Lightning Strikes: The Mike Quackenbush Story, Vol. 2

Quack BOTI 2

You can check out my review of Volume 1 here.

Interview

This collection was created to coincide with Mike Quackenbush’s 15th anniversary in pro wrestling, to which he cites Wilson War ‘94 (a show he created with friends) held on May 20th as the start of it all. The interview was conducted in the first half of 2009 and runs about 90 minutes. It picks up from where the 2002 interview left off. Topics included:

– CHIKARA struggling in its early days, and how Tag World Grand Prix 2005 was the turning point for coming out of those days.
– Reckless Youth’s decision to step down as head trainer, and the Black T-Shirt Squad reunion at King of Trios 2009 that never was.
– A really interesting story regarding American Gigolo and Skayde, and how the locker room turned sour on the both of them and what it took to mend fences with Skayde.
– Another interesting tale on Mitch Ryder and why the locker room became less favorable with him over time.
– Chris Hero and his departure as head trainer. You’d get MUCH more detail about this in Chris Hero’s Best on the Indies interview, as sadly Quackenbush barely acknowledges the question.
– The Wrestle Factory gets a lot of talk here, in terms of moving from Allentown to the ECW Arena, if the first class will ever be topped, partnering with the CZW School, and Claudio Castagnoli coming aboard as the head trainer.
– IWA Deep South and the talks of CHIKARA Deep South. Brief, but interesting.
– The concussion he suffered at the 2007 Ted Petty Invitational. He walks you through what he was thinking going for the dive to the floor, how he felt throughout the night, and how he felt in the days and weeks afterwards.
– Finally going to Japan and wrestling in Michinoku Pro. This bleeds in from the previous story, as the head injury almost cost him this opportunity.
– How marriage has changed his life and helped him reconnect with family.
– Goals for CHIKARA going forward, and wrestling becoming his full-time job.

Unlike the 2002 interview, I feel this one still offers a lot many years later. The more provocative stories regarding American Gigolo, Skayde, and Mitch Ryder are timeless, and the tale of the concussion suffered at the 2007 TPI and Michinoku Pro trip is fascinating. It was also really fun hearing about the evolution of the Wrestle Factory. I listen to Quackenbush’s podcast and go out of way to check in wheneever he’s on somebody else’s radio show/podcast, and I’ve not heard these stories replicated. The funny thing is, there’s so much that happened after this that a Volume 3 would not be out of the question. I’d love to hear a follow-up on the Skayde tale after Team Mexico (which included him) bailed on King of Trios 2010, HIKARA’s partnership with Dragon Gate USA and EVOLVE, wrestling with and against his hero Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Larry Sweeney, National Pro Wrestling Day 2013, CHIKARA shutting down, the Wrestling Is companies, CHIKARA’s revival, and much more. It’s a shame this interview is not available for purchase right now because I think it offers a lot of very interesting tales that people would enjoy hearing. Hopefully one day it will be available again.

Matches

2005 Ted Petty Invitational – First Round
Mike Quackenbush vs. Alex Shelley

IWA Mid-South “2005 Ted Petty Invitational; Night 1” – Hammond, IN – 9.23.2005

Shelley dresses like Reckless Youth for this match, even coming out to his theme song, “Kung Fu Fighting” as a measure of mind games. In a nice touch, Bryce Remsburg is the referee and doesn’t seem too amused himself. Shelley takes Quackenbush down by his leg. Quackenbush rolls out of a front chancery and stands off with Quackenbush. Quackenbush trips him into a knee lock. Shelley gets the ropes to escape. Quackenbush pushes down on Shelley’s knees to alleviate pressure from a bodyscissors. Quackenbush rolls him into a pendulum swing. He drops Shelley and puts him in a surfboard chinlock. Shelley applies a modified armbar. Quackenbush escapes and grapevines Shelley’s legs. Shelley ties him up in a weird Octopus variant type maneuver. He then puts Quackenbush in a reverse figure four. Quackenbush leans back for a two count. He puts on a reverse cloverleaf. Shelley reverse but Quackenbush grabs the ropes right away. Shelley counters a double knee submission with a pendulum of his own. He locks on a Camel Clutch. Quackenbush frees himself. Quackenbush takes Shelley down with a toreador and comes off his shoulders with an armdrag. He trips Shelley into a grapevine stretch. Quackenbush steps on his foot and sweeps the leg. Shelley drops him with a reverse STO. Shelley rolls Quackenbush and Skullf*cks him. Shelley double knees him in the corner, then snapmares him into a single leg low dropkick for two. Quackenbush uses some Johnn Saint antics to free himself from a chinlock. Shelley drops him with a stranglehold neckbreaker two times and then applies a bridging straightjacket choke. Shelley releases and puts it back on without the bridge. Quackenbush rolls out and drops Shelley with the Black Tornado Slam. Quackenbush delivers windmill chops and a corner seated Thesz Press. He huracanrana’s Shelley off the top rope. A senton splash is turned into a pin by Shelley for two. Shelley slaps on the Border City Stretch. Quackenbush uses the ropes to break, but Shelley reapplies it right away. Shelley blocks Quackenbush’s Magistral Cradle and puts the Stretch on again. He hooks Quackenbush’s legs to prevent him from getting the ropes. Quackenbush manages to reverse the hold. Shelley escapes and hits a sole butt. Quackenbush counters a suplex with a spike DDT. Shelley kicks Quackenbush’s leg out and hits a shining wizard. He superkicks Quackenbush and delivers the 2k1 Bomb for two. Quackenbush palm strikes Shelley and hits the Quackendriver I for the pin at 17:31. There’s nothing wrong with two guys who do mat wrestling and submission work very well go out and just wrestle. That’s exactly what went down here and it was a lot of fun. Shelley dressing as Reckless Youth added a little extra animosity to add purpose, which really added to icing to the proverbial cake. ***¼

