GCW “Into the Light”: Vetter’s review of El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander, Nick Wayne and Jordan Oliver vs. “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry for the GCW Tag Team Titles, Mike Bailey vs. Alex Zayne, Ciclope and Extremo Miedo vs. Matt Cardona and Steph De Lander, Bryan Keith vs. Tony Deppen, Blake Christian vs. Mike Jackson


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

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GCW “Into the Light”
Streamed on FITE.TV
April 21, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia at Center Stage

Dave Prazak, Veda Scott, and John Mosley provided commentary. This is a good-size venue (former home of WCW Saturday Night) and is one of the better-drawing locations that GCW runs; I can’t see the whole crowd but we clearly have several hundred in attendance. One of the things I like about this venue is the fans are far from ringside, allowing wrestlers the room to hit dives and brawl on the floor.

* Unfortunately, Billie Starkz, Allison Danger and Joey Janela are all off the show. Danger and Starkz were slated to face each other. Bryan Keith will now face Tony Deppen instead of Janela; I live Deppen better so I’ll call that an upgrade.

1. Jimmy Lloyd, Terry Yaki, Yoya, and Mr. Danger defeated Caleb Konley, Donnie Primetime, Bobby Flacco, and Hunter Drake in an eight-man tag match at 10:20. Lloyd and Drake opened. I have never seen Mr. Danger; he’s a Black man of average height and size, and he hit a moonsault move on Donnie Primetime. Yaki entered at 2:00 to face Konley; Caleb does not do his effiminant “Kaleb with a K” gimmick anymore. Yoya hit a dive. Primetime hit a top-rope dive onto everyone on the floor. Mr. Danger dove over the ring post onto everyone at 6:00.

Everyone brawled up into the crowd. In an incredible spot, Hunter Drake hit a Spanish Fly from the top of a balcony on two opponents, with all three falling onto the other five guys. In the ring, Yoya hit a brainbuster for a nearfall at 8:30. Konley hit a 450 Splash. Lloyd nailed a Package Piledriver on Konley for a believable nearfall, but Flacco made the save. Yaki hit a second rope DDT. Mr. Danger hit a move the cameras completely missed to pin Flacco. Really bad camera work at the end of the match, but a fun scramble.

Parrow jumped in the ring and attacked Yaki and Mr. Danger. He grabbed Yoya and gave him a powerbomb over the top rope onto everyone on the floor, then a piledriver on Lloyd in the ring. Several officials hopped in the ring and got Parrow to leave. (NOTE: Parrow, who has to be 300+ pounds and the size of a Viking Raider, is facing the diminutive female wrestler Sumie Sakai on Saturday, which is just absurd. That would be like wondering who would win between Braun Strowman and Marko Stunt.)

2. Adam Priest defeated Brogan Finlay at 9:12. I compare Priest to QT Marshall; he’s short with a decent physique, good in the ring and a gatekeeper. Priest immediately tied up the legs. Finlay did his dad’s move, pulling the ring skirt and trapping Priest against the ring at 3:00, and that drew a nice pop. They brawled briefly on the floor. Back in the ring, Priest was in charge. Brogan suplexed Priest into the turnbuckles at 6:00.

Priest nailed a piledriver for a nearfall. Brogan hit a back suplex, and they were both down. They brawled on the ring apron; whatever they wanted to do, it didn’t work. Brogan hit a second-rope elbow drop for a nearfall. Priest hit punch to the inner thigh, then a DDT for the pin. Decent match with just that one awkward spot.

3. Shigehiro Irie defeated Cole Radrick at 12:36. Again, Irie is the big, thick Japanese star on par in size with EVIL and Shingo Takagi, while Radrick is the Gomer Pyle-looking dork that the crowd inexplicably loves. Babyface matchup and they shook hands. Standing switches to open. Irie hit a running crossbody block at 3:00. Radrick dove through the ropes onto Irie, but Irie caught him. Back in the ring, Irie was in control. Radrick tried a sunset flip, but Irie dropped his butt onto Radrick’s chest for a nearfall at 6:00.

They traded mid-ring forearms, with Irie getting the better of them. Radrick hit a clothesline to the back of the neck. Irie hit a diving forearm, and they were both down at 8:00. Irie hit an Abyss-style Black Hole Slam for a nearfall. Radrick hit a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Irie hit a second-rope Superplex, but he dropped Radrick over the top rope. Irie hit a rolling cannonball for a nearfall at 11:00. Radrick hit a springboard stunner, then a Swanton Bomb for a nearfall. Irie hit his rolling cannoball as Radrick was against the ropes, then his decapitating clothesline for the clean pin. Decent match, and the right man won.

