Thursday, May 9, 2013

CHIKARA: The Ghost of You Clings… 5/4/2013

It’s gonna take me a minute to get to the actual recapping.

Actually, even the actual recapping might not be all that recappy. It’s funny – we were talking about the show on the way home and when we got to this one part Lil’ Troublemaker said not to tell Mommy about it. I asked him why and he said that the ring announcer had asked the people not to talk about it. I hadn’t even caught that. But it’s good that the boy is respecting kayfabe at this early age. I don’t know how much of anything we’re really supposed to talk about and we had so much fun at the CHIKARA show that I’d hate to give anything away that they wanted kept secret. So no match results here.

Before I get to Saturday’s CHIKARA show I want to briefly discuss Friday’s Monstrosity Championship Wrestling show.
           As many of you might know I am the ring announcer for MCW. I’m really more of an emcee or a host due to the nature of the show. I take my job fairly seriously and I try to do my best. If nothing else, the athletes deserve my best. And I have to say, I think my best is pretty darn good. Not great, but I feel like I’m getting better every show.

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been recapping MCW shows. It’s because I feel too weird about reviewing (or whatever it is that I do) shows that I am part of. I just can’t be objective, and if I can’t be at least mostly objective I don’t have any business doing it. Friday night’s card was strong, Andrew and the Disapyramids were the band, and Doc from TNA was there to check us out and sign stuff.
  • Item 1 – I have seen Andrew and the Disapyramids before and didn’t like them. When I first heard they were playing an MCW show I did not think they were a good choice. I was dead wrong. They were full of energy and easily the most crowd-pleasing band we’ve had so far. Those guys blew me away.

  • Item 2 – Doc knew who I was. I felt like it was important for me to say hello and to thank him for coming to our show. When I introduced myself and explained that I was the announcer he said that he knew and had seen me online and that I was good. Someday I might get used to people recognizing me, but I doubt it. I also got to do a little business with Doc on the mic. That was cool. Doc did a little business of his own later on, but I think I’m not going to talk about that.

  • Item 3 – DeWitt Dawson is one of MCW’s commentators. He is very funny and extremely talented on the mic. He is also a heel and manages Fred Yehi, so he had to leave the announce position and accompany Yehi to the ring for his match with Supernatural. This left Johnny Danger Van Helsing alone on commentary. Professor Morté asked me if I wanted to go up and fill in on commentary and I said heck no.
I’ve been watching professional wrestling since I was a little kid and the commentators are my heroes. The way that the good announcers lead the audience while calling the action is art. A good announcer can make a solid show incredible and a bad announcer can turn a great show into garbage. I think Jim Ross is one of the greatest talents ever to come out of professional wrestling. As great as I think I am at talking, I have never been sure that I have it in me to do wrestling commentary. Quite frankly, the thought of trying it has always terrified me.

And I stood there and looked up at that stage and walked up to stand beside Johnny Danger and call that match.

I’m happy with how I did. People in attendance told me I was good. I wish I still knew move names like I did back when I played SmackDown every week, but I managed. I did something that I was scared to do and had never done before. And I got to call a Fred Yehi and Supernatural match.

Okay, so CHIKARA was the next day. It was just me and Lil’ Troublemaker. I had bought one front row ticket because I knew Mrs. Troublemaker wouldn’t want to go and I wasn’t sure if our son would (kids got in free, so it could be a last-minute thing). Thankfully he did and we had one of the best nights ever.

It was pouring rain when we arrived in Porterdale. I wasn’t sure if Lil’ Troublemaker would wear his mask when we got there, or for how long, or if he would at all. After we parked I asked him if he even wanted us to wear masks and he did, so we suited up and went to stand in line. The doors didn’t open for another fifteen minutes and I felt bad having my son stand out in the rain, so I ignored my usual reservations and walked past the line so we could stand under the awning. I wasn’t actually going to cut in line – I planned to let all of those folks go by and we’d wait until the end. Everybody was cool about it. The Porterdaliens are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I really like that town. 
 
Under the awning we ran into a guy I had spoken to before that looks pretty much just like Angry Matt. He’s a nice fella and we chatted for a bit. Alicia and her husband were out there too, but it was so crowded we couldn’t really get over to them. Once the doors opened up I sort of hung back, but the guy that had been behind us – who had some amazing signs, by the way – told us to go ahead. I’m not one to refuse an advantage.