wXw Championship
Mike Quackenbush (Champion) vs. Ares

CHIKARA “Naked” – Reading, PA – 3.31.2006

Quackenbush immediately pounces Ares at the bell. He forearms Ares like a mad man in the corner. Ares throws some back when he sees an opening. Quackenbush delivers a sole butt and armdrags Ares into the Skayde schoolboy for two. He clotheslines Ares in the corner and brings him out with a bulldog. He dropkicks Ares to the floor. Quackenbush slaps him in the forehead. Ares rakes Quackenbush’s eyes. He claws at Quackenbush’s face back in the ring. Ares uses a few open hand strikes in front of the referee. When turned he gives Quackenbush a closed fist to the face. Quackenbush gets in a forearm so Ares rakes his eyes again. Ares throws Quackenbush head first into the mat. Quackenbush kicks Ares’ shoulder. He hops off the top rope and huracanrana’s Ares across the ring. Ares catches him coming off the ropes with a fallaway slam. Ares brings the fight to the floor. He has control when he throws Quackenbush back in the ring. Ares whips Quackenbush to the corner. He clobbers his back with a forearm and stretches it out over his knee. He suplexes Quackenbush which fires Quackenbush up. Quackenbush musters the strength for a big clothesline. He windmill chops Ares in the corner. He delivers double knees. Ares counters and Irish whip with a Blue Thunder Bomb. Quackenbush manages to kick out. Quackenbush blocks a back elbow and delivers a DDT for two. Quackenbush’s two palm strikes lead to a tilt-a-whirl facebuster. He gets two with another Skayde schoolboy. Ares blocks a backslide with the Toblerone Driver. Quackenbush kicks out at two. Ares puts Quackenbush in a Canadian Backbreaker. Quackenbush fights out but takes a spinebuster. He turns Quackenbush into a sharpshooter. Quackenbush ends up passing out from the pain. His arm drops three times at 10:59, making Ares the new wXw champion. I love that Ares had a gameplan and stuck with it. Quackenbush did a tremendous job holding his back when going for pins and other certain moves to convey that to the crowd. Who would have known that four years later these two would be mortal enemies? Jigsaw and Shane Storm help Quackenbush to the back after the match. **¾

Mike Quackenbush vs. Gran Akuma
CHIKARA “The Crushing Weight of Mainstream Ignorance” – Hellertown, PA – 7.22.2006

They kick each others’ legs upon locking up. Akuma obviously wins that exchange. Quackenbush shoves him to the corner and punches his mid-section. A running corner Thesz Press and the Kangaroo Blaster lead to double knees and a one count. Quackenbush gives him a gut buster. A slingshot double stomp and slingshot senton get him a two count. Quackenbush sentons onto his back for another two count. Akuma stops a huracanrana by running Quackenbush’s chest to the corner. Akuma hits a coast-to-coast dropkick while Quackenbush dangles from the top rope. Quackenbush kicks out of the pin. Akuma’s bow and arrow fails so he kicks Quackenbush in the back. Quackenbush kicks Akuma in the forehead to try and get him off his back. Akuma kicks him again before locking on the sharpshooter. Quackenbush scurries to the ropes to break the hold. Akuma kicks him in the corner. Quackenbush boots Akuma away. He alita’s Akuma into a roll up for two. Akuma baits him into a powerslam for two. A simple suplex gives Quackenbush great pain. So does a spinebuster. Akuma puts on a half crab. Quackenbush escapes. Quackenbush catches his corner attack and delivers a release German suplex. Akuma rolls out of the way of an Arabian Press. Quackenbush headbutts Akuma in the chest to send him to the floor. Quackenbush suicide dives after him. Back in the ring he hits a missile dropkick. Windmill chops, a bulldog, and a dropkick to the head only earn a two count. Quackenbush powerbombs Akuma for two. Akuma shrugs off the Black Tornado Slam. A modified Lightning Spiral leads to a crucifix pin for two. Quackenbush ducks Akuma’s kick, but it leads to Akuma hitting the Yoshi Tonic for two. Akuma blocks a palm strike with a backbreaker for two. Akuma sets up for the 450 splash. Quackenbush moves out of its trajectory. Quackenbush blocks the second Yoshi Tonic. He connects with the Palm Strike and the Quackendriver III for the pin at 13:13. I like both of these guys quite a bit and even I was surprised by just how good this was. It was so smartly worked. The fans were totally behind Quackenbush even though they respected the work Akuma put in (as noted by their applause as he walked to the back). If this was only Quackenbush’s first match in running through the Kings of Wrestling, I can’t wait for the others. ***½

2006 Ted Petty Invitational – Second Round
Mike Quackenbush vs. Claudio Castagnoli

IWA Mid-South “2006 Ted Petty Invitational; Night 2” – Midlothian, IL – 9.30.2006

Claudio comes out in a Dr. Wagner mask and scrubs, but sadly removes it all before the bell. He smartly goes after Quackenbush’s bad back. Quackenbush catapults over him in a double knuckle lock. Claudio kicks him back to the mat. Quackenbush puts on a standing Octopus. He armdrags Claudio and then headscissors him. Claudio forearms him right in the face. Some more armdrags and a monkey flip send Claudio to the floor. Quackenbush tope con hilo’s onto him. Back in the ring Claudio counters his crossbody with a backbreaker. Claudio stretches his back out across his knee. Quackenbush counters a backbreaker with a backslide. Claudio kicks out and nails a clothesline. Claudio goes back to targeting his back and midsection. Quackenbush monkey flips Claudio to the floor. Claudio pops Quackenbush to the second turnbuckle. Quackenbush cartwheels off into an armdrag that sends Claudio into rows of chairs! That was unreal. In the ring, Quackenbush cascades up Claudio and huracanrana’s him for two. Claudio gets two with the Alpamare Waterslide. Claudio shoots him off the ropes. Quackenbush hops off of Claudio’s chest. He takes him down with La Mistica and rolls him into a Skayde schoolboy for two. Claudio pops him up. Quackenbush huracanrana’s him, but Claudio rolls through that and catches him off guard with a pin at 9:32. That was amazing, and it only felt like things were just picking up when it ended. This was like a human highlight reel which so many awesome spots. The fans give them a well deserved “thank you” chant. ***¾

King of Trios 2007 Quarter-Final Round Match
Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Shane Storm vs. Team TNA (Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) & Sonjay Dutt)

