By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “For The Culture 4”
Streamed on FITE TV
March 30, 2023 in Los Angeles, California at Ukrainian Cultural Center
“The Collective” is a series of 10 wrestling shows, led by Game Changer Wrestling, held over WrestleMania weekend, with all the events at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Most of the shows have a specific theme (there is a lucha show, a show highlighting Black wrestlers, and another featuring the LGBTQ community.) This venue can probably hold 600, and I think nearly every one of the 10 shows are sellouts.
This is a review of “GCW’s For The Culture,” which began at 11:59 p.m. Thursday in California time. This is the show that features the top Black pro wrestlers on the indy scene. However, a few weeks ago, Lio Rush dropped out of the lineup; I presume it is because he was needed on the NJPW/Impact “Multiverse United” show that occurred just a few hours earlier. D’Lo Brown provided commentary.
The crowd is a bit light, at maybe 200. Keep in mind, for many of these fans, this is their third or fourth show of the day.
1. Darius Carter defeated Ashton Starr, Ju Dizz, Keita Murray, Terry Yaki, Devon Monroe and Faye Jackson in a seven-way at 8:02. Ju Dizz is a muscular man with dreadlocks; he is a more muscular Kofi Kingston, or a smaller EJ Nduka. Starr is of average size in blue and black trunks. Keita has a full beard; we’ve seen him in New Japan Strong before.
Carter held a ‘musicals’ or opera mask over his face and he wore a fancy robe, reminding me of Aiden English’s opera singer NXT gimmick. Yaki looks a lot like AR Fox and I think he’s also from that Atlanta area; I’ve seen him on GCW shows when they head to the South. Monroe, who competes in the Twin Cities area, does the exact same flamboyant look/gimmick as Sonny Kiss. Faye Jackson is a heavy, curvy woman; I’ve seen her at least once before.
Faye danced with the men and they looked smitten. Carter hit a Mafia kick that leveled Faye at 2:30. Yaki hit a flip dive from the top turnbuckle onto everyone. Ju Dizz hit a dive over the top rope onto everyone. In the ring, Keita applied a Boston Crab on Yaki, but Ashton made the save. Faye hit a huracanrana on Monroe at 7:00. Carter nailed a piledriver on Faye; a commentator called him “an evil man.” Ju Dizz hit a nice pumphandle sit-out piledriver for a nearfall. Monroe hit a top-rope corkscrew press on Ju Dizz; Carter immediately tossed Monroe to the floor and he covered and pinned Dizz for the cheap victory. Decent scramble. While Ju Dizz was pinned, he appears to be the most promising, just on size alone.
2. Billy Dixon defeated Willie Mack in a no-DQ match at 13:12. A hero’s welcome for Mack, who wrestled a few hours earlier in this venue. I’m surprised this is going on so early, as I thought this was our main event. Dixon competes occasionally in GCW’ he’s wearing bib overalls and a T-shirt, but they are the same size. They immediately brawled on the floor. In the ring, Mack hit two hard chairshots to the back at 5:00. Dixon hit a DDT for a nearfall. Mack hit a standing powerbomb through a door bridge in the ring at 8:30.
Dixon speared Willie through a door set up in the corner and got a nearfall. Dixon nailed a spinebuster for a believable nearfall at 10:00. Mack hit a kick-to-the-gut and an Austin-style Stunner. They brawled back to the floor. Mack bodyslammed him on the floor at 12:00. Ouch! They got back in the ring, where Mack set up for another stunner. However, Dixon blocked it and he got a backslide for the clean pin. Mack was incredulous that he lost.
* The next 10-person tag is a survivor series rules match, and it is “West Coast vs. The World.”
3. “West Coast” Kenny King, Alpha Zo, Midas Kreed, Gregory Sharpe, and Mazzerati defeated “The World” Lucky Ali, AC Mack, JC Storm, Jeffrey John, and Suge D at 21:21. The commentators agree that the West Coast team has the advantage because they’ve generally worked together. Jay Malachi is tall and thin; he’s impressed me over the past year in the Carolina-based Deadlock Pro, and he’s had a few AEW Dark matches. Sharpe has a long beard and hair and he looks deranged; he’s been in New Japan Strong. Sharpe and Malachi traded some good offense. The ladies, JC Storm and Mazzerati, tagged in at 3:00 and fought each other.
Suge D and Kenny King squared off at 5:00 and they were described as the team captains, and Kenny hit some deep armdrags. I admittedly don’t know Suge D; he has short dreadlocks. All 10 began brawling at 8:30. Kenny King hit a spinning dive to the floor on several guys. Gregory Sharpe hit a top-rope Swanton Bomb onto everyone on the floor. In an unbelievable spot, Jay Malachi dove over a turnbuckle and landed far from ringside on a group of wrestlers at 11:00. That is one of the farthest dives I’ve seen.
