Regarding the Tag World Grand Prix ’06, it established a new title for Chikara in the Campeonatos de Parejas. Previously, Reckless Youth had returned to Chikara as a performer only to be targeted by the Kings of Wrestling. However, when Arik Cannon (who idolized Youth) saved the Tecnico from being injured by Hero and Castagnoli, he was both removed from the group and became their enemy. To supplement his loss, the Kings convinced Team F.I.S.T. to join their ranks. For the Tag World Grand Prix, Hero and Castagnoli would win the belts as the first Campeonatos de Parejas. Unique to Chikara, in order to get a title shot for the tag belts, a tag team must have consecutively defeated three other teams and challenge for the belts without a single defeat in between. Further, this championship bout is best two out of three falls. By the end of the year, F.I.S.T. would defeat their mentors to become the champs only for Castagnoli to leave for the WWE (Hero ordering his minions, which grew to include Larry Sweeney, to stomp his partner for losing and leaving). Sweeney had an ongoing feud with Eddie Kingston the last half of season five resulting in a brutal strap match (both competitors bound together with a long, leather strap with no disqualification). It should be noted, the Tag World Grand Prix saw the premier of the stable the Colony, ant-themed masked graduates of the Factory, who became arguably the most dominant group of Tecnicos in Chikara in the years to come. In the early years, they were joined by fellow graduate Equinox. Also, as far as I can tell around 2006, Chikara began producing artwork for its posters and DVD covers paying homage to comic books, video, card, and role-playing games, cartoons, anime, Sci-Fi and comic book films, and more (you can see many of these homages from 2004 to 2009 here).
Season six proved to be a turning point for the company. While true that every wrestling promotion has storylines, often identified as male soap operas, and Chikara had its fair share of wrestling plotlines with some silliness (time-traveling knight, actual dragons and sea monsters wrestling, Shane Storm able to stop someone using a stop sign, Player Uno pausing if someone hits his Start button, CM Punk and Colt Cabana parodied with furries as “Team World Wildlife Fund/WWF”, Dr. Cheung parodying John Cena as the doctor of Cheunganomics, and so on), it evolved in 2007. Mike Quackenbush has on occasion stated fans have come to view Chikara as a live action comic book brought to life. This concept began taking form as seeds planted started to take root as a growing narrative was forming, elements of magic and super science finding their way more and more into the bigger storylines of the company. Quackenbush is known to put out there that, at this point, most wrestling viewers are well aware what’s in the ring is an elaborate work of fiction, more of a performance art by a troupe of athletic actors, so it’s time to evolve the art. A major taboo for Quackenbush is to treat the audience like they’re stupid or have short memories, choosing instead to put something out there that is dynamic in action but with a strong story and let the people who would find appealing to come discover it.
2007 opened with a new reoccurring event that may very well be Chikara’s most popular (especially when you account for DVD sales). King of Trios is a tournament featuring wrestling teams of three from all around the world battling for dominance. The inaugural event saw the return of Claudio Castagnoli disguised as Mysteriously Familiar Ice Cream (as part of the luchador tag team Los Ice Creams) as part of the first step on his road of revenge against the Kings of Wrestling. However, due to injury, Chris Hero couldn’t compete and wrestler Chuck Taylor joined Team F.I.S.T. as part of the Kings’ trio. Castagnoli desperately tried to get at Hero and after some months managed to arrange a singles match with him such that if Castagnoli won, Hero would become his butler and if Hero won, Castagnoli would have to return to his place in the Kings. With Hero’s win (due to cheating), the Kings were composed of Hero, Castagnoli, and Larry Sweeney who recruited wrestler Mitch Ryder while F.I.S.T. recruited Taylor and Young Lions Cup Champion Max Boyer. A divide formed breaking into two factions leading F.I.S.T. to battle the other Kings in a six-man tag. In the end, F.I.S.T. won and the group remained together (Boyer would leave soon after, replaced by Shayne Hawke). While the Kings were undoubtedly the major super power in Chikara, an issue arose that almost tore them apart.
After two years of Mike Quackenbush leading various Tecnicos against Chris Hero and his Kings of Wrestling, the time finally came for the two former friends to battle each other one-on-one. In the end, Quackenbush was triumphant with a new submission maneuver called the Chikara Special. To make matters worse for Hero, Quackenbush taught the move to the entire roster of Tecnicos. Repeatedly, Hero was defeated using the move. While Hero was on his losing streak, the Kings competed against a team of luchadores in the Torneo Cibernetico and while winning, the rules state only one competitor may remain standing. Claudio Castagnoli finally got to battle Hero, pinning him and winning his freedom. From there, Castagnoli began a one man crusade tearing apart his former team. Meanwhile, Hero would lose to the young and fairly inexperienced wrestler Equinox. After nearly ripping his mask off, Hero was forced into a rematch with the youth in a Mascara contra Caballera. However, suddenly and mysteriously, Hero broke the hold and won leading to Equinox’s unmasking. Claiming to be a luchador from Mexico, Equinox was revealed as a Wrestle Factory dropout named Vin Gerard who put on a mask and forced trainer Skayde to support his claim he was a true luchador. Following this, Castagnoli finally got to fight Hero alone and won. Hero left the promotion and the Wrestle Factory never to return, Castagnoli taking his place as co-trainer. According to Hero, he left over pay and Quackenbush wanting him to make a stronger commitment to Chikara.