By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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GCW “Fight Club 2023 – The Art of War Games night two”
Streamed on FITE+
October 8, 2023 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at The Showboat
This is the second consecutive day in this venue. Attendance is maybe 350; definitely about half or so of what they drew on Saturday for the two-ring “War Games” match. Dave Prazak and Nick Knowledge provided commentary.
1. Masha Slamovich defeated Jack Cartwheel at 11:37. These two were in a four-way match a night ago, so a bit of a rematch. Masha appears to be a bit taller but I think he has the weight advantage. Masha, Jack and the referee all did cartwheels for some silliness before the action began. She jumped on his back and tried to choke him out. Basic reversals early and Masha avoided his big moves. She hit a German Suplex at 5:00. Jack hit a slingshot Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. She nailed a spinning kick to the jaw for a nearfall. Masha hit a Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall.
Masha hit a Trash Compactor piledriver along her back for a nearfall at 8:00. She again tried to choke him out, but he shrugged her off, then he hit a Death Valley Driver. He did a cartwheel-into-a-back elbow in the corner. Masha did a cartwheel into a splash in the corner. Jack nailed his Crucifix Driver at 10:00. He started to do a cartwheel but she caught him upside down and hit a piledriver for a nearfall! Nice move. He hit a series of European Uppercuts. Jack hit a standing neckbreaker, but he missed a top-rope Phoenix Splash. Masha immediately hit a second piledriver for the pin. Good match.
2. Tony Deppen defeated Shane Mercer at 12:21. Mercer is the muscular beast I always compare to Brian Cage because he has strength but can keep up with the faster indy stars. The crowd chanted “over here!” because they want Mercer to toss Deppen into their section. FUNNY. They traded some quick mat holds and Deppen bailed to the floor to regroup. In the ring, Deppen avoided some power moves and he slapped Mercer in the face, which ticked Shane off. Deppen snapped the left arm over the top rope at 3:30 and he immediately stomped on the elbow and worked the limb over. Mercer nailed a delayed vertical suplex, then a gorilla press at 6:00, and he dropped Deppen to the mat. Mercer hit a fallaway slam for a nearfall.
Deppen trapped the head in the corner and hit a kneestrike, then a powerbomb, then a diving forearm to the back of the head for a nearfall at 7:30. Mercer hit a Jeff Cobb-like swinging powerslam. (Knowledge agreed, calling it a “Tour of the Boardwalk.” Funny.) Deppen hit a modified uranage on the ring apron. Mercer nailed a release suplex for a nearfall at 9:30. They fought on the ropes in the corner, and Deppen hit a top-rope doublestomp on the back, then a running double knees in the corner for a nearfall. Mercer suplexed Deppen into the corner, then he hit a running back elbow. Mercer got him up and nailed the Moonsault and Battery/second-rope fallaway slam at 12:00! Deppen pulled the ref on top of him, then he hit a low blow kick on Mercer. Tony hit a running kneestrike to the back of the head for the tainted pin. Good match.
3. “Bussy” Effy, Allie Katch, and Rina Yamashita defeated Blake Christian, Charles Mason, and Parrow at 15:23. Well,.. we started two-on-two of Bussy vs. Mason and Blake, anyway. Mason wore a jacket and button-down shirt. A day ago, Charles paid off a ref. He handed money to this ref, who took it and tore it up, showing he ‘can’t be bought.’ Blake and Effy opened and they did some gay humor, then they traded punches. Mason and Allie tagged in at 2:00. Bussy dropped Blake’s head in Mason’s groin for more gay humor. Effy hit a double Whoopee Cushion buttdrop on both heels at 4:30.
Parrow got involved and it appeared they were going to put a plastic bag over Allie’s head. Out of the back came Rina Yamashita for the save! She hit some kicks on Charles, and this is suddenly now a six-person tag! The heels began working over Allie’s arm. Mason lifted Allie off the ground and choked her. She finally hit an enzuigiri on Blake at 10:30, but Mason cut her off from making a tag. Effy finally made the tag and hit a top-rope double Blockbuster. He hit some Helluva Kicks. Parrow nailed a chokeslam on Effy. Blake nailed a leaping crossbody block on Effy, and Mason hit a rolling Death Valley Driver, as the heels worked Effy over.
Rina hit a Trash Compactor piledriver on Blake; Mason hit a piledriver on Rina. Mason hit a Tombstone piledriver on Katch. The heels got the plastic bag again, but Rina got a chair and hit the heels with it. Blake headed to the back! He’s abandoning his partners! Effy hit a Helluva Kick in the corner on Parrow. Effy nailed a top-rope Doomsday leg lariat, and all three faces climbed on Parrow to pin him. Okay match; the realy story is that Blake left his teammates behind.
