We’re going to take another look at CHIKARA, this time from the second episode of their “secret season”.

This show runs at a little under 75 minutes – which is a little long for a TV show, but fine for binging. There’s a quick vignette of Princess Kimber Lee in a barber’s salon before the opening credits…

Missile Assault Man vs. Hiptoss Hank
This barely went 90 seconds and was a complete squash. Hank got one clothesline in, I think, and aside from that it was all offence for the former Ant. A pendulum backbreaker rocked Hank before he was forced to tap out to a sharpshooter. (Not Rating)

Backstage, we’ve got Kimber Lee and Solo Darling. Solo’s asking for advice ahead of her match. You know, since Kimber’s taken on some “ginormous dudes” in the past. Get your mind out of the gutter. Kimber’s advice is to get out of the way if they’re going to land on you, since getting your knees up isn’t much help.

Solo Darling vs. The Proletariat Boar of Moldova
The Boar takes away Solo’s drink, so she can’t start with a sugar rush. Despite that, Solo launches in with some forearms before a clothesline from the Boar knocks her down… and this is pretty one-sided from the get go.

Boar snaps back Darling for a near-fall, before pulling her up after a bodyslam. Mike Quackenbush on commentary drops in a rule that CHIKARA has called castigo de excesivo – basically, a wrestler can be disqualified for not trying to win a match, or for “kicking too much ass”, if you would. Foreshadowing! A spinning side slam gets another two-count as the Boar pulls up Solo once more, before he drills her with a big boot, and we’re getting a DQ due to too much ass kicking. I get they’re trying to establish that rule, but this was just a squash before that. DUD.

Referee Travis Lastnameunnecessary gets in the Boar’s face after the match, but that just earns him a gore. Solo Darling leaves the ring to get some help, and Princess Kimber Lee rushes out to save the referee.

Dasher Hatfield vs. Heidi Lovelace
Quackenbush acknowledges that Heidi’s gone to WWE – and that this match was given to her as a parting gift it seems. Hatfield’s swarmed by kids on his entrance, and we finally get going as the crowd seem to be behind Heidi here.

A nice, slow start here as they reverse holds back and forth, with Hatfield getting the first near-fall out of a La Magistral roll-up. Hatfield lands a series of armdrags, including a springboard out of the corner that sent Heidi across the ring, but she comes back with a big set of satellite headscissors. Dasher swats away a dropkick as he locks in a grounded waistlock, before locking the Deadly Nightshade headscissor takedown and taking Heidi into a Rings of Saturn.

Hatfield flies off the ropes into a headlock takeover as he maintains the momentum, but Heidi comes back by ducking a clothesline and scoring with a crucifix, modifying it into another Rings of Saturn… but Dasher powers up and locks in an abdominal stretch. That turns into a surfboard which pulls Heidi off the mat, but somehow she manages to wheelbarrow him for a near-fall.

There’s a weird bit of rope running that leads to Heidi using some headscissors to ram Hatfield into the turnbuckles, before she lands a big back senton off the top rope for a near-fall. Dasher blocks the Heidi-canrana and eventually scores a backslide for a near-fall. A slingshot back suplex off the top turnbuckle gets another two-count for Dasher, but Heidi comes back with a top rope ‘rana after catching him up top.

Heidi goes for a tornado DDT, but that ends up as a small package for a bunch of near-falls, ending when Dasher snuck out a three-count out of it. A really good match, regardless of your feelings on intergender, with a lot of good back and forth stuff. Well worth a watch! ***½

We get a backstage promo with Dez Peloton – Donald Kluger and Jasper Tippins. Apparently they lost a match in Chicago, and Tippins reckons that Kluger isn’t following “the regiment”. He changes his mind and in the end Kluger thinks it’s down to their diet… so they’re having a cheat day. Against Los Ice Creams.

Los Ice Creams (El Hijo del Ice Cream & Ice Cream Jr) vs . Dez Peloton (Jasper Tippins & Donald Kluger)
Dez Peloton have the gimmick of being cycling enthusiasts. Sadly, they don’t cycle to the ring…

El Hijo del Ice Cream trips Tippins at the start, before Ice Cream Jr shoves him down for a few pratfalls. Kluger trips his partner to pull him to the outside, which just suckers Junior to the outside, as El Hijo teases a tope… just to slap the cyclists in the back.

Kluger takes another chop to the back, before he catches Hijo in a see-saw back cracker. Junior tags back in and gets slung into the top rope, before Dez Peloton get tripped up en route to the jumping sit-down splash. This is comedy, I guess, but if you muted the commentary you’d not hear anyone laughing.

Hijo chops away at Tippins on the apron, before his attempt to dive at Jasper fails, as he fell to the floor. Tippins then leaps off the apron onto Hijo, as Junior picks up Kluger in the ring for an airplane spin. With So. Many. Disorienting. Camera. Cuts. Stop that. They repeat the rib with the camera cuts on another airplane spin, and for some reason Hijo tags in and goes all Cold Stone on Junior, hitting him with a Stunner. Tippins gets one too, before Kluger gives Hijo one too.

