Chikara King of Trios N3
October 6, 2019
I wanted to review all three nights of King of Trios but time is against me so I thought I’d at least check in with Night 3. We’re in Reading, Pennsylvania at the Goodwill Beneficial Association Hall. Commentary comes from resident quirky weirdo Mike Quackenbush.
The Nations (Mick Moretti, Jack Bonza & Adam Hoffman) vs. FIST (Icarus, Tony Deppen & Travis Huckabee)
The Aussies do a good job of combining good wrestling with shtick. Moretti is so good at getting this tonally spot on that I’m shocked no one has signed him yet. Tony Deppen is key to the heels getting over because he’s such an asshole. The match escalates nicely and even the heat segment, on Moretti, doesn’t feel like a waste of time. The breakdown segment is a lot of fun, even if they completely abandon the rules of tag team wrestling, which is kinda the point of a tag tournament but hey, it’s 2019. This is reality everywhere now. The Nations finish with their triple team powerbomb spot and they’re in the final. Deservedly, I might add. While FIST could have drawn a lot of heat the Aussie group are the better wrestlers man for man and as a unit.
Final Rating: ***1/2
The Crucible (Ophidian, Lance Steel & Princess Kimber Lee) vs. The Colony (Fire, Green & Thief Ant)
Fire Ant is the experienced one while Green and Thief are relative rookies. Ophidian’s Crucible are playing heel so it’s pretty obvious who’s going to win before we even get underway. They start hot with the Ants on fire. Kimber is looking healthy and I’m pleased she’s overcome her demons. AEW might be a decent place for her to go next as they need top end women’s talent. Kimber and Steel are better known to me as faces and they do a lot of face offence that’s only booed because it’s at Ophidian’s bidding. The pacing is hectic and sometimes it doesn’t quite land but it often does. Thief Ant is eliminated by Ophidian’s “forbidden” armbreaker, which in turn leads to the Ant Hill collapsing. Ophidian is the driving force for this match. He’s an evil genius. He murders Green Ant and this leaves Fire Ant on his own. It’s a good story.
Kimber ends up pinning him with the Alligator Clutch, which is a bit deflating. Fire Ant did a wonderful job of fighting 1 on 3. As a neutral I’d probably have preferred a babyface final but the Crucible is the story of the tournament.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Mat Diamond vs. Oleg the Usurper
Oleg is one of those weird Chikara gimmicks where he’s a Viking. Which involves furry topped boots and fur lined gear. That’s entirely appropriate for keeping warm but not in an environment where you’re going to get naturally hot. He’s not a good opponent for talented flier Diamond. The match consists of Oleg getting flipped onto a lot. Oleg elbows him once for the pin. Oleg hasn’t even wrestled for six months. I don’t get the point of any of this. Diamond completely wasted here.
Final Rating: **
Throughout the show there have been skits with Lady Frost looking for a tag team partner.
Here she tries to recruit Hermit Crab but he has a broken arm. I love Hermit Crab so much. I’m sad he’s not on this show.
Ten Team Tag Team Gauntlet
Oh no, the tag gauntlet. Is there a worse match concept that’s still in frequent use? Ten teams as well. Fuck my life. We start with the Velocities (Jude London & Paris De Silva) another great Aussie team and Cornelius Crummels & Sonny Defarge. I don’t get the odd old timey heel act of Crummels & Defarge. Both teams bring some quality team work. The opening fall goes very long and the Aussies win. Team #3 is Wilderbeest & Jakob Hammermeier. The latter is a good promo, in goofy Chikara style, but the in-ring doesn’t measure up. The new team are useful but again the fall drags something fierce. It’s a gauntlet guys, let’s speed it up. Velocities get the pin again with Hammermeier taking the L. Team #4 is The Closers (Rick Roland and Sloan Caprice). Two very jacked up gentlemen. They look like henchmen and have basically had a career of doing just that in Chikara. This is the dullest section of the match so far. Velocities get worn down and are already tired so the match leans heavily on the Closers, who are not that kind of team. Velocities win with a totally illegal double team submission. I am not enjoying this so far.
Team #5 is the Crucible (Frey Nassar & Tunku Amir). Frey cuts a rambling pre-match promo, which is the last thing I want in this already overlong match. Tunku picks up the quick pin and at least this was quick. Team #6 is Los Ice Creams. Temptation to skip the rest of the match is overwhelming at this point. This is the worst section yet. The only good part is El Hijo del Ice Cream trying to set up a top rope splash and having Ice Cream Jr drag Frey further across the ring. They lose shortly afterwards. Team #7 is Jawbreaker & Joshua Wells, former members of the Crucible who left. At least this is quick but it’s also a terrible fall.
