CHIKARA’s biggest crown jewel for independent wrestling is arguably the King of Trios tournament. This will be the 13th incarnation of this tournament. Sixteen teams of three compete over 3 nights for the gold medals and the title of King of Trios. It is also a time for the CHIKARA faithful to find new friends of CHIKARA as they involve more outside talent during this tournament. This year marks the first year that King of Trios airs LIVE for the duration of the weekend, both on CHIKARA’s own website, Chikaratopia, and IndependentWrestling.tv. This year alone there are 10 debuts! Enough yammering, let’s get to the array of talent involved.
The Pump Family (Jordynne Grace, Scott Steiner & Petey Williams)
The first trio announced for King of Trios back in May. It is called the Pump Family based upon two members’ styles and physical resemblance to Scott Steiner. Big Poppa Pump, Little Petey Pump, and Thick Mama Pump are all making their CHIKARA debuts as well. Scott Steiner is a veteran of over 30 years in the business after having trained under Dr. Jerry Graham, Jr. The seedlings of this trio were laid in early 2008 when Steiner formed a tag team with Petey Williams. They tagged together for about a year before going their separate ways.
The Maple Leaf Muscle, Petey Williams had an impressive career before and after partnering up with Big Poppa Pump. Williams is likely best known for his first run in IMPACT Wrestling which also included his time with Team Canada before Steiner. He’s a two-time X-Division Champion and has held gold in Border City Wrestling and CLASH Wrestling, among others. Rounding out this trio is current Knockout Jordynne Grace. A pro of six to seven years, Grace started to explode on the independent scene in the last couple of years. Her strength sets her apart and helps tie her to her “father.” She has held several titles including the Black Label Pro Heavyweight Championship and the PROGRESS Women’s Championship. They had a trial run as a trio back in August at IMPACT Wrestling Unbreakable.
The Four Nations (Mick Moretti, Adam Hoffman & Jack Bonza)
Appearing for the second King of Trios in a row are the lads from the land Down Under! The Rapscallion Mick Moretti teams with Jack Bonza and Adam Hoffman once again. In 2018, they made it to the finals before falling to The Colony. Since last September, they’ve stayed busy. All three regularly compete for PWA Black Label, WLW, and other indies in Australia. Moretti has also had several excursions abroad, having an impressive three week run in Beyond Wrestling’s Discovery Gauntlet. He also made his PWG BOLA debut recently. The Four Nations also recently lost the PWA Tag Team titles to The VeloCities, their longtime rivals.
The Colony (Fire Ant, Thief Ant & Green Ant)
The Colony unit of Fire Ant, Green Ant and Thief Ant are back to defend their crowns, as this trio won last year’s tournament as The ResistANTce. The colony also won back in 2011, when Fire Ant lead a team with Green Ant (the original incarnation) and Soldier Ant, making them the winningest faction in King of Trios history. The insectuous family of CHIKARA have challenged for many belts, both in tandems and in singles action, but they always shine brightest in the King of Trios tournament.
Quack Attack (Mike Quackenbush, Lance Lude & Rob Killjoy)
CHIKARA founder and indie legend Mike Quackenbush teams up with one of the rising stars of the US indie scene, The Ugly Ducklings. This unit has been around together since 2016, and worked the likes of Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), Bar Wrestling, Full Impact Pro (FIP), Freelance Wrestling, and other Mid Atlantic and Southern indies. They’ve held half a dozen tag team championships in a short time.
The Crucible (Kimber Lee, Ophidian & Lance Steel)
The Crucible is a faction bent on controlling CHIKARA through domination and the stable was so big they got to enter two trios this year. This one is led by two CHIKARA Legends – Kimber Lee was the first woman to win a major top championship and Ophidian is a CHIKARA original and indie innovator. Lance Steel is new to the CHIKARA scene but a student of his teachers and will get a huge showcase opportunity alongside these two stars.
The Crucible (Matt Makowski, EM Demorest & Devantes)
The Crucible’s second squad feature three of the young guns of CHIKARA, including EM DeMorest and Devantes, but the secret weapon could be former MMA fighter is Matt “Weapon X” Makowski, who competed professionally from 2007 to 2010, fighting for EliteXC and Bellator amongst others, compiling a 6-2 record.
Hatfields & McCoy (Molly McCoy, Dasher Hatfield & Boomer Hatfield)
The somewhat estranged relationship between father and son duo of CHIKARA Grand Champion Dasher Hatfield and his athletic son Boomer hopes to further rebuild the bond when they team up alongside another newcomer to CHIKARA this year in Molly “The Real” McCoy, a rough and tumble checker who knows when to keep her stick on the ice.
Legion of Rot (Hallowicked, Frightmare & Kobald)
The Nazmaldun followers are also former King of Trios Champions, although when Hallowicked and Frightmare won it in 2012, they had UltraMantis Black as their third man. This year, they team with an equally familiar partner in longtime ally Kobald. Like the Colony, the followers of Nazmaldun – be it the Spectral Envoy or Legion of Riot – always shine in these tournaments, regardless of what happens in the regular season.
