Chikara (professional wrestling)

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Chikara
Founded 2002
Style Lucha libre
Puroresu
Professional wrestling
Headquarters Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founder(s) Mike Quackenbush
Reckless Youth
Owner(s) Mike Quackenbush

Chikara (stylized in all capital letters and sometimes referred to as Chikara Pro) is an American professional wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company takes both the name and logo from the Japanese kanji meaning strength. It was founded in 2002 by professional wrestlers Mike Quackenbush and Reckless Youth, who also served as wrestling trainers. Quackenbush has also been an active performer with the company.

The company focuses on promoting tag team matches, with emphasis on the high-flying lucha libre style. Two of their major events, the King of Trios tournament, originally held between February and March, but in 2012 moved to September, and Torneo Cibernetico, held between September and November, feature tag team matches. Their other major events include Aniversario in May and the Young Lions Cup tournament held between June and August. The company crowned its first singles champion in 2011, with the introduction of the Chikara Grand Championship.

Influenced by the lucha libre style, Chikara performers are grouped into tecnicos and rudos, the lucha libre terms for heroic and villainous characters respectively. Just as in lucha libre, many performers in the promotion have also performed under masks and with unique gimmicks.

History[edit]

The promotion grew out with the Wrestle Factory, which was founded as a wrestling school in Allentown, Pennsylvania by Mike Quackenbush and "Reckless Youth" Tom Carter on January 7, 2002. After five months, the school started Chikara. The first class included UltraMantis, Mister ZERO, Dragonfly, Hallowicked, and Ichabod Slayne. In May of the same year, Chikara expanded into a wrestling promotion with the intent of showcasing its students. The first show on May 25, 2002, featured not only the Wrestle Factory students and head trainers, but several other independent wrestlers, including Don Montoya, CM Punk, Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, Love Bug, Marshal Law, and Blind Rage. The main event of the first show featured Quackenbush and Youth joined by Don Montoya as the Black T-Shirt Squad defeat the Gold Bond Mafia of Chris Hero, CM Punk, and Colt Cabana. In the early days, Blind Rage, Hallowicked, and Ichabod Slayne formed a stable known as the Night Shift, which became the top group of rudos (or heels) in the company. They frequently feuded with tecnicos (faces) Quackenbush, Youth, and UltraMantis. Notable events of 2002 included an appearance by former WCW star La Parka, who joined Mister ZERO against Quackenbush and Youth, and the opening of the short-lived sister promotion Kiryoku Pro, which highlighted female wrestling.

2002 was also marked by a lawsuit against Chikara for promoting shows out of the Wrestle Factory. Neighborhood activists claimed that the building was not properly zoned for assembly, and that the shows detracted from the "complexion of the community". It was eventually ruled that Chikara provided inadequate parking for their shows, and would not be allowed to promote out of the Wrestle Factory any longer. This deterred Chikara from holding any more shows until October. During the Chikara hiatus, they released tapes of their early shows, titled "The Renaissance Dawns" and "Baila, Parka, Baila", and the wrestlers worked showcase matches in other promotions, such as IWA-MS. Chikara soon reached an agreement with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allentown to hold shows there, only eight blocks from the Wrestle Factory. Chikara also began a second Wrestle Factory class, but lost trainer Reckless Youth at the beginning of the class, as he left the business. The first show in St. John's saw the Wildcards (Eddie Kingston and BlackJack Marciano), Gran Akuma, DJ Skittlez, Melvin Snodgrass and Lester Crabtree debut, and shortly after, they were joined by Wrestle Factory graduates Jigsaw and Bryce Remsburg.

Chikara soon debuted a concept that lasts to this day in their promotion, the Chikara Young Lions Cup. Commonly abbreviated as the YLC, the tournament was designed to showcase the best of the Wrestle Factory graduates. It continues to be a showcase of young talent from the independent circuit. Hallowicked defeated Mister ZERO to win the first tournament. Chikara took a two-week break during Christmas before returning in 2003, establishing a tradition of "seasons" that they maintain today.

