GCW “Jersey J-Cup Session 1” results: Vetter’s review of Mike Bailey vs. Jonathan Gresham, Arez vs. Komander, Lio Rush vs. Tony Deppen, Jordan Oliver vs. Alex Shelley, Blake Christian vs. Alec Price, Joey Janela vs. Starboy Charlie, Charles Mason vs. Billie Starkz, plus a scramble match in first-round tournament matches

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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GCW “Jersey J-Cup Session 1”
Replay available via FITE.TV
February 11, 2023 in Jersey City, New Jersey at White Eagle Hall

This is a 20-person tournament. The winner will receive the Jersey Championship Wrestling title. This is a sold out show. It appears we are in a night club setting, and there is a second level; so no problem with a low ceiling. Lighting over the ring is really good.

Dave Prazak and Veda Scott provided commentary. Prazak quickly explained that we have seven singles matches and a six-way scramble, with that winner joining the quarterfinals. He added that Wikipedia is accurate in past year’s J-Cup brackets and results, and he encouraged people to read about prior tournaments.

* Notably not in action is GCW regular Nick Wayne; he’s on the Defy Wrestling show in Seattle later in the evening, along with Swerve Strickland, Zack Sabre Jr., Davey Richards, and Jon Moxley. To the ring! I think we have a new mat. It looks clean and is giving the show a big-league feel. Also notably absent is Gringo Loco.

1. Jordan Oliver defeated Alex Shelley in a first-round tournament match at 18:02. An intense lockup and mat reversals to start, and Shelley applied a Border City Stretch at 3:00. Shelley stayed focused on the left arm and grounding his bigger opponent. Oliver hit a backbreaker over his knee at 6:30, but he clutched at his left arm in pain. Shelley hit a running kneestrike from the ring apron to the floor. Wow, there is almost no room on the floor for them to move, as fans are seated really close. Shelley hit a baseball slide dropkick that sent Oliver onto the laps of people in the front row at 10:00.

Shelley accidentally chopped the ring post. Oliver accidentally hit shoulder-first on the ring post. In the ring, Shelley applied the Border City Stretch and pulled him to the center of the ring. They got up and traded forearm shots. Oliver hit a dropkick, then a plancha to the floor at 14:00. In the ring, Oliver nailed the Helluva Kick in the corner. Oliver hit a superkick and a Mafia Kick for a nearfall at 16:00. Oliver hit a stunner and a spin kick to the head. Shelley nailed a faceplant and a superkick.

Shelley nailed an Air Raid Crash and went back to the Border City Stretch; Oliver rolled him over and got a nearfall. Shlley couldn’t hit the Shellshock swinging faceplant. Oliver got an inside cradle for the pin! Shelley was stunned to have lost. That was an absolutely fantastic match; it will be tough for any first-round match to top that.

* Nick Knowledge replaced Veda Scott on commentary.

2. Cole Radrick defeated Dante Leon, Marcus Mathers, Yoya, Dyln McKay, and Grim Reefer in a six-way scramble first-round tournament match at 11:00. The veteran Reefer is a last-minute replacement for the talented Jack Cartwheel. Mathers hit a Lionsault on Reefer. Radrick hit a clothesline to the back of Mathers’ head. Leon, fresh off a Japan tour with NOAH, beat up Yoya. McKay hit a standing moonsault. Reefer lit a joint at 3:00 and offered it to McKay; Mathers attacked Reefer from behind and got booed. Funny.

Reefer hit a flip dive to the floor on four opponents. Mathers hit a flip dive onto everybody. Leon hit a corkscrew dive onto everybody. In the ring, teammates McKay and Mathers brawled, with McKay hitting a Canadian Destroyer. Mathers hit a 450 Splash. Leon hit a Phoenix Splash. Radrick hit a springboard double stunner at 8:00. Yoya nailed a Poison Rana on Radrick and a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Reefer hit a Lungblower on Mathers, then a piledriver in the corner. Leon hit a Nigel-style Tower of London stunner from the corner.

McKay hit a cool flipping neckbreaker on the tiny Yoya. Radrick hit a Blue thunder Bomb and a stunner, then a pumphandle sit-out powerbomb on McKay for the pin. (I am not a fan of Radrick, but I correctly predicted on Twitter he was winning this.)

3. Blake Christian defeated Alec Price in a first-round tournament match at 13:35. Newly-turned heel Blake rolled to the floor at the bell and was booed. Prazak used this time to run down all the shows planned for “The Collective” wrestling shows in Los Angeles during Wrestlemania weekend. These two wrestled not that long ago at the disastrous GCW hardcore show in Milwaukee. They traded good reverals with neither man getting an advantage. Price hit a head-scissors takedown and a dropkick at 3:00. He hit some kneestrikes in the corner.

Blake hit a dragon screw leg whip off the top rope, and Price writhed on the mat at 6:00. Blake hit a modified 619 and taunted the crowd. Alec hit an enzuigiri and was fired up. He hit a Helluva Kick in the corner, then a second-rope legdrop for a nearfall at 8:00. Blake came back with a springboard 450 Splash on Price, who was draped over the top rope, and Blake got a nearfall. Blake nailed an Arabian Press to the floor at 10:00.

Price dove over the top rope and crashed onto Blake. Veda and Prazak said he has only one good leg. In the ring, Price hit a bulldog and a Blockbuster for a nearfall. Blake hit an enziguri and a 619, then a handspring-back-spin kick, drawing lots of boos. Price hit The Fold overhead faceplant and seemed on the verge of putting Blake away. Blake pulled the referee in front of him as a shield, and Blake splashed into the ref in the corner. Price got a rollup for a visual pinfall, but we had no ref. Blake hit a low blow uppercut, then a mid-ring Spanish Fly for the pin. The crowd booed the outcome. Good match.

4. Joey Janela defeated Starboy Charlie in a first-round tournament match at 16:08. Charlie is wearing his Hillbilly Jim bib overalls. Standing switches to start. Charlie applied an Octopus in the ropes at 3:30, and like a typical Janela match, this is at a more methodical pace. Janela hit a delayed brainbuster for a nearfall. Charlie hit an Asai moonsault to the floor at 6:30. In the ring, he hit a crossbody block for a nearfall. He hit a Thesz Press, then a Northern Lights suplex for a nearfall. Charlie went for a corkscrew press from the corner, but Janela got his knees up to block it.

Janela hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall at 8:30. Charlie took down the straps, and they traded deafening chops, and the crowd was loving these blows. Charlie hit a second-rope bulldog, and they were both down at 10:30. They traded MULTIPLE release German Suplexes. Charlie hit another second-rope corkscrew splash for a nearfall and we got a “This is awesome!” chant. Janela hit a superplex and a Tombstone piledriver for a believable nearfall at 13:00, and Janela was stunned he didn’t get the win there. Janela hit a hard clothesline. Charlie applied a crossface on the mat. Janela hit a superkick on the ring apron, then a package piledriver on the ring apron at 16:00. Janela hit a doublestomp for the pin. Good match.

5. Lio Rush defeated Tony Deppen in a first-round tournament match at 13:24. Prazak acknowledged that Lio Rush had appeared (via video) on the NJPW show hours ago. Deppen got on the mic and yelled at the crowd for singing along to his music. Deppen hit a shoulder tackle. Lio did his misdirection moves off the ropes to distract Deppen. Lio slapped him in the face, then hit an enziguri at 2:30. They brawled to the floor. Back in the ring, they traded forearm shots. Lio hit a clothesline at 7:30, then a dive through the ropes to the floor.

In the ring, Lio hit a back suplex for a nearfall. Deppen hit a stunner and a Tombstone Piledriver for a believable nearfall at 9:30. Deppen nailed a Lungblower to the chest for a nearfall. Deppen ducked a spin kick and he hit a kneestrike to the jaw, then running double knees in the corner. Lio fired back with a pair of spears, and he was fired up. Deppen hit a kneestrike to the back of the head and a Northern Lights suplex for a nearfall at 12:00. Lio hit a spinning Tombstone DDT, then the top-rope frogsplash for the clean pin. Really good match.

6. Charles Mason defeated Billie Starkz in a first-round tournament match at 14:21. Starkz, the 18-year-old who has competed in GCW, AEW, MLW and Pro Wrestling Revolver all in this month alone, is the lone woman in the tournament. Mason wore his red vest like he is working at a 1980s movie theater. He offered a handshake at the bell, she relucantly shook it, and he licked his hand afterward. They brawled to the floor, and he whipped her headfirst into the corner. He dragged her on the floor, drawing loud boos.

In the ring, she caught him with a hard kick to the forehead. She missed a Swanton Bomb onto the ring apron, and she crashed to the floor at 3:30. Mason took control in the ring. He removed the jacket and dropped her with a hard forearm shot, and he stayed in control. Starkz fired back with a German Suplex for a nearfall at 8:00. She hit a Tombstone Piledriver, nearly dropping him, and got a nearfall. She went for a dive to the floor, but he sprayed some water in her face, and he immediately hit a DDT. The crowd booed him.

They fought on the ring apron, and she hit an awkward One-Winged Angel, and they both crashed to the floor. In the ring, they traded mid-ring forearm shots (just absurd to pretend she could match him blow for blow.) He body slammed her at 11:30. She hit a spin kick to the head. He choked her and slammed her head repeatedly into the mat. That was uncomfortable to watch. Billie hit a Gory Bomb. She went for a Swanton Bomb, but he caught her and applied a choke on the mat. Mason hit a spinning Tombstone Piledriver for the pin.

* They showed the updated brackets after every match. From the first match on, they had listed Shelley had advanced. Finally here, after match six, they got it correct that Oliver had won and advanced.

7. Komander defeated Arez in a first-round tournament match at 12:36. Arez is like Laredo Kid — he looks so impressive but never seems to win. Arez tied him in a pendulum early on. Komander tied him up in the ropes. Komander hit a DDT. He set up for a dive at 4:30, but Arez cut him off. Komander missed a springboard 450 Splash. Arez hit a modified JayDriller for a nearfall. Arez hit a modified brainbuster for a nearfall at 6:30. Komander hit a dive through the ropes to the floor.

In the ring, Komander nailed a top-rope Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Arez set up for a move, but he instead swore at the crowd. In a cool spot, Komander walked the top rope from one corner to the other, then hit a twisting body press to the floor at 10:00, earning a “holy shit” and “lucha libre!” chant. In the ring, Komander hit a huracanrana for a nearfall. Arez hit a flipping sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 12:00. Komander walked one corner to the other and hit a Phoenix Splash for the pin. Good match, hurt only by the fact I never once thought Arez was winning here.

8. Mike Bailey defeated Jonathan Gresham in a first-round tournament match at 21:03. These two have split their first two matches in GCW, so this is the rubber match. Veda Scott pointed out that Bailey won four matches in one day to win the PWG “BOLA” just weeks ago. An intense lockup to start and neither man could hit a big move. Bailey dropped him with a spin kick to the chest at 2:00. He hit his speedball kicks to the thighs and ribs, sending Gresham to the floor to regroup. Bailey nailed the corner moonsault to the floor. However, Gresham applied an anklelock on the floor.

In the ring, Gresham chopped the knee at 5:30, and Bailey sold the pain in his leg. Bailey fired back with a one-legged dropkick. Bailey hit a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Gresham nailed a diving forearm for a nearfall. They fought to the floor, and Gresham again applied an anklelock. They got on the ring apron, where Bailey hit an enziguri at 8:00. Bailey missed a moonsault kneedrop. Now back in the ring, Gresham hit a German Suplex. Bailey hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly.

Bailey began hitting stiff spin kicks to the chest; Gresham fired back with chops. Gresham went for a German Suplex but Bailey rotated and landed on his feet. Gresham hit a clothesline and a Michinoku Driver for a nearfall at 12:30, and the crowd chanted, “This is awesome!” They traded more kicks and chops. Gresham slammed the injured knee repeatedly in the mat at 15:00, and he applied a Figure Four Leglock, and he had it on for several minutes, but Bailey finally reached the ropes.

Gresham hit a stunner and another German Suplex, with Bailey again landing on his feet. Gresham hit a dive to the floor. Bailey hit his springboard moonsault to the floor at 20:00. In the ring, Bailey was hobbling, but he hit some spin kicks. He went for the tornado kick but collaqpsed. Gresham hit a diving forearm for a believable nearfall. Gresham went for a Shooting Star Press, but Bailey got his knees up. Bailey hit the Tornado Kick into the corner, then the Flamingo Driver (One-Winged Angel) for the clean pin. WOW that was good.

Final Thoughts: Bailey-Gresham was great. This show ended at 3:45 p.m. CST, so they have three hours to recover before “Session 2.” Regardless, I expect Bailey to sell this leg injury in his remaining matches later today. I’ll go with the Oliver-Shelley opener for second place, and Deppin-Lio Rush for third place. A really good top-to-bottom show.

The second session featuring the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals will be next. I went 7-1 in predicting first-round matches; I thought Charlie was going to beat Janela. On Twitter I called for a Blake-Oliver finals, and we’ll see how far they go. My quick predictions are Blake, Bailey, Oliver and Rush reaching the final four, with Oliver over Blake in the finals.

I want to reiterate that this is about as good as GCW looks. The mat looked new, the lighting was good, the cameras and a handful of replays were excellent, and between Prazak, Veda, and Nick Knowledge, you had great commentary. Not a Singapore cane, pizza cutter, table, staple gun or glass pane in sight…. just good clean mat wrestling. Big thumbs up.


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