I love wrestling very, very much. When I was 16 I saved up money and flew to Philadelphia by myself where I attended an ECW show at the ECW Arena. I went with a guy I met on the internet and stayed in a hotel with him. After the show we had breakfast at Denny's with D-Von Dudley, Jason and Chastity. No, really, that happened. It was a great time. Last year I went to Wrestlemania and I've said enough about that. The year before that I went to Money in the Bank and witnessed probably the greatest WWE pay-per-view of all time where CM Punk shocked the world by walking out with the WWE title. I've been to Raw, Nitro, ECW, Ring of Honor and some weird thing at a local high school gym that was headlined by Steve Austin's "brother" Rick Austin, but of all the wrestling events I've ever been to the very best is Chikara pro wrestling. Other shows might have had better matches or bigger stars, but it was at Chikara that I've had the most fun. It was at Chikara that I never stopped smiling. It was always Chikara that I loved the most.
So what is Chikara? Well....
Chikara is kind of like lucha libre. There are lots of dudes in masks with distinct characters that relate to their masks. For instance there is the Colony (Green Ant, Soldier Ant and Fire Ant) who are ants, basically. Yes, I said ants. Raid hurts them. Just because they are ants doesn't mean they are some kind of joke though. They are actually pretty awesome wrestlers too.
There are other masked wrestlers too. Like Ophidian an Egyptian snake who wrestles like one, Jigsaw (a wrestling riddle wrapped in an enigma), Los Ice Creams, Dasher Hatfield the old timey king of swing, the nightmare warrior Hallowicked and last, but definitely not least the Great and Devious UltraMantis Black. I could talk about UMB forever, but all you really need to know is that he is an awesome wrestler, he's a vegan, sometimes he screams in an extremely high pitched tone and he has the greatest mask of all time. Also, you are not worthy of him. None of us are.
Not everyone wears a mask though. There are other stars like Sugar Dunkerton, a basketball player straight out of the ABA; the stable F.I.S.T. (Friends in Similar Tights), Tim Donst (who wrote this amazing song), Lightning Mike Quackenbush and the War King Eddie Kingston who wrestle without masks, but still bring it in the ring. Chikara's roster is deep, yo.
But to say Chikara is like lucha libre would be to oversimplify it. They don't just wrestle in a lucha libre style (although they do wrestle by lucha libre rules) because they also incorporate a lot of other styles as well. British catch-as-catch can, hard hitting Japanese style, modern indie style and comedy wrestling all play a part in their in-ring product. This isn't Big Show and Kane punching each other. This is cutting edge stuff.
Just like calling the in-ring product lucha libre would be oversimplifying it, calling Chikara professional wrestling would be oversimplifying it too. Chikara is wholly unlike any wrestling that you've ever seen. It is unlike any promotion out there and it is unlike any promotion that has come before. Chikara does not exist in our world. Chikara's universe is very much like a comic book universe. It has its own set of rules that don't necessarily match up to the rules of our universe and what we've been taught to believe in mainstream wrestling. In Chikara a life size bunny can show up and nobody blinks an eye. It's not "there is a guy in a bunny costume," it is "there is a bunny and he is interfering in my matches. I am going to get that bunny." Big difference. To the uninitiated this may seem silly, stupid even, but believe me it is the best. Try and remember that this is professional wrestling we are talking about. A fake sport where guys dress up in elaborate costumes and pretend to fight each other. I love wrestling, professional wrestling is one of the only true American art forms, but let's not take it any more seriously than we have to.
Which isn't to say that Chikara doesn't take itself seriously either. The rules of the universe exist and they are a little off the wall, but they are always followed to a tee. The storytelling is nuanced and there are simply no continuity errors in the narrative. Last year when Eddie Kingston won the Chikara Grand Championship it meant something. It was years of hard work and years of character development finally paying off. It was earned.
Beyond that Chikara has done more for the acceptance of women in professional wrestling than any promotion in America. There are no "women's matches" in Chikara unless two women happen to wrestle each other. The women are wrestlers and they wrestle other wrestlers. For the past two years Sara Del Rey has not only been in matches with men, she has been the favorite and perhaps the most feared badass in the company.
But let's forget about all that stuff. Wrestling is wrestling. Chikara is fun. Chikara is the most fun. Only in Chikara does this happen:
Or even this:
Chikara is awesome. Best of all, Chikara is family friendly entertainment. This isn't like the WWE where the show is rated PG, but then a 40 year old man says "suck it" to a crowd full of kids and points at his crotch. It is actually PG. Fans aren't allowed to swear, wrestlers aren't allowed to swear or act lewd, people don't bleed all over the place and the whole thing is kept very light and fun. Chikara is something that I wish existed when I was a kid and I'm thankful that it exists now. It's just fun.
The show is 8/17 in Milwaukee at the Miramar. Only three matches have been announced so far. One includes ACH who is the next big thing in indie wrestling. Another includes a guy called Mr. Touchdown who is basically the biggest 80's movie douche imaginable. The main event is Colt Cabana vs Mike Quackenbush. They are both awesome wrestlers and masters of the British style. Mike Quackenbush has trained half the Chikara roster and has tangled with Jushin Thunder Liger in the past. Colt Cabana is the master of comedy and my absolute favorite wrestler in the world. It should be awesome.
(This is why Colt is my favorite, btw.)
Tickets are only $20. Which is an amazing value for the fun that you will have. You can bring your kids or your little brother or whatever. I brought my dad to Chikara and this happened. I am bringing a girl (!) to this. There will be awesome wrestling. There will be lots of fun and good times had. If you like wrestling even a little you should be going to this show because it is going to rule extremely hard. If you used to like wrestling you should go to this so you can remember why you did. You will never have as much fun at a wrestling show as you will at Chikara. That I can guarantee.
So buy your tickets now before it sells out and you can't go. I'll be there. Come say hi.