CHIKARA Young LionsCup day one DVD report



Chikara Young Lions Cup Night 1 Review
By: Rick Cambo

Young Lion’s Cup Opening Round Match
Sugar Dunkerton vs. Christian Able – This was a solid opener. Dunkerton is one of my favorite characters in Chikara and he put on an entertaining match with Able. The storyline here is that Dunkerton keeps losing in the first match of the night in all the big tournaments. This time he was out to prove otherwise. He and Able wrestled a traditional match where Able would work over Dunkerton till Dunkerton made the comeback. There was some nice comedy early on involving headlocks and Dunkerton’s basketball – you figure out the rest. It was fun to watch and Able eventually got the win with a to advance to the Elimination Match. Dunkerton looked really upset that he had lost another opening round match. It was a fine match but it wasn’t anything special really. It still all made perfect sense and established its purpose as an opener. **1/2

Young Lion’s Cup Opening Round Match
Brendan Michael Thomas vs. Frightmare – The storyline here apparently was that BMT had beaten Frightmare in last year’s Young Lion’s Cup in a cheap manner. Frightmare got his revenge a few months later and this was the rubber match. These guys had a very fun match that built off their previous matches. BMT played a good heel and Frightmare of course is an amazing baby face in peril. They played to the crowd a lot and got them into the match. BMT was sloppy in some parts and he looked a little out of shape. But besides that he was fine. Towards the end of the match, Frightmare went for kneecolepsy from the top rope but he missed it and BMT immediately covered him similar to last year’s Young Lion’s Cup. This year Frightmare kicked out and he gave BMT a neck breaker and then a standing kneecolepsy for the win. Good storytelling, good psychology, good selling, good match. ***

Young Lion’s Cup Opening Round Match
Kaio vs. Josh Pain – Kaio looked really impressive in this match. He had a good offense and good selling. He was so much fun to watch in the ring. Josh Pain was also impressive. He was hilarious throughout this whole match and it really added a lot to the match itself. Another solid match which featured two guys who made a good impression on me. They made me want to see them again. With that in mind the match wasn’t really anything special. It was solid but it was just kind of there at the same time. Kaio got the win with some sort of an air raid crash in a fun little match. Would have been better with more time. **1/2

Young Lion’s Cup Opening Round Match
Green Ant vs. Akira Tozawa – This match was a disappointment. Sure the rating may be the same as the rest of the matches involved, but considering the two men involved, I expected so much more. Tozawa I think is very underrated. I will admit that when I first saw him in Dragon Gate I thought that he was good, but not up to the level of the rest of the roster. Now since he has been in the US for the past few months, he has adapted to this style better than any of the Dragon Gate guys probably behind Shingo. He has made himself different from the rest of the Dragon Gate roster in a good way and has become one heck of a performer. Green Ant is one of the better guys on the roster as well. He may not be as good as Fire Ant, but he is still good in his own right and is a pretty good wrestler. I expected these guys to get the most time out of all the YLC but they actually got very little. What they did was still solid, I just expected a little more. Chikara tried to showcase the out of town talent more than their own talent, which is a good idea in hindsight. It was still a fun match; I just thought it could have been handled better. Tozawa won with a flying head butt to the shoulder of Green Ant **1/2

Young Lion’s Cup Opening Round Match
Amasis vs. Chrisjem Hayme – This was one of the better Young Lion’s Cup Matches of the night and it was probably the shortest of all the opening round matches. It was just a fun match to watch as Amasis wanted to dance but Chrisjem kept preventing it saying they had to wrestle. While they were chain wrestling, Amasis would dance in the middle of the holds and Chrisjem would get pissed off. Chrisjem then started beating on him until Amasis made his comeback and hit the 450 for the win. The Osirian Portal is probably my favorite tag team in Chikara as both guys are really good workers. Amasis is so much fun to watch with all of his dancing moves. Chrisjem looked impressive here and I hope to see more from him in the future. It was just a fun match to watch with some pretty good offense by both men. **3/4

Young Lion’s Cup Opening Round Match
Johnny Gargano vs. Andy Ridge – Out of all the guys in Pro Wrestling Respect besides Rhett Titus and MAYBE Grizzly Redwood, Andy Ridge is the best talent there. He is still young and needs some work, but for someone who has only been wrestling for a year, he is very impressive. He has some nice kicks and his selling is better than most people at his level. Gargano is one of the most impressive guys on the Indy scene. He is not only really good in the ring, but has a personality and charisma that is matched by very few. He and Gargano really clicked in this match and it turned out to be a really fun match. The guys were able to work really well with each other and Ridge got the chance to showcase himself. A very fun match that again was restricted by the time it received. I would go higher but the crowd did not seem too into the finish and it was just too damn short. Give this match literally 2 more minutes and it is the best match of all the Opening Round Matches on this night. **1/2

