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Cazer’s Live The WRLD on GCW Review

January 27, 2022 | Posted by Andrew Cazer
The WRLD On GCW Nick Gage Image Credit: GCW
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Cazer’s Live The WRLD on GCW Review  

All images credit Andrew Cazer

This weekend GCW hosted their Wrld on GCW PPV event at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City and I had the pleasure of attending the event live. I’ve been a GCW fan since early 2017. After seeing a couple Joey Janela and Giancarlo Dittamo vignettes I was hooked. I always had intentions of going to a Joey Janela’s Spring Break show but haven’t had the opportunity but over the last year i’ve attended a number of GCW shows. Being a pretty big fan I knew I had to make it to NYC for the Hammerstein show and needless to say I wasn’t disappointed.

I went to a pre-game event ahead of the show and want to shout out some GCW die-hards who organized the event and made all who attended feel included. Sometimes GCW fans can get a bad wrap because of how rowdy they are but I wanted to be sure to shout out the likes of The Hot Dog Guy, Mittens, Pompadour Frank, Jimmy, Rell, His dad and others. This was a group of really welcoming guys and being in NYC solo it made the few hours before an awesome experience.

We hit the line for the Hammerstein Ballroom at about 5:30 just after meeting Effy and Marko Stunt at Dunkin Donuts. Both were super cool talked for a minute and took pictures before heading out to the venue. I started making my way into the Hammerstein Ballroom at around 6:10 and it was a smooth entrance security was what you would expect. The line behind me was very long nearly around the block but there were still a ton of people in there when I first made it in.

I saw Giancarlo at the entrance and was able to speak with him briefly and thank him for putting together the show and being a big inspiration for years. A common theme with AEW talent both on screen and behind the scenes is they are all super approachable and appreciative. It’s a big reason the community is so family like. I hit the merch stand and it was a bit of a cluster but I expected that. There were two thousand people set to be there but I made sure to snag my Effy Wrestling is Gay Wolfpack shirt and get out of dodge. There were a lot of unique Hammerstein specific merchandise options for this show so it was hard not to go crazy but being in New York I had to save a bit. I believe there were two separate merch stands but I can only speak for the downstairs one. Many of the talent were at their merch stands before and after the show, something that’s common with indie wrestling but still special in this environment.

After grabbing my merch and a $20 drink (NYC Prices man) I made my way to my seat. I was on the Third box right above the ring. I picked my seats with the patreon pre-order and had a feeling this would be an awesome view. It FAR exceeded my expectations. This was such a cool venue and I was in an awesome seat ready to take it all in. Before the show began they were playing hip-hop songs, the crowd was buzzing everyone was excited for the show.

Before I get into my actual review of the show, I have to say i’m giving GCW a ton of slack here. They had to make a number of changes on the fly. Eddie Kingston was injured and AJ Gray was pulled from his match with him. Jonathan Gresham couldn’t make it so he was pulled from his match with Blake Christian. This lead to Lio Rush being removed from the ladder match and so many things not going as planned. I feel like they did the best with what they could. I don’t completely let them off the hook for the timing issues but they were in a new environment being on PPV. All of that said if you’re still with me let’s discuss the actual show!

Pre-Show Battle Royal

The preshow started with a battle royal that was a whole lot of fun and even had a couple of surprise entrants. I think Thunder Rosa and Lufisto were two of the biggest surprises and both delivered for the Hammerstein crowd. This match started off a bit weird as we got a lot of entrants before any eliminations with only two eliminations coming in the first seven minutes of the match. This allowed GCW to do what they did a lot on Sunday and that’s showcase the talent who helped get them there. They gave wrestlers like Marcus Mathers, Charles Mason, Yoya, Cole Radrick, Dark Sheik, Dustin Thomas, Juicy, Parrow, Hoodfoot Janai Kai, and eventual winner Big Vin a spot on the card. It was a great showcase for free on YouTube. The final four were Rosa, Lufisto, Charles Mason. Rosa and Lufisto really helped pick things up down the stretch of this match. Charles Mason contributed to the elimination of both of them and had the most eliminations in the match. He would come up short to Big Vin in the long run who won the match in 16:01 after tossing Mason out.
Rating: ***
Review: This was a fun way to kick off the show and give Big Vin an awesome moment. His dad is 911 so he and his father shared a moment in the Hammerstein which had to be special for the ECW alumnus. There were moments were it felt like there were too many people in there but they wanted to showcase all of the talent and give them some real time out there so I get it. The final stretch helped solidify this as a solid opener. Rosa and Lufisto looked so damn awesome and were both eliminated by a shitty heel. He was thwarted by a big tim babyface in Big Vin. It was a good showcase for the preshow.

