The Chikara wrestling promotion is reportedly shutting down after newly surfaced abuse allegations have led to an exodus of top talent.
As PWInsider reported, the indie promotion will soon be announcing that it is closing its doors after allegations against owner Mike Quackenbush. The report noted that Quackenbush is also planning to announce his resignation as head trainer of the WrestleFactory wrestling academy in Philadelphia.
Quackenbush had founded the promotion in 2002, growing from its original home in Pennsylvania and spreading across the eastern seaboard. As the report added, it also took on an international presence, bringing in stars from Japan, Mexico, Great Britain, and other locations around the world.
But the promotion quickly came under pressure as a number of allegations of systemic abuse toward female staffers and trainers came to light. In the hours since the allegations first arose, many of the promotion’s top talent announced that they were leaving Chikara, including Kimber Lee who took to Twitter to announce her departure.
“I’m just sick,” she wrote. “As of now I can not in good conscience remain a part of @CHIKARApro and it’s absolutely breaking my heart. Consider this my resignation as the princess. Don’t know if I will be back on here today. This one really really hurts.”
Others announcing their departure from Chikara shortly after the allegations against Quackenbush surfaced included Green Ant, Hallowicked, Jacob Hammermeier, Frightmare, and Joshua Wells.
The departures and rumors of Chikara shutting down comes just a day after Impact Wrestling announced it fired Joey Ryan and Dave Crist and suspended Michael Elgin after they were accused of misconduct through the #SpeakingOut movement, which originally surfaced as a way to empower those speaking out against abuse in the British wrestling scene. It has since spread into American wrestling promotions as well.
Ryan had initially released a statement saying he had sought counseling for personal issues, but several more allegations surfaced after his statement claiming he acted in a sexually abusive manner. Crist also faced allegations from an ex-girlfriend, who claimed that he behaved in a sexually and physically abusive manner.
In an Instagram post — which can be viewed here — artist Hannah Horror detailed a number of instances of the alleged abuse, and wrote that she initially kept quiet, fearing retribution if she spoke out.
“The constant pressure of working in the same industry as my abuser has nearly crippled me,” Hannah wrote. “I couldn’t speak out for fear of his retaliation. I cut off so many ties and burned so many bridges because I never knew who was one of his people.”
There is not yet any official announcement on whether Chikara was officially shutting down.