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Supremo

When it’s Good it’s Fucking Great.

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On 11/16/2018 at 7:05 PM, HarmonicGenerator said:

So how did all that CHIKARA stuff end @BomberPat? I was hooked just reading it but ... All that set up and build - they wrapped it up somehow, didn’t they?

Probably the biggest problem with that angle is that it was so over-ambitious that it couldn't really end as anything other than a disappointment; it had to be more than "just" a wrestling story, really, and it never got there.

Deucalion wrestled Icarus for the Grand Championship at that year's season finale in a cage match, only Deucalion's second match with the company, and only singles match. Deucalion got concussed early on, so the match was an absolute mess. Icarus won by countering the Chokebreaker into the CHIKARA Special. Deucalion called for the rest of The Flood (the amalgamated heel stable) to help him, but Jimmy Jacobs walked out on him. Icarus had brought the hammer of Estonian Thunderfrog (one of the wrestlers Deucalion had "killed") to the ring, which was treated as a Thor's hammer gimmick, where only the worthy could lift it. Icarus jumped off the top rope with the hammer to hit Deucalion, killing the character off.

By the following season, most of The Flood had disappeared, and CHIKARA moved away from that sort of big, company-wide story and toward more individual stories - and, around this time, did an entire season built around a needlessly complicated team-based points system. Icarus gradually turned heel again, one or two of the "dead" wrestlers returned.

One thing CHIKARA are still brilliant at is leaving enough storyline threads hanging that they can refer back to events from years ago, and create stories that feel like they were planned out all along, so elements of the Flood/Deucalion story continue;

  • Kid Cyclone removed his mask and became Kevin Condron, who - before falling out with the promotion - was being positioned as a top heel, with stories planned to continue for several years. He picked up some of the scraps of The Flood, and began exposing stories of Titor Conglomerate, mostly based around a wrestler called Missile Assault Man (it's a long story), who was exposed as having been a soldier under Deucalion and responsible for various atrocities. 
  • More recently The Whisper became something of a replacement Kevin Condron and continued revealing stories, including exposing that Ophidian was Flood member 17.
  • Another supervillain character who's appeared recently is Professor Nicodemus, a mad scientist who's responsible for genetic experiments creating some of the super-soldiers, which has also revealed that some members of the roster have been experimented on by him, were clones of one another, or were otherwise his creations. Sidney Bakabella, himself a former member of The Flood, was on commentary when Nicodemus debuted, and said he recognised him as a Titor employee.
  • In classic CHIKARA style, Nicodemus's organisation have a website that has no obvious ties to CHIKARA - https://theproteuswheel.com/research/ - which explicitly ties them to Titor Conglomerate, and confirms that Titor have gone out of business.

So there are elements of the story still going on, though mostly just simmering over in the background. There's probably other stuff I've missed, as I've not followed CHIKARA closely this year.

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In the last decade:

Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle at TNA Lockdown.

Okada, Omega  at NJPW Dominion

Kevin Steen, El Generico at ROH Final Battle

Going a little further back:

Hogan, Rock at Mania

The NWO debut on Nitro and all of Nitro 1996-1997 that revolutionised the business.

Jerry Lynn, RVD series in ECW

 

 

 

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Those CHIKARA storylines sound amazing and all but how the fans can keep up with them is beyond me. Some of the stuff sounds cool in writing but actually watching live...seems there is masses of potential for it to be cringe as fuck. And surely your more casual fans spend a lot of time incredibly confused..

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5 hours ago, LaGoosh said:

Those CHIKARA storylines sound amazing and all but how the fans can keep up with them is beyond me. Some of the stuff sounds cool in writing but actually watching live...seems there is masses of potential for it to be cringe as fuck. And surely your more casual fans spend a lot of time incredibly confused..

Most of the time it's fine and everything you need is on the shows. However, the "death and rebirth of CHIKARA" storyline was definitely a mind screw for all but the hardcore fans who'd done their homework.