Grizzly Redwood vs. Tursas – Yes you read that right. This match was an attraction match that had been made months before any of the Young Lions Cup competitors had even been announced. Grizzly wanted to prove to Brodie Lee that he is not a joke and he was ready to take on Chikara’s biggest. He and Tursas had a really fun 4-minute squash, as Redwood would use his height to his advantage by going through Tursas’s legs during this match and using his quickness to run away from him. Tursas worked over him for most of the match till Redwood started to make a comeback by taking shots to Tursas’s knees, even teasing that Redwood would be the guy to finally take Tursas off his feet. He punched Tursas several times in the corner. After this, he went to run the ropes and as he came off them Tursas gave him a standing cross body and immediately pinned him in an overall fun match. Not much to it but fun for what it was. **1/4

Mike Quackenbush and Jigsaw vs. Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze – This match was so much fun to watch. Derek Zabato was the referee in this match and he actually drew legitimate heat from the fans (and myself) for his heelish antics. He would do extremely slow counts when Quack and Jigsaw had the cover, and super fast counts when the BDK had the cover. He would also blatantly allow interference from Del Rey and Haze throughout the match but would not allow it for Quackenbush and Jigsaw. He also yelled at anyone who hit Daizee a certain way saying they were inhumane and barbaric. Del Rey and Haze worked over Quack for most of this match (with cheating from Zabato) and got the fans to truly care about the hot tag. Jigsaw got the tag and exploded on both women. Eventually Quack had Haze in the Chikara Special and Del Rey would kick him in the chest repeatedly but Quack would only tighten the hold. Eventually he and Jigsaw both super kicked Del Rey out of the ring and Mike gave her a suicide dive to the outside. Jigsaw went after Haze but Zabato was blocking him and would not let him touch her. Haze then rolled up Jigsaw and Zabato counted a VERY fast count to give Haze and Del Rey the win and take away the two points from Quackenbush and Jigsaw. This was just a very fun match with a lot of good double team moves and GREAT storytelling. Match of the night thus far. ***1/2

Young Lion’s Cup Semifinals Elimination Match
Christian Able vs. Frightmare vs. Kaio vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Amasis vs. Johnny Gargano – so if you haven’t figured it out yet, the way the Young Lions Cup Tournament works is that they have one night with 6 matches, the 6 winners go to an elimination match at the end of the show to determine who goes to the Finals of the tournament. On night two, they have 6 more matches where the 6 winners go to an elimination match at the end of that show to determine the second competitor in the finals. Then on Night 3 in the main event, the two men face off for the cup while the remaining 22 Young Lion’s Cup Participants compete in special exhibition matches against guys who they will probably never face in their lives again. The match started off a bit slow with the only noticeable thing being Gargano and Able working together, and then fighting each other, which eventually led to Able being pinned by the 450 by Amasis. Kaio then worked over Amasis for the next few minutes till Amasis got a tag and everybody brawled in the ring. Once everyone was down, Amasis went to the top rope and hit another 450 splash this time to Kaio to eliminate him. Gargano immediately rolls up Amasis and grabs the tights to eliminate him. Then Gargano told the ref to look the other way and while the ref did that Gargano lifted Frightmare up in the air and then kick him in the balls on Frightmare’s way down. The problem was that the ref had turned around in time to see this and he disqualified Gargano. This was a smart move as Gargano is one of their up and comers and one of the favorites to win this tournament. Now he can say he was never pinned in the tournament. Akira Tozawa then slammed Frightmare repeatedly and hit his springboard flying head butt that he hit to Green Ant earlier in the night. This time Frightmare kicked out. Tozawa went to the top rope but Frightmare hit him with a hurricanrana and then hit his kneecolepsy for the win and a spot in the finals of the Young Lions Cup Tournament. This match had its moments, but to be honest it was really dull for the most part until the last 2 minutes, which weren’t even anything amazing. I don’t know what the problem was but the eliminations just seemed a little rushed. The show was only 2 hours long. Yes it is easy to sit through because of that, but at the same time the overall quality of the show could have been much better with just 15 minutes, which you could have given to the main event and the Gargano/Ridge match. It was cool to see Frightmare go to Young Lion’s Cup Finals, but really this match could have been done so much better. **3/4

Overall Thoughts: Honestly this show is not very good. Nothing is really BAD, but there is nothing here that you have to see. I only gave two matches *** or higher and one was mostly because of the storyline as opposed to the actual match. I did enjoy the tag match and the squash match a lot, but some of the opening round matches just didn’t work for me. There were a few opening round matches that I enjoyed (Frightmare/BMT, Amasis/Hayme, Gargano/Ridge) and the others I still thought were fun matches, just not worth my money. If you want to get all 3 nights of Young Lions Cup because of tradition and history, then I recommend this. But as a pure wrestling show, it has to be one of the worst I have seen all year. Not just from Chikara but from any of the main Indy promotions. I do not blame Chikara because Night One usually is nothing special each year and Nights 2 and 3 are always really good – great. But even with that in mind, I still felt this show could have been handled better. The main event just left me with a bad taste in my mouth so I was not as positive towards the show as I was around the tag match. If you want to get all 3 nights of YLC, then get this. If you enjoy seeing out of town talent that you will probably never see again perform, then get this. If you want a great wrestling show, don’t buy this. I would give this a Thumbs in the Middle titling Downwards, the only reason it isn’t fully down is because what prevented most of the matches from becoming special was the time, not the actual wrestling in the match.   


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