By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “In Too Deep”
Streamed on FITE TV
April 30, 2022 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at The Showboat
Dave Prazak was on commentary and over the course of the show was joined by Nick Knowledge, Emil Jay and Nick Gage. Prazak said Kevin Gill was sick.
The big news entering this event was the cancellations. Jay and Mark Briscoe, who were off the show because Mark’s wife was having health issues with her unborn child. Meanwhile, Chris Dickinson pulled himself off the show because of a domestic abuse allegation, and he didn’t want to be a distraction.
1. Gringo Loco defeated ASF, Drago Kid, Shane Mercer, Jimmy Lloyd, Dante Leon and Axton Ray in a scramble at 9:57. Prazak noted this is Axton Ray’s debut; he’s a white kid and pretty thick; he looks like a football player. ASF hit a couple huracanranas early. Lloyd hit a standing powerbomb on Drago. Mercer hit a powerslam on Leon. Mercer nailed an Asai Moonsault onto everyone at 3:00. Ray dove over the top rope onto everyone.
ASF hit a springboard corkscrew press onto everyone. Leon hit a flip dive to the floor. Loco hit a dive to the floor, as everyone is getting in their big spots. Drago Kid hit a Spanish Fly in the ring. Leon hit a Slice Bread out of the corner at 6:30. Mercer showed off his strength by hitting a Gorilla Press on Ray. Mercer climbed the ropes and tossed Drago to the floor. However, Gringo hit his spinning powerbomb out of the corner on Mercer for the pin. Exactly what you’d expect here, with lots of big flippy spots and fast action.
2. Jordan Oliver defeated Masha Slamovich at 12:51. I really hate intergender matches. As I write this, before the match starts, how does this help anyone? Oliver has had some stellar matches this year and is a candidate for most improved indy worker, but what can he possibly gain in beating a woman? And he loses a lot if he loses here. If Masha were facing a smaller man like ASF or Drago Kid, that would at least be somewhat believable.
Oliver overpowered her early. He hit a basement dropkick on her knee and scored a nearfall at 3:30. Masha flipped him while holding onto his braided hair and she kicked him in the back. She hit a flip dive off the top rope to the floor. In the ring, she hit an impressive suplex for a nearfall. Oliver nailed a sit-out powerbomb for a believable nearfall at 7:30. She hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. Masha put Oliver on her shoulders and fell backward on the ring apron at 12:00.
In the ring, she nailed a Saito Suplex. Oliver immediately hit a release German suplex, then an Orange Crush/modified Blue Thunder Bomb for the pin. Despite my reservations, Masha showed her strength and in-ring skill and made this an entertaining match to watch.
3. Alex Zayne pins ACH at 10:23. They traded quick reversals and ACH hit a dropkick. They brawled on the floor. ACH nailed a flip dive to the floor at 5:00. They traded stiff forearm shots. Zayne went for a huracanrana from the corner but ACH landed on his feet. Zayne hit a Geramn Suplex. ACH hit a brainbuster for a nearfall at 8:00. They fought in the corner and fell to the floor. In the ring, Zayne got a rollup; the ref inexplicably stopped counting and the crowd taunted him. Zayne went to the top rope and hit a 450 knee drop to the back for the pin. Good match but a few ‘off’ moments, and the ref didn’t help it much. They shook hands after the match.
4. Matthew Justice, Mance Warner, and AJ Gray defeated Effy, Allie Katch, and Grim Reefer at 9:32. Again, this was supposed to be a triple threat, but the Briscoes pulled out of the show. It was going to be a tag match, but Gray told Bussy to find a partner, so they called out Grim Reefer. Reefer pulled out a joint and he and his teammates smoked. Reefer did a flip dive to the floor. Katch hit a dive to the floor. In the ring, Mance threw a chair at Reefer and hit a chokeslam at 3:00.
Mance and Katch traded punches; this is ridiculous because Mance should be able to destroy her. They traded headbutts. She threw a chair at him. Effy brought two doors into the ring. Justice put Effy on his shoulders and slammed him through a table in the corner at 6:30. Gray accidentally clotheslined Warner. Effy hit a Blockbuster out of the corner. Mance hit a double DDT on Effy and Katch. Gray and Justice hit a Doomsday bulldog on Reefer, then pinned him. Gray had a bloody nose. This feels like it ended abruptly. The crowd liked this a lot more than I did.
5. Blake Christian defeated Biff Busick at 13:39. Blake replaced Chris Dickinson. This is a matchup of two guys in NXT just a few months ago. Intense lockups to start. They brawled to the floor, and Blake backdropped Biff, who previously worked as Oney Lorcan, onto two hard chairs. They finally re-entered the ring at 5:30. They traded stiff forearms. Blake missed a 450 attempt at 9:30.
