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You never forget your first time: a trip to the fun, fantastical world of Chikara.

Chikara has always been a promotion that’s interested, but eluded me. I’m not sure exactly why I held off getting into it for so long. Perhaps I was intimidated by its history, the longevity of it, and the incredible span of characters/performers to follow.  I honestly never knew where to start with Chikara, especially with it being so different from other promotions. Like anything else, so many people sung it’s praises to me that I started to feel guilty for not getting it. Thus, when I read that Chikara was returning to Chicago I immediately realized this was my chance to finally understand what so many of my friends have told me about, and see why it was so popular, yet in a way, still unknown to so many.

Had I heard of Chikara before buying my ticket to the show? Absolutely. Many of my favorite wrestlers had stints in Chikara years ago, so I had seen clips and matches here and there. A few others (Chuck Taylor, Drew Gulak, etc.) are currently on the roster, so when something involving them would pop up, I’d take a look. I think many of us have stumbled upon ‘funny Chikara moment’ videos in our related list on Youtube. For the most part however I knew of Chikara, not about Chikara.

Where do I begin? I received almost instantaneous answers. People who weren’t even following me were stepping forward with suggestions. Chikara fans were retweeting me, sending me matches to check out, specific people, and entire playlists of things on YouTube. It has to be said that the Chikara fanbase is one of the kindest I’ve come across, and also the one that wants so much to help new fans. I started watching what I could when I had the time, letting my friends fill in the blanks on the history as I go along. The internet is such a phenomenal resource in terms of wrestling history, and a quick poke around brought me to the backstories of those I was most interested in. It’s hard for me to sit and enjoy a show without knowing the basics first. Who’s the top guy around here? Why does this group hate that one? What do we cheer for certain people? What’s the payoff to this person winning? Having that small basis helps to understand the current situation, and really helps build the excitement for any event. After watched a few shows and things here and there, I finally felt that I was at least well versed enough to navigate myself through a live show.

Continue reading You never forget your first time: a trip to the fun, fantastical world of Chikara.