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LIVE BLOG: Chikara “Creatures from the Tar Lagoon” (COMPLETE THOUGHTS)

by on April 2, 2011

Welcome to our live blog coverage of Chikara’s “Creatures from the Tar Swamp” DVD, just released from Smart Mark Video! For more on Chikara, including details of their huge King of Trios tournament coming up in April, please visit their website at ChikaraPro.com! 

The previous night’s show, “Operation: Big Freeze”, was covered during a special segment with Mike and Tom Richards on Episode 25 (Harding Rainbow), which you can find via the pretty link I encoded. 

Like always, my thoughts and observations will be underneath the cut. Just refresh the page every 10-15 minutes or so and it should be updated with more. If anyone out there has already seen the DVD or even went to the live event and wants to share opinions, thoughts, or even just call me a ignorant moron, please feel free to comment. Let’s COMMUNICATE! 

GREEN ANT vs JAKOB HAMMERMEIER (w/Tursas)
-I’ve been looking forward to this one. Jakob, without one second of ring time, has bee the best “worker” in this whole BDK deal. If he can channel the ability to become that character fully and combine it with competence between the ropes, he’s going to be one of my favorites quickly. It’ll be interesting to see whether Hammermeier works like a non-wrestler or if he wrestles like a wrestler.
-Jakob comes out with the suit jacket and tie, introduces himself, then runs backstage for his introduction. This dude is amazing.
-I need to note quickly that this is from their Brooklyn venue, which had an incredible crowd last time whose reactions totally made the show, and judging by the pop for Green Ant, it looks like we can expect more of the same.
-The ring lights went out early on. Luckily, there were about 3,000 other lights in the building. No In Your House: Beware of Ant business goin’ on here.
-Derek Sabato is refereeing which, if you didn’t know, they’d remind you of every five seconds with all sorts of heel referee spots that will annoy you. The Sabato stuff is one of the few Chikara-related things I have a real issue with. It absolutely takes away from each match he referees and, considering they already gave you the blowoff where Bryce bumped him, there’s no reason for him to be around.
-It appears that they’re doing the Lex Luger bionic elbow gimmick with Green Ant after his arm surgery last year, which could be really fun.
-Jakob wins after Pinkie Sanchez and Tim Donst run in for the distraction, allowing Tursas to come from behind with his version of Mike Knox’s Flying Bear bodypress.
-After the match, Jakob announces himself as the winner, which made me smile.
-Other than the Sabato silliness, my only other complaint was Pinkie Sanchez not staying down after the bionic forearm. Unless I just read too much into the deal and he doesn’t have a rod in there that they’re going to promote as being an instant KO, I kind of groaned when Pinkie was up celebrating, around a minute after Green Ant nailed him with it off of the run-in. 

With the BDK already in the ring, the Osirian Portal make their entrance. I think we’re getting a trios bout…

THE OSIRIAN PORTAL (Hieracon, Ophidian, & Amasis) vs BDK (Tim Donst, Tursas, & Pinkie Sanchez)
-A reminder/shill: Jonathan Gresham (aka Hieracon) will be on Mike & Tom Present… this Monday night for Episode #29!
-The crowd chanted “Truffle Shuffle” at poor Tim Donst. A “:(” out to you, buddy.
-I appreciate the Portal working the dancing stuff into regular spots, as opposed to stopping the entire match to do the hypnosis deal since they’ve been doing that a LOT post-Youtube. Watch them do it right after I type that.
-Hieracon and Sanchez looked awesome together. A singles match would probably be awesomesauce.
-Wink Vavasseur joins Bryce on commentary. The “authority figure who’s completely clueless about wrestling” gimmick is really cute in doses. His clueless enthusiasm is fantastic.
-Pinkie took a TREMENDOUS bump on the normally-silly wheelbarrow facebuster spot from Ophidian.
-After a slightly-rough first couple of matches, it seems like the Portal’s got their rhythm on the triple-team moves with Hieracon.
-Good false finish spot, where the Portal plays chicken to get Tursas out of the ring, but Tim Donst comes out of the rope to bring Ophidian down with a Doomsday Ace Crusher.
-The Osirian Portal win after a ridiculously-quick flurry of triple-team offense on Pinkie Sanchez.
-Really, really fun little match. Now that the Portal have found their groove with Hieracon, they really have a unique deal going, being probably the crispest junior heavyweight trio working American indies regularly. I understand there are only so many spots, but it blows my mind how they aren’t in the trios-heavy Dragon Gate USA, or why Gresham isn’t working the Evolve shows. 

