WrestleCircus hosted their “SXSWrestleCircus” event on Friday, March 17th at Emo’s in Austin, TX. Considering this was an official South By Southwest event, WrestleCircus has come a long way since their debut in October 2016.
Prior to going live on iPPV, the crowd watched two matches featuring talent from America’s Academy of Professional Wrestling, a wrestling school based in nearby Pflugerville, TX.
First, TRay faced Quinton Lynch. Being St. Patrick’s Day, Lynch was sporting all sorts of Irish clothing, yet played the heel in this match. Despite starting a bit slow and clunky, the match picked up in quality and ended up as a solid warm-up match. Lynch gained the pinfall victory with a floatover into an inverted DDT.
Next, Cody Lane faced fan favorite Allie Kat, who debuted at the January “Tough Act To Follow” show. This match was very entertaining and solidly worked, with Kat gaining the pinfall win by reversing a suplex into a small cradle. I have to think we’ll see more of Allie on future shows based upon the crowd response to her.
We then go live to iPPV, with Louden Noxious on ring announcing (later replaced by Melissa Santos) and Kevin Gill and Lance Hoyt (of the Killer Elite Squad) doing play-by-play and color commentary respectively.
The opener features Texas-based talent as Barrett Brown faced Terrale Tempo. Terrale has worked Austin-based Inspire Pro Wrestling regularly and was the crowd favorite in this match. Brown stole this one from Tempo with a rollup and a pull of the trunks. Decent opener.
In a three way dance, Fred Yehi faced Curt Stallion and “Unholy” Gregory James. This match lived up to its “sleeper” status and was a definite highlight of the first half of the show. James was the surprise here, as I had seen him in the past and was impressed with his improvement. Yehi gets the submission win with an omoplata-type hold. All three men worked fairly well together, and it’s likely they will all be back to WrestleCircus in the future.
Six-man tag action was next with the team of Extra Talented (Ricky Starks and Aaron Solow) and “Dirty” Andy Dalton facing Jordan Len-X and The Boys (Brandon and Brent Tate). Starks and Solow worked the mic before the match, stating they were THISCLOSE to winning the WrestleCircus tag titles at February’s “Taking Center Stage” event and were gunning to rectify that situation. It’s promos like this that give characters depth, and the lack of promos is probably the glaring weakness in the long-term booking of WrestleCircus. Match is solid until Shane Taylor of the Pretty Boy Killers takes out The Boys (who eliminated PBK in the “Taking Center Stage” tag team battle royal). The referee clearly sees what’s happening, and for some reason, Taylor now replaces The Boys as Jordan Len-X’s tag partner. Later in the match, as Taylor is about to make the hot tag to Jordan Len-X, George “The Trashman” Gatton randomly attacks Jordan with a plastic trash can. Dalton gets the pin on Len-X, and Extra Talented is announced as the new #1 tag title contenders AND Dalton is named the #1 contender to the Sideshow title. While the in-ring activity was solid, this match was so overbooked with nonsense that it detracted from what should have been a quality match.
Carson filled in for the injured Lance Hoyt and tagged with Davey Boy Smith, Jr. in the tag team battle royal at “Taking Center Stage”. It didn’t end well for the makeshift team, leading to Smith vs. Carson on this evening. Carson gets solid heel heat with the WrestleCircus crowd, and the two of them worked a solid match. Carson got the win via DQ when his attempt to throw powder into Smith’s eyes behind the ref’s back failed, but the ref did see Smith’s powder throw into Carson’s face. Smith then got some mic time and challenged Carson to a no DQ rematch.
In the first title match of the evening, Rachael Ellering defended her Lady of the Ring title against Tessa Blanchard. Rachael is easily the breakaway star of the WrestleCircus women’s division. This match quickly went to the outside, as the brawled up the entrance ramp and Tessa dove from the stage onto Rachael on the floor. The crowd started hot and stayed there for the entirely of this very solid match, with Ellering getting the pin after a modified spinebuster. This was the match of the night up to this point in the show, and the crowd seemed more than willing to watch a teased rematch between the two.
The “Hoss Fight” was next as former NWA World Champion Jax Dane faced Jeff Cobb. Both men were entering this show after victories at “Taking Center Stage”, and this was clearly a match to build a future Ringmaster title challenge. Cobb was the babyface in this one, as he has picked up a big fan following with the WrestleCircus fans. Dane took on the heel role well in a solid “big man” match. The finish had Dane hit Cobb with a mule kick low blow while the ref’s viewed was blocked, which led to a Samoan drop and a spear for the pin. Didn’t seem like the crowd like the finish, as Cobb had been building momentum over his various appearances with WrestleCircus.
