GCW rSpring Break
By Thomas Hall on 22nd September 2021
Date: April 9, 2021
Location: Cuban Club, Tampa, Florida
Commentators: Emil Jay, Kevin Gill
This is arguably the indy weekend main event and the show is hit and miss to say the least. You never know what you are going to see at something like this and that could go multiple ways. I’ve had a good time at these things before, but those were all the Joey Janela versions. Janela is on the card, but his name is no longer on the show. Let’s get to it.
No entrances or anything, as tends to be the case with a show like this.
Dave Penzer is ring announcer. Well that’s an upgrade.
Starboy Charlie vs. Billie Starkz
Charlie just turned 18 and is billed at 145lbs, which commentary says is AFTER he put some size on. Tony Deppen joins commentary because he worked with both of them before and wanted to see the match. Fair enough reason. In your “that’s not normal” stat, Gill says that Billie is closer in age to his four and a half month old son that she is to Gill himself. Feeling out process to start and they go to the mat for the technical off.
Charlie works on a hammerlock but gets leveraged outside without much effort. Back in and Charlie can’t get a Sharpshooter so Billie kicks him in the head. They trade some rollups for two each until Charlie snaps off an armdrag to take over. A dropkick into a standing shooting star press (Deppen: “If I did that, I’d throw my back out.”) gets two on Billie, who blocks the third Amigo.
Billie rolls some German suplexes, giving us the now ultra rare Chris Benoit name drop. Back up and Charlie gets sent into the corner for a kick to the face and an Ocean Cycle suplex (electric chair dropped backwards into something close to a German suplex) gets two. The eternally teased German suplex off the apron continues to be teased but Charlie takes her down in the corner.
The running corkscrew moonsault gets two and Charlie sends her flying with a t-bone suplex. They trade shots to the face for a double knockdown and a breather. Back up again and Charlie suplexes her into the Tree of Woe, setting up the running boot. Billie gets her knees up to block a 450, only to miss a Swanton. They glare at each other a bit until Charlie snaps off a Michinoku Driver (dropping Billie on her head) for the pin at 9:56.
Rating: C. This was action packed but a VERY indy style match. You could feel that they were trying to figure out where to go next after each spot because it didn’t have much of a flow. It was certainly entertaining, but these two need a lot more seasoning (fair enough given their age). That being said, opening a show like this is a good thing for them as the more ring time they get is going to help them out.
Post match 44OH (Bobby Beverly/Eric Ryan) come in for the double beatdown. That means we need a save, and probably a tag match.
44OH vs. Ironbeast
Ironbeast is KTB/Shane Mercer and this feels like a hoss fight. Mercer picks both of them up to start and KTB comes off the top with a high crossbody for the big crash. KTB feeds Beverly back inside for a powerbomb (over the ropes) to plant him down hard. That’s not enough as Only is put on KTB’s shoulders so Mercer can superplex him into the middle. It’s time for the doors but KTB takes too long and gets knocked outside.
Back in and Mercer gets double teamed with forearms to the back and kicks to the face. A tiger driver gets two on KTB but Mercer breaks up the drive through the table. Beverly Cannonballs Mercer against (not through) the table but KTB sends Only through the table without much effort. KTB hits a big dive to take Beverly out on the floor, leaving Mercer to take Only up.
That means a super gorilla press, dropped into a super flipping World’s Strongest Slam (good freaking grief). That’s not it either as KTB adds a powerbomb before throwing Only into a bridging German suplex to give Mercer (ignore his shoulders being down too) for the pin at 6:49.
Rating: C+. Nearly total destruction here, with 44OH (modern names can be really dumb) only getting in a little bit in the middle. Ironbeast is great for a team at this level, as they can do all of their crazy athletic power stuff without giving up much of anything. This was fun and completely different from the opener, which is what you expect on a show like this one.
Penzer says he’s old so Emil Jay can handle the rest of the announcing. Well that’s a downgrade.
Arez/Gringo Loco/Black Taurus vs. Aramis/Dragon Bane/Laredo Kid
Lucha rules of course and yeah I’m going to get lost in a hurry. The latter team comes out to Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz so they can’t be all bad (or they might not be bad at all). Loco drives Laredo into the corner to start and takes him down with a test of strength. Commentary talks about how this could be similar to what used to happen on Monday Nitro as a great introduction to lucha libre. If you’re watching GCW Spring Break, you know lucha libre and probably most of these people.
