GCW "Find You Again" Review
Time again for another jam-packed weekend of Game Changer Wrestling with "Find You Again" live from Columbus, OH on April 22nd and "The Old Me" live from Detroit, MI on April 23rd. Let's get right to the action...
GCW FIND YOU AGAIN Live from Columbus, OH
NICK FUCKING GAGE KICKS OFF THE SHOW
We open the show in style with The King Nick F'n Gage introducing the show. This is a pretty standard Nick Gage Appearance with Emil Jay doing the iconic announcement and Gage firing up the crowd briefly with an MDK ALL FUCKIN' DAY. I like it, though, it's kind of a perfect way to start a GCW show. I also think it's really telling how many phenomenal shows GCW has run in the past few weeks where Nick Gage hasn't wrestled on the card at all. Nick Gage may be the heart and soul of GCW but it's a very promising sign for GCW that they can put on a good, successful show without a Nick Gage match on the card. Really further proves the incredibly underrated diversity and depth of what GCW brings to the table as a wrestling promotion and this show is no different...
BLAKE CHRISTIAN DEF. DANTE LEON [★★★★½]
We kick off the action with an incredibly fun, exciting match between two of the smoothest, quickest, and most creative high-flyers in wrestling. So many lightning fast exchanges and combo moves and reversals upon reversals, just an incredibly impressive showing by both men, especially Blake Christian, who I've only seen wrestle once before (a terrific match last weekend against Suzuki) and has officially made a fan out of me in that time. The ending of the match was excellent with Blake using a cazadora roll into a standing frog splash followed by a top rope frog splash but Dante just barely kicked out! Dante hit the cutter for a nearfall, the two traded back and forth pinning combination reversals, Dante hit a Tiger Bomb for another nearfall, but then Blake caught Dante in Johnny Gargano's slingshot DDT followed by a double underhook cradle DDT for the win. After the match Blake Christian cuts a great promo about how he could change everything about his presentation but what will never change is what he stands for--"what we stand for," he says, referring to Gargano, "two guys who were told no, two guys who were told they were too small, two guys who were told they would never make it, two guys who proved every motherfucker wrong. You were all heart then, I'm all heart now, and you said if these fans want to see you and me in a GCW ring, to get them to tell you. So ladies and gentlemen, please...please give this man what he wants and chant 'Johnny Fucking Wrestling.'" And the crowd chanted "Johnny Wrestling" as Blake Christian pointed the mic at them.
ALEX COLON DEF. TONY DEPPEN [★★★★★]
Going into this match, I thought it would be a very interesting stylistic matchup that should be fun to watch but what they gave us was so much more. Before the match, Tony Deppen had Emil announce there would be no weapons and this would be a straight up wrestling match which, of course, elicits boos from the crowd. At the start of the match, Deppen was very cocky and in control at first but then Colon was going hold-for-hold with him which threw him off his game a bit. A few minutes in, they did a hilarious spot where Colon started sending chairs into the ring and Deppen immediately threw them out--some of the fans even tried to put them back in and Deppen had to fend them off. Another point in the match saw a terrific back-and-forth apron spot lead to an INSANE through-the-ropes tope con hilo into the fourth fucking row by Deppen!!! Eventually Deppen apparently started feeling out of his depth and decided he would be the one to bring weapons into the match, which is just such simple, beautiful storytelling. The thing I loved most about this match is that it really was just so beautifully choreographed and well-thought-out and it was incredibly impressive. One errant door spot almost ruined it but they played it off beautifully and then a desperation door spot for Colon led to a couple sick combo of moves by Colon for a couple VERY close nearfalls. Deppen eventually was about to put Colon away after a snot-rocket led to a crazy top rope powerbomb into two chairs but when Deppen went for the sliding knee, Colon turned it into a backslide for the win! What a phenomenal match--the storytelling, the pacing and timing, the bonkers action, the drama, everything about it was totally on-point. After the match, Colon called out JWM to come fight him right there and then for "his belt" but JWM didn't respond--because, according to Colon, he's a "b*tch."