Grim Reefer vs. Alex Zayne vs. Dante Leon vs. Jack Cartwheel vs. Ninja Mack vs. Shane Mercer

This match was supposed to originally feature Nick Wayne but the NYSAC was made aware of the fact he was under the age of 18 so they were forced to pull him from the card. That really is a bummer because Nick’s SUPER talented and really deserved the chance to show the world that on GCW’s biggest show but he will get his chance soon. This was your typical GCW spot fest and everyone got a chance to get their big moment in this match. Alex Zayne looked like a legitimate superstar with his red hair and red coat. Every superstar had a big moment in this one Dante hit his cool corkscrew cutter on cartwheel. Reefer hit his joint assisted dive to the outside. Mercer held Zayne on the middle rope so Cartwheel could hit a shootingstar press on him to the outside. This was full of wild moments and big spots. Most of which looked good to great. Grim Reefer walked away with the victory here in 7:54.
Rating: **3/4
Review: I think this was a lot of fun and was fast paced start to finish as everyone showcased some cool stuff in a relatively short match for this many competitors. I don’t love the number of scrambles GCW does but I do recognize they use a lot of awesome guys and the matches are usually great so it’s nitpicky to complain too much. They could’ve maybe got a bit more time but again not a big deal. The biggest blow to this one is losing Nick Wayne and that’s just the beginning of talent missing that hurt this show.

After this match Chris Dickinson and Brett Lauderdale come out to address the crowd in the arena and at home. Brett runs down every state they go to and sell out every time, he tells the crowd the story of GCW and how he’s come from working two jobs to running the Hammerstein Ballroom. This was really wild for me to see live as a fan of GCW for so long and being along for the ride for many years. Brett’s had family in attendance who you could see were incredibly proud and happy for him to be at this point. That was special as a GCW fan. It wasn’t the rah rah levels you might’ve gotten with Paul Heyman, but it was the real Brett Lauderdale and it was meaningful so I enjoyed it. Dickinson took over from there and discussed his injury and talked about missing this show and being from NY. He promised to return by Joey Janela’s Spring Break. These were decent little promos before the show to get the crowd excited. I really appreciated the authenticity of Brett’s promo and they closed it out with a tribute to a number of GCW superstars and fans who had passed away over the years. That was a really cool thing to see GCW do, it’s not groundbreaking but I don’t think anyone expected it from them so it was a nice touch and again a reminder this is a small family.

Grab the Brass Ring Ladder Match
Aj Gray def. Alex Colon, G-Raver, Jimmy Lloyd, Jordan Oliver, PCO, and Tony Deppen

This was the first match of the night and the entrances were awesome to see in this venue. It’s cool and interesting that GCW stuck with their traditional theme music even being broadcast on traditional pay per view. The ladders they had for this match sucked. I’m not going to sugar coat it they should’ve done a better job acquiring sturdy ladders for this match. There was one painting ladder that at one point G-Raver tried to climb the other side of and I just watched in bewilderment wondering how many others might try that same obstacle. There were some wicked spots in this match and then there were some bad spots in this match. There wasn’t much that was great unfortunately because all of these guys can bring it I just think there were a lot of factors at play here. From the beginning it started off awkward with no-one really knowing what to do at first and it really never got much better from there. PCO hit Jordan Oliver with a package piledriver onto a laid out ladder. It looked like Jordan broke his neck and literally hit the rung on the ladder. I’ve since seen gifs confirming that thought but Jordan seems ok luckily. G-Raver could’ve won but instead dove onto Alex Colon. He almost completely whiffed but he hit about 70% of it. He was then tossed into a wild metal contraption outside of the ring by Jimmy Lloyd. Moments later Lloyd would be dropped and sent to the outside and then I saw a pretty cool moment. Jimmy and Jordan Oliver who I literally watched stretch out on the outside for a minute after being dropped on his neck rushed over to check on G-Raver. A reminder that they might try to kill each other but they care. Shortly after we got the infamous AJ Gray spot. I watched thinking what could he even be trying from that distance. Turns out it lead to nothing and maybe that was for the best because I really don’t think he can make that gap especially with a wobbly ladder. I saw complaints that there weren’t people holding the ladder, there were they just didn’t do it right. Jimmy Lloyd rushed to the back after this to talk to Brett and I was scared someone got seriously hurt, fortunately that didn’t seem to be the case. Alex Colon looked like he was about to get the victory when John Wayne Murdoch hit the ring and cost him the match. This opened the door for AJ Gray to climb the ladder and pick up the victory in 16:47.
Rating: **1/4
Review: This was not it. I really wish Lio wasn’t removed from this match and I really wish Aj could’ve got his singles match with Kingston. Now my fear is this will lead to his match with Kingston which is completely unnecessary that match should be a given and I hope he won’t use this ring on that. These guys tried and I can’t fault them for that but it wasn’t quite the caliber of ladder match you would want on this stage. Also the brass ring just looked like a taped up ring which was also very strange and took away from what should’ve been a big win.

