Chikara (professional wrestling)

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StyleProfessional wrestling
Lucha libre
Sports entertainment
HeadquartersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Founder(s)Mike Quackenbush
Reckless Youth
Owner(s)Mike Quackenbush

Chikara (stylized in all capital letters and sometimes referred to as Chikara Pro) is an American professional wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company takes both its name and logo from the Japanese kanji meaning strength. It was founded in 2002 by professional wrestlers Mike Quackenbush and Reckless Youth, who also served as trainers and in-ring performers.

The promotion holds multiple live events per month, with the majority being held at the Wrestle Factory. Two of their major events, September's King of Trios, the promotion's premiere event, and April's Tag World Grand Prix are centered on tag team and trios matches. Their other major events include Aniversario, held in May, and the Young Lions Cup tournament, held between June and August. In 2011, Chikara introduced the Grand Championship, the promotion's primary singles championship.

Influenced by the lucha libre tradition, Chikara performers are grouped into tecnicos and rudos (the lucha libre terms for faces and heels respectively). Just as in lucha libre, many performers in the promotion have also performed under masks and with unique gimmicks.


In the summer of 2000, after "Reckless Youth" Tom Carter had been released from his World Wrestling Federation developmental deal, he, Mike Quackenbush and Don Montoya started talking about starting a wrestling school, which would teach professional wrestling in various international styles. Originally, the school was to be called "Impact Wrestling" (not to be confused with the later promotion of the same name), but when Montoya decided not to put up money for its foundation and left the project, Carter and Quackenbush decided they needed a new name.[1] The Wrestle Factory was founded by Carter and Quackenbush in Allentown, Pennsylvania on January 7, 2002. The first class included UltraMantis, Mister Zero, Dragonfly, Hallowicked, and Ichabod Slayne. In May of the same year, Chikara expanded into a wrestling promotion with the intent of showcasing its students. The first show on May 25, 2002, featured not only the Wrestle Factory students and head trainers, but several other independent wrestlers, including Don Montoya, CM Punk, Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, Love Bug, Marshal Law, and Blind Rage. The main event of the first show featured Quackenbush and Youth joined by Don Montoya as the Black T-shirt Squad defeat the Gold Bond Mafia of Chris Hero, CM Punk, and Colt Cabana. In the early days, Blind Rage, Hallowicked, and Ichabod Slayne formed a stable known as the Night Shift, which became the top group of rudos (or heels) in the promotion. They frequently feuded with tecnicos (faces) Quackenbush, Youth, and UltraMantis. Notable events of 2002 included an appearance by former World Championship Wrestling star La Parka, who joined Mister Zero against Quackenbush and Youth, and the opening of the short-lived sister promotion Kiryoku Pro, which highlighted female wrestling.

2002 was also marked by a lawsuit against Chikara for promoting shows at the Wrestle Factory. Neighborhood activists claimed that the building was not properly zoned for assembly, and that the shows detracted from the "complexion of the community". It was eventually ruled that Chikara provided inadequate parking for their shows, and would not be allowed to promote out of the Wrestle Factory any longer. This deterred Chikara from holding any more shows until October. During the Chikara hiatus, they released tapes of their early shows, titled "The Renaissance Dawns" and "Baila, Parka, Baila", and the wrestlers worked showcase matches in other promotions, such as IWA Mid-South. Chikara soon reached an agreement with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allentown to hold shows there, only eight blocks from the Wrestle Factory. Chikara also began a second Wrestle Factory class, but lost trainer Reckless Youth at the beginning of the class, as he left the wrestling business. The first show in St. John's saw the Wildcards (Eddie Kingston and BlackJack Marciano), Gran Akuma, DJ Skittlez, Melvin Snodgrass and Lester Crabtree debut, and shortly after, they were joined by Wrestle Factory graduates Jigsaw and Bryce Remsburg. Soon after Chikara debuted the Young Lions Cup tournament, a concept still used by the promotion. Commonly abbreviated as the YLC, the tournament was designed to showcase the best of the Wrestle Factory graduates. Hallowicked defeated Mister Zero to win the inaugural tournament, becoming the first-ever Young Lions Cup Champion in the process. In December 2002, Chikara took a two-week break during Christmastime before returning in 2003, establishing a tradition of "seasons" that they maintain today.

