This Sunday, May 25, is You Only Live Twice, the long-awaited return of CHIKARA, the cult favorite indie wrestling promotion that’s been on break for the past year. The show will be broadcast on iPPV at 3pm. CHIKARA is known for its colorful wrestlers, febrile-minded gimmicks, and lucha-style action. With all of its pros and cons, one of the strongest things in its arsenal has been the storytelling.
We live in a time where WWE stories are based on the mood swings of Vince McMahon and TNA storylines are even more scattershot. Ever since appearing on the scene 12 years ago, CHIKARA’s storylines have tended to be consistently well thought out with a beginning, middle, and end. Every year has been deemed a “season” and usually wraps up its main angles by the finale, all while building towards the next season.
Not only are they competently-written, but they tend to have a weird spice to them. Cartoon and comic book logic run rampant in CHIKARA and use concepts that you aren’t likely to find in the mainstream. Time travel, mind-control, amnesia, hypnotism, all-powerful hammers that can only be lifted by the worthy, Egyptian gods, a man with a built-in pause button that actually works, people made out of ice cream, etc.
Here are ten of my favorite storylines from CHIKARA’s decade-plus existence.
10. GREEN ANT VS. TURSAS (2011)
For a few years, CHIKARA was at war with an evil faction called Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (“The BDK” for short), a group of disgruntled members of the roster who were invading from within. The team introduced Tursas, a 6’8″ mountain of a man in a bearded Viking mask. Over the course of 2010, Tursas appeared unbeatable to the point that it was nigh-impossible to even knock him off his feet. Joining with team leaders Ares and Claudio Castagnoli (WWE’s Cesaro), Tursas helped the BDK’s A-Team blaze a path through the 2010 King of Trios tournament, where the trio outlasted 15 other three-man teams. In the finals, the BDK defeated the Colony with the help of a crooked referee.
Colony member Green Ant wouldn’t have much of a chance at helping his friends get revenge on the BDK that year, as he received a nasty broken arm that sidelined him for the latter half of 2010. He eventually returned with a metal rod inserted into his arm. While he was gone, CHIKARA finally turned the tide in the war against the BDK and handed them some high-profile losses while match-making Director of Fun (and corrupt BDK puppet) Dieter VonSteigerwalt got ousted.
No matter. BDK would be entered into King of Trios 2011. Or, at least, a group of lesser members. Ares and Claudio decided not to put anyone from their winning 2010 team into the mix so as to keep their record spotless. Still, Tursas remained in the 2011 team’s corner and helped them advance to the second round. Before Night 2 of the weekend-long event, they held a fan meet-and-greet where one of the attractions was a challenge for anyone to bodyslam Tursas. Various fans and wrestlers tried, but no success.
Then Green Ant walked out, wearing a covering over his metal-filled arm, patriotic Zubaz pants, and a fanny pack. The two stared down, shoved each other, and got into a brawl. Just as Green Ant was about to pick him up, Tursas’ ally and pet announcer Jakob Hammermeier clipped Green Ant’s knee.
That night, the Colony faced the BDK’s team as part of the tournament. Not only did the Colony win, but when Tursas tried to interfere, Green Ant bodyslammed the giant! The Colony went on to win King of Trios 2011 and Green Ant continued his rivalry with the massive Tursas. They met in a series of multi-man tag matches, but a singles match was set in July of 2011 at Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Sequel. To hype up for it, Green Ant traveled the country in his bus, the Flex Express. One of these videos showed that Green Ant had support from none other than Lex Luger.
Unfortunately, Green Ant lost the match thanks again to Jakob’s interference. Yes, sadly, Green Ant’s bus trek was just as successful as Luger’s. The two continued to meet up in tag matches, getting more and more heated.
In the 8-on-8 elimination tag match known as Cibernetico, Tursas unfairly eliminated Green Ant. Since turnabout is fair play, Green Ant clobbered Tursas with his metal-enhanced arm, leading to Tursas getting pinned. The following night was High Noon, the company’s first ever internet PPV. Green Ant and Tursas had their final battle, this time with Jakob nowhere in sight. A fantastic match, Green Ant finally got the decivisve win against the giant by making him tap out to his new submission hold, the CHIKARA Special: Green. Shamed by his loss, Tursas left the company, never to return.
