It is no understatement to say that the attendees of Early Morning Guy Steele’s Early Morning Show had no idea what they were in for, nor that the residents of Burbank, CA had any idea of the danger they were in, sleeping soundly in close proximity to an epic shared fever dream involving magic wizards, fetishists of all kinds and the reanimated corpse of one of America’s most revered presidents. Thus was the madness of Guy Steele’s first solo show after his infamous debut at last year’s Spring Break.
For approximately 200 adventurous souls willing to pay for a largely unannounced card taking place in a location undisclosed until 48 hours before showtime, booked by wrestling’s most enigmatic offshore oil rig roughneck, the experience was hallucinatory. Starting outside a half hour before doors opened, fans were accosted by Mr. Goldnickel, the dismayed, nebbish building owner overwhelmed by the fact anyone showed up for what he was hoping would be an easy payday and an empty house. At every turn, Goldnickel encouraged fans to go home. The event was unpermitted and the fire marshals had been called, he assured them. When he realized there was a second line (VIP pass holders lined up to one side of the building, GA on the other) Mr. Goldnickel could be heard muttering laments about letting so many people into his home. Yes, apparently Mr. Goldnickel resides at his place of business, JLFX Studios, a tiny, low-ceilinged studio space for small-scale productions.
Once inside, fans were treated to ultra-low-cost, non-descript hats of all colors thanks to the wrestling trio The Hat Boiz. Starting late at 12:17, the event kicked off with a classic Card Subject to Change scenario. Hostess Taya Valkyrie was not in the house due to the messy marks at American Airlines. Ring announcer Eric Barnes assumed hosting duties, introducing “The Punk Rock Poindexter” Darwin Finch who promptly called out fellow nerd and best friend, Kid Isaac – the Lvlup Expo Champion.
Darwin Finch vs. Kid Isaac
It was a cordial affair of holds and reverse holds as each super nerd tried to calculate the optimal torque to submit their opponent. With the crowd right on top of the action – there were no chairs, no barricades, and the ring was barely thigh level – every frustrated “gloivin” and apology could be clearly heard. As the match progressed, Dexter got increasingly aggressive and underhanded, putting his friendship with Isaac in jeopardy. In the end, Kid Isaac’s acrobatics would win the day in a battle of who was most sorry for hurting the other more.
Kid Isaac over Darwin Finch in 8:16
Next up was a grudge match of epic proportions. In the lead-up to the show, Johnny Early Morning had been running his mouth about the legitimacy of magic. The Mayor of Slamtown said magic was for nerds and so out came The Great Branzino, a three-foot wizard with Hobbit feet, to defend magic’s good name.
Johnny Early Morning vs. The Great Branzino
The match began with the diminutive Branzino, who looked an awful lot like a full-sized Gandalf cosplayer walking on his knees, calling for a volunteer from the audience. An eager fan stepped into the ring only to see his bodily autonomy disappear as Branzino made him step to Johnny and slap him with the force of a feral Girl Scout. How? Magic.
Johnny then promptly dumped the fan on his head via bodyslam and rolled him out of the ring. What followed was a monumental battle of muscles vs. magic. Early on Branzino controlled the tempo by quite literally controlling Johnny Early Morning, flinging him around the ring with the mere flick of his hand. Despite this, Johnny continued to deny that magic is real and even revealed his own “magic,” paying money to secure the ref’s favor.
Things went from bad to worse for Branzino as Johnny Early Morning’s superior speed and conditioning led to a series of vicious kicks, v triggers, and a top rope split-legged moonsault that laid the aged wizard out. A near fall was broken up not by kickout but… what else? Magic. Branzino began controlling the ref, who no matter how hard she or Johnny tried, could not slap her palm to the mat for a third time.
The tide turned as Branzino took over Johnny’s body once more. But Johnny proved prepared to fight the magic he so heartily denied existed. His buddy, PJ Black, raced from the back with a protective tinfoil wizard’s cap. Branzino seemed doomed except Johnny and PJ made a fatal mistake. PJ was not protected from the magic. At Branzino’s behest, PJ superkicked Johnny’s head off. Even so, Branzino, who was quite literally on his back for the final two minutes of the match, could not escape Johnny Early Morning’s falling body and with his hands trapped he couldn’t magic his way out of the pinfall.
