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Reviewed By : Steve Rockamaniac of MainEventRadio.com

Chikara is a new revolution in the US independent wrestling scene. There are fans of the Lucha Libre style, There are fans of the Japanese style and then there are fans of the US Indy style, who at the same time, are haters of the US mainstream style, so Chikara decided to take all of this into consideration and put out what is a very unique product, And “The Best Of Chikara” now on DVD from Big Vision Entertainment is hoping to give you a taste of what they are all about as they feature 8 matches on this DVD, All from the 2005/2006 time period.

First up is a Trios Match from June 2006 which has Shane Storm, Jigsaw, and Mike Quackenbush against Gran Akuma, Icarus and Claudio Castagnoli.

Trio’s matches in Chikara take their rules from Lucha Libre action as tags can be done without actually tagging, instead you can enter the match when your partner exits the ring. Also if you rip your opponents mask off it it’s a automatic DQ. In Chiakara, Good guys are known as Tecnicos, and Bad guys are known as Rudos. It takes some getting used to, but as mentioned not all matches are the same in Chikara and this DVD offers up a nice array of variety.

This is a long opening battle, nearly 24 minutes in length, with Castagnoli, Icarus and Gran Akuma showing some dominance, but when their opponents mount a big comeback, the Rudos get frustrated and ultimately DQ’ed when Icarus, (who had recently been demasked in Chikara) removed Jigsaw’s mask ending the match. This match had some very solid action, and gets some of the learning process out of the way so that you can move on to some bigger and better matches.

Next up is one of Chikara’s most talented wrestlers, Chris Hero taking on Shane Storm in singles action. Storm wears an insane clown mask, and moves pretty well for a guy his size which he displays early on in the match hitting some reversals on Hero who becomes frustrated and bails from the ring where he is able to take advantage of the match hitting a big boot and several stiff forearms. Hero then dominates for a few minutes taking time to egg on the crowd, but the insane clown does not say die and just over the 7 minute mark when Hero goes for a senton bomb, Storm gets his knees up and takes over the offence. Some quick paced back and forth action from there and Hero gets the rollup victory at 12:05.

Chikara will on occasion feature some women’s action, specifically when working in collaboration with the Shimmer promotion, as is the case in this DVD which serves up a great example of how talented some female’s are on the US indy scene right now. The match is a Trios battle between Allison Danger, Ranmaru, and Rain against Daizee Haze, Mickie Knuckles and Sumie Sakai. This match features some quick paced hard hitting action from these 6 ladies, And comes to an end at the 7:24 mark when Sumie has a school girl reversed on her by Allison Danger who scores the pinfall victory.

Mike Quackenbush and Claudio Castagnoli have an intense battle in the 7th match on the DVD, Quack uses his quickness to take it to Castagnoli early on with some very innovative offense that you’ve probably never seen in the US indy scene. Followed by Castagnoli, who is a bigger man than Quackenbush taking control with some overpowering moves, so overpowering that any time Quack starts to show some fight Claudio knocks him back down. After about 5 minutes of domination, Quackenbush makes a comeback knocking Castagnoli to the outside and diving on him, Quacks comeback continues hitting a very impressive looking “black tornado slam” for a 2 count at 7:59, Castagnoli powers himself back into power but Quack does not say die, outsmarting Claudio and hitting a Quacken-Hurricurana after his Tale of the dragon DDT is blocked, scoring a pinfall at the 10:49 mark.

The final match of the DVD sees “Sweet n Sour” Larry Sweeney defend his ICWICWA Texarkana TV Title against Eddie Kingston. This is your classic Heel (Sweeney) taking advantage of a known injury on his Face opponent, in this case a throat injury, and working it for a long period of time until the face fights the pain and begins a comeback, followed by a set back and a yet another comeback , and ultimately a win for Eddie Kingston who becomes the new champ shortly at the 10:24 mark of the match.
Other matches featured include The Kings of Wrestling (Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli) VS Milano Collection AT and Skayde, Jigsaw vs Hallowicked, Angel De Fuego, Equinox and The Colony vs Los Ice Creams, Crossbones and Rorschach, as well as The Northstar Express taking on The Kings of Wrestling. Overall 2 hours of unique Chikara action in one DVD.

No extras beyond trailers for other DVDs are on the disc, but you do get a free Chikara trading card inside each DVD box. I got Hydra, a self replicating Mini Monster, which is actually pretty cool. This DVD can cater to so many fans and now you can include some of the younger wrestling fans (meaning 10 yr olds) as they will get a kick out of the wrestling card and even from some of the action as the crazy and comical characters will draw their attention, perhaps not enough to sit through the entire 2 hour DVD, but since it caters to so many different types of fans then you and others can watch the rest.

So to put a final word on this, Chikara is different. It’s because its so different that you should check it out. At under 10$ its priced low enough that for some reason you don’t like what you see that you didn’t waste a ton of money on it, and quite frankly I don’t think you’ll feel this way as Chikara has something for everyone.
The Best Of Chikara is now available on DVD from Big Vision Entertainment for the bargain price of$9.98. For more information head on over to www.bvdvd.com. You can also check out my previous DVD reviews at www.maineventradio.com/reviews.htm



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