CHIKARA’s Action Arcade: Episode 1 Recap

By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor

 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

Hi there! Yes, it’s been a minute since I’ve been able to write anything, much less a show recap. I was presented a unique opportunity and had to take advantage of it because, CHIKARA.

The promotion has recently premiered a “Superstars”-style show, “Action Arcade,” that can be seen every Saturday morning via CHIKARAtopia or on IWTV (which you can get a free trial of here. In these Quarantine times, having access to CHIKARA as well as more than 100 other different wrestling organizations is well-needed. Anyway, I loves me some CHIKARA and since I’ve been a little busy lately, this gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up.

For those of you that haven’t read any of my recaps before, there’s something you need to know going in. If you’re here for play-by-play, star ratings, or discussions about booking or finishes, you’re in the wrong house. Our tagline here at The Gorilla Position is, “Telling the stories of pro wrestling’s storytellers.” That is how the matches will be recapped – not move-for-move, but the story being told in the ring. Also, this is a sporting event, not The Masked Singer. There are spoilers here insofar as results.

So, with that out of the way, we now take you to the Wrestle Factory for

Donna Rama arrives at the Wrestle Factory and is greeted by “That Ol’ Juke Joint” Lucas Calhoun. It’s her first day there and Calhoun has been asked to be the narrator for those uninitiated with the promotion to show her around CHIKARA a bit. I joke, but a promotion like CHIKARA having this kind of exposition in place for their first episode (or few) is a smart move. Explaining the world of CHIKARA – the characters, the factions, the championships – is necessary for someone having never seen this before. Any company, ideally, should assume someone is watching for the very first time. CHIKARA has their bases covered with Lucas and Donna.

And we head ringside with commentators Mike Quackenbush and Sidney Bakabella for our opening contest:

CHIKARA Campeonatas de Parejas Bird and the Bee (Willow Nightingale & Solo Darling) vs. The Colony (Thief Ant & Green Ant)

Quack spells it out from jump – “I would be genuinely surprised to see any of these four breaking the rules or even bending them slightly.”

Willow Nightingale and Thief Ant are about even in size but Willow wants the power advantage, even using her own partner as a weapon to hammer the point home. Solo is deceptively strong but takes the early opportunity to use speed. However, Solo’s main modus operandi is her compact power, and it’s almost like she can’t help herself trying to out-brawn the bigger Thief Ant. She gets caught and this is what allows the Colony to employ the kind of tandem work that has made them so successful. Thief lives up to his name as the Ants pull a duplicate double-team move.

The Colony switches to striking game before Green Ant wears down Solo’s arm with quality submission work. Thief Ant also cannot help himself, as his propensity to steal one too many times allows the Champions to turn the tide of battle. Willow barrels in and over both Ants before showing enough agility to evade Thief and pour on the advantage. Solo goes back to her stock in trade – the lethal footwork – but Thief cuts her off. It breaks down to the tandem quickness of the Colony vs the power of the champs – and the champions are too strong to overcome.

Finish comes when Willow hits Float Like a Butterfly suplex from the top before Solo locks in the Sharp Stinger submission, forcing Thief to tap.

Donna and Lucas are watching on the monitors in the back and Lucas explains why the show opened with a team of men vs. a team of women. CHIKARA is “equal rights, equal fights” and therefore does not separate its women’s division from the men’s. Afterward, we head straight to the next match.

The Spoiler vs. Chuck West

Chuck West may as well be ground chuck. He literally gets in one offensive move while The Spoiler owns the match.

Finish comes when The Spoiler locks in the iron claw and West passes out. To the forehead, by the way. Feels odd to have to explain that, but there we are.

A video explains and shows past winners of the Young Lion’s Cup before Sam Letera is in the CHIKARA Action Arcade Event Center with promos from some of this year’s hopefuls: Molly McCoy, Forged (Joshua Wells, Xavier Faraday and JoSue Ibañez), Frey Nassar from The Crucible, and Zero.

Fun fact: Boomer is not a boomer. He’s actually the son of Dasher, the “Old Timey King of Swing” and former member of The Throwbacks. And yes, could probably be considered a “boomer” himself. But I digress.

