Pro wrestling history had been made at the Season Fifteen finale, Top Banana. Princess Kimberlee, having guided her Challenge of the Immortals team, Crown & Court, to victory, had used the Golden Opportunity she had won that same night to challenge and defeat Hallowicked for the Grand Championship. Nazmaldun’s chosen one had been defeated, and all was seemingly well.
Well, not quite well. Between Seasons, Max Smashmaster went crazy. The stunning upset Crown & Court had pulled had affected his psyche, to the point of outright declaring a desire to not take the Grand Championship from her, but to murder her with his bare hands. A dark future awaited the Princess.
Season Sixteen opened over a month later at the end of January, with the doubleheader events Days of the Phoenix and 5 Senses emanating from the Wrestle Factory. The lone remainder of the Colony: Xtreme Force, Arctic Rescue Ant, was defeated by the Proletariat Boar of Moldova, who was looking to win the upcoming Young Lions Cup tournament; replacing the injured Cajun Crawdad, the debuting Rock Lobster teamed with Hermit Crab to defeated Ben Macklemore and Ryan Lewis; Sidney Bakabella, thought departed at the hands of Oleg the Usurper, made his return; Jaka officially joined the BDK, then defeated Amasis; having adopted Dugout teammate Heidi Lovelace as a partner, Dasher Hatfield teamed with her, but were defeated by Juan Francisco de Coronado and Prakash Sabar; “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti attempted to atone for his past sins once more by blocking de Coronado and the United Nations‘ chicanery, but ultimately only served as a distraction to allow de Coronado to low blow Dasher; Soldier Ant, freed from his brainwashing, won his third point by defeating his former handler Jakob Hammermeier; Hallowicked, fresh off losing the Grand Championship, teamed with Frightmare to attempt to wrest the Campeonatos de Parejas away from N_R_G, but were unsuccessful; Los Ice Creams teased cashing in their hard-earned Golden Opportunity, but were frightened of the Campeones and ran away.
Kobald of the Batiri, replacing Icarus who had been injured in training, defeated Pinkie Sanchez; Los Ice Creams competed, but were ambushed by the Devastation Corporation and saved by the timely intervention of Kimberlee; Angelosetti competed against the newcomer Wani, only to be plagued by Juan Francisco de Coronado, leading to Wani achieving his first singles victory in CHIKARA; the Battleborn combination of Missile Assault Man and Lucas Calhoun attained their third point by defeating Obariyon and Kodama of the Batiri; The Colony (represented by Silver, Fire, and Worker Ant) teamed to defeat the Snake Pit (Ophidian, Shynron, and Argus); Kimberlee made her first defense of the Grand Championship against Oleg the Usurper, only for the latter to be disqualified as the Devastation Corporation returned to attack both; Smashmaster would force Kimberlee to watch a crying child at ringside; and Lovelace defeated de Coronado in the encore.
Chuck Taylor, who had spent much of 2015 trying to go into retirement, seemingly accomplished his goal, as he was added to the Alumni section of the roster. Unfortunately for him, this opened the door to a new Chuck Taylor, as a man who had once attended Taylor’s training school stepped forward at National Pro Wrestling Day 2016. He had claimed the rights to Taylor’s intellectual property, naming himself the “New and Improved” Chuck Taylor TM. Stripped of the name he had used for much of his wrestling career, the former Chuck Taylor competed at the event under the name Scoot Tatum, kicking off a recurring habit of changing his name at every event.
NPWD ’16 also saw the return of the Estonian Thunderfrog (who, as the FarmerFrog, had reclaimed his birthright post-Top Banana), who triumphed over all comers in the Young Lions Cup tournament to claim the cup; Hallowicked defeated Ophidian; showcase matches from Fighting Spirit Wrestling and Excellence Pro Wrestling; Heidi Lovelace defeated Solo Darling; Angelosetti defeated Pinkie and continued to express remorse for his past sins; Missile Assault Man defeated Dasher, who rebuffed Angelosetti once more; and a dream match that saw Kimberlee defeat Mickie James in a non-title contest.
Later in the month, during Dead Man’s Chest, Jaka earned his second point by defeating Shynron; Pinkie triumphed over Syd Gilmour; Dasher and Lovelace teamed with Los Ice Creams to face Blaster McMassive, Flex Rumblecrunch, Rock Lobster, and Hermit Crab, with the Dev Corp handily bulldozing their opponents; longtime rivals the Thunderfrog and the Boar did battle once more, with the Thunderfrog successfully defending his Cup; UltraMantis Black continued to guide the Arcane Horde (the Batiri and Oleg) to victory, this time against Battle Hive (Amasis, Worker Ant, and Fire Ant, augmented by newcomer Officer Warren Barksdale, who had debuted in the Young Lions Cup tournament); The BDK ambushed Eddie Kingston, allowing Hammermeier to defeat him with the Worldstar punch; Soldier Ant unsuccessfully challenged Kimberlee for the Grand Championship; and Rick Beanbag (the former Chuck Taylor, having changed his name) defeated Wani in the encore.
