Chikara Anniversario 2016 hit the Manchester Met Union and TWM were in attendance for the Chamber of Secrets event for what promised to be an entertaining night of action.
Things kicked off on this leg of the Chikara Anniversario 2016 with a pair of bonus matches brought to you in association with Fight Club Pro. The first was a FATAL Four Way, with referee Bryce Remsburg getting quite upset at the thought of one of the participants dying pitting Chris Brookes, Travis Banks, Dan Moloney any my new favourite wrestler Nixon Newell (yes, she had the C’est La Vie theme music again, just like last weekend at STARDOM). There may have been a woman in there, but you wouldn’t have known it. Much like Chikara itself there was no real fuss over an “intergender” match and the quartet simply got on with having a great match. Nixon took a hugely popular win after hitting Brookes with a jumping Destroyer to wrap up an exhausting and breathtaking opener.
Next up was tag team action at the Hunter Brothers took on the Moustache Mountain duo of Tyler Bate and Trent Seven. This was another highly entertaining bout, reminiscent of a classic old school tag team match. Mountain took the win, when Bate pinned Jim Hunter, again much to the delight of the fans.
From there it was time for the Chamber of Secrets card itself.
Things kicked off proper with a tag team encounter between “Hardwood” Rich Mahogany & Drew Gulak and the NRG team of Hype Rockwell and Race Jackson. Whose “homage” theme music to the legendary High Energy team of Owen Hart and Koko B. Ware is a thing of beauty. This was a great tag team bout, with plenty of double team manoeuvres and some wonderful trademark interaction with the fans. NRG took the win when Hype pinned Gulak after the Hyperwheel.
Next up the slivery snake Ophidian took on the distinctly fishy Hermit Crab. There were a lot of sideways walking and hissing going on in this one, although that’s not to say that we didn’t also see some choice big moves. Ophidian cranked out his hypnotism, which saw Hermit and referee Remsburg strut their funky stuff with some outdated dance moves in the middle of the ring, before he made Crab use his own Claw hold on himself. A double knee from the top later and Ophidian had taken the win.
Icarus and Lucas Calhoun battled next. There was a lot of stalling in the early going, as Calhoun showed off his new phone and Icarus took a walk, only for the referee to extend the usual ten count anyway. Calhoun’s karate moves failed to have any effect though in the end as Icarus took the win. This was probably the “worst” match of the night but was by no means bad.
After the interval, where many of the Chikara stars were out for a meet n greet session, part 2 kicked off with Eddie Kingston against Chuck Taylor TM. Taylor has a great singing gimmick and serenaded the fans as he made his way in, pausing only to get some women from the crowd (and one lucky man) to dance the Electric Slide. When in the ring he also treated us to some classic Craig David. This match was huge fun, not least when Kingston joined in the singing, and when Kingston had picked up the win he even had a little impromptu duet with Taylor.
Then it was time for an Atomicos match as Princess Kimberlee, Heidi Lovelace and the Colony (represented by Soldier and Fire Ant) battled the Nightmare Warriors combo of Hallowicked, Frightmare and the Batiri. Simple, this was an excellent match and the bout of the night. As mentioned before, there were no real concessions to the fact that the women were involved; this was just great, straight up wrestling with crazy eight-person submission holds and insane high spots. Despite clocking in at over 20 minutes this was fast paced from start to finish and the crowd were firmly behind Kimberlee and her cohorts. Sadly, it was not to be, as Hallowicked finished her off with the Never Wake Up. The only possible drawback to the match was that live, much like the Money In The Bank stunt-fests, it’s difficult to ignore the people outside the ring waiting their turn. But even then, all sold their beatings well on the outside.
Then it was time for the main event. For the first time in three years Mike Quackenbush was in a wrestling ring for a match, against the “retiring” British legend Johnny Kidd. This was billed, or at least heavily suggested as, Kidd’s last ever match. It’s not (he’s at least one more match booked in) although it’s as near as damn it and it may be his last ever singles bout. Fought under old World Of Sports rules, with eight three minute rounds, this could have been anachronistic and a bore but instead it was a wonderful homage to the “good old days” of British wrestling. Sure, in front of another crowd this could have bombed, but the fans knew what was happening and reacted positively to the intricate submission holds and reversals that were on display. Kidd took a 1 fall lead, before Quackenbush levelled things up. In the final round both looked to get the decisive and deciding decision but the time limit went and the match was declared a draw. Despite the chants for “one more round” that was your lot, as the Chikara dressing room came to ringside to pay their respects to Kidd for one last time.
It would be almost impossible to go to a Chikara show and NOT be entertained. Chamber of Secrets was no exception. Fun, laughter and great wrestling action. What’s not to like? This was an authentic Chikara experience and one I hope they bring to our shores again before too long. It’s also worth pointing out that many of the roster were out and about before the show, in the intervals and after the show. All were friendly and willing to have a chat, sign autographs and pose for pictures. “Family friendly” wrestling is often used as an insult in some quarters (the eternal WWE PG debate) but it shouldn’t be. This was family friendly wrestling at it’s absolute best.