An Interview With CHIKARA Pro Wrestling Founder Mike Quackenbush!

An Interview With CHIKARA Pro Wrestling Founder Mike Quackenbush!

Why did you want to start CHIKARA?

Chikara Wrestle Factory was born out of the idea of grooming a crop of young talent that could wrestle in any style – Mexican, European, etc. From this training concept came CHIKARA.


What makes CHIKARA different from any other independent wrestling federation?

I think we’re probably the only group out there that is serious about making pro-wrestling fun again.


What makes CHIKARA events different?

The characters, first and foremost, and to a lesser extent, the fusion of styles. The storytelling and everything else that makes up our microcosm is pretty much the polar opposite of the WWE.


Some say CHIKARA has its own style of wrestling, why do you think that is?

Everything about our “aesthetic,” if I dare invoke that term, is very far removed from the mainstream concept of pro-wrestling.


What would you say to someone who has never seen a CHIKARA show before that would make them spend their hard earned money on a ticket?

If you were a pro-wrestling fan, but aren’t all that interested in what pro-wrestling has become lately, we’re just what you need.


For people who haven’t heard of CHIKARA, give me a summary of what CHIKARA is and stands for, as far as wrestling goes.

In short, CHIKARA is like a comic book come to life. We want our creation to be acceptable to fans of all ages – no one should be excluded. In making this a reality, we’ve blended together wrestling styles from around the globe to make something entirely new.


CHIKARA holds a passionate fan base, what do you think it is about CHIKARA that makes your fans so passionate?

The people that really “get” us, realize that we’re the only ones making pro-wrestling in this particular flavor. And it is, by all reports, a very addictive flavor.


There are so many great female wrestlers in this industry, but their talents aren’t always showcased, it’s usually overshadowed by the “model” types. What makes the ladies of CHIKARA different from the “model” types out there, that don’t necessarily have the talent or passion?

I think you’ve answered that yourself – the differences are talent and passion. They aren’t here for a paycheck because a modeling agency signed them up to play “diva.”


What are some of the best matches CHIKARA has held that you would recommend people to watch?

It’s easy to get in on the ground floor of CHIKARA with our weekly video podcast (on YouTube and iTunes) called CHIKARA Podcast-A-Go-Go. Right now, it features action from our annual event King of Trios, and that contains many of the year’s best matches.


Which matches do you think (that are on DVD) capture the energy and the overall vibe that CHIKARA’s live shows have?

Of our most recent stuff, I think an event like “King of Trios 2010: Night 2” really captures the atmosphere accurately.


How did Manami Toyota connect with CHIKARA?

We were very fortunate in that Manami has always wanted to wrestle in New York, and thanks to the work of a few middle-people, it all fell together neatly.


Manami Toyota is practically a living legend, what does it feel like to team with her for her big NYC debut?

It’s a big thrill, especially considering I’ve been a giant fan of hers for the last 15+ years.


You also operate Chikara Wrestle Factory, a training facility for wrestlers- what do you try to teach to your students that other trainers may not?

There is so much more to the wrestling industry than the physical mechanics of what goes on in the ring. And all that other stuff is as important – if not more so – to the success of the trainees.


What motivated the release of “Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Show” not even 24 hours after the show?

It was just an experiment, really. To see if the immediacy made a real difference. I doubt it’s something Smart Mark Video will attempt again anytime soon.


Who would you like to see on a CHIKARA card that hasn’t appeared before?

Repo Man. The Great Sasuke. Ultimo Guerrero.


Would you say 2010 is CHIKARA’s most successful year so far?

That’s difficult to say. Maybe at the end of the season, with the benefit of hindsight, that will be clearer.


What do you want to contribute to professional wrestling through CHIKARA?

If we can change a few minds about what can and cannot fit into our specific performance genre, than we’ve done something right, something of value.


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