CHIKARA “King of Trios 2007, Night 2” – Barnesville, PA – 2.17.2007

Storm nor Dutt are able to get control in the initial encounter. Quackenbush puts pressure onto Sabin’s legs. Sabin applies a half crab. Quackenbush rolls out and flips to his feet. Out of a double knuckle lock, Quackenbush takes him down with a toreador after hitting the ropes. Sabin avoids being whipped to the corner but Jigsaw catches him with a crossbody. He delivers a legdrop and Shelley breaks the pin. Sabin tags Jigsaw with a boot to the face. Dutt scrapes the sole of his boot across his face. He gets two with a slingshot legdrop. Jigsaw ties up his legs. Quackenbush tags in and takes over. Dutt kicks out his leg. They fight over a backslide. Jigsaw runs in and Dutt sends them both to the floor. He follows with a pescado. Shelley puts Storm in the Border City Stretch. Storm gets to the ropes. Shelley rolls him up and Storm dropkicks him in the side of the head. He uses the ropes for a few armdrags. Sabin dropkicks Storm out. Quackenbush tricks Sabin into chopping both his partners. Jigsaw slingshots in with a headscissors that sends Sabin to the floor. He follows with a Fosbury Flop. Quackenbush and Storm send Dutt and Shelley to the floor as well and tope con hilo after them. In the ring Sabin enzuigiri’s Jigsaw. He also gives him a Complete Shot after ducking a superkick. Like they did with Sabian in the previous match, Team TNA humiliates Jigsaw as they isolate him in their corner. Jigsaw is only able to escape because Storm saved him from being pinned by Dutt’s quebrada and was able to slip out while Storm fought Shelley. Shelley fights out of the Air Raid Crash. He also blocks That Japanese Move. Storm then gets beaten and humiliated by the TNA triumvirate. Quackenbush saves him from Dutt’s pinfall as well. Shelley and Sabin jump him. He takes a tandem hip toss, double fist drops, and double kicks. Sabin helps Shelley with a lungblower, then Dutt moonsaults onto him for two. Quackenbush avoids their corner attack. He clotheslines Dutt and gives Sabin an atomic drop before tagging in Storm. He DDT’s Sabin for two. They tumble to the floor in a Cactus clothesline. Quackenbush drops Shelley in the Black Tornado Slam. Shelley kicks out. Shelley ducks a palm strike and tilt-a-whirls Quackenbush into the Border City Stretch. Sabin and Dutt tie up Jigsaw and Storm in submissions too. All of the submissions are reversed. Shelley escapes first and helps out his partners. He gives Quackenbush a super atomic drop. When Quackenbush goes to the floor, Shelley suicide dives onto him. The Guns give Storm a neckbreaker/delayed dropkick combo and Dutt flies in with a coast-to-coast dropkick. When Shelley’s pin fails, Dutt hits a running shooting star press for another two count. Sabin’s top rope legdrop and Shelley’s frog splash lead to another two count thanks to Jigsaw making the save. Shelley gives Quackenbush the Shell Shock on the floor. Storm escapes Sabin’s Cradle Shock and backslides him for two. Sabin enzuigiri’s him out. Jigsaw missile dropkicks Sabin out with him. Dutt hits a standing shiranui on Jigsaw. He gets two with a 450 splash. Jigsaw catches him coming off the ropes. He hits the Jig N’ Tonic for the pin at 24:53. How appropriate that the best match of the two nights brings things to a fever pitch before heading into the final evening. The story and action were top notch, the fans really got into it, and you couldn’t help but feel good when the CHIKARA guys pulled out the hard fought win. The TNA team were the best heels in the whole tournament bar none and I hope against hope that we see Sabin and Shelley back one day. ****

King of Trios 2007 Semi-Final Round Match
Mike Quackenbush, Jigsaw & Shane Storm vs. Lince Dorado, El Pantera & Sicodelico Jr.

CHIKARA “King of Trios 2007, Night 3” – Philadelphia, PA – 2.18.2007

Pantera rams Jigsaw’s head into the bottom turnbuckle in a pendulum hold. He turns it into a surfboard. Jigsaw slips out into a lateral press for two. Sicodelico and Storm tag in. They wrestle to a stalemate. Dorado and Quackenbush flip into the ring. Quackenbush ties up Dorado on the mat. The each get in a cradle variation. They shake hands upon kicking out. Dorado, Pantera, and Sicodelico all get in offense on Quackenbush in the corner, ending with Sicodelico kicking him to the floor. Pantera suicide dives after him. Storm comes in and gets back elbowed by Sicodelico right away. They tie Storm up in the ropes for a 619 from Pantera. He gets superkicked to the floor and Sicodelico dives onto him. Pantera leg lariats Jigsaw. He eats some more kicks from Sicodelico and Dorado. All three Luchadores team up for a Quackendriver I like toss. He rolls out after Sicodelico and Pantera kick him. Dorado Asai moonsaults onto both him and Storm. Quackenbush uses a backbreaker to slow down Pantera. Storm gets a two count with a somersault senton. Quackenbush backdrops Pantera to the floor. Dorado dropkicks him out. He and Jigsaw each snap off a toreador. After Jigsaw delivers a quesadora armdrag, Dorado drills him in a quesadora DDT. Storm breaks the pin. He and Sicodelico do a Lucha sequence which ends with Storm being kicked in the end. Storm bodyscissors him out of the corner. He aleta’s Sicodelico to the corner. Storm cartwheels into a splash for two. Quackenbush places him on the top rope. Jigsaw brings him down with the Leap of Faith. Storm hits That Japanese Move but Pantera and Dorado break the cover. Pantera and Sicodelico rowboat Jigsaw and Storm’s legs. In the middle of them Dorado huracanrana’s Quackenbush for two. The CHIKARA team all go for huracanrana’s and get powerbombed. Thankfully the all kick out too. Dorado and Sicodelico get sent out, so Storm and Jigsaw dive after them. Pantera puts Quackenbush in the Romero Special and slams him onto his face from it. He rolls Quackenbush into the Gedo Clutch for two. Quackenbush comes off the top rope, tornado clutching Pantera into a crucifix pin for the win at 14:46. Some sloppiness from Storm aside this was a good Lucha infused trios match, different from the other matches these teams had on Night 2. ***