The Carnies (Nick Iggy, Kerry Awful & Tripp Cassidy)
The Carnies are best known as the tag team duo of Nick Iggy & Kerry Awful, who have terrorized the US indies since 2016, featured in the likes of GCW, Ring of Honor, Black Label Pro, Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, Bar Wrestling, and others. Often, many forget that these two are actually part of a larger trio. But while it’s a rare treat to have them alongside Tripp Cassidy in comparison, it is in tournaments like this where the full genius of The Carnies shines through.
F.I.S.T. (Travis Huckabee, Icarus & Tony Deppen)
Since leaving the followers of Nazmaldun a few years ago, Icarus has gone back to his squirrelly ways of ascending the CHIKARA ladder, and he created a new incarnation of the faction F.I.S.T. The former CHIKARA Grand Champion saddled up with two rising stars in the US indies. Travis Huckabee was a referee not that long ago who turned his back on the rule book to become one of CHIKARA’s top rule breakers. But he gets results. The other member is Tony Deppen, a regular with GCW, who is blowing up in 2019, making his first appearance as part of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG)‘s Battle of Los Angeles.
The Embassy (Sal Rinauro, Prince King Nana & Jimmy Rave)
In the mid-2000s, Prince Nana led one of the most powerful factions in Ring of Honor, The Embassy. It featured such legends as Abyss, Xavier, and Alex Shelley. The group’s main tag team was the unit of Sal Rinauro and Jimmy Rave. Rave would go on to work with IMPACT Wrestling after that and has continued to work the US indies. This weekend, Nana joins his top tag team in action for a shot at the trios victory.
Queens (Solo Darling, Freddie Mercurio & Willow Nightingale)
Willow Nightingale returned to the ring on Thursday night at Beyond‘s Uncharted Territory season two premiere, to assist her tag partner Solo Darling against Mark Sterling. Nightingale has been out of action since last October from a broken neck. She’s having her return to action this weekend, where she pairs with Darling (her partner in The Bird And The Bee) as well as indie sensation Freddie Mercurio. Mercurio, originally from England, started out in the UK indie scene in 2012, before moving to Canada, where he now competes in the Southwest Ontario indie circuit. They should be an entertaining trio this weekend.
The VeloCities (Mat Diamond, Paris DeSilva & Jude London)
King of Trios continues its Australian influx of the past few years, as three of the stable the Velocities arrive for this year’s tournament. Early last September, the unit of Jude London & Paris DeSilva won the Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA Black Label) Tag Team titles and Mat Diamond is the reigning 2x Newcastle (Newy) Pro Wrestling Middleweight Champion. With more eyes looking at the exploding Aussie indie scene, these three are examples of guys to watch in 2020.
Creatures of the Deep (Hermit Crab, Oceanea & Merlok)
Oceanea has brought her evil magic into the CHIKARA fabric, uniting all the sea-based creatures in the world under one rule – hers. She enters this year’s King of Trios with a solid pair of soldiers. Hermit Crab is a mastermind tactician. And while he may not be more technically sound than Bret Hart, he’s definitely saltier. For muscle, the Creatures of the Deep have the beast known as Merlok, the bastard offspring of Godzilla and Tomohiro Ishii.
Karate Kat Xtreme (Missile Assault Man, Lucas Calhoun & Allie Kat)
Blonde bombshells, karate kicks, and sideburns – this team is an Elvis Presley movie from 1966. The rockabilly grappler Lucas Calhoun is gonna shake, rattle and roll his way into this year’s King of Trios with a solid set of back-up. Missile Assault Man has always been the most aggressive ant (yes, ant). Tactically sound and explosive in his physical manifestations of suppressive communication, he’s a good soldier to have in the field. Allie Kat is exploding in 2019 as one of the top women’s wrestlers, emerging from the Texas indie scene to find success throughout the US indies.
NDK (Thomas Santell, Nick Gage & Kris Statlander)
The wildcard team of the tournament. Either they will implode on themselves and exit early, or they’ll be the greatest stable of them all and win the whole thing. Without a doubt, the enforcer of the team is GCW World Champion Nick Gage. Gage has held the belt 658-days and is a former 4x CZW World Heavyweight Champion and considered the King of American hardcore – deathmatches are his yoga. His first partner is someone he recently allied with in Beyond Wrestling, in Thomas Santell. Santell used to be a Heart Throb in the WWE back in the 2000s, but now he’s an Ovaltine drinking machine more akin to George McFly than Shawn Michaels. But when the bell rings, he can be vicious as Farmer Burns. The third member just made Gage’s acquaintance on Thursday in the main event of Uncharted Territory’s season two premiere. Kris Statlander has gone from one of the top women’s wrestling prospects of 2019 to one of the best US indie wrestlers of 2019, showing poise and psychology that has only grown with every match. Whether it is in aerial contests, technical battles, brawls or – as witnessed on Thursday, deathmatches – she has risen to the challenge and shattered the expectation.
Tag Team Gauntlet
Teams Announced: Jakov & Wildebeast, Crummels & DeFarge, Los Ice Creams, The Closers, The Proteus Wheel, The Crucible
Rey de Voladores
Entrants Announced: Danjerhawk, Alex Zayne, Cajun Crawdad
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. If you can’t make it out to enjoy in person, it will be available on CHIKARAtopia and IndependentWrestling.TV not long after the event.