CHIKARA (sometimes erroneously referred to as CHIKARA Pro) was an American independent wrestling promotion based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company was founded by Mike Quackenbush and "Reckless Youth" Tom Carter in 2002.
CHIKARA shut down in 2020 amidst allegations of sexual misconduct towards wrestlers and fans.
The Chikara promotion grew out of the Chikara Wrestle Factory, founded on January 7, 2002 in Allentown, Pennsylvania by Mike Quackenbush and Reckless Youth. The first class included UltraMantis, Mr. ZERO, Dragonfly, Hallowicked, and Ichabod Slayne (later Icarus). In May of the same year, Chikara expanded into a wrestling promotion with the intent of showcasing its students. The first show featured not only the Wrestle Factory students and head trainers but several other independent wrestlers, including Don Montoya, CM Punk, Colt Cabana, Chris Hero, Love Bug, Marshal Law, and Blind Rage. The main event of the first show featured Quackenbush and Youth joined by Don Montoya as the Black T-shirt Squad defeat the Gold Bond Mafia of Chris Hero, CM Punk, and Colt Cabana. In the early days, Blind Rage, Hallowicked, and Ichabod Slayne formed a stable known as the Night Shift, which became the top group of rudos (or heels) in the company. They frequently feuded with tecnicos (faces) Quackenbush, Youth, and UltraMantis. Notable events of 2002 included an appearance by former WCW star La Parka, who joined Mr. ZERO against Quackenbush and Youth, and the opening of the sister promotion Kiryoku Pro, which highlighted female wrestling (Kiryoku soon ended in June).
2002 was also marked by a lawsuit against Chikara for promotion shows out of the Wrestle Factory. Neighborhood activists claimed that the building was not properly zoned for assembly, and that the shows detracted from the "complexion of the community". It was eventually ruled that Chikara provided inadequate parking for their shows, and would not be allowed to promote out of the Wrestle Factory any longer. This deterred Chikara from holding any more shows until October. During the Chikara hiatus, they released tapes of their early shows, titled “The Renaissance Dawns” and “Baila, Parka, Baila”, and the wrestlers worked showcase matches in other promotions, such as IWA-MS. Chikara soon reached an agreement with St. John's Lutheran Church in Allentown to hold shows there, only 8 blocks from the Wrestle Factory. Chikara also began a second Wrestle Factory class, but lost trained Reckless Youth at the beginning of the class, as he left the business. The first show in St. John's saw the Wildcards (Eddie Kingston and BlackJack Marciano), Gran Akuma, DJ Skittlez, Melvin Snodgrass, and Lester Crabtree debut, and shortly after, they were joined by Wrestle Factory graduates Jigsaw and Bryce Remsburg (a referee).
Chikara soon debuted a concept that lasts to this day in their promotion - the Young Lions Cup. Commonly abbreviated as the YLC, the tournament was designed to showcase the best of the Wrestle Factory graduates. It continues to be a showcase of young talent from the independent circuit. Hallowicked defeated Mr. ZERO to win the first tournament, via top rope fisherman buster. During the YLC, Ichabod Slayne turned on Blind Rage and Hallowicked, leading to a Hair vs Mask match between Slayne and Rage. At Chikara's final 2002 show, Rage defeated Slayne, forcing the latter to unmask. He would later return as Icarus, the name he wrestles under today. Also during the tournament, Mr. ZERO turned tecnico after a match with UltraMantis. Chikara took a two-week break during Christmas before returning in 2003, establishing a tradition of "seasons" that they maintain today.
In 2004, Chris Hero became a co-trainer at CHIKARA Wrestle Factory. In 2005, Jorge Rivera joined as the third trainer. In March 2005, the school moved from Allentown to the New Alhambra Arena, in Philadelphia. They then took over the training for Combat Zone Wrestling, leading to the school's new name of CZW/CHIKARA Wrestle Factory. The schools split in 2007. The training center is once again simply known as CHIKARA Wrestle Factory. In 2007, Claudio Castagnoli took over Chris Hero's training duties.
The company's catalog of events (on both VHS & DVD) are available through Smart Mark Video.
CHIKARA drew their biggest crowd ever of over 550 at the New Alhambra Arena in Philadelphia to see the finals of the King Of Trios event on March 2, 2008.
CHIKARA also makes Internet Pay-Per-Views by the name of Pod-Per-View. CHIKARA also have a weekly Internet show by the name of Podcast-A-Go-Go which contains CHIKARA matches and interviews.
Championship and accomplishments
Chikara Wrestle Factory
Chikara ran a wrestling school by the name of the Chikara Wrestle Factory. It offered training to prospective professional wrestlers and referees, and is based in The Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Wrestle Factory, founded in 2002, was the foundation for the beginning of the main Chikara promotion.
- CHIKARA Creatures From The Tar Swamp
- CHIKARA Tag World Grand Prix
- CHIKARA King of Trios
- Event history