NICK WAYNE DEF. ALEX ZAYNE
Putting these two wild men (well, man and boy) in a match together, you knew this was going to be absolutely out of control but the start of the match actually went in a different direction which I really liked. Wayne started the match the way you'd expect, taking Zayne by surprise but Zayne quickly turned the tide and actually slowed the match down quite a bit, which is a very interesting strategy for someone like Zayne. Kinda shows you just what an explosive wrestler Nick Wayne is when Alex Zayne of all people is trying to slow down the match while Wayne tries to quicken the pace when he can. This dynamic plays out beautifully between these two, with Zayne still doing a lot of cool flippy shit but very intentionally maintaining a methodical pace. Wayne finally gets a chance to take control of the pace off a crazy forearm exchange into a poisoned rana and does so with a combo into a code red for a nearfall. From there, the match devolves (evolves?) into what we all expected it to be--a mile-a-minute track meet with so much incredible back and forth . During one of their many wild exchanges, Nick Wayne executes an AMAZING surprise roll-up for the shock pin on Zayne, who holds up the kid's hand post-match. Really liked seeing a different side of Alex Zayne in this match and both guys just going at it was a sight to behold but Nick Wayne was the star here and has an unbelievably bright future, especially once he turns 18 and can start wrestling in AEW. Nick Wayne vs. Dante Martin when?
SECOND GEAR CREW (Mance Warner & Matthew Justice) DEF. BIG STARKZ BRAND (Cole Radrick, Calvin Tankman, & Billie Starkz)
From there we shift gears into a little bit of the hardcore wrestling that has become GCW's M.O. (despite the fact that they're so much more than that). Unfortunately AJ Gray was unable to make it for this match--I was really hoping they would add a replacement (Nick Gage was right there...) and wasn't a huge fan of making it handicapped when you have a woman on the other team but they made it work, starting with a really cool opening of Billie Starks going toe-to-toe with Mance and Matt and getting a good spot to get some shots on them. Weapons are also a great equalizer in a number of different ways and Billie going absolutely buckwild on Matt with a chair was great. This started out being a fun little weapon match, nothing special but entertaining for the most part. Then, a little over halfway through the match, Tankman was looking for a tag but no one was there and he had to fight SGC himself, which was both a very cool moment and also seemed to tease a little bit of possible dissention in BSB (also, later in the match when Starkz and Radrick were setting up a door in the ring, Tankman kept saying "what are you doing?!" so this is definitely something to keep an eye on). Finally, Radrick was able to get a hot tag and absolutely KILLED IT, really showing off his skills and athleticism. A few other great moments in this match: an intense chop battle between Tankman and Mancer; one of the most amazing saves on a nearfall by Justice, who literally threw a door from the outside into the ring and hit Tankman lmao. For the finish, Radrick accidentally crossbodies Tankman (more BSB problems), Mance accidentally chairs Matt, Mancer chokeslams Billie through a door but BILLIE KICKS OUT AT ONE! Such a cool moment, but short-lived as Billie ate a spear from Justice for the SGC victory.
SEVEN-WAY SCRAMBLE--NATE WEBB DEF. JIMMY LLOYD, LUCKY 13, GRINGO LOCO, STEVE SCOTT, ASF, & YOYA
Any time you hear the word "scramble" in GCW you know you're about to get a show and this one was no different. In fact, even though it probably wasn't as wild and crazy as some of the scramble matches of GCW past, I feel like in some important way, this was kinda the ultimate GCW scramble. Everyone in the match got ample time to shine, a couple guys REALLY showed out (Steve Scott had some VERY impressive moments [also wrestling holding his phone was hilarious] as did Yoya and ASF is just flat out an impossible human...ASF vs. Nick Wayne WHEN???), and the timing and pacing was absolutely perfect in a way that even past GCW scrambles never quite reach. And the booking was on point with Nate Webb both getting his FULL "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus entrance complete with crowd sing-along AND winning the match with an epic chairsault to a HUGE pop before being attacked with piano wire by Charles Mason and I honestly can't wait to see where this goes!
