Welcome one and welcome all to the GCW: War Ready 2021 review. Now before we go any further, I feel as if I should give you full disclosure here. I love GCW. I make no bones about it. So if you’ve come here expecting a hatchet job then you’ve come to the wrong place. Whenever GCW put on a show, I am front row and center – at least front row and center in front of my laptop – and this weekend they put on two of the bleeding things – GCW: Josh Barnett Bloodsport and GCW: War Ready – meaning that any plans I may or may not have had to go visit friends went out the window in a series of frantic text messages in which I convinced all involved that I had the plague and they’d be better off partying without me.
Don’t worry, none of them read my stuff so nobody will ever know.
As a fan, this was like Christmas comes early, but as a wrestling writer, it did pose the question of what one I should cover for Sports Obsessive. I could’ve done both, but we try to have a little variety here, and having already decided to cover ICW: No Holds Barred Vol. 19 Deathmatch Horror Story – which isn’t a mouthful at all, no siree Bob – I had to Sophie’s Choice the two. In the end, the promise of Dem Boys and Minoru Suzuki won out.
Eight Way Scramble Match: Gringo Loco, Lucas Riley, ASF, Matt Vandagriff, Gaston, JTG, Eli Everfly, and Allie Katch
Allie Katch is the undisputed champion of inter-gender wrestling. Whenever I see her perform it’s usually against the boys and about 90% of the time, she emerges victorious, and this Eight Way Scramble Match was no different. It initially started out as a Seven Way Scramble Match but as a last-minute addition, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going to happen.
As soon as the bell rung the other competitors surrounded Allie Katch, and as she reached down towards her boot the commentators screamed “She’s got a knife!” and I, suitably, lost my s*it. It was one of the greatest calls in wrestling history – easily up there with “As God as my witness, he is broken in half!” – and after she had been unceremoniously been dumped to the floor, the match took shape.
What we got was a lot of spectacular moves and full-throttle action, as each wrestler lined up to work through their repertoire of jaw-dropping kicks and flips and I knew that somewhere out there, Jim Cornette was on the verge of a massive heart attack as he screamed on Twitter about it not being like it was in his day and why was a woman fighting men?
It ended with Katch hitting a beautiful piledriver to pick up the win, thus securing her place on the throne of inter-gender wrestling.
Winner: Allie Katch
Jonathan Gresham vs. Alex Zayne
If you’ve ever seen Jonathan Gresham wrestle before, you know what you’re going to get and that is quality. I’ve been a huge mark for Gresham ever since I first saw him in Ring of Honor and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen him put in a bad performance. GCW: War Ready was no exception. But as I am always fond of saying in these situations, it takes two to tango and in Alex Zayne, Gresham had the perfect dance partner.
I genuinely can’t remember ever seeing anyone with such a unique take on the art of pro-wrestling as Zayne. His offense is unlike anything else in the business today and – as was pointed out on commentary – it’s hard to defend against somebody when you don’t know what they’re going to do next.
It was as out of control as a runaway train at times, with both men bringing out the best in each other, and the finish saw Zayne pick up the win after Gresham had tried to hit a Jackknife Powerbomb that Zayne managed to turn to his favor, pinning his opponent to the mat for the three-count.
Was it a surprise win? To a degree, yes, but if anyone deserves to have a rocket strapped to them then it’s Alex Zayne. Let’s hope that GCW shoots him to the stars from here on out.
Winner: Alex Zayne
Arez vs. Ninja Mack
Arez is a scary-ass dude. His ring presence and persona is one that can haunt your dreams and he seems very committed to this role. So much so, in fact, that when he tore the mask off of Ninja Mack during their high-flying match, he went all in. Throwing it on the floor and stomping on it.
This was a clever piece of wrestling from both parties. The mask – as anyone with even a passing knowledge of the graps will tell you – is a sacred thing and to take off your opponents is the utmost height of disrespect. It initially seemed as if it was an accident, but as soon as Arez had desecrated it, it gave a whole different tone to proceedings.
Mack found himself second-guessing everything he did. He went to go over the top rope backward but pulled up short. He seemed to be off a step, almost as if the loss of his headgear had taken away his power. It was a wonderful bit of storytelling that culminated in Mack finding himself when he really needed to, to put down Arez after taking quite a beating for the middle section of the bout.
The pure art of wrestling is to be able to weave a tale that gets those watching totally invested in what is unfolding before them, and both Arez and ninja Mack managed that and then some.
Winner: Ninja Mack
Dark Sheik vs. AJ Gray
Never, ever, punch AJ Gray in the dick because if you do, he will straight-up murder you. Dark Sheik learned this the hard way when she did this exact thing towards the end of their incredibly brilliant bout and boy, did she pay the price. When he had recovered he took Sheik apart, hitting her with a huge spinebuster, a lariat that nearly cut her in half, and a splash that almost drove her through the canvas. After that, she wasn’t kicking out.
This entire match was perfection from start to finish. It could’ve been easy to book this as a squash, but – apart from when she got murdered at the end – Sheik showed once again why she is so highly thought of in the wrestling industry. She is pure quality inside the ring. She hits as hard as hell and isn’t averse to taking to the sky in her attempts to put her opponent down. She is a pleasure to watch and if it hadn’t been for the tag team match later in the evening, this would’ve gotten my Fight of the Night award.
It was that damn good.
Winner: AJ Gray
Jacob Fatu and Juicy Fatu vs. Chris Dickinson and Starboy Charlie
Jacob Fatu is a freak of nature. I hate to use a cliche like a man of his size shouldn’t be able to move around the ring as he does, but a man of his size shouldn’t be able to move around the ring as he does. If you’ve never seen him hit a springboard from the ropes into a backward handspring splash, then go check this out as it is artistry of the highest order.
