WrestleCircus’ “Lucha Carnival” was the best free IPPV I’ve ever had the chance to see. I’ve always wanted to tune into a WC show, and tonight was my first chance. They had a touch of Chikara, NJPW, Lucha Underground, and the TEXAS Scene. These all combined to make-up one of the most enjoyable wrestling shows I’ve seen in 2017. The commentary, and the camera work, was on-point tonight. Top notch production value on a free show is a beautiful thing.
Jordan Len-X vs ZENSHI
I missed most of this one, but caught the end. ZENSHI took the win, from what I saw, and I need to see more of this dude in the near future. JLX I still have yet to really see get a chance to work.
Best Friends Match – Jervis Cottonbelly vs Super Thunderfrog
I was surprised these two didn’t hug-it-out to start the match, but this is what happens when best friend battle. It was a great callback having them mistakenly hug after giant swing/airplane spins. Thunderfrog’s hammer being impossible to pick up for the unworthy referee was a perfect usage of the THOR SPOT. The crowd played their role with the “YOU’RE NOT WORTHY” and “YOU ARE WORTHY” chants the whole way.
You’re never going to get a regular wrestling match out of Jervis Cottonbelly, and I love any wrestler who can consistently provide such a change of pace match. This is the first time I’ve seen Super Thunderfrog, but he fit right into this mold, too. Jervis’ spinebusters are much more solid than his double-stomp(s), so it’s good he used a combo of both to get the win. The post-match beatdown was fun, since it gave Thunderfrog a chance to use his hammer.
Garza Jr. vs “Dirty” Andy Dalton
The WrestleCircus crowd came through again, as they bombarded “Dirty” Andy with luffas, as though they were streamers at a Ring of Honor show. Dalton is pretty f’n pro at being nasty, as he nailed someone in the front row with a snot rocket before the first lock-up. He’s also worked in some crotch-base maneuvers you usually only see in the WWE’s Women’s Division. As heel of an act as you’ll find on the indy scene. Garza’s heartthrob/matador gimmick was a wonderful antithesis.
I didn’t think Garza Jr. would be able to entertain as much as Dalton, but his part in the strike exchange, and his fearless moonsault to the outside won me over. He’s the first guy on the card to make me wish WrestleCircus could bust out some instant replays! Dalton took the victory over the overconfident babyface, and this match was as good as you can ask for in the middle of a free IPPV.
3 Corner Tag Team Match – Tessa Blanchard & Taya Valkyrie vs Christi Jaynes & Allie Kat vs Thunder Rosa & Leva Parka (Bates)
This match had lucha rules, and it lived up to them in many ways from start to finish. Dual flying head scissors take-overs, tags occurring automatically when a team leaves the ring, and the most heel lucha move of all… AN UNMASKING! Taya and Tessa took Le Parka’s mask after falling for a few of her silly lucha tactics. The “…Dive” sequence was another lucha libre staple that I always enjoy, and I thought Thunder Rosa would be my favorite, but then Le Parka put her mask back on and strutted her way into a somersault senton onto everyone else.
The commentary went FULL-SUPER TROOPERS with the “are you saying ‘meow'” conversation. Taya and Tessa showed they can be the most dominant female tag team in wrestling if they somehow stick together. They were dominant, but also more crisp than their opponents, which is why they took the victory.
Sideshow Championship Handicap Match – The Boys vs Joey Ryan
Joey Ryan is the indy equivalent to WWE’s Chris Jericho, as he can get anything over, even a lollipop. He said on Twitter the other day that he’s all about “less is more”, and this match shows it. Joey Ryan has the entire crowd wrapped around his hand for longer than some entire matches, and that’s without a guy having taken a bump, as he demonstrates “dong style”.
Lance Archer/Hoyt is pretty solid on commentary. He’s parts funny, parts informative with an eye for the details of a match, and he’s parts legit because he’s a big bad ass who has wrestled everywhere. This match really solidified these facts for me.
The “DONG DESTROYER” finisher was as deadly as it was hilarious. WrestleCircus is totally my kind of wrestling. The inmates seem to be running the asylum creatively, and that’s how it should be.
They gave us a match from #BattleoftheBigTop to watch during intermission. Every company should take cue from this. I now know that Scorpio Sky is the WrestleCircus #1 Contender, and he earned it in a most bad ass way.
Scorpio Sky w/Kevin Condron vs “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin
These two didn’t waste anytime getting to work after the intermission. A guy like Michael Elgin makes a slingshot splash seem so much more painful. He’s like a human cannonball. Scorpio Sky basically floats when he takes to the air, and it’s another case of this show having the yin/yang type match-ups. Opposites attract in the world of professional wrestling.
I like that Sky’s manager, and eventually another co-conspirator, played into Elgin’s defeat. Big Mike doesn’t go down easily, and this match was the fastest paced bout of the night, to this point. They used the crowd’s anger perfectly for the post-match promo. If you’re going to cheat Big Mike in Austin, you’re going to get some heat. WRESTLING 101.