The next night, CHIKARA returned to the Wrestle Factory for Evil Ways. Kingston, still reeling from the BDK’s attack the night before, was defeated by Silver Ant; Smashmaster continued to threaten Kimberlee; de Coronado and Sabar teamed to defeat Ophidian and Argus; Angelosetti, having abandoned further attempts to reconcile with Dasher, was disqualified against the Thunderfrog due to de Coronado’s interference; Bugg Nevans (the former Chuck Taylor, having changed his name again) was defeated by Lovelace after realizing that he was no longer allowed to use the offensive moves trademarked by Taylor TM; Dasher and a recovered Icarus teamed with N_R_G, only to be defeated by Jaka, Hammermeier, Hallowicked, and Frightmare; and Taylor TM made his in-ring debut in the encore, defeating Jacob Hendricks. However, the biggest events of the evening came at two specific points.
First, Kimberlee teamed with Oleg against Blaster and Flex, with Smashmaster’s interference and some miscommunication ultimately costing the Dev Corp their accumulated points. Not caring that he had just cost his team a chance to regain the CdP, Smashmaster continued to attack Kimberlee. A host of referees tried to separate the two, but were unsuccessful as Smashmaster proceeded to attack them as well. This brought out an angry Mike Quackenbush, and Smashmaster actually assaulted the Director of Fun. A crowd of tecnicos came to the DoF’s aid, literally hauling Smashmaster out of the ring and throwing him out of the building. He was fired from CHIKARA the very next day.
Second, during the Nightmare Warriors‘ post-match prayer, Hammermeier, desperate to consolidate his waning power, unveiled the Eye of Tyr and used it on Hallowicked, forcing him to kneel “before his new king”. For the time being, Hammermeier had brought the Nightmare Warriors under his rule, but he would soon come to regret his actions.
In March, CHIKARA returned to Gibsonville, North Carolina for the doubleheader events The New Batch and The Secret of the Ooze. In preparation for the upcoming Tag World Grand Prix, the Boar and Sabar triumphed over Los Ice Creams; Barksdale defeated Devo Riggs; Amasis pinned Rock Lobster; Argus forced Hermit Crab to tap out; Oleg achieved another measure of vengeance for what the Dev Corp had put him through by defeating Blaster; N_R_G successfully defended the CdP against MAM and Calhoun; and Taylor TM (who learned that he was too short to use Sole Food) was defeated by Ophidian in the encore.
Kingston took his anger at Hammermeier out on Hammermeier’s BDK subordinate Pinkie, staring the BDK kingpin down as he destroyed his foe; Icarus, having decided to help support and rehabilitate Angelosetti, teamed with him but were defeated by de Coronado and Wani; Taylor TM lorded his possession of Chuck Taylor’s intellectual property over him once more; Jaka earned his third point by defeating Fire Ant; Hatfield earned a victory over Flex; Lovelace cashed in her earned points to unsuccessfully challenge Kimberlee; and Ophidian and Shynron defeated MAM and Calhoun in the encore. Once again, however, Hammermeier, the Nightmare Warriors, and the Eye of Tyr were at the center of important events that night.
Having brought the Nightmare Warriors to heel the previous month, Hammermeier led Hallowicked and Frightmare into battle and to victory against the Batiri. However, his gloating post-match would lead to a fall from grace, as Hallowicked (who had previously been subjected to the Eye of Tyr at the end of 2014) revealed that he had been faking his brainwashing and the Nightmare Warriors took possession of the Eye, leaving a broken Hammermeier behind as fans chanted “King of Nothing”. Hammermeier’s mistake would soon lead to an event that would change the face of CHIKARA forever.
At the beginning of April, CHIKARA returned to the Wrestle Factory for another doubleheader: Phone Home and Disk. The Tag World Grand Prix commenced at these events. Advancing from the quarterfinals were the Colony (represented by Worker and Fire Ant and defeating the United Nations), the Dev Corp (defeating the Punk Rock All Stars), Los Ice Creams (defeating the debuting Team Sea Stars, Ashley Vox and Delmi Exo, who had both competed in the Young Lions Cup tournament), and the Osirian Portal (who had defeated the debuting Tabarnak de Team, Mathieu St. Jacques and Thomas Dubois, in a match that had originally gone to a double countout before being restarted). St. Jacques and Dubois attacked the Portal after the match. Outside the tournament, de Coronado defeated Barksdale; Icarus defeated Wani; and Quackenbush made a historic announcement: he had been cleared to return to the ring one last time, as the retiring Johnny Kidd had requested one last match with him. The match was set for Aniversario: The Chamber of Secrets, during the upcoming UK tour.
The tournament continued into the evening, with the Colony (defeating Los Ice Creams) and the Dev Corp (defeating a still-ailing Portal) advancing to the finals. The Dev Corp pulled out all the stops, utilizing dirty tactics to topple the Colony in the finals, securing three points in the process. The Thunderfrog successfully defended his Cup against Arctic Rescue Ant; Troll, who had gone missing in the aftermath of Top Banana, returned to remind us of a certain chaotic entity who had also disappeared following that event; Angelosetti accidentally knocked down referee Troy Nelson, causing him to be disqualified against Shynron; and Dasher earned another point by defeating Pinkie in the encore. Of particular note during this evening would be the repercussions of Hammermeier’s mistake the previous month.