9. AMASIS VS. OPHIDIAN (2011-2013)
Since 2007, “The Funky Pharaoh” Amasis and “The Vile and Venomous” Ophidian had been an inseparable team as the Osirian Portal. The two Egyptian warriors had ups, downs, and even a revolving door of third members (MECHA Mummy, Escorpion Egipcio, Hieracon). Things started to hit the skids in 2011. Not only did they seem to lose a lot, but Ophidian suffered a jaw injury and Amasis suffered a non-wrestling injury that was said to be severe enough to cause an early retirement. When Amasis did his farewell speech at the season finale show High Noon, Ophidian at first refused to comment due to his jaw. Then he revealed the real reason he was so silent: he had a mouth full of venom, which he spat in Amasis’ face before tearing Amasis’ mask off.
Ophidian started the 2012 season by taking on fellow Osirian Portal member Hieracon, winning the match and stealing his mask as well. Ophidian kept the two masks as trophies, screaming at everyone who brought it up that Amasis was dead. He fought on his own for a while until being inducted as second-in-command of Delirious’ macabre Dark Army stable. At the 2012 finale show Under the Hood, the Dark Army took part in a 10-man tag match, during which, a collection of fans wore Amasis masks, which heavily bothered Ophidian. At once, they all unmasked…except for Amasis himself, making his shocking return a year after the betrayal. It didn’t outright cause Ophidian to lose, but he was most definitely spooked by this turn of events.
In the following months, Amasis would stalk Ophidian at shows, getting into his head more and more. At the same time, Ophidian still had the Dark Army at his beck and call, giving him enough of an advantage. The big blow-off match came in CHIKARA’s final show Never Compromise, where they fought in a Sarcophagus Match. Despite interference, Amasis was able to overpower Ophidian and unmask him…revealing that the crazed Ophidian was wearing an Amasis mask underneath his own. Amasis sealed him into the sarcophagus, putting an end to their rivalry.
Some time later, it was explained that the sarcophagus purged Ophidian of his evil and left him at the mercy of the Egyptian deities, putting his fate into question. The question was answered at a Wrestling is Cool show where he returned to save Amasis from a post-match beatdown, showing that their bond had returned.
8. FIST vs. MEN@WORK (2005-2006)
FIST and Men@Work were two popular teams back in 2005. FIST (standing for Friends in Similar Tights) was made up of Icarus and his masked partner Gran Akuma. Men@Work featured masked traffic regulator Shane Storm and masked businessman Mr. ZERO.
The two teams had a match against each other that reached the time limit. A rematch was signed with a longer time limit that once again led to a draw. Finally, they were given another match at Aniversario Blue with an hour-long time limit. Despite how competitive things had been in the past, Men@Work got the surprise win within minutes. Icarus and Akuma were none too pleased and refused the post-match handshake. During intermission, they attacked Storm and ZERO out of frustration and injured ZERO.
Shane Storm was left to fend for himself and started to rack up wins as a singles competitor. He entered the third Young Lions Cup tournament, where he defeated Icarus in the finals and then retained the trophy in a rematch weeks later. Mr. ZERO returned as he and Storm took part in a Cibernetico match with FIST on the other team’s side. The match went nearly two hours and ended with Akuma as the sole survivor after defeating Storm.
The heated rivalry led to a singles match at Running in the Red where it was mask vs. mask. Storm won, causing Akuma to unmask for good. He looks better without it anyway.
This should have been the end, but the feud continued into 2006 when FIST and Men@Work met up in the second round of the Tag World Grand Prix tournament. Icarus horribly injured ZERO once again, allowing Akuma to pin Storm. This time, ZERO’s career was effectively over, showing up for the occasional 10-man nostalgia tag match years later. FIST would eventually go on to become tag champs that year, but at least Men@Work got some revenge.