Loco cartwheels his way out of a headscissors and we get a staredown. A front flip lets Loco flip off his opponents and everyone comes in for the big staredown. Aramis and company snap off a bunch of headscissors to the floor with Arez getting knocked onto Taurus’ shoulders. That’s fine with Kid and Aramais, who hit stereo suicide dives for the double knockdowns.
Back in and a triple 450 has the villains (I think?) in more trouble but Arez scores with three straight tilt-a-whirl backbreakers. Aramis is fine enough to drop Arez onto the turnbuckle but Loco and Taurus are back in to take over with the triple teaming. Kid’s crazy high springboard is speared out of the air and Loco adds a heck of a moonsault for two. Bane’s save doesn’t work either and the triple stomping ensues.
Somehow he’s fine enough to kick Loco in the head and grab a spinning DDT on Taurus for a breather. Taurus isn’t having that and clotheslines a bunch of people but Bane and Aramais save Kid from something on top. That’s fine for the good guys, who hit a crazy stereo triple dive from the top to the floor. Back in and Aramis chops it out with Arez until Bane hits a brainbuster onto the knee.
Taurus kicks Bane in the head and drops him with a torture rack backbreaker, leaving Loco to hit a super Falcon Arrow to plant Aramis. Kid hits back to back moonsaults on Loco but Arez makes the save. A belly to back backbreaker gets two on Kid and it’s a double Old School, until Kid snaps off a springboard hurricanrana to drop Arez because of course they can do that. Loco walks the ropes for a flying cutter, leaving Aramis to hit a poisonrana on Taurus.
Since they haven’t gone insane enough, Loco puts Aramis on his shoulders with Kid on Aramis’ shoulders for a super cutter from Arez, because DANG. Taurus plants Aramis with a pop up Samoan drop and another one plants Bane. Aramis is back up with a very, very, very long spinning torture rack to Bane, which lasts so long that Kid can beat up Loco and go up top for a moonsault frog splash onto Arez and Bane can hit a springboard corkscrew dive onto Taurus. After THIRTY EIGHT SECONDS of spinning, Armais powerbombs Arez for the pin at 13:46.
Rating: B. Yep, what else are you expecting here? These matches are not designed to be anything more than a crazy exchange of spots coming one after another. There is no way to call something like this other than just listing stuff because these matches are not supposed to have any kind of a story. I had a blast with this though as I kept saying “sure why not” because people shouldn’t be able to do this kind of stuff. Awesome fun.
Post match the money is thrown into the ring to keep with tradition.
Joey Janela has sent Jordan Oliver a creepy Lio Rush tape. Then someone slips a note under Oliver’s door with the date of this show written on it.
Jordan Oliver vs. Lio Rush
Oliver is still called Big Breakfast and I still don’t know why. Rush has a very over the top entrance, with some kind of a contortionist moving around a lot to a rather slow song. Then Rush staggers out to what sounds like a rap he is performing himself and is called the Blackheart. The (few) fans are split before the bell and commentary talks about how they’re scared of this version of Rush.
They stare each other down for over a minute before Oliver kicks him out to the floor. Oliver’s suicide cutter drops Rush hard and we need a breather as they both have to get back up. A standing choke doesn’t get Oliver very far as Rush hits him in the face again. Oliver puts him in a chair and gets a running start around the ring, which takes far too long and lets Rush nail a jumping knee to the face. To mix things up, Rush puts him in the chair and hits his own running dive, which actually connects.
Back in and Rush hammers away, including a boot to the face in the corner. An ax kick gives Rush two so let’s bring in a door (which commentary thinks might be FORBIDDEN). Hold on though as Rush needs to stop and yell at a fan, allowing Oliver to strike away. Some kicks to the head rock Oliver but he’s fine enough to suplex Rush hard through the door for two.
It’s time for another door but Oliver takes too long and gets caught with rolling German suplexes. An overhead belly to belly sends Oliver through the door for a slightly delayed two as commentary doesn’t exactly get emotional with these near falls. Back up and the standing C4 cuts off Oliver’s comeback attempt as commentary hypes up Oliver being undefeated in GCW this year.
