|Smooth Sailing didn't appear on the show, but who cares!|
Photo Credit: An anonymous Chikara friend whose name I didn't get
- The Golden Trio defeated Jimmy Jacobs' Flood team when Volgar tapped out to Icarus' Chikara Special. After the match, Icarus freed the Lithuanian Snow Troll from his chains, only for the Troll to give him a low blow in return.
- The Devastation Corporation punched its ticket to the finals with a Death Blow on Scott Parker of 3Peck0.
- Mark Andrews put down Oliver Grimsley with a shooting star press.
- The Osirian Portal eliminated nearly a third of the field in the Tag Team Gauntlet, but they couldn't overcome Sidney Bakabella's roll of quarters. Oleg the Usurper and Jaka won the Gauntlet thanks to help from their manager as the tenth and final team entered.
- The Submission Squad defeated the Gentlemen's Club in atomicos action by hitting a Stone Cold Stunner, Rock Bottom, Atomic Leg Drop, and Warrior Splash on the Swamp Monster in quick succession.
- Shynron overcame the red mist to defeat Seiya Sanada and win the Rey de Voladores title with a 630 senton off the second rope.
- The Devastation Corporation won the 2014 King of Trios with a Death Blow on Dasher Hatfield.
- After the match, the Flood laid waste to the Chikara roster and offered an ultimatum to Icarus to hand the Grand Championship to Eddie Kingston. Icarus was able to talk sense into Kingston, and the War King turned on Jacobs, allowing the Chikara roster to beat the Flood back and end the show on a high note.
- "Smooth Sailing" Ashley Remington made an inexplicable appearance during Gavin Loudspeaker's introduction of the proceedings, and then was absent the rest of the show, which may have been my only major complaint about the day. Then again, as seen above, I did get a mark photo with him, so it's not all bad.
- Notable for their attendance: TEDDY HART AND HIS CAT, MR. MONEY. I almost expected them to appear on the show in some capacity, but alas, they did not. For as bad as Hart is nowadays though, even the most hardened soul would have to admit that him as the cat-stroking mastermind behind the Flood would've had so much kitsch value. He spent most of the show sitting next to Green Lantern Fan though. Gross.
- The Flood team of Jimmy Jacobs, Eddie Kingston, and Volgar came out leading the Lithuanian Snow Troll on a chain leash, much in the same way that the BDK hauled Delirious around during that group's heyday. Someone needs to let these rudo factions know a thing or two about animal cruelty. Or human cruelty. Or Baltic elemental cruelty.
- I'm so used to the lackadaisical-looking, casually-falling back version of the Samoan drop that when Volgar hit his by throwing his entire weight back with him, I jumped out of my seat. The little things.
- When did the Throwbacks start using 3D?
- When the Snow Troll was freed of his shackles and then attacked Icarus, Friend of the Blog Alex Torres made the timely reference to Game of Thrones and called him "Reek." I just hope that his Lil' Snow Troll didn't have to be freed from the rest of his body for the final breaking to happen.
- 3Peck0 came out with facepaint to try and play mind games with the Devastation Corporation.
- Max Smashmaster may be the most improved wrestler in Chikara over the last two years. Dude hossed his ass off in this match, both on offense and selling.
- 3Peck0 at one point had Flex Rumblecrunch up in assisted electric chair position on Archibald Peck's shoulders and they triple-teamed him into a powerbomb. More than a few swanky double-and-triple-team moves got broken out on this show, but that one may have been the best-looking one.
- Mark Andrews and Oliver Grimsley broke out some nice mat grappling early on in their match, culminating in Andrews busting out the Lady in the Lake. I don't care how absurd the premise behind that move is, I love it unironically.
- Andrews' high flying game was on point in this match. I've grown sick of seeing people try to do hurricanranas because they never "close the window" or the guy taking them is just so late on flipping over. However, Andrews' form was perfect, and for his part, Grimsley took it like champ.
- Paul London and Evan Bourne/Matt Sydal have competition for the best shooting star press, because Andrews hits that move like a bawss. A graceful, majestic bawss, that is.
- THE ORDER OF TAG TEAMS IN THE TAG TEAM GAUNTLET, FOR POSTERITY:
- Los Ice Creams (Ice Cream Jr. and El Hijo del Ice Cream)
- Old Fashioned (Jervis Cottonbelly and Marion Fontaine)
- N_R_G (Hype Rockwell and Race Jaxon)
- Colony: X-Treme Force (Arctic Rescue Ant and Missile [!] Assault [!] Ant [!])
- The Batiri (Obariyon and Kodama)
- The Osirian Portal (Ophidian and Amasis)
- The Bloc Party (Proletariat Boar of Moldova and Prakash Sabar)
- The Colony (Silver Ant and Worker Ant)
- Pete and Damian Dunne
- Oleg the Usurper and Jaka
Match of the Night: Davey Vega, Evan Gelistico, Gary the Barn Owl, and Pierre Abernathy vs. Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak, Orange Cassidy, and the Swamp Monster - I know a small but vocal minority (or large majority, I don't know, I'm a writer, not a census taker) probably hated everything about this match, but the Submission Squad's contribution to the weekend cemented them in the Chikara firmament. It was a match that was for Chikara fans, from the beginning all the way to the finish that was cribbed straight from memories of watching the World Wrestling Federation in the '80s and '90s. While in "serious" competition, the Squad more than holds its own, the group showed that it, as a collective, has a mastery of comedic timing and deployment of beats, and the Gentlemen's Club was the perfect group against which they could show their stuff. If they couldn't tickle ribs and create magic with Chuck Taylor across the ring from them, then they had no hope at all.