Late in 2006, Icarus lost a hair vs. mask match against Jigsaw (as booked by one Bob Saget. Yes, really). Icarus tried to escape his fate, but ZERO was there to make sure he got his just desserts.
7. THE UNSTABLE (2007-2009)
A young, masked luchador from Mexico named Equinox joined the roster in 2005 and after a brief spike of attention, he ultimately fell into the background. Towards the end of 2007, Claudio Castagnoli needed a tag partner to face Chris Hero and Larry Sweeney, so he plucked Equinox just for being nearby. Equinox surprised Hero with a backslide pin and Hero was livid. T
hey already had a singles match planned, but Hero demanded to make it hair vs. mask. During that match at The Sordid Perils of Everyday Existence, Equinox placed Chris Hero in the CHIKARA Special, a complicated submission hold head trainer Mike Quackenbush invented months earlier to make Hero tap. Since then, Quack had been teaching all of his allies how to use it, leading to an endless string of Hero tapping out match after match. This time was different, as Hero somehow found out about the secret counter to the move and escaped the hold. He defeated Equinox and made him unmask, revealing…a guy who was in no way Mexican.
Hero, a CHIKARA trainer himself, recognized him as a former student named Vin Gerard who couldn’t handle all the hard work and left the school. He created the Equinox mantle in hopes of using his status as a “legit” Mexican luchador to get him bookings. The masked members of the locker room appeared and angrily threw Gerard’s bags at him in an act of excommunication. He started acting like some kind of vengeful emo hobo, loitering outside of shows from there on. In a nice touch, the CHIKARA fliers on the bathroom walls of venues would occasionally be defaced with masked wrestlers crossed out and, “DEAD!” written over them. In 2008, Gerard started to target those masked rivals, winning most of his battles, including eventually becoming the holder of the Young Lions Cup.
Meanwhile, Shane Storm was having a bad time. He was losing too many matches and his partner Jigsaw left for Ring of Honor, where he unceremoniously unmasked. It was later discovered that Storm sold the secrets of how to escape the CHIKARA Special to the more sinister members of the CHIKARA roster for some underhanded help in ending his losing streak. He felt horrible about the whole thing until Gerard told him not to. Then, in a parody of Jigsaw’s ROH unmasking, Shane Storm removed his mask to reveal a dark, twisted one underneath. No longer was he Shane Storm. It was the time of STIGMA.
Then there was the Olsen Twins, Jimmy Olsen and fraternal twin Colin Olsen. Colin left the company to take part in WWE’s ECW for a little while under the name Colin Delaney…all while never telling his brother about it. During his time away, Gerard convinced Jimmy that Colin was still hiding in the CHIKARA roster under a mask. Jimmy tried unmasking various wrestlers (an immediate disqualification), still unable to find his missing brother. Colin did come back and Jimmy was incensed that Gerard used him with his lies. Colin turned on Jimmy and joined with Gerard and STIGMA. They were a team of pariahs, hated by the locker room for doing what they needed to do to move their careers forward. They were the UnStable.
It was pretty great. Their logo was the CHIKARA symbol upside-down, resembling a lower-case U.
The trio made plenty of enemies (including WCW’s ice ninja Glacier, strangely enough), but they eventually paid the price. The most notable defeat came when Jimmy Olsen rechristened himself as Equinox II, wearing the tights and mask that caused Gerard so much trouble in the first place. The two fought for the Young Lions Cup at the 2008 season finale Duel and Duality, but Gerard faked receiving a nut shot while Jimmy threw his Equinox mask and covered his face, acting as if it was Gerard who removed it. The two were both disqualified and they had their rematch to open up the 2009 season via a Ladder Match. This time, Equinox II won and became the new Young Lions Cup champion.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. In CHIKARA, the tag belts can only be challenged for after the team in question has won three matches in a row. Shane Storm was revealed as the betrayer seconds after he and Quackenbush won their third point. Ever since early 2008, their title shot has been Chekov’s gun, waiting to come up and be cashed in any second now.
