Klunk in Love
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
High Noon is coming. Next Sunday, November 13th at 4pm, CHIKARA presents the most important iPPV Event of its history, as it crowns a Grand Champion. More details can be found at the company website, and I believe the cost is $14.95.
This event follows a long Tournament – the 12 Large Summit – to establish the contenders.
As of the “Klunk in Love” DVD, the Main Event is set as Mike Quackenbush vs Eddie Kingston; a battle featuring two of the most unsung and underrated talents in the business, in what will ultimately be a match for the ages.
“Quack” is the heart and soul of CHIKARA, the lead Technico in a home-grown roster of some of the most talented wrestlers in the world. Often billed as the master of a 1000 holds, Quackenbush also masters the ‘Chikara Special’, which is the most famous of the submissions in the promotion. A high-flyer to boot, Quackenbush guts it out in the ring despite some significant back injuries, and in terms of professional wrestling, his talent rises to the top.
Like most of the roster, he incorporates speed, creativity and a passion for all aspects of the game.
His opponent is another master of the craft. Eddie Kingston reminds me of a Latino Dick Murdock, with the physical prowess, the guts, the toughness and a natural talent always on display in the ring. Kingston does more in terms of professional wrestling in a body that these days would be scorned by the mainstream sycophants, but for those who look for the essence of the sport, he never fails to deliver.
Over the past few months, Eddie Kingston has been a Technico, battling the BDK and going toe-to-toe with the giant beast Tursas. But he’s also won the Cybernetico (the huge elimination match that is a yearly staple of CHIKARA), and earned the Championship berth in Block B with determination.
Among the other matches are battles between Tursas and Green Ant, who have feuded over the summer, as well as an intriguing match between Gregory Iron and Icarus. Iron is the guy that CM Punk called out in AAW as being an “Inspiration”, and Icarus is an old-school heel (err, Rudo, in CHIKARA Terms), and this is one more spotlight match in a card where I know CHIKARA will deliver.
While “Klunk in Love” is likely one of the worst names in wrestling DVD history, the action was anything but. In terms of creativity, pure wrestling and that elusive word “fun”, CHIKARA once again proves that professional wrestling is not dead.
To someone who’s often so disillusioned with the sport, I am once again refreshed by watching a CHIKARA DVD, and cannot help but highly recommend the promotion to any fan also jaded with disdain for what calls itself wrestling these days.
CHIKARA fans are the greatest, and the most telling, the most inspiring, the greatest chant on the show wasn’t trite at all. After an awesome Main Event where Sara Del Rey took on Kana, the crowd erupted afterwards with “This is Wrestling!”
Indeed, truer words have not been spoken in this industry in a long, long time.
While we’re at the main event, let’s mix things up and work backwards….
Sara Del Rey vs Kana
Del Rey is getting a push these days, and she’s looking great. Of course her talent was always superlative, and now broken away from the BDK (Bruderschaft des Kreuzes), she’s rapidly becoming a crowd favorite, and deservedly so.
Kana is a Joshi-maniac.
Actually, I can’t help but comment on her costume. In the days where the WWE is more PG and TNA is overly vulgar, Kana is sporting an eye-opening look, and that gold and purple costume provides a pretty serious optical illusion. Very risqué for CHIKARA, I must say.
But in the ring, these two ladies are light-years away from mainstream comparison. Del Rey is the Queen of Wrestling outside of WSU’s Mercedes Martinez, and Kana works through a wardrobe malfunction that would have stopped a talent with half the talent.
Well, watch for the match, not the lost article of clothing, because that spontaneous crowd eruption following is well-deserved.
Eddie Kingston, Sugar Dunkerston, Green Ant & Mike Quackenbush
Vs Die Bruderschaft (Tim Donst, Tursas, Delirious & Jakob Hammermeier
To call it a typical Eight Man match in CHIKARA is fair, but typical in CHIKARA means ‘above the ordinary’. This match contains as many plot developments as a TNA half-hour, but presented in logical fashion, with a respect to history & fans, and with nuance and/or depth that make any reference to Dixie’s disaster an insult.
A thousand apologies to CHIKARA.
The history of the BDK is awesome enough, and while the group is reaching a point of flux, the emergence of Tim Donst as a player is also reaching a crescendo. Donst as the leader that makes the BDK work like a well oiled machine is a developing storyline, and one that works here.
We also get the requisite interaction between the High Noon main eventers, but the fans aren’t hit over the head with it. Well, Quack sorta got hit in the head by it, but that’s the point.
Along the way, we get to see the Green Ant/Tursas feud build to a boil. That lucky camera shot that caught Green Ant being flung into a wall was awesome. I think Tursas throwing the ‘big orange chair’ was overdoing it, but after Gaven Loudspeaker screamed about Eddie Kingston and the “big orange chair”, anything else with the ‘big orange chair’ was merely piling on.
In what was truly the brilliance of CHIKARA, or the serendipity of the confluence of great wrestling, a great promotion, and observant talent in and out of the ring, the realities of a broken ring rope played into several matches, including this co-main event.
