MAY 9, 2019
AUSTIN, TEX. AT 800 CONGRESS
REPORT BY TOM STOUP, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
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Wrestle Circus returned to 800 Congress, Austin, Texas for their first event in over a year, after the promoters took time away to start a family. The event streamed live on Twitch. Some tickets for the event were given away with adoptions from Austin’s Pets Alive rescue agency, a regular partner of the Circus.
On May 9, Ringmaster and Sideshow double champion Brian Cage announced he would regrettably have to relinquish his titles as his booking calendar has become too busy to commit to the Circus for the time being. Both he and Lady of the Ring champion Tessa Blanchard (who lost the Sideshow title to Cage last year) are working the previously booked Warrior Wrestling event in Chicago on the same night as Encore, and all parties involved expressed on social media their appreciation for and admiration of one another and their respective successes. Cage added that he would “return, and reclaim.”
Louden Noxious took the ring to “welcome back” chants and asked Austin to let him hear them scream. He screamed himself, “Wrestle Circus is back,” and wished a happy Mother’s Day to everyone. He addressed the Brian Cage situation and attributed the relinquishment to the injury Cage suffered wrestling Johnny Impact at Impact Wrestling’s Rebellion event. He went on to break the news that the matches that had subsequently been made qualifying matches for the Ringmaster title (Scorpio Sky/Dezmond Xavier and Sammy Guevara/Joey Janela) would now see their winners face off in the night’s new main event to crown a new champion. As the first match got underway, Rob Sanderson came in on commentary hyping the Ringmaster championship scenario.
(1) Dezmond Xavier pinned Scorpio Sky (w/Kevin Condron) to qualify for the Ringmaster Championship match. Instead of his Foo Fighters entrance theme proper, Scorpio Sky entered to fans singing the lyrics of his theme for him. The match got off to a hot start with high flying right off the bat, and “Mr. Wrestle Circus” Sammy Guevara joined commentary to say he would die for the championship. He said he thought he was done in Texas but Wrestle Circus gave him a call, and “before [they’re] AEW-bound” he needed to “come home and say goodbye to the Circus.” Condron blew smoke in Xavier’s face as the official was distracted. Xavier got the first near fall off a neckbreaker. Sky responded with two off a flying knee. Xavier bounced off the ropes and backflipped in to a kick to Sky’s head for the shockingly quick win in under seven minutes (6:27).
Guevara signed off saying he needs to get paid “an extra fee for this sh–.” He plugged his YouTube channel. Sky was left alone in the ring and bowed to the appreciative crowd as Rob Sanderson called him “Wrestle Circus since day one.”
(Stoup Analysis: The surprising brevity of this exciting match between friends raised some wonder as to whether something was up with Sky. If one thing is missed in the Circus’s return to their classic 800 Congress venue, it’s the blaring audio that made entrances like Sky’s, and Shane Strickland’s, and Gentleman Jervis’s, so endearing.)
(2) Leva Bates defeated Alex Gracia, Christi Jaynes, and Shazza McKenzie via pinfall. Colin Delaney joined Rob Sanderson on commentary. Bates cosplayed as Cody with a blonde wig, “Dream” tattoo and miniature “Pharaoh” stuffed animal. She was introduced as “The American Nightmare.” Delaney and Sanderson debated whether Bates is AEW’s “librarian.” The women traded roll-up attempts to start. Delaney said wearing the official out early is a strategy to make the later counts slower. Sanderson talked up McKenzie’s busy extended American tour, which saw her in Maine the prior night and in Texas for the first time ever before heading to Pennsylvania the following night. Gracia hit a backstabber on McKenzie after Bates and Jaynes were thrown to the outside. Bates and Jaynes came back in and a chain of leg locks and headlocks was called “a ‘Human Centipede’ situation” by Delaney. Bates imitated Dustin “Goldust” Rhodes and faked going for Shattered Dreams on Gracia but slapped her instead. Gracia dove off the top turnbuckle on all three of her opponents on the outside. Gracia hit a 619 on Jaynes which was called, “Whatever area code this is!” Jaynes nailed a crazy roll-through superplex on McKenzie for two before Bates planted her with a DDT and found two with a cocky pin. McKenzie hit Gracia with a cutter as she fell in to a split position. As Bates’ wig came off she said, “I’m Cody Rhodes, bitch,” and went for a Disaster Kick that was countered by McKenzie. Bates immediately hit Cross Rhodes on McKenzie for the win in approximately ten minutes. Louden Noxious said the win might put Bates in the Lady of the Ring title picture, and called for an ovation for the official.