6. THE REDEMPTION OF ASSAILANT (2012-2014)
Speaking of former trainees with an axe to grind, 2012 started with the introduction of GEKIDO, the anti-CHIKARA. Though to be fair, the seeds had been planted far earlier. In interviews and blog posts, Quackenbush had made quick mention of “Jose and the two Franks” when discussing horrible students that he had to put up with over the years. A blog appeared online in 2011 about a disgruntled former student of the Wrestle Factory who had a lot of things to say about how unfair it was that they had to pay their dues by putting the rings together and playing the role of security in order to complete their training.
At first, it appeared that Green Ant was interfering against his Colony brethren, but it was merely an imposter. There was a trio of evil ants calling themselves the Swarm made up of deviANT, combatANT, and assailANT. They were soon joined by their leader 17 (an evil Mike Quackenbush) and the Shard (an evil Jigsaw). From watching the way one of them did armdrags during a match, Quack realized that the three dark ants were in fact Jose and the two Franks. 17 took them under his wing and completed their training as part of his intent to invade and destroy CHIKARA.
The main part of the feud lasted for the first half of the 2012 season, ending at the iPPV Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur when a team of CHIKARA representatives decisively defeated GEKIDO and Quackenbush broke 17’s wrists. The Swarm stayed around, but Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur didn’t care about the hatred between the two ant teams. In the interest of livening things up, he decided to trade Soldier Ant and assailANT onto the opposing teams. Nobody appeared to be happy with this decision, especially Soldier Ant, who wore a POW armband out of displeasure.
Strangely enough, assailANT really got into the role, trying to do team-up moves with Green Ant and Fire Ant while practically pleading with the fans to get over the past and accept him. Over time, he gained the acceptance of the crowd and seemingly did the same for Green Ant and Fire Ant. Even GEKIDO-hating Quackenbush took to the Blue Bruiser when assailANT sacrificed himself to endure a superkick meant for Quack. assailANT continued to wrestle with the Colony until CHIKARA’s demise.
After CHIKARA ended, Green Ant and Fire Ant went on the search for Soldier Ant, who went missing. It became known that the two didn’t keep assailANT in their company because they flat out didn’t trust him. Members of GEKIDO joined forces with all the other invading factions in CHIKARA’s history to create a mega-group called the Flood. deviANT demanded assailANT burn the Wrestle Factory training facility to the ground, but assailANT refused. While GEKIDO was about destroying CHIKARA inside-out, all assailANT ever wanted was respect and he received it.
assailANT stood with CHIKARA against the Flood and Green Ant later confronted him about it. It wasn’t the fans or the locker room that drove him to be a better person. assailANT revealed a photo on his phone of his newborn son. He needed to be someone that baby could one day look up to and couldn’t be that person if he helped the Flood in any way. Finally, assailANT was fully accepted by his partners.
5. TIM DONST AND JAKOB HAMMERMEIER (2011-2013)
Even when the BDK crumbled, one alliance that remained was Tim Donst and the BDK’s personal ring announcer (pre-dating Ricardo Rodriguez, by the way) Jakob Hammermeier. With the BDK’s help, Donst became Young Lions Cup champion and became far too full of himself. Having the trophy wasn’t enough and he started to wage war on all the other former holders in an attempt to prove himself the greatest Young Lions Cup champion of all time. That led to him feuding with the original Young Lions Cup winner Hallowicked, who ultimately defeated Donst in a hair vs. mask match. Donst had to shave his head and the whole experience broke him. Jakob, on the other hand, tried to remain supportive of his buddy and continued to play hype man.
Donst became a depressed shell of himself and hated everything and everyone. A total sociopath, Donst was abusive towards Jakob and disapproved of his quest to win the next Young Lions Cup tournament. Donst interfered against him and caused Jakob to lose, all while claiming he was doing it for his own good. Donst’s new personality led to a shot at the Grand Championship at the 2012 finale Under the Hood, but he came up short and became even more irritable. Yet during all of this, Jakob remained loyal.