4. Tony Deppen defeated Bryan Keith at 14:05. Again, Deppen is replacing Joey Janela here. Intense reversals to start, and they switched to forearm shots at 3:00, and Keith hit a Mafia Kick that had Deppen clutching his nose. They brawled to the floor, where Keith hit a DDT. They traded hard chops. They got on the ring apron and traded forearm shots. Deppen yanked Keith’s arm and dragged him to the ring apron. In the ring, Deppen hit a senton for a nearfall at 6:00.

Deppen was now in control, working over the left knee. They traded more forearm shots and chops. Deppen nailed a jumping knee to the jaw at 9:00. Keith hit a swinging Flatliner for a believable nearfall. Deppen hit an enzuigiri as they fought on the ring apron, and they traded Mafia Kicks. Deppen hit a baseball slide dropkick to the floor; he went to the top rope, but Keith cut him off, with Keith hitting a second-rope Exploder Suplex, and they were both down at 12:00.

They traded more forearm shots, and Keith hit a stunner for a nearfall, then a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Deppen hit a doublestomp to the chest, but Keith kicked out at the one-count and Deppen was shocked! Keith went for his Tiger Driver, but his knee gave out. Deppen immediately nailed a Shining Wizard running knee to the jaw for the pin. That was really, really good.

5. Blake Christian defeated Mike Jackson at 12:43. Jackson is 73 or so now; for me, as talented as Blake Christian is, he shouldn’t be doing matches like this. “There are veterans, and then there are true veterans of this business,” Prazak said as Jackson emerged from the back. Great heat from the crowd before they even locked up. Blake left the ring and went up to promoter Brett Lauderdale at ringside; Prazak speculated he’s upset about the caliber of his opponent, and I agree.

Back in the ring, Jackson shoved Blake to the mat at 2:00. Mike dragged Blake to the mat by his arm, and Blake regrouped in the corner. This is beginning to look like Ric Flair wrestling a broom. Jackson hit some soft shoulder tackles, which Blake sold, then a huracarana and a deep armdrag, and the crowd popped for Mike’s offense. Blake avoided the Old School tightrope walk and he chop-blocked the back of the left knee. Blake began working over the left leg.

Jackson against went for Old School tightrope walk, but Blake tripped him and was loudly booed. Blake applied a Figure Four Leglock at 6:00, and he stomped on the back of the legs. Blake began doing Old School, but Jackson tripped him mid-way between posts, and he crotched Blake and shook the ropes repeatedly. Jackson hit a series of clotheslines, with Blake selling like a pro. Jackson hit a Divorce Court armbreakerat 10:30. Jackson finally did the Old School tightrope walk, drawing a massive pop.

Blake crawled under the ring, and he threw a chair in the ring. As the ref took care of it, Blake hit a low blow uppercut. Blake then nailed the Rollins-style Stomp to the head for the pin. Lots of boos for Blake. I don’t know if Blake needed to cheat to win here; sometimes, the heel needs to win clean against a lesser opponent. Blake is soooo good, he made that really watchable.

6. Mike Bailey defeated Alex Zayne at 17:08. Zayne has scaled back his schedule so far in 2023; the only match I’ve seen him have this year was in a loss to El Hijo Del Vikingo. Bailey turning heel on GCW in their feud with Montreal-based IWC is apparently forgotten by all. They shook hands at the bell, but Zayne was showing some frustration that the crowd is pro-Bailey. Bailey nailed his speedball kicks to the ribs at 2:30. They went to the floor and traded chops in front of the fans. Zayne slammed Bailey head-first into the ring post. Zayne set up for a dive to the floor but stalled, drawing boos.

Bailey nailed a top-rope missile dropkick. Zayne crotched Bailey on the middle rope, with Bailey selling the pain in the groin. Zayne hit a flip dive, over the referee, and crashing onto Bailey on the floor at 5:30. Zayne dropped Bailey back-first on the ring apron and he was in charge. In the ring, they traded forearm shots, and Zayne hit his flipping legdrop on the back of Bailey’s neck for a nearfall at 8:00. Bailey hit an enzuigiri and a series of kicks, then his running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall.