You had to go on the official forum to find out about a conspiracy nut hanging around outside venues after shows and handing out pamphlets to fans telling them about the evil Titor. This led you to a website you had to visit. This led to other websites. There were blogs you had to read. You had to read certain twitter posts. After CHIKARA was closed down Icarus would show up at other company's shows that featured now ex-CHIKARA wrestlers to try and recruit them. Fans at these shows would be given DVDs featuring messages from Icarus that they had to upload and share online because Icarus was being tracked. CHIKARA guys put on an outdoor show at a venue that was supposed to be hosting their show as a form of protest - they fled when Condor Security guys showed up and then kidnapped an agressive fan (revealed, of course, as a plant). Then fans were tasked with doing a mission for Condor in return for the fan's freedom: they had to get hold of top secret documents, which they did, but then Icarus intercepted them, took the real documents and switched them for fakes. He then used these documents to black mail Titor into selling the rights to CHIKARA. Meanwhile almost every Big Bad from CHIKARA's past was showing up at the Wrestling Is... companied to shut them down after they were revealed as CHIKARA spin-offs and operating as "back-up bases" as the Icarus-led CHIKArmy planned to fight back and retake CHIKARA itself. And this isn't even all of it! There's time travel, Parts Unknown, drugged wrestlers, white supremacists, diamond mine massacres...

Depending on your point of view this wrestling storyline turned ARG was either Quackenbush's magnus opus or a confusing mess. It cost them both fans and wrestlers who hated the whole incredibly complicated thing and never returned. Personally I loved it because it was something truly unique, a beautiful monstrosity that only a mad scientist like Quackenbush would dare create. No one is ever going to be crazy enough to do something like this again.

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I heard rumours at the time that the reason for the whole thing was that Quackenbush wife was divorcing him and he lost all his money and had to shut the company down. Is this true?

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1 hour ago, LaGoosh said:

I heard rumours at the time that the reason for the whole thing was that Quackenbush wife was divorcing him and he lost all his money and had to shut the company down. Is this true?

It wasn't true. Just fans scrabbling for an explanation, and "a woman taking all his money" was apparently the only reason wrestling fans could come up with. It coincided with a female trainee leaving the promotion, and people concocted a rumour that Quack had an affair with her - that wasn't true either, she left because she wasn't happy working the gimmick CHIKARA had given her and wanted to explore her options elsewhere. I don't know if Mike is divorced or not, but if he is, it never had anything to do with CHIKARA closing.

It was just a mad, overambitious angle, and part of Quack's insistence on trying new forms of storytelling, and of pushing the envelope. It tied into a (mostly dreadful) film, that was released in parts on YouTube during the angle. 

 

What often goes overlooked or underappreciated is that CHIKARA weren't losing money while they were "closed", nor were the majority (if any) of their wrestlers. Between all the "Wrestling Is" promotions and Kaiju Big Battel, "CHIKARA" were actually running more shows that year than they would in a normal year, and the wrestlers were taking considerably more bookings, while the wrestlers who weren't taking more bookings (Icarus didn't wrestle for other promotions for kayfabe reasons) were getting paid by Quack to do other jobs.


I'm more than a little biased around this - CHIKARA was largely responsible for restoring my love of wrestling, and this all happened around the time I was following it religiously, and not long before I started working with some CHIKARA talent. I've never discussed the angle with Quack, but one of the CHIKARA guys I'm friendly with asked me for honest feedback on whether I felt it all worked.

