I like wrestling.
No, not Olympic style. I’m talking pro wrestling in all of its gaudy splendor.
And I should amend that to “I used to like wrestling.”
I grew up in south Louisiana in the belly of the Mid-South/UWF territory and Bill Watts’ simple, brilliant and effective booking ruined me for everyone else, so to speak.
I really can’t watch the WWE McMahonopoly. They’ve completely thrown out the morality plays that are supposed to drive the whole thing. Instead, they seem to go for the most convoluted amoral stories Vince can formulate in his egomanical brain.
And then there’s TNA which can’t decide if it wants to be a WWE clone or, even worse, the dying days of WCW. They’ve got a great roster, but lousy managment.
John likes Ring of Honor a lot. He’s gone so far as to send me DVDs of their shows to try to convert me. I like what I’ve seen, but its hard to justify ponying up $15-$20 per show for a promotion I’ve seen in fits and starts.
So in the alternative, I’ve become a member of the Chikarmy.
What does that mean?
It means I’m tossing my support to Chikara Pro, the independent promotion out of Philadelphia founded and run by “Lightning” Mike Quakenbush.
I found Chikara while following the wrestling career of a guy I used to know, Arik Cannon. He was making appearances in Chikara and I bought a tape just to check him out in the ring.
I like what I saw so I bookmarked their website and followed along as best I could.
Then I got a video Ipod and began to subscribe to their weekly Podcast-a-Go-Go. This is a great idea and something some of the other large indies should consider. I get a free 8-10 minute fix of Chikara each week. I get to learn about the cast of characters and see their action.
That action, by the way, is a great mix of American pro wrestling, puro (Japanese pro wrestling), lucha libre (Mexican pro wrestling) and British pro wrestling.
I liked it enough to buy the “Best of Chikara” DVD they put out at holiday time. This is a great way to introduce yourself to the longer form of the product at a reasonable price. The DVD contains about 8 full length matches showcasing many of Chikara mainstays. Guys like Mike Quackenbush, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, Eddie Kingston, Los Ice Creams and Mitch Ryder all get a chance to shine on this disc.
I especially like Ryder with his gravelly voice and his ability to work in the classic Memphis style.
The DVD runs about 10 bucks and can be had at most of your major video retailers as well as, of course, Amazon.com.
And each DVD comes with a Chikara trading card, much like this one.
Check them out if you’re looking for an alternative to “sports entertainment.”