This is a classic contest between the technique of Huckabee and the speed of Hatfield, even though Boomer starts out hold for hold. He soon realizes this is a mistake as Huckabee manipulates Hatfield’s joints in ways nature didn’t intend. Boomer picks up the pace and starts seeing better results. Huckabee is learned enough to keep stopping Boomer but the momentum works like a see saw. Huckabee slowly takes control by simply getting more sadistic with his offense. The idea seems to be to mentally break Boomer with the implication that, should Hatfield continue, Huckabee will seriously hurt him. Huckabee’s downfall is underestimating the heart of a Hatfield.

Finish comes when Hatfield snaps off a German suplex en route to hitting the Boomerang (hurricanrana from the knees) for the 3-count pinfall.

After the match, Boomer is handed his first point (medal) backstage as Donna and Lucas watch on. Lucas explains the points are how wrestlers earn championship opportunities in CHIKARA. Oh, you want details on how that works? Go watch the show, then!

A video package airs telling the audience all about The Cruciblewho they are and how they came to be. Elsewhere, Lucas explains to Donna why the ring ropes are being taken down…

Devantes vs. Tom Stone – Crucible Fight

First, the rules: Crucible fights are two minutes in length. The ring ropes are removed. You can only win by knockout, tap out, ring out or by stoppage of the referee.

And if you thought The Spoiler ran roughshod over Chuck West? West had an easy night compared to Tom Stone. Devantes was (almost literally) built in this environment. Stone fires off some offense early but doesn’t have a chance against the bulldozer of The Crucible.

Finish comes when Devantes hits the TKO (spinning cutter) and the referee decides Stone has had enough and stops the match.

Sam Letera has a special report on Cibernetico and informs us the Team Captains will be revealed in two weeks.

The ropes are being put back up as Leterna catches up with Matt Makowski, who promises to show Jigsaw that the fire reveals what the flesh conceals.

Gimme a second, I’m grabbing some popcorn for this one.

Jigsaw is so well-versed in many aspects of the game – mat wrestling, high-flying, you name it. Meanwhile, Makowski is a former MMA fighter transitioning to pro wrestling who loves overwhelming opponents for the quick victory in true Crucible style. Makowski does not employ that strategy at the outset. He wants to show Jigsaw who the superior wrestler is and that takes time. Jigsaw realizes what he’s dealing with and takes the match off the ground, striking and punishing Makowski. Jigsaw, satisfied that he has worn down Makowski, goes back to the mat with better success. Makowski gives Jigsaw an undergraduate class in punishment and evens the playing field between the two evenly-matched athletes. 

Between being so physically gifted and being a veteran, Jigsaw is adaptable to any situation or style of combat. It suits him well because he has to constantly adapt to the ever-changing offense of Makowski. Whether it’s by knockout or submission, Makowski doesn’t care how he gets the win so long as he does. Not to an extent that he keeps breaking the rules – he’s content to brutalize Jigsaw well within the rules. Jigsaw is up for the task of mirroring that style out of necessity.

A perfect example of how even the two are comes when Jigsaw pulls a ripcord lariat, then keeps hold of the wrist for a knee strike. Makowski answers in kind after a backslide pin attempt fails but he keeps hold of Jigsaw’s wrist to deliver a kick to the face. With neither man willing to bend, the violence escalates. No weapons other than hands and feet used as clubs and bats against the other man. 

Throughout the contest, Makowski has slowly but smartly diverted Jigsaw’s attention away from the damage he has been doing to Jigsaw’s shoulder. Jigsaw finally catches on and answers with the unorthodox motion that the pro-wrestling combat style can afford (and that jigsaw can perform so well). Jigsaw’s height comes into play when getting to the ropes to evade Makowski’s deadlier submission moves such as the armbar. Makowski’s tactics would have finished a lesser man but Jigsaw’s defense keeps him competitive. Makowski has surprise offense of his own, however, that seals the deal.

Finish comes when Makowski gets Jigsaw in an O’Connor roll, only to toss him in the air and lock in the juji gatame for the submission victory.

 

As stated before, this is a great way to catch up with CHIKARA or, if you’re stuck in quarantine (like, I dunno, the rest of the planet right now) and looking for a new obsession, a great way to try out CHIKARA and see if it’s for you. SPOILER ALERT: I certainly dug this quick-action-packed offering from the company and will definitely be looking forward to more.

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