|Pour one out for the career of UltraMantis Black|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
"Career-ending nature" is the most UltraMantis Black way of saying that he has to retire, which is the most terrible, awful, no-good news to come out of Chikara, basically, ever. Chikara has always been a promotion that was stronger than the sum of its parts, but at the same time, few wrestlers embodied the promotion the way Mantis did. His ostentatious gimmick projected an ornate and self-important aura, but the execution was always anchored with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, which basically is the story of the history of Chikara in a nutshell. He was also the spark and the linchpin for the last five or six years of Chikara stories as well.I am both downcast & disconsolate to confirm that the leg injuries I have sustained over the past few months are of a career-ending nature.— UltraMantis Black Ⓥ (@UltraMantis) September 9, 2015
Mantis in many ways is the avatar for wrestlers who don't need accomplishments laid at their feet in order to be remembered for the magnitude of their careers. He only won one singles title in his career, the Absolute Intense Wrestling Absolute Championship in a shock booking move. In Chikara, the only palpable Championship he ever won was as the anchor of the Spectral Envoy in the 2012 King of Trios tournament. People sometimes make the mistake of equating kayfabe titles with importance when the real impact comes from emotional investment, story richness, and the ability to convey emotion and catharsis no matter what macguffins are in play. Mantis proved time and time again that his importance to Chikara, and to wrestling for that matter, transcended the normal metrics and spoke right to the hearts and minds of the people who watched him.
That's why this retirement comes as a punch to the gut. Mantis was an invaluably special wrestler who made every appearance he's ever made incredibly memorable. The wrestling world will be dimmer without his spooky and evil light casting an exciting pall across the arena. Thank you, UltraMantis Black, for everything. May you recover fully and be able to live the rest of your life in comfort and without pain. You've given everything you can to pro wrestling, and for that, at least I'm personally grateful.