Chikara Pro Wrestling “Aniversario: Never Compromise”
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I know we have a certain percentage of wrestling fans on the Ibang. So I thought I’d post this.
This Sunday, from the Trocadero in Philly at 7 pm eastern, the Pennsylvania-based promotion Chikara is celebrating their 11th anniversary. Chikara styles themselves as “family entertainment” and children are admitted to most events for free. However, instead of the WWE’s interpretation of “PG” which seems to be: “no blood and no cursing except certain guys who are also running the company or movie stars, meanwhile everyone is openly dickish and homophobic/misogynist to each other,” Chikara genuinely endeavors to present a product that can be enjoyed on many levels, with openly stated affiliations in many stories (“rudo” vs. “tecnico” instead of “heel” vs. “babyface”). Adults and former wrestling fans from the 90s will appreciate the versatility of styles (Chikara trains their wrestlers in all manner of international styles) and variety of moves, as well as the deeply-layered and logically-consisted stories. Children will appreciate the emphasis on fan interaction and the colorful and mysterious masked characters and various “non-human” entities that appear from time to time. There is also a plentiful amount of comedy and mocking the admittedly silly tropes of professional wrestling, for example, there are several instances of slow motion wrestling with the referee and the announcing playing along, as well as the occasional dance contest breaking out mid-match, or perhaps an invisible grenade that an anthropomorphic and militarized ant throws himself on to save his similarly anthropomorphized friends, as seen in this video:
There is a focus on lucha-libre in Chikara, for instance, if a wrestler in a tag team match leaves the ring that is counted as a tag, which makes the action flow smoother as one tag team partner can dive out the ring onto one of his opponents and the other respective partners can immediately start fighting. Additionally, trying to remove a wrestler’s mask is frowned upon and successful removal will result in disqualification. Hence the name “Aniversario.” Now the “… Never Compromise” portion of the title of the event is where it gets interesting.
Within the last few years (or maybe this goes back much further?), Chikara has been slowly building a storyline that will blow your mind.
So, basically, there is some sort of grand, Alex Jones-style conspiracy at work within Chikara, which looks to culminate this Sunday. This includes a marching band-themed wrestler who was more or less concussed into the distant past, future, and the more recent past again, resulting in the existence of a quantum double. This has been backed up by a truly masterful viral campaign, including a seemingly unrelated blog (http://noprivatearmy.blogspot.ca/), apparently running since 2006 which appears to be sending coded messages/warnings concerning the shadowy corporation (and its even more shadowy security subsidiary) that supposedly “bought” Chikara in 2010. This corporation was called “Worldwide Media Development” or WMD(!) and it now appears as though it was always just a shell corporation owned by the Titor Conglomerate.
If the name “Titor” means anything to you, then congratulations, you listen to too much Art Bell. “John Titor” was the name of a self-described time-traveler would call in to “Coast-to-Coast AM” and post on various conspiracy theory message boards in the early 2000s, claiming to be a time-traveling soldier from the future. A future where World War III had mostly destroyed civilization and the United States had shattered in to 5 separate territories. Much of Titor’s (pronounced like “teeter”) story is only relevant because of the time travel connection and the shattered America thing, Titor claimed that the Everett-Wheeler model of the universe was correct (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation) so whenever his “predictions” didn’t happen, he would claim that the act of him traveling back would have altered the timeline, so events might not play out similarly. For example, he claimed that the 2004 presidential election would be marred by a hotly-contested outcome resulting in heavy rioting, leading to an overturned outcome which shattered the country, which obviously didn’t happen, at least to the extent Titor claimed.
Back to the marching band-themed wrestler: known as Archibald Peck. Peck lost his first match via a spinning Backfist by one Eddie Kingston. Peck has a unique reaction to Kingston’s Backfist (which Kingston calls the “Backfist to the Future”) in that he actually travels though time whenever he’s hit with it. The first time this happened was in Peck’s first match. He was sent to the year 2015 where he found a Sports Almanac revealing his second opponent, so he was able to prepare and gain the win. The second time this happened was off-screen during a “loser-leaves-town” match. Peck received a brutal spinebuster on the entrance ramp, causing him to retreat backstage mid-match. While backstage, Peck ran afoul of Kingston and was struck all the way back to the year 1885 (the “Back to the Future” references are overt). In 1885, Peck unintentionally insults one Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen who backfists Peck back to the future, but well after the “loser-leaves-town” match has concluded. This Peck returns as the masked, cowboy-themed, “Mysterious & Handsome Stranger.” Eventually, it is revealed that Peck will receive another Backfist at some point in the future, sending him back to his re-appearance from backstage during the “loser-leaves-town” match, which he will lose and be expelled from Chikara. This simultaneously-existing quantum-double of Peck is seen wandering the earth in a series of vignettes, eventually wandering into a snowy forest labeled as “Parts Unknown.” This quantum-double of Peck recently returned to Chikara during an Eddie Kingston vs. Archibald Peck match for Chikara’s Grand Championship; when the Pack in the match was backfisted, the lights in the venue went out and when they came back on, the Peck in the ring was gone, and there was another Peck in the balcony! The resulting “no-contest” decision on the match sent Kingston into a rage, throwing garbage into the ring and threatening the referees and announcers. This was notable as Kingston has been traditionally portrayed and strong warrior and a “tecnico” to the core, but has seemingly switched affiliations due to his demanding schedule (the Vince McMahon/authority figure character in Chikara, “Director of Fun” Wink Vavasseur mandated earlier this year that Kingston would have to defend his Grand Championship at every Chikara event.) and growing indifference from the fans due to his year-and-a-half long title reign.
