Aniversario: Catching FIre

CatchingFire

Birmingham, England – 5.27.2016

Championship Rundown
Grand Champion: Princess Kimberlee
Campeones de Parejas: N_R_G (Race Jaxon & Hype Rockwell)
Young Lions Cup Champion: The Estonian Thunderfrog

Commentary is provided by Mike Quackenbush, Dasher Hatfield, Bryce Remsburg, and Leonard F. Chikarason.

Lucas Calhoun has turned over a new leaf ever since ditching Snowflake. He’s a little more jukin’ and jivin’ than he is fisticuffs. He says Stewie Scrivens may be a complete unknown, but Calhoun can overcome anything put in his way. The only question at the end of the night will be: are you in the (Lucas Calhoun) fan club, baby?

Stewie Scrivens vs. Lucas Calhoun

Scrivens is the former Karate Durling who is the former Trent Baretta who is the former Benny Figg who is the former Touch Phillips who is the former Bugg Nevans who is the former Rick Beanbag who is the former Scoot Tatum who is the former Chuck Taylor.

Scrivens announces that his finishing move is a Magistral cradle. He asks Calhoun what his finisher is. He looks to demonstrate a Samoan Drop on Bryce, but thinks better of it. Scrivens grabs a wristlock and the fans encourage Calhoun to tap. Calhoun’s other arm drops twice, but he fires up on the third and does some dancing with Scrivens. They trade waistlocks. Scrivens didn’t appreciate Calhoun’s dancing. Calhoun does some ballroom dancing with Scrivens to further anger him. Scrivens gives him a stomach kick and some shots to the stomach in the corner. He kicks out Calhoun’s legs. Calhoun rolls out before Scrivens can go for la Magistral cradle. On the floor Calhoun catches Scrivens with a crane kick. In the ring Scrivens takes back over with stomps in the corner. Bryce admonishes Scrivens for fish hooking Calhoun. Calhoun gives him a jumping knee to the face. He fights off Scrivens’ uranage attempt and comes off the middle turnbuckle with a karate chop to the head. He hits two more. Scrivens ducks the third and delivers a sole butt kick. He goes for la Magistral. Calhoun counters with a backbreaker for two. Calhoun catches Scrivens with a neck snap on the top rope. Scrivens catches Calhoun with the Brodie Knee and gets two with a uranage. Calhoun tries the Samoan Drop. Scrivens slides out. He stops Calhoun’s karate chop and goes for la Magistral cradle. Calhoun cuts back and pins Scrivens at 8:37! This was a fun, character driven match to showcase Calhoun’s more light-hearted personality. Scrivens played his role well, accentuating Calhoun’s attributes and making the win seem like an accomplishment. **¼

Race Jaxon {NRG}, Hype Rockwell {NRG} & Heidi Lovelace vs. Frightmare, Obariyon {B} & Kodama {B}