Before we get into the Sideshow championship match, we’ll need a history lesson. A freshly turned heel Scorpio Sky successfully defended the Sideshow title against Jordan Len-X at “Taking Center Stage”. It was then announced that the Sideshow title would be defended 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until SXSWrestleCircus. At that point, Leva Bates (cosplaying as Joey Ryan) came out and pinned Scorpio to win the title. During her celebration, the real Joey Ryan came out, rolled up Bates for the pin, and left with his newly won Sideshow title.
Joey Ryan later posted all of the Sideshow title changes on his Youtube page. First, Ryan lost the title to Sammy Guevara in an actual Maverick Pro match (February 25th). Ryan regained the title from Guevara in the parking lot after the show. Ryan then lost the title on March 1st in Dayton, OH to Dezmond Xavier in a game of Millipede. Later that same day, Trey Miguel defeated Xavier after successfully counting the number of grains of salt in a pile. The next day, Miguel dropped the strap to Sami Callihan…let’s just say a bottle full of “dip spit” and a penis-measuring contest with Joey Ryan were involved. Later that day, Ryan regained the title by trading Callihan’s cat mask for the Sideshow title. He held the title until March 13th, when Joey Ryan and Laura James’s counseling session led to Joey “submitted” to doing the dishes for counselor Jervis Cottonbelly. (Indeed, the dishes truly do not give a sh*t.) Finally, Jervis “submitted” a post to Reddit, making Reddit the Sideshow champion.
Thus, we have Reddit defending the Sideshow title against Scorpio Sky and Joey Ryan in an elimination match. Scorpio, being a “professional wrestler” refused to wrestle just anyone that wished to represent Reddit (which included an idiot fan that got into the ring). Thus, Jervis Cottonbelly became the official Reddit representative, and the match was on. Scorpio has really shined since turning heel, and stole the spotlight with his work and persona. The first fall came when Jervis turned an attempted Scorpio cutter into a rollup, then rolled up Ryan to retain on behalf of Reddit. Afterward, the belt was passed around ringside, and the genuine highlight of the match was seeing children with huge smiles on their faces while holding the belt.
For the #1 contender spot to the Ringmaster title, John Morrison faced Sammy Guevara. If there is a single breakout star of WrestleCircus, Sammy Guevara is that guy. Despite playing as the heel, he gets babyface responses because of his fantastic in-ring work. In many ways, Morrison became a second heel in this match and seemed to work with the role just fine. A great match between two very agile wrestlers, Morrison became #1 contender after hitting End of the World on Guevara. After the match, Sammy superkicked Morrison, which seems to tease a future match. Admittedly, while Morrison is a great talent, I would have liked to see Guevara get the rub here after months of great matches for the promotion. The time is right for a big Sammy push here.
After the action of the last match, “Broken” Matt Hardy and Colt Cabana went the comedy route with their match. Between Matt’s “Delete” and Colt’s newly created “Restore”, the crowd was given plenty of bait for chants. After a rep bump and all participants are down, Leva Bates entered cosplaying as Brother Nero. After a swanton onto Colt (and a missed swanton on the hated referee), Leva and Matt hit consecutive Twist of Fates for the pin. OK bridge match leading into the main event.
The final match of the evening saw Brian Cage defend his Ringmaster title against Matt Riddle. As a huge MMA fan, it’s amazing to see how much of a natural Riddle is becoming in the squared circle. A more than worthy main event saw plenty of suplexes and solid grappling before Cage landed a Steiner screwdriver for the pin and an absolutely believable finish. The crowd loved Riddle, chanting “please come back” as the show came to a close.
While this was a solid show with three great matches (main event, Morrison/Guevara, and Lady of the Ring match), there are still some concerns about long term booking. WrestleCircus seems to heavily build around dream matches, but at some point, there won’t be many more of those matches to book. Having long term pushes for people like Ellering (which has worked) could also work for guys like Cobb (who is over, but has lost way too much) and Guevara (booked in big matches, but loses too much).
Also, running at Emo’s for the first time got a mixed bag of responses. While I thought the crowd didn’t sound as lively as in previous events, others liked the less-cramped feel over their usual 800 Congress home.
WRESTLECIRCUS NEWS AND NOTES:
WrestleCircus returns to 800 Congress on Sunday, April 30th…already announced are Brian Cage vs John Morrison for the Ringmaster title, Matt Sydal, Sami Callihan, Dave and Jake Crist, Shane Strickland, Dezmond Xavier, Lio Rush, Flip Gordon, Rachael Ellering defending Lady of the Ring vs Taya Valkyrie, Jordan Len-X vs. Trashman Gatton in the first WrestleCircus Hardcore match, Kikutaro, and Extra Talented (Starks & Solow)…iPPVs can be accessed via www.wrestlecircus.com
Christopher Palacios has written for PWInsider.com, 1Wrestling.com, The Wrestling Lariat, and Chairshots. He’s proud of at least 2 of those gigs. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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