A superplex to the floor is broken up and a double knockdown puts them outside at the same time. Back in and they go with the big slugout, with commentary bringing up Karate Fighters. Oliver’s tiger driver gets two and a running kick to the face is good for the same. With Rush down, it’s time for more furniture, this time in the form of doors and chairs. Two of the doors are laid over a quartet of chairs at ringside but Rush stares at Oliver to….I guess possess him?
Either way, Oliver forearms him for two with Rush bridging up for the kickout. Rush is right back with some more rolling German suplexes but Oliver rolls through the last one and grabs a German suplex of his own. Oliver sends him to the apron, where Rush (barely) muscles him over for the Falcon Arrow outside through the doors. Back in and Rush takes WAY too long to set up a frog splash (Oliver was half sitting up) and dives into a cutter.
A springboard cutter gets a very close two on Rush and we get the big shocked face. Another cutter (without much impact) drops Rush onto the apron and they’re both down on the floor again. That’s only good for two back inside with Rush bridging up for the kickout again. Oliver loads up a super cutter but gets shoved off, allowing Rush to nail the frog splash. Something close to a Gargano Escape makes Oliver tap at 22:24.
Rating: B-. This was a very indy style big match, with the tables and a bunch of different versions of the same move. Rush is a bigger star, but Oliver has gotten a lot out of this whole weekend. Given that this loss makes him 3-1 on the day, it is pretty clear that he is putting in the ring time to get a good deal of experience. He is a long way from being signed by a big promotion, but this kind of match will get him some needed notice.
Atticus Cougar (great name, though apparently it is pronounced “Co-Gar”) talks about being a Masada fan since he was a kid and now he’s facing Masada in a death (erg) match. This match has been one of his top priorities and now it is time to prove himself. At some point, Cougar used Masada’s signature skewers on Masada’s head, which seems to be an act of war.
Atticus Cougar vs. Masada
Death match with commentary promising a lot of violence. There are weapons, including barbed wire, all around the ring to start. The brawl is on to start with Masada sending Cougar into a skewer board in the corner. Masada finds a piece of a broken door but Cougar kicks him in the face to break it up. A suicide dive is countered into a belly to back drop onto the apron and Masda doors him. Part of the door is raked over Cougar’s head but he is right back with some kendo stick shots.
Masada is back with a bed of toothpicks, which he puts on Cougar’s back and pounds it in. Said board is raked over Cougar’s head to draw the blood and then pulls some toothpicks out of his back. Something that looks like a kendo stick to the head knocks Cougar down again and it’s time for the skewers to the head. Cougar manages to dropkick him into a skewer covered board in the corner, some of which are then pounded into Masada’s head.
They fight outside where Masada can’t hit a powerbomb so Cougar gets in a shot to the face. Back in and the door is set onto two chairs, but first Cougar stabs him in the shoulder with the skewers. Masada is back with some mini skewers into Cougar’s head (where they stick) and now the powerbomb through the door gets two. The skewers go into Cougar’s mouth for another stomping and that means it’s time for a breather (and skewer removal) on the floor. A few fans try an ULTRAVIOLENCE chant as both guys stand around for a bit.
Back in and Masada grabs a powerbomb into the STF but Cougar uses a piece of wood to the hand to break it up. Cougar’s top rope double stomp gives him his own two so he puts Masada on a chair. It takes too long for him to go up top though and Masada is right there, only to get caught with a super headlock driver onto a chair. Say it with me: for two.
Cougar whips out a board with a gusset plate attached but Masada takes it away and hits him in the arm. A Death Valley Driver gets two and Masada drives said plate into the arm. Cougar hits him low and puts more skewers into the head, setting up the headlock driver to drive the skewers even further in, again, for two. A low superkick sets up a third headlock driver to finally finish Masada at 18:40.
Rating: D-. Somehow, this featured more wrestling than usual in these matches, though that didn’t exactly make it better. This was more mindless carnage and violence with all of the blood they could manage, but they used the skewers so it was awesome (allegedly). As usual, they weren’t exactly building to anything here and kept repeating the same weapons over and over. Yeah they used skewers earlier, but now they’re using them AGAIN! More nonsense and thankfully we get to move on.