To signify that they are now under the control of UltraMantis Black and aligned with the Nightmare Warriors, the Batiri are now donned in red face paint and red and black attire. Frightmare jumps Rockwell from behind and sends him to the corner with a quesadora armdrag. He strings some strikes together, finally taking Rockwell off his feet with a diving clothesline and Frankensteiner. Jaxon comes in with a high crossbody. He hits an enzuigiri and tags in Lovelace. They both attack Frightmare in the corner. Lovelace gives him a low superkick for two. Frightmare backs Jaxon to the corner so the Batiri can pummel him. Jaxon catches Obariyon in a Gory Special in the ropes, but Kodama kicks him in the face to release his partner. Lovelace jumps in and unleashes chops and forearms to Obariyon in the corner. Obariyon stops her with a punch to the jaw. The Batiri and Frightmare beat down Lovelace in their half of the ring. It took her multiple attempts to escape, but she did by slipping out of Frightmare’s powerbomb attempt. She tried a Yoshi Tonic, but a fumble resulted in her landing in a sunset flip position, then tagging out to both members of N_R_G. Jaxon gives Kodama a clothesline through the ropes while Rockwell powerslams Obariyon. Jaxon comes in with a top rope dropkick to each member of the Batiri. They assist Lovelace with a kick and Frankensteiner on Frightmare, sending him to the floor. Jaxon suicide dives after him. Lovelace dove off the top turnbuckle onto the Batiri. Rockwell Finlay rolls Kodama into a super elbow drop from Jaxon. Obariyon breaks up the cover and tosses Jaxon to the floor. He drop toe holds Rockwell onto the middle rope and knee strikes him in the back of the head. Lovelace uses the ropes to spike Obariyon with a tornado DDT. Frightmare gives her Go 2 Sleepy Hollow. Jaxon superkicks Frightmare to stop the cover. Kodama comes in and gives Jaxon a waterwheel slam for two. Lovelace unloads with forearms and chops to both Batiri members and Frightmare. She eats the Skull Bronzing with the Batiri with an added kick to the back of the head by Frightmare. Rockwell waistlock rolls Kodama off of Lovelace to stop any pin attempt. The Batiri and Frightmare jump all over Rockwell, sending him and Jaxon to the floor. Lovelace tries a headscissors on Kodama but Kodama picks her up onto his shoulders. He and Obariyon nail her with the Seventh Circle. Frightmare follows up with Kneecolepsy for the pin at 11:20. This was more or less a showcase for the Batiri and Frightmare to show how cohesive they are together, but lost in the shuffle was how good Jaxon has become. It would have been nice for he and Rockwell had more of a chance to showcase their tandem offense, but that wasn’t this match’s purpose. We’ve seen Lovelace in the underdog role before and she does very well in taking a beating. The brutal offense she took in last 30 seconds or so showed exactly that. ***

Ophidian is looking to avenge his loss to Mark Andrews during King of Trios 2015 weekend. That loss showed Ophidian that his training wasn’t good enough to defeat Andrews in 2015, but in 2016, Ophidian is new man training harder than ever. He is going to prove to Andrews that he is the greatest Rey de Voladores.

Ophidian {OP} vs. Mark Andrews {TNA}

Andrews is replacing the injured Zack Sabre, Jr. Ophidian gets a couple of nearfalls in the opening exchange. Andrews uses a little World of Sport in his counter wrestling. He trips Ophidian and snaps off a trifecta of armdrags, despite Ophidian initially blocking the third. Andrews keeps hold of the arm. Ophidian gets the ropes to escape. Andrews flips out of a sunset flip and dropkicks Ophidian. Ophidian avoids a corner attack. He flips in from the apron and back elbows Andrews before taking him over with a spinwheel kick. He grabs a nerve pinch before delivering an enzuigiri. He gets two with a fisherman’s suplex. Andrews takes some chops in the corner. He catches Ophidian with a prawn hold, but instead of a pin, rolls up and double stomps Ophidian in the stomach. A standing moonsault gets him a two count. Ophidian sends Andrews to the floor, then uses the ropes to come down with a headscissors on the floor. Andrews goes to the entrance stage. Ophidian looks to follow but is met with a kick. Andrews pulls out his skateboard. He skates down the ramp into a tornado DDT! In the ring he spikes Ophidian with a reverse Frankensteiner, then spikes him again with a standard Frankensteiner, but somehow Ophidian kicks out. Ophidian yanks Andrews off of the top turnbuckle. He drives his knees into Andrews’ chest and then his face. He headstands into a knee strike to the face before hitting Meteora for two. The Egyptian Destroyer has the same result. He brings Andrews to the top turnbuckle. Andrews comes down and enzuigiri’s Ophidian. He brings him down with a super Frankensteiner and hits a standing shooting star press for two. A series of pin attempts results in both competitors winded and dazed. Andrews gives Ophidian a Side Effect. He misses a shooting star press. Ophidian catapults up into another Egyptian Destroyer for the pin at 12:13. These two worked a well paced, exciting, athletic match. They walked a very thin line on finisher overkill, but I ultimately think they built to a good point and finished when the crowd was at their peak. This was a really good show of athleticism from both men, and one that reminded me how much I wish Andrews was more semi-regular in CHIKARA. ***¼