Team #8 is The Proteus Wheel (Volgar & Callux the Castigator). This is such a Chikara team. They’re about 650lbs combined and masked, like some kind of BDSM nightmare. This is another terrible match up. The rookies versus the chunky lads. Callux wins with the Bossman Slam on Ibanez. Team #9 is Creatures of the Deep (Cajun Crawdad & Merlok). This whole thing has gone completely to shit since Velocities got eliminated. At least the Creatures of the Deep do some cool stuff here with Crawdad getting beaten up a lot but surviving from underneath. They have a spectacular botch before the hot tag, which makes Proteus Wheel look like lumbering idiots. Crawdad attempting to jump onto the buckles and landing square on his face. Merlok gets the hot tag and promptly gets pinned. Oh dear. Team #10 is The Bird & The Bee (Willow Nightingale & Solo Darling). I know they’re aiming to have them as big underdogs but they’d have a far better match with the Creatures of the Deep. As it stands it’s just another bad match in a run of them. They are all over the fucking place. It might be the worst pairing of the entire match and the one team had never wrestled before.
Solo eventually gets the submission and we’re finally done. Jesus this match was awful. The Velocities are the only team to come out of this with any kind of positive vibe attached. It doesn’t help that I hate tag gauntlets but even by gauntlets standards this was bloated, badly structured and dragged painfully.
Final Rating: *
Jordynne Grace vs. Lady Frost
Frost is about a year into her career. She’s wrestled Allie Kat, Holidead, Solo Darling and, oddly enough, Asuka (squash on RAW) but this is probably the biggest match of her career to date. This feels strangely energized following on from that never-ending tag gauntlet. Grace has power and elegance and the relatively inexperienced Frost has to fight from underneath. Frost’s inexperience does show through and some of her bumps look clunky. Grace does an excellent job of helping her and covering for the shortfalls. They do some weird spots that look like botches. In particular the missed sunset bomb that leads into a missed neckbreaker. Frost has some nice idea, almost balletic in style but they don’t always lead to a finished article. I’ll be interested to see how she develops. Grace eventually dumps Frost on her neck for the pin but for a while they told an interesting story. Frost is clearly green but her style interests me.
Final Rating: **3/4
Rey de Voladores Final
Alex Zayne vs. The Whisper
The nature of the match gives us a lot of high flying, high speed antics. They’re both good wrestlers and aside from a little early teething worries it’s a very solid contest. Zayne has a lot of potential. Whisper has worked in a few places outside of Chikara, including Beyond, and is a strong prospect to work on a larger scale. Chikara have had a long standing issue of people not breaking out for whatever reason. Quack keeping his toys on a short leash. They do a few too many double downs for my liking but only because it leads to a lot of the shushing gimmick. There are a few spots that aren’t quite clean enough for this to hit a higher level and it’s largely on Whisper, attempting overly ambitious spots. He’s also late on at least one kick-out. It’s the little mistakes that cost the match a higher rating. They also try a top rope Kudo Driver and ends up a total mess. As with the gauntlet the match is also overlong. The finish is a little sloppy too but leads to the Chikara Special and Whisper wins. Good match but the roughness around the edges cost it being truly great.
Final Rating: ****
King of Trios Final
The Crucible (Ophidian, Kimber Lee & Lance Steel) vs. The Nations (Jack Bonza, Mick Moretti & Adam Hoffman)
They do a great opening sequence where Kimber German suplexes everyone, including one that knocks Hoffman’s shoulder strap clean off, only for Bonza to no sell and murder her with a German of his own!
There are a lot of moving parts in this and at times a guy is walking around aimlessly waiting for someone to be in position. Steel’s shortcomings as a worker are especially evident when he’s in there with high level talent. The match is at its level best when Ophidian is in there as he’s the stand out wrestler on his team. The sequences he manages with all of the Aussies are really good. Quack is on rare form here, claiming King of Trios is the “biggest tournament in all of pro-wrestling”. Kimber is a mood to get killed and takes a bunch of vicious looking suplexes. The logic of the match is that Hoffman is injured and the weak link and yet they also tease submissions on the other two members, which never makes sense to me. Stick to the storyline. Ophidian is full on into his own bullshit here and he kicks out of the Steiner Screwdriver. There are people who could have broken that fall up you know! And they even have Steel submit Moretti a the finish, which makes no sense. A totally unsatisfying conclusion and a serenade of boos for the winners. I don’t get them doing a story with Hoffman’s shoulder and then he’s not even involved the finish. A lot of nonsensical stuff here and not the best of finals.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Chikara had a great show at Mania weekend, which was a surprise to me. The King of Trios final is less surprising. Chikara insist on pushing people based on loyalty rather than talent. They have a history of creative King of Trios finals though and this one was worryingly poor. The choices made in the booking for one but also the choices made by the wrestlers in the final match. Both semis were very good and Whisper vs. Zayne stole the show in spite of the errors in that match. Chikara is something I’m not convinced is a good product but every time I watch it there’s usually some good to be gotten from it. This show fell flat and the tag gauntlet was horrendous. Chikara continues to be a promotion I’m willing to dip into but I’m never hooked on. Not like in the olden days of Darkness Crabtree.