By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “Clean Up Man”
Streamed on FITE.TV
July 8, 2023 in Hartford, Connecticut at The Webster
This auditorium is absolutely packed with perhaps 500-600 or so fans. Dave Prazak and Emil Jay provided commentary. The lighting was alright, but sound from the in-ring mic was hard to comprehend. There is a stage adjacent to one side of the ring, with three rows of fans seated there. The bulk of the crowd is seated below the hard camera.
1. Alec Price defeated Brogan Finlay, Grim Reefer and Dustin Waller in a four-way at 8:22. Boston native Price got the streamers treatment. Reefer lit a joint at the bell; he tried to pass it around but no one else wanted it. Reefer traded punches with Brogan while smoking the blunt, then Reefer hit a top-rope flip dive to the floor on the other two. Price bounced on the top rope before hitting an armdrag. Waller hit an X-Factor faceplant for a nearfall at 3:00. Brogan hit the Three Amigos suplexes on Waller and got booed.
Waller hit a running Shooting Star Press. Price hit a Dragon Suplex and a running knee in the corner on Waller, then a second-rope legdrop for a nearfall at 6:30. Price hit a dive over the top rope onto two guys on the floor. Waller then hit a dive over the ringpost onto all three opponents. In the ring, Waller hit a Mamba Splash for a nearfall. Reefer hit a piledriver. Price hit a top-rope Blockbuster, then the step-up Mule Kick on Brogan for the pin. That was fast, furious, and fun… no one does scrambles like GCW.
2. Jimmy Lloyd and “Wasted Youth” Marcus Mathers and Dyln McKay defeated “The SAT” Joel, Will, and Jose Maximo (w/the Spot Monkeys) at 10:23. The SAT wore their camouflage gear. Again, the Spot Monkeys wear monkey masks; I like the wry humor. I’ve been watching the Maximos for 20 years and still don’t know which one is which. Marcus started and hit a kick to the head. Dyln got in and hit a tornado DDT at 2:30, and WY hit some quick team moves. A Maximo applied an STF on Mathers. (If Prazak knows which one is which, he isn’t saying, so he isn’t helping!)
McKay hit a springboard missile dropkick at 5:30, then a Shooting Star Press from the apron to the floor. In the ring, McKay hit another Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. The SAT hit a team Trash Compactor piledriver on McKay. The SAT hit a Washing Machine faceplant on Mathers. A Maximo hit a top-rope lariat on McKay at 8:00. The SAT hit a top-rope Spanish Fly on McKay for a nearfall, but his teammates made the save. Mathers hit a Canadian Destroyer. Mathers and Lloyd hit superkicks. McKay hit a Lionsault. Mathers hit a flip dive to the floor at 10:00. Lloyd hit a piledriver on an SAT for the pin! That was really good and nonstop action.
* Effy came to the ring and issued an open challenge. John Wayne Murdoch hit the ring and attacked him, but Prazak pointed out JWM has a match later against Cole Radrick. Right on cue, Radrick jumped in the ring, and our scheduled match is now a three-way!
3. John Wayne Murdoch defeated Effy and Cole Radrick in a three-way at 9:12. Radrick hit a Lionsault Press. Murdoch hit a running boot. Effy and Murdoch went under the ring and pulled out some doors. Radrick hit a dive to the floor at 3:00. They brawled on the floor, with Radrick hitting a running cannonball on Effy, who was seated in a chair. In the ring, Effy hit a double Blockbuster, then a double spear at 5:30. Radrick hit a 619 and a top-rope Swanton Bomb.
Murdoch hit a piledriver on Radrick for a nearfall, and he built a door bridge in the ring. Murdoch hit a Canadian Destroyer on Radrick through the door bridge. However, Effy hit a Fame-asser legdrop on Murdoch for a believable nearfall at 8:30. Effy hit a Helluva Kick on Radrick. Murdoch shoved Effy to the floor, and JWM hit a brainbuster on Radrick onto an open chair for the pin. More fast-paced action.
4. Charles Mason (w/Parrow) defeated Joey Janela at 14:19. Mason wore all-black tonight, not his awful red ‘movie theater usher’ jacket. Janela ripped out Mason’s shirt and chopped him. Mason hit a suplex for a nearfall at 4:00. Parrow choked Janela in the ropes. Mason tied up Janela on the mat and fish-hooked his mouth. Janela hit a Canadian Destroyer at 6:30 and they were both down. Janela hit a hard clothesline and he was fired up, hitting a brainbuster for a nearfall. Mason hit an Air Raid Crash for a believable nearfall at 9:00.
Janela dove through the ropes to the floor on Mason. Janela hit a flip dive off the nearby stage onto Parrow! In the ring, Janela hit a superkick on Mason. Mason hit a running double knees, then a rolling Death Valley Driver for a nearfall, and they were both down. Mason choked Janela. Janela hit a top-rope superplex through a door bridge for a believable nearfall at 12:30. Janela wen to the top rope, but Parrow tripped him. Parrow entered the ring and hit a sit-out powerbomb. Mason slammed Janela face-first on an exposed corner, and Mason immediately hit a tombstone piledriver for the tainted pin. Good energy here.