The Chikara roster of 2004

In 2004, Chris Hero became a co-trainer at the Chikara Wrestle Factory, replacing Carter. In 2005, Jorge "Skayde" Rivera joined as the third trainer. In March 2005, the school moved from Allentown to the New Alhambra Arena, in Philadelphia.[2] They then took over the training for Combat Zone Wrestling, leading to the school's new name of CZW/Chikara Wrestle Factory.[2] After the schools split in 2007, the training center became once again simply known as the Chikara Wrestle Factory.[2] In 2007, Claudio Castagnoli took over Chris Hero's training duties.[2]

On March 2, 2008, Chikara drew their biggest crowd ever of over 550 people during the King of Trios finals. That record was broken on January 31, 2010, when their first show of season nine, A Touch of Class, drew over 600 fans. Later that year, on July 25, the record was broken once again at Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Show, which drew 755 fans.[3] The show was released by Smart Mark Video on DVD less than 24 hours after its conclusion.[3]

On April 26, 2009, Chikara announced a working agreement with Dragon Gate USA, which saw Chikara wrestlers take part in Dragon Gate USA events.[4] Throughout the years, Chikara has also worked with several Japanese promotions in bringing their talent over to the United States, including Dragon Gate,[5] Ice Ribbon,[6] JWP Joshi Puroresu,[7] and Sendai Girls' Pro Wrestling.[8] In 2010, Chikara established a close working relationship with the Osaka Pro Wrestling promotion.[9] In December 2011, Chikara partnered with numerous Japanese promotion to hold the three-day-long JoshiMania event, which featured some of the biggest names in joshi puroresu.[7] Wrestlers such as Aja Kong, Dick Togo, The Great Sasuke, Jinsei Shinzaki, Kana, Kaori Yoneyama, Kota Ibushi, Manami Toyota, and Mayumi Ozaki have made rare American appearances for Chikara.[10]

On April 25, 2010, Chikara announced the release of a video game, titled Rudo Resurrection, for multiple gaming platforms later in the year.[11] After not being heard of again for four years, it was announced on May 2, 2014, that a new developer, Rotary Games, had picked up the rights to the game.[12]

On August 1, 2011, Chikara announced that their first ever live Internet pay-per-view (iPPV), titled High Noon, would take place November 13, 2011, and would feature the crowning of the first ever Chikara Grand Champion.[13] The event would again break Chikara's attendance record, drawing 864 fans.[14] During 2012, High Noon was followed by the Chikarasaurus Rex: How to Hatch a Dinosaur and Under the Hood Internet pay-per-views.[15][16]

In February 2012, Chikara launched their first ever web comic, written by Joey Esposito and drawn by Alex Cormack, telling the secret origin of Frightmare. On April 6, 2013, Chikara took part in WrestleCon, held during the WrestleMania 29 weekend in Secaucus, New Jersey, holding an event, which again broke the promotion's attendance record.[17]

On June 2, 2013, Chikara ran an angle at the conclusion of their fourth iPPV, Aniversario: Never Compromise, where the event was shut down by Director of Fun Wink Vavasseur.[18] Following the event, Chikara went inactive, "canceling" all upcoming events, though in reality these events were never scheduled to take place.[19] Chikara held no official events for the rest of 2013,[20] though wrestlers from the promotion did hold a small event on November 2 in Philadelphia's FDR Skatepark with the storyline that they were trying to revive the promotion.[21][22][23] In October 2013, Neon Alley acquired rights to 26 Chikara events, which would start airing on the channel on Sundays as part of the new fall lineup.[24] On February 1, 2014, it was announced that Chikara would be returning on May 25.[25] On February 10, 2014, it was announced that The Wrestle Factory would start a new training class at the 2300 Arena on March 1.[26]

In April 2015, Chikara made its debut in the United Kingdom with a four-show tour held across England and Wales[27] and launched Chikaratopia, a streaming service featuring past events.[28] That same year on July 29, the promotion launched a new weekly program, entitled Journey Into Chikara, which would air live on both Chikaratopia and YouTube.[29] In December 2016, Chikara concluded its 16th season.[30] However, when the promotion returned in February 2017, it was announced as the start of season 18. Season 17 had been taped during the break and would be streamed on Chikaratopia.[31]

On August 7, 2019, Chikara announced a working relationship with Michinoku Pro Wrestling.[32]

Chikara Wrestle Factory[edit]

On January 7, 2002, "Reckless Youth" Tom Carter and Mike Quackenbush founded the Chikara Wrestle Factory, a wrestling school based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.[1] Following the start of the Wrestle Factory's second class, Carter departed from Chikara and ultimately left the wrestling industry. In 2004, Chris Hero became a co-trainer at the Wrestle Factory, filling the vacancy left by Carter's departure. In 2005, Mexican luchador Jorge "Skayde" Rivera became the school's third trainer. In March 2005, the school moved from Allentown to the New Alhambra Arena, in Philadelphia.[2] In 2007, Chris Hero left Chikara and the Wrestle Factory, with Claudio Castagnoli taking over Hero's training duties.[2] In August 2011, Castagnoli signed with WWE, and departed the Wrestle Factory.