UltraMantis Black looked on from ringside as his charges, the Arcane Horde, took on Hallowicked, Frightmare, MAM, and Calhoun in Atomicos action. The rudo team would earn a hard-fought victory against the Horde, but Mantis’ troubles were far from over. Isolated from the Horde by the Warriors, Mantis was carried into the ring…and Hallowicked produced the Eye of Tyr, using it on him. The Warriors’ music stopped suddenly as the effects of the Eye’s influence set in, and Mantis proceeded to invite Hallowicked and Frightmare to join him in the Warriors’ post-match prayer, referring to them as “his broadsword” and “his spear” before asking them to take him home. After the event, fans speculated as to what this could mean, gradually arriving at a single, horrifying conclusion.
UltraMantis Black, as we had known him, was no more. In his place, having taken Mantis’ physical form as his own, was the dark master of the Nightmare Warriors.
Nazmaldun himself now dwelled among us.
We had thought the dark times had ended with the destruction of the Flood. We had discounted Nazmaldun as a nebulous concept, sure that nothing would come of it. How wrong we were. And for this hubris, we would pay as Nazmaldun began to strip away the stalwarts of CHIKARA, bringing them under his sway. What would soon be known as the Pillars of Woe would start to come together.
First to fall were Obariyon and Kodama.
CHIKARA returned to the Wrestle Factory once more in May for another doubleheader. After defeating the Boar and the returning Mr. Azerbaijan during Whisper House, the Batiri encountered Nazmaldun, who placed them under a trance and led them away, making them his own. Silver Ant struck a blow for CHIKARA by defeating Frightmare; Wani defeated Jonah Rogen; Hallowicked defeated Soldier Ant; N_R_G derailed de Coronado and Sabar in a non-title contest via Angelosetti getting the latter team disqualified; and Kimberlee, attacked by the BDK earlier in the evening, successfully defended the Grand Championship against Jaka.
Second to fall was Icarus.
The evening portion of the doubleheader, The Distant Future, played host to a grand-scale battle royal. Dubbed the Infinite Gauntlet, the winner was to be granted a Golden Opportunity. Thirty-two of the thirty-three competitors were announced prior, with many of CHIKARA’s finest stepping into the ring, as well as competitors who had not been seen in a CHIKARA ring for quite a while (Steve “The Turtle” Weiner, Shane Storm, and Cheech Hernandez) and competitors making their debut in the match (Brian Myers, Gene Snitsky, and Sidney Bakabella’s newest client Abominous Rex). The thirty-third competitor was not revealed until he entered the match, and fans were shocked and delighted to see that Jigsaw, who had last competed in the CHIKARA ring back in Season Fourteen, had returned to competition. Upon being eliminated from the match, Icarus encountered Nazmaldun, who had accompanied his charges to the ring. Like the Batiri before him, he was placed in a trance and led away, claimed by the darkness. In the end, Hallowicked outlasted every other competitor, winning the Golden Opportunity. Team Sea Stars returned, defeating Orange Cassidy and the Swamp Monster. Barksdale defeated Argus. Amasis and Ophidian gained revenge for what happened during the TWGP against Tabarnak de Team. Race Jaxon defeated the Boar in the encore match.
During the event, Troll returned, this time not just reminding us of a certain entity, but bringing him forth. The chaotic Snowflake, not seen since Top Banana, had returned. Angered by Battleborn’s perceived failures, he called MAM and Calhoun to the ring before belittling them both. In anger, Calhoun walked out, abandoning Battleborn. MAM went to do the same, but Snowflake would not leave well enough alone, reminding him of the destroyed school bus and of the demise of Orbit Adventure Ant. This proved his undoing, as MAM snapped, attacking both Snowflake and Troll. Though he was beaten down, Snowflake would not let up, which made the attacks even worse, until he was eventually stretchered out while Troll fled under the ring. Later, Kevin Condron would resurface, signalling the demise of Snowflake. Neither Condron himself nor Troll have been seen in a CHIKARA ring since.
After the events, a prophecy, granted to Hallowicked by Nazmaldun, would circulate, predicting that three more (the Worm, the Wanderer, and the Betrayer) would fall into the clutches of the demonic entity, and that something not even Hallowicked would speak of would happen if Nazmaldun was not victorious. Speculation rode high.
CHIKARA journeyed to the UK for the annual tour at the end of May, participating in crossover events before the four–day Aniversario run commenced. Fittingly, the former Chuck Taylor changed his name for each, one name even said to have gotten him a Cease and Desist from the WWE. Birmingham, England would play host to the first event, Aniversario: Catching Fire. Stewie Scrivens (the aforementioned name-changing former Taylor) was defeated by Calhoun; N_R_G teamed with Lovelace, only to be defeated by Frightmare and the Batiri; Subbing in for the injured Zack Sabre Jr., Mark Andrews was defeated by Ophidian; Fire Ant defeated Hermit Crab; Drew Gulak defeated Barksdale; Kimberlee teamed with (and argued with) Kingston to defeat Hallowicked and Icarus; and Taylor TM, utilizing a “new and improved” Sole Food, defeated Mr. Azerbaijan.
The next night, CHIKARA journeyed to Manchester, England for Aniversario: The Chamber of Secrets. Rich Mahogany (once again, the former Taylor had changed his name) teamed with Drew Gulak and were defeated by N_R_G in another non-title contest; Ophidian defeated Hermit Crab; Icarus defeated Calhoun; Kingston destroyed Taylor TM, the former making the latter sing after the match; Kimberlee and Lovelace joined Fire and Soldier Ant of the Colony in a loss against the Nightmare Warriors; and, in his retirement match conducted under World of Sport rules that had been made back in April, Johnny Kidd went to a draw with Quackenbush, the latter displaying obvious frustration at knowing that his score with the former would never be settled.
