break! Fire Ant dives on Lionheart on the outside, and Soldier Ant hits the diving saluting headbutt off the top rope for the win! The Colony moves on! A very hot opening match, with the face and heel lines clearly drawn. The crowd loved this, and all four men worked very well. The story of Soldier Ant getting beaten till making the hot tag was perfect. ***1/4
Tag World Grand Prix; First Round
Swiss Money Holding (Claudio Castagnoli & Marc Roudin) vs. The UnStable (Vin Gerard & STIGMA)
The UnStable is outside the building. Vin says that this is the year 2008, not 2003, when Swiss Money Holding was hot. Vin says he thinks it’s a joke that Swiss Money Holding think they stand a chance, especially since the UnStable is the hottest team in 2008. Vin says he and STIGMA will win the tournament and win the titles. Watch the promo here.
The UnStable attack Swiss Money Holding at the bell. Vin mocks Claudio’s dance and consults STIGMA in the middle of the ring. This allows SMH to dropkick them into each other, and send STIGMA to the floor with a double big boot. Claudio and Roudin make frequent tags to bully Vin in their corner with plenty of double team offense. STIGMA runs in to make the save, but Swiss Money Holding cuts him off with a tandem boot to the face. Claudio spins him around with the Big Swing while Gerard attacks Roudin on the outside. Claudio comes out to chase, but Vin pushes Roudin in the ring forcing Roudin to be the legal man. The UnStable now has the advantage, and double teams Roudin just like he and Claudio did to Vin. Roudin almost makes a come back by blasting STIGMA with hard forearms, but gets raked in the eyes to stop that. Vin nails Roudin with a hard flying clothesline, and mocks Claudio as he steps on Roudin’s ribs. Roudin sends STIGMA to the floor with a dropkick out of the corner, and a plancha off the second rope. Roudin is about to tag in Castagnoli before Vin runs in and cuts him off. Roudin turns a senton from Vin into a roll up, and Claudio chooses this time to interject. This turned out to be a poor choice, as Roudin had the potential tag before Claudio came in. STIGMA face washes Roudin in a neutral corner, yet Claudio still tries to cut him off. Roudin desperately tries to make the tag only to be dragged back to the Rudo corner by STIGMA. Roudin fires up, yet is taken back down to the mat by Vin. STIGMA misses a swanton off the top rope, allowing Roudin to make it to his corner. However, Claudio is outside dealing Emil Sitoci who came out to distract him. As Roudin yells to his partner, Vin catches him off guard and rolls him up for the pin! Kind of a crappy finish, but everything up to that was great. Again, the face and heel lines were clear and the fans were very into it. Not as good as the first match, but awfully close. The UnStable and The Colony will meet tomorrow night in the second round. **3/4
Tag World Grand Prix; Round One
The Thrillers (Joel Redman & Wade Fitzgerald) vs. The Osirian Portal (Amasis & Ophidian)
Amasis says there goal as the new Campeones de Parejas is to win the entire tournament to prevent any team from obtaining the three points needed to challenge for their gold. Amasis adds winning the tournament, on top of being the champions, will make them the best tag team in the history of CHIKARA. Watch the promo here.