Head trainer Mike Quackenbush is now assisted by trainers Fire Ant, Hallowicked, Juan Francisco de Coronado, and Ophidian.[33] The Wrestle Factory offers training to prospective professional wrestlers, managers, valets, and referees, and is based in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] Former guest instructors include El Pantera, Terry Funk, CM Punk, Marty Jannetty, and many others.[2] It offers training in all styles of pro wrestling, including lucha libre, puroresu, Lancashire, and catch, among others, claiming to be the only such training center in the United States.


Championship Current champion(s) Previous champion(s) Date won Days held Location
Chikara Grand Championship Dasher Hatfield "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti April 5, 2019 244 Jersey City, New Jersey
Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas The Bird & The Bee (Willow Nightingale & Solo Darling.) F.I.S.T. (Tony Deppen & Travis Huckabee) November 9, 2019 26 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chikara Young Lions Cup Still Life with Apricots and Pears Boomer Hatfield March 16, 2019 264 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Other accomplishments[edit]

Accomplishment Latest winner(s) Date won
King of Trios The Crucible
(Ophidian, Princess KimberLee, and Lance Steel)
October 6, 2019
Rey de Voladores The Whisper October 6, 2019
Tag World Grand Prix The Throwbacks
(Dasher Hatfield and "Mr. Touchdown" Mark Angelosetti)
April 14, 2018
Torneo Cibernetico Chris Dickinson November 24, 2018
Infinite Gauntlet Ophidian May 11, 2019
The Johnny Kidd Invitational Ophidian September 7, 2019


John Francis of Coronado


Ring name Real name Notes
Blanche Babish[34] Bryanna Marie
Blank[35] Logan Wait
Boomer Hatfield[36] Unknown
Cajun Crawdad[37] Unknown
Callux the Castigator[38] Unknown
Cornelius Crummels[39] Tyler Maddox
Danjerhawk[40] Unknown
Dasher Hatfield[41] Sean Devlin Chikara Grand Champion
El Hijo del Ice Cream[42] Michael Spillane
Fire Ant[43] James Cipperly Trainer[33]
Frantik[44] Unknown
Frightmare[45] Stephen Delicato[46]
Green Ant (II)[47] Unknown
Hallowicked[48] Robert Goodwin Trainer[33]
Hermit Crab[49] Unknown
Icarus[50] Ronald Grams
Ice Cream Jr.[51] Robert Goodwin
Jeremy Leary[52] Jeremy Leary
John Francis of Coronado[53] Jonathan Padilla[54] Trainer[33]
Kobald[55] Unknown
Lucas Calhoun[56] Christopher Hoyer
Merlok[57] Junior Irizarry
Mike Quackenbush[58] Michael Spillane Founder and owner
Head trainer of The Wrestle Factory[33]
Host of Chikara Podcast-A-Go-Go
Lead commentator
Missile Assault Man[59] Unknown
Molly McCoy[60] Molly Neill
Oceanea[61] Ashley Medrano
Officer Warren Barksdale[62] Unknown
Oleg the Usurper[63] Josh Thorman[64]
Ophidian[65] Unknown Trainer[33]
Princess KimberLee[66] Kimberly Frankele
Razerhawk[67] Unknown
Rick Roland[68] Unknown
Rory Gulak[69] Rory Gulak[70]
Sloan Caprice[71] Michael Taverna[72]
Solo Darling[73] Christina Garibaldi[74] Chikara Campeon de Parejas
Sonny Defarge[75] Ryan Fitzpatrick Trainer[33]
Still Life With Apricots and Pears[76] Unknown Chikara Young Lions Cup Champion
Stray Kat[77] Allison Woodard
Thief Ant[78] Unknown
Travis Huckabee[79] Travis Irizarry
Tony Deppen[80] Anthony Deppen
Volgar (II)[81] Unknown
Willow Nightingale[82] Unknown Chikara Campeon de Parejas
The Whisper[83] C.J. Atkinson
Worker Ant (II)[84] Nelson Ortiz[85]


