By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “Homecoming, Night 2”
Streamed on FITE.TV
August 20, 2023 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at The Showboat
The crowd is 400-600, which is definitely down from Saturday night’s show. Dave Prazak and Emil Jay provided commentary.
1. Tony Deppen defeated Brayden Toon at 8:09. Toon is the heavyset guy from Alabama’s New South, and I’ve compared his agility for his size to Kevin Owens, and he hit a senton early on. Deppen hit a summersault splash off the ring apron onto Toon on the floor at 1:30. Toon hit an Asai Moonsault to the floor, then a Swanton Bomb in the ring for a nearfall at 5:00. They traded European Uppercuts. Toon hit an enzuigiri in the corner, then a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall at 7:30. Deppen hit a low blow uppercut when the ref was out of position, then a running knee to the back of the head for the cheap pin. Solid opener; Toon continues to impress.
2. Dark Sheik, Effy, Allie Katch, and Sawyer Wreck defeated “The Brat Pack” Marcus Mathers, Starboy Charlie, Brogan Finlay, and Leon Slater at 10:32. Mathers is replacing Billie Starkz, who didn’t make it out of Kentucky (she worked the ROH taping Saturday) in time to make it here. Effy and Mathers opened, and Effy did some of his gay humor. Mathers hit a top-rope crossbody block. Charlie and Allie entered at 2:00, with Starboy hitting a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Sheik and Slater entered and traded quicker offense, with Slater hitting a slingshot senton splash. Brogan tagged in at 3:30, as did Sawyer. Leon and Brogan hit a dropkick on her. Sawyer hit a double chokeslam on them.
Effy hit his Whoopee Cushion buttdrop on Mathers, and his team worked over Marcus. Charlie hit a cartwheel-into-a-Pele Kick on Sheik and got a nearfall at 7:00. Effy hit a double blockbuster. Effy hit a Pedigree on Charlie for a nearfall. Brogan hit a Death Valley Driver on Effy on the ring apron. Slater hit a dive over the turnbuckles to the floor at 9:00. In the ring, Charlie hit his second-rope corkscrew press,
Mathers hit his 450, and Slater hit his Swanton Bomb for a believable nearfall. Effy hit a top-rope legdrop, and Sheik hit a top-rope legdrop. Sawyer chokeslammed Mathers for the pin. This was an entertaining match that met the goals of what you’d expect here. (NOTE: there were some technical issues in the match where the picture kept freezing, but Prazak’s voice wasn’t going in and out.)
3. Maki Itoh defeated B3cca at 9:22. B3cca is the Britney-like pop star, and she has an entourage of men dressed in black and wearing sunglasses. These two just fought in a six-woman scramble in Dreamwave in Chicago two weeks ago, and they are facing each other in MLW soon, too. Itoh started her pre-match mic routine but B3cca attacked her from behind to start the match, and Maki did her fake crying, which is just so hilarious. Itoh hit her Kokeshi falling headbutt.
B3cca hit a running knee to the head as Maki was in the ropes and she took control of the offense. She slammed Maki’s head into the corner at 4:30 but it had no effect on her. Itoh hit a series of punches in the corner and a running face wash. Itoh hit a DDT on the ring apron. B3cca hit a Helluva Kick. Itoh applied a Boston Crab at 6:30. B3cca hit a TKO Stunner for a nearfall at 7:30. Itoh caught B3cca in the corner and slammed her to the mat, but she missed a frogsplash. B3cca hit a Death Valley Driver, but she missed a 450 Splash. Itoh hit a spike DDT, then a second-rope DDT. Itoh applied a modified Sharpshooter, with B3cca’s body twisted, and B3cca tapped out. Good match.
4. Komander defeated Dragon Kid at 12:53. Dragon Kid wrestled Saturday at the NJPW show in Philadelphia, and his mask is similar to Laredo Kid or Dragon Lee. Komander wore black with gold lining; I haven’t seen this gear before. DK hit a head-scissors takedown. Komander hit a dropkick at 1:30, and he tied Kid up on the mat.
Kid took over and hit a basement dropkick in the corner at 4:30, and he applied a Trailer Hitch leglock on the mat, but Komander reached the ropes. Komander walked the tight rope from one corner to the other and hit a springboard flip dive onto Kid at 6:30. That was flawless. In the ring, Komander hit a suplex for a nearfall and he was in charge. Komander tied Kid up in a surfboard move.
