|I have things to say about Calhoun and 39 other wrestlers|
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
"That Ol' Juke Joint" Lucas Calhoun submitted by @GemCityGent - Getting past the initial disconnect of placing a modern-day homage to Honky Tonk Man being in Chikara's rebel outsider group last year, the switch from Volgar to Juke Joint has fit Calhoun super well. Not only does it fit within Chikara's aesthetic like the long, slender piece fits in a Tetris slot, but he is reminiscent of Honky Tonk Man, wrestling's classic Elvis impersonator and Lucha Underground guest star. Honky might conjure up angst because he kinda sucked, but the thing about Calhoun is that at least so far, he's shown that he's just as good to belong on a Chikara roster that gets overlooked at times in terms of its in-ring prowess.
Heath Slater submitted by @matt_T - Slater has turned out to be the feelgood story of the year so far, but the question remains on what WWE's intent actually is. WWE's new conscience has made it cut back some, but not too much, on grossly offensive stereotyping against minorities. Whites, however, are still fair game, and boy oh boy, Slater is white so he's okay to mock right? Well, the rural poor in America have it pretty terribly, and for a millionaire-verging-on-billionaire to potentially be mocking that demographic is beyond all normal measures of cruelty. That being said, intent from management and how it has played out are two different things. The crowd seems to be laughing with Slater, or more accurately, supporting him in his plight. Fans are not buying his "I need this job, I have kids!" shirt out of laughing, but solidarity. He's over. Part of it is because he's got great comedic timing and his material IS self-deprecatingly funny. But I'm willing to bet that his overness is also due to fans identifying with his worked plight. If you haven't noticed, jobs are running out because the "creators" would rather automate or send the work to countries where they can pay workers pennies a day rather than dollars per hour. Fans support Slater because they either can be Slater or they ARE Slater right now. Wrestling is at its heart vicarious wish fulfillment. Hulk Hogan granted audiences in the '80s to destroy perceived foreign menaces. Steve Austin in the '90s allowed fans to experience kicking their bosses' asses without getting fired. And now, Slater gets to fight and earn himself employment when employment is scarce. It's a sad commentary about society, but it works.
Alexa Bliss submitted by @AbsoluteSmark - I'm incredibly mad that she never got the chance to headline a Takeover event on the women's side. Maybe she wasn't quite "there" yet in the ring, although the program NXT went with also may not have been completely "there" yet either. Then again, Nia Jax was serviceable against Bayley, so it's all moot. Bliss is on the Smackdown roster, and she's in the first title program for the Smackdown Women's Championship against a deep division's best worker (apologies to Nikki Bella). That's good! Still, I can't help but thinking that the audience was robbed magic to see her, diminutive in size but a giantess in facial expressions and carrying herself in the ring, against Bayley in a smaller setting.
Trevor Lee submitted by @OkoriWadsworth - Lee kicked off a big controversy earlier in the year when he went 105 minutes with Roy Wilkins. I haven't seen the match yet, and I don't know if I'll get around to it, but holy shit, was the controversy dumb. Length doesn't make a match good or bad. A long good match will seem shorter than it is, and a short bad match will feel like it's taking forever until it's done. Judge a fuckin' match on its merits, and the copycats will make the trend last only if they can also do it well enough.
Neville submitted by @StarOfSavage - I fear that the ship sending him to the main event in WWE has sailed forever with the addition of the Cruiserweight Championship. WWE had the chance to send him there last year around this time when he was getting those one-off title shots with Seth Rollins and knocking it out of the park. I don't know how WWE judges how "good" a match is or not, but to me, Neville was the only guy having really great matches with heel Champion Rollins on more than one occasion. Imagine having him take Money in the Bank instead of Sheamus; his cash-in would have melted steel. Now, he's going to be typecast, which is fine, I suppose. If the cruisers are going to get time to wrestle on RAW, and the company pays them commensurate with other talents or actually lets the Cruiserweight Division headline occasionally, then it'll be fine. But man, people in World Championship Wrestling had their reasons why they wanted to break free of that company's cruiser division and go to the un-weight-classed WWE.
