GCW Chopper City in the Ghetto
November 27, 2019
The last time I sat down to watch a GCW show I literally tapped out halfway through and never went back to it. We’re in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Voltage Lounge. It’s a small building. The ring is literally against the bar so the wrestlers use it as a ramp to get into the ring.
Tony Deppen vs. Matt Vandagriff
Vandagriff is new on me. This is a good spot for him against the popular Deppen. Vandagriff does a lot of lucha inspired stuff, as he’s from California and the Mexican influence is very strong.
Deppen keeps his stuff basic so Vandagriff can shine although he does fuck up a slingshot and gets pissy with a fat guy in the crowd for calling him out on it. It looked like a good recovery sell but some people are never satisfied. Vandagriff impresses a great deal and I expect he’ll be on the Mania weekend cards next year. The match is overlong, as you frequently get on the Indies, but it’s very good for the most part. They have a good mix of exciting spots and hard-hitting intensity. As it goes too long, they get a bit sloppy and the match is ragged by the finish. They could have trimmed it, kept it tighter, done all the cool shit and legitimately pushed four stars worth of quality. I’m sure Vandagriff will learn in time. Deppen picks up the win.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Matt Tremont vs. 1 Called Manders
We switch gears with the heavyweights here. Tremont has a weight advantage. Manders is 6’1”/229lbs. Which used to be small in WWE. How times have changed. They slug it out here and there’s a lot of big boy chops. I like how they slow things down and just start slapping each other but it also feels a little perfunctory at times. It doesn’t feel like a fight. Tremont takes it with the DVD and I could take or leave this. It was fine.
Final Rating: **
Ophidian vs. Blake Christian
Christian is another new name on me, which is part of the reason why I’m watching this show! Ophidian is great but Christian does a fine job of selling for him and taking all his cool moves. They do some neat stuff with the stage including Ophidian jumping onto it specifically so he can jump back with a crossbody. Blake does some excellent work in this. I’m impressed with his strikes as well as his flying. He’s not at Ophidian’s level yet but he’s got the right mentality and I’m very into this match up. They have a few tiny issues where Ophidian swings very high on a clothesline and stuff like that but it’s generally good wrestling. The timing is especially good and they don’t do much in the way of dumb spots considering how frequently Christian goes to the ropes. There’s still work to be done but a lot of Blake’s work is good enough. They also do a fine job of making me buy into the near falls and stuff and the mat work is solid. They do fuck up a springboard again, which makes me wonder if the ropes are a little slick. Blake takes it with the Elia, which is his weird twisting splash. It looks cool. Great match.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Young Dumb N Broke (Jordan Oliver & Ellis Taylor) vs. SHLAK & Nate Webb
I’ve seen Oliver in CZW a bit and he’s certainly over as a heel. The kids beat up SHLAK for ages and his original partner Markus Crane isn’t here but Webb slides into the spot. I pop Nate huge for him ordering two beers from the bar and saying “Utah, get me two”. If you know, you know. The match is a complete mess with a few cool spots. YDB try to do a bunch of Backseat Boyz spots, which is cool but the timing is so out so many times. There’s no chemistry at all. I get what they’re going for with the young punk kids getting their comeuppance against two tough, surly veterans but it’s just bad. Jordan Oliver take a horrible looking DDT through a door at the finish and good lord this was ugly.
Final Rating: *1/4
JJ Garrett vs. Pinkie Sanchez vs. Cole Radrick vs. Frankie Picard vs. Steve Sanders vs. Lucky 13
Wacky Scramble ahoy! I expect to see at least eight of these Mania weekend. They do some fun stuff. Cole is especially entertaining and the stand out of the match. The match has a lot of moving parts and it’s difficult to get through it clean and they don’t. There are multiple issues among the sea of moves. Some of the stuff is cool but we’re not dealing with a lot of crisp moves. The match seems to be at its best when they do dives because that’s only one moving part. The production doesn’t help. Garrett comes off the balcony and they miss it but they don’t miss everyone side-eyeing him in the set up. There are a lot of spots in this and the term “spotfest” gets tossed around fairly frequently nowadays but this would definitely qualify. Sanders is the second guy to come off the balcony, after taking an unprotected chair shot and dropping through a few tables. I did not enjoy watching that. The issue with doing a bunch of sick spots is that you have to then do something even crazier for the finish or it’s underwhelming and you can’t top that balcony drop. Lucky tries, hitting an Avalanche Canadian Destroyer on Picard onto Garrett. Which doesn’t look safe in the slightest. If everyone came out of this match unscathed it would make me feel better about the wacky high spots but generally a lot of this just made me feel uncomfortable.