Rich Swann vs. Lee Moriarty
Ok this could be good. Swann’s entrance has the fans dancing for a cool visual, with commentary talking about how wrestling brings people together and Twitter tears them apart. I guess we’re to ignore him asking fans to get the show trending on Twitter before the match. Moriarty comes in with taped up ribs and they go technical to start, including an exchange of armdrags.
Both of them try dropkicks at the same time and it’s an early standoff. They trade some flips until Swann hits the dropkick to take over for the first time. An armbar brings Moriarty back to his feet and he grabs a Codebreaker onto the arm. Swann needs a breather on the floor so Moriarty goes after him to sent the arm into various things. Back in and the arm is sent into the corner as commentary talks about the (pretty good) For The Culture show late last night.
Swann grabs a neckbreaker for a breather and the rolling splash gets two. Moriarty is right back on the arm and snaps off a heck of a DDT for two of his own. A double underhook tiger driver drops Swann again but he’s back up with a one armed handspring cutter for a very near fall. The frog splash gets two more so it’s time for the big slugout.
An exchange of kicks to the head puts both of them down and the fans are pleased. They go to a pinfall reversal sequence for multiple two’s each until Moriarty grabs a Fujiwara armbar. That’s broken up as well so Moriarty keeps hold of the arm and nails a lariat for another two. Moriarty takes him up top, where Swann bites the bad ribs (that’s a new one) to take him back down. The 450 finishes for Swann at 12:14.
Rating: B-. Oh sure, these two can only get twelve minutes while a fight over skewers to the head gets nearly twenty. Swann winning is completely fine, though Moriarty continues to be one of the real stars of the weekend. He is going to get a good chance somewhere in the future and matches like this one are only going to make it happen faster.
Chris Dickinson talks about how Joey Janela has been living off of his reputation for years now. He isn’t going to stand for Janela turning wrestling into a circus and now it is time to knock some sense into Janela. The snake’s head is coming off and Janela better come ready to go. Dickinson loves him though.
Chris Dickinson vs. Joey Janela
Janela is in Bam Bam Bigelow inspired gear and they go straight at it with the slugout. Dickinson grabs a powerbomb and then throws in a second to make it worse. Commentary recaps the feud here: they were stablemates and Janela agreed to put up the naming rights for the show for a World Title shot, where Dickinson turned on him, presumably for being too goofy. I’ve heard worse ideas. Dickinson throws in a door, which he breaks in some smaller pieces to go after Janela’s head.
With Janela busted open, Dickinson drives the wood into his head even more, as a proper monster should. The rest of the door goes onto Janela’s head and a running basement dropkick drives the door into him again. A half nelson suplex plants Janela for two so Dickinson takes him up top. It’s desperation time though and Janela grabs a top rope superplex for the much needed breather. Janela stomps away in the corner but Dickinson is back with some hard rolling German suplexes.
Somehow Janela pops back up with a roaring elbow for two of his own, setting up a broken door over the head. Dickinson suplexes him down again as commentary talks about Dickinson getting annoyed at putting in the effort while Janela gets everything handed to him. Dickinson heads outside and asks for a chair so the fans throw in a few dozen, with commentary being VERY against this, as they should be.
A chair to the head in the corner rocks Janela but he comes back with a superkick and DDT (yep, it’s an indy match). Dickinson clotheslines the heck out of him and they’re both down for a double breather. They head up top again, with Janela fighting out of another superplex attempt and hits a tornado DDT onto the pile of chairs. Dickinson rolls outside though, as this needs to keep going. A suicide dive sends the now bleeding Dickinson down again (Commentary: “Dickinson is F*****!”) and a top rope double stomp onto the chest gives Janela two back inside.
Janela blasts him in the head with a chair but Dickinson wants more. The delay lets Dickinson go low, setting up Death Valley Driver onto a chair for one (of course). They slug it out until Janela grabs his own Death Valley Driver for two. Dickinson catches him on top with a super Razor’s Edge toss for two more. Therefore, let’s bring in a ladder and a door, though Dickinson is smart enough to pause for a running boot to Janela’s head.
The really big ladder is set up in the corner and Dickinson bridges the door over four chairs. Janela comes back with a low blow and chair shot before climbing up. Dickinson meets him on top though and it’s a super Death Valley Driver through the door, say it with me, for two. The fans chant for JOEY KICKOUT as Dickinson is favoring his knee. The knee is good enough for some dragon screw legwhips to drop Janela, who shrugs it off to grab a Figure Four. Dickinson almost turns it over but finally taps at 21:57.
