Views from the Hawke's Nest: Chikara's The Thirteenth Hat 2012 Review
Posted by TJ Hawke on 02.14.2012
Chikara's 2012 premiere started off promising, but it ended poorly.
Easton, Pennsylvania On Commentary: Bryce Remsburg, Gavin Loudspeaker, Leonard F. Chikarason, and Eddie Kingston
UltraMantis Black and Hallowicked are walking into a tunnel, otherwise known as Delirious’s lair. Delirious shows up, after UltraMantis calls him with the Eye of Tyr. UltraMantis tells him that the BDK is no more. Delirious grabs the Eye of Tyr, runs back into the tunnel, and he then smashes it with a rock. We hear (presumably) Delirious scream, “I REMEMBER EVERYTHING!” I love Chikara.
Gavin Loudspeaker starts the show with a tambourine, doing a Chikara cheer as if he was a cheerleader. He didn’t seem as comfortable doing this as he does with a guitar. He had to look at his hand for most of the lines, which made me laugh. The cheer kind of fails, and the crowd chants, “A for Effort!” Oh, Chikara.
Mike Quackenbush vs. Green Ant
Green Ant has lost to Quack twice (once in 2011 and once in 2010). However, Green Ant is clearly at a new level now. Quack was his trainer, and he recently taught Green Ant a new variation of the Chikara Special to defeat Tursas.
They did a lot of trading holds at the beginning. The story was that Green Ant was closer to Quack’s level on the mat than their previous encounters. Quack almost caught him with a sleeper, but Green Ant escaped. Green Ant got a couple of leg locks, but Quack made the ropes. Green Ant went for another leg lock, but Quack reversed it into an armbreaker. It’s all mat work so far, but the crowd is totally invested. Quack started going to work on the legs of Green Ant. While they were mostly going for submissions, they also sneaked in some pinfalls attempts. Green Ant landed a hard kick out of nowhere, and he then again, locked in a series of submission attempts. Quack escaped and went for the Quacken Driver III, but Green Ant reversed it into his Chikara Special variation! QUACK TAPS OUT! Quack shakes his hand, and puts him over. The reaction from the crowd and Gavin/Bryce on commentary helped to make this feel very special.
A fantastic 10 minute opener for Chikara’s season premiere. I've already watched this match twice and I loved it even more the second time. This match put over Green Ant perfectly; big things should be in store for him this season. If Quack wanted to slow down to extend his career, I would be fine watching matches like this for a few more years. Match Rating: ***1/2
Dasher Hatfield comes out to thank the crowd for their support. Dasher says that Sugar Dunkerton (who is not here, nor is he on the Chikara roster anymore) also thanks the crowd. Dasher then introduces his cousin’s step-son (or something like that), Mr. Touchdown. Mr. Touchdown is very energetic as he makes his way to the ring. He is in full football pads (which I can assure you are not fun to run in), but he is wearing boots instead of cleats. Mr. Touchdown takes the mic; he calls the crowd nerds and says, “Now that Mr. Touchdown is here, you better believe that…it’s GOOD!” Let the speculation begin that in wake of Sugar’s absence, Mr. Touchdown will turn Dasher into a rudo.
Jigsaw vs. Kobald
This is a pretty random matchup that I believe has never happened before. This is my first time watching Kobald in singles match; I’ve heard he has improved a lot. At Chikara’s last Season 10 weekend, Jigsaw lost to Grizzly Redwood on Saturday, and he then defeated El Generico on Sunday. Weird.
Kobald went to the outside early in the match to avoid Jigsaw. The fans yelled at Kobald until he went back into the ring, where Jigsaw easily took control. Kobald used a headbutt and biting to get back in the match. Kobald actually started to get the heat on Jigsaw, which surprised me somewhat (I thought this may be a squash). The crowd rallied behind Jigsaw. Kobald cut him off again though with a double underhook fame-asser (maybe in Chikara that is a Fame-Hindquaters). Out of nowhere though, Jigsaw hit an incredible leapfrog double stomp on Kobald’s neck. That looked amazing. Jig hit a German suplex for a nearfall. Kobald came back with a spear though! Jig came back with slingshot powerbomb and then a kneeling superkick: 1…2…3!