Donst brought in more members to his entourage with Veronica and Steve “The Turtle” Weiner. Like Jakob, they were desperate for his approval and stuck around despite Donst being verbally and – at times – physically abusive. He hated them, but wanted them around for the sake of hating them. As this was happening, Jakob started to get some singles wins and the fans were really starting to get on his side. Another shot at the Young Lions Cup ended with Donst preventing the win and berating him for trying.
CHIKARA’s announcer Gavin Loudspeaker hated Jakob for years, but he felt bad for him and asked him to stand up for himself. Jakob told him to mind his own business and Donst became confrontational. Donst started bullying Loudspeaker more and more until convincing Wink Vavasseur to sign a hair vs. hair match between the two at Never Compromise. In the lead-up, Donst shaved Jakob’s head to show he meant business, while continuing to physically attack his loyal hanger-on.
It was Loudspeaker’s first and only match in CHIKARA history and although he tried his hardest, he was in over his head. After watching Donst assault Turtle and scream at Veronica for trying to help, Jakob finally had had enough and unloaded one of his knockout punches, knocking Donst silly. Loudspeaker took advantage and squeaked out a victory.
That was the last time we’ve seen Jakob, but Donst was last seen working at a furniture store, medicated to the gills. Although he had no intention of helping bring back CHIKARA, he did hand Icarus his Young Lions Cup trophy with the directions that if he were to ever see Jakob, give it to him and apologize on Donst’s behalf.
4. LANCE STEEL VS. LANCE STEEL (2006)
In the early days of CHIKARA, a brave knight appeared in primary colors under the name Lance Steel. He was from medieval times, having come to the present via a time rift. For a while, he teamed up with a wrestling pirate named Jolly Roger as the tag team Knight Eye for the Pirate Guy. It…it was a decade ago, you know? Anyway, Jolly Roger received a major injury that ended his career for years and Lance was in a bit of a bind. He needed a new tag team partner, but who?
Enter Lance Steel.
You see, Lance used time travel to pull a slightly younger version of himself out of the timeline. About a week younger, give or take. Together they formed Lancelot and fought hard through the tag team division’s ranks. Sadly, like many great tag teams, cracks formed in their relationship. There was a generation gap between the two…a one week generation gap…Anyway! The younger Lance liked listening to his loud music and going to the mall and even befriending Dragon Dragon (a guy in a plush dragon suit who has since been beheaded in the ring by the psychotic warrior Oleg the Usurper). Older Lance didn’t approve of his younger self befriending a damn dragon. The tension finally came to a head when the two knights earned three points and a title shot, only to lose it when they were entered into a tag-team gauntlet, lost, and returned to zero points.
The two turned on each other and had a couple of matches. Despite wearing different color schemes like a fighting game mirror match, their matches were met with confusion by the crowd who didn’t know what to make of a match where both competitors were the same man. While the elder Lance won the first match via trying to get disqualified and then tricking the ref into thinking it was the younger Lance, the rematch was – as far as I know – the first and only ever Loser Banished to the Past match. The younger and more sympathetic Lance cheated to win, showing that, oh yeah, he’s just as crooked as his slightly older counterpart.
3. CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI VS. THE KINGS OF WRESTLING (2006-2007)
One of the most dominant heel factions in CHIKARA history was the Kings of Wrestling. Originally founded as Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli and Arik Cannon, Cannon soon left due to moral reasons and was replaced by Icarus and Gran Akuma of FIST. It was an interesting dynamic, as you had the tag champs (or Campeones de Parejas, as the company always refers to them) mentoring another tag team. At the end of 2006, Claudio was leaving CHIKARA to join WWE and in his last match, he ate the pin and dropped the belts to FIST. A disgruntled Hero commanded FIST to put the boots to Claudio until being run off by a handful of faces who gave Claudio a fond farewell.
