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CHIKARA (also Chikara or Chikara Pro), is a Professional Wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia, PA that chiefly tours the northeastern United States, known for its light tone, sense of humor, and high-flying action. It was established in 2002.

It's heavily influenced by not only the American style of pro wrestling, but also Japanese puroresu and Mexican lucha libre, as well as a heavy dose of Superhero comics and Godzilla films. Unlike most wrestling promotions, CHIKARA has a defined season and off-season, and its season is built around 4 annual events: King of Trios (a weekend-long tournament of three-man teams), Aniversario, the Young Lions' Cup (a tournament to crown the new holder of the Young Lions Cup, a title that can only be held by wrestlers 25 years old or younger), and the Torneo Cibernetico (a 16-man lucha libre elimination match that serves as the show's main event). CHIKARA also operates the Wrestle Factory, a wrestling training school; many of CHIKARA's wrestlers are Wrestle Factory graduates.

CHIKARA is also notable for being about as family-friendly as wrestling can be: in addition to the wacky over-the-top-and-then-some characters and the comedy bits within matches, CHIKARA and its fans do their best to keep adult language out of the shows (a popular story goes that when a fan tried to start a "Holy shit" chant at a show, he was met with the rest of the crowd chanting "Shut the heck up!"), and there's virtually no kind of sexual content. If WWE is TV-PG, CHIKARA could be TV-Y7.

CHIKARA's events can be seen via DVD or MP4 download, the former sold from their website and both available from Smart Mark Video. Additionally, you can pay to watch each show on the Smark Mark Video On Demand website. The promotion also produces a weekly video podcast - "CHIKARA Podcast-A-Go-Go" - that can be viewed on their official YouTube channel.

CHIKARA was cross-promoting with Kaiju Big Battel for a time, though nowadays the only remnant of said cross-promotion is Louden Noxious (now Gavin Loudspeaker), who serves as an announcer for both companies. CHIKARA recently joined up with the USA counterpart of Japanese promotion Dragon Gate to help promote their arrival in the United States, with several wrestlers appearing on their shows and Leonard F. Chikarason (as well as Mike Quackenbush) doing commentary for the PPV and DVD versions of their shows.

Currently their Grand Championship is held by Eddie Kingston. The Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team champions) are 3.0 (Scott "Jagged" Parker and "Big Magic" Shane Matthews).

CHIKARA's events contain examples of:

