#JohnCenaWeek: Indy Spotlight – “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush

I’ll admit it—this piece doesn’t always come together so easily.  Sure, some weeks, we celebrate the Macho Man, and Jay Lethal is the one and only, obvious answer. Someday, we’ll celebrate #SamiZaynWeek, and I’ll geek out over El Generico (who, I hear, is doing fine work with those orphans in Mexico).

This week…not so much.  I even told Nick, on more than one occasion, that we may just have to skip the Indy Spotlight for the week.  Afterall, John Cena is Superman. Not only is he superhuman in the ring, but he works damn hard to live up to his reputation outside the ring, as well.  The man is the walking personification of the Make-A-Wish foundation, and is a media dream.  He gets it.

To an entire generation of professional wrestling fans, John Cena is THE GUY.  He’s not just WWE’s biggest star.  He IS WWE.

If John Cena is WWE, Mike Quackenbush is CHIKARA.  Superman, meet the Dark Knight of pro wrestling’s Gotham City.

For those of you unfamiliar with “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush… man, you’re really missing out.

Quack isn’t built the way Cena is. He’s not physically imposing, but he is incredibly talented.  So instead of using brute strength, he embraces his inner Bruce Wayne, and uses all the tools at his disposal to dispatch evil.  That includes technical prowess, brutal strikes, and (pardon the pun) lightning speed.

And I’m not joking about dispatching evil, by the way.  He really is a comic book hero, wrestling in a comic book-style universe of good and evil.

Like Cena in WWE, the biggest stories in Chikara tend to come back to Quack.  Part of it is because, well, the guy owns the company.  And like any territory in pro wrestling, the guy on top is the guy you can trust.  But there’s more to it with Quackenbush.  He’s the superhero Chikara needs, the hero it deserves…sorry.  But he’s the guy, because fans believe.

chikara goal

When I think Cena, I think charity, and goodwill.  And for those of you who don’t know, Quack and Chikara are very charitable…especially for a company that (admittedly) doesn’t make any real money.  The company’s FREE pre-comeback comeback show raised more than $7700 for the Against Malaria Foundation, which provides malaria nets to those in need.  Oh, and Chikara has a pretty fun little police, where kids 12 and under get into shows FREE with a paying adult.

In the end, though, it’s not just super heroism that puts Mike Quackenbush and John Cena on the same page.  It’s not their charitable nature, their over-exaggerated ballhog reputations in the storylines,  or the blind loyalty of their fans.

It’s fun.

Much like John Cena, Mike Quackenbush is just so much fun to watch in the ring.  He respects his art form, and everything that goes into it.  On Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast, Quack talks at length about the passion that goes into creating his special flavor of pro wrestling “ice cream.”  It shows.  It shows in the quality of his matches, the quality of the students he trains, and the incredible depth of his storylines.

If you like pro wrestling at all, you should like John Cena.  You should like Mike Quackenbush, too.  They’re two very different performers, with two very different styles, who are both all about one thing: the art of professional wrestling.

And if you’ve written either man off, you’re really missing out.

Chikara is back, by the way.  Check out ChikaraPro.com for tour dates, merch, and a recap of the last 3 years or so of drama.

@AndyMillerJMS