Meiko Satomura submitted by @AnotherElle - Satomura, along with Command Bolshoi and Manami Toyota, represents Mike Quackenbush's love of joshi manifest in booking strategy. I wonder how many people really knew Satomura for more than her short stint in WCW when it forayed into women's wrestling on Nitro? But now, she's a household name to a larger audience than she was before. Women in wrestling get a bad rap thanks to WWE's dreadful treatment of them for the longest time, but the joshis in Japan laid the groundwork for what the business is today. The people who realize this most are few and far between it seems, but they're the most influential folks in wrestling, like Quack and Dave Meltzer. I'm glad that Satomura has gotten more play, and I'm glad it's leading a whole new generation of fans to discover not just her, but her peers and also her students at the Sendai Girls Academy.
Aja Kong submitted by @Heinekenrana - While I would consider Kong to be one of the greatest wrestlers ever, I don't think I would send a joshi newbie down her path, much in the same way I wouldn't send a greenhorn to '90s wrestling scuttling right to Vader. A lot of what Kong is built upon is fear, size, intimidation, and I feel like she's not for beginners. Again, I don't think it makes her bad or other, more accessible stars better than her. I just think sometimes, fandom has levels. Either way, I'm still waiting for her to make good on her promise from Joshimania to come back to Chikara...
Mark Angelosetti, The Battering Ram of Nazmaldun submitted by @chickenmcgibble - I've seen the smallest sample size of his since turning to Nazmaldun's influence, but man, he's not suited to playing the droning golem heel. I know why Chikara turned him, and it plays to the heartstrings, especially with how hard Dasher Hatfield has been on him since revealing he was cheating in the Challenge of the Immortals. But I also think turning him has deeply diminished what he can bring to the ring. Or maybe not, because again, I've only seen the one match. Maybe he'll round out and improve. Either way, I want my Throwbacks back!
Teddy Hart submitted by @Brock_toon - Call me crazy, but I don't think promotions should be rushing to book Hart now, even with his rape charges being dropped. I was against promotions, including (ESPECIALLY) Inspire Pro, booking him before when he was a fugitive, but the only thing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said about the charges was that "the case didn't meet criteria to pursue." That sounds fishy to me. Maybe it's because I don't think he's really any good. I mean, he does have a "clean slate," but that doesn't mean I feel rosy about the whole situation. Or maybe I'm wrong. Who the fuck knows anymore.
Jervis Cottonbelly submitted by @IYQbd - Cottonbelly proves that wrestlers don't have to be aggro-meatheads to be popular as babyfaces. Honestly, I don't even think it's just the gimmick either. The guy is a legitimately talented wrestler in the ring, and I think people will get behind anyone who shows they can work. But qualities deemed "feminine" by toxic masculinity-stained wrestling bookers and commentators are embraced by Cottonbelly, and for it he's one of the most popular dudes both in Chikara and Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. The most popular things in wrestling start in front of smaller audiences. Could a character like Cottonbelly work as a good guy in bigger promotions? Well, one can only find out by trying it out...
Scotty 2 Hotty submitted by @RonPaulSexFiend - Ol' Scott Taylor is technically eligible because he still works shows, but he's sort of emblematic of the dichotomy between indie wrestling companies. In one corner are the prestige super indie style promotions that may or may not make money. These promotions are the ones WWE, TNA, New Japan, Ring of Honor, and lucha promotions scour for future talent. In the other corner are money-making ventures that mix ex-WWE/mainstream guys against local talent who may or may not be properly trained. Those are the promotions that I think probably make money, but hell, I'm not entirely sure either. Still, outside of the ex-WWE guys coming in, the overhead's low because those bookers tend to skinflint the shit out of the local guys. Anyway, it's a shame that most of the super-indie style promotions don't, or more accurately, usually can't book the ex-WWE guys because I'd love to see a dude like Scotty 2 Hotty take on the Chris Heroes and Will Ospreays of the world. Wrestling needs arts funding, man!
Silver Ant submitted by @dwkii - The duality of Chikara is that it's a place where dudes and gals in masks get together to put on fun wrestling for kids and grown-ups alike, but that at times, it contains some of the best wrestling in the country, if not the world. Why doesn't Silver Ant get the love for being among the best? Because in serious wrestling communities, Chikara gets dismissed, which is both understandable on a base level but also really fuckin' dumb. Well, this argument has a big caveat, but this isn't Voices of Wrestling, so I won't be discussing it. Either way, Silver (formerly Green) Ant in a Chikara or Wrestling Is... ring has given some of the best performances in the world. Do yourself a favor and seek them out.
