Hi folks! This is my first review of a wrestling PPV in a crazy long time. Today, I am reviewing The WRLD on GCW 2022 event from New York’s fabled Hammerstein Ballroom on January 23rd.
I have never seen a GCW show before, so it’s an entirely new experience. In saying that, I have done no prior research on storylines or gimmicks, so you can understand if I miss anything obvious. I’m writing up my thoughts as I watch it, as I didn’t see it live. Also, I’m no stranger to hardcore wrestling, so am not expecting anything too shocking. But who knows? Perhaps GCW will surprise me? Cheers for joining me on this unique adventure into the unknown. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
The WRLD on GCW 2022
We open with a video package of the GCW wrestlers talking about the labels placed on them. Backyard wrestler. Too skinny and awkward. Not a good fit or what they are looking for. Nobody cares and you need deathmatches to get over. When are you going to take this seriously? You’re not even that good, you’re just a gimmick. You couldn’t cut it in the big leagues and gave up.
You’re a quitter and a follower. Too dumb to ever get it. Will never make it on TV. You’re reckless and never shut the f*** up. You have all the tools, but will never be the top guy. We wish you the best in your future endeavors. You’re a f****** criminal and a drug addict, so we can’t take the f****** chance. The wrestlers look around the Hammerstein Ballroom in awe. We hear a “GCW” chant.
– Man, that gave me chills. If there’s a way to introduce someone to GCW, here it is. This band of misfits who have been told they’ll never make it are here working on their biggest stage yet, with all the world watching. Wanting to prove themselves in front of all the fans and critics. I’m already hopeful of this being a solid event. We fly in to the ballroom with a huge “GCW” chant.
Again, chills, because it takes me back to the ECW days. Most who know my work will remember that One Night Stand 2005 is my favourite PPV of all time. This is an attempt to recreate some of the lost underground magic. It’s almost like history repeating itself, with AEW being the new WCW on TNT, and GCW channeling the ECW mentality. Kicking things off with a Grab the Brass Ring ladder match. By the way, this isn’t a detailed results page. I’m assuming you already saw the show and want to know what someone else thought of it.
#1. [Grab The Brass Ring Ladder] Jordan Oliver vs. Jimmy Lloyd vs. Alex Colon vs. Tony Deppen vs. G-Raver vs. PCO vs. AJ Grey
I’m only two minutes into the action and already enjoying the intensity, although some ladders are far too small to be used for climbing. Also, I can’t remember the last time I heard so many f-bombs on a show. This is far away from being family entertainment, and I can dig that. The Doomsday Device with a ladder is sweet. I think that’s new for me? Didn’t take long.
Ahh, this is another show which loves its suicide dives. PCO bowls over everybody! He’s certifiably insane. Not liking all the shuffling around to catch people, but we got to see PCO do a moonsault! So I’ll give them a pass. All we’re missing here is a Joey Styles “OH MY GAWD!”. It slows down for a while, and then Oliver hits Deppen with a springboard cutter from the ladder! Sweet. PCO is an always menacing presence. Speaking of which, that package piledriver to Oliver is straight up dangerous.
Some of these spots take too long to set up. The fans groan as the ladder G-Raver placed on Colon falls off. My god… G-Raver dangerously falls from the ladder on to Colon, and to no avail, holds on to the brass ring to help his fall. The dumbest thing I’ve seen so far… he could have won right there! I’m shaking my head in disbelief. For his troubles, Lloyd launches him outside with a Razor’s Edge on to a pile of furniture. There’s no cushioning that. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s injured.
Meanwhile, AJ Grey is up to something. What the hell?! Whatever he was planning, it’s a spectacular fail. You see a producer or referee move the ladder in front of him, so it’s not in his way, but he slips on to that same ladder! Grey was going for an aerial move on to Colon, but bounces harshly off the ladder. This match started well, but has become a botch fest. John Wayne Murdoch interferes, and this opens up an opportunity for AJ Grey to grab the brass ring.
Winner: AJ Grey
Yeah, I’m disappointed. What could have been a killer ladder match turned in to a nightmare. The ending sucked! Where did PCO go? How did AJ Grey recover so quickly from that harsh fall? This needed a proper ending, with John Wayne Murdoch doing far more than attacking one guy. I’m hoping this is the lowest point of the show. Any positives? PCO and Jordan Oliver stood out for me, and Lloyd wasn’t bad either.