This match was a pleasant surprise. Kobald has clearly improved to the point where he can have solid singles matches. It definitely helped that Jigsaw was wildly over with crowd, and they were prepared to support him the moment Kobald took over the match. Don’t sleep on this match as it was a good effort all around. Match Rating: **3/4
Icarus cuts a promo about how he does not fear Gran Akuma at all. Icarus has some great heel facial hair now.
Icarus vs. Gran Akuma
18 months ago, Icarus kicked Gran Akuma out of FIST and most of us presumed that Akuma was done with Chikara. Then at the 2011 Cibernetico and Season Finale, Akuma attacked Icarus. Now, we have a match.
Icarus spends multiple minutes getting into it with various fans at ringside. The two girls who yelled at Chuck Taylor at Cibernetico are back. Akuma was very over with the Easton fans. Icarus was apparently trying to hide within the first row. Icarus came to the ring and revealed his back tattoo much to the dismay of the crowd. He took off his loaded fanny pack too, which is the best heel weapon ever. Akuma took him down quickly with a dropkick, but Icarus hit a slingshot senton to slow him down. Akuma came back with some kicks, a slingshot hurricanrana, and a DVD. Icarus went to the floor and grabbed a steel chair. They stared at each other on the outside as the referee counted to 20. Gregory Iron came out and stared down Icarus. Both men were counted. Akuma shoved Icarus, but Iron also slapped Akuma down. So now, Akuma is probably going to have seek forgiveness from Iron as well as getting revenge on Icarus.
Well, we couldn’t expect the blowoff to happen in the first match of the program or on the season premiere. If this was only going to be angle, I almost wish a match was never scheduled. This is just the first chapter in what will be a very long feud though, and I am still excited to see how it all plays out. I’m very curious to see what Iron’s role becomes because one would think he would have gotten over Akuma accidentally kicking him by now. Is there something else bothering Iron? Match Rating: n/a
Donst and Jakob cut a promo in the back; Donst says the BDK is better than ever. Jakob mentions Ares, but Donst slaps him for saying that name. Donst tells him he better not lose.
3.0 (Shane Matthews & Scott Parker) vs. The BDK (Tim Donst & Jakob Hammermeier)
Jakob comes out to announce themselves. Tim has got a new leather jacket, and in general, he seems to be trying to look more rugged. Jakob had very little success early in the match. Donst finally just threw Jakob out of the ring and got the advantage for the BDK. Parker got worked over after that. Eventually, Jakob screwed up and Matthews made a hot tag and ran wild. I love Shane Matthews’s headscissors. Donst got tossed out of the ring, and Parker knocked out Jakob with a running knee, and then 3.0 hit the Sweet Taste of Professionalism: 1…2…3! 3.0 has two points!
This was an enjoyable match that accomplished two goals: 3.0 looks strong on their way (presumably) to a tag title shot, and the last of the BDK further disintegrates. As for the match, it was very short and not all that competitive. This match wasn’t as technically great as some Chikara tag matches, but I am a sucker for 3.0’s antics. As for the last of the BDK, I was glad to see that Donst looked to be carrying himself with a new edge. 2012 looks very bright for one Tim Donst. Match Rating: **1/2
Archibald Peck (w/ Veronica) vs. Hallowicked
Veronica is still very cold to Peck, because he has been losing so much. Hallowicked and UltraMantis have earned a tag title shot, so one would think that he would be doing the job here.