IWA Deep South Championship
Mike Quackenbush (Champion) vs. Sal Rinauro

IWA Deep South “South of the Border” – Pell City, AL – 5.5.2007

Rinauro gets angry with the fans calling him a chicken for stalling so long. Quackenbush wins a wristlock exchange and releases when Rinauro gets the ropes. He becomes angry by more chicken chants, which Quackenbush encourages. He even has Rinauro’s arms flapping in a double hammerlock. They criss cross the ropes. Quackenbush stops RInauro and slaps him in the face. He rolls him into a tornado clutch for two. Rinauro blocks Sweet Chin Music and puts on a side headlock. More criss-crossing. Rinauro tires himself out. He tries the slap himself. Quackenbush slaps him instead and again tornado clutches him for two. He sends Rinauro out with a Manhattan Drop. Rinauro ducks a dive but gets slapped in the back. He thinks some fan did it. Quackenbush brings him back in the ring and puts him in a half crab. Rinauro gets to the ropes. He crotches Quackenbush on the top rope and drags him across. He also bites him on the forehead. Rinauro gives him the Rude Awakening for two. Quackenbush hooks his arm with his leg and twists on his leg. Rinauro gets the ropes and gives him a chin breaker. He gets two with a Gedo Clutch. He heads up top. Quackenbush catches him with a headbutt to the stomach and brings him down with a superplex. He drives his knees into Rinauro’s chest and puts on a figure four. Rinauro reverses a hip toss with an Ace Crusher. Rinauro escapes a modified Skayde schoolboy and Quackenbush kicks out of a Sunset flip. Rinauro kicks Quackenbush away to block a sharpshooter. He hits a springboard tornado kick but hurts his knee on the landing. Quackenbush kicks out of the pin. He drops Rinauro out of a pump-handle position and puts on the Lightning Lock Omega. Rinauro gets the ropes. He rolls up Quackenbush in a prawn hold. Quackenbush slams him and puts on a Cloverleaf. Rinauro taps out at 20:55. There was a lot of dead air in the beginning but this transformed into a really good back and forth contest. The pin reversals and submissions were especially fun to watch. Rinauro could really go under the right circumstances. ***¼

NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
Tiger Mask IV (Champion) vs. Mike Quackenbush

Fight Sports Midwest “Chapter 2” – Portage, IN – 5.11.2007

Mask arm whips Quackenbush to end a wristlock exchange. Quackenbush sends him to the floor with an armdrag. Mask comes back with a rolling sole butt. He elbows Quackenbush in the head twice and goes for the right leg. They instead engage in some Lucha. Quackenbush gives him a toreador but Mask responds with another rolling sole butt. He sends Quackenbush to the floor and fakes a dive. Mask puts on a bodyscissors. Quackenbush digs his elbows into his legs and rolls him into a seated pendulum stretch. He picks him up to add more pressure. He drops him into a Skayde schoolboy for two. He applies pressure to Mask’s legs again. He uncharacteristically begins unlacing his mask in the process. Quackenbush puts on a reverse stump puller and unlaces Mask’s mask further. He applies a chinlock. Mask kicks him away when he goes for the mask again. He nails a running Thesz Press in the corner. When Mask rolls to the floor, Quackenbush follows with a tope con hilo. In the ring he hits the Black Tornado Slam for two. He plays mind games by giving Mask the Tiger Driver. Mask kicks out. Quackenbush rolls through a top rope slam. He blocks a kick and puts on an ankle lock. Mask kicks him away and successfully kicks him in the head. He throws Quackenbush off the top rope with a butterfly suplex for two. Same goes for a diving headbutt. Quackenbush escapes the Tiger Driver but gets kicked in the knee. Quackenbush evades a moonsault. Mask lands on his feet and gives him a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Quackenbush blocks the Tiger suplex. He pulls off his mask and puts him in a kneeling frog press for the win and the title at 10:24! Rudo Quackenbush is totally awesome. It’s rare (and by rare I mean like “oh hey there’s a unicorn” kind of rare) to see him play that role, but when he does it’s a real treat. It was a really clever way for him to win the belt and his post match promo would show just that. Neither guy went crazy but worked very smartly and teased the mask just enough for it to be a satisfying ending. ***

Mike Quackenbush vs. Chris Hero
CHIKARA “Aniversario?” – Hellertown, PA – 5.26.2007

Both men stare each other down. Hero pokes Quackenbush in the chest. Quackenbush takes him down and rolls him into a pinning predicament. Feeling embarrassed, Hero throws a forearm. Quackenbush responds in kind. He uses the ropes for an armdrag and puts on an Octopus stretch. They each dropkick one another out of a sunset flip. Quackenbush drives his knees into Hero’s chest for two. He comes off the top rope with an armdrag, then cascades into another. Hero tosses Quackenbush across the room in an atomic drop position for two. He throws forearms to Quackenbush’s back. Hero tries rolling into a senton. Quackenbush moves and hits one of his own. Hero tags him with a rolling elbow for two. He applies pressure to Quackenbush’s legs and hamstrings. When he escapes. Hero drops him stomach first onto the top rope for two. Hero spins him around in a Cop Killer position. Quackenbush victory rolls his way free. Hero kicks out and dropkicks Quackenbush in the skull of his head. Quackenbush throws a palm strike from the mat. Hero dropkicks him again. He throws some fists. Quackenbush avoids an armdrag and rolls Hero up for two. He goes for a headscissors. Hero counters with a chokeslam of all things. He keeps on Quackenbush with strikes and sends him back first to the corner. Hero gives him a running kick to the chest. He comes back in from the apron and Quackenbush drills him with a palm strike. He windmill chops Hero like a madman in the corner. He clotheslines Hero into a bulldog. He comes off the top with a Swanton bomb. Hero catches him coming off the ropes with a boot to the stomach. He gives him a swinging neckbreaker. Hero gives him a cravate neckbreaker for two. Hero toys with Quackenbush, slapping him repeatedly on the top rope. He applies the cravate again. Quackenbush spins out of it and spikes Hero on his head with a huracanrana for two. Hero counters Quackenbush’s suplex with a reverse release suplex. He calls for the Hero’s Welcome. Quackenbush counters with a reverse brainbuster for two. He also gets two with the Quackendriver III. He tries a palm strike. Hero blocks it and places Quackenbush on his shoulder. He spins him out into a Hero’s Welcome: Championship Edition. Quackenbush kicks out. Out of nowhere, headbutts are thrown by both guys. Hero puts on a cravate. Quackenbush headbutts Hero off the ropes. He drives his knees into Hero’s chest. He puts on a new submission hold where his leg traps Hero’s arm and he ties up his legs. Hero taps out at 18:03! This was an awesome way to end this issue. Both guys knew each other so well that Hero knew to target Quackenbush’s back and Quackenbush knew he had to bring something new to his arsenal to win. Adding moves like headbutts and chokeslams showed this as well. This was really well done and is unquestionably one of the most important matches in CHIKARA history. ***¾