Team Gringo (Arez, Demonic Flamita & Gringo Loco) def. Team Bandido (ASF, Bandido, & Laredo Kid)

This was a whole lot of fun live and was a great lucha libre style match up for the fans of GCW. Everyone in this match had an impressive showing as they all went above and beyond to provide a great match for these fans. I am less familiar with ASF but he really impressed me and is someone I hope to see more of in the future. I’ve seen Arez a few times and the last time I saw him he kind of disappointed me but he was great in this match. The finish was a little wonky i’m not sure if ASF was going for something and missed it but it did look like Gringo cut him off from taking a dive outside so they could go to the finish. You could hear someone get on the mic and tell them to take it home about two minutes before they actually took it home. Team Gringo with the victory as Gringo gets the pinfall on ASF.
Rating: ****1/4
Review: This was damn near flawless for me, I know some people like their wrestling to have a little more psychology but this was everything. I actually recall thinking to myself how I needed to start watching more lucha libre if this is what i’m missing out on. There were so many awesome moments that made people shine in this match but the standout that’s made the rounds lately is ASF on top of a triple tower doing a Canadian destroyer to Arez. As they set this spot up I was thinking it might come off as silly or dumb but it was probably one of the biggest moments of the show. An underrated moment saw ASF tossed probably 15 feet in the air onto Gringo Loco on the outside and Gringo caught him so beautifully it likely saved ASF from a massive injury. In that moment I said to myself, “That’s why they call him the base god.” This match was awesome and should be sought out for immediate viewing.

Blake Christian vs. Lio Rush

Blake came out to announce that Jonathan Gresham was unable to make it to the show but that they had a replacement who Blake had awesome matches with in the past. This was a big let down as I was really excited to see Gresham and I wish that there was more of an advanced notice about this change. This had to have been a last second decision and it gave Lio a chance to shine without being in a dangerous match and gave Blake an awesome opponent but I do feel this could’ve been handled better. That being said these two put on a solid match that lived up to their previous encounters. It was nothing groundbreaking but another good example of what they can do when given the time and opportunity. Blake did hit an amazing move that was like nothing i’ve ever seen before as he did a moonsault from the inside of the ring to the outside catching Lio in a neckbreaker position but transitioning it to a piledriver on the outside of the ring. Blake followed that with a 450 double stomp and pinfall for the victory in 12:34.
Rating: ***
Review: This wasn’t bad but I felt a bit letdown in the moment because i’ve never seen Gresham live but it was a good match between two wrestlers I really do enjoy. I love to watch Lio wrestle so it wasn’t a massive letdown just wish we could’ve been informed ahead of time because then I would’ve been able to enjoy the match from start to finish. I’m glad both of these guys got a chance to showcase themselves in a singles capacity.

