Kids Eat Free On TuesdayIn 2004, Hero would move to Pennsylvania and replace the long absent Reckless Youth as co-trainer of the Wrestle Factory. More graduates of the school emerged in Shane Storm, Crossbones, and ShareCropper as the Young Lions Cup was brought back. Seemingly out of nowhere, wrestler “Sweet ‘n’ Sour” Larry Sweeney emerged at the event and took home the prize beating out a more likely contender in Jigsaw (who had became a popular Tecnico). From this win, Sweeney founded the Rudo stable Sweet ‘n’ Sour International in essence aligning all of the villains of Chikara. UltraMantis, a Tecnico since the beginning, turned Rudo becoming UltraMantis Black (likely one of the most predominant villains in the promotion’s history) starting a tag team with Hallowicked as the Dark Breed, a subgroup under Sweeney. As 2004 continued to roll on, yet another reoccurring event emerged in Torneo Cibernetico. Again pulling from lucha libre, this match features two teams of varying sizes tagging each other in an elimination series until a single wrestler remains (if an entire team is eliminated, then the remaining members of the other team must face each other). The first winner of this match at Chikara was Jigsaw with help from Mike Quackenbush who had infiltrated Sweeney’s team as a masked wrestler named Spyrazul. Jigsaw would later go on to defeat Sweeney to obtain the Young Lions Cup. Around the time of the Torneo, another graduate of the Factory emerged in Lance Steel, a time traveling knight from medieval Europe.

 

2005 EventsSeason four of Chikara started out with the Tag World Grand Prix ’05 which saw Chris Hero turn on his partner Mike Quackenbush, forming the Rudo team of the Kings of Wrestling with Claudio Castagnoli and “The Anarchist” Arik Cannon which largely became the most dominant force in the promotion for some years. The previous year, Chikara graduates and Tecnicos Icarus, Gran Akuma, Shane Storm, and Mister ZERO formed popular separate tag teams (the first two in Team F.I.S.T., short for Friends in Similar Tights, and the last two as Men@Work) who developed a heated rivalry over the course of 2005 resulting in F.I.S.T. turning Rudo, putting ZERO out of commission and joining the Kings. Storm struck out on his own as a singles wrestler, eventually winning the Young Lions Cup by defeating Icarus. Akuma would challenge Storm for the Cup in a Mask vs. Mask match where Storm came out on top and Akuma unmasked. Storm would align with Jigsaw to form the popular tag team of ShaneSaw. The while, the tag team of Knight Eye for the Pirate Guy (Jolly Roger and Lance Steel) finished off the last remnants of Sweet ‘n’ Sour International but the victory would be hollow when later Icarus injured Roger placing him into early retirement. Left without a tag partner, Lance traveled back through time to get a slightly younger version of himself as the two Steels formed the tag team Lancelot. However, the team fell apart when the almost a week younger Steel befriended the only actual dragon in professional wrestling Dragon Dragon leaving the elder Steel to face himself in combat, the loser to take Steel’s place back in the past. The slightly younger Steel triumphed, the elder returning to the middle ages.

 

Tag World Grand Prix 2006Something that should also be noted, some issue arose in 2003 which saw Chikara end its arrangement with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allentown and during the 2004 season the promotion went on a tour called the “Road Trip” continuing its storyline across promotions like Juggalo Championship Wrestling (JCW), CZW, Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), IWA-MS, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), and International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS). In 2005, Quackenbush and Hero would take over CZW’s training facility in the New Alhambra Sports & Entertainment Center (formerly the ECW Arena) to form the CZW/Chikara Wrestle Factory. Over the course of this year, Skayde joined the school as a third full-time instructor (as luchador El Pantera became a frequent guest instructor) while Chikara began performing in small venues in the general area. CZW would break away from the arrangement in 2007 but Chikara remained based out of the same building, which changed its name to the shorter New Alhambra Arena. This continued until 2012 when Arena Operating, LLC leased the building to convert it into a concert hall. The Wrestle Factory moved to Huntingdon Valley, PA only to return to the former ECW Arena (now called the 2300 Arena) this year following the failure to renovate the space.

 

Talent Borrows Genius StealsIn the previous season, Hallowicked had fought a series of battles with Jigsaw which saw the former’s behavior start to turn to that of a Tecnico. In 2006, this idea was paid off when UltraMantis Black suffered an injury leaving Hallowicked to be randomly partnered with the mad Tecnico Delirious. Their first pairing at Tag World Grand Prix ’06, which opened season five, the duo made it to the semi-finals (losing to the team that actually won the tournament). Hallowicked and Delirious went on to become a tag team called Incoherence (playing on the fact both characters speak mostly gibberish). As UltraMantis Black had lost Blind Rage and Hallowicked, the Dark Breed stable collapsed leading to the formation of the Order of the Neo-Solar Temple with Crossbones and Hydra (a graduate of the Factory who was a sea monster and Black’s protege).