When we got inside I explained to the guy taking tickets that I had a front row ticket but had my son with me. He told me not to worry about it – he could squeeze in or sit on my lap or stand by me and it would be fine. We were in seat #15. Soon after I sat down, MCW commentator DeWitt Dawson came over and said that he had had to purchase his ticket and his daughter’s ticket separately and that one was #16 and one was #39. That is some crazy luck, right there. He asked if I’d mind swapping and of course I said no problem. I took #39 and went across the room. And guess who had #40? Pseudo Matt! Out of a fairly large room full of people I did not know, I just happened to swap tickets with one I did and then end up next to another one.

Who had ticket #38 is a whole other story. I’ll get there.

Before I forget, if you go to a CHIKARA show, bring cash. The guys all sell their own merch and nobody can take plastic. This worked out well for me, as I would have spent a fortune. As it was I had to borrow two bucks from DeWitt just to buy waters for me and my son because I had already spent the five bucks I had on raffle tickets.

CHIKARA’s official host, Gavin Loudpseaker, came out to open the show. This guy blew me away. He wasn’t just a ring announcer – not that that’s a bad job – he was an all-around emcee, host, and entertainer. Which is exactly what I strive to be in MCW. Loudspeaker is really damn good and is a new hero to me. I thought about picking up CHIKARA DVDs just to see the guy work, but I’m too early into doing ring announcing. I don’t want to start unconsciously aping his style. This is something I am aware of inadvertently doing on my podcasts. If I listen to Marc Maron’s WTF the day of a recording I can always hear Maron in my speech later on when I listen to the show. But anyway, Gavin Loudspeaker is awesome.

The opening match was a Platinum Championship Wrestling (the local company that holds its shows in the venue) tag match. It was a qualifier for their Tag Team Season.

The Jagged Edge & “The Revelation” Shane Marx w/ Rachael Freeman
Vs.
The Washington Bullets

Jagged Edge and Marx are two of the most-hated heels in PCW. The Bullets – brothers Jon and Trey Williams – are some of the hottest and most over faces. This was a great match for the opener because Lil’ Troublemaker remembered all of these people from the St. Patrick’s Day show we attended. He booed the mess out of the bad guys and jumped up and cheered when the Bullets came out. It was awesome. I love that he got so into it.
The PCW guys had an intense, exciting match that got everybody in attendance fired up. Regardless of Lil’ Troublemaker’s reaction, this was a great choice for an opener. 
Speaking of great choices, the Bullets went over and advanced in the Tag Team Season.

YOUR WINNER – The Washington Bullets (I’ll give that result because it wasn’t a CHIKARA match)

After the match, Gavin Loudspeaker came out and sang a fairly unflattering song about Tim Donst.
I have to say here that I went into this show only tangentially familiar with CHIKARA. I know the name because it is Angry Matt’s favorite promotion. I know Los Ice Creams (who were not there that night) because of this:



And I know of the Ants. Other than that all I really knew going in was that CHIKARA uses a fair amount of comedy and a large amount of very good wrestling talent. While Georgia boasts some very good independent wrestling – PCW, PWR, UIW, Anarchy, and more that I haven’t seen enough of to mention – the top tier indies that are just a tad below TNA recognition-wise don’t come here much. I think we’ve had one ROH show. So this was an exciting opportunity to see product that was completely fresh and new.

But this also meant that I had no idea who Tim Donst was and that Gavin Loudspeaker’s song – while funny – didn’t do much other than set this Donst guy up as a heel and as some sort of authority figure or something. Which is really all it needed to do.

After Loudspeaker finished his song he did a little hype, pushed RaffleMania (which could win you a CHIKARA mask of your choice), and then made what I would say was the most pleasing announcement of the night - he said that CHIKARA is a family show and advised the audience not to use profanity or act inappropriately. This made me very happy, as I love taking my son to wrestling shows, but you never know how the fans or the wrestlers and promoters are going to be.

The Kentucky Gentleman, Chuck Taylor
Vs.
Shenron

I hated Chuck Taylor the second he walked out. The guy was in baseball pants (you all know how I feel about baseball) and just looked skeevy. Like Scott Baio’s sketchy little brother. He was pretty clearly the heel.
His opponent was a masked fella called Shenron. There was more to his name – “The Sould Dragon” or something – but I can’t remember exactly. The important thing was that Lil’ Troublemaker went nuts for him. Also, he had a thing from Dragon Ball Z on his trunks. I dislike baseball slightly more than I dislike Dragon Ball Z, so I was okay rooting for this guy.
The match itself was a great opener for the CHIKARA portion of the event. We had a clear heel and a clear babyface and both men were very talented. Taylor knew how to work the crowd and Shenron knew how to do lots of flippy stuff. After it concluded the crowd was definitely fired up and ready for more.