What I said then was that the angle was, in a lot of ways, spoiled by the fans. The story CHIKARA were trying to tell was often being ignored in favour of the story the fans (largely those on the CHIKARA101 boards obsessing over the minute details of every show), and that had been happening for a while. When they had previously done an angle with a stable of heel versions of popular CHIKARA wrestlers (GEKIDO/The Swarm), fans were obsessed with the idea that they were from an alternate universe, and we were entering "the darkest timeline", and they stuck to this "darkest timeline" theory long after it had been explained that GEKIDO were just disgruntled ex-trainees. Later, they became obsessed with time travel - I'm convinced that CHIKARA never intended for "Archibald Peck, time traveler" to be anything more than a throwaway joke, but they had to lean into it to appease the fans. That's part of the danger of encouraging fans to read into everything - they don't always give you the reading you were after, and Quack wasn't putting enough out there during this story to steer them in the right direction. For months, all you could really ask was, "okay, but what's the pay-off?". At some point it has to go back to being a wrestling angle, and when that angle is yet another variant of "CHIKARA vs. anti-CHIKARA baddies", it's hard not to be disappointed given the build - but I think Deucalion added that extra something and made it work.

 

In terms of it being difficult to follow, CHIKARA usually are very good at the storylines being supplementary. If you watch one of their shows, it's more or less just a conventional 8 match wrestling show, and actual in-ring angles are quite rare, and explained well on commentary. The only time I can remember someone I was watching with saying, "okay, you're going to have to explain that" was Dr. Cube unmasking as Jakob Hammermeier. If anything does happen, it tends to be explained well enough on commentary, particularly if Quack is at the desk. A lot of the more bonkers storyline stuff takes place in blog posts, on YouTube, in promos, and so on, and is more of a bonus for the fans that are willing to put that amount of time in rather than a prerequisite.

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1 hour ago, BomberPat said:

It wasn't true. Just fans scrabbling for an explanation, and "a woman taking all his money" was apparently the only reason wrestling fans could come up with. It coincided with a female trainee leaving the promotion, and people concocted a rumour that Quack had an affair with her - that wasn't true either, she left because she wasn't happy working the gimmick CHIKARA had given her and wanted to explore her options elsewhere. I don't know if Mike is divorced or not, but if he is, it never had anything to do with CHIKARA closing.

It was just a mad, overambitious angle, and part of Quack's insistence on trying new forms of storytelling, and of pushing the envelope. It tied into a (mostly dreadful) film, that was released in parts on YouTube during the angle. .

I found the angle to be a lot more fun with the speculation of all the behind the scenes drama. Truly turning a negative into a positive. Quack apparently being a bit of prize dickhead only added fire to the rumour mill. That was a really fun time to be around the CZWfans/ZandigFans forums. Either way, whether it's true or not, it was really out there and was a home run. The return PPV was really good too with the debut of the Big Bad and some new characters being introduced.

I remember, from the night that they tore down the set and ended the event, someone said they saw Bryce walking to his car, tears in his eyes, whilst holding a box. Was this paid off? That detail has always intrigued me.

On 11/17/2018 at 12:51 AM, Supremo said:

Some excellent shouts in here. Great being reminded of stuff I've seen and even better to read about those PWG and CHIKARA angles that look and sound phenomenal. Is any of that stuff easily accessible? Are PWG still clinging to the business model of only selling DVDs? I feel like I've missed loads of good stuff over the years, having mostly ignored the Independents under the assumption it was all just a load of hand-shaking, flippy bollocks. I'm especially interested in that Kyle O'Reilly stuff, since he's now a firm favourite of mine in NXT.

PWG run a weird operation. All the shows are added to the HighSpots Network (£9.99 a month, an indy version of WWE Network with TONS of content but not as user friendly) but they are staggered out by a year. To get the new shows you have to buy them on DVD/Blu-Ray OR wait another month after that release date to buy the VOD. It works for them but it's makes keeping up with the shows very costly, hence why I've dropped them for the past two years. But everything in my post is up on the HSN and well worth a look though. If I have a spare half an hour tonight, I'll draw up a method/list of how to follow the story.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Accident Prone

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17 minutes ago, Accident Prone said:

I remember, from the night that they tore down the set and ended the event, someone said they saw Bryce walking to his car, tears in his eyes, whilst holding a box. Was this paid off? That detail has always intrigued me.