North Shields, England was the site of Aniversario: The Two Towers the next night. Calhoun was pinned by Lovelace; Slim Perkins (the former Taylor yet again) pinned Barksdale after Barksdale’s misunderstanding with Bryce Remsburg turned into Remsburg being used as a weapon before the two made up post-match; Taylor TM was once again defeated, this time by Soldier Ant; Kingston tracked down Maffew of Botchamania and put him in a sleeperhold before defeating Hermit Crab; Fire Ant defeated Ophidian, knocking him from the point standings; Kimberlee joined N_R_G and her Crown & Court partners Los Ice Creams in a victory against the Nightmare Warriors, though the Warriors would injure her knee; and Fight Club Pro were showcased in the encore, with Drew Gulak defeating Travis Banks and Daniel Moloney in a triple threat.
The stage was set for the last of the Aniversario shows, Aniversario: The Lost World, which took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Lovelace defeated the debuting Nixon Newell; Taylor TM defeated Barksdale; N_R_G caused controversy amongst fans by winning a non-title Four Corner Elimination Tag match and causing the Batiri, who had earned points during the match, to be knocked out of the point standings; Calhoun defeated Hermit Crab; Kingston teamed with Snake Pit partner Ophidian in a losing effort against Frightmare and Icarus; and Hallowicked repeated his stunning victory from the previous year’s UK tour by cashing in his Golden Opportunity and defeating Kimberlee for the Grand Championship.
The Pillars of Woe, already bolstered by the return of the Grand Championship to Nazmaldun’s control, were about to get stronger. Third and fourth to fall were those termed the Worm and the Wanderer, respectively: Kobald and Angelosetti.
CHIKARA returned to the Wrestle Factory in June for Tightrope. Kimberlee, fresh off losing the Grand Championship, set aside differences that had formed with Lovelace, teaming with her to participate in a Four Corner Elimination Tag match that was ultimately won by the Osirian Portal; Pinkie Sanchez, who had chosen to leave the BDK, participated in the FCET with Arctic Rescue Ant as his partner; Jigsaw defeated Oleg; Icarus secured his third point by defeating MAM; Arctic Rescue Ant came out to check on MAM after the match, only to be rebuffed by his former partner; Kingston blitzed another member of the BDK, Jaka, while threatening Hammermeier, leading Hammermeier to finally (and violently) retaliate; Quackenbush spoke to Fire Ant, warning him of Nazmaldun’s threat; Fire teamed with N_R_G in a losing effort against the Nightmare Warriors; and with Dasher as special referee, Angelosetti withstood the interference of the United Nations to defeat de Coronado in a no disqualification contest, but was once again rebuffed by his former partner.
Kobald entered the ring after the Warriors’ victory, breaking up the post-match prayer in an attempt to bring Obariyon and Kodama back to their senses, only to be caught and brought to Nazmaldun before being placed in a trance and led away.
After the event, Angelosetti attempted to leave the arena, quickly becoming aware of noises behind him. He continued to place his bags into his car, still hearing noises but not seeing a thing until he got into the driver’s seat. It was then that he saw it: an empty wheelchair. From the backseat, Nazmaldun rose, snatching Angelosetti by the face as everything went black.
Some time after the event, it was announced that a Big Deal would be coming to CHIKARA. This was soon revealed as the former Hornswoggle. He, along with his partners Rick Roland and Sloan Caprice (one of whom had been spotted in the crowd during Tightrope and mistaken for an agent of Condor Security), made their debut during CHIKARA’s return to Canada, as Toronto, Ontario played host to the doubleheader When Nature Calls and Back in the Habit. Player Uno, who had not been seen in many years, returned in his Evil Uno guise, but was defeated by Kobald, who secured his third point; the aforementioned Team Big Deal squashed three unfortunate souls; Oleg defeated Barksdale; Kimberlee and Lovelace joined Team Sea Stars in a losing effort against the Nightmare Warriors (who had somehow turned terribly punny, as they were nicknamed the heXed Men), who included Angelosetti amongst their ranks; Moustache Mountain returned to CHIKARA, winning two points in a Four Corner Elimination Tag; and Drew Gulak won his third point, knocking Dasher (who had originally been scheduled to compete for his third point during the yearly stop to First Energy Stadium, which had been canceled due to weather) from the standings.
MAM defeated “Rump Thump” Stephon Smith (subbing in for an ill Pinkie); Soldier Ant defeated Calhoun; Moustache Mountain snatched their third point in a non-title contest against N_R_G; Silver and Worker Ant, who had butted heads before the event, were forced to put aside their differences by Quackenbush to defeat the Batiri after a mid-match spat involving Silver departing from the match for a while after Amasis assisted them in running off Kobald; Team Big Deal thrashed the United Nations, upsetting de Coronado; and Hallowicked successfully defended the Grand Championship against Fire Ant.