Rating: C. It was violent (with the blood thankfully only being a focus at the beginning) and it did tell a story of Janela fighting back against the powerhouse, but EGADS the kickouts were insane. That seems to be Janela’s thing and it works with this audience, though that doesn’t quite make it the easiest thing to watch. The action and high spots were good, but the eye rolling over the kickouts brought it right back down, as tends to be the case with these matches.
Post match Dickinson pulls himself up so Janela offers a handshake, only to have Dickinson spit in his hands and walk away. Janela says he’s back in GCW and gets a rather limited reaction. Some of the fans do seem to like him though, with commentary saying it means the internet doesn’t matter. They then tell us to go get GCW merch online.
Effy vs. Gregory Iron
Iron is a wrestler with cerebral palsy and has Virgil of all people (you knew he would pop up somewhere) with him. Ring announcer: “Being accompanied to the ring by……VIRGIL???”. Iron gives Virgil a big introduction, dubbing him a Spring Break Hall of Famer and the newest member of 44OH. This is billed as Brunch vs. B****, with Effy putting up the naming rights to his Big Gay Brunch (the actual title). Effy’s entrance lets commentary talk about how little Effy cares about what anyone thinks of him and how he is for everyone. He gets in Virgil’s face to start but Virgil has a bottle of vodka.
The distraction lets Iron get in some chair shots to take over in a hurry as commentary wonders how Virgil got that bottle (which is apparently for drinking, not product placement). Effy comes back with some chops in the corner as commentary wonders what Iron would serve at his brunch. Iron is back with a Thesz press and shots to the face as we talk about Iron appearing on Steve Austin’s podcast.
Something like a reverse Fameasser out of the corner gives Effy two, which has Virgil fairly disinterested (as he stands on the apron instead of the floor). A Codebreaker gets Iron out of trouble but Effy grabs a sunset flip and pulls Iron’s trunks down in the process. There’s a backsplash for two on Iron, whose trunks are still down so Effy gives it some spanks.
Virgil comes in for a distraction so Iron can get in a low blow, only to have Virgil hit him in the head with the vodka bottle by mistake (with Virgil flinching before hitting him to make it look pretty awful). Hold on though as Effy grabs some scissors to cut off Virgil’s 44OH shirt to reveal an Effy shirt. The fans are pleased as Iron (still with the trunks down) gets powerbombed for the pin at 5:59.
Rating: D+. I’m not sure how much drama there was here and the match was more about comedy with some action thrown in. Effy seems to be a fan favorite and Iron seems to be quite the nasty heel, so the story worked out well enough. The problem is that it wasn’t very good and felt like a low level TV main event more than anything else. Granted I can appreciate that as we are almost at three hours on this show.
Post match Effy pulls Iron’s trunks back up, making him even more of a face.
A scafflold has to be built for the main event so here are some commercials.
Video on Rickey Shane Page vs. Nick Gage, with Page saying he came here, stole Gage’s manhood and title, so now it’s time to do it one more time.
We pause for a good while to put up enough light tubes to make half of a cage.
GCW World Title: Rickey Shane Page vs. Nick Gage
Page (apparently the leader of 44OH) is defending and it’s a deathmatch with nearly an hour to go in the show (oh boy). The entrances take the better part of ever as commentary REALLY hypes up the war between Gage and 44OH. Gage gets his Big Match Intro and then jumps Page with a light tube during his own, because Gage isn’t that nice. Page is whipped into a wall of light tubes and it’s time for Gage to stab him in the back with a piece of broken tube.
Another whip into the corner sends Page through a sheet of glass and Gage shrugs off a whip into tubes. The Facewash into the light tubes hits Page in the corner as Page is already busted badly. Gage can’t quite get out of the ring but eventually manages a springboard backsplash to drive him through a barbed wire/glass board. Some fans hold up chairs so Gage can send him face first into them as commentary talks about the glory that is Nick Gage. Page is finally able to score with a light tube of his own (my goodness it feels dumb to say things like this) and it’s time to gouge Gage’s forehead.