Johnny Early Morning over The Great Branzino in 5:27
Next out was guest announcer Jordan Castle, who introduced disgraced former podiatrist Dr. Ben Krantz, flanked by Royce Isaacs and “Spoonman” Mike Mishler. Krantz declared his innocence of all charges, though what the charges were was not clear. As Krantz explained to the crowd, he always takes before and after photos of his patient’s feet, his website merely got a little out of hand. Krantz got into a screaming match with a ringside fan who obliged Krantz’s demand to take off his shoe and put his foot on the apron. The angriest photoshoot ensued.
Krantz wrapped up by declaring that his tag team, The Fallen Arch Boys, would rip the boots off all their opponents and expose all the little piggies in tonight’s main event, The Battle Bog.
The show quickly moved along to 6-man action as “The Human Tackboard” Leroy Patterson and Howdy Price (in his retirement match) were joined by “Pretty” Peter Avalon to square off against The Hat Boiz (Joey Hat, Nicky Hat, and Matty Hat).
Leroy Patterson, Howdy Price, and Peter Avalon vs. The Hat Boiz
Immediately, it was clear that The Hat Boiz were the fan favorites. People clearly love free hats.
Early on, Peter Avalon schooled Matty Hat, knocking his top hat off and flinging him around the ring with ease. Retreating to his corner, Nicky tagged in an overwhelmed Joey. His teammates equipped Joey with wrestling headgear from their bottomless bag of hats, telling Joey to “trust the hat.” Much to everyone’s surprise, Joey held his own… until his headgear was ripped off and he reverted to his non-professional work rate.
Joey attempted a few neutered Orange Cassidy-style kicks against an unimpressed Howdy Price, who responded each time with a vicious kick/thigh slap combo. Quickly, the Hat Boiz realized that what gives a kick its power is not the strength of femur or thrust but the volume of the clap. So out came a hat with tiny clappable hands, supplying Joey with all the power he needed to take Howdy off his feet.
Next came the hoss showdown between bigguns Nicky Hat and Leroy Patterson. A series of shoulder blocks eventually led to Nicky getting ripped off his feet. But don’t worry, he had a hat for that, doffing a park ranger number that helped him unleash a viscous lariato. Avalon re-entered the match and immediately placed Nicky in a sleeper but was quickly knocked out himself when the other Hat Boiz snuck up on him and placed a sleeping cap on his head. A near fall was broken up when Avalon’s teammates ripped the sleeping cap off his head, startling him awake just before three.
Things broke down when all the hats were dumped into the ring and all six men began utilizing their nebulous powers to counteract each other’s offense. Avalon, in a particularly inspired move, wore a construction helmet to block the effects of a spike DDT. Another near fall on Avalon was broken up when his teammates threw the sleeping cap on the ref who stayed asleep for half the match.
With no rules, Leroy Patterson brought out his bag of thumbtacks only to realize the Hat Boiz switched the tacks out for tiny Lego hats. Madness ensued and with every man wearing hats stacked on hats, they called for more hats. Fans began throwing their non-descript ball caps into the ring in a shower of hats that buried the competitors under the onslaught.
When the wrestlers finally recovered, the arena went dark and the Taco Bell bong began tolling, which could mean only one thing: the arrival of OG Hat God, zombie Abraham Lincoln. His ominous amble to the ring, which took a full two minutes, ended with Honest Abe, standing mid-ring, removing his stovepipe hat… and then the top of his skull, exposing his viscous, gooey brain.
Each team, terrified by the thought of getting chopped by Honest Abe cowered in their corner while Abe lumbered between them, deciding which team shared his moral fiber. Ready to emancipate Avalon’s soul, Lincoln backed the pretty boy into a corner with no escape. Thinking quickly, Howdy Price did the only thing he could in order to save his teammate. He re-assassinated the 16th President with a thumb to the brain stem.
Knowing they were doomed, the Hat Boiz begged off as their opponents placed bucket hats on their feet for an extra douchey superkick party. The ref was awoken and counted the three.
Leroy Patterson, Howdy Price, and Peter Avalon over The Hat Boiz in 15:59
Because of the lack of a broom and the hat/Lego hat apocalypse, cleaning the ring proved to be a time-consuming task. Jordan Castle returned to kill time by hosting a fan battle rap. Two volunteers belted out piping lukewarm lines over Jordan’s beatboxing. Only one played to the crowd though, name-dropping Bret Hart and Goldberg.
JT Harity over Brendan Soaklund in something resembling a battle rap.