(Stoup Analysis: Is Bates ever not fun? At risk of overdoing it, she always dedicates herself to embodying the roles of the movie characters and other wrestlers she portrays. She feels like she belongs in the lineage of Lady of the Ring challengers, coming after Tessa Blanchard’s defenses against Britt Baker and original champion Rachael Ellering, among others.)
(3) The Rascalz (Trey Miguel & Zachary Wentz) defeated The Dirty Devilz (“Dirty” Andy Dalton & “Unholy” Isaiah James, with The Insidious One) (c) and The Riegel Twins (Logan and Sterling) to win the Big Top Tag Team Championships. The Devilz balled the streamers fans had thrown to the ring and rubbed each others’ crotches with them. Tandem cutters, superkicks, and suicide dives started the match the instant Louden Noxious completed his challenger introductions. Miguel and Wentz teamed up on James, who then rallied against the Riegels on the outside. Wentz sprang off the back of Dalton on to his competition on the outside. Miguel followed with a springboard flip on to the crowd of wrestlers, drawing a “Wrestle Circus” chant. Rob Sanderson cited Miguel’s scratched cornia, saying Miguel said, “If I can walk, I can wrestle.” A row of standing chinlocks took place in the center of the ring, and when the official tried to take control he wound up in a chinlock himself. Everyone fell in to a mass cutter maneuver. The challenging teams faced off, breaking up each others’ pinfall attempts before Dalton and James rejoined the fray. The Insidious One accidentally sprayed mist in Dalton’s face from the apron, and Trey Miguel capitalized for the win in approximately ten minutes. Noxious plugged that more streamers are on sale.
(Stoup Analysis: The Rascalz’ win is promising for the near future of matches for the Big Top tag titles (once held by Britt Baker and Adam Cole, no less). Miguel and Wentz share an excellent chemistry that makes for the kind of energy tag matches thrive on.)
(4) Lance Hoyt defeated Will Allday, “The Professional” Peter Avalon, “Extremely Cute” Colin Delaney, Fuego del Sol, and Sprida via pinfall. Hoyt told everyone to kiss his ass, and told Louden Noxious to quit his screaming. He said indie wrestling has become soft with everyone hugging and shaking hands, but “tonight, everybody dies.” Avalon demanded respect as “the real librarian,” and told the official to “get to work” by retrieving his robe. He took credit for what was advertised as a triple threat between he, Delaney, and Hoyt becoming a six-pack challenge because “three isn’t enough” for him. He tried to ask for even more opponents before the bell rang. Fuego and Sprida got things started with fast-paced luchador stylings, then Allday and Delaney went at it before Hoyt cleared the ring and teased a dive before flipping off the crowd. Hoyt chokeslammed Sprida over the top rope on to his opponents. He went for a chokeslam on Fuego who countered in to a hurricanrana. Fuego rapidly corkscrewed from the top turnbuckle on to his opponents on the outside, then gyrated on the apron. The action became fast and furious with wrestlers flying in and out left and right. Sprida hit a “Twist of Fruits” on Allday for two, then kicked out of a pinning attempt by Avalon. Strida tried to lift Hoyt and failed, then suffered a chokeslam. Fuego dove in with a cross body and bounced off Hoyt, then falling to another chokeslam. Hoyt went for a pin but Fuego rolled him up for two. Hoyt hit a big powerbomb on Fuego for the win in approximately ten minutes.
Hoyt said, “I told you there wouldn’t be hugs or handshakes in my ring. I don’t care who the champion is tonight; they’re going to die.” The other wrestlers attacked Hoyt and gave him a group hug. The crowd chanted, “You got hugged!”
Louden Noxious announced NJPW G1 Climax tickets on sale at intermission. Lance Hoyt interrupted him, repeatedly calling everyone “bitches.” He said, “Don’t waste your time with that crap you complain about online, and come see some real wrestling.” He then listed a large handful of NJPW wrestler names, with Kazuchika Okada receiving a notable pop. Noxious said an anonymous fan bought a ticket and asked for it to be given away to a lucky fan. Noxious gave it to a young fan in the front row for his birthday, and Hoyt brought the fan into the ring to celebrate.
(Stoup Analysis: The two surprise luchadors, particularly Fuego, wound up being the highlights in the six-man. Hoyt perpetrated two things we see often these days, those being the immediate undercutting of his heel schtick with appreciative crowd interaction, and bitter digs taken at WWE.)
