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 411mania » Wrestling » Video Reviews

Views from the Hawke's Nest: The Best of Chikara 2003
Posted by TJ Hawke on 03.09.2014

Allentown, PA

Blind Rage vs. DJ Skittlez from Aniversario 2003
The match started as a brawl in and out of the ring. Apparently this match was a part of their feud at the time. You see, they don抰 like each other抯 taste in music. This feud sounds fascinating. The winner gets to pick the other抯 entrance music. These two DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER. Rage avoided a swanton from Skittlez and locked in the Camel Clutch. Skittlez survived, but Rage maintained control of the match. Skittlez came back and hit a diving lariat for a nearfall. Rage went for a hurricanrana, but Skittlez reversed it into a STF! Rage made the ropes. Rage came back with a reverse DDT after avoiding the Viagra Driver. Rage then hit the falling powerbomb and locked in an arm-trap STF! Skittlez nearly passed out. Skittlez came back and hit the Super Rainbow Bomb: 123!!!

I was not into this match too much. I got the sense it was one of those matches that called for some investment in the personal between the two in order to enjoy it. Without that, it just felt like a poorly put together match with non-stop back and forth action. If anyone has a different perspective on the match, please share it with us on Twitter!
Match Rating: **

Allentown, PA

Mike Quackenbush, Mister ZERO, UltraMantis, Icarus, & Gran Akuma vs. The Wild Cards (Eddie Kingston & BlackJack Marciano), Conundrum (Jigsaw & Rorschach), & Hallowicked from Aniversario 2003
There were a lot of shenanigans early on. This feels like a Chikara match that could happen today, and it wouldn抰 feel out of place. The rudos were having a lot of problems early on in terms of getting along. The tecnicos were just running through the rudos for the longest time. This match may be a long one. After fifteen plus minutes, the rudos finally got control of the match when Kingston dropped Akuma on his head with a German. They got the heat on Akuma for a while. Akuma eventually escaped and tagged out. The tecnicos ran wild for mere moments before Icarus got cut off with a double team move from The Wildcards. Icarus eventually escaped, and ZERO made a comeback. ZERO hit Kingston with a tope suicida. The tope was definitely in the spirit of Kingston. Everyone did dives to the floor. Back in the ring, they did a ten person submission spot. A few people got to the ropes to break it up. Marciano hit Quack with a reverse powerslam and then a slopping diving attack. The teams traded nearfalls. Jigsaw hit ZERO with Coast-to-Coast. These nearfalls went on for a while. A really long time in fact. The match is going on forty minutes. I抦 so numb to everything and no longer care about it at all. Icarus ate a super fisherman buster from Hallowicked and then a wacky diving splash from Jigsaw. Kingston tried to finish Kingston with the Condo Clutch. Quack applied the Lightning Lock to Jigsaw, and Jigsaw tapped out.

That was certainly long. I used to be a lot more conflicted about these types of matches, but now I realize there is nothing gained by 揵eing nice to them. The match was incredibly long for no justifiable reason. I抦 not against extremely long matches as a rule or anything, but there has to be enough substance to justify the length. While I enjoyed the first two thirds of the match (tecnicos running through the rudos, and the solid enough heat segments), the finishing stretch was so excessive in length that I just no longer cared after a while. In conclusion, this match was a worthy experiment that I will never be watching again.
Match Rating: **1/4

Allentown, PA

The Night Shift (Blind Rage & Hallowicked) vs. Team IWA-MS (Jimmy Jacobs & Brad Bradley) from Tag World Grand Prix 2003
What a matchup! In case you did not know, Brad 揃rad Bradley Bradley is better known as Jay Bradley. Jacobs and BBBB were displaying quite a bit of chemistry early on. He tossed Jacobs onto the Night Shift, who were on the floor. Bradley then hit a Deadman Suicida. Shortly after that, Jacobs was isolated by Night Shift. Jacobs was worked over for a while. He bulldogged Rage onto Hallowicked. BBBB made a hot tag. Night Shift came back. The teams briefly went back and forth until Rage caught Jacobs with an O扖onnor Roll: 123!

I really enjoyed this one. The matchup felt incredibly fresh, and they never let up the pace the whole time. Bradley and Jacobs seemed only concerned with putting on as fun of a match as possible, and they proved to be a good fit. Thumbs up!
Match Rating: ***

Allentown, PA

Team Toryumon (Skayde & Arakencito) vs. Super Friends (Chris Hero & Mike Quackenbush) from Tag World Grand Prix 2003
Arakencito is officially a mini, which means he only needs to pin 揻ull sized wrestlers for two seconds. Quack and Hero need to pin him for four seconds though. Well, this should be interesting. The teams went back and forth for a bit. Arakencito hit a tope con hello on Quack after a few minutes of action. I just realized this was the first time I have seen Skayde with a mask on. Quack explained at this point on commentary that Ultimo Dragon was very disappointed in Arakencito抯 performances at this tournament; as a result, Arakencito was never sent back with Skayde. Arakencito was worked over for a bit, but he made his own comeback. He hit a 450 after a one count. Right, Quack and Hero have to avoid two counts. Quack then hit Arakencito with a Tiger Driver for a three count, which is obviously not a win. After some more action for a while, Hero hit Arakencito with a brainbuster and then locked in the Hangman抯 Clutch for the submission victory.