In 2004, Chris Hero became a co-trainer at the Chikara Wrestle Factory, replacing Carter. In 2005, Jorge "Skayde" Rivera joined as the third trainer. In March 2005, the school moved from Allentown to the New Alhambra Arena, in Philadelphia.[1] They then took over the training for Combat Zone Wrestling, leading to the school's new name of CZW/Chikara Wrestle Factory.[1] After the schools split in 2007, the training center became once again simply known as the Chikara Wrestle Factory.[1] In 2007, Claudio Castagnoli took over Chris Hero's training duties.[1]

The company's catalog of events (on both VHS & DVD) are available through Smart Mark Video.[2]

Chikara drew their biggest crowd ever of over 550 at the New Alhambra Arena in Philadelphia to see the finals of King of Trios 2008 on March 2, 2008. That record was broken on January 31, 2010, when their first show of season nine, A Touch of Class, drew over 600 fans. Later that year, on July 25, the record was broken once again at Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Show, which drew 755 fans.[3] The show was released by Smart Mark Video on DVD less than 24 hours after its conclusion.[3]

Chikara also made Internet pay-per-views by the name of "Pod-Per-Views". Chikara also have a weekly internet show by the name of Chikara Podcast-A-Go-Go which contains matches and interviews.

On April 26, 2009, Chikara announced a working agreement with Dragon Gate USA, which saw Chikara wrestlers take part in Dragon Gate USA events.[4]

On April 25, 2010, Chikara announced the release of a video game, titled Rudo Resurrection, for multiple gaming platforms later in the year.[5] After not being heard of again for four years, it was announced on May 2, 2014, that a new developer, Rotary Games, had picked up the rights to the game.[6]

On August 1, 2011, Chikara announced that their first ever live Internet pay-per-view, titled High Noon, would take place November 13, 2011, and would feature the crowning of the first ever Chikara Grand Champion.[7] The event would again break Chikara's attendance record, drawing 864 fans.[8] During 2012, High Noon was followed by the Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur and Under the Hood iPPV's.[9][10]

In February 2012, Chikara launched their first ever web comic, written by Joey Esposito and drawn by Alex Cormack, telling the secret origin of Frightmare.

On April 6, 2013, Chikara took part in WrestleCon, held during the WrestleMania 29 weekend in Secaucus, New Jersey, holding an event, which again broke the promotion's attendance record.[11]

Throughout the years, Chikara has worked with several Japanese promotions in bringing their talent over to the United States, including Dragon Gate,[12] Ice Ribbon,[13] JWP Joshi Puroresu,[14] and Sendai Girls' Pro Wrestling.[15] In December 2011, Chikara hosted the three day long JoshiMania weekend, which featured some of the biggest names in joshi puroresu.[14] Wrestlers such as Aja Kong, Dick Togo, Great Sasuke, Jinsei Shinzaki, Kana, Kaori Yoneyama, Kota Ibushi, and Mayumi Ozaki have made rare American appearances for the promotion, while Manami Toyota has made several appearances for Chikara since July 2010.[16] Since 2010, Chikara has had a close working relationship with the Osaka Pro Wrestling promotion.[17]

On June 2, 2013, Chikara ran an angle at the conclusion of the fourth iPPV, Aniversario: Never Compromise, where the event was shut down by Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur.[18] Following the event, Chikara went inactive, "canceling" all upcoming events, though in reality these events were never scheduled to take place.[19] Chikara held no official events for the rest of 2013,[20] though wrestlers from the promotion did hold a small event on November 2 in Philadelphia's Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park with the storyline that they were trying to revive the promotion.[21][22][23] In October 2013, Neon Alley acquired rights to 26 Chikara events, which would start airing on the channel on Sundays as part of the new fall lineup.[24] On February 1, it was announced that Chikara would be returning on May 25, 2014.[25] On February 10, it was announced that The Wrestle Factory would start a new training class at the 2300 Arena on March 1.[26]