Lady of the Ring Championship Match – Deonna Purrazzo vs Rachael Ellering (C)
The crowd was as into these entrances as anything else on the show. Rachael Ellering has been shining as the defending champion, it seems. I like that these two seen the high pace of the last match, and went with the grind-it-out style of match. Reminded me of an old school Flair match, as Deonna worked the limb, and took the crowd out of it… like a proper heel.
There was a little bit left to be desired in the execution of Deonna’s offense, at points, but her variety in arms attacks made it less noticeable. This match had more suspense built into one armbar than anything else could pull off all night. Ellering reaching for the ropes had everyone hoping, but not entirely sure that she’d get the rope break. She broke the hold, and won the match, but Purrazzo will be stealing shows for years to come, too.
Extra Talent-ED vs Roppongi Vice
Starks and Solow defend their tag title shot in this match with Trent and Rocky. Roppongi have been aces in NJPW, so I was hyped to see them mixing it up stateside with ET-E. Roppongi brought the brutality with them from Japan, as they were hitting, and taking hits, in the vein of STRONG STYLE.
Commentary found a way to work a Dusty Rhodes impression, and a Dante from “Clerks” quote, into the match. They were doing their part. Ricky Starks did a move where he fell backwards, basically into a crucifix by the opponent, but I don’t think Trent recognized what was happening. They made up for this seemingly sloppy moment with a MONSTROUS spear from Ricky.
Rocky and Ricky went into one of the more convoluted spots I’ve ever see, and that’s saying a lot in this day-and-age of wrestling. It was like a stand-up joke, though, and it was all a set-up for a more recognizable moment of lariat exchanging. Solow and Trent seemed like mirror images of each-other when they had their showdown. Trenty B’s cradle piledriver was devastation in wrestling form. Trent also had one of the best near-fall kick-outs against Solow.
The ref bump that led to the entire crowd popping like a bag of Orville Redenbacher was hilarious. Both team’s hit their sweet finishers, but Roppongi got the victory due to a fresh referee coming out just for them. The hometown boys couldn’t get any love from the officials, and now Roppongi Vice are the WrestleCircus Tag Team #1 Contenders.
John Morrison vs Keith Lee
Morrison’s best Rick Rude impression isn’t a very strong one. Luckily, Keith Lee was there to save the day. Lee’s double-chop early in the match reverberated through all of Austin, Texas. It’s hard to take things Morrison does to Keith Lee seriously, as the big man should be impossible to twist in mid-air. It’s a cute idea, but perhaps something that could have been cut in the planning stages. On the other hand, J-Mo’s springboard shoulder tackle couldn’t be denied.
Keith Lee is to wrestling what a guy like Dirk Nowitzki was to basketball, a big dude who can do anything the little guys could. I am looking forward to a lot more Keith Lee in my future, and I can appreciate Morrison’s victory since Taya Valkyrie was the one who clinched it for him.
No-DQ 6-Man Tag Match – Juventud Guerrera, PENTA EL ZERO M, and FENIX vs Mr. 450, Shane Strickland, and Sammy Guevara
It’s pretty fitting having Juvi, probably the first person most mainstream wrestling fans ever seen execute a 450 splash, facing off with Mr. 450. Penta and Guevara probably had the most palpable heat of any two combatants in the match, which made for great reactions to the high intensity moments. Just like I said in my Lucha Underground recaps, FENIX is probably the most athletic luchador I’ve ever seen in the ring.
Mr. 450’s dive to the outside looked extremely dangerous due to a steal column coming out of NOWHERE. He seemed fine, but it’s one of those moments that might have caught him by surprise. Luchadors pulling off triple team combos is an amazing way to appreciate the art of wrestling. The triple RKO’s in stereo showed how you can slide some comedy into any wrestling match. It eventually broke down from superkicks into CANADIAN DESTROYERS, which was the best Canadian Destroyer sequence I’ve ever seen, and that counts Joey Ryan’s “Dong Destroyer” earlier in this show.
Penta had the crowd start to RAIN CHAIRS into the ring, but he, Juvi, and the ref stopped the fans before it got TOO crazy. Still, it was very ECW, and if you know me you know I love ECW. Juvi ends up being the start of the combo that finished Mr. 450, as well as being one who stacked on-top for the pinfall.
Juventud > Mr. 450, which is just science.
Top 3 Stars of Lucha Carnival
- * Joey Ryan: Came to town, and defended his championship in a handicap match. His #DongDestroyer hashtag caught a trend on social media, and the entire world experience “Dong Style”.
- ** Keith Lee: A guy his 6’2″ nearly 3-hundo is hard to miss, especially when he’s flipping all over the place. If anyone made a name for themselves tonight, it was Keith Lee.
- *** Leva “Le Parka” Bates: The stand-out of the best match of the show. While Tessa Blanchard and Taya were wrecking shop, Leva Bates was winning everyone over with her commitment to the La Parka character.
Can’t wait to catch my next WrestleCircus show!