Chikara was nearly named Impact Wrestling, Mike Quackenbush discuses the promotion’s growth and future

The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with Mike Quackenbush
Hosts: John and Chad
Interview available at

Looking back at CHIKARA’S growth and how things have progressed for the company: It’s like a blur. I can relate to this now as a father and it’s kind of like, one day you turn around and you think and look at your kids and say when did they grow up? I feel a little bit about that with CHIKARA. In the early years you don’t have time to sit down and reflect about it and realize well these three years have gone quick or these six years have gone quick you are just trying to stay alive and you are trying to keep your head above water. But every once and again you do have cause to kind of sit back and look over your shoulder and say man the years have really gone here. Maybe that is fresh on my mind right now sensing that our training facility The Wrestle Factory and knowing how many Wrestle Factory graduates are about to in this calendar year before 2016 is over are about to ascend onto the roster. There is going to be this inevitable changing of the guard and that’s one of those touchstones that really started when one of the longest standing CHIKARA guys Ultra Mantis Black had a career ending injury after a crazy, dumb accident in the ring that some of these guys that have been with me since day one are really in that position where some of them are getting past that age where the WWE wouldn’t even look at them but that was their aspiration, they wouldn’t even pass the cut off in terms of their age and that inevitability that life is going to creep up on you. But I sense this changing of the guard and this really has made me look back on it and say what a crazy trip it has been thus far.

Building the loyal fan base of CHIKARA and continuing to grow it: It never ceases to amaze me. For example, two of our fans named their daughter CHIKARA or every time I hear a weird story like that or some fan comes up and shows me they’ve got a sleeve on their arm of all the CHIKARA characters tattooed on them or that we ship an order out to Guam. It boggles my mind and part of it is as you guys know, when I was coming up, the internet was scarce or a handful of people that had access to the internet regularly and the kind of explosion of AOL chat rooms and people that had home computers and weren’t paying by the minute for access to where we are now and the ubiquity of the internet that someone could lift up their phone right now and be live and Periscope an entire CHIKARA event to the world. It boggles my mind.

The creation of CHIKARA and nearly naming the company Impact Wrestling: It’s strange to think about this now but we started talking about it in the Summer of 2000. This precedes the creation of NWA-TNA. We were talking about it and Tom (Carter AKA Reckless Youth) and I as well as Don Montoya who was one of our traveling mates. We decided after Tom came back from his WWF Developmental deal and I feel like when Tom came back they had beaten a lot of his passion for the craft out of him and I think that is a reoccurring struggle for everyone, self-included that I go through this like once a year where you are utterly burned out by what we do and you must be able to find the joy for your craft again. We kind of just decided that all we do is moan about how awful things are, shouldn’t we SHUT UP and do something and we decided yes, we are going to change things. We are going to do it by training people in a certain kind of way, we want a more cosmopolitan style that involves all of these International things and we originally wanted to call it Impact Wrestling and for quite a while maybe about four or five months it was Impact Wrestling and then when the time came and we were going to put up a fairly small sum of money, I mean it was a significant in reality for guys in their 20s and well at that point Montoya bowed out. So then it became Tom and I and when Montoya bowed out we decided we are not going to keep this name because that was for the three of us so it needs to be something else.

For the entire story about CHIKARA’S launch please listen to the full interview as well as Quacks comments about the popularity of The King of Trios, the creativity behind the CHIKARA characters, highlights of his in ring career and much more.


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