Ophidian and Joel start off. Joel uses a waist lock takedown on Ophidian. Ophidian gets up, but is forced out with a hammerlock take down. Ophidian keeps trying to find a way out, but Redman keeps the advantage. Ophidian slithers out into a prawn hold and Redman kicks out. Redman catches Ophidian with a shoulder block then ducks a leap frog. He lands a Northern Lights suplex and bridges for the two. Redman picks up Ophidian looking for a brain buster, but Ophidian slips off the shoulders and tags in Amasis. Redman tags in Wade. Amasis applies a headlock and eggs on the crowd. Wade puts Amasis in a head lock using his legs, but Amasis works out and slaps Wade in the face. Amasis calls for a test of strength. Wade obliges, and Amasis trips Wade down. Wade uses the Mexican catapult to hurricanrana Amasis to the mat. He follows up with a middle rope arm drag and a satellite headscissors. Amasis retreats to his corner and catches his breath. Amasis does a bit of dancing, and slaps Wade in the face. Amasis delivers some forearms and throws Wade to the ropes. Wade dropkicks Amasis to the floor and fakes a dive to the floor. Wade lands a moonsault off the second rope to the outside. Redman and Ophidian come back in as the legal men. Redman uses his power to take Ophidian down. Redman blasts Ophidian in the chest with a knee, sending both men to the outside. Wade looks to jump back in the ring on Amasis, but Amasis evades and spikes Fitzgerald on his head with a front face trip. The Osirian Portal isolates Wade in their corner, making frequent tags to make the most of punishing him. Wade lands a springboard back elbow on Ophidian and goes for a tag, but Amasis knocks Joel off the apron to prevent that from happening. Wade takes down Ophidian of offense, ending with a run up the ropes into a moonsault. Wade tags in Joel, who comes in with Amasis. Joel launches Amasis into the turnbuckle with a suplex, and takes Ophidian down with a pop up powerslam. Redman looks for another slam, and Ophidian locks on the Ophidian Death Grip. Wade jumps in and Enzugiri’s him to stop the submission. Joel hits the ropes, but Amasis pulls them down to send Redman to the floor. Wade lands a shooting star press on Ophidian, and Amasis leaps in to break up the pin. Wade hits a jawbreaker and an Enzugiri on Amasis. Wade heads up top but Ophidian trips him. They throw Wade off the top with a stack up suplex. Amasis cuts of Joel with a leg drop. The Portal hits the Osirian Sacrament on Fitzgerald to get the win. The Thrillers, who replaced another team at the final hour, were awesome! They bring a nice combination of power and speed. I hope to see them again. The Portal proved their worth by beating this duo, and continued to show why they deserve to be the Campeones de Parejas. ***
Steve Douglas, Sha Samuels, & Big Van Walter vs. Bad Bones, Emil Sitoci, & Bernd Föhr
Emil and Douglas start off. Douglas is the wXw Champion, and will defend his belt against Bad Bones at Night Two. Emil and Douglas go through a series of counters after a lock up. Douglas pops up Emil, and Emil hits a hurricanrana. Both men exchange a series of arm drags till Douglas lands a dropkick. Emil hits an atomic drop and hits the ropes. Bad Bones pulls down the top rope which sends Emil to the floor, allowing Bad Bones to enter as the legal man. Douglas immediately leaves the ring, and Sha Samuels comes in as the legal man. He lands some blows to Bones with no effect. Bones, clearly a fan favorite, beats on Sha and tags in Bernd. Bernd takes down Sha with some dropkicks and a hurricanrana. Sha stumbles to his corner and gets chopped in the chest by Walter, which also tags Walter into the match. Walter mauls the much smaller Bernd with vicious strikes. Walter tosses Bernd to the floor, bringing Bad Bones back in. Walter wins their exchange, and tags in Sha. Sha gets beaten down, and Emil tags in. Emil wins the exchange ending with a moonsault press for the two count. Bad Bones tags in and beats on Sha Samuels for awhile. Douglas gets Bones’ attention, and Bones follows him out to the floor, as does Samuels. Walter goes over to the opposing corner, and Emil Sitoci smartly drops to the floor. Walter brings Bernd into the ring and beats him down. He and his team isolate Bernd humiliating and punishing him. Walter has Bernd up in a press slam position, and Emil dropkicks him Walter in the back. Walter drops Bernd over the top to the outside, and Bad Bones comes in after Emil was clotheslined to the outside. Bones spears Walter in the corner much to the fans delight. Bones hits another big spear in the corner. Sitoci comes off the top rope but is caught by Walter. Bones spears Walter again and Emil goes for the pin, getting a two. Walter and Bones hit the floor. Sha Samuels comes in and lands a big spine buster on Emil. Emil catches Sha with a snapmare driver for the pin, but Douglas breaks it up and rolls Sha to the outside. Douglas hits the Angels Wings on Emil, but Emil kicks out. Bad Bones looks for a lariat, but Douglas ducks and hits Emil. Bones chases Steve Douglas to the back. Bernd and Walter get in the ring. Walter hits a big boot and big time slap. Walter lands a big power bomb and puts one foot on Bernd’s foot for the victory. This was a nice showcase wXw match, with a mix of everything. It got over the title mach for tomorrow night, and helped put over the forthcoming Claudio/Emil feud (Claudio was on commentary, and mentioned Emil many times). ***
Tag World Grand Prix; Round One
F.I.S.T. (Icarus & Chuck Taylor) vs. Team England (Pac & Martin Stone)
Martin and Pac discuss how both their original partners for the tournament (Doug Williams and Kota Ibushi, respectively) could not be their tonight, so they are teaming with each other to form the best team England has ever had.