Fire Ant {C} vs. Hermit Crab

Crab uses his pincer to pinch Fire Ant’s hand. Fire Ant grabs the rope to escape. Crab throws some chops. Fire Ant weaves him into a side headlock. He shoulder blocks Crab to the canvas. Hermit Crab crab walks to avoid a charge. Fire Ant blocks a boot but takes an enzuigiri. Crab grabs a nerve pinch and sends Fire Ant across the ropes. He crab walks across the ring. Although Fire Ant moves, Crab strikes him in the face. Fire Ant unloads chops to Crab’s chest. Crab grabs his hand a pulls Fire Ant into a clothesline. He holds onto another nerve hold. Fire Ant has trouble escaping, but the crowd wills him up. He shifts so that Crab is grabbing his top and fights his way out. He knocks down Crab with a running forearm. Crab blocks a brainbuster by pinching Fire Ant’s head. He sends Fire Ant face first into the top turnbuckle from the apron. He misses the crab walk elbow. Fire Ant hits the Yahtzee Kick and a brainbuster for the pin at 5:43. Crab still looks really awkward and green, but Fire Ant made his offense look good, and they kept things short, so it could have been worse. ½*

Officer Warren Barksdale runs down Drew Gulak’s impressive resume. He admits it’s impressive, but talks about how he cleaned up trash and saved both humans and animals alike in Cobb County, Georgia. He’s not sure if Gulak is a good or bad guy given the company he keeps, but if Gulak tries any shenanigans, he’s going to have to “book him.”

Officer Warren Barksdale vs. Drew Gulak {GC}

Barksdale goes toe-to-toe with Gulak on the mat with either man fighting for a headscissors. Barksdale controls him in a hammerlock. Gulak switches out into a front facelock and rolls with Barksdale when Barksdale tries to escape. However, Barksdale is able to go back to the hammerlock. Gulak goes for an armbar, so Barksdale puts Gulak on his shoulders for a quick two count. Gulak picks him up in a Gory Stretch and pulls him down by his neck all the way down to the mat. He pushes Barksdale’s shoulders down and puts on an inverted crab. Barksdale is able to roll forward to the ropes. He flapjacks Gulak and hits the Cease and Desist for two. Gulak picks up Barksdale and slams him into the ropes. Gulak cleanly breaks a lock-up in the corner. He chops Barksdale and places him on the top turnbuckle. Gulak lands a superplex for two. He applies a chinlock. When Barksdale starts to break, Gulak gives him a powerbomb. Gulak clotheslines Barksdale in the corner. Barksdale responds with a knee to the stomach and a running back elbow for two. Gulak rolls to the apron. Barksdale tries bringing him in with a suplex. Gulak slips out, but Barksdale is able to give him a belly-to-back suplex for two. Gulak counters Barksdale’s powerbomb attempt with a Fujiwara armbar. Barksdale grabs the ropes. Gulak tries a superplex. Barksdale resists and comes crashing down on Gulak on the canvas. Barksdale tries a leapfrog. Gulak rolls under and sunset flips Barksdale for the pin at 9:27. Having matches like this are going to go a long way for Barksdale. I have zero issues with him doing his character stuff here and there in matches, but to establish that he has credibility when it comes to technical wrestling, especially against someone with Gulak’s reputation, is just as important as getting his character elements established. I come out of this match a bigger fan of the guy (and I already liked him before) and more inclined to check out other matches of his in the future. **¾

Princess Kimberlee and Eddie Kingston are backstage. Kingston is completely uninterested in doing a promo and just eyes Kimberlee’s title belt. Kimberlee mentions that history will be made tonight with all four of CHIKARA’s Grand champions in the ring at the same time. When she asks Kingston for some comments on the match, he just laughs in her face and walks off.

