Featured Post

Thank You, Axl Rotten (And R.I.P.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Final Version 3/12 GCW Report

-- Larry Goodman

The craziness in the Columbus area has settled down to a dull roar.

The promotional war is over. The promises of owner Billy Roper to the contrary, Prime Time Pro is showing no signs of life. Great Championship Wrestling is once again, the only game in town.

It’s an entirely different ballgame than it was a year ago ago. The landscape has changed about as rapidly as the US economy. GCW was a something of a haven for high priced talent – Johnny Swinger, Sonny Siaki, Bull Buchanan, and going a little further back, David Young and Chris Stevens. They all ended up in Prime Time before it was over - adding a cost factor that may have contributed to that company’s downfall.

More recently, the Southside Trash left GCW in a huff while still holding the tag team titles. Oh, the irony of it all. SST had jumped to GCW in the midst of the mess with Prime Time and did so via a telephone call to Roper that was taped for the internet and used by GCW.

The end result is a company that is leaner and meaner than ever before. Talent expenses have been slashed, but if last night’s show was any indication, without necessarily diminishing the quality of the shows. The intensity level of the workers has never been better. All in all, a very entertaining evening.

Thursday night’s attendance at the Gr8 Sk8 Plex in Phenix City, Alabama was 140. There’s no getting around the fact that crowds are down from what GCW was reporting a year ago after they first moved to Thursday nights, even with lower prices. The bright side is that the fans they are drawing are pretty hardcore about the product.

(1) Frankie Valentine beat Kyle Matthews in 7:13. Technically, this was a killer match, but done in a way that it didn’t upstage the rest of the show. It was ROH like with everything crisp and clean. Valentine got a babyface burst of offense and started working the arm. Matthews pumphandled Valentine’s arm on the ropes, then posted the shoulder to take over. He used a cravate suplex, his signature dropkick and applied a short arm scissors. Sweet choices. This Matthews guy is a student of the game. Valentine started his comeback with an escape. He got a near fall with his signatures the step up elbow drop. Matthews hit a single arm DDT floated into a pinning combination. The finish was a counter move – a southern style version of Doug Williams’ Chaos Theory.

A Hot Like Lava backstage vignette and a Princeton Gainey promo were shown on the big screen. The audio was unintelligible. It came across like amateur hour. Ring announcer Taylor McKnight did a great job BSing his way through an explanation of what they were saying.

(2) Tex Monroe beat Dany Only and Bobby Moore (with Princeton Gainey) in a triple threat match (8:20). It was booked as an opportunity for Monroe to shine, and the kid took full advantage of it. He’s got the desire. It’s palpable when he’s in the ring. Typical story for a three way: The babyface overcomes the odds with superior skill until the numbers game becomes too much. It worked because they did a good job of telling it. On the comeback, Monroe got obliterated by a combo move where it had to suck for him. Monroe caused the heels to collide. He tried to kick off M-1 for the Texas Toast on Only but his hand slipped and they had to redo it. Fans didn’t seem to mind. It’s a cool move, a Sliced Bread without using the ropes.

Merchants of Death came out to confront Only. This was great. Wicked Nemesis said MOD had the patience of a chopping block. They had given Only 7 days to decide if he was with them, and time was up. Only forgot which side of the river he was on, and put MOD over as most dominant tag team in the state of Georgia. MOD waited until Only accepted their offer. Then they kicked his ass all over the ring.

McKnight introduced a hot new redhead named Amy Morgan. The gimmick is she’s French and speaks only broken English. Cru Jones came out. His talking is major league. The Hot Like Lava gimmick is first rate. It’s got the glitz and glamour and it’s all about the hair. McKnight pleaded with Jones to keep it clean because it was a family show. Jones talked about great he looked. “But you don’t have brain,” Morgan said. Jones told her all she had to do was say yes, and forget about all those four letter words like don’t, stop and quit. Morgan blew him off. Jones said, “That’s all right. There’s plenty more tuna in the tank.” To be continued no doubt. This scenario has intriguing possibilities.

After Jones left, Rob Adonis came to the ring with J.P. Money and cut a great babyface promo. Adonis proclaimed himself as the new watchdog of GCW. He said Rob got robbed in his GCW title match against Jones last week. He said it wasn’t about broads from France, it was about Cru’s belt. McKnight promised an answer next week. Former GCW champion J-Rod came out with Valentine. He was tired of hearing Adonis run his mouth, but he totally agreed that Jones was a snake in the grass. J-Rod asked Adonis to be their partner in the annual War Games (on May 7). Adonis accepted.