The next match was a tag match and I think was the first one advertised for the show. It was the one Lil’ Troublemaker was the most excited about because everybody had masks that clearly identified their gimmicks.

assailANT & Fire Ant
Vs.
The Shard & Jigsaw

While the crowd reaction during the entrances suggested who were the tecnicos (babyfaces) and who were the rudos (heels), the actions of the teams during the introductions would have been enough to give it away. Over the course of the night I found that every CHIKARA wrestler was very skilled at acting under masks to communicate intent and disposition. That was just as impressive as the actual wrestling. It was also important because unlike PCW or MCW, CHIKARA does not have announcers that are audible at the live shows. The wrestlers have to do all of the storytelling with the occasional assist from Loudspeaker.
This was a great tag match. Shard and Jigsaw were all kinds of dastardly while assailant almost completely failed to live up to his name. The rudos totally controlled the match until the blue Ant was finally able to make the Hot Tag (naturally) to Fire Ant. Fire Ant had HUGE fan support as he took on the bad guys. From that point on the match was action-packed and another big crowd-pleaser.
Gran Akuma
Vs.
Sugar Dunkerton w/ Icarus

Gran Akuma looked really familiar. I don’t know if he wrestles for other promotions under another name or anything, but I feel like I’ve seen him before. From the fan reactions and his disposition he seemd like the clear tecnico of this match.
While I felt like I recognized Akuma, I definitely know his opponent – Sugar Dunkerton. The first time I saw Sugar was back at one of the first PCW shows at The Masquerade. He came off as a guy who was mostly a basketball gimmick and just barely a wrestler. I think he might have even had a different name. But times have certainly changed. Not only does Sugar know how to work a crowd, he was totally solid in the ring. It seemed like he was supposed to be the rudo – and his valet definitely looked like a scumbag – but Sugar is a local guy and received a warm welcome.
The match itself was all about Sugar’s razzle-dazzle. He mixed a lot of showing off with some fun grappling. Throughout the match Icarus kept lending a hand behind the ref’s back and Sugar kept telling him to stop, that he was going to win this one clean. It lent a neat and compelling dynamic to the bout.

This was a fun one to watch, but I think it lost Lil’ Troublemaker a bit because nobody had a mask. At one point he asked me if he could have some water. I realized I had spent my cash on raffle tickets and hadn’t thought about the fact that the concession stand in the venue only accepts cash. Crap. I asked him if he thought he could wait and he said okay, but a few minutes later asked if we could leave. Okay. We needed water. Thankfully DeWitt was across the way and I felt like I knew him well enough to borrow a couple of bucks. I didn’t feel comfortable asking Pseudo-Matt.
I hunched over and me and Lil’ Troublemaker ran around the ring where DeWitt gave me some bills. We got a couple of waters and headed back to our seats, where we decided that we were good now and didn’t need to leave. Also, we had a dollar left over. I gave it to my son and told him to run it back over. I don’t know why, but this was kind of a test. I was just curious to see if he’d go over there by himself with all of the action going on in the ring. He’s five and hasn’t been around a whole lot of live crazy stuff like that. It wouldn’t be a big deal if he didn’t want to; I’d just go. But he took it and ran over and told DeWitt thanks and came back like it was no big deal. I was kind of proud. But not as proud as I’d be in a few minutes.
Kobald
Vs.
Amasis

