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Sunday, September 23, 2007

9/22 GCW Report

Courtesy of Larry Goodman:

Great Championship Wrestling ran their final build up to the Fred Ward Memorial, GCW’s annual tribute to the man that promoted wrestling in Columbus for over 30 years.

It wouldn’t be GCW without some form of controversy, the latest being whether or not GCW had obtained permission to use Ward’s name. According to head honcho Diane Hewes, the Ward family has no problem with GCW honoring Ward. A company official contacted the family, and they have been invited to attend the show.

Saturday night’s show drew 115 to the Gr8 Sk8 Plex in Phenix City, Alabama, which is just across the river from Columbus. It was a solid show. They announced most all of the matches for the big show at the beginning of the month, and spent the last few shows heating up the issues. The crowd was cooking more than two weeks ago, but that still isn’t saying much.

(1) Vordell Walker & Randall Johnson beat Frankie Valentine & Tex Monroe in 9:20. What has gotten into Vordell? He’s doing this thingyy heel bit weird gay overtones. Whatever is up with Walker, his presence was the singular most interesting thing about the match. Probably not the intended effect, but compared to the other guys, Walker was on an entirely different level as worker. Walker said Monroe was FIPing it up against Johnson. Walker tagged in like he was God’s gift to Phenix City. Walker gave Monroe a wrestling lesson. Walker used a chokebreaker ala Tank from NWA Anarchy. Monroe did a springboard moonsault legdrop that sounds way better than it looked. Valentine went to town with the hot tag. Valentine pulled the ropes down to dump Walker. But Johnson seized on the opening to pin Valentine with a first-rate version of the Celtic Cross.

Commissioner Bo Oates addressed his problems with Scrappy McGowan. Oates said they were the only two that had direct links to Ward. Oates said McGowan was disrespecting his father, his son (referee Jeff), and the Ward legacy. “You sold out to a guy in a skirt.” Oates proposed a tag match for the Ward Memorial with the commissionership of GCW on the line: McGowan & Cru Jones vs. Oates & John Bogie.

The new GCW Heavyweight Champion, Johnny Swinger came out to badger Oates into revealing the identity of his mystery opponent. Funny stuff from Swinger here. Swinger whined about the unfairness of it all. Swinger wanted to know why some mystery guy was getting a shot after he had to beat 19 guys in a battle royal to earn his shot. Swinger said he wasn’t some semi-pro from Kentucky, he was a genuine superstar. Swinger said Oates gave Scotty Beach tons of time to prepare for a title defense. He accused Oates of having a vendetta against him. Swinger said his opponent better be some guy like Jonathan Davis or Amien Rios that he could beat in one minute. Swinger said the only way he was losing the belt was if O.J. stole it. Swinger was threatening to drop Oates with his finisher when the theme from Rocky played. Swinger said he wasn’t sweating Rocky Balboa. It was GCW owner Diane Hewes that appeared on the ramp. Hewes said she signed the match with the mystery opponent, and it was somebody the fans had been hot to see for a long time.

Out came Sonny Siaki. Hardly any pop at all. But that’s the norm here. I’m guessing a lot of folks weren’t familiar with him, since the last time he worked for GCW, they were still operating out of Columbus. Siaki has grown out his hair since Deep South as part of the shift to babyface. Siaki was born to play a cool heel. What GCW sorely lacks a bonafide, homegrown, white-meat babyface.

(2) John Bogie beat Orion Bishop (with Wicked Nemesis) in 8:23. Bogie goes over clean to avenge a painful DQ win last week. Not one of you better matches. Bogie busts his ass, but his offense just doesn’t cut it. Bishop doesn’t look like much, but he hit a couple of stunningly good moves. Nemesis is a harmless nincompoop pretending at being an evil heel. Bogie hit a push up dropkick to spark an opening flurry. Bishop chickened out. Bishop took over with a fallaway slam. Bishop hit a sweet pumphandle suplex for a near fall. Bishop got frustrated by Bogie’s intestinal fortitude. Bishop got too cocky for his own good. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Bogie hot comeback. Bogie won with the quebrada that he always manages to overshoot.

(3) Chris Stevens beat DeathRow after interference by A. J. Steele in 6:33. Death is billed from “The Institute for the Criminally Insane.” He’s got the look and size for the gimmick, and he’s been moving up in class. Stevens got a genuine babyface pop, and those are hard to come by in Phenix City. Death used headbutts to the trapezius muscles. That was different. Key spot was Stevens missing a dive off the middle rope. Death zeroed on the shoulder. A series of flying shoulder blocks by Stevens barely scored a two count. Death applied a sleeper. Steele came to ringside and told ref Randy Ray that Death was choking Stevens. Stevens refused to go to la la land. The finish saw Steele snap Death’s neck off the top rope to make him a sitting duck for Stevens’ neckbreaker. Good execution. Death and Steele screwed each other is similar fashion last week, so the finish made sense. I just wish the opponent had been someone other than Stevens. To me, Stevens is a top babyface who shouldn’t need outside interference to beat a midcard heel.

