Chikara is known for a lot of things: colorful characters, high-flying action, taking advantage of the criminally underused six-man tag match.
One other thing the promotion is known for is being the home of UltraMantis Black.
Devious and tricky beyond that of any normal man, UMB has a been a staple of the Philly fed since its inception. With his penchant to wear t-shirts from bands like The Smiths or Black Flag and his plant-based diet, he quickly became a favorite of not only mine but wrestling fans across the globe.
Embroiled in a bitter feud with Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes -- The Brotherhood of the Cross -- for the better part of two years over a mystical artifact known as the Eye of Tyr, the Chikara original is looking to settle that score once and for all at the company's internet pay-per-view (iPPV) debut "High Noon" on November 13.
In order to get the Eye of Tyr back, UMB is tagging with Spectral Envoy stablemate Hallowicked against BDK members Ares and Tim Donst. But the stakes are much higher than that: Mantis has put his mask on the line!
We were lucky enough to have UMB stop by Cageside Seats Towers for a quick interview. Enjoy!
BUT before we get started, check out the latest "High Noon" report which announces the addition of another one-on-one match: Archibald Peck, "Marchie Archie" himself takes on BOOM! BOOM! Colt Cabana! That should be a fantastic match. Check out what Cabana -- and others -- have to say.
Without further adieu, here's some sweet UMB action!
Cageside Seats: This year has been a bit of a roller coaster for UltraMantis Black. On one hand, the Spectral Envoy were eliminated in the first round of the King of Trios tournament and you didn't perform that well in the 12 Large: Summit. But on the other hand, you and your comrades were able to defeat Sinn Bodhi and The Batiri. What do you think led to this uneven performance in the 10th season?
UltraMantis Black: Well, most opponents who have defeated me were probably cheating, but that is fine, as I have long endorsed that tactic myself. The Envoy formed immediately prior to the KOT tournament so I prefer to blame our lack of adequate time training together on that fact. As for the 12L:S, as you mentioned I had my hands full with Sinn Bodhi and his gang of thugs not to mention Ares and the Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (BDK) so indeed it has been a tumultuous year. Still, I have no doubt that this year will end on an extremely high note at the "High Noon" iPPV on November 13 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Tag matches with Hallowicked bookend the last three cards of CHIKARA's season. Any chance we'll see you in action in this year's Torneo Cibernetico in between those matches?
Undetermined! If Hallowicked so seeks my expertise in combat on his squadron, then I am willing!
Your match at "High Noon" is against long-time rivals BDK. You have a long history with Ares and Tim Donst. Are you doing anything different to prepare for the match as it's No DQ?
Yes, I'm wearing a coal miner's glove everywhere I go - the gym, the park, etc. I feel it will help place me in the proper state of mind.
Switching gears, I know you're vegan. I've been vegan myself for almost four years now. When did you make this lifestyle choice and why? Do you think there's a stereotype that one can't abstain from eating food with animal by-products and also be a world class athlete?
I chose to go vegan around 20 years ago out of an ethical concern for the welfare of animals and the planet. Mainstream America has long stereotyped vegans as sickly, weak pacifists who dine solely on wheatgrass and uncooked tofu. I believe that notion has gradually changed over the last 10-15 years as more individuals from all walks of life have begun to see the dangers of an animal-based diet and the health and life benefits of eliminating animal products from their dinner table. In the past few years there have been several athletes in the fields of combat sports, running, powerlifting, even players on mainstream sports team, that have both excelled in their fields while abstaining from animal products.
What does a typical workout look for you? Do you take anything for recovery? I used to use a brown rice protein powder but have recently switched over to a hemp protein. What are your experiences with vegan supplements?
I workout with natural weights on an outdoor survivalist training facility 6 days a week. I believe in an unprocessed whole foods approach while I'm dieting/training so I try to supplement with as little as possible however I do use protein powders. I currently transitioning between proteins derived from different sources - rice, pea, carob seed, hemp. Never let your body get to used to any single source.
You're one of CHIKARA's most powerful and outspoken characters. So much so, in fact, that you're in the commentating booth doing play by play and adding some flair to the proceedings. If you weren't a wrestler, would you be involved in professional wrestling in any possible?
If possible. The professional wrestling will always be a vice I'll likely never break. When the in-ring combat ends, a place at the commentary table or lending my guidance at ringside would certainly be acceptable to my refined tastes.
You've been with the company since the beginning. A member of the first training class, a part of the first show back in 2002. Do you see yourself finishing up your career -- when the time comes -- with CHIKARA?
Where is your favorite place to wrestle and why?
Probably The Arena in Philadelphia - or whatever it's called these days. Besides all of the history and tradition there, it has felt like CHIKARA's home for many years. I'd also be lying if I didn't say "any building in Japan."
You're also a big punk and hardcore fan. Your t-shirts are often homages to bands like Black Flag or Bad Brains. If you were stuck on a desert island -- or stuck on a separate plane of reality -- what are the three albums you would want to have with you?
Tough one. I listen to so much - I would most likely need at least 3 from every possible genre. I guess I'll say The Smiths - The Queen is Dead, Bad Brains - S/T, and Rites of Spring - S/T. I'll change my mind about that again in 5 minutes.
One last question: all-vegan cage match, who wins... Daniel Bryan or UMB?
Match never gets started. I announce that he's agreed to join my stable and fight under my devious tutelage . Society trembles. The animals win.
Indeed they do. Thanks again to UMB for stopping by! And remember, "High Noon" is just a couple of Sundays away on November 13 and you can watch all the action live on iPPV by ordering right here.