Bailey went for the Tornado Kick, but Zayne blocked it. Bailey nailed a superkick; Zayne nailed a clothesline, and they were both down at 10:30. They traded rollups, and Bailey nailed his Triangle Moonsault to the floor. Bailey missed his moonsault kneedrop on the ring apron. In the ring, Zayne hit an overhead powerbomb, then a Baja Blast swinging faceplant for a nearfall at 12:30. (Veda is hilarious here, explaining that she knows nothing about Zayne’s Taco Bell-named offensive moves.) Zayne hit a snap suplex for a nearfall.

Zayne was frustrated and he shoved the ref, drawing boos. They traded blows as they fought on the ropes, and Bailey got crotched again. Zayne used the ref to hit his jump-up-into-a huracarana. Bailey hit the Green Tea Plunge/mid-ring Spanish Fly. Bailey nailed his moonsault kneedrop at 16:00. Bailey nailed the Tornado Kick, but he missed Ultima Weapon. Bailey nailed another superkick, then the Ultima Weapon for the clean pin. That was tremendous.

7. “East West Express” Nick Wayne and Jordan Oliver defeated “The Workhorsemen” JD Drake and Anthony Henry to retain the GCW Tag Team Titles at 16:15. I’m really looking forward to this one. Oliver and Henry started, then JD entered to face Nick Wayne, and Drake easily shoved him to the mat at 2:30. Wayne hit some spin kicks that JD completely no-sold, and JD dropped the teen with one hard chop, drawing a huge pop. EWE hit some quick offense on Henry, with Oliver dropping Wayne on Henry at 5:00.

EWE hit stereo planchas to the floor. EWE went for more dives, but the WHM cut them off with stiff kicks. In the ring, the WHM worked over Wayne. Oliver made the hot tag at 8:00, but the WHM immediately took control on him, too. Drake hit a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall. Oliver hit a dropkick on Henry, and he finally made the hot tag at 11:30. Wayne hit a stunner and a Code Red on Drake. Wayne hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly on Henry for a nearfall. The EWE hit some quick combo moves on Henry.

JD nailed a Shining Wizard on Wayne for a nearfall at 13:30. The EWE hit stereo flip dives to the floor. In the ring, Oliver hit a German Suplex and a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall. EWE went for a team Clout Cutter, but JD caught them and dropped them. Henry hit a doublestomp on Wayne’s chest for a believable nearfall, but Oliver made the save. Drake missed a top-rope moonsault, and Oliver immediately hit a Clout Cutter. EWE hit simultaneous Clout Cutters on both opponents, then the team Clout Cutter on Drake for the pin. That was really good, although the outcome was never in doubt.

8. Matt Cardona and Steph De Lander defeated “Los Macizos” Ciclope and Extremo Miedo at 13:45. I know I always mention this, but De Lander is much taller than I realized during her short NXT run, and I really like the pairing of her with Cardona. Cardona is dressed like Macho King Randy Savage with the crown and robe. SDL got on the mic and berated the crowd. Cardona got on the mic and did his “All hail the death match king” routine. He said “they are taking over the independents” and added “we should be on Smackdown tonight,” drawing boos.

The match began with Cardona vs. Miedo, but Matt ducked to the floor to stall. Steph checked in and slapped Miedo; he responded with a superkick, and the heels bailed again. They all brawled on the floor. Miedo hit a flip dive from a short stage onto the heels at 6:30. In the ring, Cardona slammed a chair over Ciclope’s head, then on his back. Ciclope backed SDL into a corner, set up for a chop, but forced a kiss on her. Ciclope hit a Shining Wizard on Cardona. Cardona accidentally hit a legdrop on the ref at 11:00.

Ciclope hit a Doomsday clothesline for a visual pinfall, but we had no ref. Steph hit double low blows, and Cardona hit a Hogan legdrop for a believablle nearfall. The heels set up a door bridge in the ring. However, Los Macizos hit a team Flapjack on Cardona through the door. Extremo went under the ring and got some light tubes. However, he accidentally hit Ciclope over the head with them. (Awful sequence here where they rewound and did it again.) Cardona immediately got a rollup for the pin.

Nick Gage came out immediately after the match, and Cardona and Steph ran up the staircase to get away from him. Gage called them “f—in’ pussies” for running away.

9. Dark Sheik and “Bussy” Allie Katch and Effy defeated Gringo Loco, Arez, and Jack Cartwheel at 16:07. Loco is coming off a superb match against Vikingo that aired a day ago on ROH, while Arez competed over the weekend in AAA’s Triple-Mania. Katch and Arez started. Sheik entered at 1:30 to face Cartwheel. Jack did the splits to avoid a kick, and that ticked off Sheik. Loco and Effy squared off at 3:30, with Effy doing some of his gay humor. They are doing some bad comedy and I’m thinking that Blake Christian could have fought anyone on Loco’s team instead of Mike Jackson. Blake hit a running Shooting Star Press on Effy for a nearfall at 6:30, then a delayed vertical suplex.