Biff hit some stiff European Uppercuts and a German Suplex. Blake applied a sleeper, and he turned it into a Crossface on the mat. Biff grabbed a door from under the ring, but Blake dove into him at 12:30 on the floor. Blake dove off the top rope and hit a splash on Biff’s back as he was lying on the top rope. Cool move. Blake rolled him into the ring, nailed a Stomp, and got the pin. They shook hands. Really good, intense match.
* Blake got on the mic and called out Alex Shelley, Kushida, Jon Moxley, and Johnny Gargano (he called out Gargano last week as well.) The crowd chanted “Johnny wrestling!”
6. Mike Bailey defeated Joey Janela at 24:20. Janela refused a handshake. Janela hit a pair of brainbusters. They did a suplex spot along the ropes, with both tumbling to the floor at 3:00. Bailey hit a couple dozen spin kicks to Janela’s chest, and the crowd loved this. They finally re-entered the ring at 6:00. Janela hit some punches and earned some boos, and he dominated the action.
Bailey hit a running kick to the chest at 9:00, then a running corkscrew press for a nearfall. Janela hit a running kneestrike to the chest, then a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Janela went for a top-rope elbow drop but Bailey got his knees up. They traded rollups. Bailey nailed a top-rope moonsault to the floor at 12:00. They brawled on the floor, over to, and onto, the merchandise tables. Bailey nailed a standing backflip knee drop onto Janela’s chest, breaking the table. Cool spot.
They re-entered the ring. Janela hit a Snow Plow driver on the ring apron, and the crowd chanted “holy shit!” at 15:30. Janela hit the top-rope elbow drop for a nearfall. They traded hard blows mid-ring and Bailey caught him with a spin kick to the jaw. Bailey hit his flip knee drop to the chest. Janela hit a German Suplex and a Fisherman’s Buster for a nearfall, then a jumping piledriver for a believable nearfall at 19:30. Janela hit a package piledriver, but Bailey kicked out at 1, and he hit his spin kicks to the chest. Bailey hit his standing moonsault double knees to the chest again, then a spin kick to the head for a believable nearfall.
Janela avoided a top-rope move and he hit a superkick for a nearfall at 22:30. Janela hit a top-rope brainbuster for a believable nearfall. Bailey hit a shooting star double knee shot, then his modified One-Winged Angel for the clean pin. Unbelievable action, and the crowd popped for the finish. After the match, Bailey offered a handshake, but Janela gave him a middle finger, turned and left.
* Charles Mason hit the ring in a devilish red suit. The crowd loudly booed him. “Spyder” Nate Webb attacked him from behind (Mason attacked Webb last week in Columbus, Ohio, after Webb won a scramble match). However, Mason overpowered Webb and choked him out with a belt. Prazak said, “It is not done between these two!”
Barbed wire-covered boards were brought to ringside and Prazak said we have three straight death matches to conclude the show. Ugh. Hardcore specialist Nick Gage has joined Prazak in the booth and put over GCW as the company with the top death matches.
7. Hoodfoot defeated Akira in a Death Match at 17:56. Blood and light tubes. Hoodfoot wrapped a chain around his hand, punched Akira, and scored the pin.
8. Slade defeated Sawyer Wreck in a Death Match at 4:08. I’ve seen Slade before; he’s white, bald, and looks a lot like Biff Busick. Sawyer, a woman, is taller and slender. The sides of her head are shaven, with a ponytail on top. She immediately grabbed some light tubes and slammed them over his head. Late in the match, she chokeslamed him onto a pile of light tubes. However, Slade put her in a sleeperhold, while also gouging her forehead with glass, until she passed out.
9. John Wayne Murdoch defeated Cole Radirck in a Death Match at 18:28. I’ve said this before, but Radrick is really scrawny. Murdoch is much bigger and could murder this kid. Murdoch hit a top-rope superplex onto a table covered in light tubes to win the match.
Final thoughts: This show ran nearly 3-and-a-half hours. Janela and Bailey was fantastic, even if it absurd how many finishers they each kicked out of. I’ll take Christian vs. Busick second-best, with Zayne vs. ACH third. Despite losing three top wrestlers in the two days leading up to this event, GCW did a quick reset and made for an entertaining show.
Once again, GCW is a wrestling show of two halves; a first half with great technical wrestling, followed by a second half with violent death matches. The final three matches have their fans, but I am not one of them. My objection to male-on-female violence is only compounded in a death match.