While he’s found success these days at Cesaro, Claudio’s first time with WWE was a total bust and he was let go before even having a single match. He returned at King of Trios 2007, in disguise as the third member of Los Ice Creams, a Very Mysterious Ice Cream. As obvious as it was that the 6’5″ ice cream being dressed as a Swiss banker was Claudio, the fans waited until his second round match where he finally unmasked to chant, “WELCOME BACK!” Claudio and Los Ice Creams lost against FIST and new Kings of Wrestling member Chuck Taylor and became a bit of a loner, still as much of a bad guy as he was before he left. He was just a bad guy who hated Chris Hero and his goons.
Claudio earned a shot to get his revenge on Chris Hero and the stipulation was that if Hero won, Claudio had to return to the Kings of Wrestling. If Claudio won, Hero would have to be his butler. Through a low blow that the ref didn’t see, Hero won the match. Around this time, there was a bit of a civil war brewing in the Kings of Wrestling as Hero and Icarus split apart and led their own teams with that name. Cooler heads prevailed, the two sides became one, and the Kings of Wrestling stood talls as a dominant 8-man team, albeit with a reluctant Claudio in the fold. The Kings of Wrestling were so unstoppable that it seemed the only way they could be defeated was from within.
Claudio started to regain some chemistry with Hero, but then he began to lose faith in him after seeing him lose match after match thanks to various faces locking Hero in the CHIKARA Special. Team member Mitch Ryder had a rivalry with luchador Lince Dorado, which led to a Cibernetico match between Lince’s team of luchadors and the entire Kings of Wrestling. When the dust settled, Ryder, Hero and Claudio were left, but the rules of the match state that there can only be one winner. Claudio went after his partners and came out on top.
For the rest of 2007, Claudio rampaged through the Kings of Wrestling’s ranks, defeating member after member in singles and tag matches. This ended with Claudio handily defeating Chris Hero in what became Hero’s final match in the company. Claudio became the top hero of CHIKARA, spending the next couple of years punishing those he considered bullies.
2. ARCHIBALD PECK VS. MR. TOUCHDOWN (2012-2013)
This one’s just silly. Loud-mouthed band leader and delusional goofball Archibald Peck started out 2012 badly with a never-ending string of losses. It didn’t help that he once set Ophidian up for his finisher and announced to the crowd, “Thank you for coming out this evening! This is my finishing move!” before going on a lengthy monologue until Ophidian rolled him up. Archie’s majorette valet Veronica grew sick of being with this loser and instead started to notice the strapping “Mr. Touchdown” Marc Angelosetti. Veronica left Archie, causing him to go into a downward spiral.
Archie dropped the band gimmick and decided to go for something manlier, like MMA. Wearing a mouth guard and towel over his head, he became Mixed-Martial Archie and became overly serious about fighting. His overcompensation led to some mild success, but a showdown with Touchdown only got him disqualified for excessive offense. A tag team match was held at Chikarasaurus Rex where Archie would team up with former nemesis Colt Cabana to take on Mr. Touchdown and his baseball enthusiast relative Dasher Hatfield in a Loser Leaves Match. Due to Veronica’s backstabbing, Archie took the pin and had to leave CHIKARA for good. The iPPV ended with him sadly walking into the night, much like David Banner did on a weekly basis back in the day.
Videos popped up for weeks of Archie – still in his wrestling gear – sadly walking through major cities until hitting Dallas, Texas. Shortly after, he reappeared in CHIKARA in a mask and cowboy outfit, referring to himself as the Handsome and Mysterious Stranger. With nobody the wiser (the crowd would chant, “WE DON’T KNOW YOU!”), he gathered an impressive winning streak with the intent of taking on Mr. Touchdown, all while Veronica was taken in by his mysterious handsomeness. He also talked like Dusty Rhodes at all times and had a fake pigeon on his shoulder named Sapphire because wrestling is goddamn weird.
Stranger and Sapphire were entered into a four corner tag match, where Touchdown put Sapphire in a bag and crushed her repeatedly to the crowd’s horror and Stranger’s tears. This led to 2012’s finale iPPV show, the aptly-named Under the Hood. They were holding a vote for prom king and queen and while Veronica got prom queen, the king votes went to the Handsome and Mysterious Stranger. He made short work of Touchdown, danced with Veronica, covered her with pig slop out of revenge, unmasked to reveal he was Archibald Peck, and was promptly removed by security. You know, because he was fired.