Mike Quackenbush vs. Shayne Hawke
CHIKARA “Young Lions Cup V, Night 3” – Hellertown, PA – 6.24.2007

Quackenbush backs Hawke to the corner. Hawke claims hair pulling. Referee Derek Sabato does not fall for it. When Quackenbush backs him to the corner again Hawke claims he poked his eyes. Sabato again does not fall for it. The third time he claims he was slapped in the face. Quackenbush then pulls his hair, pokes his eye, and slaps him in the face. Quackenbush fesses up when Sabato asks him if he did all of those things. Sabato says he will not disqualify him. Hawke misses a double axe handle. Quackenbush splashes him in the corner, sweeps out his legs, and drops both knees onto his chest for two. Hawke goes to the floor. Quackenbush cuts him off but Hawke drives his back into the ring post. In the ring he throws some knees to the chest and back. Quackenbush fights out of a headlock. Hawke cartwheels through his Lucha roll and nails an enzuigiri. Hawke puts on an overhead wristlock and sweeps out Quackenbush’s legs. Quackenbush gives him a chop. He blocks Hawke’s superkick and takes him down with a clothesline. He bulldogs Hawke out of the corner and gets two with a senton. After a backdrop he hooks Hawke’s head. Hawke shoves him back first to the corner. He delivers the Tribute to Professionalism for two. He also gets two with an Ace Crusher. Hawke lands a brutal Swanton for yet another two count. Hawke slaps Quackenbush in the face. Quackenbush responds with a couple palm strikes. Quackendriver II puts Hawke away at 9:30. Hawke got to look strong against the face of CHIKARA but there really was nothing all that exceptional to this bout. The humorous exchange in the beginning can be found on YouTube and aside from that there’s nothing else to write home about. **½

NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
Mike Quackenbush (Champion) vs. Black Tiger IV

CHIKARA “Maximum Overdraft” – Philadelphia, PA – 8.5.2007

Quackenbush dropkicks Tiger’s right knee right away. He then applies pressure to his legs and chin. He dragonscrews the leg. Tiger stretches out Quackenbush’s back in a bow and arrow. A Lucha exchange ends with two armdrags and a crucifix pin attempt from Quackenbush. He sends Tiger to the floor and tope con hilo’s after him. Tiger snaps Quackenbush’s neck across the top rope. He strings some suplexes together for a two count. He drives his knee into Quackenbush’s neck. For a second it looks like Quackenbush took over but a kick, chop, Manhattan drop, and dropkick to the side of the head change that. He drops a knee onto the chest for two. Quackenbush takes out Tiger’s legs and crucifixes him for two. Tiger gives him a Gourd Buster. From the top rope he drops his knee into Quackenbush’s neck. He hooks the leg whilst applying a chinlock. Tiger pokes his eyes. He tries a tornado DDT. Quackenbush avoids it and catches him mid-air with a dropkick. He headbutts Tiger in the chest. Tiger blocks a bulldog but falls to double knees to the chest. He gets stretched out before being dropped in the Black Tornado Slam. He gets two with that and a reverse brainbuster. He calls for the Quackendriver III. Tiger spins out of it and comes off the second rope with a Flying DDT. He taunts Quackenbush before attempting a Frankensteiner. Quackenbush flips out of it and brings Tiger off the second with a dragonscrew leg whip. He rolls Tiger into an ankle lock while locking his other leg. Tiger gets the ropes. Quackenbush grabs his leg and Tiger kicks him away. He gets two with a Tiger suplex. After some positioning, Tiger backslides Quackenbush for two. The tombstone gets the same result. He tries the Tiger Driver. Quackenbush evades it and palm strikes Tiger. He rolls him into Lightning Lock Beta. Tiger taps out at 13:09. This was a terrific first defense for Quackenbush. He beat a former champion, smartly worked over Tiger’s leg the whole match, and had it pay off in the end. The last few nearfalls were exciting and made Quackenbush look strong as he kicked out of some big offense. ***½

NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
Mike Quackenbush (Champion) vs. Akira Raijin

CHIKARA “Here Come The International Invaders: Stage II – Return of the Clone Menace” – Hellertown, PA – 8.18.2007

Quackenbush trips Raijin and picks at his leg. Raijin uses his other leg to kick him away. He forearms Quackenbush multiple times after backing him to the corner. Quackenbush locks his legs on the mat until Raijin gets the ropes. Quackenbush rolls him into a half crab. Once again Raijin gets the ropes. Raijin shoulder blocks him down. Quackenbush sends him to the floor with a headscissors and follows with a tope con hilo. He applies a kneebar back in the ring. Raijin gets the ropes. He gives Quackenbush a knee lift and kicks him in the spine. He snapmares Quackenbush into a chinlock. Quackenbush tries a sunset flip. Raijin drops a knee across his face and delivers a diving seated lariat for two. Raijin attempts a boot. Quackenbush catches it and gives him a dragonscrew leg whip. He tries a Sharpshooter but gets kicked away. Raijin hits him with a lariat. He grabs at Quackenbush’s face and headbutts him. He throws Quackenbush off the top rope. Quackenbush rolls through. He throws some chops. Raijin catches him with a release belly-to-belly suplex. Both men collide with simultaneous clotheslines. Quackenbush peppers Raijin with slaps to the face. He gets two with the Black Tornado Slam. Raijin misses a clothesline. He deposits Quackenbush on his head with a Saito suplex. He does it a second time. Quackenbush kicks out. He ducks a lariat and rolls Raijin into a Chicago Crab. Raijin crawls to the ropes. Quackenbush goes for another headscissors. Raijin blocks it mid-move for a tombstone piledriver. He heads up top and delivers a diving headbutt to the shoulder. Quackenbush blocks some offense and hits his own Palm Strike. He rolls Raijin into the Lightning Lock Beta, then a Stretch Muffler, causing Raijin to submit at 12:42. This was another really good title defense from Quackenbush. He utilized the same strategy as he did with Black Tiger, but Raijin’s style made the bout feel totally different from that one. Good stuff. ***½

Mike Quackenbush vs. Tim Donst
CHIKARA “Cibernetico & Robin” – Philadelphia, PA – 9.22.2007

(Note: You can check out the entire in its entirety here.)

