By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “Don’t Talk to Me”
Replay available via Fite.TV
January 20, 2023 in Concord, North Carolina at Cabarrus Arena
The huge news of the day is that Mexico’s AAA promotion is now allowing U.S. promotions to air matches with Hijo Del Vikingo, if they are behind a paywall. So, his match here against Gringo Loco will now be seen across those watching on Fite+, myself included.
* The show opened with a classy video of Jay Briscoe and some of his memorable moments in GCW. It was short but poignant.
* To the arena! This is a large fieldhouse with a high ceiling, and an enthusiastic crowd that has to be 400-600. Emil Jay and Nick Gage were in the ring, and Emil talked about Jay Briscoe. He was honored with the 10-bell salute. Gage got on the mic and said he has known the Briscoes so long, they had to wear a mask to hide that they were underage. (This was entirely the opening I expected AEW to have on Wednesday; yes, I now understand that was blocked.) Emil and Gage then headed to do the commentary. NOTE: Dave Prazak joined the commentary team prior to the third match, saying “I hate winter,” making it clear he was just arriving.
1. Nick Wayne defeated Arez at 11:35. I think so highly of the lucha star Arez, but he lost to Cole Radrick two weeks ago in Chicago, so I don’t see him winning here. Good quick reversals to open, concluding in a standoff and the crowd popped for this early action and they chanted, “lucha libre!” Wayne hit a huracanrana. Arezz hit a butterfly piledriver (JayDriller!) over his knees at 3:00. They traded chops. Arez grounded him with a headlock in some humorous spots. Wayne fired back with an enziguri in the corner and a Northern Lights Suplex for a believable nearfall at 6:00.
Arez fired off a series of kicks and a nice one-foot springboard moonsault for a nearfall. Arez tied him in a knot in the ropes and got booed. Wayne nailed a Dragon Suplex and a Code Red for a nearfall at 9:00. He nailed a flip dive to the floor. In the ring, he hit a Swanton Bomb for a nearfall. Arez hit a powerbomb out of the corner, then a brainbuster for a believable nearfall at 10:30. Arez caught him with a spin kick to the jaw that looked like it landed. Wayne hit the Clout Cutter for the pin. A highly entertaining opening match.
2. Blake Christian defeated Andrew Everett at 14:44. Everett wore his Andre-inspired one-strap singlet, and he’s doing the gimmick where he believes he’s seven feet tall; his Shooting Star Press is so impressive, as he’s not heavy, but he’s certainly not thin for someone who does that move. Blake is now a heel in GCW and he ignored fans as he walked to the ring, not offering any high-fives. Standing reversals to open. Everett hit a dropkick and a standing moonsault for a nearfall at 2:00. Blake fired back with a catapult DDT for a nearfall.
Blake slammed Everett’s shoulder into the corner, and he tied Andrew up in the ropes, and he was in charge. His heelish mannerisms are really coming through. He set up for a split-legged moonsault but refused to give the crowd the satisfaction of doing it at 7:00. Everett fired up and hit some punches, then a Lionsault press for a nearfall. Blake hit a 619 and a nice Divorce Court armbreaker move, and he applied a Fujiwara Armbar; Everett reached the ropes at 9:30. They fought on the ring apron, where Blake hit a spear, then a Fosbury Flop to the floor.
In the ring, Blake hit a double stomp on the left arm, then an Air Raid Crash over his knee, then a DDT for a believable nearfall. Everett went for a chokeslam but Blake blocked it. Everett then hit the chokeslam for a nearfall at 12:00. Everett went to the corner but Blake rolled out of the way. Everett hit a suplex on the ring apron and he NAILED the Shooting Star Press for a believable nearfall, and they were both down at 13:30. Everett again set up for a chokeslam, but Blake held onto the ref to block it. Blake kicked the ropes, causing a low blow in the ropes, then a half-nelson suplex, then the Rollins-style Stomp to the head for the pin. Another really good match.
* Like in other recent shows, Blake put a chair over Everett’s head, then hit a running kick onto the chair, drawing boos. He then mockingly shook the hand of the knocked-out Everett.
3. Jordan Oliver defeated Kerry Morton at 9:32. Kerry had his NWA Junior Heavyweight title, but it wasn’t on the line. Kerry made his GCW debut at the New Jersey New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day doubleheader and was heavily booed. He got the babyface pop here, but he’s wearing a cast on his right wrist and finger.