The Miz submitted by @JohnFisticuffs - I love Miz. I've been one of his biggest stans since '08/'09, when I got back into wrestling after my hiatus. But the "Miz is right" crowd is blatantly missing the point of his storytelling and are probably blinded by how well he plays his character. More accurately, they may be blinded by residual hate for Dolph Ziggler, who took a nosedive off a cliff after Survivor Series 2014 and only has started to right the plane. The crux of Miz's character is that he's a phony. He bills himself as a movie star, yet what movies is he taking roles in? He's as straight-to-DVD as they come. That is the first hint that maybe the things he says aren't genuine. WWE gets shit for characterization because most of the time, it is lazy with how it presents characters, but Miz is a huge exception. When he says he works hard and the fans reject him because he's not an indie darling, he's only speaking in half-truths in character. Yes, in the meta sense, he's right, because the source of his heat isn't completely in his ability to get under people's skins. But his idea of working "hard" is getting Maryse to spray hair product in Ziggler's eyes. He doesn't get injured like Daniel Bryan because the only person who uses the "hightail it out of dodge" trope more than him is Kevin Owens. Just because you don't like the messenger, in this case Ziggler saying he's a phony, doesn't make him wrong. I get wanting to call WWE on hypocritical storytelling, but saying "Miz is right" is taking belligerent opposition to extreme levels.
Blaster McMassive submitted by @ScottyTres - When Max Smashmaster waylaid him at King of Trios, I thought Chikara was headed towards a meaty, HOSS FIGHT showdown between the two founding members of the Devastation Corporation. But then McMassive tweeted out that he was leaving Chikara the next day. That signaled to me that he either was on his way to Full Sail or that it was all a big work to set up some kind of surprise confrontation down the line. Then he showed up at EVOLVE along with Flex Rumblecrunch as one of Ethan Page's goons, which lends credence to the prior theory. Either way, I hope he does come back to Chikara and have one final confrontation with Smashmaster if he is indeed gone for WWE. But either way, things around Chikara are so nebulous that who knows what his true status is. Of all the promotions left on earth, Chikara's the one that holds fastest to carny ideals of kayfabe.
Hallowicked submitted by @npb28 - People are starting to chant for Nazmaldun, which is kinda creepy. The whole purpose of Hallowicked is that Chikara is rotten and he wants to eat it from the inside out, which feels kinda the same as The Flood's purpose, only with originals this time. On one hand, it makes sense that the cult would spread like an infection to the fans. On the other, it's another sign of ironic fandom that may or may not hurt greater narratives. But unlike people stanning for The Miz, cheering for Hallowicked isn't necessarily wrong. I mean, it's perfectly logical to think that Chikara needs to be consumed by rot and created in the image and likeness of Hallowicked's dark supernatural lord, even if it's kinda evil. I don't know, don't let me tell you how to root I guess.
Tyler Breeze submitted by @DangerousCommie - Thinking about the immediate future, who are better first opponents for Slater and Rhyno for the Tag Team Championships than Breezango, or Fabreeze if you will? Slater and Rhyno represent the working class, salt of the earth, regular folk, while the supermodel and dancer are fabulously rich and get by on their looks and superficial bourgeoisie talents. OF course, WWE will play it off as herpy-derpy redneck battling the two effeminate losers, which makes me hope they're never placed against each other, but imagine those two teams facing off for a booker that gets where wrestling should be in terms of the social hierarchy? That set of bookers, by the way is [NULL].
Tim Wiese submitted by @Thaliono - First off, holy shit, I didn't think soccer goaltenders could be that goddamn jacked. Regardless, Wiese comes into WWE behind the eight-ball if you ask some observers who think that the "Performance Center"-style is detrimental to good wrestlers. Meanwhile, some of the best wrestlers in the company were guided by WWE's trainers without the benefit of indie runs to get them primed for the big time. Guys like Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Rusev, Big E, Alexa Bliss, and yes, Roman Reigns all came up through the main WWE channels. That doesn't portend success or failure for Wiese. I'm just saying, he ain't destined for failure as some might suggest.
Shinsuke Nakamura submitted by @NintendoGamer86 - I have a slightly hot take; since the Sami Zayn match, Nakamura hasn't been impressive commensurate to his reputation. Yeah, the Austin Aries, Finn Bálor, and Samoa Joe matches were all better than average, but where were the bangers like the Zayn match or the Kota Ibushi WrestleKingdom 9 contest? The truth is that Nakamura has a reputation. He tends to coast in matches that aren't the tippity-top of the food chain according to many longtime NJPW followers. Don't get me wrong, the pomp and the entrances and the aura are still great, and I'm glad he's in NXT and hopefully soon WWE. But he's not a guaranteed FIVE STARS every time he gets to the ring.