Loco’s team worked over Effy in their corner. Katch entered and hit her rolling cannonballs on Loco and Cartwheel at 8:30. Jack hit his flying Space Tiger dive to the floor. Loco hit a flip dive over the top rope onto everyone. Sheik hit a Stage Dive off the top rope onto everyone. Back in the ring, Effy and Katch worked over Cartwheel, with Effy hitting his Whoopee Cushion buttdrop to the chest. Sheik hit the splits leg drop for a nearfall. Cartwheel hit a huracarana on Katch. Arez hit a Lionsault on Katch. Loco nailed a top-rope Clout Cutter for a nearfall, but Sheik made the save at 12:00.

Effy got a door from under the ring. Loco popped up Sheik, but Sheik hit a doublestomp on his chest. Effy hit his legdrop on Loco. Cartwheel hit the softest shot with a door I’ve ever seen on Sheik; that was ugly. Cartwheel hit a top-rope Shooting Star Press on Sheik, who was lying on a door bridge, for a believable nearfall. Effy hit a double Blockbuster at 15:00, then a double Fame-asser Legdrop. Sheik hit a top-rope legdrop on Arez for the pin. The more talented team lost here.

* The bottom rope became detached in the final seconds of the match. We went to a nice highlight package for the main event!

10. El Hijo Del Vikingo defeated Komander at 16:21. Obviously, these two have squared off a lot in recent weeks, including on the ROH “Supercard of Honor” just three weeks ago. They hugged before the bell, and the crowd chanted “Lucha Libre!” They traded quick armdrags, and Komander hit a flip dive to the floor at 2:00. Komander hit a springboard frogsplash for a nearfall in the ring, and he applied a Rings of Saturn-type double armbar, but Vikingo reached the ropes. Vikingo did a double-jump off the ropes into an armdrag. Vikingo then hit a corkscrew flpping press to the floor at 5:00, drawing a huge pop.

In the ring, Vikingo hit a top-rope doublestomp for a nearfall. They traded quick reversals and had a standoff at 7:00. Komander nailed a top-rope Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Komander hit a top-rope missile dropkick on Vikingo, who was standing on the apron. Komander then hit a springboard moonsault on Vikingo at 8:30. In the ring, Vikingo hit a top-rope Spanish Fly for a nearfall. Komander hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 10:00. Vikingo hit a springboard Poison Rana; it wasn’t perfect but it worked.

Vikingo went into the crowd and he leapt off the top of a guardrail and hit a Shooting Star Press, going down perhaps 15 feet to the floor. In the ring, Komander hit a Poison Rana for a nearfall at 13:00. They held wrists with their left hand while trading forearm shots with their right arm, and they traded kicks. Double clotheslines dropped both men at 15:00. Komander hit a Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall. He went for his springboard Shooting Star Press, but Vikingo got his knees up. Vikingo hit his running double knees in the corner, then the top-rope 630 Splash for the clean pin. That was really good.

Final Thoughts: This show had four standout matches, and I think fans could put them in any order depending on your tastes. I’ll go with Bailey-Zayne for best match; their match was pretty flawless and it was great to see Zayne back in the ring. The EWE-Workhorsemen was really good, hard-hitting stuff and I’m giving that second place. The main event was really good — not quite at the level of their ROH PPV match — but really good. If I hadn’t seen them lock up so frequently lately, I might have had that higher. An honorable mention to a really good Deppen-Keith match.

I know I said this earlier, but I would have taken Blake vs. Arez or Cartwheel or Gringo Loco instead of a match against a 73-year-old, but Blake still made that match really good. The Cardona/De Lander tag had its share of stalling and didn’t quite might meet my expectations.

This is GCW at nearly its best, with standout matches and some top rising talent. Outside of one brief use of light tubes in the Macizos match, this was pretty much hardcore-free, too; as I can do without the glass panes, pizza cutters, staple guns, etc., that often mar GCW shows.

For the second consecutive weekend, GCW is running back-to-back weekend shows, as they head to Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, featuring Blake Christian vs. Alex Zayne and Blake Jordan vs. Shigehiro Irie. Some of the top talent (Nick Wayne, Mike Bailey, Gringo Loco) on this show are headed to suburban Chicago Saturday for Dreamwave Wrestling, while Cardona and De Lander are headed to AIW in Akron, Ohio.


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