In a stunning blow to indie wrestling fans of the mid-2000s, CHIKARA Pro is closing is doors. Owner and founder Mike Quackenbush made the decision in response to the allegations against himself and others within the company announces CHIKARAs closure. He has also resigned as head trainer at The Wrestle Factory. Quackenbush made the announcement himself on twitter June 24th.
— Mike Quackenbush (@MikeQuackenbush) June 24, 2020
This announcement comes after several former employees came forward about the patterns of toxic behaviour within the company as part of the #SpeakingOut movement. The allegations paint a picture of Quackenbush leading a workplace where misogyny, homophobia, and racism were commonplace. Other former employees recount stories of rampant bullying at the hands of the training staff. Yet further accounts show that Quackenbush and company felt little to no responsibility for the health and safety of their talent and crew. Multiple employees including Hallowicked and Kimber Lee have tendered their own resignations in disgust. “I feel like it’s my fault,” Lee tweeted. “I feel like I was used to give women hope and to make Chikara look like a safe place. I’m just disgusted.”
What Was CHIKARA?
Mike Quackenbush and Tom “Reckless Youth” Carter founded CHIKARA Pro in 2002, as a way to promote their Wrestle Factory training school. The defining feature of CHIKARA was their emphasis on international styles of wrestling. Wrestlers came from Lucha Libre, Puroresu, or Lancashire wrestling backgrounds and often performed under masks with unique gimmicks. CHIKARA Pro held their first live event in May of 2002. The event had members of the inaugural class like Hallowicked and UltraMantis face indie legends like CM Punk and Chris Hero. Notable alumni of the Wrestle Factory include Lince Dorado, Drew Gulak, Orange Cassidy, and Cesaro.
Quackenbush Announces CHIKARAs Closure
The closure of CHIKARA Pro, along with the allegations against trainers and talent, hits particularly hard. Many fans reflect on CHIKARA as a lighthearted alternative to the gritty, serious, sometimes ultra-violent independent wrestling scene. The promotion who took the bold stance of embracing comedy has now become an old, dark house, haunted by the memories of what happened.