Season Four

By Rave

The second Tag World Grand Prix opened Season Four. Thirty-two teams (including a mystery draw) competed in a tournament spanning three days. Highlights included the first appearance of the Ring of Honor students (the teams of Davey Andrews and Shane Hagadorn and Anthony Franco and Matt Turner), the resurrection of Blind Rage to replace an injured UltraMantis Black as Hallowicked‘s partner (reforming the Night Shift and representing the Dark Breed), and a wrestling bear. In the finals, the Superfriends (Chris Hero and Mike Quackenbush) and the team dubbed AC/CC (Arik Cannon and Claudio Castagnoli) squared off.

Quackenbush did not see it coming (though, as Hero would claim afterward, the signs were there), as he fought the combined forces of Cannon and Castagnoli to reach his corner. Hero tagged in…only to turn around and hit Quackenbush with a forearm, then another, and finally the Rubix Cube, before rolling out and leaving him to the wolves. The moment was pure revenge for Hero, who had been upset by Quackenbush the year before at the 2004 Ted Petty Invitational, and would shape the landscape of CHIKARA for Seasons to come, with many future events (such as the introduction of the Eye of Tyr and the formation of Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes) firmly rooted in Hero’s rudo turn. At the next event, Remain In Light (an event which also saw the debut of Delirious and the commencement of what would turn out to be a short series of matches between Men at Work (Mister ZERO and Shane Storm) and Team F.I.S.T. (Icarus and Gran Akuma) as they went to a fifteen minute draw), Hero, Cannon, and Castagnoli officially formed one of CHIKARA’s most influential rudo factions: the Kings of Wrestling. They commenced their domination of the promotion that very night.

Over the next several shows, various tecnicos (including Quackenbush, Jolly Roger, and Storm) did battle with the Kings, coming up short in each match. At the same time, they battled “Sweet ‘N’ Sour” Larry Sweeney‘s Sweet ‘N’ Sour International, achieving considerably more success. Meanwhile, Men at Work and Team F.I.S.T. continued their series with a second draw at Speaking In Tongues, while a round robin tournament commenced between the Ring of Honor students for a spot in the Season’s Young Lions Cup tournament. Jigsaw successfully defended his Young Lions Cup against all comers, including his tag team partner Sabian, his ex-tag team partner Rorschach, and Hero.

At the first of Season 4’s three Aniversario shows, Aniversario Blue, Equinox (who would become a semi-important figure in Seasons to come) debuted. The series between Men at Work and Team F.I.S.T. was settled, as Storm pinned Icarus less than five minutes into a match with a thirty minute time limit. Another important point in CHIKARA’s history happened during the event’s intermission, as Team F.I.S.T. turned rudo by attacking Men at Work, with Icarus injuring ZERO in the process. Sweeney and the ShareCropper of Sweet ‘N’ Sour International lost a match to Knight Eye For The Pirate Guy (Jolly Roger and Lance Steel), which, by the stipulations decided upon, meant that their entire faction had to wear a diaper the very next night. Finally, the main event saw the return of CHIKARA co-founder Reckless Youth to assist Quackenbush and Jigsaw in fending off the Kings. Over Aniversario Orange and Aniversario White, the second and third of the Aniversario shows, the newly-rechristened F.I.S.T. accepted an offer to join the Kings; a humiliated Sweeney (having been forced to honor the aforementioned match stipulation and wear a diaper under threat of exile from CHIKARA by Director of Fun Leonard F. Chikarason) officially disbanded Sweet ‘N’ Sour International; the team of Quackenbush, Jigsaw, and Reckless Youth scored a solid victory over the Kings; and Quackenbush and Hero finally met in a singles contest. Unfortunately, their issue would not be settled by that match.

Young Lions Cup season began after Aniversario, with qualifiers commencing at Stop Making Sense, an event which also saw Blind Rage resurrected once again to assist the Dark Breed. The round robin tournament between the Ring of Honor Students also continued, resulting in Franco securing a place in the Young Lions Cup tournament at Planet of the Grapes. Having recovered from the loss of Sweet ‘N’ Sour International, Sweeney made his return to CHIKARA, introducing the ICW/ICWA Tex-Arkana Television Championship and a personal bodyguard, Mana the Polynesian Warrior (who had previously competed at the Tag World Grand Prix). Icarus added another dubious accolade to his growing list, injuring Jolly Roger. Hero would subsequently champion him for the Young Lions Cup, an interesting move considering that their fellow factionmates Cannon and Castagnoli had also qualified for the tournament.