Out next was the tag team of Heather Monroe and Tim “The Cuck” Cuck. The Cuck happily informed the crowd, in a screaming whisper of pent-up frustrations that he loves to watch people watch his girl. Monroe happily soaked up the attention as The Cuck berated the crowd to look at her, not him. He led the crowd in a sing-songy chant of “I see you” before demanding that their surprise opponents come out.
Bussy emerged to a monstrous pop and a glint of curious intrigue in their eyes. They were clearly down for whatever.
Heather Monroe and Tim “The Cuck” Cuck vs. Bussy
The ladies started off in the ring ready to face off when “WAP” by Cardi B began playing gently from the overpowered speakers. A dance-off ensued. Monroe twerked. Katch did the worm. The Cuck howled like a capuchin vibrating with excitement from a voyeuristic distance.
Monroe attempted to tag The Cuck in but he retreated to another corner declaring he does not participate. He only watches. A flustered Monroe then faced down Effy and Allie Katch on her own. They hit her with a double atomic drop and then a double stink face. The Cuck howled “keep going” as he pulled a camcorder from his Fanny pack.
Monroe suffered more violence from Effy. Hip thrusts into a backbreaker before being flipped over onto her stomach in a prime spanking position. The Cuck was practically frothing at the mouth. Instead of spanks, however, Effy hit a gut-wrench suplex. The Cuck was apoplectic.
Relishing their advantage, Bussy got careless, allowing Heather to drop Effy in the corner followed by Allie Katch face-first into Effy’s crotch. The comeback included a dazzling array of spinning back elbows and cartwheel kicks to Effy and Katch in opposite corners before Monroe tagged in Tim Cuck while his back was turned.
Ready to rise to the challenge, Cuck whipped off his turtleneck but quickly wilted under the gaze of 200 pairs of eyes. The Cuck retreated to his safe space, tagging in Monroe after only a brief rest, consoling himself by rubbing his nipples.
Monroe was quickly overwhelmed by Bussy who hit her with a Doomsday Device. Effy’s pin was broken up by The Cuck who demanded Katch join in on the action and sit on Monroe’s face.
An angry Monroe turned on her partner, slapping the hell out of him and taking her power back before promptly returning to her pinned position, pulling Effy on top of her, and ending her nightmare with the count of three.
Bussy over Heather Monroe and Tim “The Cuck” Cuck in 7:40 (maybe? The bell never rang at the start or finish because the timekeeper left).
Now 90 minutes into the show and ready for the main event, Taya Valkyrie finally made an appearance, having raced straight from LAX. She introduced The Bog Master, who offered a short primer on The Battle Bog main event and its myriad of rules… in the form of a song!
Created by Jesus over 2000 years ago in the swamps of Bethlehem, we learned that the battle bog was Andrew Jackson’s favorite form of combat and where Abe Lincoln met Mary Todd.
We were assured that the Battle Bog is very long unless it ends in a tie, in which case it is started all over again and can be as short as it wants. The rules are so complex that the fans are expected to answer any of the ref’s questions in case they forget. Failure to remember means the fan will be injected with Hepatitis A.
The battle bog, we were informed, is gross and not for the squeamish, much like watching your own conception. It’s the wrestling equivalent of aggressive, terrible nudity. New holes are constantly being discovered.
In the event of a police raid, everyone must pretend to be at a really weird church service. All entrants enter wearing Joker makeup, specifically the Jared Leto version, and everyone enters to “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger. The first half of the Battle Bog includes 40 entrants. The next half includes 40 more. The final half is limited to 20. The only way to win is by pin, submission, or eating 100 hot wings, which is monitored by the Special Hot Wing Enforcer. Tonight’s enforcer was Veda Scott.
The haunting chorus of the song remains buried in the ears of all who witnessed it. “Say goodbye to your wife, kid, and dog/It’s time for the Battle Bog.
Entrant #1 – Early Morning Guy Steele
Entrant #2 – Jack Cartwheel
A quick cartwheel-off led to a clear Jack Cartwheel victory as Guy Steele nearly blew out his back on his attempt. A lockup into a cartwheel nearly beheaded him.
Entrant #3 – Gringo Loco
Gringo brought out the building’s one and only chair but apparently, DQs were still a thing so it was promptly taken away from him. A superkick knocked Steele’s goggles off, revealing the horrifying truth that he has no eyes.
After an absurd number of cartwheels, Gringo demanded no more cartwheels.