#2. Gringo Loco, Demonic Flamita & Arez vs. Bandido, Laredo Kid & ASF
It has been a while since I’ve seen Bandido in action. Laredo Kid has been on Impact, so I’m more familiar with him. The addition of Flamita piques my interest. This should be one of the most fun matches on the card. Great start… the old ECW announcer botches Team Gringo’s entrance by announcing Team Bandido. Ok, so I’m five minutes in, and we have Team Gringo showing us some innovative triple team moves. They collectively threw ASF back in to the ring from the outside and over the top rope. Amazing! How has no one done that before?
This is what I like to see from GCW, things you won’t see anywhere else. Ok, I started popping when Team Bandido did the trio hurricanrana spot. I’m in awe of the innovation on display. By god, that triple stack! I don’t have any words for this match. It’s worth the price of admission alone. The pace, the chemistry, the spots. Everything is working in tandem. Ending things with the piledriver is sweet too. I hate when it accounts for nothing.
Winners: Team Gringo
I was expecting fire, and I got burned in the best possible way. There was hardly time to digest what was happening before the next thing came along. That’s what a great trios match looks like. Both teams had their share of triple team moves, some of which I didn’t see coming. I gasped a few times, and when something pops me, I know they were cooking on all cylinders. Would not be surprised if this is a match of the night for me, but there’s a long way to go.
Blake Christian is one of the recently released NXT superstars, after serving as a love interest for Cora Jade. He lets us know that the ROH World Champion Jonathan Gresham isn’t there (this card looks so different from the original). It’s the free agent Lio Rush, the first time we’ve seen him since he called out Tony Khan on Twitter over the Big Swole situation. This should be an excellent match because I know both of these guys.
#3. Blake Christian vs. Lio Rush
This was as fun as I expected, although the fans weren’t in to it. I think many didn’t know who to cheer for, because they both come across as heels, and they established no one as the face. I’ve been a big fan of Blake Christian since I first saw him in Impact, and assumed NXT would keep him around. He clearly has a chip on his shoulder, because he wants to prove he’s one of the best in the world.
Some might think it was an upset for Christian to go over Rush here, but it makes sense because he’s more of an asset to the future of GCW. My only gripe was the ending. They were looking at the replay of a tombstone piledriver on the floor, instead of focusing on the finish. Either way, it was a decent replacement for what should have been a ROH World Championship match.
Winner: Blake Christian
Next up is Matt Cardona vs. Joey Janela. I like the photo taking reference to Ric Flair with Miss Elizabeth during his feud with Randy Savage. It’s strange hearing Cardona cursing, but it’s also kind of cool. Having only experienced him in Impact lately… let’s be honest, it hasn’t been so great. I’ve only heard good things about his time in GCW, so I get to find out if this is the best environment for Matt Cardona. I love how he buries everyone who puts their blood, sweat and tears in to building this company.
Lol! “If Cardona Wins We Riot” sign, a nod to the Cena sign from One Night Stand 2006. The Sandman entrance theme! Wow, The Sandman’s entrance at ONS 2005 remains one of the best of all time. Of course, this is Cardona taking the piss, and I love every second. Sure, he’s too chicken to come through the crowd.
Just to add some WWE references, Cardona does the Triple H spit while wearing Cactus Jack attire. There’s so much wrong with that. Chelsea Green is wearing a 4:69 top, similar to Austin merchandise. Cardona walks slowly to the ring with a beer like The Sandman. On the back of his top it reads “F*** Mick Foley”, wow. Cardona spits beer in an angry guy’s face.
Cardona gets on the mic and calls everyone ungrateful. They only sold out the ballroom because of them. He’s going to do Joey Janela a favor tonight, by ending his career before Tony Khan can say “You’re fired!” – It’s confirmed, this is the best version of Matt Mid-Cardona.
#4. Matt Cardona vs. Joey Janela
The match starts out pretty slowly and I’m feeling tired. Cardona throws in another reference by throwing his shirt out in to the crowd. Instead of the fan throwing it back in the ring, he throws it at Chelsea instead. Not long after, Cardona looks to hit Janela with a steel chair, but Chelsea stops it and low blows him. I smelled a rat right away. She encouraged Janela to go on the top turnbuckle and knocked him off balance. While Janela straddles the rope, Cardona reveals he was wearing a cup. Good heel work, although I’ve seen this obvious ploy done better.