BUSSY [c] DEF. LEVI EVERETT & MANDERS (Tag Team Championships)
The thing I really liked the most about this match is that it seems like they're finding or have found a formula that works for Bussy, particularly for their tag title run--underdog champions that take on all comers, do some fun gay shit, and get the tar beaten out of them before finding a way to win somehow. I really like that dynamic and it works great here. The beginning of the match is classic Effy as he asks Manders about his best time in bullriding and then proceeds to RIDE MANDERS ONE SECOND LONGER AS THE CROWD COUNTS ALONG because Effy is a wrestling god. Seconds later, he's stealing Levi Everett's butter church and churning that butter in a very sexy manner and lubing himself up with it. We really don't deserve this man. Also, Levi Everett is cool and the butter churn is fun but man I really dig Manders and his whole vibe. Definitely want to see more of Manders and wouldn't mind seeing the two of them together again soon. The finish was terrific as well with Effy and Allie desperately hitting Everett and Manders repeatedly with chairs and doors to set up Sack Ryder and an Allie Katch piledriver for the win.
ALEX SHELLEY DEF. JORDAN OLIVER [★★★★¾]
In yet another quick shift in gears, the next matchup between indie wrestling legend Alex Shelley and young up-and-comer Jordan Oliver was an absolute clinic of technical wrestling. It's really cool to see the way Alex Shelley--a TNA/Impact X-Division staple back in my day--has adapted his style with age and in the process has really become a much more complete wrestler. (Also, LMAO Shelley's entrance music being played on vinyl is the toxic trait of every one of my friends in my early 20s.) This one was just straight up technical brilliance, back and forth, reversal after reversal--not much else you can say. I didn't love Jordan Oliver kicking out at 1 when there was already a kickout at 1 earlier in the show but everything else was fantasic, including the finish where Oliver kicked out of Shellshocked only to get caught in the Border City Stretch. After the match, Alex Shelley gave an emotional speech about how this match was special because Oliver was trained by his close friend Jimmy Rave, who died tragically last December at the age of 39.
JOHN WAYNE MURDOCH DEF. JOEY JANELA
Admittedly, this was probably the match that hit the least for me. That's not to take away from it at all, it was still entertaining, but I've never really cared for Joey Janela too much, personally. Just never really connected for me for whatever reason. I've enjoyed him a bit more in GCW than AEW but he still doesn't do that much for me. His heel run in GCW has been pretty cool and his match with Dark Sheik in San Francisco was very good so I guess I'm kinda on the fence. It was also my first time seeing John Wayne Murdoch so I was very interested to see him do his thing, especially since I'd heard so much about him. Oddly enough, however--not sure if this is a regional thing or what--the crowd was split and seemed much more in Janela's corner than Murdoch's. And for the most part, this was a really fun, hard-hitting brawl. The two had a nasty chop battle spot that I really enjoyed and I LOVED Janela using thumbtacks from JWM's boot FROM ANOTHER MATCH against him, that's super creative. There was also a great spot where Janela missed a knee HARD into the crowd followed by Murdoch hitting a gnarly crossbody into the crowd. And of course one of the main highlights was Joey taking a jug from someone in the crowd of what looked vaguely like piss and doing the Triple H spit spot, followed up by JWM spitting it in his face later in the match. My biggest complaints are that this match had yet another kickout at 1 which was WAY overdoing it--kickouts at 1 need to be rare or else they lose their impact with the crowd--and maybe this is nitpicking but I don't think anyone should ever no-sell a destroyer. There was also kind of a lot of downtime in this match for setting up cool spots but the high spot by Janela was pretty killer and the suplex into the chair by JWM was gnarly and I liked the wild finish with JWM hitting a top rope destroyer through a door for the win. The best part of all of this was post-match when JWM called Colon out for asking for a match when he knew JWM had to prepare for Joey Janela, but now that he'd kicked Joey's ass, he was ready to get it on--and IMMEDIATELY Colon runs out with a chair fucks him up which brings out wrestlers and officials to pull them apart as they keep breaking free and attacking each other. I don't know if Colon's match with AJ Gray Saturday night is a title match but I would LOVE to see them set up the JWM/Colon rematch to be title vs. title, Ultra-Violent vs. Extreme.