After losing against Moustache Mountain, Race Jaxon of N_R_G (who had previously bragged about his team’s CdP reign in a blog) remained in the ring, dazed from the piledriver/suplex powerbomb combination that had won the Mountain their third point. This heralded the arrival of Los Ice Creams, who cashed in their Golden Opportunity and dogpiled Jaxon to win the Campeonatos de Parejas. This delighted fans who had supported Los Ice Creams, as well as those who had become disgruntled with N_R_G.
Days later, those fans would be angered, as Quackenbush proceeded to dispute the title change. Many supported Los Ice Creams in the dispute, citing that the rules of the Golden Opportunity had not been properly laid out and that the rule Quackenbush was utilizing in the dispute, that of the 2/3 fall CdP defense, was never stated to have been required for the cash in. Nevertheless, Los Ice Creams were stripped of the titles, with N_R_G being granted a rematch for the vacant titles. The match was set for CHIKARA’s first CHIKARATopia-streamed event, No One’s First, And You’re Next.
The second Hour of Power saw the Dev Corp, who had disappeared for a while following Flex becoming injured and Blaster being suspended after an altercation with a fan on Twitter back in May (a suspension that was originally set to only last one show, the aforementioned canceled First Energy Stadium stop), return and state their right to compete for the vacant CdP, citing their Tag World Grand Prix victory. Quackenbush promptly added them to the match, making it a triple threat. Upon seeing that, Moustache Mountain decided to cash in as well, making it a double elimination four way.
Soon, No One’s First, And You’re Next had arrived. Hermit Crab, who had been disqualified against Ophidian at the second Hour of Power, took on the serpentine grappler once more, only to lose; Abominous Rex did not appear for his scheduled match against Oleg, leaving CHIKARA no choice but to show him the door and leave Bakabella out a client; DUSTIN (the former Taylor having finally settled on a name) returned to CHIKARA after an absence of several months, defeating Zack Sabre Jr.; DUSTIN’s first interview back was interrupted by Taylor TM, who declared that he’d be exercising the fine print of his contract. Moustache Mountain won the double elimination four way and became the new Campeones (of particular note, N_R_G were both eliminated first); the United Nations again fared badly against Team Big Deal; Kingston utterly destroyed Hammermeier to the point of being awarded the match via referee stoppage, a decision that he didn’t care about as he proceeded to cut Hammermeier’s hair; Worker Ant recruited Amasis, Pinkie, MAM, and ARA (who would rechristen himself Bullet Ant) as auxiliary Colony members to join himself, Fire, and Soldier (Silver not participating though watching on from ringside) in a losing effort against the entirety of the Nightmare Warriors; Hallowicked stated that he would be entering the upcoming King of Trios tournament alongside two unnamed partners; Lovelace destroyed Kimberlee to earn her third point; and Calhoun defeated Wani in the encore.
After the event, Hallowicked would publish a new blog, declaring that those who had assisted the Colony against the heXed Men would be punished by Frightmare, who had been named Nazmaldun’s Justice, with an ominous note that one of the four had already been visited. The first victim was soon revealed to have been Pinkie Sanchez, who was ambushed by Frightmare after the event.
Teams from all over the world soon converged in Easton for King of Trios. Competing were Team CWC (Cedric Alexander, Johnny Gargano, and Drew Gulak, representing those who had competed in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament), the Warriors Three (Kimberlee, Oleg, and Thunderfrog), Team Big Deal, the Colony, Team Police Squad (Barksdale, Bill Carr, and Supercop Dick Justice), Major League Moustache (the Mountain and Dasher), the Batiri, the heXed Men (Hallowicked and two unnamed partners), Team Sendai Girls (Cassandra Miyagi, DASH Chisako, and Meiko Satomura), Team JWP (Hanako Nakamori, Manami Katsu, and Command Bolshoi), Team Original Divas (Lisa Marie “Victoria” Varon, Mickie James, and Jazz), Heidi Lovelace and N_R_G, Team SHIMMER (Crazy Mary Dobson, Candice LeRae, and Solo Darling, the last replacing an injured Madison Eagles), the Osirian Portal and Argus, an auxiliary Colony, later dubbed Just a Lot of Ants and abbreviated the JLA (Worker Ant, Bullet Ant, and MAM), and the United Nations. Also announced was the debut of a new commentator, the legendary Joey Styles. Meanwhile, fans participated in a Pokemon GO-themed scavenger hunt prior to Night One.
Due to an unspecified medical emergency affecting the Big Deal, Team Big Deal withdrew from the tournament, with Roland and Caprice later participating in the tag gauntlet. After ring announcer Vlad Radinov drew several names as replacements, all of which were not there (and were fictional characters), the Submission Squad (represented by Davey Vega, Pierre Abernathy, and Gary the Barn Owl), who had miraculously not broken down on the side of the road, arrived. Unfortunately for the Squad, who had canceled their weekend plans to be there, they were defeated by the Colony, who themselves were knocked out by Team Sendai Girls in the quarterfinals.
The United Nations, who had been fracturing for months, managed to defeat Team Police Squad, but after a loss to Team JWP in the quarterfinals, de Coronado dissolved their partnership, walking away from Sabar and the Boar. N_R_G also began to show signs of fracture, which ultimately cost them and Lovelace their first round match against Team Sendai Girls.
The Warriors Three, who had surprisingly formed a strong partnership, defeated Team CWC and Team Original Divas on their way to the semifinals, but suffered the same fate as the Colony and N_R_G/Lovelace before them: defeat at the hands of Team Sendai Girls.