Ring name Notes
Jonathan Barber[86]
Kris Levin[87]
Bryce Remsburg[88] Commentator
Senior referee
Betsy Ross[89]

Other performers[edit]

Ring name Notes
Sidney Bakabella[90] Commentator
Director of Fun
Mark Adam Haggerty[91] Host of Chikara Event Center
Master of Ceremonies
Ring announcer
Doc Diamondfire[92] Interviewer
Robbie Ellis[93] Owner (kayfabe)
Scott Holladay[94] Commentator
Mortimer[95] Manager of The Whisper
Professor Nicodemus[96] Manager of The Proteus Wheel (Volgar, Callux the Castigator, and Frantik)

Notable alumni[edit]

Commercial DVD releases[edit]

Big Vision Entertainment releases

Name Release date Region Additional information
Best of Chikara November 6, 2007 Global Contains 9 matches from 2005 and 2006.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Namako, Jason (2016-02-01). "Mike Quackenbush on Chikara's history, their loyal fanbase". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Wrestle Factory History". Chikara. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  3. ^ a b "Thanks to the 755 fans who made C-Rex the biggest Chikara show ever! And if you missed it, don't fret – the DVD comes out TOMORROW at SMV!". Chikara. Twitter. 2010-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  4. ^ "DGUSA and Chikara reach working agreement". Dragon Gate USA. 2010-04-27. Archived from the original on 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  5. ^ Boutwell, Josh (2010-07-30). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  6. ^ Boutwell, Josh (2011-08-06). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  7. ^ a b Magee, Bob (2011-12-02). "JoshiMania tonight in Phily with Toys for Tots". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  8. ^ Martin, Adam (2012-03-19). "Indy News #2: KSWA Wrestling, Sendai Girls/Chikara". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  9. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-09-24). "Indy News #2: NWA Hollywood, Chikara and TWA". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  10. ^ "Past results". Chikara. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  11. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-05-14). "More details on a new Chikara video game". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
  12. ^ Higham, Joshua (2014-05-04). "As Chikara returns this month, an update on everything going on". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
  13. ^ Csonka, Larry (2011-08-01). "Various News: Chikara's to I-PPV, Joshimania, Billy Corgan's New Promotion,More". 411Mania. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  14. ^ Martin, Adam (2011-11-24). "Chikara draws well for "High Noon" iPPV event". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
  15. ^ Radican, Sean (2012-06-02). "Radican's Chikara "Chikarasaurus Rex" iPPV review 6/2 – live coverage of event from Philaldephia". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  16. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-11-08). "Indy News: Next PWG main event set, Chikara returning to iPPV". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  17. ^ Higham, Josh (2013-04-06). "Part two of the 4/6 Chikara show". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  18. ^ Johnson, Mike (2013-06-02). "Out go the lights, Sopranos style: complete Chikara Anniversario 2013 iPPV coverage". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  19. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2013-06-03). "Mon. update: Two major new UFC fights and talks of stadium show, Austin gets national pub, Chikara ending, Wrestling star robbed, Goldberg, Bella Twins, Best TV show of last week, Promotion reforms". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  20. ^ "Events". Chikara. Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