  • All-American Face: Formerly Tim Donst, U.S. Ape. Currently Green Ant of The Colony.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Sara Del Rey.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Dasher Hatfield, the Old Timey King of Swing, who speaks in the requisite old timey accent.
  • Ass Kicks You: Los Ice Creams and their finishing move El Asesino. This was also a staple of Pinkie Sanchez's offense until he donned the Carpenter Ant mask.
  • Ax Crazy: Eddie Kingston in season seven, Pinkie Sanchez forever.
  • Badass: Even amongst wrestling, a profession in which you're expected to be badass, Eddie Kingston stands out.
  • Bald of Evil: Gran Akuma, Claudio Castagnoli post-Face Heel Turn both meet it, but Ares could be the trope codifier.
  • Beard of Evil: Ares.
  • Big Bad: From 2002 to 2003, Blind Rage. For 2004, Larry Sweeney. From 2005 to 2007, Chris Hero. From 2008 to 2009, Vin Gerard. During 2010, Ares. In 2011, there was a Big Bad Ensemble with Ares leading the BDK and Sinn "Kizarny" Bodhi leading the Dark Army. And in 2012, it looks like 17 of Gekido is poised to take the reigns with Ares and Bodhi gone.
  • Bigger Bad: Chris Hero may have ascended to this after leaving the promotion, considering his involvement in the backstory and formation of the BDK.
  • Black Knight: Lance Steel, post Face Heel Turn.
  • Blood Knight: Eddie Kingston, especially in Season Seven.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: What Arik Cannon was trying to go for, but besides using "Anarchy in the U.K." and having "The Anarchist" for a nickname, he never did much of anything like that or in-character.
  • Bowdlerize: Amusingly, the fans do this to themselves and each other. They substitute "holy poop" for the standard "holy shit" chants, and when one guy once tried to start a "holy shit" chant, they shouted him down with "shut the heck up". Even Tommy Dreamer apologized for saying "shit" during a speech at one event.
  • Brainwashed: Delirious, post Face Heel Turn. It might count as Brainwashed and Crazy except "And Crazy" is Delirious' default state anyway.
  • Brother Chuck: There have been some roster memberes who just vanished (Like Melvin Snodgrass, BlackJack Marciano, Lance Steel, Retail Dragon, Dr. Cheung and Private Eye, for example). but the most notable examples are probably Mitch Ryder, Lince Dorado, and Tursas.
  • The Bus Came Back: Crossbones, who was absent for about a year and a half, recently made his return in a Big Damn Heroes moment to help Ultramantis Black against Sinn Bodhi and The Batiri.
    • As of the final weekend of 2011, Gran Akuma has returned from a year's hiatus with Icarus in his crosshairs.
  • Catchphrase Spouting Duo: 3.0. BOOYAH!
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Season Nine.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Tim Donst dips into this, including a rare babyface example. He "betrayed" the babyfaces after feigning amnesia, after which he joined The Order of the Neo Solar Temple, who he betrayed after being a mole for the babyfaces. Then he teamed with Hydra, who he betrayed in frustration resulting in a legitimate heel turn, then betrayed Chikara in total by joining the Bruderschaft. AND, during the latter days of THAT stable, he was beginning to show serious Starscream tendencies.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Delirious.
  • Continuity Creep: Perhaps the only example of a wrestling promotion featuring this. Compare the first couple years where there are very few storylines (and the ones that do happen pretty much boil down to the standard "wrestler hates other wrestler, they fight" angle) to the promotion in 2009, where the BDK angle is deeply tied in to nearly every major feud in CHIKARA in the last two years somehow.
    • There's also the fact that Mike Quackenbush and Shane Storm (currently STIGMA) have three points in tag team competition, but have yet to cash in their title shot.
  • The Chessmaster: Ultramantis Black. He wanted the Eye of Tyr, which was in the possession of Kaiju Big Battel's Dr. Cube. So he finds out what Dr. Cube wants (Chris Hero to work for him), convinces Hero to work for Dr. Cube in exchange for the counter to the Chikara Special submission hold, and then breaks Shane Storm's losing streak in exchange for the counter.
    • Didn't See That Coming: This scheme would eventually lead to the creation of the BDK, and the destruction of Mantis's Order of Neo-Solar Temple.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cavalier Jones, member of the Board of Directors for all of two shows in 2004. Bob Saget is implied to have perhaps been this as well, leading to his being replaced as commissioner by Dave Coulier in 2008. Dieter VonSteigerwalt was one too; his decisions were fairly logical and rational... except for when they involved the Bruderschaft in any way, shape, or form.