The chosen partners of Hallowicked were Icarus and the man who would be termed the Betrayer, the final of the Pillars to fall: Jigsaw. No one had seen his defection coming, and, augmented by the new conscription, Hallowicked led his team to victory against the JLA. Unfortunately for Nazmaldun, his other chosen team, the Batiri, met their demise at the hands of Major League Moustache in the first round, but the Pillars would avenge that loss by taking out the MLM in the quarterfinals. However, their path of destruction would be halted in the semifinals, as their brutal dismantling of Team JWP earned them a disqualification. In the finals, the two Joshi guest teams went all-out, but Team Sendai Girls would ultimately triumph over their rivals (no doubt helped along by the vicious beating that Team JWP suffered at the hands of the Pillars), crowning the very first Queen of Trios.
Outside the tournament, Angelosetti would defeat MAM and Arik Cannon on Nights Two and Three, joining Icarus as a three point gatekeeper for Hallowicked; “Lady Excellence” Deonna Purazzo made her debut, defeating Dobson; Taylor TM was humiliated by a conga line of chops and tried to make an alliance with Calhoun, only to be chopped down; Max Smashmaster made his return, taking Radinov hostage and demanding his reinstatement, a demand granted by Quackenbush after the intervention of Kimberlee, who wanted revenge for earlier in the season; Frightmare and Aero Star won their way into the Rey de Voladores final (the latter’s qualifier also notable for being Gargano’s last CHIKARA match, as he was in the process of finishing up commitments before joining WWE full-time), but as Frightmare could not compete due to a suspected injury, Tony Nese took his place and was defeated, crowning Aero Star the 2016 Rey de Voladores; Bakabella interrupted the tag gauntlet to speak to the Dev Corp and was soon revealed to once again be in league with Smashmaster, who attacked his former partners and caused their elimination (also notable for the last appearance of Blaster McMassive, as he announced his departure the next day); Sonny DeFarge and Cornelius Crummels, who had only made Hour of Power appearances beforehand, made their event debuts during the tag gauntlet, but were eliminated by the also-debuting Dez Peloton (Donald Kluger and Jasper Tippins); and the Bloc Party, having split from de Coronado, began to forge their own path by eliminating Dez Peloton from the tag gauntlet, only to be completely derailed by Billy Gunn and Sean Waltman.
A flurry of speculation and criticism followed the events, mainly directed at the revelation of Jigsaw as the Betrayer (citing the lack of exposition to go along with the reveal), the all-Joshi final (many expressing a dissatisfaction with the final not including any of the CHIKARA teams, as well as Team Hallowicked’s disqualification), and the ending of the tag gauntlet (the negative effect on the CdP point standings, as with Crummels and DeFarge’s defeat, there were no clear challengers for the Mountain, and the appearance of Gunn and Waltman to derail the Bloc Party in what was essentially the end of a long-running joke between Waltman and Prakash Sabar).
Later in the month, during The Black Goodbye, Kimberlee returned to the point standings, defeating Rock Lobster (substituting for an injured Solo Darling); Team Big Deal defeated Suplex Stephen and Brandon Bodyslam; Nazmaldun’s enforcers Icarus and Angelosetti defeated Fire and Silver Ant; Hermit Crab claimed a tainted victory over Amasis after Angelosetti (donning a Frightmare mask) ambushed the Madjai; de Coronado resumed his partnership with Wani, the two defeating Worker and Bullet Ant to earn their second point; the Batiri defeated Ophidian, Lovelace, and Oleg, with Oleg becoming a liability for his team due to a promise he had made not to harm his former Arcane Horde teammates; Hallowicked successfully defended the Grand Championship against Gulak; and Dez Peloton once again defeated Crummels and DeFarge in the Encore.
Following an Hour of Power earlier in the week (which saw Crummels and DeFarge get their revenge on Dez Peloton, Hermit Crab pick up another victory, and Ophidian attain his third point), CHIKARA returned to Haverhill for Cruise Control and Judgment Day. Icarus derailed Silver Ant’s attempt to claim his third point; Flex Rumblecrunch dominated Billy Bodyslam before Max Smashmaster attacked him once more (leading to him leaving CHIKARA as well); The Closers (FKA Big Deal Security) made liberal use of a foreign object before the principal of the school hosting the events entered the ring to stop the cheating, allowing Los Ice Creams to get the win; de Coronado continued his winning ways by defeating Kluger; MAM stood toe-to-toe with Jigsaw and went down in defeat; though Frightmare attacked Amasis midway through their match with the Batiri, the Portal powered through the interference, with Ophidian fending off both Obariyon and Kodama before Amasis made the save and the Egyptian Destroyer secured the victory; Amasis declared war on Frightmare following the match, citing that Frightmare had broken tradition by ripping his mask.
Wani utilized chicanery and foreign weaponry to dispose of Officer Warren Barksdale; Worker Ant quickly defeated Tim Pence; Crummels and DeFarge defeated Hermit Crab and Rock Lobster via Great Expectations; Fire Ant and Angelosetti went to war, with Angelosetti eking out the win with a Colossal Bomb; The Closers ran near-constant interference to get the Big Deal a victory against Chuck Taylor TM; though she fought hard, Heidi Lovelace succumbed to Never Wake Up as Hallowicked successfully defended the Grand Championship; and, in the encore, the Swamp Monster got stuck in a cargo net as Team Sea Stars triumphed over him and Orange Cassidy. It is assumed, though unknown, that Swampy was freed from the net afterward.