3.0 (Shane Matthews & Scott “Jagged” Parker) vs THE UNSTABLE (Vin Gerard & Stigma)
-The previous night, the two teams continued their feud when 3.0 stole the Unstable’s gear and wrestled in it.
-Weird opening where Vin Gerard was waiting for 3.0 over by an emergency exit, but 3.0 came through the regular entrance. When 3.0 confronted Gerard, he pulled a female in front of him. They ended up cleaning his clock and leaving through the side door with the girl.
-Turns out that was the entire match. I REALLY hope they explain that. 

TOSHIE UEMATSU vs SARA DEL REY
-Uematsu is a VERY small girl. As in, referee Bryce Remsburg towers over her and he is NO Nitron.
-Interesting to see Uematsu work as a good person the night after working as a baddie against Madison Eagles.
-Glad to see these two not working this “indie dream match” style, considering (no offense to her) most of the crowd probably hadn’t seen Uematsu before this match. Lots of comedy with a Chikara t-shirt and the always-welcome Three Stooges nose-pinch spot.
-GREAT Koppo kick spot from Del Rey as Uematsu was scaling the ropes during her comeback.
-Del Rey busted out a TEARDROP SUPLEX! If I were Dave Meltzer, this would be getting five stars because of that. Because I’m Tom, it just gets lots of love since the star system is stupid.
-As silly as the body of the match was, the final run was AWESOME. About as strong of a female-only match as I think I’ve seen in Chikara.
-After the match, Uematsu reads a PREPARED STATEMENT. She officially replaces CIMA as “Most Adorable Asian Wrestler to Try To Speak English & Not Completely Fail”. Gavin Loudspeaker translates the Japanese portion of the speech, promoting how the fans in attendance could help the Red Cross in tsunami relief. A really cool moment that was sincere in a way that you usually don’t get from indie wrestling. 

Lumberjack Match: THE ROUGHNECKS (Brodie Lee & Grizzly Redwood) vs THE THROWBACKS (Sugar Dunkerton & Dasher Hatfield)
-Smart Mark Video picking up their game with video packages (like the one preceding this match) on Chikara DVD’s is a fantastic improvement to the Chikara presentation. Big props to the SMV crew.
-There’s something about Dasher in that mask when he bugs his eyes out during serious promos like this that’s kind of creepy. That visual is kind of a shame, because Sugar NAILED this promo. Dude proved that, when you cut out the silliness, there’s something to him, which I can say I’ve been guilty of not seeing in the past. For that, I’d like to publically eat that crow.
-Side-note: I LOVE lumberjack matches. I was a child of mid-90’s WWF, which means stuff like the Michaels/Duggan Intercontinental Title lumberjack match in the Manhattan Center are clearer memories for me than most of my birthdays. So, when I see a crew of guys coming to ringside to form that human cage, it makes me happy.
-Grizzly’s new robe is EPIC. It’s your typical flashy pro wrestling robe with the bedazzling and such…BUT MADE OUT OF FLANNEL.
-Sugar’s punches are underrated. I dig ’em.
-I’m a little disappointed by the lack of in-ring intensity from both sides. I don’t necessarily want Davey Richards vs Davey Richards in a Davey Richards on a Pole Davey Cage Match, but these teams have been feuding for months; I’d expect them to be swinging for the fences out of the gate.
-If this is no-disqualification, what’s keeping the partners in their corners?
-Someone should tell the Soul Touchaz that good-hearted lumberjacks don’t attack guys in the match unless they’re provoked. Marshe Rockett went after Brodie the second he hit the floor like the dude called him bad names.
-Willie Richardson is my hero. When the Throwbacks did their big dive into a sea of lumberjacks, everyone bumped like they were made of titanium…except for Big Willie, who just stood there like, “Nuh-uh”.
-The finish was kind of cute, where the Throwbacks tape Brodie Lee to the turnpost so that he can’t get involved while they finish off Grizzly Redwood.
-Not bad. Like I said, the intensity of this big feud blowoff match wasn’t there, but they did enough of what I love from lumberjack matches that I enjoyed it. 