By the way, these fans are AWESOME. They’ve been loud and vocal all night. The reason I decided to mention this now is because the fans turned the song WINTER WONDERLAND into a chant. Yes.
Icarus and Stone start with a lock up. Stone knocks Icarus down with a shoulder tackle with Icarus coming off the ropes. Stone takes Icarus down but Icarus turns it into a head scissors. Stone works up out of it. Icarus eye rakes Stone, causing Stone to challenge Icarus to an exchange of elbows. Icarus’ comes off the ropes and catches Stone with a headscissors. Stone gets up and sends Icarus to the floor with another shoulder tackle. Chuck enters with Pac. Chuck takes Pac down with a shoulder tackle, and then go through a series of roll throughs and counters. Pac finally catches Chuck with a dropkick and tags Stone in. Stone lands some hard uppercuts and tags Pac in again. Pac sends Chuck to the corner and hits a hard forearm. Pac lands a two count and tags Stone in. Team England hits a big double back elbow, then Pac launches off Stone for a corkscrew moonsault! Team England continues to work over Chuck Taylor (especially his shoulder), until Icarus tags in when Pac has Chuck in a headlock. Icarus hits a back cracker on Pac while he still has Chuck in the headlock. F.I.S.T now gains control, isolating Pac in their corner. Pac actually managed to roll out of the ring at one point, but the referee was distracted by Chuck, allowing Icarus to roll Pac back in the ring with the referee being none the wiser. Pac managed to bandera to the apron and catch Icarus with a springboard delayed dropkick to end the beat down. Pac tags in Stone, who uses his hard right hand to take Taylor down. Stone rolls through a sunset flip and blasts Chuck with a clothesline. He follows up with a European uppercut and a Polish Hammer. Chuck rolls to the outside to stop the assault, but Pac comes at him with a dive! Icarus picks up Stone and hits the Blu-Ray DVD for the two count. Icarus looks for the Pedigree, but Stone powers him up. Stone lands a big suplex dropping Icarus right on his head. Chuck breaks up the pin and Pac rolls him up for the two. Chuck banderas Pac to the apron, and Pac jumps back in with an RKO! Pac hits a standing corkscrew moonsault for the two! Pac comes off the ropes, and Chuck catches him each time with an elbow. Chuck catches him with a capture suplex, and kips right back up. Chuck hits the ropes and is caught with a suplex by Stone. Icarus looks for the Shiranui, but Stone counters. Chuck comes in and F.I.S.T hits a double team kick to the head. Pac breaks up the pin. Pac looks for a springboard maneuver on Chuck, but Chuck ducks and lands the Sole Food! Icarus lands the Shiranui, but only gets the two! Pac counters both Icarus and Chuck’s attacks. Martin hits a big time lariat on Icarus, and Pac lands the Shooting Star Press for the three! This match was excellent; all the competitors brought their best to the table and really delivered. It was nice seeing Chuck back in CHIKARA after being absent for the past couple months. So far, the best match in the first round. ***1/2
Tag World Grand Prix; Round One
The Revolution Purple (Adam Polak & Lazio Fe) vs. Team World of Sport (Robbie Brookside & Johnny Kidd)
Polak and Kidd start off, with Polak playing the scared heel. Kidd blocks a few moves, and gets in a test of strength. Kidd kicks away both of Polak’s arms, then dropkicks him to the matt. Kidd tags in Robbie, and he and Polak lock up. Robbie takes Polak down to the mat and works over his left arm. Kidd comes off the rope with an elbow right to his arm. Polak tags in Fe. Kidd takes Fe over and stomps on Fe’s face. Fe puts on an arm bar, but Kidd rolls over on the mat and gets out of it. Team WOS tag in and out, beating on Fe. Fe rolls to the floor and brings in Polak who is taken down to the mat by Kidd. Team WOS continues to work over Polak’s bad left arm. After being worked over by Brookside, Polak retreats to his corner and tags in Fe. Fe is locked into an octopus like stretch by Kidd. Kidd smoothly transitions into a pinning combination, and Polak kicks out. Kidd gets Fe into a crucifix pin, and Fe kicks out once more. Fe asks for a test of strength and applies an arm bar on Kidd. Kidd goes through the leg, snapmares Fe down, and tags Robbie in. After being bullied by both members of Team WOS, Polak comes back in. team WOS hits the wishbone leg snap and Polak rolls to the outside. Fe comes in and takes out Kidd’s leg. The Revolution Purple work over the right side of Kidd’s body, specifically his ankle