    • Current authority figure Wink Vavaseur might be this. Though whether it's corruption or stupidity remains to be seen at present.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Eddie Kingston does this to people a lot. Notable examples include his feuds against Lince Dorado in season seven, Tim Donst in season six, and BLK-OUT vs. The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple at King of Trios '08. Most recently when the all-girl team of Death Haze beat former Campeones De Parejas The Osirian Portal in 5 minutes. (Death Haze later themselves lost in that exact time to the Colony, but the match was intended to go 15+ minutes before Daizee suffered a legit broken nose from a Fire Ant kick and they stopped it early)
  • Dark Action Girl: Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze. After endlessly feuding with each other, they teamed up (Sara turning heel in the process) and immediately proved to be entirely capable of beating the crap out of the guys.
  • Dead Baby Comedy: Read The Batiri's twitter. Apparently their favorite snack is "fetus jerky".
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Carpenter Ant and Vökoder are a clever play on this trope; both characters appeared in the CHIKARA comic books, so fans thought that when they showed up in the promotion itself last year they were the same characters. They weren't.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Batiri aren't actually abominations themselves, but their gimmick seems to include being somehow associated with one.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Shane Storm's transformation into STIGMA, and pretty much all of the BDK (but especially Lince Dorado).
  • Evil Foreigner: Subverted by MosCow, the Communist Bovine. Despite being a noted communist, he was on the tecnico side of the roster.
  • Expy: Amasis is a partial expy of Booker T.
    • And since his return from injury, Green Ant is one of Lex Luger, of all people. Specifically, Luger's "All-American" gimmick. He even got an endorsement from the Total Package himself!
  • Evil Power Vacuum: The storyline going into 2012. With Ares, Claudio and Sinn Bodhi gone and the BDK disbanded, the top rudo spot was up for grabs and Tim Donst, Obariyon, Brodie Lee, Ophidian, and Vin Gerard were all in the running for it. However, Donst and Obariyon ended up back in the midcard, Brodie was signed to a WWE developmental deal, Vin was re-released after losing a match against Eddie Kingston, and the Gekido guys showed up, which makes 17 tentatively the Big Bad.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Funny Animal: U.S. Ape, MosCOW, Dragon Dragon, CP Munk, Colt CaBunny... the list goes on. Currently represented by The Colony, a trio turned foursome turned trio of masked wrestlers who represent different types of ants.
  • Face Heel Turn: Current examples include Vin Gerard, Delirious, and Ophidian. Also subverted when it looked like Tim Donst had turned heel and joined the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple, but was just faking it. He did eventually turn heel for real.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Friends In Similar Tights.
  • The Giant: Parodied by Hydra...all 150 pounds of him. Guys like Mano Metallico and Tursas are more typical versions.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: Tursas' background is very undefined, he just showed up out of the blue with Ares one day.
  • Gratuitous German: Die Bruderschaft Des Kreuzes (Brotherhood of the Cross), to the point where Claudio and Ares have cut entire promos in German, with no subtitles offered.
  • Good Is Dumb: Subverted; see the storyline revolving around The Mole.
  • Harmless Villain: Los Ice Creams. Long-serving Rudos, but so silly no one really takes them seriously.
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Vökoder, who appeared to be some manner of time-traveling robot detective from the future. Which, really, was a pretty metal idea. The first time he showed up, it turned out to be Tim Donst in disguise. The second time, it was a returning Larry Sweeney.
  • Heel Face Turn: Well, it's a wrestling promotion, so obviously quite a few. Perhaps of the most note in the current CHIKARA landscape are UltraMantis Black, Eddie Kingston and Sara del Rey.
    • Subverted by Larry Sweeney, who pretended to feud with the Fabulous Two for half a year for the sole purpose of luring Claudio into a false sense of security before screwing him over. Also subverted by Vin Gerard and STIGMA when they spent a good four months pretending to be on the road to becoming tecnicos and ditching Colin Delaney, but it turns out they were just faking it (probably just for the sake of screwing with people).
  • Jerkass: Chuck Taylor. One of his favorite ways to get heat is to surprise little kids watching at ringside by screaming at them.
    • Pretty much every Rudo, by extent.
    • Wink Vavaseur, while pretty decent to most people, was a total dick to Ophidian for no apparent reason.
  • Kayfabe: This is pro wrestling, so it goes without saying that there'd be some of this. But Mike Quackenbush is reportedly really strict about his talent never breaking kayfabe, even by pro wrestling standards.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Lance Steel and Lance Steel (yes, two different Lance Steels) before they imploded.
  • Large Ham: There a few heels who fit here, including but not limited to UltraMantis Black, Icarus, and especially the Fabulous Three.