Young Lions Cup: FRIGHTMARE vs OBARIYON
-They do the switcharoo before the bell, where Kodama (the other Batiri member, who looks nearly identical to Obariyon) comes out in the big robe to cause the distraction while Obariyon comes out from the crowd.
-Frightmare is a pretty perfect opponent for Obariyon because, while he’s got muscle, Obariyon is a tiny man. So, wrestling a short, skinny dude like Frightmare lets him show off the power offense without looking silly.
-The Kneeolepsy (double-knees moonsault) looks great, but I feel so bad for Frightmare ten years from now when he starts feeling those times where he missed the move and had to land knees-first on the mat.
-CRAZY spot where Obariyon busted out the leap-over backcracker spot on the apron. For realz.
-Frightmare gets the win by reversing Obariyon’s signature top rope DDT with a suplex into the Kneecolepsy.
-Solid bout. I can appreciate Chikara not sending these guys out with the mission of stealing the show for the sake of the show while not telling them, “Don’t DO THINGS!”. They obviously tried hard and what they did was cool, but they didn’t do so much that it wore you out. It won’t be on any 2011 year-end compilations, but it was cool. 

ULTRAMANTIS BLACK vs SINN BODHI
-Mantis cuts a pre-taped promo. Mantis is the only dude in Chikara who wears the sheer-eyed mask and benefits from his eyes showing when bright lights are on him, since his eyes totally match what you think they should be from this character.
-Big ups to Sinn Bodhi for bringing back the single most underrated entrance song in indie wrestling history: Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” (Matt Stryker of the unibrow variation used it in Ring of Honor).
-Pet peeve: dudes wrestling in ties. I understand IRS apparently made it “okay” or whatever, but what would honestly stop the other guy from choking you until you were blue, even by accident if he got caught on it, or even me using it to pull you down to the mat like wrestlers would do to jiu-jitsu practitioners in early forms of mixed martial arts?
-There’s a GREAT shot of Bodhi waiting for Mantis, hanging on the ropes while his music comes on and the crowd rises, that is as close to WWE-level framing as it gets on the indies.
-Speaking of little things to compare to WWE: Ultramantis Black is legitimately one of the few guys whose entrance gives you that spectacle-type of feeling like the top-level WWE guys. The visual of the majority of the building bowing to this man with his staff and his cape to that music is ridiculously epic.
-Bodhi is both perfect and completely ridiculous for Chikara. His style is VERY much the opposite of the 2011 junior heavyweight American independent style, but Chikara’s about the weird styles clashes, which makes it work. Also, guys like him are needed in Chikara if Ultramantis Black is a good guy, since villains feuding with the Mantis character can’t just be normal wrestlers. That character calls for ridiculous, over-the-top, comic book-like villains to be his adversaries.
-The story of the match is Bodhi repeatedly going to Mantis’ mask, trying to rip it off. It’s a really simple match, but the crowd’s into it.
-Bodhi uses some un-family friendly language when addressing fans chanting “Future endeavoured” at him.
-I’m glad to see that Ultramantis follows my favorite masked man fashion rule: always paint around your eyes with black paint.
-Bodhi wins with the Talula Mae (sp), which is Drew McIntyre’s Future Shock DDT. It was absolutely not the type of match you normally would expect to see at Chikara, as it was all Bodhi methodically tearing Mantis (and his mask) apart, but it did a great job of applying sympathy to the Mantis/Incoherence side of that feud. 