It was back to Philadelphia in November, as the Wrestle Factory played host to Counting Backwards and Like Phantoms, Forever. Drew Gulak defeated Lucas Calhoun, but accepted a request for a few more minutes and was defeated in turn; Gulak vowed revenge for the loss in his hometown. Chuck Taylor TM invoked the fine print of his contract to force DUSTIN to team with him; they succeeded in attaining one point in a Four Corner elimination tag also featuring the Closers, Team Sea Stars, and N_R_G. Thunderfrog successfully defended the Young Lions Cup against Hermit Crab. Barksdale attempted to bounce back from his loss to Wani from the previous month; just like TM, rampant interference from the Closers prevented that, as he was defeated by the Big Deal. Dasher’s Dugout exploded, as Heidi Lovelace and Dasher Hatfield took on their hexed ex-partners Icarus and Angelosetti; the match featured the first confrontation between Dasher and Angelosetti and Icarus attempting shenanigans by twisting Dasher’s mask around, but after his mask was inadvertently fixed (also by Icarus), Dasher countered a Blu-Ray into a Jackhammer to get the pin. Post-match, Dasher realized that Angelosetti was not willingly a part of the Pillars and vowed to make things right. Zack Sabre Jr. made his return to CHIKARA, only to fall to de Coronado in what just might be Coronado’s biggest win to date.
Bullet Ant proved his worth in singles competition, defeating Rock Lobster. Dez Peloton once again blocked Crummels and DeFarge from claiming a shot at Moustache Mountain, as Tippins pinned Crummels by reversing a small package; DeFarge was understandably upset by the loss. Kobald once again troubled Oleg the Usurper; his interference caused Oleg to become distracted and fall prey to Wani. Amasis re-donned the identity of Pharaoh Ant, joining Fire, Soldier, and Worker Ant against Frightmare, Jigsaw, Kodama, and Kobald; Amasis ripped into Frightmare after Frightmare blinded Soldier by ripping off his remaining antenna, causing the entire match to be thrown out. Princess Kimberlee and Max Smashmaster finally did battle; Kimberlee attained her revenge, shutting down Smashmaster with the Alligator Clutch, causing Smashmaster and Bakabella to walk away dejectedly afterward. In his first attempt at the Grand Championship, Ophidian challenged Hallowicked; a strong contest saw Ophidian endure everything the Grand Champion threw at him before finally being felled by a super variant of Never Wake Up. Post-match, Ophidian was dragged before Nazmaldun, but Ophidian’s patrons were watching over their disciple, as, for the very first time, Nazmaldun’s hex power failed. The lights were extinguished, and when they came back on, Ophidian was masked in gold and Nazmaldun was shaking on the ground. The evening was capped off by a quick match between Thunderfrog and Mr. Azerbaijan, as the latter was pinned with the Hammer.
It was soon revealed that, not only had Ophidian been saved by the guiding hand of his gods, they had shown him a vision of the future, further guiding him to the one man who could lead CHIKARA to war against the Pillars in the Cibernetico: Dasher Hatfield. Over the remainder of the month, Dasher began to select his warriors. First, of course, was Ophidian, followed by Fire Ant, Oleg the Usurper (with Dasher pointedly mentioning Oleg’s vow in selecting him), Heidi Lovelace, Missile Assault Man, Thunderfrog, and Princess Kimberlee.
In contrast to Dasher’s rag-tag team of CHIKARA stalwarts, Hallowicked utilized the assets already provided to him by Nazmaldun, constructing a team entirely comprised of the Pillars. He selected Kobald (a failed attempt at preventing Dasher from selecting Oleg), Mark Angelosetti, Obariyon, Kodama, Jigsaw, Icarus, and Frightmare. Frightmare had begged to be allowed to compete, as prior to the completion of Hallowicked’s team, it had been announced that the war that had started between him and Amasis would soon be decisively finished in a Lucha de Apuesta, with both their masks placed at stake.
Later in the month of November, the CHIKArmy was offered a taste of what would happen during the Cibernetico, as Ophidian, Fire Ant, and Oleg joined forces to take on Kobald, Angelosetti, and Obariyon during the Hour of Power. Once again, Oleg fell prey to Kobald’s wiles, this time allowing Angelosetti to get the rollup pin via his distraction. Things were not looking good for Team CHIKARA. Also on the Hour of Power, the Closers defeated Rope Break Randy and Benny the Beell before declaring that they were tired of all the fun and games in CHIKARA and looking to bring them to a close at the Season finale the following month; DeFarge and Crummels defeated Eddie the Elbow and Hiptoss Hank before issuing another challenge to Dez Peloton; and Officer Warren Barksdale issued an open challenge of his own after defeating Chinlock Charlie.
Following a poor choice made at an event for the EVOLVE promotion, CHIKARA officially dismissed Joey Styles from commentary, at the same time instituting a zero tolerance policy towards hate speech directed at anyone associated with CHIKARA. This was met with a mixed response, as some praised the new directive while other disputed it and the incident that caused it.