Byron "Big Daddy Yum Yum" Wilcott submitted by @epitasis - Honestly, I've seen very little of Wilcott, but goddamn, he's got major guts going with that nickname, and major bona fides in actually getting it over. He also represents the non-trendy Texas scene that doesn't get enough play unless those wrestlers end up heading into Austin for one of the big promotions there. The world of wrestling is a lot bigger than what gets the most play.
Missile! Assault! Man! submitted by @fritobandit - Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Man! Missile! Assault! Ant?
Gary Jay submitted by @SeanOrleans - While Davey Vega is my favorite overall member of the Submission Squad, Jay's turn as a homeless man's Chris Hero is almost as satisfying. It's weird that he's only really showing up in St. Louis Anarchy and in various Texas promotions, but he deserves to be working at various other places. The whole Squad seems to have cooled their touring schedule as of late. Either way, Jay's the goods, whether as a barn owl or as a cranky striker.
Marty Scurll submitted by @francisadujr - Admission time, I've never seen Scurll wrestle before, but he can't be that bad that this admittedly worked BritWres vs. Southern Rasslin' feud gets so heated at times, right? Either way, that whole thing is cute in small doses, but then the folks who aren't nearly as funny or witty or who know how take these kinds of humorous deals in stride start chiming in and the line between work and shoot starts to get blurred. Besides, everyone knows the superior brand of graps is produced by the folks on North Sentinel Island. It's still real to them!
Dean Ambrose submitted by @willow_catelyn - The "Dean Ambrose sucks" talking point is pretty popular right now, isn't it? I admit, the luster has come off Ambrose since around WrestleMania, when his work in the ring has gotten progressively looser. But I don't think he's a shitty worker in the least. He's like a grungier Ziggler at this point. He does nearly everything else well, but his offense just needs a complete overhaul. And to be fair, if "having a terrible dive" is grounds for being a bad worker, then 95 percent of all wrestlers would fall in that category. It's more a thing of allowing the Gran Metaliks and Nevilles of the world to do dives and everyone else maybe cooling it on them. As for the character stuff, he's hitting everything he's being given out of the park. It's the writers giving him cringe material that's the problem. He can make a feud over a busted plant work, so it should follow that if he's given A material that he'd especially shine there? Maybe. I don't know. What I do know is that the "Ambrose is bad" talking point is way too harsh, even if he's not at his best right now.
"Big Breakfast" Baron Corbin submitted by @IrbyTheCleaner - Corbin is in a weird spot in that unless he was going to win the NXT Championship, it was the right call to bring him up, but at the same time, WWE is stuck not having anything for him, which is inexcusable. Smackdown is pretty much the A show right now, but it still really can't find anything for him except "pre-show match with Apollo Crews, maybe?" I'm still not the biggest Big Breakfast guy, but he's grown exponentially since he was struggle feuding with Bull Dempsey in his earliest NXT days. I feel like he needs the right guiding hand to help him develop as a character.
Roderick Strong submitted by @thegnc - I still have no idea what he's going to do in NXT, because what character skills does he have? Austin Aries and Bobby Roode could show up and be the "hot free agents" because they can actually promo. In Roode's case, NXT gave him a character. But Strong is gonna have to show up and be able to just work work work if he wants a chance to do more than be over with the nerds who go to NXT shows. I'd probably lead with strength and let him wrestle a best of 69 with Oney Lorcan to get both guys established, but that still feels lazy. I don't know. Hopefully, Izzy doesn't have to hear the "shitty little boots" chant when he first shows up.
KUSHIDA submitted by @theBGrass - I want to like KUSHIDA, but I can't help but remember back to the match against ACH I saw him in at The Arena. Sure, a lot of other people praised it, but it felt like it just went on way too long. Remember what I said about the Trevor Lee-105 minute match conundrum? Yeah, this match felt like it was three hours long. Honestly, the biggest problems with modern wrestling are the guys who don't know when to end a match for maximum effect. Then again, maybe I'm in the minority. I mean, the match was critically acclaimed. But then again, I've seen ACH wrestle opponents of all shapes and sizes in matches of all lengths, and I've never not enjoyed him except in that setting.