Dave Prazak joined the commentary booth. Emil introduced Kerry as “the future legend.” Morton wore his NWA junior heavyweight title. He got on the mic and thanked the crowd, but his voice is dripping in heel mannerisms. He said he is there to wrestle with a broken arm. Pretty soon, the crowd was chanting, “shut the f**k up!” at him. He demanded the crowd stand up and give him a round of applause, which of course, didn’t work.
We finally got underway, but Kerry kept ducking into the ropes and avoiding tying up. When they finally locked up, Kerry tried to work over the left arm. As soon as Oliver got the upper hand, Kerry rolled to the floor, and this happened a few times. They began to brawl on the floor at 6:00, with Oliver hitting loud chops in front of the fans. Kerry accidentally chopped the ring post with his left hand, and Oliver immediately slammed the damaged hand on the ring apron. Back in the ring, Kerry was in charge. He hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker at 9:00. Oliver hit Kerry with a chair to the face, then got a quick rollup for the pin! OK match considering I don’t think Kerry can do much with what is clearly a legit injury to his right hand/thumb/wrist.
4. Cole Radrick defeated Cham Pain at 10:26. Pain wore a black shirt and shiny Bret Hart-inspired sunglasses, and he’s clearly much older; a quick internet search says he’s 55. Radrick is the Gomer Pyle-meets-James Ellsworth dork who is somehow beloved by the GCW faithful. Standing switches to start, and they traded rollup attempts. This match is moving at three-quarter speed. Pain hit a powerslam for a nearfall at 3:00, and he posed and got booed.
Pain hit a bodyslam and got a nearfall, as he was dominating the offense. Radrick hit a second-rope missile dropkick, and they were both down at 6:30. Cham Pain hit a tornado DDT out of the corner for a nearfall. Radrick hit a spin kick for a nearfall. Pain hit a DDT for a nearfall at 9:30. Radrick hit a Lionsault for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. Radrick then got an inside cradle for the pin. Pretty dull overall.
5. “Los Macizos” Ciclope and Extremo Miedo defeated “The Ugly Ducklings” Lance Lude and Rob Killjoy to retain the GCW tagteam titles at 10:43. Prazak listed off some of Los Macizos recent title defenses. The Ugly Ducklings attacked before the bell. Miedo flipped Ciclope onto an opponent. Miedo hit a sit-out slam for a nearfall on the bald Lude at 2:00. Killjoy has wild, uncombed brown hair like Necro Butcher a decade-plus ago. Los Macizos got chairs and set up a double-stack door bridge on the floor.
Lude and Killjoy hit simultaneous huracanranas and the crowd “quacked” for them. Los Macizos hit them with a door, then with chairshots to the unprotected heads of their opponents. The Ducklings hit their own chairshots to the head, and I’m not a fan of this. Can we have Chris Nowinski talk to these guys? Killjoy hit another unprotected headshot on Miedo. Miedo and Ciclope powerbombed Lude through two open chairs for a believable nearfall at 8:00. Killjoy hit a double top-rope legdrop on Los Macizos.
Ciclope got a chair and hit more blows to Lude’s head. Los Macizos then tossed Lude over the top rope and through the double-decker table bridge on the floor. Ciclope then nailed a Doomsday clothesline for a believable nearfall on Killjoy at 10:30. Ciclope then nailed a sunset flip powerbomb on Killjoy through two open chairs for the pin. OK match but jeez, I hate those chairshots to the head.
6. Axton Ray defeated Marcus Mathers, Jimmy Lloyd, Zenshi, Terry Yaki and Yoya in a six-way scramble at 7:23. I have really taking a liking to the former gymnast Axton Ray, who recently made his AEW Dark debut; he’s thick like a football player. I haven’t seen Zenshi in awhile; he’s a Black masked luchador I last saw in MLW. Yaki is a skinny Black man. All six brawled at the bell. Axton hit a hard kneestrike on Yoya. Mathers hit a Lionsault on Yaki. Yaki hit an enziguri on Jimmy Lloyd.
Axton hit some deep Steamboat-style armdrags on Yaki, showing off his speed and agility. Yoya and Axton traded some good offense. Yaki leapt off the top rope and went head-first toward the concrete in a scary spot, as three guys caught him inches before he splattered his brain on the concrete at 4:30. Mathers hit a flip dive to the floor. Axton nailed a dive to the floor. Zenshi hit a corkscrew Asai moonsault onto everyone. In the ring, Axton hit a Spanish Fly on Mathers. Yoya hit a Poison Rana on Axton. Mathers hit a 450 Splash. Zenshi hit a 630 splash. Axton picked up Zenshi and nailed the Doctor Bomb for the pin. That was a fantastic mess of a match.
* We had a break in the action to fix the top rope. A video package aired showing the feud between Effy and Allie Katch vs. Parrow and Charles Mason. (I admittedly don’t care one iota about this feud.)
7. “Bussy” Allie Katch and Effy defeated Charles Mason and Parrow (w/Billy Dixon) at 12:47. Mason argued with fans as he walked to ringside. Parrow is just a huge man, on par with WWE’s Ivar; it is absurd to think that Allie could hit any real offense on him. Parrow and Effy started, and Effy hit a shoulder tackle and quickly took control. Effy hit three Whoopee Cushion buttdrops at 2:00. Mason, wearing a suit, beat up Katch on the floor. In the ring, Parrow hit a running splash on Effy for a nearfall, then a chokeslam for a nearfall.
The heels kept beating up Effy in their corner. Effy hit his legdrop faceplant, but he couldn’t make the hot tag. Parrow hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 5:30. Mason entered and hit a high back suplex for a nearfall. Effy hit a Fame-asser legdrop on Parrow. Katch finally made the hot tag at 7:30 and she hit a running clothesline in the corner on Mason, then a DDT on Parrow. She hit a Northern Lights Suplex on Mason for a nearfall.
Mason hit a shotgun dropkick on Katch. Effy hit a HARD unprotected chairshot to Parrow’s head on the floor at 10:30; he got in the ring and helped Katch beat up Mason. They hit a team back suplex. Parrow recovered and got back onto the ring apron, and he suplexed Effy through a door bridge on the floor. In the ring, Mason hit a chokeslam on Katch. Billy Dixon hopped on the ring apron, but he accidentally hit Mason on the head. Katch immediately got a rollup to pin Mason. Yuck, too many unprotected chairshots to the head again.
* After the match, Mason and Dixon argued. Mason ordered Dixon to kiss his boots, which Dixon reluctantly did. However, Parrow grabbed Dixon and hit a piledriver; they left Dixon lying in the ring.
8. Tony Deppen defeated Ricky Morton at 7:58. This could be ugly; I am not a fan of seeing someone as old as 66-year-old Morton in the ring. (Sadly, I’m pretty sure the most recent Ricky Morton match I saw was a non-bump debacle against the Briscoes at the ‘Ricky Steamboat final match’ event.) Deppen got on the mic and turned babyface (I joke!) by saying he doesn’t have any respect for wrestlers who hold onto their past and continue to wrestle. They tied up and Deppen easily shoved him to the mat and taunted him and the fans.
Morton hit a shoulder tackle, then an armdrag that sent Deppen to the floor to stall at 3:30. In the ring, Morton hit a clothesline. Deppen hit a dropkick to Morton’s head as Ricky was lying on the bottom rope. Tony went for a senton but Ricky got his knees up. Morton hit a couple of clotheslines. Deppen missed a running kneestrike in the corner, and Morton hit a Canadian Destroyer for a believable nearfall at 7:30. Deppen got a jackknife cover, put his feet on the ropes, and scored the tainted pin. I think so highly of Deppen, and I wish he had been given a younger dance partner on this night.
9. “The Second Gear Crew” Mance Warner & Matthew Justice defeated BoJack & Lucky Ali and John Wayne Murdoch & George South and Caleb Konley & Zayne Riley in a four-way tag match at 12:39. South, age 60, got on the mic and berated the fans and ring announcer Emil Jay. BoJack and Ali, who have been feuding in Carolina-based Deadlock Pro Wrestling, are teammates here. Again, BoJack is Black and must weigh 350 to 400 pounds. Konley is not doing any of his “Kaleb with a K” gimmick from his Impact run. Riley is white with a full, black beard and he also is in the 300+ pound range; he wears the Blue Meanie-style half-shirt so his gut hangs out the bottom.
Early on, BoJack and Riley squared off; that is a lot of beef. BoJack successfully hit a bodyslam. Murdoch and Mance got in the ring, holding chairs, and hit each other with them. With nearly everyone on the floor, BoJack picked up teammate Ali and threw him over the top rope onto the other six at 5:00. Ali then hit a rolling summmersault off the ring apron onto everyone on the floor. Everyone began brawling on the floor, and Mance again recklessly, dangerously threw a chair at someone’s head. Why is this allowed?
South had a barbed-wire-covered baseball bat, which he used on Riley. They brawled amongst the fans, with Konley barreling his body into Justice, who was seated on a chair, sending them both flying. South was now bleeding heavily from his forehead. He jabbed a wood stake into Ali’s forehead. Finally back in the ring at 9:00, Konley hit a doublestomp on Justice’s back. BoJack hit a Stinger Splash in the corner. Konley nailed a top-rope moonsault on BoJack for a believable nearfall at 11:00.
Murdoch hit a brainbuster on Konley for a nearfall. A table was brought into the ring, and BoJack slammed Murdoch through the table. Ali tried to jump in and get the cover, but BoJack pulled his partner off Murdoch, and they argued. Justice nailed a chairshot to BoJack’s back. South got put through a table. Justice then hit a top-rope frogsplash on Ali for the pin. Meh.
10. El Hijo Del Vikingo defeated Gringo Loco at 22:28. Again, just a day ago I assumed I wasn’t going to be able to see this match per AAA’s rules. Prazak said Loco had the same winter weather travel issues he did to get to the show. Vikingo had his AAA Mega title. As he ran by the fans, it’s clear he is 5’4″ or 5’5″, and he got a few streamers during the ring intros. Prazak said this is a first-ever singles match. Loco slapped him in the face to start. They immediately began doing lucha reversals and armdrags, ending in a standoff at 1:30, with the fans chanting “lucha libre!”
Vikingo went for a handspring-back-move, but Loco caught him and hit a faceplant. Loco hit a stiff kick to Vikingo’s back as Hijo was seated on the mat, and Loco tied him in a knot on the mat. Vikingo hit a series of kicks. He stood on the ring post, jumped onto the top rope, and leapt onto Loco. He then hit a second-rope flip 450 dive onto Loco on the floor at 6:00. Two unbelievable back-to-back moves. In the ring, Vikingo hit a top-rope Phoenix Splash for a nearfall. They brawled back to the floor. Vikingo went for a dive between the ropes, but Loco moved, and Vikingo crashed onto an open chair at 8:00.
Loco hit an unprotected chairshot to the head as they fought on the floor, and he whipped Vikingo into rows of empty chairs. They got in the ring, where Loco hit another unprotected chairshot to the head. Vikingo hit a double-jump springboard huracanrana; that’s the best I can describe it. He hit a running double knees in the corner at 12:30. Vikingo went for a flip out of the corner that unfortunately didn’t hit at all, but Loco still went down. Awkward; glad the crowd didn’t insult them with a “you f’d up” chant. Vikingo hit a one-footed corkscrew dive off the top rope to the floor.
In the ring, Vikingo went for a top-rope Shooting Star Press, but Loco got his knees up. Loco then hit a jumping piledriver for a believable nearfall at 16:00. Loco missed a top-rope corkscrew splash. Vikingo hit a Rock Bottom uranage. In an unbelievable spot, Vikingo leapt over the top rope, did a 450, and crashed onto Loco, who was lying on a door bridge on the floor. Just insane. In the ring, they fought on the top rope in the corner, and Loco military pressed Vikingo to the mat for a nearfall at 21:00. Vikingo hit a second-rope Poison Rana, then a running double knees in the corner. He then nailed a top-rope 630 Splash for the pin. That was a blast.
Final Thoughts: El Hijo Del Vikingo is a blast to watch, as he hits so many unbelievable spots. Yes, they didn’t connect on one, and I am so happy the crowd was so forgiving and didn’t taunt them. While I will give the main event best match, it certainly was a bit disjointed; more than most matches, it felt like they were going through a sequence of setting up one spot after another. He’s a special talent, though, no doubt about it. Prazak missed some of the best matches of the show, as I’ll give Arez-Wayne second-place, just ahead of Blake-Everett for third. That wild six-way deserves honorable mention.
I’ve read so much reaction to the debut episode of Power Slap — I didn’t watch it — and the concerns over concussions. We have seen top NFL stars go down with concussions. We saw Adam Cole describe how he nearly lost his career after a hard blow to the head. with all the info out there, I just am stunned we continue to see unprotected chairshots to the head. GCW has grown so much and become so popular, but they must save the wrestlers from themselves and ban the move.
I know this could be said about nearly every scramble match that someone could have gotten permanently injured if they hadn’t been caught correctly, but Terry Yaki went straight up, and straight head-first down, and I jumped and cringed. Thankfully, he was caught before hitting the ground. That really, really could have been a dangerous fall.
GCW has a triple-header weekend, as they will be in Alabama today and Sunday.