When Vlad Radinov, Chikara’s announcer extraordinaire, seemed to make a simple mistake in introducing this year’s National Pro Wrestling Day, most ignored it. Everyone makes mistakes, even brilliant ring announcers. Thus, many people overlooked the fact that Vlad began Saturday’s show by announcing it to be the kick off for Chikara’s 18th season, not 17th.

We all should have listened to Vlad.

While watching NPWD, it was obvious something was afoot. Why was Icarus, last seen as part of the rudo faction The Hexed Men, now coming out to defend Working Ant, dressed in his normal clothes and not signature red and black attire? While National Pro Wrestling Day always has a slew of newcomers, when had the team of Officer Warren Barksdale and Officer Bruno Meloni received their third point toward the Campeones de Parejas, especially considering NPWD was Meloni’s debut? Perhaps the most obvious shock came in the form of UltraMantis Black, who has finally been cleared to return to wrestling after an injury nearly two years ago. Mantis entered the ring to deliver a promo and toward the end, opened his coat to reveal that he was in possession of the Chikara Grand Championship. When had this happened? How did Hallowicked lose the title he had held for months? Did Mantis genuinely have possession of the belt or had he stolen it?

At the conclusion of the National Pro Wrestling Day program, a video announcing the Season 17, the “lost” season of Chikara, began to play on the livestream as well as being released on Chikara’s Youtube page. The video boasted “wrestling’s first binge-able season,” of which, the first episodes would be available to watch an hour later. In surfing through Chikaratopia.com, Chikara’s streaming service, Season 17 was now listed with nine episodes in total, the first three of which are currently available to view. In a nice nod to pop culture, which Chikara often does, the episodes in the “lost” season of Chikara are all also episode titles from the hit television show, LOST.

Somehow in secret, Chikara as a whole had taped nine episodes without the information leaking anywhere. The fact that they managed to pull off that aspect alone is a feat unto itself in our age of social media and technology. Chikara has somehow developed 10-12 hours of extra content in order to push forward new characters and storylines and wrap up things that had not been fully fleshed out in their season 16 finale. Here we may see a proper goodbye to Chikara standouts and new NXT Superstars Heidi Lovelace and Kimber Lee as well, which would be a nice parting gift to the faithful Chikara fanbase. In viewing the first three episodes, several questions were answered regarding things that transpired at National Pro Wrestling day, and we can only assume there is more to come with the six left to air.

Whatever Chikara’s plan is for 2017, they’ve already made an interesting impact with doing something unique with the usual video on demand wrestling landscape. Taking chances is something Chikara has always been willing to try no matter the result, which keeps their shows distinctive from other promotions. In order to stand out in today’s independent wrestling scene, you have to be willing to do something different, and no one can argue Chikara isn’t making an effort to create something special.

To check out Chikara’s new season, as well as the “lost” season, click here and explore Chikaratopia.com

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