Intermission. Wrestle Circus often shows a past match during intermission, though this time they presented a title card featuring an image of Tessa Blanchard surrounded by smaller images of other wrestlers including Leva Bates, Gentleman Jervis, and Scorpio Sky. Coming out of the break, Louden Noxious reiterated the state of the Ringmaster championship for fans joining late.
(5) Sammy Guevara pinned “Bad Boy” Joey Janela to qualify for the Ringmaster Championship match. “Mr. Wrestle Circus” was showered with streamers upon his entrance. Both wrestlers started off reclining in their respective turnbuckles. Guevara soaked in the crowd’s applause as he ducked and flipped away from Janela’s offense and dropkicked the spring breaker out of the ring. Janela cut off Guevara’s subsequent dive attempt with a clothesline, and dropped Guevara from a fireman’s carry on to the apron. Janela chopped away at Guevara in the crowd, and Guevara responded with a high knee. Janela set up a chair and leapt off it for a diving forearm. Back in the ring, Guevara stomped Janela’s head in to the mat for two. Colin Delaney rejoined Rob Sanderson on commentary and said, “Sorry, I had to do this thing called wrestling.” Guevara and Janela went blow for blow, running at one another with increasingly devastating strikes before they broke down in to a hockey fight. Janela locked in a Boston crab, but Guevara got to the bottom rope. Guevara slung Janela from a fireman’s carry in to a big knee strike for a close two. He saved himself on a missed moonsault, then suffered a superkick and a nasty package piledriver for the closest two to that point. Delaney queried how the winner of the match could possibly wrestle again in the main event. Janela slapped away at Guevara’s face, and tried for a package piledriver from the top turnbuckle. Guevara fought out of it and hit a shooting star press for the win in under 14 minutes (13:42).
(Stoup Analysis: Though we were going overboard with some kickouts here, Guevara and Janela beat on one another so effectively in what had originally been advertised as the main event that the actual main event felt all the more momentous as a result.)
(6) Puma King pinned “The Superstar” Jake Atlas. Puma King started with a wristlock on Atlas before the two began running the ropes going counter for counter into a stalemate. Puma King brushed off Atlas’ offer of a handshake and licked the back of his own hand like a cat. He climbed to the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body. He kicked Atlas to the mat and sat down on his chest for two, then found another near fall off a suspended suplex. The wrestlers began going back and forth with chops, and Colin Delaney said he could feel them through his noise-canceling headset. Atlas nailed a few high kicks, a German suplex, and a knee strike to send Puma King rolling out of the ring. Atlas moonsaulted from the turnbuckle on to his opponent. Back in the ring Puma King hit a big superkick but Atlas fought his way into a rolling full nelson slam for two. Puma King caught Atlas’ next flying attack, threw him to the mat and flopped on top of him for two. Atlas hit a Death Valley Driver combination for two, and the wrestlers went back to alternating strikes before Atlas hit a cutter. Puma King pancaked Atlas, who popped up as the competitors simultaneously kicked each other to the mat. Atlas clambered to his feet but Puma King was right back on him. Atlas countered a superplex attempt, but Puma King managed a head scissors and hit a double knee attack. Puma King hit a sit-out powerbomb for the closest near fall to that point. Atlas and Puma King traded elbow strikes, then boots to the head. Atlas stunned Puma King with an enziguri on the top turnbuckle. Puma King snatched Atlas as Atlas scaled the turnbuckle to follow up, and slung him to the mat with a desperate powerbomb. He fell on Atlas for the decisive cover in under 12 minutes (11:52).
(Stoup Analysis: It’s hard to view Puma King as the heel, but the way he stayed on Atlas forced Atlas to fight from underneath the whole way despite being evenly matched. One could say Puma King was a bit sloppy in spots, but this added to the fact that he looked like he was actually trying to win the match the whole time. Kudos to both wrestlers for putting on what may have been the match of the night when they were in more of a position to give everyone a breath between the more marquee affairs.)