That’s a bit more than Gage is willing to sell though and Page is whipped through another glass panel. Back in and another light tube goes over Page’s head and Gage does it again for good measure. Gage gets whipped hard into the other wall of light tubes and Page breaks another one over Gage’s face. A comeback is countered with a backdrop over the top and through another sheet of glass, with Gage nearly landing on his head.
Page starts going after Gage’s injured ankle (which has been a problem for months) before taking him to the apron for a toss suplex through a bed of light tubes. That’s only good for two back inside, because it’s only been about 50 light tubes so far. Gage is a bit blinded from….well everything really, and hits the referee by mistake (BECAUSE A REFEREE MATTERS SO MUCH IN THIS THING) setting up a DDT and spinebuster. Another light tube connects with Page’s head and then Gage uses a jagged piece of tube to start carving MDK into Page’s back.
Page climbs the scaffold and here is Gregory Iron to slow Gage down. That earns him a piledriver onto various pieces of glass as Effy comes out to take care of Iron. Cue more 44OH members to go after Gage, with Page directing traffic while down on the scaffold. A table is loaded up and here’s a big package of light tubes wrapped around whatever is inside the thing.
44OH takes forever to load up more glass so here are Joey Janela and some more guys (to Walk by Pantera, making me think that that we were getting a Rob Van Dam cameo) to even things up. Gage gets up and points at Page on top of the scaffold, with Gage following (as we hear a production worker talking about having Gage’s music ready).
Page is tossed through the glass and most of the tubes, completely missing the table they are on. The rest of the tubs are smashed over Page’s back as we have a new referee. Gage finishes carving the M into Page’s back but gets hit low, setting up a chokebreaker for two. The referee gets a chokebreaker as well so here is Atticus Cougar to load up ANOTHER sheet of glass over some chairs.
Some skewers go into Gage’s head and now it’s time to put more chairs and another sheet of glass onto the first sheet of glass. Cue promoter Brett Lauderdale to hit Cougar with some tubes, allowing Gage to powerbomb himself through the two sheets (with Page landing on the mat and Gage going through everything) for two. A chokebreaker gives Gage the title back at 24:37.
Rating: D-. Ignoring the rather sickening worship of Gage by commentary, the insane blood, all of the interference and the ridiculous amount of missed spots, this was full of a lot of the same problems you often have from a deathmatch: it was so repetitive that none of it had any impact. See, they used a light tube, but then they used like A HUNDRED light tubes. They put him through a sheet of glass? Well how awesome would it be if they did it five times??? This was a big story for this audience, but dang these things are not for me and the actual content of the matches is one of the least problems.
Post match Lauderdale hands Gage some spray paint so he can paint MDK on the old belt (which had been painted by Page). Hold on though as some music plays and we have Jon Moxley for the big staredown with Gage. They go nose to nose, with some of Gage’s blood getting on Moxley’s face. Moxley goes to leave but Gage shouts some expletives and now the fight is on (like Donkey Kong, according to commentary).
Moxley lays him out with the Paradigm Shift and then hits another onto the light tubes. Gage is down so Moxley gets to pose a lot and leaves, with Gage popping back up because he doesn’t stay down. Gage asks where his motherf****** gang is and calls Moxley a variety of bad names. He thanks the fans for having his back and worrying about him while he was out with an injury.
What matters is that he is the best deathmatch wrestler in the world and he and Moxley will have a REAL deathmatch. Everything around here is real and none of these weapons are fake so we’ll see who is really tough. Gage hits the catchphrase, wants one of his friends let out of prison, and hits the catchphrase again to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. The thing that needs to be understood here is that there are a lot of good matches on here. A lot of this stuff had nothing to do with the violence or the hardcore and was just about having some solid action. They had a good mixture of action with various kinds of wrestling and a lot of it is watchable at best and very entertaining at worst.
Then you have the deathmatch stuff and simply put, you’re either into it or you’re not and there isn’t much of a middle ground. One thing that does help is that (possible quality aside), there is certainly a main story going on through GCW, with 44OH seemingly feuding with most of the promotion. That’s fine for a story to have going on and it does seem like the deathmatches were set up, but they’re absolutely not my thing and it brings the rest of the show down. If you’re into some rather watchable indy stuff, this is absolutely worth a look, but you might want to have the fast forward ready for two of the longer matches.
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