This match was very enjoyable to watch, but it did not build any drama or suspense. The match just sort of ended when it seemed like they were only halfway through their match. Regardless, I think this was really interesting to watch. Also, I have no idea what Ultimo Dragon was talking about. Arakencito looked pretty good here.
Match Rating: **3/4

Allentown, PA

Super Friends (Mike Quackenbush & Chris Hero) vs. Swiss Money Holding (Ares & Claudio Castagnoli) from Tag World Grand Prix 2003
The teams went back and forth at the start. Quack got Ares in a submission, and Ares was forced to get to the ropes. Hero and CC squared off right after that. These two would go on to have many underwhelming singles matches over the years. Claudio was worked over by Quack for a while. They did chicken fight test of strength. Quack hit Ares with a senton plancha. Claudio then did a Deadman suicida. Hero then did a no-hands corkscrew plancha. They got back into the ring, and Quack was then worked over. Quack caught Claudio with a big palm strike, and Hero then made a hot tag. Hero was then cut off after a bit and worked over himself. Fuck, this match is long. Hero caught Ares with suplex that dropped him on his neck. Quack then made a comeback. The teams went back and forth. Ares ate the doubleteam Hero抯 Welcome, but CC made the save. Hero got Ares in a submission, as CC got Quack in a submission. The thirty minute time limit expired before either man tapped out. Both teams were eliminated from the tournament.

Long does not equal good. While it抯 possible to have thirty minutes of story to tell in a wrestling match (or even 60+), the degree of difficulty is much higher. This match was a case of a long match not having nearly enough in-ring story to tell in the thirty minutes of action. If they cut the length in half, I could almost guarantee that I would have enjoyed it twice as much. As it was, I enjoyed some of it, but I cannot get all that excited about it.

With all that being said, these two teams clearly had chemistry, and the match made me want to see them wrestle again under different conditions.
Match Rating: **3/4

Allentown, PA

Blackjack Marciano vs. Icarus from 2003
There was some gaga with hair pulling early on. It was amusing. Marciano got sent to the floor, but then he cut Icarus off. Marciano was in control after that. Icarus eventually made a comeback. Marciano managed to connect on a variation of the koppou kick. Marciano went for a moonsault, but he came up empty. Eddie Kingston showed up. Icarus had the match won with a Sliced Bread, but Kingston had Bryce distracted. Gran Akuma took out Kingston with a tope con hello. Icarus caught Marciano with a hurricanarana: 123!

Nothing about this match was special, but I enjoyed it well enough. The shenanigans were fun, the action was fun, and the interference finish was even fun. Thumbs up!
Match Rating: **3/4

Allentown, PA

Rorschach vs. Jolly Roger from The International Invasion of International Invaders 2003
Rorschach got control of the match first and then worked Roger over. Roger caught him with a small package and La Magistral cradle for a pair of nearfalls. Rorschach caught him with a leg lariat and went back to working him over again. That did not last long though, as Roger hit a blockbuster and then made a comeback. Rorschach caught him with a nifty powerbomb, but Roger came right back with the Walk The Plank.

I learned from Kevin Ford that the winner qualified for the second Young Lions Cup tournament that would not take place for several months.

This was fine enough. There wasn抰 anything particularly wrong with the match, but it was a short match that did not do anything noteworthy. I抦 hoping Jolly Roger and Rorschach pop up a few more times on these Best of DVDs, as I have not seen enough of them.
Match Rating: *1/2

Allentown, PA

Jigsaw vs. Sumie Sakai from The International Invasion of International Invaders 2003
I have never seen Sumie Sakai before. Quack explained on commentary that this match was one of the first intergender matches in Chikara. Sakai hit an early plancha, but Jigsaw cut her off when they got back in the ring. He worked her over for a while. Ok, I just learned that Sukai was on the second EVOLVE show, which means there抯 a chance that I have actually seen her. Sakai avoided the Cancun Tornado and then made a big comeback. She went for a moonsault, but Jigsaw got his knees up and then hit a superkick: 123

This was a solid match. Much like a few others matches on the Best of 2002 and 2003 sets, you have wonder why this match was added. It抯 not bad, but it抯 hard to believe it would be the 揵est of a year in Chikara. It either speaks very poorly of Chikara抯 2003 or very poorly of Chikara抯 reasoning for selecting certain matches.
Match Rating: **

Allentown, PA

Mike Quackenbush vs. Skayde from The International Invasion of International Invaders 2003
I feel like this will either be great or masturbatory. This is a two out of three falls match. This match was for Skayde抯 AULL/IPW Mexican Middleweight Championship.

They went for some submissions early. There were a couple of awkward moments between the two men. Quack hit a tope suicida. Back in the ring, Skayde applied La Escalera, and Quack had to tap out. Skayde is up one fall to none.

Skayde was in control to start the second fall. He worked Quack over for a while. Quack came back and hit the Quackendriver: 123. They are tied, one fall apiece.

Skayde hit a tope con hello at the beginning of the third fall. Quack tried to come back with a tope suicida, but he crashed on the hard floor. Quack nearly lost via countout, but he got back into the ring. They did some rolls, and Quack caught Skayde with a hurricanrana: 123!

Skayde was upset that he lost, but he still helped to put the belt on Quack after the match.

I guess I was somewhat wrong in saying this would be either great or masturbatory. It felt light and unsubstantial, but not in an obnoxious way (at least to me). This would be the last Chikara match for several months.
Match Rating: **1/2

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: Shabang728@gmail.com. Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

For more information on Chikara, check out their:
DVD Store
Youtube Page

The 411: Much like the Best of Chikara 2002 set, this is rather underwhelming. Unlike that set though, all the charm of a new wrestling promotion is run out and instead we just have a bunch of matches that are not anything special. Thumbs down for this set. Only pick this up if you're the biggest Chikara fan ever. This DVD is available for purchase atSmart Mark Video. Remember to check out Kevin Ford's Chikara Special Blog and a Chikara Special Tumblr. Also, check out Murray Peterson's The Dark Match for an exploration of Chikara's storylines.
Final Score:  4.5   [ Poor ]  legend


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