Now, other than the utter strangeness of most of this, it’s a storyline we’ve seen a million times in wrestling. The Midnight Rider, Charlie Brown from Outta Town, the Giant Machine, the Yellow Dog, Mr. America, the Calgary Kid, etc. Even CHIKARA did this in 2007 with Ricochet putting on a mask as Helios. It’s a straightforward wrestling angle.
EXCEPT! Archie’s lawyer RD Evans explained to Wink Vavasseur that Archie has been taking part in time travel through ridiculous means. The Archie who got pinned in that Loser Leaves match was in fact an older Archie and not the one who unmasked and got dragged off the premises. Ergo, he couldn’t be fired! He hadn’t lost that match yet! This nonsense turned out to be 100% true and led to there being two Archies coexisting at the same time.
Either way, Archie was allowed to return. He came back at the 2013 premiere, All the Agents and Superhuman Crew, where he faced Mr. Touchdown in a match with no disqualification. During this match, Sapphire was brought out in a wheelchair with a neckbrace on to show her support. Archie won the battle and the war, leading to Touchdown and Veronica breaking up on the spot.
Archie and Touchdown buried the hatchet a year later when Archie used his time travel abilities to help save CHIKARA.
1. THE RISE OF THE BDK (2009)
CHIKARA vs. Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes is a story that spans three years, so that’s far too much ground to cover. If I had to focus on anything from it, it would be the BDK’s inception, which is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in wrestling from a storytelling standpoint. 2009 in CHIKARA felt like a year where nothing really happened, while at the same time everything happened. There were a million different storylines going on, but none of them were memorable on a marquee level.
The main event of the final show of 2009, Three-Fisted Tales, was the Colony defending the tag belts and retaining against the Osirian Portal. All four guys were faces and they showed respect afterwards, so there was no climactic finale to it all. That is, until a mysterious man in a white mask appeared alongside his massive bodyguard (who turned out to be a debuting Tursas). He was part of a bizarre storyline where insectoid supervillain mastermind UltraMantis Black stole a museum artifact called the Eye of Tyr for the sake of mind-controlling his former foe Delirious into being his tag partner. They even had a fake museum website to explain the artifact, which was a nice touch. The mysterious man in white appeared in several videos, claiming that UltraMantis had to part with the Eye of Tyr or there would be terrible consequences. UltraMantis refused.
UltraMantis confronted the man in the ring and soon others from the locker room came in out of curiosity and caution. The man unmasked to reveal himself as Ares, an old partner of Claudio Castagnoli from years back. Claudio suddenly attacked Mike Quackenbush. Tursas started wrecking everyone nearby. Soon newcomer masked wrestlers Carpenter Ant and Vokoder started helping them out, as did women wrestlers Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze. Once everyone was crushed, Carpenter Ant unmasked to reveal CHIKARA regular Pinkie Sanchez and Vokoder unmasked to reveal Tim Donst. The group posed with a cross-armed gesture together, shut off the lights in the arena, and left.
What made this so cool was that everyone had a reason for turning on CHIKARA here and they weren’t all for the same reason. All of this was stewing for the entire year through various angles, such as how Pinkie Sanchez found himself unable to find a long-term tag partner or how Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze were stuck wrestling each other again and again and again because there were the only females on the roster.
With groups like the nWo, you have various people join at various times for various reasons, but here we have it all at once as the group is fully formed (sorta, a couple guys did join later). There are hints all over 2009 so it’s not even that it comes completely out of nowhere. Even at the beginning of the year, Eddie Kingston was talking about how he didn’t respect Claudio Castagnoli and thought he was no-good. Of course, nobody took his words seriously because Kingston was seen as a ruthless thug who hated everyone.
It took all of 2010 for CHIKARA to finally take the BDK down a peg and 2011 for the team to finally be destroyed for good. Well, almost. Ares has some new members who will be at war with UltraMantis and his ilk this Sunday.