Quackenbush maneuvers Donst into a Judo throw. Donst responds in kind while holding onto a double knuckle lock. Quackenbush turns that into a headscissors, which Donst escapes and applies a side headlock. Quackenbush avoids an up-and-over out of the corner and armdrags Donst back down. Donst uses his neck strength to avoid a crucifix pin. Impressed, Quackenbush releases the crucifix. He comes off the middle rope, armdragging Donst into a Tornado clutch for two. Donst puts on a side headlock to stop a Magistral cradle. Quackenbush avoids another headlock and spin kicks Donst in the stomach. He snapmares Donst into a back kick. He stretches out both of his arms. When Donst maneuvers out, he drops a knee onto Donst’s neck and stomps on his arm. Quackenbush puts on a modified bow and arrow. Donst grabs the ropes. He twists on Donst’s fingers and wrist while digging his knee into the shoulder. He then puts on a modified crossface. Donst looks to roll Quackenbush onto his shoulders and ends up getting a two count. Donst avoids double knees in the corner. He drops Quackenbush with an STO and a Gator Roll for two. Donst gets in a chop before eating a palm strike. Quackenbush gives him a reverse brainbuster. He’s surprised that Donst is able to kick out. Donst avoids a suplex. He German suplexes Quackenbush for two. He pulls down the straps and sends Quackenbush to the apron. Quackenbush headbutts him in the chest. He sunset flips Donst into the CHIKARA Special. Donst taps out at 7:39. I loved this. Donst got to go hold for hold with THE top guy in the company, almost having him beat on a couple of occasions. This had awesome back and forth wrestling you rarely see nowadays. With some more time this could have been even more memorable but I still enjoyed what we got immensely. ***

Mike Quackenbush vs. Shibaten
Michinoku Pro – Iwate, Japan – 10.12.2007

Quackenbush arm whips Shibaten. He uses the ropes for an armdrag and kicks him on the top of his head. Quackenbush armdrags Shibaten to the floor and a follows with a springboard splash. In the ring he snaps Shibaten’s arm over his shoulder twice. They trade chops. Quackenbush wins the exchange, but Shibaten rolls up and delivers a headbutt. He palm strikes Quackenbush to the corner and gives him a splash. He puts on a full body stretch in the ropes and dropkicks Quackenbush in the back. A running splash gets a two count. Quackenbush kicks him away and rolls him into the Black Tornado Slam for two. Shibaten tries a backslide. Quackenbush kicks out of that, as well as a roll-up. He delivers a palm strike for two. A reverse brainbuster does the same. Quackendriver II gets him the win at 4:35 (shown). This was cool for the novelty aspect, but there’s really not much to this aside from that. Quackenbush did work hard and made the most of what was essentially a showcase match for him. *½

King of Trios 2008 Quarter-Final Round Match
Mike Quackenbush, Shane Storm & Jorge “Skayde” Rivera vs. Lince Dorado, El Pantera & Incognito

CHIKARA “King of Trios 2008, Night 3” – Philadelphia, PA – 3.2.2008

Dorado headscissors Storm to the corner. Dorado rolls through a sunset flip but Storm avoids his dropkick and pins him for two. Dorado headscissors him into a two count. They go for a few more pin attempts and then tag out to Quackenbush and Incognito. Quackenbush takes him over with a neckmare. Incognito puts on an armbar variation which Quackenbush armdrags out of. Incognito utilizes one himself. Quackenbush’s monkey flip attempts are for naught. He does however use the ropes to pull off a Frankensteiner to send him to the floor. Skayde and Pantera tag in. Pantera spins Skayde into a neck-tie headscissors on the mat, then putting on a modified parachute stretch. They trade pinfalls in various pinning combinations and reach a stalemate. Pantera locks Skayde’s legs up and stretches out his arms. He turns him onto his shoulders for a two count. Skayde applies a courting hold which Pantera escapes. Skayde rolls him into a half crab. Pantera escapes and we have another stalemate. Pantera hits Quackenbush with a spin kick. Incognito and Pantera team up on him. Skayde helps out by coming in with a headscissors to Pantera. Incognito backdrops Skayde but he helps Quackenbush take both Pantera and Incognito down in a London Bridge and a double knuckle drag. Quackenbush and Skayde each fake a dive after sending Pantera and Incognito to the floor. Storm slams Dorado out of an Atlantida for two. Dorado becomes trapped in Team Quackenbush’s corner where they focus their attack on his legs. Dorado reverses out of Storm’s suplex and drops him with an X-Factor. Skayde legdrops Incognito almost as soon as he tags in. Incognito suicide dives onto Skayde when Skayde hits the floor. Quackenbush and Dorado go back and forth. Quackenbush drops him with a reverse brainbuster for two. He goes for it again but Pantera hits him with a spinwheel kick. Pantera blocks Storm’s That Japanese Move and answers with one of his own. Quackenbush makes the save. He goes for the Black Tornado Slam. Pantera rolls out of it. He armdrags Quackenbush into the Skayde schoolboy for the pin at 19:06. A lot of people seemed surprised by that fall, but it accomplished two things: it set up the Lucha team as the forerunners given that they defeated the team in which 2/3rds comprised of last years Trios tournament winners, and it set up a match for next month as we would soon find out. Shane Storm looked incredibly sloppy here. The rest of the match was the Luchariffic stuff you expect. **¾

2008 wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament First Round Match
Mike Quackenbush vs. Bryan Danielson

wXw “2008 16 Carat Gold Tournament; Night 1” – Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, DE – 3.7.2008