  21. ^ Johnson, Mike (2013-11-02). "Chikara returns?". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  22. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2013-11-04). "Mon. update: Huge mid-week, WWE webisode cartoon, WWE ads, Huge convention, Rock TV show, new TNA show, New wrestling show on small network, Flair". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  23. ^ Boutwell, Josh (2013-11-09). "Viva la Raza! Lucha Weekly 11/9/13". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  24. ^ Johnson, Mike (2013-10-05). "Official Chikara on Neon Alley press release". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  25. ^ Johnson, Mike (2014-02-01). "Chikara returns, first show this May". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  26. ^ Namako, Jason (2014-02-10). "Chikara to re-open wrestling school at former ECW Arena". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  27. ^ Caldwell, James (2015-04-04). "Saturday events: NXT wraps tour, Samoa Joe & Duggan at 2CW, Waltman headlines Slamfest, Chikara U.K. Tour, Mickie James, Trevor Murdoch, Gargano, more stars". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2015-04-07.
  28. ^ Johnson, Mike (2015-04-28). "Jim Ross discusses Verne Gagne memories, Corgan purchases wrestling archive, Taz, sample Chikara's new streaming service and more news". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  29. ^ Caldwell, James (2015-07-29). "Chikara news: Chikara joining Mega-Wednesdays with new online show". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  30. ^ Cardoza, Adam; Langan, Michael (2016-12-04). "Drew Gulak farewell and more: 12/3 Chikara in Chicago results". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  31. ^ Cardoza, Adam (2017-02-04). "2/4 Chikara National Pro Wrestling Day report". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  32. ^ Mike Johnson (August 7, 2019). "NWA ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY, CHIKARA TEAMING WITH MICHINOKU PRO AND MORE". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g "Our Training Faculty". Chikara Wrestle Factory. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  34. ^ "Blanche Babish". CHIKARA.
  35. ^ "BLANK". CHIKARA.
  36. ^ "Boomer Hatfield". CHIKARA.
  37. ^ "Cajun Crawdad". CHIKARA.
  38. ^ "Callux the Castigator". CHIKARA.
  39. ^ "Cornelius Crummels". CHIKARA.
  40. ^ "Danjerhawk". CHIKARA.
  41. ^ "Dasher Hatfield". CHIKARA.
  42. ^ "El Hijo del Ice Cream". CHIKARA.
  43. ^ "Fire Ant". CHIKARA.
  44. ^ "Frantik". CHIKARA.
  45. ^ "Frightmare". CHIKARA.
  46. ^ "Frightmare". The Internet Wrestling Database.
  47. ^ "Green Ant". CHIKARA.
  48. ^ "Hallowicked". CHIKARA.
  49. ^ "Hermit Crab". CHIKARA.
  50. ^ "Icarus". CHIKARA.
  51. ^ "Ice Cream Junior". CHIKARA.
  52. ^ "Jeremy Leary". CHIKARA.
  53. ^ "Juan Francisco de Coronado". CHIKARA.
  54. ^ "Juan Francisco de Coronado". The Internet Wrestling Database.
  55. ^ "Kobald". CHIKARA.
  56. ^ "Lucas Calhoun". CHIKARA.
  57. ^ "Merlok". CHIKARA.
  58. ^ "Mike Quackenbush". CHIKARA.
  59. ^ "Missile Assault Man}". CHIKARA.
  60. ^ "Molly McCoy}". CHIKARA.
  61. ^ "Oceanea". CHIKARA.
  62. ^ "Officer Warren Barksdale". CHIKARA.
  63. ^ "Oleg the Usurper". CHIKARA.
  64. ^ "Oleg the Usurper". The Internet Wrestling Database.
  65. ^ "Ophidian". CHIKARA.
  66. ^ "Princess KimberLee". CHIKARA.
  67. ^ "Razerhawk". CHIKARA.
  68. ^ "Rick Roland". CHIKARA.
  69. ^ "Rory Gulak". CHIKARA.
  70. ^ "Rory Gulak". The Internet Wrestling Database.
  71. ^ "Sloan Caprice". CHIKARA.
  72. ^ "Mike Verna". The Internet Wrestling Database.
  73. ^ "Solo Darling". CHIKARA.
  74. ^ "Solo Darling". The Internet Wrestling Database.
  75. ^ "Sonny Defarge". CHIKARA.
  76. ^ "Still Life With Apricots and Pears". CHIKARA.
  77. ^ "Stray Kat". CHIKARA.
  78. ^ "Thief Ant". CHIKARA.
  79. ^ "Travis Huckabee". CHIKARA.
  80. ^ "Tony Deppen". CHIKARA.
  81. ^ "Volgar". CHIKARA.
  82. ^ "Willow Nightingale". CHIKARA.
  83. ^ "The Whisper". CHIKARA.
  84. ^ "Worker Ant". CHIKARA.
  85. ^ "Worker Ant II". Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  86. ^ "Jonathan Barber". CHIKARA.
  87. ^ "Kris Levin". CHIKARA.
  88. ^ "Bryce Remsburg". CHIKARA.
  89. ^ "Betsy Ross". CHIKARA.
  90. ^ "Sidney Bakabella". CHIKARA.
  91. ^ "Mark Adam Haggerty". CHIKARA.
  92. ^ "Doc Diamondfire". CHIKARA.
  93. ^ "Robbie Ellis". CHIKARA.
  94. ^ "Scott Holladay". CHIKARA.
  95. ^ "Mortimer". CHIKARA.
  96. ^ "Professor Nicodemus".

External links[edit]