    • Archibald Peck may be the living embodiment of this trope.
      • Before Peck, no one was hammier than Larry Sweeney.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Brodie Lee and Crossbones aren't the fastest big guys out there, but they can both move. DJ Skittlez too, before he retired.
  • Masked Luchador: LOTS. From the very first graduates of the Chikara Wrestle Factory, luchadores that come in from elsewhere, to the most recent graduates like Ophidian, Amasis and Frightmare. Since the promotion roots itself in lucha libre action, it's pretty much expected.
  • Mighty Glacier: Tursas presently, Mano Metallico in 2004/2005.
  • The Mole: An entire storyline revolved around one of the Tecnicos having gone mole for the Rudos and passing the counter to Mike Quackenbush's feared finisher (the CHIKARA Special) to Chris Hero via Ultramantis Black. The Tecnicos had Tim Donst do a fake Face Heel Turn and join up with the Rudos as a mole and find out who the traitor was. Turns out the traitor was Shane Storm, who later became STIGMA.
    • Neatly followed up by Pinkie Sanchez and Tim Donst (again) through 2009 as they took on the roles of Carpenter Ant and Vökoder to infiltrated the Colony (and the technicos) and the Order of the Neo Solar Temple (and the rudos) respectively. They revealed themselves at the Wham! Episode detailed below.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chikara had their Tag Wars 2008 show hosted by German promotion WXW. WXW is known for its rowdy fanbase. Commentators had to continuously apologize for the obscene chants (for example, "You fat fuck" directed at STIGMA) and wild behavior of the fans. At the same time, the WXW fans were totally into the Chikara tecnico teams like The Colony.
    • They also had a Crowning Moment of Funny when they serenaded Vin Gerard to the tune of Que Sera Sera. "Vin Gerard, Gerard. Never will be, will be. As good as the Col-o-ny!"
  • Normally I Would Be Dead Now: Lince Dorado seems to thrive on violently and utterly getting destroyed. He has had a seizure in the ring and is legally blind in one eye.
  • No Indoor Voice: 2/3.0, especially Shane Matthews.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Pinkie Sanchez, the dancing, pink-clad comedy character, posed as Carpenter Ant for the second half of season eight, winning the Torneo Cibernetico while under the hood, and joined the BDK in the season eight finale. Also Team FIST at the start of the same season when they ditched their comedy leanings and put Worker Ant on the shelf for good.
  • Only Sane Man: Crossbones was this during the UltraMantis Black/Crossbones/Delirious configuration of Order of the Neo-Solar Temple.
    • Pinkie Sanchez tried to invoke this regarding the return of Vökoder, when no one else in the BDK believed him. Of course, he was right.
  • Pitiful Worms: Ares does this to UltraMantis Black, usually calling him "insect" or "bug". Granted, UMB is a bug, sort of...
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Wink Vavasseur, circa 2012. Here is an example.
  • Power Stable: The Kings of Wrestling, who filled this role from 2005 to the end of 2007. Despite being powerful and a stable, The Brüderschaft falls outside the description of Power Stable.
  • Pride: After UltraMantis Black obtained the Eye of Tyr (see above under The Chessmaster), he refused to listen to the part where the Eye brought misfortune on its user unless he gave it away after using it, because he believed he was smarter than the Eye's curse. Then the BDK destroyed his Order of the Neo-Solar Temple.
  • Put on a Bus: Chikara often tries to provide storyline reasons to remove wrestlers from the roster.
    • Mr. ZERO, Jolly Roger, and Worker Ant were all written out via excessive injuries suffered at the hands of Team FIST
    • Hydra, via losing a "Loser Leaves CHIKARA" Match vs. Tim Donst.
    • Crossbones at the hands of Delirious via kayfabe broken collarbone.
    • Gran Akuma getting kicked out of FIST by Icarus and Chuck Taylor.
    • Amasis, who was legitimately injured in a car crash in April 2011, though he wasn't put on a bus properly until the end of the season, when Ophidian turned on him during his retirement speech).
    • Daizee Haze, who was suffering from an unspecified legitimate health issue, was kayfabe injured off a chokeslam from Claudio Castagnoli.
      • And then Claudio left for WWE a month later, with the explanation being that he was too embarrassed by losing to Icarus to stick around.
  • Psycho Rangers: As of 2012, a mysterious group that appears to be calling themselves Gekido has shown up, with members who appear to be dark mirrors of popular CHIKARA wrestlers like The Colony (combatANT, assailANT, & deviANT), Jigsaw (The Shard), and Mike Quackenbush (17).
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: When Claudio signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, CHIKARA had to explain his departure somehow. So the end of his last match in CHIKARA (a losing effort against Icarus) was shown on the Podcast-A-Go-Go, followed by this news from Gavin Loudspeaker:

 Gavin: In fact, Claudio was so upset over this loss, he packed his bags, went down to World Wrestling Entertainment, and changed his name to "Antonio Cesaro". Who figured?

  • Ring Oldies: Parodied with the Senior Assault Team; Lester "Darkness" Crabtree and Melvin Snodgrass. Snodgrass vanished off the face of the Earth by the end of 2003. Crabtree shows up once in a blue moon nowadays. Both are old and slow (and funny).
    • Played straight with Johnny Saint and Robbie Ellis, both of whom make occasional appearances.
  • Rule of Funny: A 150-pounder as an unstoppable force? Bob Saget and Dave Coulier as commissioners? Pausing Player Uno by pressing "Start" on the controller printed on his tights? Player Dos gaining abilities based on what NES cartridge is connected to his tights? A match done in slow-motion? All in a day's work for CHIKARA's athletes.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Chuck Taylor does not like to be chopped. UltraMantis Black is known to scream like a girl when chopped, torqued in an armbar, or confronted by ominous, menacing figures clad in white. (Although that last was marred by his voice cracking in mid-scream.) Amasis is an unintentional example, as his voice frequently cracks when he's trying to sell normally. Icarus and Los Ice Creams are also offenders, though it's Played for Laughs with those three.
  • Shout-Out: The DVD covers are all homages to famous comic book covers, and many of the show names are lifted from song titles from various bands (including the Talking Heads and Ben Folds Five).
    • Does the fact that the entire promotion is basically a live action version of Kinnikuman count?
    • The team finisher for The Colony is "Ants Go Marching", which - in addition to using "Ants Marching" as their theme - is a Shout-Out to Dave Matthews.
    • Archibald Peck's animated portrait on the roster page is nearly a dead ringer for Popsicle Pete.
    • Another example involving Archibald Peck. Archie used to be in a relationship with Veronica. Sound familiar?
  • Sssssnaketalk: Ophidian.
  • Supervillains: The Order of the Neo-Solar Temple. Especially their leader, Ultramantis Black.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Green Ant, for Worker Ant, in a very successful iteration of this trope as he both fills Worker's role in The Colony (as the one who speaks fluent English and the one who tends to play face in peril for the group) and has developed his own distinct persona.
  • Take That: CP Munk was a Take That against CM Punk, born after Punk canceled on one of their shows at the last minute. Punk didn't take it very well, which inspired CP Munk to become an occasionally recurring character, as well as the creation of Colt CaBunny (based off Punk's tag partner Colt Cabana), and later Ace Panda (based off Ace Steel; the Panda portion of this character came from WWE losing the letter F to the World Wildlife Fund in a lawsuit, leading to jokes that WWE "lost to the Pandas").
    • One of Pinkie Sanchez's blog updates was a fairly tongue-in-cheek Take That is aimed at the portion of CHIKARA's fanbase that jumped to conclusions regarding the BDK angle when he writes "And the geeks out there figured I was a comic book character from the future. Great Scott - someone needs a reality check!"
  • Ted Baxter: Buck Hawke.
  • Terrible Trio: There have been many Rudo trios, but the original was the Night Shift in Blind Rage, Hallowicked and Ichabod Slayne (better known as Icarus).
  • The Pig Pen: Vin Gerard.
    • And to an extent, Michael Nakazawa, who carries baby oil with him at all times.
  • The Unintelligible: Delirious, most of the time. Also Hallowicked and Frightmare. (There's a reason why their team is called "Incoherence.") Finally, Hydra mostly communicated in a series of grunts and growls.
    • Fire Ant also usually only communicates with growling and yelling noises, but when the situation really calls for it he is capable of saying a few words. Soldier Ant, conversely, only speaks in military jargon ("SIR YES SIR!").
  • There Can Be Only One: The annual Torneo Cibernetico match. The match starts as an elimination match between two eight-man teams; if a whole team is eliminated and the other team has more than one competitor remaining, those remaining competitors continue the match under the same elimination rules (and, if required, tag rules) until only one wrestler is left to stand tall.
  • Time Travel: The Osirian Portal. Also formerly Lance Steel, Time Displaced Noble Knight (and his tag team partner... Lance Steel, Time Displaced Noble Knight). Carpenter Ant was hinted at being this, but it was ultimately a red herring.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Eddie Kingston flirted with this during his feud with Lince Dorado. Not because he couldn't beat him, because King never suffered a real singles loss to Lince, but because no matter how badly he beat him down, Lince kept getting back up and asking for another rematch.
  • World's Strongest Man - Hydra thought he was.
  • Waif Fu: Averted by Daizee Haze, who, despite being the size of your average Waif Fu practitioner, prefers punching, kicking and front face locks.
  • Wham! Episode: The end of Season 8 (the last of CHIKARA's 2009 shows) - BDK demands the Eye of Tyr back from UltraMantis Black, and when he refuses, BDK unmasks as Claudio's old tag partner Ares. Claudio attacks Mike Quackenbush, Carpenter Ant attacks the Colony, Vokoder attacks Ultramantis, Sara del Rey and Daizee Haze just attack whoever's there. After this the 8 pose in the ring, and Vokoder and Carpenter Ant unmask to reveal they were, respectively, Tim Donst and Pinky Sanchez.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? - Could arguably be used for CHIKARA as a whole.
    • Claudio Castagnoli's 100-revolution Giant Swing on Grizzly Redwood, at "King of Trios 2009."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous? - Thumbtacks have nothing on Los Ice Creams sprinkles.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl - Invoked repeatedly by Daizee Haze, who isn't above cowering and screaming when it looks like her male opponent is about to turn the tables on her. Of course, the second they hesitate she cheap shots them.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay - Retail Dragon, masked Wal-Mart clerk extraordinaire. Also formerly Shane Storm (now STIGMA), Unionized Traffic Regulator and Mr. ZERO, wrestling office worker. Taken to the logical extension, Vin Gerard is rumored to be homeless (yet he has an Internet connection).
    • Homeless bum Vin Gerard just uses the Internet at the public library.
  • The Voiceless: Tursas. He's supposed to be some Finnish viking/monster thing, but it seems likely the wrestler has no knowledge of Finnish, so they use this trope. STIGMA spoke a whole lot less after turning heel, though he still spoke from time to time.
    • Tursas has started speaking English, primarily in the form of his blog updates.
  • X Meets Y: Maffew has referred to CHIKARA's King of Trios as The King of Fighters of Professional Wrestling.