The High Spot: Return of Chikara, WWE Network and the Top Stories of the Week

Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at!

In a winter with many major wrestling news stories, nothing has excited me more than the recent angle that culminated on National Pro Wrestling Day with the return of Chikara. Though the initial run of Chikara lasted twelve seasons, I was late to the party. I had seen matches here and there, but my first live event didn’t occur until they started touring the Midwest, at the joint ROH/Chikara doubleheader in April 2012. My friends and I quickly fell in love with the experience. I maintain that there is no wrestling company, large or small, that can match the intimate, fan-friendly experience that Chikara offers live. It’s a company that is truly friendly to families, offers the opportunity to meet wrestlers before and after the show, and interacts with the fans during the matches. In my brief time attending live events, I’ve witnessed Colt Cabana carry an incredulous young girl around the ring and spoken at length with the announcer/hype man Gavin Loudspeaker about cult hero Wesley Willis. My personal favorite moment, though, saw Kobald wrestle wearing one of my best friend’s Stetson hats, before it was lamentably squashed by the posterior of a Batiri member.

An ant chops a demon in a cowboy hat.
An ant chops a demon in a cowboy hat.

Mike Quackenbush, the man behind Chikara, has made the rounds this week talking about the company’s comeback, his philosophy behind writing and professional wrestling as performance art. I personally categorize Chikara’s storytelling into three separate levels. One can attend or watch a show and enjoy it for what it is: an exciting, lucha-style event filled with pageantry and exotic characters. I fall more into the second layer of fan, one who attends a couple shows, watches the “Best of” compilations at the end of the year, and has a base understanding of the ongoing storylines. What separates Quackenbush’s art from other wrestling companies’ writers is the third, more intricate layer. For fans willing to take the extra leap, Quackenbush has created a larger world, where an evil corporation, Titor Conglomerate, bought out Chikara and eventually eliminated it.

The nine-month hiatus, filled with events by sister companies, led to the return of rudos from past seasons of Chikara. At National Pro Wrestling Day, members of Chikara united together to fight back. The seeds for this storyline were planted for years and included alternate forms of media, such as websites of fictitious corporations, complete with legitimate phone numbers, twitter accounts, conspiracy theories and, recently, shattering the fourth wall entirely with appearances at fans’ houses. The only parallel that I can draw is to the world of Lost, where video games and website of the fictitious airline added extra layers and clues to the greater story. Though this added depth may be intimidating to newcomers, it’s really not necessary to have in order to enjoy the product at face value, just an added bonus for those with the passion (and time) to delve into.

Chikara isn’t for everyone, and Mike Quackenbush not only understands that fact, but embraces it. But any promotion that has an unlikely hero saving the day after returning from another time period, driving the Delorean from Back to the Future deserves at least a look.

The author and his fellow adoption advocate, El Generico.
The author and his fellow adoption advocate, El Generico.

And now, for the rest of the news:

  •  All We Want is Life Beyond the Ring: Beth Phoenix recently announced in an interview that she and Edge have had a baby. Edge said it was the most romantic thing the they’ve done: “As soon as you hold that baby and say ‘We created this,’ it’s a bond for life.” The High Spot extends the warmest possible congratulations to the happy couple on their real-life human child. Have fun at the Live Sex Celebration!
  • Over the Edge: As part of the buildup to the Network rollout later this month, WWE released a list of every pay-per-view that will be included on launch day. For the most part it’s a standard list of, as promised, every WWF, ECW and WCW show–except that “every show” also includes the infamous Over the Edge 1999, where Owen Hart fell to his death. It remains to be seen whether the video will be edited to remove the immediate aftermath of Hart’s fall and the announcement that he’d died; that footage could also be kept as a historical artifact, perhaps with a warning or disclaimer attached.
  • Trust Me, Trust Me, DDP: WWE recently announced that the latest member of this year’s Hall of Fame Class is Jake the Snake Roberts. This has been expected ever since Roberts’ appearance on Old School Raw, where he looked as healthy as he’s been in fifteen or twenty years. Frankly, it was expected that he would be welcomed back into the fold as soon as he cleaned himself up, and it seems like he’s finally done that with the help of Diamond Dallas Page and the power of yoga.
  • Also in the Hallowed Hall:Rumors are swirling that the Hall of Fame will also welcome Paul Bearer, Mr. T, and Lita this year. Paul Bearer is an obvious choice given his history with the company and recent passing. Lita seems reasonable enough, if she’s well and truly retired, seeing as how she was a huge part of one phase in the history of the women’s division. Mr. T has been sorely needed for years; this writer doesn’t understand how you have a Celebrity Wing without Mr. T in it (but of course, corporations do lots of things, and T had refused in the past).
  • ?! ?! ?! ?! – At the Hampton Inn in Emporia, Virginia, a dark and ancient spirit awakens. Through the shadows it slithers. In the minds of the motel’s itinerants, lining up for their complimentary continental breakfast, it finds purchase. Its horrible mouths open in their dreams, repeating a simple message that takes root in their psyches. Perhaps you too have fallen victim to its clarion call: Daniel Bryan still has not won the Royal Rumble.