Everyone leaps to tag in a non-existent partner, and then my feed cuts out, because of course it does. We get a four-way sort-of clothesline, with Kluger’s arm falling onto Ice Cream Junior, and that’s enough for the pin. A total comedy match, but the forced laughter commentary didn’t help at all. This is where having a kiddy crowd doesn’t help, as you don’t really get the “right” reactions apart from ongoing cheers. *¾

Rock Lobster vs. Ophidian
Okay, this is where the gimmicks are beyond ridiculous.The wrestling snake vs. a lobster who likes rock music. Where’s Peter Griffin when you need him?

They explode out of the gates, with Lobster hitting a springboard armdrag off the top rope, before a spinning headscissor takedown keeps Ophidian level. Another headscissor takes the Lobster outside, but he cuts off a dive from Ophidian and tries for a superplex into the ring… but he’s sent flying back into the middle of the ring.

A Meteora from Ophidian takes Rock Lobster into the other corner, where he gets some more knees. Lobster kicks away a headstand on the top turnbuckle as he takes over for a spell, tripping Ophidian as he went to the outside, before returning for a slingshot splash back into the ring.

A nerve hold from Lobster is countered as Ophidian bounced him off the ropes into a wheelbarrow facebuster, but again the tide turned as a tope was cut-off by the Lobster who kept the match even. The corkscrew enziguiri and some diving knees in the corner keep the Rock Lobster down, but he comes back with a diving Cutter, dropping Ophidian in the ropes as he dove to the outside. Ophidian rebounded with an Asai moonsault into the sea of kids, before taking an X-plex release suplex onto the apron.

The see-saw continued as Ophidian did a headstand into a tornado DDT on the floor, and that’s enough for a double count-out as Rock Lobster clung onto Ophidian on the floor… so this is a draw. A crappy finish, but this was a good, fast-paced match, well befitting CHIKARA’s lucha-inspired roots. ***¼

There’s a backstage promo with the Batiri. Unfortunately since I wasn’t following these storylines, all I got out of this was that they’re going to make Hallowicked pay.

The Legion of Rot (Hallowicked & Frightmare) vs. The Batiri (Obariyon & Kodama)
The Batiri launch into Hallowicked and Frightmare at the bell, before landing a pair of clotheslines to take them to the outside. A Hart Attack-esque knee takes out both of the Legion, before a pair of topes keep the Batiri on top.

It’s on the outside where the Legon take over though, throwing Obariyon into the ringpost, before a Yakuza kick inside the ring sees Frightmare get a near-fall. Hallowicked comes in with some shoulder charges in the corner, before a top rope snapmare gets him a near-fall over a worn-down Obariyon… who, just as I type that, comes back, only to get dropped with a spear.

Frightmare leaps off the top and stomps on Obariyon, then gets a standing moonsault for a two-count. The Legion pull away Obariyon as he dove for a tag, and that just sees the beatdown continue… at least until he caught a slingshot stomp in the corner, before a headscissor takedown sends Frightmare down, but then Hallowicked pulls down Kodama off the apron to prevent the tag. Finally, Obariyon scores a slam on Frightmare, but Kodama this time leaps over an attempted bit of interference from Hallowicked as he’s now able to tag in!

Kodama hits a neckbreaker for a two-count as Hallowicked breaks it up, before a springboard Ace crusher out of the corner almost gets a win over Hallowicked, as it’s now Frightmare’s turn to break up the cover. A double springboard Ace crusher from Kodama takes down both opponents, but they kick out at two, before Kodama unwisely goes for a double-team move… without his partner there to help.

The Legion recover and dump Kodama with the Go To Sleepy Hollow (assisted Go To Sleep), before Obariyon comes in to prevent the Legion from hitting a double-team. Hallowicked takes a running knee to the back of the head, as Obariyon followed up with a pop-up knee strike to Frightmare, before he’s caught with a step-up knee strike in the corner. From there, the Legion set up – and hit – the Headless Horseman (Doomsday Ace crusher) for a near-fall as Kodama broke up the cover.

Kodama then gets held in the corner for a running enziguiri from Hallowicked, before Frightmare snaps back Kodama with an awkward springboard lungblower off the middle rope. Hallowicked looks to hit the Never Wake Up (cross-legged DDT) to Kodama, as another masked man, Kobald, came out to try and prevent it… but he changed his mind. Another Never Wake Up follows, as the Legion of Rot take the win from an enjoyable main event. ***

Kodama gets carried to the back as the MC winds up the show – after Mike Quackenbush had already done it – as we go to the end credits. A jarringly-happy ending after supposedly a serious injury!

Well, not quite – this week’s post-show segment sees referee Travis Lastnameunnecessary march up to Mike Quackenbush as he was leaving the building. He throws his shirt at Quackenbush, and just says “I’m ready”. I guess he wants to put his wrestler training to use after being gored by the Boar earlier?

A hit-and-miss outing this week – three good matches, but some squashes that seemed to be just filler also. As a show, it flows well (even if I’d prefer them to get away from wrestler X has a backstage segment, wrestler X has a match format), without feeling like its dragging at any point.

My criticism of this season of CHIKARA is a pretty simple one: there’s no effort at all being made to win over new fans with this. With each episode being around an hour long, there’s no reason why they can’t throw in clips of past matches and storylines – if only to refresh people’s memories. Over two shows, we’ve seen over 30 characters here, an overwhelming number… as a one-man commentator, Mike Quackenbush does a decent job of getting stuff across, but there’s only an acknowledgement of back stories, rather than explanations, which hurts new fans like myself.