Finally, the Season finale doubleheader, Temple of Doom and Supremacy, arrived, as CHIKARA traveled to Chicago to end the Season in style. In what seemed to be his final CHIKARA match prior to joining WWE full-time, Drew Gulak was defeated by Lucas Calhoun. The Submission Squad (represented once again by Vega, Abernathy, and the Barn Owl) once again returned, only to fall victim to Team Big Deal, who were angry at the Squad for taking their King of Trios spot. The feud between Crummels and DeFarge and Dez Peloton was seemingly settled for good, as the Dickensians finally triumphed over their longtime rivals. Soldier Ant, blinded by Frightmare the month before, was honored for his service by the CHIKARA roster before going into retirement. Solo Darling benefitted from the suspect refereeing that had become sadly commonplace in matches involving junior referee Travis, pinning Max Smashmaster though Smashmaster’s foot was on the ropes; Smashmaster shoved Travis afterward before departing. Cajun Crawdad, who had been injured the previous Season, made his return to team with Hermit Crab; the crustacean duo were defeated by Los Ice Creams. Amasis and Frightmare warred in the Lucha de Apuesta, a very close contest that saw the victory given to Frightmare after three consecutive Kneecolepsies. After the match, Ophidian came out to embrace his longtime partner, and Amasis handed him his mask, apologizing. The mask was then left in the ring, signifying that his time with the Portal, and possibly with CHIKARA, was now finished.
As Bullet Ant could not compete due to a family emergency, a random draw named the returning Space Monkey as Silver Ant’s partner against de Coronado and Wani; the unlikely duo was triumphant, taking away Juan y Wani’s chance for the Campeonatos de Parejas, though Wani taunted the Monkey by smashing a banana. Jeremy Leary, last seen in the Young Lions Cup tournament, returned to CHIKARA, defeating Barksdale in the latter’s open challenge. N_R_G continued to argue, as Race walked out on Hype during a match against Chuck Taylor TM and DUSTIN; though he eventually returned, it was not enough to save them from losing nor Hype from having his knee savaged. Hype would request help to the backstage area after the match.
The Cibernetico went over an hour, with no eliminations taking place during the first half; Oleg was first to fall, with Icarus continually baiting him into facing Kobald before Hallowicked disposed of him. Ophidian targeted Frightmare, getting revenge for his fallen partner by eliminating him following an Egyptian Destroyer. Thunderfrog attempted to steal a kiss from Kimberlee after knocking everyone down with the Hammer; he was met with Skull Bronzing instead and eliminated. Lovelace and Kimberlee soon followed, Angelosetti and Icarus respectively eliminating them. Fire Ant went on the warpath, eliminating all three members of the Batiri before being eliminated himself, along with Ophidian. With Dasher on the floor thanks to the Wings of Icarus, it was left to Missile Assault Man to hold the fort against overwhelming odds; he performed admirably, eliminating Jigsaw and Icarus before being eliminated by Hallowicked. Angelosetti dragged Dasher back into the match, seemingly feeding him to Hallowicked to end it…but Dasher kicked out of a pin attempt. The moment that the CHIKArmy had waited all Season for had finally arrived, as Dasher and Angelosetti finally squared off. Though Hallowicked attempted to intervene on behalf of his conscript, Angelosetti fell to Dasher via a running sit-out powerbomb.
Out of the sixteen people who had begun the match, only the Captains remained. Two minutes after Angelosetti’s elimination, Dasher reversed Never Wake Up into a Jackhammer from the top, scoring the final and decisive pin. Team CHIKARA had won the Cibernetico.
After the match, Ophidian reappeared, having stolen the Eye of Tyr away from Nazmaldun at ringside. With the removal of the conduit, Nazmaldun’s physical presence was no more. UltraMantis Black, the unwilling vehicle of the Lord of Rot, was free. The Great and Devious One, in command of his physical body for the first time since April, rose from his wheelchair, declaring three very familiar words: “I. REMEMBER. EVERYTHING.” He would then pursue Hallowicked, who wisely took his leave.
As the CHIKArmy, somehow not tired from the Cibernetico, demanded an encore, Drew Gulak entered the ring. He spoke of leaving CHIKARA, his wrestling history and the opportunities he was receiving as a result of having taken part in the Cruiserweight Classic, before saying that he had emailed Quackenbush a list of fifteen wrestlers he wished to have his last CHIKARA match with. This led to the entrance of the one man who nobody had expected to step into the ring once more.
Mike Quackenbush himself was Gulak’s last CHIKARA opponent.
What followed was a twenty minute-long wrestling clinic, which was streamed for fans who could not attend on Facebook. In the end, Gulak was triumphant, as he made Quackenbush tap out to the Dragon Sleeper. He would then give a speech, officially bringing his time in CHIKARA to a close.
The day after, along with Amasis and Gulak, Prakash Sabar, who had not been seen since King of Trios, bid farewell to CHIKARA. His ban from Pakistan, which had evidently forced his emigration from there to Georgia, had been lifted, and he was going home.
With the release of Supremacy came another post-credits scene, resolving the fate of the Eye of Tyr. From Ophidian, it made its way into the hands of the Thunderfrog, who wielded the Hammer and smashed it. Though, as the Eye had been reconstructed before, who knows if the ancient artifact is well and truly gone?