The next match was advertised as an 8 man tag. The returning Bobby Sanford and JT Flash came out to James Brown. Very entertaining. They couldn’t miss with that choice of intro music. John Bogie was introduced as their partner, looking more cartoonish than ever. The music for the fourth member, Kareem Abdul Jamar hit a couple of times and nothing happened. McKnight said Jamar wasn’t in the building. Gainey came out and said it was going to be a handicap match – with Bogie on the short end. Sanford and Flash attacked Bogie.

(3) John Bogie & Rob Adonis (with JP Money) beat Midnight Studds (Bobby Sanford & JT Flash (with Princeton Gainey III) in 8:43. Studds gave Bogie the beatdown. Sanford was the ring general of the team. They thrashed Bogie for a several minutes before Adonis came out to take the hot tag. Sanford missed with a double jump moonsault and it was on. Adonis T-Boned Sanford and put the claw on Flash. But Sanford blindsided to Adonis to set up a double diving lariat by Studds. Bogie had to interject himself back into the situation. Adonis and Bogie pinned Studds with twin small packages.

The booking of Adonis, I didn’t get. They just finished putting him one of the biggest matches of the year. He’s the monster of the babyface side, and he needs help from the likes of Bogie? The spot was tailor made for Adonis to take the hot tag and single-handedly destroy the opposition. Do one of those stack pin deals. Bogie may be an asset to the company in other ways, but he’s strictly jobber material in the ring.

(4) J-Rod beat Sal Rinauro via DQ in 16:39 in a contender’s match for the GCW Heavyweight Title. I had high hopes for this match based on their feud in Rampage Pro. They did a priceless angle in RPW last fall where Rinauro blinded J-Rod with the Sal Spray, and Dr. Johnny Gayton had to do surgery to save J-Rod’s vision. Rinauro stalled before and after the bell. A good 7 or 8 minutes total. Rinauro then outdid J-Rod on the first few moves. It built to a pretty good pop when J-Rod finally let Rinauro have it. Rinauro turned the tables with pure gutter brawling. He held off on the wrestling moves until he had J-Rod worn down. J-Rod missed a top rope splash and Rinauro worked over his midsection. They worked a very long sleeper spot. Referee Donnie DeMarco got bumped. Decent ref. He just looks like a slob. Quentin Michaels came to ringside to cheer on Rinauro. They did a series of near falls. J-Rod had Rinauro pinned with a backstabber, but Michaels put Rinauro’s foot over the bottom rope. Rinauro got a roll up using the tights, but J-Rod kicked out. Rinauro fouled J-Rod and suddenly it was Arena Mexico, as DeMarco DQed Rinauro on the spot. An OK match. It had good heat because J-Rod is so over, but longer than necessary.

Main event time. This was set up last week when J-Rod & Valentine defeated the tag team champions Hot Like Lava in a non-title match. The stipulation was the winners got to name the #1 contenders. Instead of keeping the spot to themselves, the babyfaces decided to drive a wedge in the “Trinity of Terror” by giving it to Quentin Michael’s associate, Wicked Nemesis and his MOD.

(5) Merchants of Death (Orion Bishop & Murder One with Wicked Nemesis) beat Hot Like Lava (Cru Jones & Shaun Banks with Quentin Michaels) to win the GCW Tag Team Championship in 21:08. Michaels said MOD liked to play dirty just like his guys, but they needed to fight fair and square tonight. After all, they were part of HIS Trinity of Terror. Nemesis said Quentin’s ego was out of control. Nemesis knocked Michaels down. All six started going at it. Gainey ran down and tried to play peacemaker between Michaels and Nemesis. It settled into a regular tag match. Crowd was split close to 50/50. Both teams have a cool heel factor. Lava has more appeal for the women and kids. MOD has the Stone Cold lock. Lava briefly worked on Bishop’s ribs. Bishop hit his signature fallaway slam on Banks, and M-1 followed with a classic Dark City mugging. Bishop used a grounded cobra clutch and a standing double underhook/leg grapevine thing that looked like sheer hell on the neck of Banks. M-1 took the heat for MOD and was being beaten silly. Banks punched M-1 in the groin. DeMarco saw it but of course no DQ this time. Murder used a Morton Roll of sorts to hot tag Bishop. MOD hit a wicked double team on Banks, and Jones blocked DeMarco’s hand from completing the three count. M-1 saved after the Lava Drop on Bishop. Banks leapfrogged Bishop’s spear and the momentum carried him out the ring. It looked like curtains for M-1, but he forced Lava to collide and rolled up Banks. Big pop for the title change.

J-Rod and Valentine came out to confront MOD. J-Rod said they just talked to owner Diane Hewes and they were getting their title shot next week. Lava attacked J-Rod and Valentine. MOD joined in to make it 4 on 2. Adonis and Monroe made the save, and yes, Bogie jumped in there to help.