Entrant #4 – Brody Malibu
Malibu, a Baywatch-esque lifeguard originating from Scotland, brought out a full-sized surfboard and quickly cleared house before later teaming up with Cartwheel and Gringo Loco to fell Guy Steele. With Cartwheel and Malibu the last two standing, Jack declared “There’s no such thing as cartwheel friends” and dropkicked Malibu out of the ring.
Gringo and Cartwheel then set up the surfboard between the ropes and the chair, powerbombing Steele through it in an explosion of fiberglass.
Inexplicably, the four entrants decided to take a break and headed to the back before the next entrant.
Entrant #5 – Dan Black
Dan Black made it explicitly clear he is not a wrestler but a standup comedian living out his dream. He delivered a tight 5 about how lame “real” sports are when compared to pro wrestling. His routine was mercifully cut off by our next entrant.
Entrant #6 – Joey Janela
Dan Black begged off immediately and Joey was ready to oblige until Black foolishly attempted a lariat with his noodle arms. Janela delivered a spine-vibrating chair shot to Black’s back, who then crawled to the back.
All alone, Janela turned his attention to the copious chicken wings and certain victory.
Entrant #7 – “Spoonman” Mike Mishler
It should be noted that as Mishler entered to Soundgarden’s “Spoonman” absolutely no one to this point had come out to “Flagpole Sitta.” Mishler didn’t even bother to enter the ring, heading straight for the chicken wings to battle Janela. An “Is this wrestling” chant broke out.
Entrant #8 – Jimmy Lloyd
The Different Boy entered the ring but, having no one to fight, also headed for the wings.
Entrant #9 – Meat Machine
A terrifying sentient cyborg with glowing eyes and a dubious mission, it was evident that Meat Machine was malfunctioning from the jump. It quickly zeroed in on Jimmy Lloyd, pulling him into the ring for a beat down. Jack Cartwheel returned with a spray bottle and short-circuited Meat Machine with a brief spritz, allowing Lloyd to hit a stunner. Unfortunately, Machine’s immense weight from all their mechanical parts meant Jimmy couldn’t turn them over for the pin.
Cartwheel hit a poisonrana and shooting star press on Jimmy Lloyd. His pin attempt was broken up by Gringo Loco because that wasn’t the finish, you idiot. Apparently, The Battle Bog is a one-fall affair.
Gringo and Cartwheel exchanged chops until Gringo hit a package piledriver. Before Gringo could go for the pin, Cartwheel rolled out of the ring in search of restorative chicken wings.
Entrant #10 – Royce Isaacs
Another entrant more interested in devouring wings than risking life and limb in the ring.
Entrant #11 – Dan Barry
It’s unclear if Barry has hung up his detective’s badge but he came out in regular gear, engaging Cartwheel in some back and forth.
Entrant #12 – “Speedball” Mike Bailey
The Battle Bog’s final entrant (it’s unclear what happened to the other 68 competitors), Speedball was all business. He kicked Dan Berry into oblivion, kneed Cartwheel’s face off, and superkicked Jimmy Lloyd into the stratosphere.
Dr. Krantz returned with his phone, imploring Royce Isaacs to help him get photos of Speedbsll’s feet. Speedball famously wrestles shoeless. Dr. Krantz’s thirst was quenched with some spread-toed photos taken against Speedball’s will. But Isaacs’ focus on Speedball’s feet proved to be his undoing as Speedball chopped him, got some distance, and spin-kicked him like a bottle cap.
At this point, Guy Steele made his glorious return with his goggles. No more nightmarish hollow husks staring blankly into the middle distance. And he had his sights firmly set on Joey Janela who was nearing a chicken wing victory. A vicious powerbomb through the chicken wings table permanently closed that avenue of victory for all.
The action returned to the ring where all the entrants took turns trying to fell Guy Steele. At long last, Janela limped into the ring and won the whole damn thing with a schoolboy.
Joey Janela won The Battle Bog in 30:24 (again there was no timekeeper so the bell never rang)
On the verge of tears and covered in an assortment of sauces, Joey Janela said that today was the greatest day of his life. Delirious from a full day of wrestling, he asked several times what day it was. It was officially 2:15 AM on March 31st and Joey Janela stood proud as the two thousand-and-somethingth Battle Bog champion.
He exited to “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger. The fans were sent home happy, offered any leftover floor wings they could salvage.