Juan Francisco is maybe the best staller in modern pro wrestling. His entrance is so prolonged that a timer appears on the screen as the fans in attendance scowl about it. His entrance is longer than all diva matches since 2008 combined. What an artist! This show is my first look at Chikara's new in-house production, as they've moved away from using Smart Mark Video to tape, edit, and the like. It's pretty impressive. The editing is not too hyper, they shoot from interesting angles, and they now splice in elements ex post facto, like the timer or the subtitles during de Coronado's pre-match promo.
To the match. Enjoyably basic headlock stuff to start, then Juan F. de C. avoids a Fire Ant plancha with a girly shriek. De Coronado proceeds to bury himself in various fan laps, which doesn't save him from Fire Ant chops. Juan eventually gains the advantage with some swank whips and back-centered attacks. All's fair until some spinny thing gets messed up, then they recover with a leg sweep. I like de Coronado staying on the back with the German suplex and whips into the buckle.
Missile Assault Ant makes his presence felt by tripping up Fire Ant, allowing Juan to hit a slow and steady German suplex and gain the victory. I guess we'll be seeing even more Colony versus Colony Xtreme Force in Chikara this season. Decent enough opener. I would like to see more de Coronado delaying in the ring, like maybe stomping on opponents until they get into just the right position for a chinlock. I think he's one of the more fun "nu-Chikara" dudes, so I'm glad he's doing stuff with wrestlers who are not Ashley Remington.
Amasis's WARRIORS-inspired Osirians shirt wins everything, cancel WrestleMania and the 2016 election. This opens with dollops of comedy about which I wish to not speak. As for the wrestling, the Boar mauls Ophidian in front of some children and Ophidian stays out there for a good long while, leaving Amasis to handle the majority of the match. I wasn't crazy about most of this, but it was fine enough and had import to the future of Chikara's tag titles.
I was a big fan of the old portly Max Smashmaster, but this new svelte one is okay, too. Please don't be a terrible clash of styles, match. And my pleas are not granted as we open with Shynron awkwardly evading Smashmaster charges. Max gets dropkicked and lies there prone for a while as Shynron flips onto him. Man. At one point, they go outside and Shynron blatantly taps Max on the back to let him know that a flippy move is coming. Yikes, might want to pick a different angle when you're editing stuff together, brah. Things I liked here: Max doing power moves and energetically scrabbling for pins. Things I didn't like: ungainly interactions just to get in hard-to-do cool moves (that means you, aborted spinning headscissors thing from the outside). This was not the kind of big guy vs. small guy match I tend to like, it felt more like a tit-for-tat trading session than a match that told a story. The story should always be little guy gets squashed and loses or barely survives, IMHO.
Drew Gulak vs. Ashley Remington
Gulak wins the match by coming out to "Rainbow in the Dark". I'm not confident that the Ashley Remington character has a lengthy life ahead. It's fun, but I think there might have to be additions or alterations to the act pretty soon. Anywayz, I really dug the emphasis on wrestling in this match. Gulak does tons of submission-y business, which Remington escapes mostly through the use of elbows and punches. "Nice guy brawler" Ashley Remington could definitely give the character some longevity. Remington does the whole "break on one" thing, but then revisits it later in the match, when he backs off after Gulak falls to the apron. Remington quickly realizes his mistake and goes back on the attack. A++ great work, Ashley Remington!! :) Everything until the very end was solid as heck. I wasn't crazy about the finishing moments, but what can you do? Lots of fun otherwise.
I can be tolerant of wrestling comedy when it's done well. Los Ice Creams delight and mortify young fans en route to the ring. If Old Fashioned win the match, Los Ice Creams agree to join them in performing a scene from Shakespeare as a tribute to Princess KimberLee. In America, we generally think it's silly to have things like princesses and rightfully so, but...
Wow, ah-ooga, and yow. This match was easy and breezy with lots of fun moments. All four boy wrestlers are very adept at tickling ribs in the ring, but my fave part of the match might have been Bryce Remsburg's frantic arm waving. In a shocking shock, Old Fashioned do indeed win the match and we get more acceptable comedy during the Shakespearean scene. It's apparently a very abridged version of Romeo and Juliet, but you academics will be pleased by how well Jervis Cottonbelly has memorized the "Soft, what light" line. But he is immediately upstaged by El Hijo del Ice Cream, who says, "This is the pinnacle of my wrestling career".
I feel more confident about this one than the Shrynon/Max match. And my confidence is repaid, as Touchdown gets shoved and tossed all around the ring by the hulking McMassive. Touchdown gains the advantage by inches, only by going for desperation moves like sleeper-style headlocks while on McMassive's back. It's really heated and thoroughly fun until Max Smashmaster and Dasher Hatfield get involved to bring things to an abrupt end. It sets up the main event, but I would have liked to have seen more of this!
Princess KimberLee vs. Jenny Rose
Jenny Rose wins the match by being announced as "J-Ro". I hope that there is some serious GIGLI influence in this contest. They administer the poison early on with some waistlock trading, ending in both ladies falling to the mat as if the Earth was just hit by an asteroid. But then things get tasty with some fetching armwork. J-Ro cannot stop winning this match, as she does the AJW kick to the gut and rush to the ropes. Takako Inoue is smiling down from heaven! This is probably the first time a ref has ever said, "What do you say, Princess?" But I hope that it becomes a thing for all wrestlers in submissions, not just KimberLee. KimberLee is excellent at displaying pain or intensity through her facial expressions. And things do get intense, as the women trade forearms and the crowd is way into it! As with the last match, this is a bit too abbreviated and seemed to stop short just as it's reaching idyll. But I do love KimberLee's alligator clutch. It really stands out, in an era of finishing moves and submissions, to have a pin that's inescapable. Very cool.
Flying Francis vs. N_R_G
Both guys in Flying Francis are named Francis. N_R_G is comprised of Race Jackson, who is very peppy, and Hype Rockwell, who is sleepy, since he has to do all the driving. Again, not sure that these characters have legs that will stride for years, but they're fun in small doses. Flying Francis are very good at the bad-guy basics, like stalling and double teams. God bless this match for showing Flying Francis attempting the same move twice and getting punished for it!
This was pretty fun, aside from the terrible story on commentary about Koko B. Ware practicing dropkicks on horses' heads. But there's still hope that a horse will kill and eat him, so perhaps justice will still be served. Both teams are fun in the ring and Francis especially is pretty fabu in executing stuff. The Lethal Injection is a move that severely tests my nerves, but one of the Francises does it as well as it could be done here. Hype Rockwell has a cool move of his own, a swinging backbreaker that wins my heart and the match. Dear Chikara, I'd like to see more of these teams, pls.
22 person tag match
It would be farcical to try to document the action of such a tussle, so let's cover the highlights. Old faves Shane Storm and Shane Hawke make their Chikara returns here. The match starts off structured like a cibernetico, but dissolves into chaos after the world's longest chain of chinlocks stretches from the ring through the building. Chikara's current staff deliver some highlights: Mr. Azerbaijan's side slams and suplexes will never be not funny, and Oleg the Usurper's confused blinking after Shane Storm falls on him is a moment of the year. But it's not all turmoil and blinking, as the narrative of Chikara is advanced in this match. KimberLee is cornered by the Devastation Corporation. They refuse to be a star and take out their jealousy on women's wrestling on her. But Los Ice Creams come to her rescue! Everybody loves Princess KimberLee!! Meanwhile, UltraMantis Black makes an Overkill reference on commentary! Excitement abounds, ironbound! This was scads of fun and drew a warm reception from the crowd.