Campeones de Parajas: “Lightning” MIKE QUACKENBUSH & JIGSAW vs THE COLONY (Fire Ant & Soldier Ant)
-Rare technico/technico match-up.
-The one inherant issue with Chikara is a necessary evil, since it’s one of the reasons why it’s so good: it’s a student promotion at the core. Subconciously, even if Chikara tries to push guys as equals to Quack, you still end up thinking of them as lesser-than due to the student-teacher relationship. The thing is, most of the young guys work so well together since they came up training together and working on almost all of the same shows.
-I mention that since that’s what happened with me personally, watching the opening Soldier/Quack hold exchanging sequence. Quack gave him a lot, but in the back of the mind, I still unfortunately can’t help but constantly having to remind myself that Soldier Ant’s supposed to be an equal since Quack’s the maestro of the group and legitimately is that much better on the ground.
-Soldier Ant takes the first fall (Chikara tag title matches are governed under two out of three falls rules, if you didn’t know) after reversing a sick-looking Rings of Saturn by Quack into a cradle pin. That’s a positive of Chikara: they do take the time to do things like that, trying to re-educate their fans into thinking that pins can happen at anytime.
-Soldier Ant took a bump onto the apron off of a backdrop-type move that looked totally not fun.
-Quack gets fall number two after reversing the same cradle that Soldier Ant got him with for fall number one, soon after that fall occured.
-The match pretty much spent seventy percent of its length in the “breaking down” portion of the usual tag formula, which worked since matches in Chikara usually don’t go so blatantly move-y so soon, but it drove the logic mark in me nuts at times since a lot of times, Bryce was made to look stupid during double-teams that were taking FAR longer than the five-count should allow.
-It says something for Chikara’s storytelling abilities when ANYONE applying the Chikara Special gets a reaction. Also, Quack pulled out a cool spot where he pulled Soldier Ant off of Jigsaw during a Chikara Special…with his own Chikara special.
-They keep going back to Quack’s arm, which was injured when Fire Ant did a double-stomp onto it early in the bout, but it’s annoying how Quack doesn’t sell the injury when he’s on offense.
-Jigsaw wins the match for his team with a second rope torture rack bomb. It was a fun match, in that the cool moves and near-falls were fun to watch, but there were enough little things that got to me that I can’t say it was great or anything. But, if you just like watching guys work the Chikara tag style with the smooth moves and such, you’ll like this. 

CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs EDDIE KINGSTON
-I appreciate Smart Mark Video limiting the cool video packages to the two matches with feuds (this one and Throwbacks/Roughnecks). Makes them special.
-Oh joy, Sabato.
-Kingston jumps Claudio from behind (second crowd entrance of the show), and the crowd is HOT.
-This opening is perfect: Eddie Kingston fighting his rival in front of his hometown crowd, so he beats the dogcrud out of him. Simple, but effective.
-They do a callback to the opening match, where Kingston takes out interference from Pinkie Sanchez and Sara Del Rey before their run-ins could be too effective. Little things like that to use your entire show to educate your audience for what you want them to think by the main event are lost on most shows. Bravo to Chikara.
-Of course, Tim Donst runs out and turns the tide right as I type that. But, it’s while Kingston goes for a superplex, when he’s tied up in Claudio’s arms.
-Kingston bumps Sabato late in the match so that Remsburg can be in the ring for the nearfalls. That made me happy since ten minutes of “I’m counting slow since I’m a baaaaaaad guy” would’ve gotten annoying.
-The crowd, after being AWESOME the whole show, was disappointing during the closing of this match. They seemed so worn out; they sounded like they wanted to try, but couldn’t work up the energy to put this over the top. That being said, if you watch this match on mute, they do everything right in the ring. The action makes the match far more epic than the ambiance would lead you to believe.
-…and just to get on my nerves, there’s more Sabato stuff. He pulls Bryce out of the ring while Kingston has Claudio pinned. Claudio wins with a chain-assisted European uppercut, obviously setting up a chain match when they come back to Brooklyn. Hopefully, the crowd sustains better for that match (and they should, since they now have a BDK heat angle they’ve done live in that building to build sympathy for Kingston). 

After the match, Claudio whips Kingston like a dog (which gets far more heat than anything in the match). Fantastic heat angle that hopefully should make the rematch a ton more anticipated. Kingston losing and then being whipped makes so much sense, as if Kingston wins every time he’s in Brooklyn, you risk turning the crowd against the dude since people don’t like Superman in 2011. Build sympathy, make Kingston look tough, and it makes your blowoff in that building that much more triumphant. 

Overall, a really strong show. The issues I had were real nitpicky things, but it’s probably my favorite show yet that I’ve done one of these live blogs for. Much recommended. This coming Tuesday at around 6 PM Eastern, I’ll be back for a new LIVE BLOG, this time, reviewing the just-released “Kurt Russellreunion II” from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla!

-TOM.
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