and arm. Kidd almost had the tag, but the Revolution cut him off. Kidd was able to sweep the leg of Polak, and catapult him into Fe on the apron. Kidd rolls over to his corner and tags in Robbie. Robbie brings Fe in the ring hard way, and delivers a series of uppercuts to both Fe and Polak. Robbie throws Fe off the top rope with the cataclysm for the two. Polak and Kidd come in as the legal men. Kidd lands a chin breaker, but Polak sweeps the legs and puts his feet on the ropes for the three! The Revolution Purple advance to the next round. Kidd and Brookside were such an awesome team. I think it is a real shame that the Revolution Purple advanced instead of them. Oh well, the match was still pretty darn good, even though the ending left something to be desired. **1/2
Tag World Grand Prix; Round One
Tommy End & ??? vs. 2.0 (Jagged & Shane Matthews)
Shane Matthews points out famous curses in sports history, including a new one: 2.0 failing to advance past the first round in every CHIKARA tournament they have ever been in. They talk about all the changes they made and feel that their destiny is to win the 2008 Tag World Grand Prix. Jagged believes that since the tournament is in Germany, the curse hasn’t followed them.
Tommy End’s original partner (Zack Sabre Jr.) could not make it, so in a true CHIKARA fashion, to choose his new partner, they pull names from a hat (or in this case, a bowl). After naming Randy Orton and Darkness Crabtree (who were both not there), one Andrew Patterson was drawn and chosen as his new partner. Patterson looks like a hybrid of Shane Helms and R-Truth.
End and Shane start off with a lock up. Shane takes End down with a go behind, and celebrates this as a huge victory. End takes down Shane and steps right on his chest. Shane slaps End, then runs to his corner afraid. Patterson and Jagged are both tagged in. Jagged asks for a test of strength, teasing Patterson by switching his arms. Jagged kicks Patterson in the gut and applies a side headlock. He switches into a wristlock then a hammerlock, and trips Patterson to the mat. Jagged messes with his ‘fro and both men reach their feet. Patterson takes Jagged down with a wrist lock and head butts Jagged’s hand. Patterson messes up Jagged’s hair while he is on the mat. Jagged rakes Patterson’s eyes. Patterson comes off the ropes. After a series off drop downs and leap frogs, Patterson blasts Jagged with a kick and some elbows. End and Patterson use team work to keep Jagged in their corner. Jagged rakes Patterson’s eyes again to regain control. 2.0 isolate Patterson in their corner making frequent tags and disparaging comments to Tommy End on the apron. They even mock the crowd, by teasing big moves, then not living up. My favorite was Jagged going to the top rope, then walking all the way down to the mat before punching Patterson. Patterson was able to duck a series of double clothesline attempts before baseball sliding to the floor. End comes in taking out both members of 2.0 with RVD like kicks. He smacks Jagged with a Pele kick and gets a two count, thanks to Matthews breaking up the pin. End and Patterson land a double Enzugiri on Matthews, before being nailed by a double dropkick from Jagged from the top rope. Jagged slams End with the Gory Special but only gets the two count. Jagged pops up Patterson who gets nailed with a spear from Shane on the way down to the mat. 2.0 goes for double team, but End kicks Jagged in the head. Patterson rolls through into a pin on Shane, but Shane kicks out. End lands a Diamond Cutter into a Dragon Sleeper onto Shane, who has no choice but to tap! 2.0 is so awesome, and End and Patterson did a fine job as a make shift tag team. Short, but they got the job done for sure. Again, I feel the wrong team won, but I won’t complain as the fans loved Patterson as the surprise partner. **3/4.
World of Sport Rules
Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Saint
Mike talks about how he is a member of a dying fraternity: “The Masters of a Thousand Holds”. He mentions Blue Panther, Nick Bockwinkel, Dean Malenko, and a couple others who also belong to this fraternity. Mike mentions how tonight he is facing the most eloquent counter wrestler to ever grace the ring, and a fellow member of the faternity: Johnny Saint. Quack talks about how they met once before earlier in the year, giving the fans a clean, classy, and clever contest. Quack notes that they each won one fall, bringing the match to a draw. He says that then he was satisfied with the call at the time, but tonight, he is in it to win it.