We were both excited to see the Batiri. They’re one of the factions in CHIKARA and they are vaguely bat-themed. Lil’ Troublemaker is a HUGE Batman fan, so this seemed like his group. We did not know they were rudos.
Kobald came out first and did a creepy little walk around the ring, stopping in front of us. The whole crowd had been booing him while me and Lil’ Troublemaker had been settling back down and ascertaining that all was good and we could stay for the rest of the show. Right as things sort of leveled back out, Kobald turned around and sort of screamed right in Lil’ Troublemaker’s face.
Obviously I am not mad about this. So far all of the wrestlers had been interacting with the kids – hi-fives and whatnot – and really making them a part of the show. So Kobald was just doing his thing as a bad guy. But my (again – five-year-old) son is not accustomed to having monsters scream in his face. So he did what I would have done at his age (and probably for a few years beyond) and did his very best not to cry but started crying. If he had asked to leave right then, the show would have been over for us. We would have walked right out the door because I am not one of those guys that believes in making his kids sit through stuff that they don’t want to do. My dad was that guy and it definitely shaped our relationship in a negative way. I would have cried and asked to leave and he would have said no and I would have just kept crying.
But Lil’ Troublemaker didn’t ask to leave. I told him it was okay and that Kobald was a bad guy and a jerk and that somebody would be coming out in a minute to beat him up. Again, if he had asked to leave then, we would be gone. But he didn’t. He stopped crying and got over his shock and when Amasis came out and started whooping Kobald’s tail my son got way into the match. He totally forgot about the shock and was standing up and yelling at Kobald and cheering for “purple and gold” (we didn’t catch Amasis’ name).
I was so damn proud of my tough little guy I thought my chest was going to burst. Even now I’m sitting here with misty eyes just thinking about it. I try very hard to be a good dad and do what I think is best by my son. I think that little experience shows that me and Mrs. Troublemaker have done at least a few things right. At his age I wouldn’t have handled that at all.
So thanks CHIKARA and in a super-weird way thanks Kobald.
deviANT & The Colony: Xtreme Force
Vs.
Green Ant & The Spectral Envoy

Okay. In CHIKARA – unlike in the Troublemaker household – Ants are good guys. Except for the ones that aren’t. The Colony: Xtreme Force are bad guy ants with action figure themes – Missile Assault Ant, Arctic Rescue Ant, and Orbit Adventure Ant. deviANT is apparently just a jerk.
Green Ant is a good guy, as are the members of the Spectral Envoy – Hallowicked, Frightmare, and UltraMantis Black. Lil’ Troublemaker’s favorite color is green and he has been raised to love Halloween. 
 
So this match was action figures versus green and Halloween. As much as we were into the previous match, we were way into this one too.
And it was an awesome match, easily my favorite of the night. Both teams were awesome and the Halloween guys were particularly on fire. They maintained an energy throughout the match that was just infectious. Green Ant was a great babyface and Xtreme Force played their rudo parts well.
There was an intermission sometime during the event, but I can’t remember when. Many of the wrestlers came out to sell shirts and stuff. I wanted to get pictures with several of them, but I would have felt bad doing that and not having any cash to buy anything. So we just hung out and watched.
Tim Donst w/ A Bunch of People
Vs.
Saturyne

This is the part where we found out who Tim Donst is. Tim Donst is a jerkface. He had a guy with a turtle backpack, a guy named Jakob who had half a shirt, and a dominatrix-looking chick with him. The turtle guy had actually come outside before the show and complimented our masks, so he seemed nice enough. I’m not sure about the alignments of the rest of the crew. And I also can’t tell you about what went down here. This is the part that Lil’ Troublemaker said not to talk about.
Dost fought a female luchador by the name of Saturyne. She was pretty solid and the match was definitely entertaining. It was another one that kept me and my son entertained and cheering. The whole building wanted to see that Donst guy get beat up, which is a credit to his rudo skills.
I can’t remember if the raffle happened next or after the next match, but I’ll go ahead and mention it now.
The announcer said it was time for RaffleMania and to determine who won the mask. He had a mask full of tickets, but said that he was going to need some help. Much to my surprise, because nothing like this ever happens to me, he came over to Lil’ Troublemaker and asked if he wanted to help! It’s always hit-or-miss as to whether my son is going to speak to somebody he doesn’t know, but he must have nodded or said yes (he was sitting on my lap so I couldn’t totally tell). The announcer asked his name and he said it, then the announcer asked if Lil’ Troublemaker could pull a ticket out of the mask. He addressed the fact that I had six tickets and said there would probably be an investigation if I happened to win. But I didn’t, and when it was done the guy turned around and asked the crowd to give it up for Lil’ Troublemaker, which they did.
That was pretty awesome.
Mark Angelosetti
Vs.
Eddie Kingston
For the Title of Grand Champion of CHIKARA
(I have no pictures from this match - we had other stuff going on)
 