Kid fired back with a Stundog Millionaire for a nearfall at 8:30. Kid hit a top-rope huracanrana for a nearfall. Kid hit a mid-ring huracanrana for a nearfall at 11:00. They began trading mid-ring forearm shots. Komander hit a lungblower move for a nearfall, then a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall at 12:30. Komander then nailed his springboard Shooting Star Press for the pin. That was tremendously good; there were so many opportunities for botched or mis-timed spots, but this was really fluid.
* A video aired showing the feud between Blake Christian and Masha Slamovich. This video aired on the Saturday show as well, and it’s really well done. I am baffled that we are doing this mid-show. To me, with only a few exceptions, the top title should go on last. It diminishes the value of the title, but it also feeds my suspicion that Blake retains through some sort of chicanery and trickery.
5. Blake Christian defeated Masha Slamovich to retain the GCW Heavyweight Title at 18:32. She attacked him before the bell and hit some kicks, and Blake rolled to the floor to regroup. She hit a twisting dive through the ropes at 1:00, and they brawled away from ringside. Blake hit a vertical suplex, slamming her into a pillar! They brawled back to ringside as she unloaded a series of punches and stayed on offense. They fought on the ring apron, where Blake hit an inverted DDT at 4:30. In the ring, Masha hit some Kawada Kicks. He dropped her snakeyes in the corner and hit a German Suplex, and he jawed at the fans.
They brawled back to the floor, with Blake now in control. He pushed her under the ring, trapped her head in the beams, and slammed a chair on her head; in the ring he got a nearfall at 7:30. He stomped on the back of her head repeatedly in the corner. He set up for the Stomp to the head, but she moved and she hit a Helluva Kick for a nearfall. Blake hit some short-arm clotheslines and a basement dropkick, then a 619 at 10:00.
Blake missed a 450 Splash. She slammed his head repeatedly on the top turnbuckle. Blake fired back with a handspring-back-stunner for a believable nearfall, and they were both down. Blake got a door from under the ring and he tossed it into the ring. Masha hit a piledriver out of nowhere for a nearfall at 12:30. She hit a spin kick to the head, then she hit an Air Raid Crash through the door in the corner for a nearfall at 14:00.
The ref got bumped in the corner. Blake hit a superkick on Masha. Akira ran into the ring and hit a German Suplex on Blake! However, Akira accidentally hit Masha with the GCW Title! Blake shoved Akira to the floor. Blake nailed his springboard 450 Splash, but we still didn’t have a referee; he got a nearfall but she fired up. He hit a kick to her jaw. Akira grabbed Blakes’s foot! It allowed Masha to jump on her back and apply a sleeper, and they fell backward to the mat.
Blake grabbed the ropes, but she pulled him back to the middle, and it appeared Blake was on the verge of passing out! However, out of nowhere, Steph De Lander pulled the ref to the floor and hit him! She grabbed a chair, got in the ring, and stood toe-to-toe with Masha. Steph swung but she hit Akira! Blake hit the Rollins-style Stomp to the head for the questionable victory. (He technically never cheated! She cheated more than he did! And I question how when he gets fingers on the ropes, she is allowed to pull him to the center of the ring without breaking the hold.)
6. Gringo Loco & Arez & Jack Cartwheel defeated Jimmy Lloyd & “Los Macizos” Ciclope & Miedo Extremo and Alec Price & Cole Radrick & Shane Mercer and Ninja Mack & Dante Leon & Joey Janela in a four-team three-person tag at 11:10. This match really shouldn’t be happening after the heavyweight title match. There is an insane amount of talent in this match. All 12 brawled at the bell. Several guys tossed the tiny Cartwheel up in the air and he went flying before crashing back down to the mat. Arez hit a top-rope moonsault to the floor on 8-10 guys. Loco hit a moonsault to the floor. Cartwheel hit his rolling Death Valley Driver on Lloyd. Lloyd and LM hit a Team 3D on Cartwheel at 3:30. Mack hit a corkscrew press. Radrick hit a springboard stunner. Mercer hit a powerslam. Price hit a top-rope legdrop.
Mack and Cartwheel were suddenly alone in the ring and traded quick offense, then simultaneous Sasuke Special dives to the floor. Nice. Dante hit a top-rope corkscrew splash. Price hit a double Doomsday Blockbuster move, and everyone was down at 6:30. Cartwheel hit another flip dive to the floor on everyone. In the ring, Loco hit a top-rope Spanish Fly on Janela for a nearfall. We had a multi-man submission spot. Price hit a Canadian Destroyer. Mack hit a Canadian Destroyer. Leon hit a Canadian Destroyer. Cartwheel hit a Sasuke Special-into-a-Canadian Destroyer at 10:00. Suddenly, the ref hit a Canadian Destroyer on Janela which got an insane pop! Mercer came up behind the referee, who was suddenly very apologetic. But it allowed Gringo Loco to hit a springboard Canadian Destroyer on Mercer for the pin! That was a blast, and the right mix of silliness with action.
