GCW For the Culture
March 30, 2023
We’re in Los Angeles, California. Still at the Ukrainian Cultural Center for my fourth show already in this building. Commentary here comes from Darian Bengston and D-Lo Brown.
A motherfuckin’ Scramble Match
Ashton Starr vs. Ju Dizz vs. Keita Murray vs. Darius Carter vs. Terry Yaki vs. Devon Monroe vs. Faye Jackson
Commentary tries to talk over the introductions, which naturally doesn’t work. Terry Yaki? Ok. I don’t like scramble matches unless the talent level is elite. No offence but that probably isn’t happening on a GCW card.
I thought Faye Jackson retired? I guess she came back. Terry Yaki has a few ideas, as you can tell from his name, and some of them are good. He does bust out a few moves you don’t see but there’s a reason you don’t see them. His dives are downright scary. The angle he’s coming down at is very steep. He only debuted in 2021 so he’s keen to show off here but please be safer. He charges blindly into stuff and he just needs to breathe. He has enormous potential because he’s so willing to throw himself into stuff but he needs to calm it down just a touch. Darius Carter steals a pin after Monroe hits Dizz with a twistymagiggy. This wasn’t a disaster but scramble matches are much of a muchness and I don’t like them.
Anything Goes Match
Willie Mack vs. Billy Dixon
Two big beefy lads here. Mack is the better wrestler, by some distance, but if they fancy going hardcore that would even up the playing field. Oh, it’s this fucking doors promotion. WHY ARE THERE DOORS UNDER THE RING? The official answer from GCW is that they’re cheaper than tables. A table under the ring makes sense. You might need it for merch or comms or setting stuff up pre-show. A door MAKES NO SENSE. But they’re cheaper? Then don’t use them at all. Wrestling was fine for like 100 years until they started putting people through tables. They use a chair first and that works just fine. It sounds nasty, it looks nasty. Willie Mack then sets up the door, for no reason, and Dixon spears him through it. I don’t know how many times I keep having to say how dumb that is. The crowd seem to really like this and I’m not seeing it. Dixon’s gut kick, Stunner set up is horrible. They have another counter from another attempted Stunner set up and Dixon backslides Mack for the win. A backslide! Anything Goes and the winning move is a backslide. Dixon couldn’t even hold the bridge, he just fell on his face. Comically bad at times.
Ten Man Tag Team Survivor Series Match
G. Sharpe, Kenny King, Mazzerati & The Conglomerate (Alpha Zo & Midas Kreed) vs. AC Mack, Jeffrey John, JC Storm, Jay Malakai & Suge D
This is West Coast vs the World. There’s a lot of choreography here and it’s very hit and miss. “He didn’t get all of it” is the commentator’s way of saying the move looked like a load of shit btw. Suge D getting a shoulderblock on Kenny King is a nice little subplot. Sometimes less is more. It stops Kenny from slapping his thigh for a couple of minutes, which is welcome relief. Jay Malakai hits one seriously wacky dive over the ring post. This is tonally very similar to the scramble match. G Sharpe dumps Malakai and I’m reminded this is a Survivor Series match.
The next elimination, Midas Kreed, is really bad. Suge D tags in blind and then waits for Kreed to realise and then, after Kreed has stopped and is staring at him, then he hits a rolling elbow. That’s a pin. The two women do a lot ‘this strike is supposed to miss’ stuff that I don’t like. At least aim the strike somewhere close to the target. The two women both get dumped and AC Mack hitting a double Pedigree on Mazzerati is overkill. King gets rid of Jeffrey John, whose spots had been annoying me all match.
It does feel like the remaining workers are the better ones. AC Mack pins G Sharpe after an assisted Pedigree. That leaves King & Zo vs. AC Mack & Suge D. The West Coast boys pull out a double schoolboy for a double pin and it’s over. There was way too much of this, especially before we got a single elimination. Too long, too messy. It felt like it went on forever. Apparently it was 21 minutes.