* Parrow and Mason continued to beat on Janela, until Justin Credible hit the ring to make the save. I truly didn’t recognize him as he now has a sizable gut; Prazak said he was at the merchandise table. Credible used a Singapore Cane on Parrow.
5. Blake Christian defeated Richard Holliday to retain the GCW Championship at 15:53. Holliday, who recently returned to the ring after a bout with cancer, is in really good shape so quickly upon his return. Blake got on the mic; I truly have no idea what he was saying. Blake hit a baseball slide dropkick through the ropes, then a top-rope moonsault to the floor, just seconds into the match. Blake whipped Holliday into the chairs at ringside. They got back into the ring, with Holliday ramming Blake’s head into each corner turnbuckle at 2:00.
Holliday hit a tilt-a-whirl sideslam for a nearfall, and he put Blake in the Torture Rack. Blake leapt off the ropes but Holliday caught him and hit a Black Hole Slam for a nearfall. Blake hit a spear on the ring apron at 4:00. Blake choked him in the ropes and was in charge. He did some crotch chops and was loudly booed. He applied a modified Figure Four, but Holliday reached the ropes at 6:30. Blake hit a Lionsault Press for a nearfall. Blake hit a hard forearm to the base of the neck.
Holliday hit a clothesline and he was fired up. He hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker over his knee, then a second one, then a spinebuster for a nearfall at 9:30. Blake hit a springboard 450 Splash for a nearfall. Holliday hit a top-rope twisting suplex for a nearfall at 12:00, but Blake got a foot on the ropes. Blake clutched his title belt and appeared to be leaving! Holliday grabbed him and brought him back into the ring. Blake accidentally hit the ref with the belt! Holliday teased the idea of hitting Blake with the belt but he stopped. “He wants to do it the right way,” Prazak said.
However, Holliday hit a low blow kick and he hit Blake with the title belt for a believable nearfall at 14:30! Blake hit a low blow uppercut. Blake hit another forearm shot to the back of the neck, then the Rollins-style Stomp to the head to score the pin, while being cocky and holding the belt in the air as he was lying on Holliday. Good match, although I never thought outsider Holliday was winning the belt here.
6. “Los Macizos” Ciclope & Miedo Extremo defeated “Yokai” Janai Kai & Yoya and “Waves & Curls” Jaylen Brandyn & Traevon Jordan in at three-way tag at 7:19. Again, W&C are essentially Private Party or the Street Profits. Janai just returned from a tour in Japan. Yoya is really short, and that was really noticeable today against the taller W&C team. All six fought in the ring at the start, and LM slammed Kai onto her partner Yoya. Brandyn hit a flip dive to the floor onto everyone at 2:30 as Jordan set off a confetti gun. Silliness. In the ring, Jordan chokeslammed Ciclope. Janai hit a uranage at 4:30.
Los Macizos tried a Team 3D-type move on Janai that didn’t quite land and she got clocked in the jaw; she was selling it as she got to her feet. She went under the ring and got a door, and they set up a door bridge in the ring. Ciclope put a chair around Janai’s neck and hit it with another chair at 6:30. Los Macizos then slammed Yoya through the door bridge for the pin. Entertaining mess-of-a-match (in a good way), and Los Macizos has lost a lot in recent months so good to see them get a win here.
* A video package for the tag champs “East West Express” Nick Wayne & Jordan Oliver. Wayne (who as well now know, just graduated high school and will debut on AEW TV on Wednesday after he turns 18 this week.) After a promo a couple weeks ago by Titus Alexander at a West Coast Pro show… I wonder how often Nick Wayne will be wrestling indy shows going forward. So, I feel like any team, even a makeshift team, could knock off the tag champions…
7. “East West Express” Nick Wayne and Jordan Oliver defeated Gringo Loco and Jack Cartwheel to retain the GCW Tag Team Titles at 16:02. The EWE don’t have their title belts, because they were stolen by Amazing Red and Brian XL of New York-based House of Glory Wrestling. Prazak said Wayne literally just landed in the U.S. a few hours ago from a two-week tour of Japan. Oliver and Jack started, with Jack hitting a standing moonsault. (These two were supposed to headline a show in Las Vegas in May but Jack was a last-minute cancelation.) Wayne and Loco entered at 2:00, with Nick hitting a head-scissors takedown. Loco hit an enzuigiri.
The EWE began working over Jack’s right arm. Jordan hit a dropkick for a nearfall at 5:00. Cartwheel hit his Crucifix Driver takedown on Wayne. Loco made the hot tag at 7:00. Oliver hit his reverse Angle Slam, dropping Wayne stomach-first to the mat for a nearfall. Wayne hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread on Loco.Jordan dropkicked Cartwheel in the face, then he hit a stunner and a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 9:30. Wayne hit a Canadian Destroyer on Jack. Loco hit a swinging faceplant on Wayne, and suddenly everyone was down, with the crowd chanting “GCW!”