To influence the crowd into chanting for the “bottom rope” is one thing.
To get them to turn on the “bottom rope” and chant for the “middle rope” is mind-boggling in this day and age.
Thus, whether Tursas falling out of the ring and taking out the middle rope was either a stroke of brilliance beyond comprehension, or a stroke of luck that exemplifies what seems to be the most creative promotion around.
By the way, the quote of the DVD is about Sugar Dunkerton’s violence upon Jakob Hammermeier: “bouncing his head like an orange Spalding”.
Jigsaw vs Ultramantis Black
Only one thing impresses me more than the logic and buildup and matchmaking that takes a Tournament from a big mess into an interesting set of possibilities as the last matches play out… that’s the ability of creative minds to not be overwhelmed by overbooking, and simply providing a simple answer in the end.
Ultramantis Black had a storyline that played through much of the tournament: he was looking for his first taste of gold, he was a mastermind without tangible results, he was dedicated to get the win.
Like I said about the big 8 man match, typical CHIKARA is above average on every level. Here, the crowd is rallying behind Ultramantis Black, and the efforts of Jigsaw (a Technico who is displaying the subtleties (and not so subtleness) that may very well lead to a heel turn) are all but ignored by the crowd.
How do they do that?!?
Yeah, I’m being sarcastic, but in an age where the basics are completely ignored by the mainstream, it’s more than heartwarming to see that CHIKARA knows what psychology, booking and storylines are all about.
The Colony (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant) vs Atsushi Kotoge & Daisuke Harada
Kotoge & Harada are three time Osaka Pro Wrestling Tag Team Champions. The Colony held CHIKARA’s Campeonatos de Parejas.
While these teams may not be the best tag teams in the world, they put on a show putting them among the elite. Of course, tag team wrestling is a style that far too many fans don’t appreciate, and couldn’t comprehend these days, but if you want a shot of adrenaline in your tag team appreciation, here’s your chance.
Tag team wrestling is about the double-teaming, working the crowd, telling a storyline realizing that there are twice as many interactions involved, and much, much more.
Here’s a glimpse at what the history of tag team wrestling can be today….
The Batiri (Obariyon, Kodama & Kobald) vs F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor, Johnny Gargano & Icarus)
Sometimes wrestling should be just about a gimmick. I’m not sure if CHIKARA’s Throwbacks are the best gimmick, or The Batiri, but it’s close. Even without Sinn Bodhi, The Batiri are just an amazing visual spectacle. In the ring with the superlative talents of Taylor, Gargano & Icarus, they hold their own.
Here, it’s a six-man, and I won’t bore with the typical/above average comment, but will say that the faction concept with the two big guys and one little guy is a theme that works well in the CHIKARA rings.
To listen to Chuck Taylor in the Commentation Station is one thing, but to see the guy in action only puts an exclamation point on how great his talent will grow.
Hallowicked vs Ophidian
Two of CHIKARA’s masked men going at it. Hallowicked is back with Ultramantis Black as a member of the Spectral Envoy. He’s also snatched Bryan Danielson’s small package gimmick…. Well, in terms of creative application of that basic wrestling pinning attempt.
Ophidian is with the Osirian Portal.
The most interesting part of this match, aside from Hallowicked’s awesome selling, and the creativity of the two, was Ophidian’s anguished complaints after the match. “I kicked out!” he screams at the ref.
For a Block A Tournament match that really didn’t mean much, they definitely put over the concept of winning and losing. What a concept!
Archibald Peck Vs Chase Owens
If anyone could ever get mileage of a marching band gimmick, it would be CHIKARA. But this isn’t just about a demented guy in a band leader uniform, it’s also about his majorette side-kick Veronica, and mascot, Colt Cabunny.
If that’s Cabana under the mask, well, that’s clever. Of course we all know it is, or do we?
Another point is this, with all the ‘in your face’ sex of TNA, there’s something far more appealing to Veronica in that costume she’s wearing.
The point is, the packaging of the new character is CHIKARA-iffic. Chase Owens is the opponent, a Smoky Mountain Wrestling reference in the making, which is appropriate with the even hailing from Kingsport Tennessee and the Civic Auditorium that held countless SMW events.
This is the match where Peck drops an elbow and destroys the bottom rope, eliciting chants in the mid-card for the bottom rope during submission holds, and even when it happens in this match, the crowd reaction to what otherwise would ruin a match is pretty darn interesting…. CHIKARA has its crowd so into the promotion that the minor distractions are readily ignored!
To wrap up, CHIKARA is hitting on all cylinders, and considering the effort, the creativity and the depth they put into a ‘normal’ DVD, I can’t wait to see what they do when all eyes are on them at the “High Noon” iPPV.
If you’ve seen CHIKARA, you won’t want to miss this one, and if you’ve yet to experience all that is CHIKARA, I just know you won’t be disappointed this Sunday at 4pm EST. Check out www.chikarapro.com for more information.