Danielson grounds Quackenbush in a headscissors. Quackenbush pops out. He goes for a side headlock but Danielson quickly maneuvers into a chinlock. Quackenbush transitions into a wristlock. Danielson rolls his way free and forearms Quackenbush to the corner. Quackenbush armdrags him to the corner to even the playing field. Danielson baits Quackenbush into a kick to the stomach and an uppercut. He then takes Quackenbush to the mat in a waistlock. Quackenbush ties up Danielson’s legs and tries hooking his arms. Danielson gets the ropes before that can happen. Quackenbush picks up the pace and armdrags Danielson to the floor. He follows out with a tope con hilo. Danielson’s right knee seems to have been damaged as he tries re-aligning it before coming back into the ring. Naturally, Quackenbush smartly targets that very leg putting on a figure seven and twisting his foot. Danielson gets the ropes. Quackenbush ties up Danielsons’ legs around his own. After shoving each other, Quackenbush steps on Danielson’s right foot while twisting the left leg and knee. Danielson grabs the ropes. He kicks Quackenbush’s left shoulder away. Danielson then begins focusing his offense on Quackenbush’s left shoulder and arm. He delivers an uppercut before continuing his attack on the mat. The fans have been jeering Danielson the entire match but have gone even more firmly into the Quackenbush camp. This passion allows Quackenbush to dropkick Danielson’s leg out and roll him into a Magistral Cradle for two. Danielson drives Quackenbush’s arm into the canvas. He puts him up in the Romero Special, then grabs onto his shoulder and pulls back while still locking his legs. Quackenbush rolls back pinning Danielson’s shoulders to the mat for a two count. Danielson suplexes him and heads to the top rope. He misses a diving headbutt. Quackenbush chops up Danielson in the corner. He connects with a running elbow smash before hitting the Black Tornado Slam. Danielson kicks out. He knees Quackenbush in the gut and goes for the Cattle Mutilation. Quackenbush escapes and schoolboys Danielson into a crucifix pin for two. Danielson kicks him in the shoulder twice. He puts on the triangle choke. Quackenbush’s arm only drops twice. He rolls Danielson into a pin but Danielson gets his foot on the ropes. Quackenbush ducks a kick and delivers a dragonscrew leg whip. He then puts on a modified ankle lock. Danielson again gets the ropes. Quackenbush comes off the top rope with double knees to the chest. He goes after Danielson’s leg. Danielson counters into a Fujiwara armbar. Quackenbush escapes. Both guys roll around in a small package trading pins. Quackenbush delivers a palm strike for two. Danielson throws him off the top rope but Quackenbush rolls through. He schoolboys Danielson. Danielson rolls him over into the Cattle Mutilation! Quackenbush taps out at 24:57. As one would expect, the wrestling was exceptional. The crowd, however, is what really made this match. Outside of CHIKARA, you might be hard pressed to find another company where the fans are happy to favor him over Bryan Danielson. Both guys played their roles perfectly and always focused on the story of Danielson’s knee/leg and Quackenbush’s shoulder/arm. It was really fun to watch and the fluidity in the ending was terrific. ***¾

World of Sport Rules
Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Saint

wXw “2008 16 Carat Gold Tournament; Night 2” – Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, DE – 3.8.2008

The match will be contested in six five-minute rounds.

Round One: Saint takes Quackenbush to the mat in a hammerlock, transitioning into a full body stretch and then a pin attempt. Saint allows Quackenbush to stand after a successful kick out. Saint reverses a wristlock and takes Quackenbush down in a half crab. From the mat, Quackenbush is able to get on a wristlock and take things back to his feet. Saint turns that into a full nelson. Quackenbush escapes that and puts on an arm wringer. Saint tries to escape, but Quackenbush flips him to the mat. Saint puts on a headscissors to escape. Quackenbush ties his legs in a figure seven and tries forcing his arm to the mat for a pin. Saint rolls back to reverse the pressure in a double knuckle lock. He releases when the bell signifying the first round’s conclusion rings.

Round Two: Quackenbush twists Saint’s left foot. Saint hops up to his feet and monkey flips his way free. He puts Quackenbush in an abdominal stretch. Quackenbush turns that into a front facelock, but Saint grabs his wrist and takes him to the mat where he traps Quackenbush’s arm in between his legs. Saint mercifully releases the hold after a failed pin attempt. Quackenbush forcefully holds onto a wristlock. Saint eventually reverses, bringing Quackenbush back to the mat. He brings Quackenbush back up in a double knuckle lock. Saint turns that into a sunset flip. Quackenbush rolls through but finds himself back in a wristlock. Quackenbush puts on a bodyscissors. Saint picks him up into a cradle and slams him as the bell rings to end the second round.

Round Three: Saint stretches Quackenbush’s back across his knee. Quackenbush fights up and puts on a modified Octopus Stretch. He tries a pinning combo, then a crucifix pin that sees Saint roll into the ropes. Saint leapfrogs over Quackenbush. He uses the Lady of the Lake to bait Quackenbush into a schoolboy for a pin at 1:32. He leads the match 1 fall to 0.

Round Four: Quackenbush puts on a chickenwing. Saint turns that into a hammerlock, then a wristlock takedown. He snaps Quackenbush’s leg. Quackenbush goes after Saint’s leg after that. Saint takes his other leg and slams it across the bridge of his nose. Quackenbush la courting hold. Saint steps on the back of Quackenbush’s leg to get him to the mat. He puts on a double nerve hold and stretches his back across his knees. Quackenbush rolls out of it and into a seat belt pin for two. He also gets two with a lateral press. He puts Saint in a full nelson. Saint repositions his feet so he can push Quackenbush down. Saint has on a wristlock when the bell rings.

Round Five: Quackenbush again tries the full nelson. Saint reverses into a wristlock, which Quackenbush reverses. Saint takes to the mat to reverse it back. He whips Quackenbush to the corner and snapmares him into a neck and arm crank. Saint rolls and forcefully releases Quackenbush’s arm. Quackenbush gets whipped to the corner again. This time he’s able to hop over Saint and catch him in the Alligator Clutch at 1:49 (20:49 total). Since each man scored one fall, the match is considered a draw. Not sure where Round Six went.