Going into the show I was not overly enthusiastic about seeing this football player guy wrestle. I was familiar with Eddie Kingston and his reputation, though, so I was eager to see him. It turns out I was wrong to doubt Angelosetti because that dude is very good.
This match was basically a straight-up, old-school wrestling match. It could have taken place in a National Guard Armory in 1985. Both grapplers knew how to work the crowd and exactly what they were doing the whole match. Kingston played the part of the grizzled veteran and Angelosetti – the CHIKARA Young Lion Champion – was a cocky, talented kid. And he was talented. Between his looks and skills I’ll be surprised if we don’t see him on TV somewhere in the next few years.
Unfortunately, I missed most of the match because Lil’ Troublemaker wanted to leave again. Fortunately, I had remembered that sometimes when we’re out somewhere and he needs something he’ll ask to leave rather than saying what he needs (which is something I do also). So I asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom and he said he did. There was a bit of a wait to use the restroom and Red Ant was standing in the hallway watching the match. While I really wanted to tell him how much I had enjoyed his match, his presence there suggested to me that this match was a big deal and I probably shouldn’t disturb him.
By the time we got back to our seats the match was over, so I’m hoping CHIKARA will release the event in some form so I can see it.
The Batiri
Vs.
3.0
For the Campeon de Parejas
This was a heck of a match. Since it’s the Main Event I really don’t want to say too much about it, but both teams did a good job. 3.0 were solid babyfaces and the Batiri were definitely good heels. 

I don't have any pics from this one either because Kobald came out at one point and I was more worried about my son's state of mind than taking pictures. But I got to be proud of Lil’ Troublemaker all over again because he didn’t sweat him. The evil Bat-guy even ended up right in front of us several times and everything was fine. I think Lil’ Troublemaker even yelled at him a few times. 
 
All in all CHIKARA gave us a fantastic experience and the best I have shared with my son so far. We both had an awesome time and will remember it forever. I think it’s one of those things that Lil’ Troublemaker will look back on twenty years from now and really cherish.

If you'd like to see a ton more pictures, go check out my gallery on Facebook.
 
Afterword

Okay, so the guy that had ticket #38.
He had been talking to some people about WWE outside while we were standing under the awning. I think he was saying something about a Shield match. I didn’t get involved because I barely pay attention to WWE anymore, but the conversation caught my ear because the guy was well-spoken and making good points. Not to sound like a jerk, but that’s not always what you hear while standing outside of professional wrestling events.
Once we got inside, that same guy ended up sitting next to us, on the other side from Pseudo-Matt. We spoke briefly and he asked me about my mask and I gave him my spiel about what I do. He showed me a shirt with The Colony: Xtreme Force on it and I flipped out because action figures are my thing. I told him I run a website about toys and stuff. He said he did something similar. I told him I’d give him a card when I had a chance to get up (I have actually started remembering to carry business cards with me).
As the show went on we all had fun and for whatever reason Lil’ Troublemaker turned around to tell this guy stuff a couple of times. The guy was very friendly and cool and at one point I remembered to give him a card. He said he’d be at Heroes Con and I told him we’d see him there. Good times.
So the day after the show I was talking to Evil about Iron Man 3 and he told me that apparently Chris Sims was at the CHIKARA show.
If you don’t know, Chris Sims was a writer for ComicsAlliance.com, which is no longer operating because AOL are jerkfaces. After Matt over at Dinosaur Dracula, Sims is probably my favorite writer online, even if I don’t agree with his unabashed love of Nolan’s “Batman” movies (yes - those are intentionally quotes rather than italics). Sims is pretty hilarious and has a point of view similar to mine on many things and a way with words similar to Dave Barry. He is one of the rare internet writers that irritates me by making me jealous of the things he writes.
So as soon as Evil mentioned Sims, everything clicked in my head and I was all like, “Holy crap, I was sitting next to him. I think.” So I looked up his Twitter account (which I had to follow because I just don’t like Twitter that much) and tagged him in a tweet to ask if that was him. He responded that it was and he remembered us and asked if we were still going to see him at Heroes Con. So sometime in June – probably the evening of the 6th or 7th – know that I will be hunting Chris Sims down in Charlotte, buying him a beer, and explaining to him why he is so, so wrong about Nolan’s “Batman” movies.
See you in June, Sims.
-Phantom

2 comments:

  1. My son loves Kobald. We were there cheering for the Batiri. If Kobald had screamed in his face he'd have screamed back.

    ReplyDelete