Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is it that time of year again already?

Continuing what we hope will now be a yearly tradition, here's a few minutes with Mike Quackenbush, as CHIKARA gets ready for their Aniversario shows next weekend in Massachusetts and Connecticut. This weekend, the promotion will run shows in their traditional venues in Hellertown, PA and Philadelphia. The following interview was conducted few weeks ago via e-mail.

Q: Can you tell yet how successful King of Trios 20007 was for the
company, either financially or aesthetically? Or is it still too soon

MQ: I think of it as a success for one chief reason: On February 28th,
there were 84 wrestlers booked to appear, and over the next few days,
all 84 of them showed up and did their thing. There are some 8-man
tournaments that can't manage to get everyone together, so I think this
was a big accomplishment. Financially, it was a disaster that we'll
probably spend the rest of the year trying to make up for. The biggest
tournament of all time also comes with the biggest price tag of all time.

Q: Were you surprised by any of the wrestlers at KOT who were making
CHIKARA debuts? The fans certainly became enamored almost
immediately with
Da Soul Touchaz and The Kartel, to name two teams.

MQ: Not really. I knew what we were getting into in almost every instance.
I was pleasantly surprised by Sha Samuels and Terry Frazier, who were
two of the five participants that I had not personally seen or wrestled
myself. I had seen Martin Stone before (in my European travels), and his
reputation is well-earned.

Q: How did you think the Fan Conclave at King of Trios turned out? Is it
something worth
repeating at future events?

MQ: I had very little to do with the Fan Conclave, but what I saw seemed
like good clean fun in the mighty CHIKARA manner. I would hope we'll try
it again at some point. Before which, we had all better log some serious
time playing Fire Pro Returns.

Q: CHIKARA is getting ready to debut in a new market (Massachusetts) and
a fairly
new one (Connecticut) soon. How did you pick these markets? Will
there be more new
markets coming in 2008?

MQ: Our Wallingford test-run last year was a real success for the company,
so returning there is a natural. If Framingham goes as well as Wallingford
did last year, I think it will encourage us to branch out even farther
(we've been to Vermont in years past as well.) Any potential new market
expansions hinge solely on the success or failure of our New England
Aniversario weekend.

Q: As a follow-up, how did you decide to hold the Aniversario shows in
these new markets instead of having them in Hellertown and Philadelphia?

MQ: We're never content to rest on our laurels, or maintain the status
quo. CHIKARA is an ever-changing beast. Maybe this year we'll drop the
Cibernetico. Maybe we'll bring back the Tag World. Every year the format,
if there even is one, evolves.

Q:This year has seen a growing relationship with KAIJU, with their stars
on CHIKARA shows and some CHIKARA talent on their shows. Do you see
as "kindred spirits in wackiness?"

MQ: Certainly. We're like estranged cousins.

Q: Have you seen any results yet from being on Italian TV? More
international DVD sales and/or hits to the website(s)?

MQ: There has been a slight delay in the Italian TV deal, but the first
four episodes are heading back overseas shortly. There were some format
issues that needed to be worked out. Overall though, our international
profile has grown tremendously in the first 2 quarters of 2008. Things
like our Create-A-Wrestler contest really tell the tale, when more than
50% of the responses we hear come from non-U.S. residents.

Q: A hot topic for the fans online lately has been this CHIKARA
Welterweight title that's been defended in Mexico recently and won by
recent opponent of yours, Cassandro? What's the deal with this belt?
could we possibly see a visit from Cassandro in a CHIKARA ring?

MQ: It is entirely possible that Cassandro will come to CHIKARA in 2008.
I am glad that the Welterweight title turned up. We also rechristened a
WCW cruiserweight belt the "CHIKARA Middleweight Internet championship"
some years ago, and left it under a shrub in the outskirts of Mexico
City, so I expect to see that around Valiente's waist sooner or later.
I mean, that was the plan all along.

Q: On a related subject, do you have any more international defenses
planned for the NWA Jr title? Perhaps even another trip to Japan,
you might get to fight a human and not a kappa demon?

MQ: Now that New Japan and the NWA are together again, that is certainly
possible. There was talk about sending an NWA rep to Best of the Super
Junior. Evidently, that spot went to Jimmy Rave. Hopefully, I can hang
onto that belt until next year's tournament. I think if I had the chance
to do a J-Cup or BOSJ, then there really would be nothing left for me to
accomplish as a wrestler. I don't know what more I could ask for. That
being said, I never get tired of wrestling with my students and proteges,
and seeing them develop into fully-realized wrestlers.

Q: Where did the idea for the CHIKARA comic book come from? I know
many of
the CHIKARA regulars are comics readers.

MQ: It's a bit of a vanity project, in many ways. To have our own comic
book, I mean. It's meant to serve as a live event program, and obviously
intended to appeal to the many fellow comic fans out there. I think it has
the potential to function in our Universe in a really unique way - like
that old Von Erich family comic book - only with better quality paper and
fewer Iron Claws. By the end of the year, I think fans will begin to see
what an important role it's going to play, and maybe then the first issue
will sell briskly and get out of my basement. Or maybe we better look into
variant, holographic embossed covers featuring Cable and Darkhawk.
Upcoming CHIKARA shows include May 17 in Hellertown PA, May 18 in Philadelphia, May 23 in Framingham MA and May 24 in Wallingford CT. For more information, go to or visit the Chikara Fans message board.