Matt Cardona vs. Joey Janela

This match had a whole lot going on and I think people either hated it or loved it. I’ll never forget the sound of the woman who sat next to me yelling at her husband “oh my god he just spit in that fans face”. That was just the beginning of what would be a wild encounter. I watched this show back on FITE after and I was shocked to see this match with entrances and post match shenanigans took up nearly 40 minutes of pay per view time. That’s a long ass time on a show that was hurt by timing. That said while I was there live I never once got this feeling of wow I want this to end or it was too long. I enjoyed the spectacle and it was so cool to see Cardona in this element with Chelsea. Everything from the Sandman inspired entrance to the use of Hornswoggle and Brian Meyers made this awesome. It was nice to see Sam Stackhouse get involved as he has a history with Cardona at their Vegas show. GCW getting a spot for him on this was really cool as GCW doesn’t always have a lot of storylines so to get a long term type of pay off is nice. When Chelsea hit Cardona with a lowblow I was stunned and groaning at the awkward booking I expected but they played it off nicely as she didn’t really side with Joey in WCW2001 fashion like I thought was happening. There were many twists and turns and again this was a long match but as a fan of both and a fan of GCW this was everything I needed from the Hammerstein show. Cardona won in 19:43 with a rough ryder through a door
Rating: ***3/4
Review: The match it self was not exactly a mat classic but it was a whole lot of fun. There were shenanigans galore but I loved every one of them. From Marko, to Hornswoggle to Sam Stackhouse to Brian Meyers it was all a hell of a lot of fun. The crowd enjoyed it and wasn’t entirely anti cardona. I’d say it was a 70/30 split against Cardona. Granted we got the classic “If Cardona Wins We Riot” sign hanging from the rafters so he wasn’t exactly loved either. After the match it wasn’t exactly a riot but Cardona and his gang got pelted with cups and water bottles for a few seconds until X Pac hit the ring. This was a smart move to stop the pissed off fans and give them something to go home happy about. X Pac looks great and him teaming with Janela to take on Cardona and Meyers will be sweet to see.

– Mance Warner came out to address the crowd and thank them as well as all of those involved in the back for helping with this show. He credits everyone from the lockerroom to the crowd for getting them in the Hammerstein. He finishes up his speech and is immediately interrupted by Atticus Cogar who cuts a brief promo before laying the boots to the injured GCW vet. Mance Warner is saved by his boy Matthew Justice but that only lasts for a moment as the rest of 44OH hit the ring and beat down the former GCW tag team champions. Atticus pulls out the skewers but before he can get to work the lights go out. We get a whistle and it’s Sabu and Bill Alfonso. Sabu clears the ring throwing chairs around and Alfonso drops Greg Iron with a DDT. This was cool but another moment in the weekend where I wish RVD was involved.

Ruby Soho def. Allie Katch

These two had a solid technical matchup really working to showcase Allie’s skill in the ring. It was certainly back and forth but I think the crowd was put off by the result and I can’t say I disagree. Allie has been on a crazy run so it sucks that this was the result. I’d have to guess it was something political behind Ruby not being able to lose on a non AEW show because it makes a lot more sense for Allie to have won. You could tell based on Ruby’s reaction that she felt for Allie and they shared a moment after the match. Allie’s been getting a lot of hype lately and it’s well deserved she’s been on a spectacular run and I was glad to see her get a high priority match on the card. I wish they would’ve had a bit more time to show what these two can do because I can imagine they’d have gotten the crowd into it more and thus the result wouldn’t have been taken so negatively with more time. It was a cool moment for both women and i’m excited to see what’s next for Allie. It was odd to see the crowd kind of boo and turn on Ruby after the match but it did feel like this was supposed to be a big moment for Allie. Ruby wins with the Big Kick in 9:36.
Rating: **1/2
Review: This was a fine match but a bit limited due to time. Even though 9:30 isn’t short when crowd favorite babyface is losing you’d like for them to get a bit more shine in. These two did well and Allie looked wonderful, I really wonder what’s next for her as this run has been fun. I’d love to see her get another look at a set of AEW Dark tapings and potentially be brought into the fold there.

Jeff Jarrett def. Effy

This match didn’t have months of a story behind it but it still had enough to be one of the biggest matches of the night from a crowd perspective. The entire crowd, myself included absolutely loves Effy. Effy is such a likeable person outside of the ring and such an entertaining character in the ring that it’s impossible not to pull for him. Having Jarrett come in was a perfect follow up to Effy’s feud with Matt Cardona and the build for the match was solid. Effy’s entrance was wonderful as the entire crowd was excited to see him and Jarrett was perfect at playing the bad guy as expected. This wasn’t a technical classic but they put on an entertaining spectacle. There were a variety of colorful chants throughout and this match might’ve been the last match of the night to have that level of energy behind it. Everyone wanted to see Effy win but unfortunately just like the two matches before we saw the GCW original come up short. Jeff Jarrett cracked Effy over the head with the guitar and then left it on his head while delivering the Stroke and covering for the victory in 11:13.
Rating: **3/4
Review: This was a solid match but the crowd reaction and energy of it all are a big reason for my enjoyment of it. The finish was nuts and i’m glad Effy is ok because that looked wild. I am really curious at this point what the purpose of this booking is with Cardona, Ruby and Jarrett all winning on GCW’s biggest night of the year. The whole story of Effy not taking the match was that he wouldn’t be taking a match just to put over an old WWF superstar after taking his greatest hits of moves. Turns out Effy did just that and is hopefully still fine.