This match mainly revolved around the Fatu’s taking Starboy Charlie apart, as a distraught Dickinson looked on, but if you thought that it would be The Dirty One who would come charging to the rescue then you’d be wrong. Dickinson did do a fair amount of damage to the big Samoans, but it would be Starboy Charlie who would grab the destroyed remnants of a door that had been introduced earlier and brain Juicy with it, before pinning his shoulders to pick up the most surprising of wins.
The celebrations would be short-lived, however, as both Jacob and Juicy would lay a beating on both Dickinson and Charlie, forcing the former to watch as they destroyed the Starboy in the middle of the squared circle. This was a strange moment for me as the post-match beatdown is something that GCW seems to stay away from, but used as it was here – with the fan-favorite getting the life crushed out of him – was clever as it brought tremendous heat of the Fatu’s, meaning that the next time they step inside a GCW arena, they’re going to receive the kind of reaction usually reserved for David Arquette.
Winners: Chris Dickinson and Starboy Charlie
Nick Wayne vs. Jordan Oliver
Having just had the rarity of a post-match beatdown on a GCW show, we then had another shocking moment when the Nick Wayne vs. Jordan Oliver fight ended in a no contest. This was down to Atticus Cogar coming out when Wayne was on the top turnbuckle – and on top in the match – and pushing him off before turning his attention to Oliver, who he planted face-first onto a barbed wire chair.
Cogar then took to the mic to rant at the world, before informing everyone that he was entering the Nick Gage Invitational Tournament, and that was that. An interesting move by GCW – and one that I’m not totally annoyed at – it’s just a shame we couldn’t have seen more of these two in action as they were tearing down the house before Atticus Cogar stuck his nose in.
GCW Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes vs. The Second Gear Crew (C)
Matthew Justice is f*cking insane. Seriously f*cking insane. During the GCW Tag Team Championship match, he took to the sky, over the top rope, to the outside, aiming to land on both Jay and Mark Briscoe, only for Dem Boys to move out of the way. This meant that he fell from about eight, maybe nine, feet in the air and landed without any protection square on his back. As I said, Matthew Justice is f*cking insane.
To be fair, this whole match had a touch of lunacy about it with all four men putting their bodies on the line right from the off. There was blood, chairs, doors, coast to coasts, and the kind of punches that wouldn’t be out of place in a boxing ring, or at least a bar-room brawl.
There wasn’t a single misstep here. It was the kind of high octane, high intensity that I adore and was my pick for Fight of the Night, with both teams putting on a five-star classic that demands that you go back and rewatch it instantly. Which is exactly what I did.
The end came with one of the greatest flying elbow’s I’ve ever seen Mark Briscoe hit and Dem Boys were crowned the new GCW Tag Team Champions, but the truth is that we all walked away as winners and I, for one, can’t wait for the re-match.
Winners and New GCW Tag Team Champions: The Briscoes
Psycho Clown vs. Effy
I thought that I’d never live to see the day where the GCW faithful booed Effy. As far as I was concerned, for that to happen he’d have to walk to the ring punching a baby, but the Devil must’ve been skating to work this morning, as that’s what went down when he tried to remove Psycho Clown’s mask.
If you’ve never seen Effy – or Psycho Clown for that matter – wrestle before then I can only assume you’ve been living on Mars, in a cave, since you were born to which I say, welcome to Earth, now go and check out this bout. It had everything that makes me love the man. It was brilliantly mapped out, funny as hell, and more wicked than a gaggle of witches.
From nipple twisting that was more erotic than punishing, being crotched on the ring post, and spanked around the ring, Effy was on top form here, giving the fans exactly what they wanted. He even took some nasty spills -proving that he is full of testicular fortitude – when Psycho Clown started to throw him through chairs on the outside.
It ended after the spanking had riled Effy up and he went to kiss his opponent, only to smooch the ref instead. This led to Effy rolling up Psycho Clown to get the 1-2-3. After the insanity of the GCW Tag Team Match, this was the perfect antidote before our main event.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Nick Gage
As soon as I heard that Minoru Suzuki would be battling Nick F’ing Gage at GCW: War Ready, then there was nowhere else I was going to be on Oct. 23rd, 2021. This was touted as the war of wars, the hard-hitting crazy bastard Suzuki taking on the hard-hitting crazy F’ing Gage, it was going to be one for the ages and you were to be being there or to be being the square. So, did it live up to the hype?
Well…yes and no.
Look, the last thing I want to do is piss off either Minoru Suzuki or Nick Gage, so I’ll say straight away that it was nothing that these men did that spoiled my enjoyment of it. What did was the camera work. Allow me to explain.
Within a few minutes of the fight starting, Gage went to the outside and – with the liberal usage of the word MF – invited Suzuki to join him. Never backing down from a challenge, the Japanese Legend did just that and the two brawled through the crowd, hitting each other with everything they could lay their hands on including Gage bouncing a metal bucket off his opponent’s skull. This was great. At least it would’ve been if those of us not in attendance could’ve seen what was going on.
There was a massive, swirling sea of people that swallowed both men up the moment they left the ring and the cameramen just couldn’t fight their way through them to give us a clear shot of any of the outside fighting. Which was a bloody shame, because it sounded like it was brilliant.
The two would eventually make their way back inside the ropes where Suzuki would lock in his submission moves whenever he could. But short of killing Nick Gage, you’ll never get him to tap, and the two threw some seriously stiff…well…everything at each other until Suzuki managed to package piledrive Gage through a door that had been placed on some chairs to get the win.
What I saw of this match, I loved. I just wish I could’ve seen more.