I think it was just a "clearing out his office" visual, rather than a "Shane McMahon's Lockbox" mystery.

There was definitely a large element of people taking the opportunity to lay into Quack, for discretions real or imagined, but people making up bullshit about his personal life is beyond the pale for me. He can reportedly be a control freak, and tends to fall out with wrestlers when they have a little too much autonomy outside of CHIKARA for his tastes, and has backstage/in-ring rules that piss some people off, and back in the day apparently used to be far worse with how he treated people (he's definitely mellowed over the years), so it's not like there's a shortage of reasons to take umbrage with him if people are really desperate to do that, but inventing affairs and marital problems and whatever else was out there is unacceptable. It was a very rare early example of Quack breaking kayfabe that he had to issue a statement saying none of that was true.

The only truth of the backstage drama, as far as I'm aware, is that Quack had key talent sign non-disclosure agreements, and that a few wrestlers ended up leaving the company because they weren't in the loop - Gran Akuma comes to mind.

There's a lot of shit out there about CHIKARA and Quack, but very little of it reflects my experiences with them, and mostly it comes from people who have an axe to grind with them; most recently Kevin Condron. There's a thread on Reddit which claims that Quack doesn't allow his wrestlers to take outside bookings, which is demonstrably false, that he doesn't allow heels to interact with fans, which is equally untrue - the only criticism there that holds any weight is that Quack doesn't pay that well, and mileage may vary on that, considering the criticism came from Kevin Condron, who was basically a nobody, and Pinkie Sanchez, who Quack had refused to pay because he showed up late for his match.

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That's absolutely fair enough @BomberPat. Looking back at those days I was probably in a bit of a bubble and just went along with the rumour mill and the suggested drama and gossip just because there was so much going on. People trying to figure out what was actually happening became mesmerizing and then when the formation of those 'Wrestling Is...' promotions came about, everything got blown out of the water. 

Personally, I've got nothing but good things to say about two of the CHIKARA shows I've been to (a third one was a bit crap) but after each one, Quack was by the exit along with several wrestlers and they shook everyone's hands as they left. He may have personal issues and his discourse with some wrestlers may be sour, but his commitment to the fan base has to be applauded.

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I'll be first to admit that I'm equally in a bubble as far as CHIKARA are concerned, just on the more supportive side - I've trained under Quack, worked with several CHIKARA talent and alumni, consider a couple of them good friends, and none of them have had anything really bad to say about Quack except in jest; certainly nothing above and beyond what you'd get from any wrestlers bitching about the boss. And several of them are strong enough personalities, and more than capable of getting booked elsewhere, that Quack wouldn't be able to have that much of a stranglehold over their careers.

It definitely seems like once upon a time Quack was a bit of a tyrant, but these days it's more of a running joke than anything. The only problem behaviour I've ever been privy to was the brief period that Chuck Taylor was on the outs with the company, which happened to coincide with the tail end of the CHIKARA UK tour that year, when I was working with some of the crew, and we were just seeing it all unfold through text messages, and debating who would concede first, and what exactly had gone on. But even then, the reaction wasn't much more than "Quack being Quack, and Chuck being Chuck", rather than Quack being some tyrannical promoter.

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The stories of Quack being 'tyrannical' are definitely over blown. I could go on for ages about it, I just find the stories so fascinating. Is it wrong to think Quack knows what he wants and isn't afraid to say so? Whether or not people agree with him? 

Good to hear that he's calmed down though and I was glad to see him finally perform live earlier this year against David Starr. He's a key figure in my wrestling fandom and encouraged me to try other promotions after I saw a CHIKARA 6-man at an '03 CZW show and was blown away.

Edited by Accident Prone

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7 minutes ago, Accident Prone said:

The stories of Quack being 'tyrannical' are definitely over blown. I could go on for ages about it, I just find the stories so fascinating. Is it wrong to think Quack knows what he wants and isn't afraid to say so? Whether or not people agree with him? 

