Report from the Fort: Best Commentary

After a week of deliberation we have finally decided on who should win our illustrious awards covering the last 12 months. They’re based on our own opinion and on the wrestling we were able to watch during 2011. There is no science or points system. It’s just stuff we liked more than other stuff.

Last year we invited you to join us at the Best in Show Awards. It was a jolly affair taking the form of a country show; complete with baking competitions, large vegetables and home brewed beer. This year we’re just a little too weary for all that. We’re still crawling out of our December hibernation nest. So this year we’ve built a pillow fort in the Bunker and we’re not moving until we’ve handed over every award. Basically, if you won something and actually want the trophy, you’ll have to pop by and pick it up. Just make sure you take your shoes off before you enter the fort.

We’ll be releasing these posts gradually throughout January. Starting with…

If you think about it, wrestling commentary is a curious thing. Unlike sports commentators, wrestling announcers already know the outcome of the matches they illustrate with words. Done badly, it can seem as pointless as the voiceovers on Total Wipeout. But done well, commentary can be as integral to the brilliance of a match as the action in the ring.

We’re all in on the game. We all know the theatre that is professional wrestling means that everything that takes place before us has been predetermined. What we want from the announce table are words and delivery that make the story infinitely more exciting. For that reason, we can only give this award to Bryce Remsburg.

He may consider himself a referee first, but Bryce’s CHIKARA commentary is so exciting, I defy anyone not to feel completely involved in the matches he announces. He already knows how the match will play out, and yet you wouldn’t know it. What comes across more than anything is that he’s a fan loving what he’s watching. That kind of enthusiasm is infectious and we think a lot of the mainstream announcers could learn something about engaging an audience from Bryce. We bloody love you, Mr. Remsburg.

Honourable Mention: goes to Matt Striker. You might be forgiven for wondering if he’s still employed. Especially if you live in a country where WWE Superstars no longer broadcasts on television. But he’s still there, plugging away, begging to be heard, winning our hearts.

We don’t know why Matt was so swiftly relegated to the locker room. It doesn’t seem that long ago he was at the Wrestlemania announce table rocking his tux. Matt was originally sidelined to make way for Booker T’s return after last year’s Rumble. Somehow, he never made it back to a big show. We’re pulling for you in 2012, buddy.


CHIKARA King of Trios: Bryce Remsburg interview

Not sure if I’ve quite managed to get this across over the last couple of days, but I’m really excited about the CHIKARA King of Trios this year. Actually, I’m really excited about it every year, but the line-up is especially strong this time around

One of the (many) things I love about CHIKARA is that every last person involved just seems to “get it.” Whether its The Batiri offering the bronzed skulls of The Colony for sale on Craigslist or the guy who decided to update the Paypal account to list WMDCorp, nothing is left to chance.

This also goes for the referees, in particular Bryce Remsburg – a graduate of the first class at the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory and probably the best known referee on the independent circuit. Remsburg can sell a move better than most wrestlers, a skill which makes him an integral part of any match he officiates. Bryce was kind enough to answer a few questions for us in our third EXCLUSIVE (yes, still all caps, like MATTHEW used to be) King of Trios interview.

Bryce Remsburg, thanks for the opportunity for an interview. Could you briefly introduce yourself for readers that might not be familiar with you?
I am just a dude who loves me some wrestling from Philly. I referee, commentate, and it is my opinion that I make an excellent wedding date.

How would you explain CHIKARA to someone who may not have seen any of the shows before?
CHIKARA is everything wrestling should be: athletic, colorful, compelling, and overall FUN. Its a comic book come to life, and it takes spandex playfighting to a whole new level.

King of Trios is the biggest show of the CHIKARA year, possibly the largest in the world of professional wrestling. How big a deal is it for you to be part of the show again this year?
It is my privilege. This is the one weekend a year the wrestling world is watching us, and we all know it. Everyone is set to make an amazing lasting impression with our best foot forward. It is without question our big show, without all the acromegaly.

Who are you most looking forward to officiating for during the tournament?
A 10 year kid who lost his mind when the 1-2-3 Kid pinned Razor Ramon will be standing in a ring with him tomorrow night. 28 year old Bryce has not fully processed this yet, for fear of imploding before the tournament concludes.

If you could pick a fantasy Trio of any three wrestlers, alive or dead, who would you pick?
Hmmm… I would like to think the trio of Andy Kaufman, Orange Cassidy, and Max Moon would be entirely unbeatable, NAY, invincible. Sidekick Andrew: Is there any indie wrestler who doesn’t love Orange Cassidy? Not sure I see the appeal myself…

CHIKARA’s DVD covers are incredibly popular with fans due to their comic book homages. If you could be a comic book character who would it be?
I would be Guy Who Doesn’t Read Comics Man. He never loses, and gets to make out with all the pretty ladies. I do enjoy our DVD covers though.

Of all the CHIKARA DVDs you’ve appeared on, which you recommend as really showing Bryce at his best?
Oh heavens, my dance movez (the z means its real) are on display in our Season 10 premiere, “Chaos In the Sea of Lost Souls“. This will erase all doubt that I make an excellent wedding date.

Overdone Tough Enough question: other than the obvious Alicia Fox vs Melina 5* epic, what is your favourite match of all time?
Wow, I gotta say, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart from WrestleMania X has a special place in my heart. No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little one.

As we are also interviewing Jakob Hammermeier for the blog, which member of the BDK do you respect the most?
Meh, I say an all-way tie for none of them. Definitely not that used car salesman moron Derek Sabato. Sidekick Andrew: would you buy a used car from this man?

You’re also part of the improv comedy group Secret Pants – if you could choose any member of the CHIKARA roster to join you for a sketch who would it be?
Well, Colt Cabana has performed with us, and that was great. But I think I’d like to see Eddie Kingston in a sketch comedy universe. The thought of it is funny already.

You’re also one of the favourites at the CHIKARA Commentation Station – who has been your favourite commentating partner over the years?
Probably UltraMantis Black. He has an uncanny knack for catching me offguard and making me crack up. Also, he smells nice. Sidekick Andrew: My UltraMantis Black crush is pretty out in the open, but *SWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON*

Any final words for the Wrestlegasm readers?
Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting, and if you don’t come to King of Trios, we’re gonna club a baby seal. No pressure. Now that I’ve completed my Wrestlegasm interview, I may need a cigarette. See what I did there?!

And on that seal-clubbing, post-coital cigarette advocating note, I would like to say a big thank you to Bryce for the interview. Alongside Jakob Hammermeier and Green Ant, that wraps up our (wait for it…) Trio of interviews. Get it? Trio? Hahahaha!

CHIKARA’s King of Trios tournament is being held on April 15, 16 & 17 at the Asylum Arena in Philadelphia, and quite frankly if you’re in a position to attend and you don’t then I’m not sure I want to know you. As well as the CHIKARA and BDK regulars such as Mike Quackenbush, and my man-crush Ultramantis Black, there will also be Japanese legends Manami Toyota, Dick Togo, Jinsei Shinzaki and The Great Sasuke, as well as ex-WWE star the 1-2-3 Kid.

Tickets are still available at the official CHIKARA store as well as DVDs of the previous tournaments, every last one of which is worth watching.