I’m already waning on all the references, and I bet they don’t end here. The superplex is the best thing I’ve seen in the match so far. Joey Janela grabs Cardona’s Internet title, which prompts AEW’s Smart Mark Sterling to make an appearance. Why? Who knows, but the crowd tells him where to go. He introduces “Vince” to the match. Mr. McMahon’s entrance plays, and of course, it’s not really Vince. It’s someone wearing a lame Vince rubber mask. I think they disappointed everyone when it turned out to be Virgil. This match… is all kinds of terrible.
Vince’s illegitimate son Hornswoggle appears from under the ring and attacks Janela. Sorry guys, but I’m tuning out. I like Cardona’s heel character, but this match needs to die already. Who the hell is Sam Stackhouse? He can hardly move, and we’re impressed by him taking out Hornswoggle? All right then. He goes for a moonsault and even if Hornswoggle hadn’t moved; it was a clear miss. A wild Marko Stunt appears and throws a chair at Hornswoggle. Cardona saves him by drilling Stunt with a reverse DDT. The camera crew almost misses the biggest Janela spot of the match.
Chelsea Green takes out Stunt with the Internet title. The match finally resumes in the ring after Cardona saves his new wife from Janela. Not for long though, as he eventually gets her good with a piledriver. Chelsea is a former women’s champ, she can take it. A guy runs in to do the Edge with a motorcycle helmet spot, spearing Janela through a door. Of course, it’s Brian Myers, although he & Cardona were feuding pretty hard last year in Impact. They were Edgeheads back in the day, so it’s fair enough.
Cardona wins, and as I predicted… nobody riots. They do, however, throw a ton of trash in to the ring, because that’s all this match deserves. X-Pac is here to bury these jobbers, and he does that with the X-Factor. One of the Kliq members had to come down to handle business. Janela lost but celebrates with X-Pac like he won. Sorry guys, but that was horrible. Everything about it was cheap. It felt like it was crapping on the history of WWE’s One Night Stand PPVs.
Winner: Matt Cardona
Mance Warner is here. He spends some time sucking up to everyone before Atticus Cogar comes out to ruin the moment. There’s some GCW stable warfare before the lights go out. It’s Sabu and Bill Alfonso. They throw some chairs at the heels, but Alfonso gets physically involved, while Sabu stands around. Walk by Kilgore plays, which was the old theme music for Rob Van Dam. The fans seemed to like it, so that’s what matters.
#5. Allie Katch vs. Ruby Soho
A nice ovation for Allie. Of course, the fans are a touch louder for Ruby. This is competitive from the outset, and it’s not just Ruby carrying things, because Allie is doing her fair share. Ruby is getting frustrated and being heel-ish, which is helping because Allie is one of GCW’s homegrown stars.
A piledriver gets Allie so incredibly close to the win! That’s the best near-fall I’ve seen on the show. Allie looks to hit an avalanche piledriver, but Ruby reverses it in to a devastating Riott Kick from the top. Not a long match, but a beneficial outing to help give Allie some spotlight with one of the best female wrestlers in the world. They hug it out afterward.
Next up is Effy vs. Jeff Jarrett? I don’t know how I feel about watching Jarrett wrestle in 2022. Loving his entrance, though. Effy’s is better, and he gets the loudest ovation of the night (so far).
#6. Effy vs. Jeff Jarrett
There’s so much heat in this match! The fans are eating it up, and so am I. They love Effy and despise Jarrett. The problem for Jarrett is Effy enjoys being whipped and choked. Jarrett is loving this environment because anything is legal. Effy isn’t taking him seriously and that may come back to haunt him. There’s no bigger fan favorite here than Effy, so when Jarrett drilled him with the guitar and he no-sold it? The place went nuts.