I love watching Johnny Saint. Obviously he’s a great technical wrestler, but he’s so nuanced that little things can go over your head. He had Quackenbush’s number the entire time, was more aggressive, got an early pin and was thwarted by an inescapable clutch to “lose” the match in a draw. On the other hand, Quackenbush never seemed to learn his lesson, going back to old tricks that Saint clearly showed he knew counters or reversals to. It was a fun match to watch between two technical masters. ***½

Mike Quackenbush & Shane Storm vs. The Osiriant Portal (Amasis & Ophidian)
CHIKARA “AniversarioCT” – Wallingford, CT – 5.24.2008

Quackenbush takes down Ophidian with an armdrag. Storm tags in and grabs a wristlock. He backs Ophidian to the corner and breaks cleanly. He armdrags Ophidian to the corner. Ophidian uses the ropes to Skin the Snake into a headscissors. He rolls Storm up but can’t get his shoulders pinned. They trade chops. Storm cartwheels through an armdrag and dropkicks Ophidian to the floor. Quackenbush puts a full nelson on Amasis. He mares Amasis to the corner. Amasis ducks a clothesline. He puts Quackenbush on his shoulders and rolls him up into an armdrag. He uses the ropes for another. Quackenbush misses an enzugiri but pulls off a headscissors. He waterwheel slams Ophidian onto Amasis. He puts the Portal in a double sharpshooter. He’s forced to release it. Amasis dances his way over to Quackenbush and smacks him in the face. Ophidian kicks Quackenbush out of the ring. The Portal give Storm the Pyramid Suplex, leading them to trap Storm in the ring and keep Quackenbush at bay. Foolishly, Ophidian armdrags Storm close enough to Quackenbush for him to blind tag in. They each send Ophidian out with an armdrag. Storm catches Amasis with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He pulls Ophidian off the apron. Quackenbush hits Amasis with the Quackendriver IV for two. He and Storm give Amasis a modified Total Elimination. Ophidian breaks the pin. He wheelbarrows up into a DDT to Quackenbush. He puts Storm in the Death Grip. Storm turns it into the Air Raid Crash for two. Ophidian shoves Storm off the ropes. He comes off the top with double knees for two. The Portal hit him with Mummification but Storm manages to kick out again. They go for the Slave Initiation. Quackenbush palm strikes Amasis out of the way, then German suplexes Ophidian. Storm hits Ophidian with That Japanese Move and dives onto Amasis. Quackenbush drops Ophidian with Quackendriver III for the pin in 16:15. This was both teams at their absolute best. The crowd was super hot which helped, but they built to the ending fantastically and the Portal looked incredible during the heat segment. ***½

Mike Quackenbush vs. Shane Storm
CHIKARA “Tragedy & Triumph” – Philadelphia, PA – 7.13.2008

(Note: You can watch the match in its entirety here.)

Storm is booed quite vociferously. Quackenbush charges but Storm slides to the floor. He palm strikes him off of the ring apron and chops him around ringside. This leads to a forearm battle. Quackenbush backdrops Storm onto the ring steps! Storm shoulder blocks him from the apron. They get in a suplex battle leading to them both being on the ring apron. They both look for some bigger moves on the apron, but ultimately Storm DDT’s Quackenbush on the apron. Back in the ring Storm awkwardly clotheslines Quackenbush so that his knees bend backwards. Storm goes after Quackenbush’s left leg. Quackenbush gets the ropes to break a half crab. Storm misses a corner attack allowing Quackenbush to get in some chops. He windmill chops Storm. Storm forearms him in the neck before tossing him in a German suplex. He drives Quackenbush’s knee into his own leg. Storm misses a Swanton Bomb. Quackenbush comes off the top with double knees to Storm’s chest. Quackenbush goes for the CHIKARA Special. Storm instead puts on a Stretch Muffler. Quackenbush gets the ropes. He throws some slaps and drops Storm with a Tiger Driver 91! He puts on the CHIKARA Special. Storm submits at 8:26. However, Quackenbush refuses to release the hold, so referee Derek Sabato reverses the decision and awards the match to Storm! This was a heck of a battle and very fitting following Storm’s betrayal last month. Of course, this was only the beginning, but a fun start to things. ***¼

World of Sport Rules
Mike Quackenbush vs. Johnny Saint

CHIKARA “Tag World Grand Prix 2008, Night 1” – Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, DE – 11.8.2008

This match has six five minute rounds with a 30 second rest period in between each round.

Round One: Saint brings Quackenbush to the mat in a hammerlock. He applies a courting hold. When Quackenbush tries to escape, Saint rolls through. Quackenbush gets a wristlock on. Saint reverses and gives Quackenbush a spinning toe hold. Quackenbush applies a headscissors. Saint turns him over and pops out. Saint has on a full nelson as the first five minute round concludes.

Round Two: Quackenbush places his knee on Saint’s knee and twists on his ankle. He then twists his leg around Saint’s ankle and bridges back to apply pressure. He uses his other foot to escape and turn Quackenbush over into the Romero Special, but doesn’t hold onto it for long. Saint baits him into a schoolboy for two. Quackenbush puts on an abdominal stretch. Saint hip tosses his way free. They trade wristlocks. Quackenbush almost gets a pin with a crucifix pin, but Saint thrusts his posterior into Quackenbush’s stomach causing him to break free. Saint puts on a chinlock while stretching Quackenbush over his knees. Quackenbush slips out and looks for a pin. Saint applies a nerve hold just as the round ends.

Round Three: More wristlock exchanges. Saint gets on a headscissors. Quackenbush worms his way out. Saint rolls into the Black Pool Ball. He lures Quackenbush into an arm whip. Saint gets two with a schoolyard trip and folding press. Quackenbush kicks away at his arm. When neither man gets a pinfall in an exchange, Quackenbush ties up Saint’s legs. Saint gets out of it by rolling Quackenbush into a crucifix pin attempt. Saint snapmares Quackenbush while holding the arm. He legdrops the arm and applies pressure to the arm between his legs. As Quackenbush is looking to escape a hammerlock, the bell rings to end the round.

Round Four: Saint applies the nerve hold that ended Round Two. Quackenbush crosses his arms and takes him over in a modified Japanese stranglehold. Saint stomps on Quackenbush’s knee to escape. Saint and Quackenbush collide into each other with their shoulders, causing them both to fall. Saint follows up his earlier knee attack with a knee breaker. As the bell ends the fourth round, Saint remains on the ground as it seems he hurt his own knee on the knee breaker. Quackenbush and the referee check on him and help him out. Because he can’t make it to his feet on his own by a ten count, the referee declares the match a win for Quackenbush in 20:00.

Like their wXw match, while the action was really good and fun to watch, the ending was dissatisfying. It seems like they were building to a third match to truly give us the match we want, but that match, to my knowledge, never came to pass. I appreciate the art of counter wrestling these guys incorporate, especially since it’s rare to see Quackenbush gets schooled in that department. ***¼

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