While the mainstream wrestling world is going through a considerable shake-up in the wake of the founding of All Elite Wrestling, perhaps the first legitimate challenge to WWE in decades, the independent wrestling underground continues to be a showcase of underappreciated talent and unbridled creativity. Chikara—an eccentric and fantastical Philadelphia-based lucha libre league taking aesthetic inspiration from comic books and Japanese puroresu—has been a dependable force of imaginativeness since 2002. Either despite of or because of its kid-friendly ethos, the small federation has served as a pipeline of rising talent, with several WWE and AEW fighters having made their way through Chikara. Now, as the company’s luchadors gear up for the brand’s biggest event of the year, King of Trios (to be held in October), new feuds were established as many complex narratives continued to develop at this weekend’s Chikarasaurus Rex event.
Chikara’s unique postmodern storytelling has created epic rivalries that have at this point spanned nearly two decades. At the Wrestle Factory on September 7, Ophidian the Cobra, a masked head trainer at Chikara with a long history as a respected hero, continued to foment dissent against figurehead Mike Quackenbush. After he essentially stole the victory at the Infinity Gauntlet battle royale earlier this year, it seemed clear that Ophidian had shadowy support from a new crop of students, who have since revealed themselves as an insurrectionist movement within Chikaraknown as the Crucible. The up-and-comers of this stable challenged Chikara personnel including Thief Ant and Still Life with Apricots and Pears to a series of experimental and vaguely ceremonial no-ropes matches in an attempt to assert dominance over the rest of the roster. Crucible member Tunku Amir was unexpectedly trounced by an eager young student named Jawbreaker Josue, leading Ophidian to reprimand his disciples.