(4) A. J. Steele beat Thug Rowe in 6:30. Rowe looks like Michael Vick disguised as Mustafah Saed, New Jack’s partner back in Smoky Mountain Wrestling. A fan suggested Rowe could get away with doing a Chihuahua fight in a bathtub. These are two big guys. Back and forth match. Steele took the fight to Rowe. He tried to cut Steele off with an elbow drop, but Steele outsmarted him. GCW could use more smarts on the babyface side. Steele hit a swinging side slam for a near fall. Rowe responded with a DDT for a near fall. Midair collision of beefy bodyblocks here. Steele crashed an burned on a high crossbody. You think he would have learned. Rowe wisely choked off Steele’s air supply. Both down on a double flying lariat. Steele capped off his comeback with a fireman’s carry dropped into a uranage for the pin.

Ring announcer Billy Roper directed our attention to the big screen for a promo by the former GCW Heavyweight Champion, Scotty Beach. Would somebody please teach this guy how to cut a babyface promo? Beach said he would back on his way after winning the weasel suit match at the Ward Memorial.

Next, we saw a video footage of Bull Buchanan being interviewed by Roper. Buchanan said he was waiting out the 30 days (due to the restraining order) to get his hands on Swinger in the cage at the Ward Memorial. Buchanan said he never liked his former partner, and he was sure the feeling was mutual. Buchanan said he intended to win the GCW “World Championship” and defend it in Japan during his October tour with NOAH.

(5) Shaun Banks & Cru Jones (with Quentin Michaels) beat Bull Buchanan & Scotty Beach in 19:10. Best match of the show. It actually had heat. Presuming that Bad Company beats Naturals at Fred Ward, Banks and Jones are the natural top challengers. They make an awesome heel tag team. Beach definitely turned his intensity dial to the right after losing the heavyweight title. They told the story of that Buchanan and Beach weren’t necessarily on the same page. Banks and Jones brought a red dress to the ring. Beach and Banks wrestled. Good looking stuff. The heels tried to isolate Beach, but Buchanan tagged himself in. Beach wasn’t happy about it. Banks begged for his life. His facial expressions are tremendous, and he sold like he was going die. Just when it appeared Beach and Bull were going to work together, Jones chop blocked Buchanan’s knee to turn the tide. Banks and Jones went all out on Buchanan’s knee. Nice series of hope spots here. At one point, Jones pulled Beach off the apron so there was nobody for Buchanan to tag. Hot tag. Beach gave Jones the Beach Balls. It was time for the moment of truth. Banks escaped a double team. Buchanan pulled up to avoid kicking his partner. They double punched Banks, but Jones surprised Beach with a roll up.

Postmatch beatdown on Beach. Banks hit a Rude Awakening, and they started to put the dress on him. Buchanan came to the rescue. Beach wheeled around to face Michaels, and he got the hell out of there.

(6) Sonny Siaki beat Johnny Swinger (with Quentin Michaels) via countout. Swinger retained the GCW Heavyweight Title (16:56). Siaki got a stronger pop than the first time. It was if the people woke up to the fact that this guy has star presence. Unfortunately, the crowd was relatively dead once the bell rang. Nothing wrong with the work or psychology. Swinger did everything in his power to get Siaki over as a babyface. The early part of the match saw Siaki do the Samoan head-like-a-rock. Siaki worked on Swinger’s arm until it was hanging limp. Swinger’s desperation led to face biting and groin stomping. Brief “Sonny” chant here. Michaels got involved. Swinger hit a Russian legsweep, and Siaki rolled shoulder just before the three count. Swinger tried a headbutt. Not a good idea. Swinger was bouncing around like crazy for Siaki’s comeback. Siaki mounted the ropes and rained down the 10 punches. Swinger kicked out at two. Swinger ran away from Siaki’s finisher.

As Swinger finished taking the ten count, out came Buchanan to block his path. Swinger invited Buchanan to violate the restraining order. Buchanan restrained himself, but Siaki kicked Swinger’s ass. Swinger ended up running out the front door. Siaki said it felt good to be back in GCW. He said GCW was going back to being the #1 promotion in the South. Buchanan was gimpy from the pounding to his knee. He ordered the cameraman to get a close up of his ugly mug. “Johnny Swinger, I’m not afraid to get a few scars. Can you say the same thing?”

NOTES: The card for the Fred Ward Memorial on September 29 is as follows: Swinger (c) vs. Buchanan inside the six sides of steel for the GCW Title, Naturals (c) vs. Bad Company (Stevens & David Young) in a 2 out of 3 falls match for the GCW Tag Titles, Death Row vs. Steele in an Electric Chair match, Johnson vs. Valentine in a hair match, Banks vs. Beach in a Weasel Suit match, Scrappy McGowan & Jones vs. Oates & Bogie with the commissionership of GCW on the line, and Ring Inspector Chuck vs. Bogie in a Bouncing Boxer’s match…GCW’s television show starts on East Alabama cable channel 7 in an 11am Saturday time slot. It will be a 30 minute show hosted by Michaels & Roper…Diane Hewes said the company is actively planning to run shows in other venues. An announcement about their first show outside Phenix City should be coming shortly.