By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
Eddie Kingston vs Mike Quackenbush 11/13/11
CHIKARA Grand Championship Match – Final of 12 Large Summit
CHIKARA’s ode to Japanese and Mexican wrestling shines through in its booking over the years. The focus on tag team and trios contests speaks to the lucha libre style of wrestling and was celebrated via the introduction of the Campenatas de Parejas early on in the history of the company. A Young Lions Cup spoke to similar traditions of introducing rookies into the wrestling world as they would do in puroresu, with this being the first trophy or championship CHIKARA ever created (it began in 2002; the tag belts in 2006). The 12 Large Summit, the tournament to name the first ever CHIKARA Grand Champion, was straight out of the G1 Climax/Champion’s Carnival mould with round robin singles matches leading up to the final.
After the tournament was announced, the tragic news of Larry Sweeney’s passing gave the event a new meaning as it was named the 12 Large Summit in Sweeney’s honour. Coupled with the move to iPPV for the High Noon card that would host the finals of the tournament, the Summit had transcended its initial purpose and became as much a tribute to Sweeney and the other colourful characters who chose to lace up a pair of wrestling boots as it did a chance for CHIKARA to crown their first singles champion. That it would take place in the fabled ECW arena was just icing on the cake.
With only one lose apiece en route to the finals, Eddie Kingston and Mike Quackenbush would face off at High Noon; one of Sweeney’s best friends and the owner of the company would battle it out for the gold. The emotion on Kingston’s face spoke volumes as Gavin Loudspeaker rattled off numerous nicknames he had used over the years; this was a chance to celebrate and pay homage to Sweeney’s memory. The crowd were as emotional, sparking up a ‘Sweet and Sour’ chant before both men even locked up. Tears were visible in Kingston’s eyes as he gazed up to the sky in acknowledgement of his fallen friend.
Knowing the feelings that were likely to permeate throughout the arena, Quackenbush would effectively wrestle heel, attacking an already injured knee to boos from the fans. A roll through of a sunset flip saw Quackenbush lock on a leg grapevine for further pain, refusing to break the hold until the four count. Whilst this initial onslaught on the leg could be excused as exuberance, Quackenbush’s decision to poke Kingston in the eye firmly showcased how far the CHIKARA owner was willing to bend the rules to win.
Eventually, the contest saw both men begin to trade strikes, a move that was always going to benefit Kingston over Quackenbush. As the match continued, the roster headed out from the back in scenes akin to significant ECW moments of yore, including men and women from across the history of the company in a sweet touch. Heading back to submission offense put Quackenbush back in control, yet Kingston jumped out of the Quackendriver III at one to the shock of all the fans.
Turnabout was fair play as a missed double kneedrop off the top allowed Kingston to take the fight to Quack’s legs, including a Backfist to the Future that knocked Quackenbush off the top turnbuckle. Quackenbush would reach the ropes whilst held in a submission that continued to target the injured leg and threw his last efforts into some slaps to Kingston’s face. However, Kingston was fired up, dropping Quackenbush with a lariat, a backdrop driver and a tiger suplex. With Quackenbush’s eyes glazing over, two Backfists to the Future dropped the owner on the mat, allowing Kingston to win the tournament and the gold.
To add a further layer to the ceremony that followed, Kingston was handed the belt by Larry Sweeney’s brother and another close friend. In terms of emotional moments in wrestling, few could match up to Kingston’s victory in the 12 Large Summit final due to the legitimacy of every step. Though the tragedy still upset those who had followed Sweeney throughout his career, in this moment there was some beauty among the madness and a chance for everyone to show their true appreciation for a talent who had gone way too soon.