CHIKARA is not for everyone.
It took me quite a while for them to grow on me.
However, over time, its crazy cast of characters have become a much welcomed addition to my wrestling watching. If you aren't familiar with CHIKARA, picture a comic book-meets-wrestling mash up.
The best part of CHIKARA is that everyone on the roster has an interesting gimmick.
Some fall flat but that happens with every company. For the most part, everyone on the roster has some connection with the fans. You have everything from typical luchadores to the absurd and wacky.
With the massive cliffhanger from the last CHIKARA show leading into the next event in January, the Internet wrestling community is abuzz about just what will happen when CHIKARA starts back up again.
I'd explain the angle in further detail, but if you aren't familiar with the company, I'd basically be speaking Greek.
There is a fantastic write up on the history of this storyline on the CHIKARA Fans message board that I suggest you read to get up to speed.
A new lead heel stable has been established via an angle that has more twists and turns than a season of Lost. You can trace the events which lead to their formation back years ago. What other wrestling company has anywhere near that kind of continuity?
Most of the time we see revisionist history to cover booking flaws. However, and thankfully, this isn't the case with CHIKARA.
The execution of the angle relied on so many things falling into place. If the WWE or even TNA tried something like this, most likely it'd fly over the heads of everyone in the building and those watching on TV.
CHIKARA had to know that the men who were revealed by losing their masks were the right people. Someone the fans would recognize and care about.
It's so tricky to get right. It says so much about CHIKARA's roster and how they use it. Everyone from the bottom to the top has to have some importance with the fans. When you book everyone strongly, you can get some impressive results.
I hate to use ECW has a comparison because so many do, but one of the things they did right was to book everyone to their strengths. The fans had a reaction to everyone, from lower card guys like Julio Dinero to main eventers like The Sandman.
Mike Quackenbush and whoever may help him (if anyone does) have to be considered masters at piecing together what can only be described as a puzzle of a storyline. Not to mention delivering it into a package that even the casual observer can decipher.
I will admit that even though I'm a big fan, it's hard to keep up with the company. Buying DVD's at $20 a pop can really take it's toll when a company releases multiple titles a month.
That should be a huge testament to how CHIKARA is run. I can miss a show here or there and still figure out what's going on. It also brings up something sorely missing from other independent companies and that's a strong Internet presence.
CHIKARA has their podcast-a-go-go which keeps you informed on all comings and goings.
They're helped by an extremely dedicated and informative blog, the CHIKARA Fans website. It's an invaluable tool if you want to keep up with the company.
ROH has their news and video wires, but really seeing things in a recap format instead of just promos goes a long way to getting you more invested into storylines.
Lots of times as an indy wrestling fan it's very hard to keep track of things.
Especially because many wrestlers are involved with multiple companies. Sometimes whole stables are split between being a heel group in one promotion and babyfaces elsewhere. CHIKARA knows this and keeps everything nice and simple.
Maybe it's because the company doesn't take itself too seriously that we can have these elaborate mad scientist type stories going on.
I mean this whole BDK storyline, which is the one I mentioned earlier, is about a mysterious stone from Norse mythology. It gives its holder great power as well as a sort of curse that follows them.
It's straight up Marvel stuff right there.
Even though it's wacky, in a way it makes sense. Just look up some highlight videos and promos from CHIKARA's past.
They've had matches where everything breaks down into a dance off.
A particularly memorable event was a battle of videogame trivia between Player Uno and Delirious.
Even with all of the shenanigans going on, they provide some of the best wrestling in America.
CHIKARA knows what it is and more importantly, knows what it isn't and that gives them the ability to book to their strengths.
Ring of Honor has been around just as long and still doesn't have it's identity. It went from a high spot typical indy to a more Japanese style, then shifted to bring in more comedy, and now seems to be a traditional wrestling environment.
If you haven't seen CHIKARA, use this time between shows to do some catching up. Watch some matches and read some reports that can get you up to speed.
You might just find your new favorite wrestling company.