The first of GCW’s shows in Japan was a whole load of fun, so night two had something to live up to. With the way this company has been going recently, you’d have been daft to bet against them keeping the good form up.
Kyle The Beast and Tony Deppen defeated Shigehiro Irie and Kikutaro
There were two halves to this match. The opening was all about the comedy, as first Deppen decided he was big enough to take on Irie (and got a beating for his troubles) before Kikutaro wanted a shot at KTB (and got a beating for his troubles). That was all fun enough, but the second half was when things took off.
Because this match made Irie look like a star as he had a wee hoss off with KTB before tossing Deppen around the place. It was the kind of performance that draws eyes and with Irie already having a good year, this won’t have done his chances of picking up bookings in America any harm.
Elsewhere, seeing Kikutaro pull off Sit-Out Powerbombs was quite the sight while Tony Deppen always impresses. He’s a guy who makes everyone else look good. Sadly, there was a botch at the end as KTB nearly killed himself attempting the Best Moonsault Ever when he slipped on the top rope. Thankfully, he rotated enough to come down on his face rather than his head, and he recovered to hit the Beastsault for the win.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Violento Jack, Takashi Sasaki and Isami Kodaka defeated Masashi Takeda, Alex Colon and Eric Ryan in a Deathmatch
Colon and Takeda dragging meat cleavers across people’s foreheads (and their own) is a hell of a sight. I instinctively flinch away every time, and yet I never avert my eyes. What does that say about me?
It’s easy to be sniffy about deathmatch wrestling, but watching someone like Takeda, how can you deny that he’s one of the best in the world right now? Amid a wild sprint, everything he did stood out, and he screams superstar. Sure, he’s not going to be the Ace of a big company, but I’d take a Takeda over a million people with brilliant fundamentals (which he seems to have too, by the way).
Everything about this match was either horrifying or exciting. Poor Eric Ryan got the shit beat out of him, as at one point he got dropped onto a box with forks sticking out of it and came up with the forks very much embedded in his back. They did exactly what you’d expect them to do, attempt to murder each other, and it was a shitload of fun.
Verdict: Four Stars
Jimmy Lloyd defeated Drew Parker and Toshiyuki Sakuda in a Three-Way Deathmatch
Where deathmatch wrestling can suffer is when you get too much of it. As the matches stack up, the smashing of light tubes begins to lose its edge. It’s a predicament that forces wrestlers to do something different/get more extreme or risk being overshadowed by what came before.
These three went down the something different route. Rather than going all out from the beginning, they put together a series of cool three-person sequences, using the high flying abilities of Parker and Sakuda (who I’d never seen before, but was super impressive) to do so. It was at times a bit overly choreographed, but it was also a lot of fun, so I’m not going to complain.
And then, they went gross. First, Lloyd pushed a tattoo needle through Sakuda’s cheeks, then Lloyd got a bunch of skewers slammed into his forehead and Parker had a hypodermic needle stabbed into him leading to who knows what spurting out. It’s safe to say they’d cringed the last match right out of my head.
It was a perfect example of how to mix things up as, in among all that chaos, they even managed to get some comedy in there with a Super Famicom (a SNES to you or I) being used as a weapon with obligatory cartridge blowing. It was another match that hit the top of Stuart’s All The Fun Scale, making any worries about an abundance of deathmatch wrestling seem a bit silly.
Verdict: Four Stars
Los Mazisos (Ciclope and Miedo Extremo) defeated Hate Trash Disaster (Markus Crane and SHLAK) to retain the GCW Tag Team Titles
Verdict: Punch Nazis
The Great Sasuke defeated Joey Janela
Previously in GCW: The Great Sasuke brought Joey Janela back to life after Kikutaro shot him (none of that was a joke). Rather than accepting the gift of a beating heart, Janela punched Sasuke in the face, adding heat to this match. They’ve also wrestled before in the main event of the original Spring Break. That was, well, tiring, it had been a long show.
I haven’t rewatched that match, but I’m pretty sure this one was an improvement. It was still a spotfest as Janela and Sasuke bounced from one dangerous moment to another, but it was a tighter one. That original went around twenty-five minutes while this hovered around sixteen. It felt like they had less freedom this time around, and some people need that.
And, truthfully, it still wasn’t great. It was a match of moments: Janela Brainbustering Sasuke through two boards, Sasuke tossing Joey onto a pyramid of three chairs which he bounced off sickeningly and then successfully killing himself by hitting a Swanton from the top to the floor through a couple of boards stacked on chairs (Janela was long gone by the time he crashed down). However, I’m not entirely sure that’s a complaint? All of those things were pretty damn cool and expecting fifty-year-old Sasuke to do more is expecting too much.
It did mean the finish came off a bit flat as a Missile Dropkick to the arm of a downed Janela did not feel like enough to get the three, but I’m not going to moan too much. They had a fun clusterfuck, and I’m always down for a bit of that. Afterwards, Joey paid tribute to Sasuke, bowing before they shared a hug signalling that (with Janela off to AEW) this feud is over… for now.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Jun Kasai defeated G-Raver in a a Deathmatch
If you’re a fan of watching a light tube break, then you are going to love this match. Kasai and G-Raver found a million inventive ways to smash those things over each other, whether it was Kasai booting one into G-Raver’s balls or piledriving the poor bugger onto him.
Of all the death matches on these two shows, this one felt like the grimiest. It was two men trying to slice each other up as Kasai at one point grabbed a porcelain pot, smashed it up and poured it into the centre of the ring for both men to be slammed into. Everything looked painful as these mad bastards found a host of inventive ways to make the other bleed.
Nothing exemplified that more than G-Raver getting a bundle of light tubes with fucking butcher knives sticking out of them. He laid it on top of Kasai, going for a Swanton only for Kasai to turn it around as Raver took flight, making him spike himself onto the blades in a moment that looked fucking horrible (and also kind of awesome).
The final stretch saw Raver give his all as he refused to die. He kicked out of a One-Winged Angel and a Splash that included enough light tubes to light a major hospital, leaving Kasai shocked at his resilience. Not that it stopped old Jun, nah, he just gave Raver the kiss of death before delivering an Underhook Piledriver into the shards of glass to finally put him down for the three.
These two shows had a lot of fantastic deathmatches, and halfway through I thought this one was struggling to meet the high bar they’d set. However, by the end, they had me. It was a fucking horrible, stabby war between Kasai and Raver and I loved it. Fuck, am I a deathmatch guy now? I think I might be.
Verdict: Four Stars
Jun Kasai cut a long promo after the match which I understood fuck all of. The GCW guys must have had a translator because they took offence to something that was said leading to both the GCW and Freedom rosters hitting the ring and facing off. We then got a hilarious display of masculinity as they all took it in turns to bump in the broken shards of glass. Never change wrestling.
Another hugely entertaining show from GCW in Japan. I decided to review these on a bit of a whim (for whatever reason the Stardom 5STAR shows from the weekend aren’t being put up), and it turned out to be a good idea. Lunatics trying to kill each other is always fun, and that’s basically what these were. If it sounds up your street, get over to Fite and give them a go.