Justifying Hero’s faith in him, Icarus rose to the tournament finals during the very first night. This would sow additional discord within the Kings, as Cannon also competed during the first night and was eliminated during the semi-final match. On the second night, motivated by the thought of revenge on behalf of his fallen tag team partner ZERO, Storm also ascended to the finals, knocking Castagnoli out of contention along the way. The clash between the two hated rivals ended with Storm winning the Cup and gaining revenge by using ZERO’s own finishing move, the Last Shaven Unicorn Drop, to end the match.

Outside the tournament, Eddie Kingston, having spent four months outside a CHIKARA ring providing commentary, had finally had enough of watching the Kings dominate. He left commentary during the second night to come to the aid of Mickie Knuckles, who was being brutalized by the Kings, then halted the show, seeking to get his hands on Hero. His wish was granted by Quackenbush, who added Kingston to his team for a showdown with the Kings on the third night. During their match, Quackenbush pinned Hero with his own finisher, the Hero’s Welcome, and demanded a one-on-one rematch. When Hero turned him down, Kingston immediately issued a challenge. Hero turned him down as well, which prompted the appearance of Chikarason to make Hero choose between them, under threat of exile from CHIKARA. Hero selected Kingston, who promised a bloodbath and received Quackenbush’s blessing.

The match took place at Negative Balance, an event which also saw the team of Lance-A-Lot (Lance Steel and, through time travel hijinx, Lance Steel) form, Icarus injure a third competitor (this time, Equinox), and the rivalry between the Ring of Honor students officially escalate into a full-blown feud following Hagadorn, Andrews, and Evan Starsmore (who was not involved in the round robin tournament) attacking Turner and Franco after a match with Cheech and Cloudy back on night three of the Young Lions Cup tournament. Unfortunately, Kingston would not be able to act on the promise he had made, as the match ended with their issue not settled. Hero took the easy way out after Bryce Remsburg, who had been struck in the face, failed to witness him low blowing Kingston. Their war was just beginning, Kingston stated afterward. At Son of the International Invasion of International Invaders: Stage I, Icarus received a rematch for the Young Lions Cup, but failed to unseat Storm. Hero began to plan his team for the upcoming Cibernetico at Stage II the night after, making a deal with the Dark Breed similar to what Sweeney had made with them the Season before. Chuichiro Arai defeated Sweeney for the ICW/ICWA Tex-Arkana Television title at Little Creatures.

Soon, The Cibernetico Returneth. Hero’s plans were nearly derailed at the beginning of the event, as bad blood between Icarus and Blind Rage (stemming from their battles during Season One) threatened to boil over. Meanwhile, Sweeney recaptured the ICW/ICWA Tex-Arkana Television title from Arai. In the main event Cibernetico, the eighth man on Quackenbush’s team was revealed to be a returning ZERO, seeking revenge on Icarus for injuring him back at Aniversario Blue. Unfortunately for ZERO, he wouldn’t be able to get his revenge, as Icarus once again forced him to tap out. Storm would last until the final two, but would be defeated by sole survivor Akuma, who tried to take his mask on multiple occasions. After the match, Storm challenged Akuma to a Lucha de Apuesta, with both putting their masks on the line.

The next month, at Running In The Red, the feud between the Ring of Honor students ended with Franco and Turner defeating Hagadorn and Andrews to qualify for the next Season’s Tag World Grand Prix, while Castagnoli defeated Quackenbush in a match where the loser would not be able to compete in it. In the main event Lucha de Apuesta, Storm defeated Akuma and took his mask. Cannon turned on the Kings at True Stories, though he would not be accepted by the tecnicos (with Quackenbush stating that ten seconds couldn’t erase ten months), his defection would ultimately not harm the Kings, and he would have difficulty finding his way on his own. The Season came to an end at Hors D’Ouerves & Dynamite, with the North Star Express (Darin Corbin and Ryan Cruz) earning their way into the next Tag World Grand Prix, Sweeney successfully defending his title against ZERO, and the team of Quackenbush, Jigsaw, and Storm standing tall after defeating F.I.S.T. and Hallowicked.