|Will Yoshi Tatsu get a fruit basket on Sept. 20?|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
First order of business is the specifics on Rey de Voladores. For those who are uninitiated to the concept, it is an eight-person mini-tournament consisting of two eliminator matches. These "semifinals" so to speak contain for competitors and are competed elimination style with two in the ring at the same time. Three of the first eight competitors have been announced, all in the same match. The first announced competitor was Tigre Uno. Uno, who worked in Mexico under the name Extreme Tiger, has been a part of TNA for the better part of the calendar year as a part of its X-Division revival. I haven't seen him work personally, but he's drawn favorable reviews from the TNA faithful.
Second up is Shynron, Chikara's Spirit Dragon, and perhaps the most logical entrant into the tournament. He's unattached to any trio to date, and he's got the best high-flying bona fides of the group. My knee-jerk reaction is that he's the favorite to win this match of the three wrestlers announced, but the other entrant should probably be announced first. I'm also not entirely sure that Chikara will use the mini-tournament to crown a native star since the Trios tourney is so loaded with homegrown guys to begin with.
The third guy in is Rich Swann, who is no stranger to the tournament. In 2010, before he became the dynamic force he is today, he competed against Frightmare, Ophidian, and Cheech Hernandez in the second eliminator of the night. He was the first eliminated, but now, he's definitely the biggest of the three names announced. What a difference four years makes, right?
The high-flying mini-tournament isn't the only extracurricular activity happening on the second night of the show. Two huge non-tournament matches have been announced. First up, "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington, the dashing yachtist who gave fruit baskets to the fans of Chikara in exchange for their hearts and minds, will face his stiffest challenge yet in Yoshi Tatsu, yes, the same Yoshi Tatsu who was given his walking papers from WWE earlier this year. Tatsu has been working mostly in Florida since his release under the name Yamamoto, which is his real surname. Tatsu was always a critical favorite in WWE despite not being given much of a chance as a character. He pretty much fell victim to WWE's inability to figure out how to constructively book a Japanese wrestler. He and Remington may steal the entire weekend.
The second big match that was just announced yesterday features yet another import from TNA. Rockstar Spud, the flamboyantly wardrobed chief of staff for the Carter Administration, will make his way to Chikara to battle Juan Francisco de Coronado in what is being billed as the "Battle of the Bowties." I'll level with y'all, because I've never seen Spud wrestle, but Coronado is one of those young bucks from the Wrestle Factory who turned out to be really goddamn good in the ring. If Spud can keep up with him, then this match will not only be an amusing spectacle, but also a quality sprint somewhere in the middle of the card.
Also returning on the second night is the all-important Fan Conclave. The Conclave provides a chance for the fans to interact with the various wrestlers, and it usually has games, contests, and plentiful photo ops one might not be able to get during the show proper. It will return at its normal time, the afternoon before the second card. Last year, Kazarian and Christopher Daniels showed up to sell some merchandise and meet with fans before a TNA house show in the area, and I hear TNA will be in the area again this year. Hell, the company's already sending two wrestlers to the event.
Finally, the company has begun to release the first round pairings for the actual trios tournament, because the weekend is named "King of Trios" and not "Rey de Voladores" or "Hey, Look at These Awesome Exhibition Matches!" The first announced pairing pit the Bloc Party - consisting of the Proletariat Boar of Moldova, Mr. Azerbaijan, and Prakash Sabar - against Team UK - Mark Andrews and Damian and Pete Dunne. This match could go either way from my point of view, but I'd probably give the nod to Team UK, just to give the Brits an excuse to wrestle the second night before Andrews and Pete Dunne tackle the usual Tag Gauntlet on Night Three.
Next up, Knight Eye for the Pirate Guy, featuring Kimber Lee, was announced to face off against the Gekido - 17, The Shard, and Jigsaw - in a first round match. If any Flood team was most likely to lose on the first night, it would be the Gekido. Jigsaw and 17 have had some tensions boil over at the Wrestling Is Fun! shows where the former and Shard clashed with the duo of Lance Steel and Jolly Roger. What I'll be looking at mostly here is Lee's involvement. She's been scheduled to wrestle on shows before, but she's always wigged out and had Steel replace her. I understand the story, but Lee could very well be the best independent wrestler working right now. Having her booked in a total character role would be a waste.
The third announced match so far pits The Flood - Eddie Kingston, Jimmy Jacobs, and Volgar - against the Spectral Envoy of UltraMantis Black, Hallowicked, and Frightmare. Right off the bat, two favorites to make deep runs in the tournament will clash in the first round. The Envoy won the whole shebang in 2012, which may make them ripe for an upset here. Either way, I would be shocked if this match didn't headline Night One with everything announced.
Finally, the Devastation Corporation was announced to be facing off against Team Extravaganza - Jervis Cottonbelly, Marion Fontaine, and Thunderkitty - in the first round. Sidney Bakabella's bruisers have proclaimed themselves the "top seeds" in the tournament, which implies that the olde-timers are the weakest links in the group. Having them upend the DevCorp in the first round would be a delightful story indeed, but I get the feeling that the resident HOSSES are making a deep run in this thing, if not winning it all.
The weekend is beginning to take shape, and as expected, Chikara is offering a full buffet for the fans who will descend upon Easton for the weekend. While the Trios tournament itself has been mostly centered around the main story narrative, the extracurricular stuff seems to be where the big guest stars are being announced. Chikara seems to be announcing multiple news items each day as well, so each day is filled with the indie wrestling equivalent of #WojBombs.