By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
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GCW “The Coldest Winter” on FITE TV
February 26, 2022 in Los Angeles, California at Ukrainian Cultural Center
Report by Dot Net contributor Chris Vetter
The show opened with Joey Janela sitting in the ring, head hanging, and smoking a cigarette. He sarcastically apologized for attacking “X-Pac” Sean Waltman after the main event the night before. He said he doesn’t know what happens after April 30 and if he will still have steady checks coming in the mail (hinting at his AEW contract possibly expiring.) He said he is tired of putting so much into GCW and not getting credit for everything he’s done. The crowd was really booing him.
Sean Waltman came out and challenged him to a match in Dallas over WrestleMania weekend, then left with no punches thrown. A tremendous all-around segment. Janela has always been a dorky goofball babyface, but he sure makes for a heel that you want to see get his butt kicked. Janela really challenged his “inner Raven” in this promo. In my head, I could hear him saying “What about me? What about Joey?” Great stuff to open the show.
1. Ninja Mack defeated Jack Cartwheel at 7:04. Ninja Mack showed no signs of being slowed down by the insane bump a night earlier, where he came down perhaps 20 feet through a door set up on chairs on the floor. Mack won with a roll up. This was a fun opener and easily could have gone longer.
2. Jordan Oliver defeated Dark Sheik at 9:23. This was just there. Not bad, but among the least interesting matches over two days. Dark Sheik hit a Dragon Suplex from the ropes to the mat, and both of their shoulders were down; Oliver lifted one shoulder before the three-count to avoid getting pinned, and scored the victory.
3. Thunder Rosa defeated Tony Deppen at 17:44. This is among the better intergender matches I’ve seen, and I generally don’t care for them because you really have to suspend your disbelief to imagine a smaller woman can stand toe-to-toe with a larger male. But here, the announcers stressed Rosa’s MMA background, and she did her best to tie him in holds and avoid his power blows, so this worked well. Of course, Deppen was a massive jerk and unloaded stiff blows on her, and she fought back well. Rosa scored a roll-up for the clean pin.
4. Jimmy Lloyd defeated Alex Zayne in a Death Match at 11:20. I hate death matches, and if this was two guys I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have watched it. I have tremendous respect for Zayne so I watched. Glass panes were set up in corners in the ring. They did the spot where Lloyd poured tacks in Zayne’s mouth, then hit him, so tacks flew everywhere, but some were in Zayne’s tongue too. Disgusting. Zayne quickly had marks on his back. He went through a glass pane and he was cut up BADLY, as in he is pulling a glass shard out of his arm. This is now dangerous, and they should have stopped the match, but they quickly went to their finishing spots. Zayne did a top rope twisting splash onto Lloyd as he was bent over a pain of glass. Moments later, Lloyd put Zayne on his shoulders and flipped him through the last pane of glass in a corner to get the pin. Based on the pacing, I really think they ran through those last few spots to get Zayne in the back and cleaned up.
On Twitter, Zayne acknowledged he not only needed stitches in his arm, he severely damaged an eye, with glass going into it. I just don’t understand why fans like these matches, and it seems like a huge hazard. Fans are sitting way too close to the ring, with no barriers set up, and glass shards flying everywhere. Don’t expect me to review one of these matches again.
5. Effy, Matthew Justice, Allie Katch, and AJ Gray defeated four wrestlers from an LA Fight scene at 9:40. This was an extended squash, with the opponents getting almost no offense in. I admittedly am uninterested in any of these wrestlers. (I don’t see Vince McMahon or Tony Khan or Scott D’Amore calling up anyone here for a contract offer.)
Mance Warner returns to GCW. He wants a tag match in Dallas.
6. Kevin Blackwood defeated Grim Reefer at 9:43. Solid match. Blackwood got his first GCW win by hitting a double-stomp on Reefer through a table set up in the ring.
7. Gringo Loco pinned Mascara Dorada (a.k.a. Gran Metalik) at 10:46. A stunning upset. Like a couple weeks ago, Mascara Dorada had his working shoes on and kept up with Gringo Loco as they traded excellent lucha offense. Mascara impressed with walking the tight rope to the middle of the rope to hit a huracanrana. They fought in the corner on the ropes, and Loco nails his spinning powerbomb to the mat for the clean pin.
8. Blake Christian defeated Mike Bailey at 24:13. Best match of the weekend, hands down. They traded hard chops to the chest and kicks to the thigh. Blake’s chest was turning red with some scarring. Great back and forth action and the crowd was totally into it. They were telling a great story that both of them were struggling to stay on their feet because their legs hurt so much from the hard kicks they are giving and receiving.
The finish had them roll to the floor, where Blake hit a tombstone piledriver. Unfortunately, for all the great selling in this match, Bailey was back up on his feet in mere seconds in the ring. (To me, a tombstone on the floor is an automatic pinfall; it should be sold as a killer. Unfortunate, because the selling in this match was otherwise really good.) The match kept going in the ring, where Blake hit his double-underhook spinning DDT. It looked devastating and he’s getting a lot of pins with this. After the match, Blake got on the mic and talked about creating a legacy as one of the best going today. Christian and Bailey hugged in the center of the ring to close out the show.