7. Santana Jackson defeated Haley Dylan at 5:36. Dylan is the young redhead who was supposed to face Billie Starkz today; she is in her 20s but still looks like a teen. Santana is the Michael Jackson tribute act, and he moonwalked to the ring. He’s entertaining enough, but I don’t think paying tribute to a known (albeit never convicted) pedophile is really a good idea. He danced along the top rope. She hit a running kneestrike to the head for a nearfall at 2:00. She hit a snap suplex for a nearfall. She hit a stunner out of the corner. He hit a spear at 5:00. He did a moonwalk then hit a DDT for the pin. At least it was mercifully short.
* A nice video package aired showing off Nick Wayne and Jordan Oliver’s title run.
8. Takashi Sasaki and Toru Sugiura defeated “East West Express” Jordan Oliver and Nick Wayne to win the GCW Tag Team Titles at 11:25. Both of the Japanese guys bled heavily in their matches on Saturday and certainly didn’t make a good impression with me, but hopefully this one doesn’t devolve into a hardcore garbage match. The Japanese duo refused to shake hands. Oliver started against the older Sasaki with some basic standing switches. Wayne entered at 3:00 to face the younger Sugiura, with Wayne hitting a huracanrana. Oliver slammed Wayne onto Toru for a nearfall. Oliver collapsed and sold a right knee injury. The ref tried to protect him but the Japanese duo stomped on the knee.
Violento Jack, who was in a hardcore match on Saturday, appeared at ringside. The action stayed quite basic as the Japanese team took turns stomping and twisting the knee. Wayne made the hot tag at 9:30, and he hit a handspring-back-stunner. Sasaki threw a chair at Oliver’s knee and the Japanese team began stomping on them both. Violento Jack hopped in the ring, but he jabbed a chair into Wayne’s stomach, then he hit a a package piledriver on Wayne onto a folded chair!! Sugiura covered the prone Wayne for the pin. New champions! No one saw this coming.
* Nick Gage and John Wayne Murdoch ran into the ring and brawled with Sasaki and Sugiura to the back. Rina Yamashita ran to the ring for the next match!
9. Rina Yamashita defeated Violento Jack in a death match. They brawled at the ringside and took turns whacking each other over the head with light tubes. They got in the ring, and someone has placed glass panes in the corner as they had brawled on the floor. He slammed her into a glass pane and she bled heavily. They took turns hitting each other over the head with light tubes; this is repetitive and gross. She slammed him through a glass pane covered in light tubes for a believable nearfall. Rina wound up getting a rollup for the pin. The amount of glass all over the ring is rather astounding.
* John Wayne Murdoch, Nick Gage, Takashi Sasaki, and Toru Sugiura brawled back into the ring after the match! They haven’t had a chance to clean out the glass. I thought we were going to have a last-second tag title match (like Hogan-Yokozuna at Mania IX.) Instead, Nick Gage challenged the Japanese guys to a two-cage WarGames match! The crowd popped for the idea. The Japanese guys agreed to the match, but then they all fought some more as the show went off the air.
Final Thoughts: A far better show than Saturday’s outing. One death match to end the show is all you need, not a whole series of them. The insane 12-person match was fun and I’ll give that best match. Komander-Dragon Kid earns second best, with Masha-Blake taking third.
I don’t mind the tag title change, as we knew it was coming, sooner than later, with Nick Wayne signing his AEW contract. I don’t pretend to understand why some AEW talent are still able to do multiple indy dates and others aren’t, but there is a clear sense we will be seeing far less Nick Wayne on the indy scene moving forward. All of that said, I didn’t expect this team to win the titles… and the live crowd didn’t either, and they didn’t seem too happy about it. All that said… the match stayed in second gear with a prolonged beat down of Oliver’s knee. Regardless of the fact they lost their titles… it’s my least favorite EWE match in terms of match quality. Just when Nick Wayne got the hot tag to turn the action in their favor, the match just … ended.
As far as Santana Jackson stuff goes … maybe GCW can get a Jeff Epstein tribute act for next time, right? Yes, there is no difference between Michael Jackson and Jeff Epstein, people! Getting people to cheer for a Michael Jackson tribute act in 2023 is sickening. Getting a crowd cheering for a pedophile tribute act … feels slimy. Maybe they can get an OJ Simpson or Bill Cosby tribute act for their next ha-ha match. All GCW shows can be checked out at Fite+.