Good to hear that he's calmed down though and I was glad to see him finally perform live earlier this against David Starr. He's a key figure in my wrestling fandom and encouraged me to try other promotions after I saw a CHIKARA 6-man at an '03 CZW show and was blown away.

Knowing exactly what he wants is a huge part of it - he also suffers from OCD, which plays into a lot of how meticulous the attention to detail in CHIKARA is but, more than that, he just has a strong idea of the show he's presenting.

One criticism from back in the day was that you were punished if you broke one of Quack's rules, but it was never clear what Quack's rules were. These days pretty much everyone knows the big ones - you don't swear on the shows (Kevin Steen was told that if he swore on a CHIKARA show he wasn't getting paid), you show up on time, and you respect CHIKARA's gimmicks (i.e., if you're working a masked gimmick in CHIKARA, don't expose that gimmick in another promotion), and so on.

There are some grey areas - he likes to take ownership of CHIKARA characters, and that was part of the falling out with Chuck Taylor, when he was working the angle in which he'd lost ownership of the Chuck Taylor gimmick, but working that angle on Fight Club Pro shows in the UK with names that he hadn't cleared with Quack, and various other daft things to that effect. Quack wanted there to be a distinction between CHIKARA's Chuck Taylor and Everywhere Else's Chuck Taylor, so he could have more control over how the former was presented. That's vaguely how I remember it going down, in any case.

He talks on his Kayfabe 2.0 podcast about how, during the downtime between seasons, he tends to reevaluate his roster and make harsh decisions as to who just doesn't need to be there any more. Sometimes it's the performer not carrying their weight, or being problematic backstage, but sometimes it's just "this character has reached the end of its logical existence". When he was criticised for killing off Deucalion, he said the logical end was for that character to be vanquished, and it would have lessened it for him to just move on to being just another member of the roster the following month. He sees things more through the lens of comic book storytelling than pro-wrestling, so is unafraid to reinvent wrestlers' characters, kill them off completely, or write them into angles that mean they're not getting booked for a couple of months - and obviously decisions like that aren't without controversy as far as the actual humans involved are concerned.

 

He was a big part of my fandom too, and I was very happy I got to see him wrestle Johnny Kidd last year, having missed their previous match together. And while I don't agree with everything he says about pro-wrestling, he's someone I could listen to talk shop for hours at a time and not get bored, and always come away either learning something, or seeing something from a different perspective.

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When it’s Good it’s Fucking Great.....and free.

Dec 15, 2018 Tokyo・Korakuen Hall (English Commentary) Hiroshi Tanahashi&Will Ospreay VS Kenny Omega&Kota Ibushi

https://njpwworld.com/p/s_series_00501_4_07

Free match. This is as good as it gets.

 

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11 hours ago, MPDTT said:

When it’s Good it’s Fucking Great.....and free.

Dec 15, 2018 Tokyo・Korakuen Hall (English Commentary) Hiroshi Tanahashi&Will Ospreay VS Kenny Omega&Kota Ibushi

https://njpwworld.com/p/s_series_00501_4_07

Free match. This is as good as it gets.

 

It’s a great match, but it doesn’t really fit in with the nature of the thread. The entire purpose of this match was to build up two matches, which would surely make more sense to put in here if they live upto expecrsfion, and then cite this match as being a key component of build.

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3 hours ago, AdamTH17 said:

It’s a great match, but it doesn’t really fit in with the nature of the thread. The entire purpose of this match was to build up two matches, which would surely make more sense to put in here if they live upto expecrsfion, and then cite this match as being a key component of build.

 

Regardless of the assumed purpose of the match, it’s still as good a bout as 90% of everything else posted in this thread thus far. Personally, I thought the match was stellar and more than worthy of being labelled “Fucking Great”.

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