Wayne and Cartwheel traded forearm shots, and Jack hit an eniguri. Both EWE applied Fujiwara Armbars at 12:00, but their opponents each reached the ropes. EWE set up for double Clout Cutters but it was blocked. Jack hit his slingshot elbowdrop into the ring for a nearfall. Jack hit a rolling Death Valley Driver on Wayne at 14:00, then his Sasake Special dive to the floor on Oliver. Cartwheel hit his top-rope Phoenix Splash elbowdrop on Wayne for a believable nearfall, and we have a “this is awesome!” chant. Wayne got a Victory Roll on Loco for a nearfall. Jack accidentally superkicked Loco. Wayne hit a flip dive to the floor on Loco. The EWE hit the team Clout Cutter on Cartwheel, with Oliver scoring the pin. That was breathtaking fun awesomeness.
* Wayne got on the mic and talked about facing Amazing Red and Brian XL next Friday in an attempt to reclaim their belts. Fans chanted “you deserve it!” at Wayne. He said if they retain their tag titles, he’ll be staying in GCW a little longer. Oliver got on the mic and reiterated that Wayne will be in GCW until they lose their titles.
8. Utami Hayashishita defeated Billie Starkz at 10:33. This match was a last-minute addition. Prazak stressed how unique it is to see a Stardom-contracted wrestler compete in the United States, and this is her first show in the U.S. in four years. Utami came out second and she got the streamer treatment. Billie has the height and overall size advantage. They opened in a knucklelock. Utami hit a shoulder tackle at 2:00. Billie whipped her face-first into a corner, then she hit a Helluva Kick for a nearfall. Utami hit a dropkick. Utami hit a missile dropkick for a nearfall at 4:30, but she couldn’t get Billie up on her shoulders. They traded forearm shots.
Billie hit a German Suplex; Utami popped up and hit her own German Suplex, and they were both down. Billie nailed the Gory Bomb for a nearfall at 6:30. Utami hit a Samoan Drop and a sliding basement clothesine for a nearfall. Billie dove through the ropes onto Utami. Utami nailed a top-rope superplex, but Billie held on, and Starkz hit a neckbreaker over her knee for a nearfall at 8:30. Billie hit a series of kicks. Utami hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. They traded rollups. Billie nailed a Tombstone Piledriver for a believable nearfall. Billie went for the Swanton Bomb, but Utami got her knees up. Utami immediately put Billie on her shoulders and swung her to the mat, hitting a powerbomb, for the pin. That was really, really good stuff.
9. Nick Gage defeated Psycho Clown at 17:41. Both men make their entrances through the crowd, so we got to see how large the crowd was here. They hit shoulder tackles and were both down. They traded back suplexes. They got up and traded forearm shots. Clown went for a dive to the floor, but Gage cut him with a chairshot to the head. Gage hit an unprotected (and unnecessary) chairshot across the head on the floor and they brawled in front of the fans. They went back to the ring; Clown dove through the ropes onto Gage, but Clown hit the floor pretty hard, too.
Clown put a rubber garbage can over Gage, then he hit it with a chair at 7:00. They got back in the ring, where Clown hit a chairshot onto another chair, sending it crashing into Gage’s groin. Clown hit a split-legged moonsault for a nearfall. Clown pulled out a leather strap and he whipped Gage across the back with it. Gage hit a DDT at 10:30, and he hit some running boots, then his Vader Bomb-style elbow drop for a nearfall. Clown hit a powerslam, sending Gage through a door set up in the corner, for a nearfall at 12:30.
Loco set up several open chairs in the ring. However, Gage pulled out a pizza cutter! He ripped open Clown’s mask, so he could use it across the forehead! Gage then hit a piledriver onto the open chairs for a believable nearfall at 15:00, and the fans chanted “this is awesome!” They fought on the top rope, and Clown hip-tossed Gage onto a barbed-wire board in the ring for a believable nearfall. Clown went for a top-rope crossbody block, but Gage caught him, rolled through, and got the fluke pin.
* Gage got on the mic and put over Psycho Clown. Clown got on the mic and indicated he’d love a future rematch.
Final Thoughts: This is GCW at its best. A hot, big crowd, with most of their top stars in action. EWE vs. Loco/Cartwheel was easily best match. Starkz-Utami was really good for second place, and I’ll go wtih Blake-Holliday for a distant third. However, every match felt like it clicked on this night.
The main event was an adequate brawl; even though Gage pulled out the pizza cutter, neither man bled. There was no glass, no light tubes, no staple guns, no cooking skewers. I presume that the location of the show plays a big factor in that though. If this had been in GCW’s locations in Los Angeles, Detroit or Atlantic City, I think this would have looked far different. Geez, I hate to see those unprotected chairshots to the head, though. You can do ‘hardcore violence’ without risking long-term health.