Peck was very careful around Hallowicked. There were some typical great Peck shenanigans early on, but those ended when Hallowicked wiped him out with a suicide dive. Veronica then distracted the tecnico, which allowed Peck to get the advantage. Peck worked over Hallowicked for a while after that, mostly by going after Hallowicked’s neck. Peck knocked him down with a forearm to the back of the neck, and he then decided it was time for his finishing move! Peck went to the top rope, but Hallowicked crotched and Peck took a fantastic bump. Hallowicked made a great comeback. Peck actually caught the Go 2 Sleep Hallow attempt, and went for his finisher again. Hallowicked blocked it and both men went down on a double shoulder tackle spot. Hallowicked hit a Sky High: 1…2…NO! Peck recovered though and hit a Michinoku Driver variation for a nearfall. Peck went for a victory roll, but Hallowicked reversed it and got the 3 count!
This was a very strong match. Peck was on point as usual with his character and he really stepped up his in-ring game (in the second half of the match) so that it resembled RD Evans of Beyond Wrestling more than Marchie Archie. These two had really strong chemistry, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch down the line. Match Rating: ***1/4
Ophidian cuts a promo in the back with his new gear. He’s holding his old mask and the mask of Amasis, and talking to them as if they were people. He says he was not worthy of the name Ophidian. He says he wears armor over his face, because he is not worthy of the soul that Osiris gave him. Ophidian says he in on a path to redemption and that path has led him to Easton, PA (naturally). Ophidian says he will dismember Hieracon. He then screamed…”HISSSSSSSSS!”
Ophidian vs. Hieracon
A year ago, The Osirian Portal was an incredibly hot trios team. Now, Amasis is retired, Hieracon (Jonathan Gresham) is essentially done with Chikara (after a disappointing singles run), and Ophidian is a heel. Gresham has been competing a lot internationally, so hopefully this match is damn good.
Ophidian has new gear, a new entrance mask and a new wrestling mask. His lack of chest protector makes him look much smaller. Hieracon went for a dive early, but Ophidian ran away. Ophidian cut Hieracon off with a nerve pinch, and he then gave him a neckbreaker in the ropes. Ophidian worked Hieracon over after that. Ophidian gave him a big spinebuster for a nearfall. Ophidian told Hieracon to give him his soul and he then tried to rip off his mask (which is an automatic DQ). Hieracon started a comeback, but Ophidian cut him off with a spinning heel kick. Ophidian got sent to the outside and Hieracon hit him with a wild suicide dive. Ophidian cut him off though by slamming him on the apron and the floor. Hieracon almost got counted, but he just made it back in time. Ophidian was frustrated that Hieracon recovered. They started to trade some big forearms. Hieracon hit a pair of Germans, which got him a nearfall. Ophidian went for the Ophidian Deathlock, but Hieracon escaped and hit a pair of stunners. Hieracon went for a 450, but Ophidian got his knees up. Out of nowhere, Hieracon sent Ophidian to the outside and hit a moonsault. Back in the ring, 450 from Hieracon: 1…2…NO! Hieracon hit a pair of discus lariats for a nearfall, and he then locked in a cross-armbreaker, but Ophidian escaped. Ophidian then hit a Lionsault, but it only got a one count…EGYPTIAN DESTROYER: 1…2…NO! Ophidian then hit a running kick to the back of head and locked in a choke…and Hieracon is knocked out! Ophidian ripped off Hieracon’s mask revealing JONATHAN GRESHAM! WHAT!
That was long. Nearly 20 minutes. And it felt like a 30 minute match that the crowd couldn’t really care less about. This has to be considered a major setback for the Ophidian storyline in terms of entertainment. I wouldn’t go so far to say that the match was bad, but it definitely failed. When you look at all the pieces of this match, one could see why this match would not work out. Ophidian is going from a babyface character that was beloved to a new, completely unredeemable heel character. This heel character talks to masks and has strange motivations, but the crowd would have no idea why, because he mostly explained the gimmick in a backstage promo. Also, he goes from really cool looking ring gear to something that makes him look like less of a star (although I did like the entrance mask). So, he has to essentially get a new character over while simulatenouesly trying to wrestle an entertaining 20 minute match with Hieracon. When Hieracon was a member of the Osirian Portal trios team, he was very entertaining. However, as soon as he was put into singles matches, his match quality fell off a cliff (and he became less over), and the Chikara fans haven't seen him in 7 months. So, the Hieracon character, which has not been seen in 7 months, suddenly returns in a match everyone knows he is going to lose. When you think about all of that, it seems reasonable to think that this match would have failed from the onset. This should have been a glorified squash. Match Rating: **1/4
Gavin Loudspeaker was preparing to announce the main event, but Vin Gerard showed up out of nowhere and attacked. Eddie Kingston left the commentating station to attack him. They were immediately separated. Gerard was escorted from the building as Kingston gave chase. Kingston comes back to ringside and tells Wink to reinstate him so they can fight. Wink says no. Kingston tells Wink to get in the ring. Kingston grabs Wink and threatens violence on him! Jigsaw immediately shows up and backs Eddie off. And now I want to pay to see a Vin Gerard match. My faith in Chikara is fully restored after one segment.