Chikara Wrestle Factory[edit]

Chikara currently runs a wrestling school by the name of the Chikara Wrestle Factory. It was founded in 2002 by Mike Quackenbush and Reckless Youth. After the debut of their first class of students that May, and the birth of the Chikara promotion, Reckless departed the company. Quackenbush trained the second through fifth classes of students by himself, before recruiting Chris Hero to assist him in the summer of 2004. Hero relocated to Pennsylvania to accept the position as co-trainer, and teach at the Allentown-based facility. In March 2007, Chikara Wrestle Factory separated from the CZW training facility. After spending two years away from the Arena, following its closing, The Wrestle Factory returned to the newly renamed 2300 Arena in early 2014.[26] In October 2007, Claudio Castagnoli was promoted from his role as guest trainer to head trainer taking it from Chris Hero. Alongside Quackenbush, he helped aid in the training of the ninth class of students. Castagnoli signed with WWE in August 2011, and departed the Wrestle Factory. As ever, the responsibility for all training classes at the Wrestle Factory belongs to company founder and 20-year pro, Mike Quackenbush. He is assisted by Chuck Taylor, Fire Ant, Green Ant, Hallowicked and Ophidian.[27] The Wrestle Factory offers training to prospective professional wrestlers, managers, valet, and referees, and is based in The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] Former guest instructors include Jorge "Skayde" Rivera, El Pantera, Terry Funk, CM Punk, Marty Jannetty, and many others.[1] It offers training in all styles like Pro Wrestling, Lucha Libre, Puroresu, Lancashire, Catch, and among others. It claims to be the only such training center in the United States.

Current champions[edit]

Championship Champion(s) Defeated Date Won Location
Grand Championship Icarus Eddie Kingston May 25, 2014 Easton, PA
Campeonatos de Parejas The Throwbacks
(Dasher Hatfield and Mark Angelosetti)
Pieces of Hate
(Jigsaw and The Shard)
July 20, 2014 Revere, MA
Young Lions Cup Mark Angelosetti ACH August 18, 2012 Indianapolis, IN

Other accomplishments[edit]

Accomplishment Latest winner Date won
Tag World Grand Prix Pieces of Hate
(Jigsaw and The Shard)
May 18, 2013
Torneo Cibernetico Tim Donst November 18, 2012
Rey de Voladores 2 Cold Scorpio February 2, 2013
King of Trios The Spectral Envoy
(Frightmare, Hallowicked and UltraMantis Black)
September 16, 2012


Roster[edit]

The Chikara roster of 2005

Tecnicos[edit]

Rudos[edit]

Referees[edit]

  • Bryce Remsburg – Senior referee, announcer, host of Chikara Event Center
  • Daniel Yost
  • Jonathan Barber – also host of the Barber Shop

Administration[edit]

  • Bob Saget – Commissioner (2006–2008)
  • Dave Coulier – Commissioner (2008–present)
  • Leonard F. Chikarason – Director of Fun (2005–2009), Commentator (2009–present)
  • Dieter VonSteigerwalt – Director of Fun (2009–2010)
  • Wink Vavasseur – Executive Auditor of the Board of Directors; Director of Fun (2010–2013)
  • Robbie Ellis – (kayfabe) owner (2014–present)
  • Mike Quackenbush – Director of Fun (2014–present)
  • Cavalier Jones – Member of the Chikara Board of Directors (2004)
  • Ed O'Mac – Ring announcer (2006–2007)
  • Nick Papagiorgio – Ring announcer (2007–2008)
  • Gavin Loudspeaker (formerly Louden Noxious) – Ring announcer (2008–present), Host of Chikara Podcast-A-Go-Go (2009–present)
  • Derek Sabato
  • Crazy Frank – Czar of Security
  • Dave Robel – Ringside physician
  • Brendan O'Donnell – Concierge
  • Steve "The Turtle" Weiner – Various
  • Sidney Bakabella – manager of The Devastation Corporation
  • Zia Hiltey – Photographer
  • Wiggly – Co-host of Chikara Podcast-A-Go-Go (2006–2011)
  • Chiz – Co-host of Chikara Podcast-A-Go-Go (2006–2009)
  • Natali – Host of Chikara Throwdown Lowdown (2010–2012)
  • Scarlett Bordeaux – Host of Chikara Throwdown Lowdown (2012–present)
  • Jessie McKay – Host of Chikara High Noon Report (2011)
  • Billy Kumohara – Host of Quiz Present Crisis Battle (2012–present)
  • Amanda Hastings – Co-host of Quiz Present Crisis Battle (2012–present)
  • Veda Scott – Host of Chikara Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur Report (2012)