This brings me to the Eye of Tyr. The Eye in Norse Mythology represents the mystical “third eye” allegedly located on the forehead, closer to the brain. The Eye of Tyr conceptually grants its bearer control over other beings. This talisman was stolen from a wealthy, international (generally Swiss) invading entity to Chikara called the “Bruderschaft des Kruzes” (BDK). The BDK was eventually defeated (due more to necessity than the story, the leader of the BDK, Claudio Castagnoli, left Chikara to become Antonio Cesaro in WWE.) and the Eye of Tyr was acquired by a devious, insectoid, would-be-totalitarian-dictator by the name of Ultramantis Black (UMB). UMB had previously possessed the Eye of Tyr and used it to gain control of the powerful entity known as Delirious. Now, there is a curse on the Eye which says that it must not be acquired through under-handed means (UMB re-acquired the Eye via theft), nor that a user should possess the Eye indefinitely, that he/she should release the Eye upon completion of their desired spells. UMB did not do this, he enslaved Delirious for nearly year before the Eye was taken by the BDK, which they used to turn Delirious into the BDK’s own secret weapon/pet. Eventually, as the BDK dissolved, the Eye of Tyr was recovered by Ultramantis Black, who immediately attempted to release Delirious. Delirious seized the Eye, and seemingly crushed it with a rock. However, the shards of the Eye were eventually recovered by Condor Security (a subsidiary of the shadowy Titor Conglomerate) and evidently re-assembled and used for nefarious means.
In the past several months, many longtime Chikara bonds of friendship have been broken, and Mike Quackenbush, the co-founder of the company (and really the guy who concocted this whole crazy-ass angle because he’s awesome), received a mysterious envelope containing information concerning the Vavasseur family at the end of Chikara’s pre-WrestleMania event in Secaucus, New Jersey, and has since severed all ties with the company he founded. In addition, several longtime mainstays of the company have quit over being forced into unfavorable alliances by Wink Vavassuer, including the aforementioned militarized anthropomorphic ant, “Soldier Ant” and the beloved (also seemingly time-traveling) 70s afroed basketball player Sugar Dunkerton. At this point, it should be mentioned, there are no less than a dozen Chikara wrestlers who are considered being from the past or the future, and a Swamp Monster sharing characteristics with Marvel Comic’s Man-Thing who has access, due to being an animate swamp creature, to the Nexus of All Realities. There are also currently no less than a dozen wrestlers in Chikara or their various affiliate promotions that are time-displaced.
And that leads me to “Never Compromise.” The first half of the year of Chikara shows have all been overt references to the renowned graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. There was “Shadows in the Fog” which refers to the lone actual super-human brewing disconnection and disinterest with ordinary people, “Battle Not With Monsters” which references a quote by Nietzsche about the seductive nature of heroism, warning that we should not be too prideful of defeating the “monsters” in our lives as we have likely resorted to monstrous means to eliminate them from our lives. “Never Compromise” refers to Rorschach’s death at the hands of the super-powered and near-omniscient Dr. Manhattan where Rorschach refuses to go along with the grand lie that the cataclysm that resolves the Cold War and the threat of World War III was manufactured and thus, the world’s seeming salvation from mutually assured destruction was bought at a terrible price (the massacre of 2,000,000 plus citizens of Manhattan.).
After this Sunday, the titles for this year’s remaining Chikara become not “Watchmen” references, but references and lyrics from George Harrison’s album “All Things Must Pass” including a titular show that will serve as this year’s finale and a show mysteriously booked for September 14th that may end up being revealed as the site of Chikara’s annual 64-person, 16 team, 3 night tournament to crown the King of Trios (three-person tag team), but is currently a one night event called “All You See Is Mine.” This could point to the person who has been manipulating the timeline (widely assumed to be the quantum-double Archibald Peck, who may actually also be an alternate-universe version of a member of the Chikara-controlling Vavasseur family.
TL;DR, TL;DR, TL;DR, TL;DR, TL;DR, TL;DR, TL;DR:
Basically, Chikara, an independent wrestling promotion, is having a live “iPPV” this Sunday (June 2nd) that will most probably include time travel, conspiracy theories, multi-national conglomerates, the morality of hired mercenaries in active warzone, comedy wrestling, progressive female vs. male wrestling, and basically everything that isn’t always frustrating or awful about “Raw” or “Impact.”
And you can check it out live, 7 pm Eastern live on iPPV here: