By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “Eye for an Eye”
Replay available via Fite.TV
March 17, 2023 in Queen, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Dave Prazak and Veda Scott provided live commentary. Because we are in New York, 17-year-old Nick Wayne is too young to compete in this state. (For those who recall, there was the same rule in place when a young Mark Briscoe had to sit out some early ROH shows in 2002.) The hard camera is on the second deck, so we are looking down into the ring more than a usual angle. As the show opens, six competitors were already in the ring.
1. Cole Radrick defeated Alec Price, Starboy Charlie, Jimmy Lloyd, Yoya, and Steve Scott in a six-way scramble at 6:32. This is Steve Scott’s GCW debut but he’s been in JCW (essentially the NXT to GCW) in recent shows. Starboy Charlie is still wearing his awful bib overalls. Price hit an STO uranage on Yoya for a nearfall. Scott hit a back suplex on Radrick at 3:00. Radrick hit a dive through the ropes. Charlie hit an Asai moonsault onto several opponents. Scott hit a dive. Price hit a dive.
In the ring, Price hit a second-rope clothesline on Scott at 5:00. Charlie hit a second-rope corkscrew press for a nearfall. Lloyd hit a package piledriver on Yoya. Radrick hit a stunner on Scott, then his pumphandle sit-out powerslam on Scott for the pin. This scramble lacked the usual star power, and the great high-flying, of most GCW scrambles… this is one of my least favorite scrambles in a long time, and not just because I’m not a fan of the Gomer Pyle-dorky Radrick.
2. Blake Christian defeated Jack Cartwheel at 10:11. Cartwheel is coming off a stellar showing in a five-minute match against Brian Cage on AEW Elevation earlier this week. Blake attacked from behind at the bell, and he taunted fans with crotch chops. He hit a German Suplex at 2:00. Blake hit a picture-perfect dropkick and was just completely dominating the offense. Blake hit a springboard dropkick at 6:00.
Cartwheel hit his catapult senton for a nearfall. Blake hit the handspring-back-enzuigiri at 8:00, then a pump-handle sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Blake went for the Stomp, but Cartwheel avoid it and Jack hit his rolling Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Jack hit his cartwheel-into-a dive to the floor. Blake hit a flying forearm, a low blow,, and the Rollins-style Stomp for the pin. Surprisingly one-sided. I love both these guys… and this is on the low end of expectations. Not a bad match at all, but I imagine a face-face matchup would be stellar. This was not “stellar.”
* Jordan Castle replaced Veda Scott on commentary. They would trade off and on the rest of the show.
3. Tony Deppen defeated Willie Mack at 13:48. These two competed in a six-way scramble at a recent GCW show. They opened with quick reversals, with Mack doing some moves you wouldn’t expect with his size. Mack dropped him with some hard chops. Deppen hit a doublestomp to the chest at 3:00. Deppen hit a chop that hurt his own hand. Funny facial expression from Deppen. Mack hit a Stinger Splash in the corner, then a rolling cannonball for a nearfall at 6:00.
Mack hit his standing moonsault for a nearfall. Deppen hit a rolling elbow. Mack hit a pop-up forearm and a spinebuster for a nearfall. Deppen hit a top-rope doublestomp to the chest for a nearfall at 9:30, and he yelled at the female ref. Deppen hit a running knee to the chest. They traded open-hand slaps to the face. Willie hit an Exploder Suplex at 11:00. Mack hit a second-rope Exploder Suplex! Mack hit a running shoulder tackle for a nearfall. Deppen hit a running knee to the jaw, and he was stunned that a groggy Mack sat up. Deppen hit a running knee to the back of the head to get the pin. Really good match; I’m not surprised Deppen won, but very surprised he didn’t have to cheat in the process.
* Matt Cardona came to the ring, one belt around his waist and three more on his shoulders, including the World Series Wrestling title he won last weekend in Australia. He was wearing his Indiana Jones-inspired ring gear. “I am covered in gold. I am the real belt collector,” he said. However, his goal is to win back the GCW title. He ripped into Homicide, saying he looked up to him 20 years ago, but not now. After he beats Homicide tonight, “I will be the king of New York f—en City.”
4. Matt Cardona defeated Homicide at 13:04. Cardona stalled in the ropes; we suddenly lost the signal from the building but it was back in 10 seconds, and Cardona was pacing on the floor so I don’t think they even touched. They finally locked up, but Cardona again bailed to the floor. Homicide followed him to the floor and brawled with him in front of the guardrails. (WOW, GCW actually is using guardrails tonight!) Homicide rammed Cardona’s head into a ring post at 4:00. In the ring, Cardona hit a standing neckbreaker.
Cardona hit a running Facewash in the corner at 6:30. Homicide hit a suplex for a nearfall. Cardona ripped off his own T-shirt and he choked Homicide with it. Fans taunted Cardona with a chant that I think was “Chelsea’s bitch”; it was something about her. Homicide hit the Three Amigos rolling suplexes at 9:30. Cardona hit the Fame-asser legdrop for a nearfall. Homicide hit a tornado DDT out of the corner at 11:30, and Cardona bailed to the floor, so Homicide dove through the ropes onto him.
In the ring, Homicide set up for the Copkillah, when suddenly Steph de Lander hopped on the ring apron. Prazak wondered what she was doing here, as she’s not in GCW. Veda Scott noted that de Lander aligned herself with Cardona last weekend in Australia. Cardona hit a low blow and got a schoolboy rollup for the tainted pin. The methodical match you’ve come to expect from Cardona; not bad, but at a more deliberate pace.
5. Rina Yamashita and Sawyer Wreck defeated “Los Macizos” Ciclope and Extremo Miedo in an intergender tag match at 12:53. Rina held her GCW Ultraviolent Championship title. All four started in the ring, and Sawyer’s height advantage over Ciclope is really startling. They started ‘chicken fighting’ with a teammate on shoulders. Miedo and Sawyer traded chops. Ciclope hit a Shining Wizard on Sawyer. Rina brought chairs in the ring and she had a duel with Ciclope at 2:00. (I do not believe for a second these ladies could stand toe-to-toe with these two men.) Rina grabbed Ciclope’s groin, then she did the same to Miedo. Miedo hit a backbreaker over his knee on Rina, and Ciclope hit a spinebuster on her for a nearfall.
Mideo slid a door into the ring at 4:30. Wreck hit a double chokeslam. RIna hit a top-rope dive to the floor on the men. Sawyer hit a top rope summersault onto everyone. Back in the ring, the women hit kicks on Ciclope, and Rina hit a German Suplex. Miedo pulled Sawyer in and kissed her, but she bit his tongue! Ciclope hit a spear on Sawyer and a short-arm clothesline on Rina at 8:00.
Ciclope set up two door bridges in the ring. They did a Tower of Doom spot, with Ciclope crashing hard through the side-by-side door bridges at 10:00. Sawyer speared Miedo, and she hit a Death Valley Driver. Meanwhile, Rina hit a tombstone piledriver on Ciclope for a nearfall. Sawyer accidentally hit Rina, then she accidentally hit the referee! Ciclope hit a top-rope Doomsday Canadian Destroyer on Sawyer for a visual pin, but we had no ref. The ref woke up, but Rina made the save. Rina hit a Razor’s Edge overhead powerbomb on Miedo for a believable nearfall at 12:30. Rina hit an Air Raid Crash on Miedo onto a folded chair for the pin. Veda wondered if we will see more of this team in the future.
* 15-minute intermission with a countdown clock. Because I am watching on delay (after Smackdown!), I am able to fast-forward and keep going. We return as the clock reaches zero!
6. “Bussy” Effy & Allie Katch defeated “The Second Gear Crew” Mance Warner & 1 Called Manders and “The Mane Event” Jay Lyon & Midas Black and “Wasted Youth” Dyln McKay & Marcus Mathers in a four-way tag match at 8:33. I know I always write this, but Lyon reminds me of Evil Uno, as they both wear masks and are better high-flyers than you”d expect for their size. Mathers missed the Montreal show last weekend with an injury, so good to see him back already. The fight started before ring annnouncer Emil Jay could finish introductions. Lyon hit a top-rope moonsault to the floor, then a standing moonsault in the ring on Effy for a nearfall.
Wasted Youth hit missile dropkicks on Manders; Marcus was late in hitting the move and it looked awkward. Effy hit Helluva Kicks and Allie hit her rolling cannonball on Mathers at 3:00. Mance hit a hard clothesline on Allie Katch. Mathers hit a Stinger Splash. Manders picked up Mance and threw him into the corner onto four opponents; this looked like bowling pins getting struck. SGC slammed McKay onto three opponents for a nearfall. Bussy returned to the ring and traded blows with the SGC.
Effy hit a Fameasser legdrop on Manders. Wasted Youth hit Mafia Kicks. McKay hit a Shooting Star Press, then a twisting dive to the floor. Mathers hit his 450 Splash. Effy hit a top-rope Fame-asser legdrop to pin Mathers. Okay match.
7. Gringo Loco defeated Bandido at 12:51. Seconds into the match, we lost the signal from the building; it returned in about 30 seconds, with them trading quick reversals. Loco hit a flip dive over the top rope at 2:00… and we lost the signal again for 10 seconds. In the ring, Loco attempted to tear at Bandido’s mask and was immediately booed! Loco hit a reverse Angle Slam, dropping Bandido stomach-first to the mat. We lost the signal for the third time in this match; it was down about a minute. Bandido hit an Asai Moonsault to the floor at 5:30.
Bandido flipped Loco over the guardrail and into the crowd. Back in the ring, Bandido hit a frogsplash for a believable nearfall. Bandido hit a step-up enzuigiri in the corner. Loco hit a top-rope stunner for a nearfall. Bandido hit a military press for a nearfall at 9:30, and the crowd chanted, “This is awesome!” They began trading forearm shots. They fought on the top rope, where Loco hit an Angle Slam to the mat for a believable nearfall.
Bandido fired back with a Poison Rana, and they were both down. Bandido set up for the 21 Plex… and we lost the signal for 10 seconds. When we return, both men were down. Bandido hit a reverse Go To Sleep. Bandido went for 21 Plex, but Loco got an inside cradle for the pin. Prazak shouted in excitement. Veda said this has to be one of the biggest wins of Loco’s career. A really good match that was marred by the lost signal, but at least we didn’t miss the finish. Fans pelted them with crumpled-up dollar bills.
8. Joey Janela defeated Grim Reefer at 9:48. Why is this match on so late in the show? Jordan Castle is back on commentary and made a joke that on St. Patrick’s Day, Grim Reefer also is “a fan of the color green.” We lost the signal again; this is the fifth or so time, but it’s back in maybe 10 seconds. Standing switches to open. They brawled to the floor at 1:30. Janela hit a suplex on the ring apron. In the ring, Reefer hit a second-rope Russian Legsweep, and he lit a joint at 4:30; he hit a head-scissors takedown and applied an STF.
Janela grabbed the joint from Reefer’s mouth and smoked it. Blah. Reefer hit his springboard moonsault to the floor while smoking his joint. In the ring, Janela hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Janela nailed a package piledriver for a believable nearfall at 7:00; I thought that was it. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Reefer flipped Janela onto an open chair and he scored a nearfall. Reefer hit a moonsault onto a chair lying on Janela for a nearfall at 9:00. Janela hit a top-rope doublestomp onto a chair lying on Reefer’s chest for the pin.
* Janela got on the mic and called Reefer a “legend in this territory.” He said he wanted to thank Reefer for his contributions to independent wrestling. Janela ordered the crowd to get to their feet to cheer for Reefer. Janela left. Suddenly, Charles Mason and Parrow hit the ring and attacked Reefer. Parrow hit a Rikishi Driver piledriver on Reefer. (With Mason’s feud with Allie Katch likely now over, this seems to be a good transition feud for him.) Janela ran back to the ring to make the save. Well, this angle explains why this match was so late in the show.
* NOTE: Two weeks ago, Mike Bailey turned on the GCW roster and helped the Montreal-based IWS roster. So, there is now a question of if Jordan Oliver can ‘trust’ Mike Bailey. Keep in mind, Nick Wayne is too young to compete in this match. Oliver and Bailey have traded storyline Tweets all week, with Bailey apologizing.
9. “The Time Splitters” Kushida and Alex Shelley defeated Jordan Oliver and Mike Bailey at 21:12. Shelley and Kushida came out together and I think Shelley is carrying his Prestige Wrestling title; Oliver came out first for his team, so they are already showing a rift between them. Bailey wasn’t acting heelish on the way to the ring; they shook hands and hugged in the ring. Oliver just pinned Shelley in the first round of the J Cup tournament last month. Bailey and Shelley opened, with Alex quickly tying Bailey up on the mat. Oliver and Kushida squared off at 1:30, with Kushida quickly tying up Jordan on the mat.
Jordan and Bailey hit simultaneous dropkicks and simultaneous planchas to the floor. In the ring, Oliver hit a backbreaker over his knee on Shelley at 4:30. Bailey entered and hit a series of kicks to Alex’s ribs and thighs, and they took turns working over Shelley’s lower back. Kushida entered at 6:30 and hit a hard penalty kick on Oliver. Shelley hit a dragon screw leg whip on Bailey. Kushida began working over Jordan’s left arm, and he applied a cross-armbreaker. Shelley applied the Border City Stretch at 9:00, but Bailey made the save. Oliver finally hit an Exploder Suplex on Shelley and he made the hot tag to Bailey at 11:00.
Bailey hit a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall on Shelley, but Shelley avoided the Tornado Kick. Shelley hit a Flatliner into the second turnbuckle. Kushida hit a top-rope kneedrop on Bailey’s left arm. Bailey hit his speedball kicks to the ribs and thighs on Kushida, then a moonsault double kneedrop. Oliver entered and hit a dropkick on Kushida at 13:00. Bailey hit a Helluva Kick on Kushida. Oliver launched Bailey onto Kushida for a nearfall. They hit simultaneous Acid Kicks. Kushida applied the Hoverboard Lock on Oliver; as Bailey tried to make the save, Shelley grabbed Bailey and applied the Border City Stretch. Oliver slammed his weight onto Shelley to break up both submission holds at 15:30.
Oliver and Shelley stood toe-to-toe in the ring and traded offense, with Alex retaining hold of the wrist. Bailey nailed his top-rope moonsault to the floor on Kushida! In the ring, Shelley set up for the Sliced Bread, but Oliver blocked it. Oliver applied a Boston Crab, but Kushida made the save. Oliver applied a double Boston Crab! Bailey entered and hit a moonsault double kneedrop! Oliver hit a Helluva Kick on Shelley at 19:00, then he launched Shelley stomach-first to the mat.
Oliver again applied the Boston Crab; meanwhile, Bailey and Kushida brawled on the ring apron. Kushida was able to enter the ring and break Oliver’s hold. Kushida hit a moonsault on Oliver for a nearfall, but Bailey made the save. Kushida hit a basement dropkick to Oliver’s face. Shelley nailed a Doomsday Sliced Bread on Oliver for the clean pin! That was absolutely fantastic.
10. Masha Slamovich defeated Nick Gage to win the GCW Championship at 20:07. Long intros for both. She unloaded a flurry of kicks early on. Gage stumbled across the ring; he’s 42, but years of hardcore matches has him walking like he’s closing in on 60. He hit a belly-to-belly suplex at 2:30 and took control, and he hit some bodyslams. He held her upside down for 20 seconds before slamming her for a nearfall. He hit some forearms.
Masha fired up and hit some chops. They hit simultaneous clotheslines and were both down at 5:30. They got up and traded forearm shots; Gage seems particularly immobile tonight. He hit a running elbow drop, and he stomped on her head in the corner. They brawled to the floor, with Gage in complete control, choking her against the guardrail. She fired up and hit some punches and forearms, and whipped him into the ring post at 11:00. They got in the ring, and Masha whipped a chair at his head. They traded more forearm shots.
Gage hit a spinebuster. The match has slowed to a crawl as Gage just seems gassed; he barked at the crowd and hit a twisting Vader Bomb. He hit a chokeslam over his knee for a nearfall at 14:30. Gage speared both Masha and the ref through a door set up in the corner. Blake Christian sauntered to ringside at 16:00. He hit a superkick on Masha; he got the GCW title and swung it at Masha but he wound up hitting Gage. Akira hit the ring to make the save, and he hit a Mafia Kick sending Blake to the floor, and he chased Blake to the back.
Masha and Gage traded forearm shots. Masha hit an Air Raid Crash into the corner onto a chair for a believable nearfall at 18:30. Masha hit a mid-ring piledriver, then a second one, for a nearfall. She hit a Shining Wizard and she applied a rear-naked choke. He passed out! New champion! Prazak stressed that he didn’t tap out. The crowd responded in shock and disbelief.
* Gage got on the mic and said he’s “the realest motherf—er in the locker room,” but now, she is, and he handed her the title belt. The crowd chanted, “You deserve it!” Masha got on the mic and said she’s thought about this moment for her own life. She said that everyone can go out and live their life on their own terms.
Final Thoughts: Hands down, Shelley/Kushida-Bailey/Oliver was best match of the night. I was on the lookout for Bailey turning on Oliver but it never happened. Those are four top-notch guys in the ring, and I still have to believe that Jordan Oliver is back on national TV by the end of the year, whether that means ROH/AEW, Impact Wrestling, or a return to MLW. He’s still young and too good to be a free agent for long.
The Loco-Bandido match earns second back, regardless of the issues with the lost TV signal. I get that GCW puts their own guys over in matches like this, but I have written this often: Bandido loses far too often for a former ROH champion. I’ll go with Deppen-Mack for third place. I really like the pairing of Steph de Lander and Matt Cardona. Matt’s gimmick really calls for a manager, and with Chelsea Green back in WWE, Steph is a good candidate to fill that slot, so I hope they continue to pair up here and elsewhere.
Okay, the main event was rough. I have mocked Gage throughout his title run. He was thoroughly dominated by Jon Moxley the night he won it, after outside interference handed him the belt. The very next night, six competitors ran into the ring after he declared he would be a “fighting champion,” and he immediately ran from all of them to do commentary. He’s rarely defended the belt, usually appearing on shows as a cheerleader to kick off the show. He has used the quickness of his competitors (Lio Rush! Mike Bailey!) to carry the action in his title reign. He was never a great wrestler in his career but won over fans with his hardcore death matches. He seemed particularly winded and slow tonight. Masha has competed against a lot of men in GCW, and she did the best she could here. We’re still clearly headed toward a match of her against Blake Christian, which should at least draw great heat for Blake.
I certainly could be wrong on this, but I think the New York rules that prohibit minors from competing in the state also have a ban on the extreme hardcore action that Gage is known for. No one bled at all; Mance didn’t carelessly or recklessly whip a chair at an opponent’s head. I like it.
I want to point out that six wrestlers on this show — Blake Christian, Effy, Bandido, Matt Cardona, Steph de Lander and Joey Janela — competed in Australia just days ago. The schedule of today’s top-tier indy stars is just amazing.
GCW is right back in action in Toronto on Sunday with a sold out show.
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