Alumni[edit]

[16]

Commercial DVD releases[edit]

Big Vision Entertainment releases

Name Release date Region Additional information
Best of Chikara November 6, 2007 Global Contains 9 matches from 2005 and 2006.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Wrestle Factory History". Chikara. Retrieved 2011-04-01. 
  2. ^ Chikara DVD
  3. ^ a b "Thanks to the 755 fans who made C-Rex the biggest Chikara show ever! And if you missed it, don't fret - the DVD comes out TOMORROW at SMV!". Chikara. Twitter. 2010-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  4. ^ "DGUSA and Chikara reach working agreement". Dragon Gate USA. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-09-17. 
  5. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-05-14). "More details on a new Chikara video game". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  6. ^ Higham, Joshua (2014-05-04). "As Chikara returns this month, an update on everything going on". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  7. ^ Csonka, Larry (2011-08-01). "Various News: Chikara’s to I-PPV, Joshimania, Billy Corgan's New Promotion,More". 411Mania. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  8. ^ Martin, Adam (2011-11-24). "Chikara draws well for "High Noon" iPPV event". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  9. ^ Radican, Sean (2012-06-02). "Radican's Chikara "Chikarasaurus Rex" iPPV review 6/2 - live coverage of event from Philaldephia". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  10. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-11-08). "Indy News: Next PWG main event set, Chikara returning to iPPV". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  11. ^ Higham, Josh (2013-04-06). "Part two of the 4/6 Chikara show". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  12. ^ Boutwell, Josh (2010-07-30). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  13. ^ Boutwell, Josh (2011-08-06). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  14. ^ a b Magee, Bob (2011-12-02). "JoshiMania tonight in Phily with Toys for Tots". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  15. ^ Martin, Adam (2012-03-19). "Indy News #2: KSWA Wrestling, Sendai Girls/Chikara". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  16. ^ a b "Past results". Chikara. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  17. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-09-24). "Indy News #2: NWA Hollywood, Chikara and TWA". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  18. ^ Johnson, Mike (2013-06-02). "Out go the lights, Sopranos style: complete Chikara Anniversario 2013 iPPV coverage". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  19. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2013-06-03). "Mon. update: Two major new UFC fights and talks of stadium show, Austin gets national pub, Chikara ending, Wrestling star robbed, Goldberg, Bella Twins, Best TV show of last week, Promotion reforms". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  20. ^ "Events". Chikara. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  21. ^ Johnson, Mike (2013-11-02). "Chikara returns?". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  22. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2013-11-04). "Mon. update: Huge mid-week, WWE webisode cartoon, WWE ads, Huge convention, Rock TV show, new TNA show, New wrestling show on small network, Flair". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  23. ^ Boutwell, Josh (2013-11-09). "Viva la Raza! Lucha Weekly 11/9/13". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  24. ^ Johnson, Mike (2013-10-05). "Official Chikara on Neon Alley press release". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  25. ^ Johnson, Mike (2014-02-01). "Chikara returns, first show this May". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  26. ^ a b Namako, Jason (2014-02-10). "CHIKARA to re-open wrestling school at former ECW Arena". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2014-02-11. 
  27. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Chikara. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 

External links[edit]