Whether it was Gary the Barn Owl and the Swamp Monster striking up a friendship that caused them to go against their own teammates, Davey Vega monologuing with everyone else on pause about how he had a live grenade shoved down his pants, referee Bryce Remsburg getting in on the action so much as getting a pin attempt on both Gary and the Monster with Taylor making the count, or even Taylor's antics throughout the match, this atomicos match was jam-packed with amusement, mirth, and merriment. Even the split second where things got "serious" with Vega and Drew Gulak squaring off fit as almost a moment of anti-comic relief in a yuk-fest. I found it hard to take complete notes and transcribe everything that enthralled me during this match because the pace was so frenetic and I couldn't really keep my eyes anywhere but on the action in the ring, but then again, isn't that the mark of a good match?
In a weekend full of the emotional drum getting beaten hard, and on a show where the final moments were refined for maximum catharsis, the comic relief had to be just as bombastic, just as intense. The Squad and the Club provided that bedrock, a refuge for the fans in attendance to laugh, get a respite from the tension in the air, and appreciate eight guys and a plant elemental going out and being unafraid to make themselves look like jackasses for the crowd's amusement. Deriding the clowns can be easy to do, but without them, wrestling shows would provide a totally different and not as worthwhile an experience, and the Submission Squad, Gentlemen's Club, and Remsburg turned in one of the best examples of why a comedic break in the action is not only absolutely necessary, but can be among the finest action not only on a given show, but in a given year.
Overall Thoughts: I've read and heard a lot about Chikara's demise this year, about how it's lost its fastball or that it's not worth the ticket prices it commands. I must live in some kind of bizarro world, because Chikara has been one of the best companies working all year. I've been to three of the five shows it's run in Easton this year. All three - National Pro Wrestling Day, You Only Live Twice, and this one - were full of good-to-great wrestling action, hearty laughs, tremendous character work, and endings that left my knees buckling. This time, no question lay on the horizon that Chikara was going to survive. Jimmy Jacobs and his Flood had gone down the "CAPITULATE OR DIE" road way too often for a permanent closure to be totally believable. It was only a matter of who would be the one to save the day. Would Kid Cyclone lead the Greenhorn Militia out? Would Jakob Hammermeier wield the Eye of Tyr for good instead of evil? Would CHRIS HERO prove that money and art could rebuild even the most burnt of bridges and be the savior?
But the one who would win the day was the focus of a descent into madness for the last year-plus. The Grand Championship consumed Eddie Kingston, but he had forgotten the reason why that title was so important to him on the day he won it in 2011. The title belt is only gold and leather, but Icarus had to remind him that what made it a "her" worth fighting for was the backing of the fans of Chikara. The company can move glacially in its story development, maddeningly gradual even for people who are fans of the slow burn, but its payoffs, especially in Kingston bashing the bejeezus out of Jacobs' face, yield rewards greater than the riches under the Lonely Mountain. I wish I could properly convey to you how weak in the knees and trembling of heart that ending made me, but I can only settle for telling you that the pop elicited from that Easton crowd when Kingston finally turned back was second only to the one at NPWD when Chikara was announced to "reopen."
Despite the relatively happy ending, the rudos were kept strong and formidable. Chikara has always had trouble reining in babyfaces running roughshod towards the ends of story arcs, the BDK angle being the most notable that I can think of. For as dominant as the Germanic invading force was in the beginning, once Kingston pinned Tursas at Cibernetico, it was like the group's mojo dissipated into the cold, Lehigh Valley air, hobbling along in the story for a year as the tecnicos' whipping boys until the survivors were euthanized at High Noon.
Even with the superbly happy ending here, no doubt was left that the Flood was still a formidable force, specifically concentrated in the Wrecking Crew of one Sidney Bakabella, who may have been the star of the night. His Devastation Corporation won the King of Trios tournament, and did so fairly cleanly. His charges Oleg the Usurper and Jaka won the Tag Team Gauntlet with his help. No matter how much momentum the Chikarmed Forces have right now, the battle is not completely won, and that strain may have been the best stroke of storytelling of all.
But even if the Flood/Chikara story went over your head, this show had so much to offer any fan, first time or long time. The Los Ice Creams/Old Fashioned portion of the Tag Gauntlet and the atomico both had laughs for people of all ages. Mark Andrews vs. Oliver Grimsley and the Rey de Voladores final both sated the need for high-flying action. Even devoid of story, the later portion of the Tag Gauntlet and the trios matches were all easy to follow and well-worked.
I could be a biased observer given that Chikara is my favorite promotion of all-time, but the reason is because I have yet to be disappointed with an entire show that the company has produced. King of Trios '14's final night stands up with 2010, '11, and '12 and the grandeur those shows produced. Get this show as soon as you can. Hell, get the whole weekend while you're at it. King of Trios is truly one of the marquee, if not THE marquee wrestling event on the American calendar, and I'm so glad it's back.