Bryan Keith vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
Scorpio is 57 years old. He’s three years older than Minoru Suzuki.
Bryan Keith has a great look. Inspired by his Texan cowboy heritage.
So, 2 Cold Scorpio. He was on WCW TV when I was in high school. I watched him on ITV on a Saturday afternoon. I was 16 years old. That was 30 years ago. He’s still wrestling. He was on shows with Tom Zenk, Bobby Eaton, Tony Atlas, Mick Foley, Van Hammer, Erik Watts, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat! Almost everyone from then is retired, if not dead. Scorpio’s basics have always been fine. His questionable choices during matches probably hindered him hitting the very highest levels in pro wrestling. Here he keeps it tidy. The double wristlock and armbars are basic holds but they look good, damn it. They can tell a story of Keith struggling to fight out of these holds. It also allows them to have a chat about it. Scorpio can just about hit his spots but what really impresses me is how clean his bumps are. I’ve seen younger guys who can’t bump at all. His forearms are great too. The thing about working in Japan is they don’t let you get away with shitty strikes. Scorpio hits the twisting legdrop, the moonsault and goes up again only to get cut off with the Avalanche Exploder. Keith escapes a powerbomb into a sunset flip and that’s the pin. Scorpio did shit in this match that I never thought I’d see a 57 year old man do (outside of lucha libre). Remarkable how sharp he still is. Whatever he’s doing to stay in condition, it should be taught at wrestling schools. ***
Sidenote: I’ve heard a few haters coming down on this match and saying Scorpio is showing his age. Well, yeah, of course he is but I think they did a good job of turning that into part of the match. It was slow and it didn’t need to be that long.
Black Wrestlers Matter Championship
Myron Reed (c) vs. Man Like DeReiss vs. Kevin Knight
Michael Oku is in the crowd here, which is weird. Surely he would have been a good fit for the show.
This being a three-way in unfortunate as Reed vs. Knight is cracking and would have been a solid one on one contest. No knock on DeReiss but the other two feel further along. This is a better showing for Kevin Knight than on the Impact show where he was lost in the mix. This is the first match on this show that’s genuinely fun. It’s been a real grind. DeReiss is the weakest part, sadly.
While he’s a step off he also feels the need to constantly slap his thigh. The other two are doing crazy shit like dropkicking each other out of the air. In defence of DeReiss he does a great 450 Splash. They cock up the finish and Myron has to improvise a new one. It’s a shame because the finish was a Cutter on Knight as he was frogsplashing DeReiss. That was a sick finish. Lots of cool shit in this. It didn’t always work or click but it was easily the best match on the card. I was especially impressed with Kevin Knight, having seen so little of him on Impact. ***½.
Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling World Title Match
Trish Adora (c) vs. Calvin Tankman
I looked up the history and Trish has never lost the belt. I assumed she’d lost it and won it back again. It turns out she’s held that strap for 3 years.
Tankman didn’t do well on Bloodsport and this is another tricky match for him against a smaller opponent. He struggles to use his size effectively and is far too generous in his bumping. Tankman’s size counts against him because he looks scared to do anything with it. Like the running splash he hits in this, there’s zero body on body contact. I can only assume he’s scared of hurting people.
He also obsessively slaps his thigh. To the point where he concentrates more on that than the move he’s doing. The structure doesn’t help the match but most of the issues stem from Tankman’s woeful offence. Adora tries to hook Cattle Mutilation and that’s the finish. Yikes.
POST MATCH: Billy Dixon comes out to tap his wrist, asking for a title shot and he can’t even do that properly. Billy Dixon is probably the last person in the world Trish should be wrestling.
Shout out to Myron Reed, Kevin Knight and DeReiss for putting on a good match. I did enjoy watching 2 Cold Scorpio. Mainly out of the fascination of watching a genuinely old man put on a match and it not be terrible. Otherwise, this show was a bit of a slog.