Venue: White Eagle Hall in Jersey City
Submitted by: Cory RabieaThe returning Joey Janela vs The returning Marko Stunt – the crowd was white hot for this. An excellent opener to the show with Marko getting the win over Janela. There was a nasty bump on the apron that caused Marko to bleed before they finished the match. He is a small man and I fear for his safety.
Tony Deppen vs Random Fan Dustin – straight out of the lost in NY handbook, resident GCW heel Tony Deppen wanted to challenge a random audience member to a match. Who accepted his challenge was Dustin Thomas, a double leg amputee, who proceeded to have an incredibly exciting match with Deppen. Dustin was able to put on a great offense, including tornado DDTs, and 619s. In the end, Tony (who also held up his end incredibly well) put him away – but in the end, Dustin is the real winner. I can only hope this leads to him getting bookings in the future.
A-Kid, Jake Atlas, Australian Suicide, Slim J, Shane Mercer, and surprise addition: Jungle Boy – a spotfest spectacle. I can’t cover everything but the easy highlights were Shane Mercer, who employed incredible feats of strength, and Jake Atlas, whose high flying had a little extra flair to it. I think Slim J got hurt, as he wasn’t involved in the post-match, and wasn’t seen.
Nick Gage vs Shinjiro Otani
I am a regular GCW show attendee. I have seen Nick Gage more times than I can count. I have never seen Nick Gage wrestle this kind of match before; that being a legit, hard-hitting, chain grappling wrestling match with one of the unsung heroes of NJPWs juniors division.
I don’t want to necessarily say that Otani turned back the clock, but I will say he was acting like it was the mid-90s, and he was definitely tired of all of this gimmicky crap. The highlight was easily Otani doing his foot scrapes onto Gage, with the crowd eating up every second of it, as Otani milked the audience for the reaction.
I’m so glad Nick got to wrestle his favorite wrestler. He seemed genuinely overjoyed after the match.
Invisible Man vs Invisible Stan
Who else could ref this match but Bryce Remsburg? The fact that he has not been on Comedy Bang Bang or the like is honestly baffling to me.
In any case, the audience was all over this match, which included a door spot, a balcony dive and dirty underhanded tactics on behalf of Stan (the heel, in this case)
If I had any criticism, is that the audience didn’t realize that Kikutaro was supposed to be playing a heel, and got the dynamics screwed up a couple of times. Still, I can say that I’ve seen invisible people wrestle and that’s definitely a thing I can say happened.
TAKA Michinoku vs Orange Cassidy
A great comedy match, with Taka really selling for Cassidy’s incredibly apathetic offense. They told a great story, involving Taka trying to get Cassidy’s hands out of his pockets, before going into a light sequence of Michinoku Pro style high flying, before Taka put Cassidy away with the Michinoku Driver. Really fun, and you can tell Cassidy was happy to be wrestling Taka by the smile on his face.
Ethan Page battles for his soul.
Virgil came out dressed up like Star Man from Pro Wrestling for the NES. He beat him. Joey owns Ethan Page’s soul now. I laughed.
Masashi Takeda vs Jimmy Lloyd
The greatest trick Joey Janela ever pulled was having average “savvy” wrestling fans pay money to have a show be main evented by a true blue deathmatch.
Bias up front – I love deathmatches. I flew out to Chicago from Long Island to see Takeda wrestle Alex Colon in a random strip mall flea market in the outskirts of Chicago. Takeda is a modern-day legend. In 10 years he will be talked about in the same breath as Jun Kasai and Ryuji Ito.
Jimmy has had a long build to this moment. He’s had his share of matches in GCW of all varieties: spotfests with Deppen, multi-man deathmatches; but this was easily his highest profile match.
The closest point of comparison I could make to this match was to the aforementioned Takeda/Colon match from last September’s Nick Gage Invitational; a deathmatch sprint with an emphasis on spectacles of violence in quick succession. While I don’t think this was on that matches level, I do think Lloyd really came into his own and put on the match of his career. Takeda looked like an absolute madman, breaking light tubes over his head and performing sentons onto Lloyd with scissor boards.
For me, this was the perfect main event. Three times a year, GCW is a funhouse promotion showcasing off-kilter matchups that pique people’s interest. For the rest of the year though, they are the premier deathmatch promotion, and this main event really showcased that. What better person to show the spectacle of deathmatch wrestling than the best person in the game right now, and one of the prodigal sons of the medium? I really think that this match did convert some people. An absolute must watch from me. It’s truly a crystallization of what 2019 wrestling has to offer.