Basically, World of Sport Rules means there are six five-minute rounds with a thirty second rest period in between each round.
They start of trying to gain the upper hand. Each men reverses each other’s arm captures, and try to hold one another down to the mat. Saint holds onto Quack’s arm, and as hard as Quack tries, he seems helpless to release. Quack pushes on the back of Saint’s knee to take him down, and finally releases himself. Quack applies a wrist lock and Saint uses his leg and a spin to get out of it. Saint brings Quack down and works over his left leg. Quack wraps his legs around Saint in a leg scissor, and Saint rolls up in two pin attempts. Quack is able to kick out of both. Saint squirms out of Quack’s legs, leaving Quack impressed. Quack applies a full nelson and Saint beautifully works out of that as well. The first round ends, and both men shake hands. The fans chant “This is Wrestling!” in approval.
Quack begins the second round working over Saint’s right ankle. He locks his leg around Saint’s ankle and bridges back to put on more pressure. Seemingly with ease, Saint is able to escape and locks on a surfboard. Saint works through a test of strength, and rolls up Quack with a La Magistral for a two. Quack applies an abdominal stretch and Saint gets his arm free. Quack quickly gets the move back on. Saint throws Quack off. Saint rolls through a test of strength, bringing Quack to his knees. Quack counters into a wrist lock. Saint revolutions through into a wrist lock of his own. Quack mares Saint down and rolls him up in a crucifix pin. Saint crunches, which throws his backside into the stomach of Quackenbush. Saint stretches Quack’s back over his legs. Quack rolls over into a pin, trying to hold Saint’s arms down. Saint keeps kicking out, and Quack lets Saint get up to his feet. Saint applies a nerve hold, but the second round ends.
Quack weaves through into a cravate to begin round three. Saint brings Quack down, circles around, and pops his head out into a wristlock. Quack cartwheels to counter into his own wristlock. Johnny Saint gets Quack into a headscissors, only for Quack to work out of it. Saint throws Quack into the ropes, leap frogs over him, then drops down to the mat. Saint crosses his legs and puts his arm through. Quack grabs the arm, Saint rolls through, and pins Quack for the two. Saint school boys Quack and goes for the pin once more, but Quack quickly kicks out and goes to his corner. Quack works over the right arm of Saint. Saint rolls through a hand clench into a sunset flip for a two count. Saint goes for some more pins, but Quack kicks out each time. The fans applaude as they reach a stalemate. Quack rolls Saint over, crosses his legs, and pulls back for pressure. Saint rolls through in a crucifix pin, but Quack kicks out. Saint gets to his feet, rolls through a snapmare, and drops the leg on Quack’s arm. Saint capitalizes on the arm, but Quack bridges up to his feet. Saint and Quack each counter each other till the third round ends with a hand shake.
The fourth round begins with another lock up. Saint immediately snapmares Quack down into a nerve hold. Quacks rolls up with Saint’s arms crossed. Quack brings Saint down to the mat and applies an arm submission. Saint rolls through. He grabs Quack’s legs and slams it against the mat. Saint throws Quack into the ropes. Saint leapfrogs Quack, and each men collide their shoulders into each other. Quack headlocks Saint, and Saint turns it into a knee breaker. Saint and Quack are both hurt by the move, laying on the mat and grabbing their knees. Saint stays down on the mat grabbing his mat. Saint doesn’t make it up before the ten count, giving this round and the match to Quackenbush. The referee and Quackenbush help Saint up. The crowd gives a huge standing ovation for both men, who shake hands and exchange words. The fans chant “ONE MORE ROUND!” and Quack grabs the microphone.
Quack says he doesn’t want to be robbed of his chance to face Saint in a true contest that doesn’t end in a draw or an injury.. Quack says that when Saint is 100% again, he wants to face Saint one more time. The fans agree, and holy crap do I agree. This match was tremendous. The term “human chess match” gets thrown around in wrestling some time, and that’s what this was. These two played an awesome game of “Can you top this?” the entire time, and it was always entertaining. I am so impressed with just how good Johnny Saint is when it comes to countering holds, and just how good he is at the age of 66. He and Mike put on an awesome match, and gave the fans of Oberhausen a match they won’t soon forget. ****
The 411: CHIKARA made quite the impression in their first foray outside of the United States. Every match on the show is worth watching, and the main event is absolutely incredible. This is an easy recommendation, and hopefully the second night will be just as enjoyable as the first.