(7) Sami Callihan pinned J.T. Dunn. Callihan threw chanting fans’ chairs into the ring during his entrance, and Dunn, unintimidated and wearing Jacksonville Jaguars colors, reclined upon them. Callihan coughed up a wad of spit and said, “You guys weren’t making enough noise, so I do s*** like that!” He said it is not a pleasure to be back because he’s a “big-ass TV star now,” and he’s “f***ing rich.” He said he’s only there to sell a little more merch. A fan chanted “MLW” and Callihan said, “Shut up, dumbass, I’m trying to talk.” Callihan announced he had spoken with the Wrestle Circus office and that the match would be “OVE rules” unless Dunn “is just a bitch.” Callihan flipped off and crotch-chopped the crowd as Dunn flew at him to start the match. The wrestlers chained submission counters into a shoulder drop by Callihan. Callihan kicked Dunn to the floor. Rob Sanderson said he didn’t want to watch the monitor because he was scared. Callihan stole more chairs from fans to add to the pile in the ring. He spat in his hand, let the spit drip back in to his mouth, then chopped at Dunn. Dunn ducked and Callihan’s hand went into the ring post. Dunn attacked Callihan but Callihan bit his arm. Dunn escaped into the ring then dove back out on to Callihan and hit Callihan with a chair. Callihan responded by throwing chairs at Dunn. Sanderson said, “I’m sure this is what a wedding in this venue looks like.” Callihan charged but Dunn booted him in the face and rolled him back into the ring. Dunn climbed the turnbuckle and took an airborne chair to the head, stunning him. Callihan consolidated the chair pile and squeezed Dunn by the crotch before delivering an exploder on to the pile for two. Callihan hit Dunn’s back with a chair and a piece of the furniture rocketed into the crowd. Dunn flipped Callihan off, inviting more chair shots. Sanderson credited the event staff with the replacement of fans’ chairs. Dunn fired up and rendered Callihan loopy with a double underhook suplex. He drilled Callihan into a chair in the turnbuckle, and rolled into a cutter for two. Callihan spat into the air and caught it back in his mouth, then drove Dunn’s head into the mat for two. Delaney said it was going to take “more than a wrestling maneuver” to take out Dunn, who then laid into Callihan with a bevy of kicks for two. Dunn went for a discus elbow but got kicked down low. Callihan hit a sit-out piledriver for two, and looked exasperated. Dunn tossed a chair to Callihan and punched it into Callihan’s face for two. Dunn kicked Callihan down low and dove at him with a forearm for the win in under 14 minutes (13:30). Delaney said, “Callihan looks pissed,” then followed up with, “Well, he doesn’t look any more pissed than when he came out.” A fan confidently flipped Callihan off to his face as he complained on his way out.
(Stoup Analysis: Callihan seems to go overboard with his revolting stunts, but he is always effective in turning the popularity that precedes him into vitriolic heat, in turn getting the crowd behind his babyface opponents.)
(8) “The World’s Sweetest Man” Gentleman Jervis pinned “Freshly Squeezed” Orange Cassidy to win the Sideshow Championship. Louden Noxious surprised everyone with the announcement that this previously scheduled match would now be for Brian Cage’s vacated Sideshow title. Jervis enthusiastically hugged fans on his way to the ring and was beautifully showered with streamers as he threw his bowler hat directly to Colin Delaney. He hugged Cassidy at the bell, then looked bewildered as Cassidy evaded a Russian leg sweep and casually stuck his hands in his pockets. Jervis tried to yank Cassidy’s hands from his pockets but couldn’t get them. He went for two snapmares that Cassidy rolled through, hands in his pockets the whole way. The crowd chanted “holy poop” as Jervis tried various submissions in effort to snap Cassidy into action. Jervis flattened out while running the ropes, only for Cassidy to lackadaisically saunter over him. Cassidy gently bumped into Jervis for a shoulder tackle, which Jervis answered with a shoulder tackle proper. Cassidy relaxed on the mat as Jervis ran the ropes, springing over and over and over the slacker. Cassidy finally removed his hands from his pockets to attempt a roll-up for two. A “this is wrestling” chant broke out as Cassidy’s hands went back to his pockets. Delaney called the pockets their “natural habitat.” Cassidy lazily kicked at Jervis’ legs, then Jervis picked him up for a slam but instead lulled him to sleep like a baby. Jervis encouraged the crowd to stay quiet as he went for a pin on his napping opponent, but Cassidy rolled on to his side at two. Jervis went for another pin but Cassidy repositioned once more, nearly pinning Jervis in his slumber. Jervis got a blankie and pillow from beneath the ring. The crowd sarcastically chanted “you sick f***.” Jervis arranged Cassidy with the blankie and pillow, kissed him on the forehead, and pinned him as the official counted quietly. The official started to sneeze before three, so Jervis panicked and held his nose. The official sneezed anyway, jolting Cassidy awake. Jervis took Cassidy down with an airplane head scissors, then bunny-hopped into a pillow stomp for two. Jervis came off the top turnbuckle and Sanderson said, “I didn’t think Jervis knew the top rope existed!” The wrestlers rolled each other back and forth until Jervis finally picked up three to become a two-time champion in under 10 minutes (19:20). Jervis celebrated in a shower of streamers.