Jason Kincaid submitted by @OMGitsOFS - Kincaid's a guy that ROH had courted booking, but it never really tried acclimating him into the narrative. Stop me if you've heard that before. ROH doesn't push guys until it's too late, and even then, the pushes are half-assed. Look at the track record of guys the company did nothing worthwhile with or whom it let go before those wrestlers fulfilled their potential: Cedric Alexander, Moose, Tommaso Ciampa, Mike Bennett. Even now, the last two top prospect winners, Donovan Dijak and Lio Rush, are apparently looking to move on, and WWE is looming large over the backstage area like Megamaid over the Druidian atmosphere. And now Kincaid? He's working EVOLVE dates because he was tired of ROH dicking him around. TNA may get more pub for being a dumpster fire, but at least it attempts to put its own talent over anymore and has a little bit of buzz. ROH may have paying customers, but who on the roster is a star? Hint, if they are, it's because they work NJPW dates foremost.
Chris Jericho submitted by @boxwatcher - Even though I've barely enjoyed him in the ring since he's gotten back, Jericho has shown why he's one of the best ever with this run. How many times has he reinvented his character to great effect? He's been a spunky babyface, a conspiracy victim, a human highlight reel, an anti-American heel, a bitter veteran, a super-troll, and now, a washed up rockstar. And he's been entertaining in all of those characters for the most part, outside of the interstitial periods when he took to being a formless babyface character. The return on investment from his promotional segments into his matches is at an all-time low for him, but hey, wrestling is only part in-ring. I'll drink in the gift of Jericho when he's got a mic in hand.
Andrade "Cien" Almas submitted by @soggyhydrox - NXT fumbled the shit out of him upon his debut by making/letting him wear the fedora and the suspenders and mini-programming him against Tye Dillinger from start. Dillinger's a guy who should be getting a push himself, not as fodder for a guy that is coming in as the next big marketable character. Then he was given up on too quickly and put in the path of Bobby Roode. The sad thing is that Almas has shown flashes of being outstanding in the ring. According to the latest NXT spoilers, which I won't post here because I'm not a throbbing penis, things are looking way up for the former La Sombra, so hopefully WWE course-corrected with him. He's way too much of a prospect to handle otherwise.
Kota Ibushi submitted by @ColeAsLife - Ibushi may never sign with WWE. He may never sign another contract that ties him down again, and that fact is beautiful and amazing. I know Antonio Inoki isn't dead, but Ibushi is his spiritual successor in every way. That makes wrestling a weirder, more wonderful place. The fact that he put in time in the Cruiserweight Classic is good enough for me, regardless of signing. Three of his four matches are probably going to end up on nearly every Match of the Year list for good reason. Wrestling needs more people with the kind of agency that Ibushi has that aren't in management.
Delilah Doom submitted by @chudleycannons - People look at how good a wrestler is through a checklist of rote tropes more often than not, so wrestlers like Doom get overlooked. But I can't name a wrestler better at working to her gimmick or her size or whatever limitations or strengths than her. She's one of the tiniest wrestlers on the active scene, and she wrestles like it. She bumps well, she uses leverage on offense, her body language conveys the spunk and conviction she has within her, and she lets her bubbly character shine through her ring work. She's not going to work a Tanahashi/Okada Tokyo Dome main event, but fuck man, who is expecting her to do that? People need to start looking at wrestlers in individual cases to see what they're doing within context.
Fénix submitted by @Julio_DA - Remember when he loudly cursed at King of Trios last year? And it caused a major snipe-fest between the pro- and anti-Chikara crowds? The Chikara crowd can be a bit defensive at times, but the dirty little secret is that the anti-Chikara folks are just as vehement while trying to occupy some "I'M NOT MAD ONLINE" moral highground. It's ridiculous, especially since Fénix pretty much killed it all weekend otherwise. Seriously, the dude is perhaps the best high flyer in North America, or at least in the top two with Ricochet, and his weekend was reduced to saying a bad word, or more specifically, for morons who wanted to lambaste Quackenbush to have a talking point. Whatever beefs one might have with Chikara may or may not be valid, but holy shit, maybe having a no-cursing policy for a family friendly atmosphere is a good thing.
Tomohiro Ishii submitted by @OhHiPaulie - His match with Togi Makabe at WrestleKingdom 9 was only approaching good because of him. That's the sign of a good wrestler, that the other guy in the match can be as useful as a bag of dogshit, and the match doesn't seem like a waste of time. He could just get over on looks alone. Seriously, he's not the kind of guy I wanna meet in a dark alley because he just looks like he could disembowel me by flicking his wrist. However, it takes more than looks to translate into great wrestling, and Ishii can do that.