Final Rating: ***
Dan Maff vs. KTB
Danny Maff still wrestling in 2019 is pretty weird to me. I never thought he’d have a long career but here we are. I remember seeing him on Jersey All Pro tapes in the early 2000s. Steve Mack still wrestles too. Madness. This is more of a big lads match than the earlier one. There’s a great dive from KTB where he just bounces off because Maff is so fucking hench. They barrel into each other a lot and I’m happy. There’s a lot of big boy suplexes and heavy shots. The whole thing is much better structured than Tremont/Manders earlier. Maff absolutely no sells an unprotected chair shot, which again is unsettling. The only person I can deal with taking an unprotected chair shot is Masato Tanaka because he’s clearly not human. Maff makes some weird decisions. He hits the Rainmaker and the Cheeky Nandos kick in this. Sometimes less is more. The finish is a Burning Hammer on a set up chair. Case in point. I still enjoyed the bulk of this. Two big dudes doing very violent things.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Jimmy Lloyd vs. Ruckus
Ruckus is another guy that it’s surreal that he’s still wrestling in 2019. He’s looking in fair shape considering his weight. Lloyd is much improved as a wrestler although he remains at his best in death matches. Lloyd is clearly a big Ruckus fan, which he would be as a CZW superfan. Ruckus has a second who helps him, in front of the ref, and really pisses me off. If you’re going to interfere at least make it behind the ref’s back. Ruckus brings the hits and you can’t fault his effort but the match just isn’t very good. Lloyd wins and I’m sure that means something to him personally but I could have lived without this.
Final Rating: *1/2
Post Match: Jordan Oliver’s crew jump Lloyd and beat him down. This is not well received. Joey Janela makes the save!
This is Janela’s first appearance in GCW after losing to Lloyd at the tail end of September. He’s technically an AEW guy and won’t be wrestling here anymore.
It’s weird because he’s literally here to say he’s answering Jon Moxley’s open challenge in AEW next week.
GCW World Championship
Nick Gage (c) vs. Atticus Cogar
Cogar is only in his second GCW match here, having bested Tremont last month. Gage is such a rock star. Eastern block. H8 Club. Gang affiliated. We run this shit. MDK all fucking day.
This is a mask on Cogar by the way, he’s not an actual zombie. Gage throws Cogar through a door as the opening move and like two minutes in Cogar is a bloody mess. We get a bunch of run in’s, as Cogar is getting destroyed.
The match isn’t good but it’s a wild environment. They’re basically wrestling on broken glass after ten minutes. Gage wins. I love Gage but it’s more for the atmosphere he creates than the in-ring. This was pretty violent but not a good match. Show ends with the heels being buried under chairs thrown from the crowd.
Final Rating: *1/2
The US Indies are going to take time to rebuild after WWE and AEW stripped them of talent over the past two years. There are signs of a bright future. Vandagraff, Manders, Christian, Oliver, Sanders, Picard, Cogar and KTB all have degrees of potential. It’ll be interesting to see who grabs the brass ring now the Indies are so wide open. Gage comes across as a legitimate star because of his presence but he’s never going to set the world on fire in the ring. Finding guys to replace the likes of Riddle, Keith Lee etc is a tough process. The talent vacuum will take time to be filled. However the Indies are incredibly interesting right now because of this. I’m looking forward to the next two years to see where these new stars come from.