GCW World Championship
Jon Moxley (c) def. Homicide

This match was awesome because the crowd was excited but i’m not sure many bought into Moxley losing in his first match back and I don’t think anyone wanted him to either. That said no one wanted to cheer against Homicide in New York so everyone was excited for both superstars and they put on a quality match. These two had matches back in 2010 that didn’t go over as well and that’s a testament to how good they both are. The matches back in the day just seemed like an awkward styles clash that couldn’t really get going. This match had some elements of that but I think they had the best match they’ve had together. Moxley looked great and Homicide brought his A-Game after being inducted into the Indie Hall of Fame the night before. There were a couple of near falls but again I never really bought into them and i’m not sure the crowd did either. I think there was a thought that Moxley may lose but that would be a sign he may not return and I don’t think any GCW fan wanted that. Moxley won in 11:14 with a Death Rider on a set up chair in a sick spot.
Rating: ***
Review: This was a fine match that would’ve probably been better in just about any other city GCW runs. They don’t need deathmatch stuff but boy does it make it better when Moxley can get a bit more hardcore than a DDT on a chair. It was awesome to see Moxley back looking healthy with a crowd who went out of their way to show appreciation. There was a huge Fuck Bully Ray chant after his words about Moxley this weekend which was pretty cool. It was a solid match but I can understand why it didn’t go on last it lacked the hype or story to give it a real ‘main event’ level feel.

GCW Tag Team Championship
The H8 Club (Nick Gage & Matt Tremont) def. The Briscoes (c)

Nick Gage has been on a hiatus and Matt Tremont has just recently returned to GCW so this was a hell of a moment to see live. It was great to see the H8 club reunite, it was great to see Nick Gage return and it was awesome to see that reaction from the GCW faithful as well. That said the match really lacked from every other perspective. It was very short and didn’t have the hardcore feel a match between these two teams really should’ve had. I don’t put the blame on the talent but it just fell short of what should’ve been especially for a big main event. Gage hit the choke breaker for the victory in 5:38. The finish was weird as well as it seemed like the Briscoes weren’t ready for the finish and that left the crowd confused as well because no-one expected it to end in less than ten minutes.
Rating: **
Review: This felt like it was over before it started, Nick Gage’s entrance was probably longer than half of this match. I was excited to see Gage back in GCW but I wish they would’ve just announced this or built it up a few shows in advance. The biggest issue was they were up against time and had to give the crowd the Nick Gage entrance and post show speech because they’re well known for it. That lead to the match suffering quite a bit but it is what it is. They gave their faithful crowd their hero at the end which may have made up for the rest of the regulars coming up short. Gage’s post match promo was sincere and it was cool to be there live for that, seeing the roster hit the ring to celebrate with a post show beer bash was also very cool to see. As i’ve stated numerous times GCW is a family or a giant team and the end of the night was them celebrating their biggest success yet.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
The WRLD on GCW wasn't a show without flaws but it certainly made up for them by the feel and vibe of being at a massive show for an awesome company. There were booking decisions I wouldn't have made, there were some pretty rough botches but overall they delivered a really fun show. I'm rating this show off the live experience so I can understand if we share differing opinions but I really think this show was awesome. The match of the night for me took up a ton of time but it never felt like it was taking too long when I was there. Cardona and Janela brought an awesome vibe to the show and there were other matches that brought the best out of the crowd as well. The Lucha match was awesome even if they had to be to told to go home because they were using too much time. Gresham and Lio delivered and the guys in the ladder match tried their best. I wish the second half of the show got more time but they got dealt a rough hand. I wouldn't call a single match on this card a dud and I really think that GCW made the best out of a couple bad scenarios. This was a good show but not exactly the best showcase of what the company is, being in NYC prevented them from deathmatches and that left people a bit underwhelmed as well but this was an awesome show to attend live and I'd encourage anyone to check it out.

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The WRLD On GCW, Andrew Cazer