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November 13, 2011 / Bill Thompson

Mike Quackenbush vs. Eddie Kingston from Chikara’s High Noon 2011

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Thoughts from Bill Thompson:

This match is the finals of the 12 Large: Summit tournament to determine the first CHIKARA Grand Champion.

For the first twelve minutes I was very taken by this match. I thought, this is really great stuff I am watching. I’ve never seen a lot of CHIKARA, but this is nothing like the federation described to me by most people. Nope, this match had intensity, emotion, no comedy, and featured focused and driven work that would be right at home in any federation in the world. Extended limb work, intelligent match structure and layout; this match had everything I look for in my wrestling.

The Eddie Kingston hit a Yakuza Kick with his injured leg. I thought to myself, well that’s highly stupid, and they didn’t even bother making it look like it hurt. Kingston went straight for a Lateral Press and the match moved on as if nothing had happened. Sure, Kingston would grab his leg here and there. Yes, Mike Quackenbush did later on use a Single Leg Boston Crab, but only in passing. All the fabulous limb work, all the layout and structure was tossed aside in favor of your spot, my spot, rinse and repeat merrily all the way to the finish.

I know the crowd popped big for the finishing run, and in a different match I might have liked the way the ending was structured. I won’t deny the emotional connection the fans had with the match, and the long term story being told that this match is a part of. At the same time when that is stripped away and the mechanics of the match are laid bare it really is the tale of an ending letting down the whole. The work in the beginning is rendered moot by the desire to pop a crowd through the random implementation of spots. The sad thing is that the crowd was into the beginning of the match and I have no doubt that allowing the beginning work to pan out would have resulted in the same big pops from the audience.

The ending to Quackenbush versus Kingston is a bummer. I say that because I really loved the beginning of the match. This is a good match, but it could and should have been a great match. Good is good, but realizing that something great was missed, that’s a hard pill to swallow. At the least Quackenbush and Kingston made me interested in seeking out more CHIKARA, so despite all its faults and its ultimate shortcoming the match had one very positive effect moving forward.

Bill Thompson

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