Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 Part 1
March 31, 2022
We’re in Dallas, Texas at Fair Park. We’re still on Thursday but during this we’ll slide into Friday. Hosts are Lenny Leonard and, fuck me, Kevin Gill. This is not exactly a loaded show by previous Janela concept show standards. The big match is Janela vs. X-Pac. Moxley vs. AJ Gray, Mickie James vs. Allie Katch and John Wayne Murdoch vs. Alex Colon don’t exactly jump off the page.
GCW Tag Team Championship
The Second Gear Crew (Mance Warner & Matthew Justice) vs. The Briscoe Brothers vs. Nick Gage & ?
SGC come out to Rob Van Dam’s ECW music, which I found very confusing. I know it’s a tune, but it’s already been done. Find your own thing, don’t be lazy. I’ve been away for like 3 years and the Briscoes are suddenly old as fuck. Gage was supposed to be tagging with Matt Tremont but he’s out for undisclosed reasons.
I’ve not seen Nick Gage in a while either and he’s looking rough. The match is a hot mess. There’s no rules and no tags but Gage just stands there politely on the apron watching. Nick? Nick? NICK? NICK? Are you ok Nick? Blink if you’re ok! GCW bring out the doors again here. Look, why do you have doors under the ring? Why? There are spare tables under a WWE ring for potential table breakages at ringside. At other Indies I can buy tables being under the ring to set up merch. But doors? Why? (and don’t give me that “tables are expensive bullshit”. Just don’t use anything then) SLADE turns up to be Gage’s partner and they attack Mancer with pizza cutters. Poor Mance gets sliced to pieces. Gage fucks up a piledriver off the apron on Justice. He’s just not capable anymore. It’s sad to watch. The Briscoes pick off SLADE and hit the Doomsday Device for the win. This was all over the place. Warner took a savage beating here and the Briscoes looked sharp but the match was a mess. Gage takes applause after the match and if this was his last match I would be sad but I wouldn’t be surprised. **
Video Control gives us a few pre-recorded bits. Allie Katch says that Mickie James is not her dream match she’s her “fantasy” makes some sexual references and alludes to Mickie’s initial WWE feud with Trish Stratus.
AR Fox vs. Blake Christian
Since I last saw Blake he signed for WWE, got rebranded as Trey Baxter, had a run on 205 Live and got released. The WWE hiring policy made no sense to me as they were signing everyone and it finally got to breaking point. It’s nice to get back into the Indies now with the repopulation from WWE departures. The early going in this is frustrating. There’s a lot of silly lucha bits and thigh slapping. I didn’t realise AR Fox has missed a huge amount of time with injuries. It looks like about 18 months. He returns with the same great body and sense of fun that made him watchable but as with Blake he has glaring faults (read; I hate thigh slapping). They do have some cool spots and the work is slick. These two are ideal for wacky four-way matches or scramble madness where there’s no need for emotional connection. Sadly in a singles match I need a story and the only story they tell here is; we know cool moves.
Blake wins with the Golden Trident, which is a slight variation on Jay White’s finisher. ***¼
Mickie James vs. Allie Katch
Allie, while a below average wrestler, is better at the storyline aspects of wrestling. She’s using Mickie’s history against her. Turning the tables on Mickie’s dramatic WWE debut. That was 17 years ago. Jesus. The wrestling in this isn’t very good.
The aim seems to be to go through the motions while throwing in bits and pieces from that 2005-2006 Trish feud. The problem stems from the rest of the match, rather than the callbacks. The strikes aren’t great, the grappling is fine but I’ve seen better from Mickie. There’s also a problem with the sexualised nature of the callbacks too. When Mickie did it, she was getting into the head of one of the biggest stars in wrestling. It felt like she’d crossed a line. Allie is doing it to mimic that on the perpetrator. Mickie tries to act a bit freaked out, but she’s clearly not as thrown off her game as Trish was. Allie spends aging setting up a big spot, which I hate, and they don’t even deliver on it. Another of those fucking GCW door moments.
This is the point where Allie realises her strategy has failed. She goes for the old Donald Trump ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ and just gets it back. Mickie kisses Allie and then decks her with the pendulum DDT. Mind games backfired a bit there eh Allie? The saucy nature of the structure was fun enough and Mickie was game for playing along. The “call me” on the way out was brilliant. Unfortunately the in ring didn’t quite match the ambition. **¾
Nick Wayne vs. Jordan Oliver vs. Jimmy Lloyd vs. Gringo Loco vs. Alec Price vs. Jack Cartwheel vs. Ninja Mack
Plenty of these guys belong in a scramble match. Guys who can hit big high spots but aren’t good enough to tell a strong singles match storyline. So, this is seven guys doing spots for eight minutes. There’s a bunch of flips and dives. I remember a Mania weekend (2017? 2018?) where every show had one of these and I got so burned out on them. I appreciate Cartwheel doing things here I’ve never seen before. His core strength is insane. Ninja Mack has a nice time in this as well. Gringo Loco has a fun time throwing around skinny bois for his amusement. Nick Wayne picks up the win but the real winner is fans of spotfests. Everything landed clean here, so I’ll go ***.