(Stoup Analysis: There are so many reasons to be a Pervis Rottenbelly about this sort of cartoonish charade, but the commitment to character from both wrestlers, added to the fact that Jervis truly does live up to his “World’s Sweetest Man” nickname, makes it difficult to find anything other than escapist enjoyment.)
Louden Noxious announced the Wrestle Circus “Return Return” show for Sunday, June 23 at 800 Congress. He screamed like a rockstar that it was time for the night’s main event.
(9) Sammy Guevara pinned Dezmond Xavier to win the Ringmaster Championship. Guevara basked in another streamer shower during his entrance. Guevara accepted Xavier’s offer of a handshake after the bell, but neither wrestler would let go and the shake became a little test of strength. Xavier whirled into a flurry of strikes and a cutter, then Guevara zoomed to the top for a shooting star press. Xavier sprang into a pele kick, then missed a corkscrew from the top turnbuckle. Guevara took to the top and hit a 630 for an extremely close near fall. Guevara flipped off the official, much to the crowd’s delight. Xavier laid in to Guevara with punches, then kicked him in the back of the head and nailed another back handspring pele kick. Guevara hoisted Xavier into a fireman’s carry and spiked him with a knee for two. He kicked Xavier in the back of the head four times in a row to the crowd’s disapproval, and Colin Delaney suggested the official may need to stop the match. Xavier rallied, swinging around the ring post to kick Guevara to the mat. He corkscrewed on his fallen opponent from the top turnbuckle for two. Guevara flipped Xavier off and begged for more, and Xavier answered with rounds of heavy haymakers and a kick to the head. Guevara ducked a second kick to roll Xavier up for two, then repeated the maneuver and sank back into it enough to leverage a three in under 10 minutes (9:35).
Guevara appeared overcome as Xavier forced himself to get over is shock. Xavier insisted upon awarding Guevara with the Ringmaster championship belt himself, and embraced Guevara before leaving. Guevara fell to his knees and admired the belt before hoisting it in the air in celebration. The crowd chanted “thank you, Sammy,” and he said, “No, it’s thank all of you.” He apologized if his speech winds up being short because he just got his ass kicked. He recalled wrestling Tony Nese at the first Wrestle Circus event. He said when ECIII won the Ringmaster title at that event, he dedicated himself to main eventing a Wrestle Circus event and winning it himself. Guevara said Wrestle Circus will change the face of Texas wrestling, and perhaps the whole world, as the fans chanted the promotion’s name. Guevara specifically cited the fact that Wrestle Circus was the first promotion to stream their events on Twitch. He said it’s no secret he’s AEW-bound, and he believes that never would have happened without Wrestle Circus. He said Wrestle Circus is his family and will forever be in his heart. As he celebrated once more, Scorpio Sky ran in and attacked him from behind. Sky took the belt, and clocked Guevara in the head with it. Sky brought out his Carnival Cash-In (Wrestle Circus’ form of Money in the Bank) and gave it to the official.
(Stoup Analysis: The incredibly hot start to this main event was exactly what it needed to grab everyone’s attention at the end of the action-packed show. Guevara and Xavier both came off as though winning the title meant the world to them, making the already well-preserved integrity of the Ringmaster championship feel all the more important.)
(10) Scorpio Sky pinned Sammy Guevara (c) to win the Ringmaster Championship. Sky hit the Ace of Spades on Guevara, who managed to kick out at two. Sky ran in for a knee, but Guevara ducked and hit a superkick. Guevara’s turnbuckle climb was delayed by a meddling Kevin Condron, and Sky got his knees up for Guevara’s shooting star press. Sky hit another Ace of Spades for the quick win, and he held his new title up for the crowd as Louden Noxious announced his win as official. Sky drew the letters “A, E, W” in the air with his fingers. Rob Sanderson said “We’ve seen that before in the world of wrestling. SCU later!”
Louden Noxious reminded the crowd of the June 23 return date, and wished everyone a safe night.
(Stoup Analysis: Wrestle Circus has always felt special, and it’s great seeing them back with a solid event rife with surprises, returning favorites (including Noxious), and newcomers. The feel-good title wins felt earned, particularly considering the circumstances. The hook at the end was perfect as many had forgotten about Scorpio Sky’s Carnival Cash-In, and now we have a main event angle to look forward to heading toward June 23. We can also hope to see Tessa Blanchard return, possibly to defend her title against Leva Bates.)
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