Princess Kimberlee & Eddie Kingston vs. Hallowicked & Icarus {NW}

Icarus is now donning red and black and joins in the pre-match seance with Hallowicked. He too is under Mantis’ spell and serves Nazmaldun. Kingston controls Hallowicked on the mat to start. Hallowicked backs Kingston to his own corner where Kimberlee tags herself in, much to Kingston’s dismay. She ducks a clothesline and unloads with forearms to the chest. She takes Hallowicked over with a headscissors and toreador armdrag. Kingston blind tags himself back into the match. Kingston sends Hallowicked to the floor after some chops. Icarus quickly dropkicks Kingston outside, then Jon Woo dropkicks Kimberlee as soon as she enters the ring. He strings together a slam and elbow drop for two. Icarus and Hallowicked isolate Kimberlee, picking apart her left leg. Kingston (perhaps mockingly) yells “come on, champ!” to Kimberlee. She is able to slip to the floor, which brings in Kingston. He fights off the Nightmare Warriors, chopping them in opposite corners before unloading Kobashi like chops. Both of them are taken down with uranage suplexes. Hallowicked rolls to the floor and Kingston follows with a suicide dive. Icarus yanks Kimberlee by her hair and suplexes her in from the apron for a two count. The Nightmare Warriors go back to working over Kimberlee’s leg, while also illegally choking her when they can. Kingston gives her some advice from the apron, such as to kick Icarus when he had her in a single leg vine. Hallowicked goes for Never Wake Up, but Kimberlee slips out and luckily tags in Kingston.He throws Hallowicked overhead and gives Icarus a Northern Lights suplex. Hallowicked breaks the bridge. Kingston gives Hallowicked a leaping enzuigiri and a running STO. Icarus pulls Kingston to the floor and into the ring post. Hobbling, Kimberlee clotheslines Hallowicked in the corner. She throws a dropkick and drives her knees into Hallowicked’s chest. She sues her legs to throw kicks at Icarus’ head, causing her legs to give out. Hallowicked cracks her with a step-up enzuigiri. Kingston lariats Hallowicked. Icarus spears Kingston. Kimberlee pops Icarus up into a powerbomb. Hallowicked yakuza kicks Kimberlee. Kingston suplexes Hallowicked. Icarus hits a Shiranui on Kingston for two. Kimberlee throws some shots at Icarus. Icarus pulls her into the Wings of Icarus. Kingston breaks the pin and says “you’re welcome, Princess!” sarcastically to Kimberlee. Hallowicked gives Kingston a Rydeen Bomb and Swanton Bomb. Kimberlee breaks the pin and German suplexes Hallowicked. She says “you’re welcome, King!” sarcastically to Kingston. Icarus scoops her up into the Blu-Ray for two. Kingston gives him the Backfist to the Future. Hallowicked gives Kingston Go 2 Sleepy Hollow and Never Wake Up. He then locks on the CHIKARA Special. Kimberlee kicks Hallowicked, then slides her leg around his head and locks him in her own CHIKARA Special! Hallowicked taps out at 16:26. They accomplished a lot with this match, as they re-established Icarus and Hallowicked’s dynamic as a team, started the process of wearing down Kimberlee for her Grand Championship match with Hallowicked, gave her a submission victory over Hallowicked to keep some semblance of momentum for her going, and earned her Kingston’s respect (as shown by him raising her arm in victory). On top of that, the action was hot, the storytelling was on point, and the flurry of finishers/big moves had the crowd rocking. This was a great way to cap off the first show of this year’s UK tour. ***¾

Encore Match
Mr. Azerbaijan {BP} vs. Chuck Taylor™

Azerbaijan pulls his straps down and flexes. Taylor™ shoves him to the corner. Azerbaijan pulls his straps back up. He pulls Taylor™ to the corner and throws repeated punches to his stomach. He whips Taylor™ across the ring, then gives him a release suplex. Azerbaijan runs the ropes, then pins Taylor™ for a one count. He goes for a side slam. Taylor™ rakes his eyes and hits a running back elbow. He catches Azerbaijan coming off the ropes with a Samoan Drop. Taylor™ hits the New and Improved Soul Food. He yells to the crowd that he’s the real Chuck Taylor, then hits the New and Improved Soul Food again for the pin at 2:06. This was two of the more fun characters in CHIKARA wrestling for two minutes. What’s not to love? *

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