Jarrett giving him The Stroke (while still wearing the guitar) and grinning at the crowd, before pinning him? Genius! What a finish. This is the heat Cardona wishes he had earlier. There could be a riot, but the fans are in a state of shock. Jarrett looks in great shape, he could have a few years left in him. Even in defeat, Effy gets an ovation. It wasn’t much of a wrestling match, but the crowd was loud, and that’s the name of the game.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett
#7. [GCW World Championship] Jon Moxley (c) vs. Homicide
The match starts off with a “F*** Bully Ray” chant and a handshake. Looks like Homicide has lost nothing since I last saw him wrestle on NWA Powerrr. There’s good chemistry between them, but the match lasts a little over ten minutes before Moxley puts him away. It’s useful for Moxley, because it helps him get back in to the flow, but I was expecting more from this. It’s not the main event though, as The Briscoe Brothers have an open challenge to close out the show.
Winner: Jon Moxley
#7. [GCW Tag Team Championship] The Briscoe Brothers (c) vs. Matt Tremont & Nick Gage
Here we go, the main event of The Wrld on GCW 2022. Matt Tremont & Nick Gage answer the open challenge. Gage gets The Sandman treatment, only with Metallica’s For Whom The Bell Tolls. Before anyone can know what’s happening, Gage spears Mark through a door. Chaos ensues and we get a little over five minutes of hardcore carnage. Gage sneaks in the pin on Mark while Jay is on the outside. This was more like ECW than any other match on the card. Gage is super over with the GCW faithful.
Winner: Matt Tremont & Nick Gage become champions
Afterwards, Gage invites the GCW roster in to the ring. He says this is the best promotion in the world, and they have the best fans. Reminiscent of the closing moments of ECW One Night Stand 2005, only with no invaders.
I’m on the fence about regularly tuning in for this. On one hand, GCW has some promising talent. I’m impressed by a few, and wouldn’t be surprised if they get opportunities. On the other, it’s a promotion which doesn’t know what it wants to be. GCW was built on deathmatches, but has since transformed after bigger names walked through its door. Now it wants to feature many styles in a similar vein to ECW.
Speaking of which, there was an incredible amount of references to the last two times (WWE funded) ECW graced the Hammerstein Ballroom. So much so that it didn’t feel underground. It was like putting on a poorly produced Lion King musical in the local theatre. I’m all for having fun, but when former WWE superstars like Cardona are covered from head to toe in references, it looks like the biggest sour grapes.
You got released… so what? Get over it and move on already. Yes, I know WWE released hundreds of people, but the best way to stick it to them is to be original. Show you have what it takes to innovate. Get creative and look forward, not backwards. Jeff Jarrett is a prime example. He didn’t go back to his former self. Jarrett reinvented himself with a gimmick, which subtly took a dig at The Undertaker. These are the best references, because they aren’t dot-for-dot remakes of what came before.
Then there’s the production crew having GCW in ECW templates on their shirts, teasing Vince McMahon, along with bringing back the old ECW announcer & motionless Sabu. I loved ECW guys… it was epic. We want to remember the good times, but this promotion died 21 years ago! A baby born on that day is an adult by now. If it were still alive, do you think ECW would do this in 2022? Hell no, it would bring its product to the present day. It wouldn’t rely so heavily on what worked decades ago. Otherwise, you’re just bringing the dead to life like a stupid zombie gimmick.
Chill out on that and find your own identity. Never lose what brought you to the dance, but grow on the way. However, some of the card was fun, and I don’t want these thoughts to take away from the performances. The trios match was the best. Allie Katch vs. Ruby Soho, and Blake Christian vs. Lio Rush were solid. Even Effy vs. Jarrett was worth it on the crowd’s reaction alone. It’s definitely not a show for kids, because the amount of F-bombs are borderline annoying. I love swearing as much as the next guy, but if you’re throwing them out to sound “extreme”, you’re doing it wrong.
The bottom line is, I’m not saying this was a terrible show. It definitely had its moments, and I applaud the talent for giving us what they did. Does it inspire me to watch more? Perhaps. If the card looks good? Maybe I will. But yeah, I have to say that GCW is a mixed bag. There are things to enjoy, but it’s not for everyone. Apologies if you are a diehard GCW fan, I’m just calling it like I see it. The promotion has potential, and the business is healthier with more alternatives. I’m glad there’s a place for the more “extreme” end of the wrestling spectrum. I wish them nothing but the best. With that said, thank you for reading! Please let us know what you think of The Wrld on GCW in the comments.