"The Drifter" Elias Sampson submitted by @WBXylo - Whenever I start getting too excited about NXT, I think back to the poor ol' Drifter, who is emblematic of the brand's problems building superstars from the ground up. As Logan Shulo on the indies, Sampson wasn't bad at all. But the people who sling characters just sorta threw this alt-country hobo thing at him with no real gauge of how it might do. But then again, he's also hit that sweet spot where he's getting booed Eva Marie-style. So maybe he's not in a bad place? Then again, I don't want to give the people in charge credit for getting a guy over when he's getting heat in spite of the bad decisions? I have no idea.
Masato Tanaka submitted by @MisterShotHit - Man, I can't believe he's still kicking after all these years. He was famous for taking some brutal bumps in Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling. Not only is he still active, but apparently he's still really good too. My interest was piqued the most when I saw he was announced as working Kevin Steen a few years back at WrestleCon. Either way, I'm glad history hasn't made him a casualty, but I hope he can enjoy his retirement years if he doesn't end up like Terry Funk and wrestle forever.
Big E submitted by @thepurplestars - If the rumors are true, and Vince McMahon wanted to push Big E to the moon over Roman Reigns, doesn't that fly in the face of every backstage report that paints him as out of touch? Honestly, I believe that McMahon isn't exactly standing with his finger on the pulse of what his audience wants. The "burrito/steak wrap" story by itself paints such a hilarious picture of doddering old Mr. McMahon. But you can't tell me that every good idea in the past decade had none of his fingerprints on it. It's also a manufactured result of the Triple H image rehab tour. If McMahon doesn't get anything right, then does the son-in-law get the credit? Something is afoot here. Either way, if the rumors are true and McMahon had his way, WWE could have the glorious, gyrating Big E on top as the man rather than the failed Reigns experiment. What a goddamn shame.
John Fn Zandig Submitted by @LUTang_Secret - Guys like Zandig and Nick Gage I feel become memes because deathmatch wrestling is so far out on the fringe, but having them around, their bigger than life personalities and cult followings, makes indie wrestling that much better. Zandig especially coming back is great because hardcore wrestling's choices for "elder statesmen" other than him are broken down ECW guys, all of whom aren't nearly are as in good shape as Ultraviolent Icon. I heard he was considering going back into retirement, which hey, if he just wants to come back for a couple of months here or one show there, that's up to him. But you're fooling yourself if you think his presence in wrestling is detrimental or unwanted.
Arik Cannon submitted by @SocksUnterShoes - The whole tiff with him and John Cena over the Pabst Blue Ribbon logo (it was more one-sided, to be fair, since Cena's main feud was with Pabst itself) shows off how dominant WWE is on the wrestling market. Cannon was fuckin' endorsed BY Pabst to be the official PBR Wrestler, but if he complains about Cena, or more accurately, the WWE Shop guy co-opting his shtick for the biggest wrestler in the world, then he's "gotten to." WWE does this shit all the time, whether it be mimicking merch, having wrestlers lift spots, or transparently lift gimmicks from other companies in close proximity. One would think if McMahon was really a genius, he'd have no trouble coming up with original gimmicks himself, but then again, wrestling is kinda built on unoriginality. Go to PWTees and count how many t-shirts aren't parody designs. IF you want originality in wrestling, you might be better off watching old shit.
Kimber Lee submitted by @trixy_zissou - I'm bummed that Sara del Rey didn't get to be the first woman to hold the Chikara Grand Championship, but if I had to pick a consolation, it would have been Lee. Not only is she a hard worker who has gotten her name out into so many different promotions working so many different styles, she is an inspiration to so many young fans. Hearing a little girl yell out that Kimber Lee is the "princess who can save herself" at a Wrestle Factory show should mean the world to any parent looking to take their children to a wrestling show. It means what Chikara is doing is working.
Icarus submitted by @ChicagosCRose - I miss the "Worst in the World" incarnation of Icarus, the one who used his back tattoo to get people in the crowd in a lather, the prick heel anchor of Team FIST, the guy everyone loved to hate. I understand why he was the guy to lead the charge against The Flood and thus become Mr. Chikara, but something has just not felt right about him since he turned tecnico and saved the world. Even now, as a minion of Nazmaldun, he's a bad guy, but he's not the right kind of bad guy. I hope the endgame with Nazmaldun's eventual demise and DUSTIN's return to Chikara is a soft reset of the continuity and a return of Team FIST. I need that Icarus back in my life. I need the Icarus that I can boo mercilessly and lustily back.