The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant) vs. The Batiri (Obariyon & Kodama)
The Colony were unsuccessful in their latest attempt to get the tag titles during Joshimania, which means they have zero tag title points going into this match. The Batiri also had no points going into this match.
Someone brought a box of sugar to the ring. Bryce Remsburg declares that the box of sugar is now officially on the line (along with tag title points). The Colony were briefly in control, but the Batiri eventually isolated Soldier Ant. The Batiri were working over Soldier Ant for a while. Soldier Ant avoided a pair of elbow drops from the Batiri, and he then tagged in Fire Ant who made a hot tag. Fire Ant hit a springboard cross-body on both members of the Batiri, but he came up empty on a slingshot dive to the floor. Obariyon distracted the referee, while Kodama attacked Fire Ant with a chair. With Fire Ant laid out on the outside, the Batiri worked over Soldier Ant again in the ring. The crowd did not seem to care too much about this and instead was entertaining themselves chanting Superman at some kid wearing a superman shirt, who walked to the ring to help Solider Ant. Fire Ant made it into the ring, and the Batiri immediately sent him packing to the floor. Crowd was back into the match, but the kids were still annoying me. Soldier Ant busted out a Chikara Special out of nowhere on Obariyon, but Kodama broke it up (Obariyon sat in that submission for a while). And the crowd chanted for Superman again. Oh god, both members of the Batiri screwed a move up on Soldier Ant; one of them missed a neckbreaker, and the other one missed a DDT. That looked bad. Soldier Ant essentially DDTed himself to save the spot. What's worse is that the crowd deflated after that, and it was actually the big nearfall spot that Fire Ant returned on. The Batiri immediately started attacking Fire Ant and killed his comeback. Fire Ant did manage to send Kodama to the outside, who was then wiped out by Soldier Ant with a suicide Dive. Fire Ant then kicked Obariyon in the head multiple times, and then hit a Beach Break: 1…2…3
That got real messy at the end. I was expecting a real solid match to close out the show, but this match did not go well. I don’t know what happened. I hope these two teams get a chance to redeem themselves later this year. The Batiri have improved leaps and bounds since they debuted in 2010, and I am glad they were given the chance to main event a show. It just did not go well. Match Rating: **1/2
The Superman kid (and another kid) were brought into the ring to take pictures with The Colony. Soldier Ant then poured sugar (the winning prize!) on themselves and the kids.
You can buy this show as a DVD for $15 or as a MP4 for $9.99 at Smart Mark Video. I got the MP4 and it worked perfectly. It was DVD quality. I strongly believe that Digital Media is necessary for independent wrestling to survive and to thrive. Also, MP4s save you money on shipping and shelf space.
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The 411: The last two matches brought this show into the "Thumbs Down" category. Everything before that was either solid in the ring, or it was at least designed to set in motion important parts of Chikara's 11th season. The highlight of the show for me was Green Ant submitting Mike Quackenbush clean (in a very good match). Besides Sara Del Rey, Green Ant is who I am most interested in seeing challenge Eddie Kingston for the Grand Championship this year. Green Ant has improved to the point where I now look forward to his matches as much as anyone else on the roster. While this was a shaky show to start the season, the main storylines set in place still have me excited for the upcoming year of Chikara.