4. Violento Jack, Takashi Sasake, and Toru Sugiura defeated Jimmy Lloyd, Sawyer Wreck, and Joey Janela in a death match at 11:22. Barbed-wire weapons were brought to the ring. Violento Jack slammed Lloyd onto a barbed-wire board. One of the Freedoms guys slammed Janela onto Lloyd, who was sandwiched between two barbed-wire boards, to score the pin. John Wayne Murdoch, Ciclope and Miedo Extremo hit the ring to confront the Freedoms guys, as they will be fighting them this week in Japan. Frankly, I’m surprised Ciclope can walk (and isn’t in the hospital!) after the way he was tossed off a scaffolding on Saturday.
5. “East West Express” Nick Wayne and Jordan Oliver defeated Alec Price and Cole Radrick at 18:59. Wayne was at AEW in Utah the prior night, and this could be his last teaming with Oliver; we really don’t know how often he will be able to do indy dates now that his AEW contract has kicked in. Three of the best on the indy scene, plus Cole Radrick, in this match. Price and Oliver opened with a feeling out process. Radrick and Wayne entered at 2:00. Wayne backed Price into a corner and hit some chops and the EWE worked over Price’s left arm. Radrick hit a back suplex on Oliver at 6:00 but only got a one-count, and they began working over Oliver. Price hit a legdrop for a nearfall. Wayne got the hot tag and hit a Sliced Bread for a nearfall on Radrick at 9:00.
The EWE hit some quick team offense, and Oliver slammed Wayne onto Radrick. They set up for a team Clout Cutter, but Price blocked it. Radrick hit a springboard stunner, then a Swanton Bomb for a nearfall at 11:00. Price hit a doublestomp on Wayne’s chest as Nick was tied in the Tree of Woe, and suddenly everyone was down at 12:30. Oliver and Radrick traded stiff chops and forearms, and Oliver nailed an enzuigiri. Meanwhile, Wayne and Price fought on the ring apron, where Price nailed a half-nelson suplex! In the ring, Oliver hit the mid-ring Acid Kick. Radrick hit a 619. Price hit a doublestomp on Oliver’s chest, then a dive to the floor on Wayne. In the ring, Radrick hit a Pedigree on Oliver for a nearfall at 15:30.
All four fought in the ring and the referee has lost all control. Price nailed a superkick on Oliver. Oliver hit the Cleopatra stunner. Oliver hit a huracanrana on Price. The EWE hit a team faceplant slam on Price for a nearfall, but Radrick made the save at 18:00. The EWE hti team superkicks on Radrick, then the team Clout Cutter on Price for the pin. A very good match; these four clearly know each other really well and this was a smooth tag match.
* The crowd chanted “Thank you Nick!” Oliver and Wayne hugged in the ring as the fans changed to chanting “Please come back!” If this is Wayne’s final GCW match, he went out on top. The crowd chanted “Nick f’n Wayne!” He bowed down on the mat and touched his forehead on it and shook hands with fans.
6. Masashi Takeda defeated Mance Warner in a death match at 13:25. Multiple boards were set in the corners of the ring. Takeda brought scissors with him to the ring. There was glass everywhere and Mance bled heavily from his forehead. Takeda set a board on fire, and he hit an inverted brainbuster through the board for the pin. (The fire went out immediately as the shards hit the ring.)
7. Jun Kasai defeated Matt Tremont in a death match at 16:29. Kasai carried a bundle of light tubes to the ring and the crowd was thrilled to see this death match king in person. There are light tubes taped to the ropes all the way around the ring. I write this all the time, but Tremont is looking more and more like Big Van Vader. Both bled heavily. Kasai hit a frogsplash off the top of a ladder onto light tubes on Tremont’s chest for a believable nearfall. Kasai planted skewers in Tremont’s head, hit a second frogsplash off the top of the ladder, and scored the pin.
Final Thoughts: Three hardcore matches is at least two too many. I will stress that the fans there live LOVED what they saw, it’s just for me. Way too violent and bloody and I admittedly fast-forwarded a lot through them. Again, if you love this style you’ll probably love what was presented here. But, I’ll go with EWE vs. Price and Radrick for best match. It’s what I wanted to see, and if it was Wayne’s final GCW match, he will be happy with it. Deppen-Mercer was strong for second place; I really don’t know how Mercer isn’t headlining for promotions. I would build my indy around him, and I’m the guy who prefers the smaller high-flyers! Masha-Cartwheel, despite my general distaste for intergender matches, earns third place.
GCW is in Japan this week for a pair of shows, but those events look likely to have a lot of violent death matches.