X-Pac vs. Joey Janela
Janela is out here in Razor Ramon gear and being a complete asshole. This has the most heat of any match because Janela turned on X-Pac at a previous GCW show to set this up. While I appreciate the heat the match they have is X-Pac taking bumps he really shouldn’t be taking (back bumps on the floor, Death Valley Driver on the apron) all while looking like the 49-year-old he is. Some of it is arguably selling but he looks so, so tired. They throw everything at the wall and, of course, Joey ends up going nearly 20 minutes. Just because you can wrestle for 20 minutes doesn’t mean you should. Every other big Janela vs. Legend match has struggled because of the insistence on going long. You can tell it is too long because the crowd drift in and out of it, whereas at the start they were hot constantly. They also spurn some perfectly cromulent finishes including an X-Factor through a door. Fucking doors. I’m not over them. They try for high drama at the finish with X-Pac threatening to brain Joey with a chair, which the fans want but the storyline is for him to drop the chair so that doesn’t work. Joey, who could have punched X-Pac in the balls at any point during the whole chair thing, then hugs Waltman and kicks him in the crotch. Superkick finishes and that was just weird. **¾
Post-Match: X-Pac apologises for his performance saying he’s pretty beat up.
Sean promises he’ll be back because he loves this shit. Sean Waltman is an honest man. He knows when something lands and when it doesn’t and he knows this match didn’t work. The thing with with Sean is he’ll want to come back and set that straight. Although, if you lose the dodgy finish and focus more on the character stuff this match has every chance of working. I feel bad for Sean because he took some needless bumps here for his art. He’s a lovely guy and I respect the effort. I’m 45 myself and the thought of taking a bump horrifies me. I lifted a bench last week and my back hasn’t been the same since.
GCW World Championship
Jon Moxley (c) vs. AJ Gray
AJ Gray is the Extreme Champion. He was the GCW World Champion back in 2019. He was the guy that ended that epic Nick Gage title run, only to lose out to RSP the same night.
Moxley won this belt in September last year. His title defences have been successful against Nick Gage and Homicide. Mox’s best environment is crazy brawls, but he can do the wrestling basics in other areas. AJ must bring out that devil in Moxley or he runs the risk of having a mediocre match on a crowded weekend. AJ certainly tries hard and is impressive on offence. They have a barbwire board, which is just a GCW thing. As the main event is a death match I’d rather they played it straight. Barbwire is generally a disaster in wrestling as you get caught in it and then the two opponents have to help each other. It’s a daft gimmick.
I can imagine Vince McMahon watching this and thinking “is this what you left the WWE for?” yeah, actually. Freedom mainly. Freedom from stupid gimmicks and character assassination and a gruelling tour schedule. The barbwire also slows the match right down as they need to sell everything properly and extricate themselves from potential danger. Even despite barbwire being the first weapon the violence seems to escalate. It’s goes all TLC for a bit and Mox blades from a chair shot. Mox, lunatic, hits an ace crusher on a barbwire wrapped bunch of light tubes. Surely that’s worse for him? Death Rider on light tubes finishes for the champ. I never felt his title was in any danger here, which is not ideal. AJ Gray did a good job of matching Moxley but I just wasn’t sold on a title change. The carnage near the end pushed this up a bit after the time consuming and awkward barbwire business. ***½
GCW Ultraviolent Championship
Alex Colon (c) vs. John Wayne Murdoch
Colon is a two-time champion and won this last year against Masashi Takeda. Before Emil Jay is finished doing intros Murdoch breaks a light tube over Colon’s head. The trouble with following a match that had escalating violence is they have to start at that escalated level or the crowd won’t be into it. Which they do but a minute in Colon is spilling through a door and there’s glass EVERYWHERE.
A bit of the old ultraviolence. Both guys bleed all over the place. Over each other. The floor, the mat, the camera gets some on the lens, fans get a covering. I don’t think they get any on the ref so it doesn’t quite hit the Muta scale. They do try and wrestle a bit in between hitting each other with stuff and Colon is certainly creative in his use of violence. The tope light tube clothesline move is ridiculous. They also tell an important story where Colon accidentally hits the ring post and gets his arm taped up. He’s screaming in pain, so you KNOW he’s hurt. I love a bit of storytelling in my wrestling. Murdoch hooks an armbar and Colon quickly taps out. Oh shit, that worked great for me. Colon’s creativity and the angle with the arm both landed for me. Good stuff. ***½
My expectations were fairly low, due to a less than stellar card, but it was a decent show. The last two matches worked out nicely and while I’ve criticised James/Katch and Janela/X-Pac they were at least watchable. This still trails Bloodsport for me and it’ll probably end up on the lower end of shows for the entire weekend but a solid entry. The Janela shows have raised more chuckles than snowflakes in the past but this kinda felt like a normal GCW show with a few extra big names thrown in. Diluting Spring Break by turning it into two shows and then running it six times does feel like an erosion of the concept. The original was absolute madness. I remember watching it before I went to work. If they can bring back that ‘anything can happen’/’anyone might appear’ vibe it would be nice.