In the ring, Sharpe hit a brainbuster to pin Jay Malachi at 12:02. The match contnued immediately. Kreed hit a spin kick on Jeffrey John. Suge D hit a roaring forearm to pin Midas Kreed at 14:24. Mazzerati hopped in the ring and she slammed Suge D’s face over her knee. The ladies fought again, and Mazzerati pinned JC Storm at 16:38. Mack immediately slammed Mazzeerati and pinned her at 16:57, and we are down to three-on-three. King hit a spinebuster. Jeffrey John hit a springboard cutter and a diving European Uppercut, then a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Kenny King hit a swinging uranage (Rock Bottom) to pin Jeffrey John at 19:07. Sharpe tagged in, but AC Mack hit a Pedigree to pin Sharpe at 20:22, and we’re down to two-on-two. All four brawled in the ring. We had simultaneous rollups for pins at 21:21, with Kenny King and Alpha Zo as the sole survivors for team West Coast. Solid match; the usual problem of rapid-fire pins late in a Surivor Series-style match.
4. Bryan Keith defeated Scorpio at 16:49. I saw Scorpio have two really decent matches last year in GCW; with the right dance partner he can still go. He danced on the way to the ring and got a nice pop, and he has a bit of a gut. (It would now be about 1:10 a.m. California time as they got started). Mat reversals to begin, and Scorpio worked the left arm. Scorpio hit a forward roll legdrop for a nearfall at 6:30, then a back suplex for a nearfall. Keith hit a tornado DDT for a nearfall. Keith hit a basement dropkick on the knee and he began working over Scorpio’s legs, applying a Figure Four leglock.
Keith hit some spin kicks to the chest for a nearfall at 11:30. They got up and traded stiff forearm shots, with Scorpio hitting a hard one that dropped Keith. Keith hopped up and hit a Mafia Kick. Scorpio hit a superkick, then a twisting frogsplash for a nearfall. Scorpio nailed a top-rope moonsault for a believable nearfall at 14:30. Keith pushed the ref into the ropes, causing Scorpio to get crotched in the corner. Keith nailed a second-rope superplex. Keith nailed a flipping stunner for a believable nearfall. Scorpio set up for a powerbomb, but Keith avoided it and got a sunset flip rollup for the clean pin. In a show of respect, Keith tipped his hat at Scorpio, and they shook hands.
5. Myron Reed defeated Man Like Dereiss and Kevin Knight in a three-way to retain the Black Wrestlers Matter Title at 10:02. Knight also was on the Multiverse show with Lio Rush, but his match was much earlier, allowing him to make his way to this venue. (I have no idea how far the two Los Angeles venues are apart.) I have only seen Dereiss once on a British show; he rapped on his way to the ring. Seconds into the mat, Knight hit a plancha to the floor. In the ring, Knight hit a release German suplex, but Dereiss rotated and landed on his feet. Knight hit a Frankensteiner on Myron, sending Reed flying onto Dereiss at 2:30. Nice.
Reed hit a slingshot bodyslam on Knight, then a Flatliner off the ropes for a nearfall at 5:00. Dereiss hit a double Blockbuster and got a nearfall. Myron hit a superkick; Knight hit a superkick; Dereiss hit a stunner; Myron hit a stunner; Knight hit a high dropkick, and they were all down at 7:00. Great sequence. Dereiss hit a dive through the ropes on Reed. Myron hit a dive over the top rope. Dereiss hit a 450 Splash at 9:00, then a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall on Reed. Knight went for a frogsplash, but Myron caught him with a stunner for a visual pin; I think the ref screwed up. Myron hit an Air Raid Crash to score the pin. That was fun.
6. Trish Adora defeated Calvin Tankman in an intergender match to retain the Pan-African Heavyweight Title at 9:34. Tankman wrestled earlier in the day at Bloodsport in a losing effort. Again, this was initially supposed to be Adora vs. Lio Rush. While I’m admittedly not a fan of intergender matches, Trish had a good match just a week or two ago against Kevin Blackwood. That said, Tankman is 350 pounds and maybe twice her weight. Trish attacked to start the match, and they immediately brawled to the floor. Calvin charged at her and hit his shoulder on the ring post. They got in the ring and she hit a Helluva Kick. She set up for a German Suplex but he fought out at 1:30. However, moments later, she hit the German Suplex and got a nearfall.
Tankman nailed a pop-up spinning back fist that dropped her. He hit a bodyslam at 3:00 and was in control. He no-sold some forearms and hit another bodyslam. He hit a splash to the mat for a nearfall. Trish hit a punch to the jaw and he was dazed. She hit a buttsplash to the face in the corner at 5:30, then a Mafia Kick, then a senton for a nearfall. Calvin hit a backbreaker over his knee for a nearfall, a powerbomb, and a roaring elbow to the back of the neck for a believable nearfall at 7:30.
They fought on the ropes in the corner, and she hit a sunset flip powerbomb. Trish hit a ‘Lariat Tubman’ running clothesline, and she applied Cattle Mutilation double armbar, and Tankman tapped out. Entertaining match. Billy Dixon hit the ring and made it clear he wants the next title.
Final Thoughts: I good way to highlight some of the best unsigned Black wrestlers in indy wrestling. While I could point to other guys on the Glory Pro Wrestling roster in St. Louis or the Deadlock Pro roster in the Carolinas who should have been considered, this felt like a good mix.
I liked the three-way for best match. It was fast and everyone looked good, and Dereiss has put on some size in the six or so months since I last saw him. The main event earns second, with Scorpio-Keith earning third. While Scorpio-Keith started a bit slow, with almost no action to describe early on, they picked it up nicely. While I don’t need to see Scorpio try a 450 Splash anymore, I was impressed by his moonsault.