The Wrld on GCW 2022: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2022

The Wrld on GCW 2022: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    Conceived in 1999 in New Jersey and rebranded in 2015 as the company its diehard fanbase knows and loves today, Game Changer Wrestling presented its biggest event yet Sunday, live from the historic Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, New York.

    The WRLD on GCW featured a loaded card, headlined by All Elite Wrestling's Jon Moxley defending the GCW World Championship against newly enshrined Indie Wrestling Hall of Famer Homicide.

    Intense personal rivalries pitting Matt Cardona against Joey Janela and EFFY against Jeff Jarrett, as well as a dream match between Allie Katch and AEW's Ruby Soho, rounded out one of the most significant events in the underground, outcast promotion's two-decade history.

Match Card

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    • GCW World Championship match: Jon Moxley (c) vs. Homicide
    • Ring of Honor World Championship match: Jonathan Gresham (c) vs. Blake Christian
    • Open Challenge for the GCW Tag Team Championship: The Briscoe Brothers (c) vs. ???
    • Grab The Brass Ring Ladder match: Jordan Oliver vs. Jimmy Lloyd vs. Alex Colon vs. Lio Rush vs. PCO vs. Tony Deppen
    • Trios match: Gringo Loco, Flamita and Arez vs. Laredo Kid, Bandido, ASF
    • Allie Katch vs. Ruby Soho
    • Joey Janela vs. Matt Cardona (with Chelsea Green)
    • EFFY vs. Jeff Jarrett

Grab the Brass Ring Ladder Match

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    G-Raver (replacing Lio Rush), Tony Deppen, Jordan Oliver, Jimmy Lloyd, PCO and Alex Colon kicked off the pay-per-view event in a Grab the Brass Ring Ladder match, with the winner earning any match he wanted, any time. AJ Gray joined the match at the last minute, enhancing the field.

    All seven competitors threw their bodies around the ring early, with 54-year-old PCO impressing most. Oliver saved the match by delivering a cutter to Deppen, bringing him off a ladder. His momentum was short-lived as PCO delivered a sickening package piledriver onto the ladder.

    G-Raver sandwiched Colon between two ladders and put a ladder across his prone body. He proceeded to scale the ladder and throw his body onto his opponent. Lloyd sent Raver to the floor with an Awesome Bomb from the ring onto a ladder on the floor.

    Gray tried for a high-risk elbow drop off of a ladder but crashed and burned. Colon and Oliver fought atop the ladder, the former knocking the ladder to the floor. Lloyd knocked Colon to the outside, where John Wayne Murdoch attacked him on the floor.

    Back inside, a recovered Gray retrieved the brass ring to earn the win.



    Gray defeated Raver, Deppen, Oliver, Lloyd, PCO and Colon






    Every one of the competitors threw caution to the wind and busted their asses in this one. It was certainly a high-risk encounter that had the audience, both live and watching at home, on the edge of its collective seat.

    But most of that was because of the uncooperative ladders.

    With no one stabilizing the ladders, the competitors repeatedly ate it in more than one scary moment. The Gray spot, in particular, looked extremely painful, and it is a wonder that G-Raver was able to walk away from the match given some of the bumps he took.

    Had the ladders been more cooperative, or someone been there to steady them, the action would have hit more than it did.

    Gray winning was the right call and should create intrigue as to when, where and against who he will have his guaranteed match.

Trios Match: Bandido, Laredo Kid and ASF vs. Flamita, Gringo Loco and Arez

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    Lucha took center stage in the night’s next match, a trios match pitting Bandido, Laredo Kid and ASF against Flamita, Gringo Loco and Arez.

    A wild, high-energy, high-flying contest saw neither team gain a sustained advantage before Falmita launched off the top rope with a frog splash to Bandido.

    Laredo Kid broke up the pin, downed the heel and delivered a 450 splash for a near-fall, broken up by Arez.

    Gringo Loco launched ASF with a release suplex, but former Ring of Honor champion Bandido made the save. The combatants paired off before the masked babyface scored a tornado DDT for two. A wicked-cool double electric chair spot brought all six competitors down.

    Laredo Kid delivered a Spanish Fly to Arez, off the top rope and to the arena floor, wiping out Bandido and Flamita. Back inside, ASF whiffed on a poison rana, and Gringo Loco delivered a spike piledriver for the win.



    Gringo Loco, Flamita and Arez defeated Laredo Kid, ASF and Bandido 






    Put lucha libre on television more often.

    This was a ton of fun with some great action and a nice showcase for ASF.

    The heels going over was a bit of a surprise given the star power on the babyface side, but winners and losers did not matter. The match was a showcase of the style, the participants and the fans in Hammerstein Ballroom responded favorably. 

    This is sure to be unlike anything else on the card tonight.

Blake Christian vs. Lio Rush (Replacing Jonathan Gresham)

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    Lio Rush was originally scheduled for the Grab the Brass Ring Ladder match earlier in the night. However, the revelation that Ring of Honor world champion Jonathan Gresham could not appear for his scheduled defense against Blake Christian meant The Man of the Hour would battle his longtime foe.

    Rush started fast and furiously, but a lightning-quick tope suicida from Christian allowed him to seize control of the bout.

    When his opponent mounted a comeback, Christian cut him off with a clothesline from the top rope to the back of the head.

    Rush finally fought his way back into the match, delivered a poison rana and executed a picture-perfect frog splash for a dramatic near-fall. Christian answered with the Fosbury Flop, held onto Rush and delivered a tombstone piledriver on the floor. 

    Back inside, he added a 450 double-stomp for the hard-fought victory.



    Christian defeated Rush






    This was a damn good match, though that is not much of a surprise to anyone who had seen any of Christian and Rush's previous encounters.

    Christian took more of the match than you would have imagined, dominating a good portion of the bout. He looked like a total star while Rush approached the match with the speed and intensity that has become a trademark of his in-ring style.

    Again, the match was unlike the one that preceded it, backing up the company's reputation as one of varied styles and wrestlers.

Joey Janela vs. Matt Cardona

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    After weeks of innuendo suggesting Chelsea Green had stepped out on husband Matt Cardona with Joey Janela, the combatants battled in one of the most intensely personal matches of the night.

    The Bad Boy fought for the honor of GCW while Cardona looked to add another hardcore legend to the list of stars he has beaten in recent months.

    Cardona weathered the early storm to seize control until Green unexpectedly delivered a low blow. As it turned out, it was a trap. Cardona revealed a cup seconds after his wife crotched Janela on the ropes.

    As the self-proclaimed Deathmatch King found himself in dire straits, courtesy of a re-invigorated Bad Boy, Smart Mark Sterling appeared and revealed Janela could not utilize the Internet Championship against Cardona, per the pre-match contract.

    When Sterling attempted to utilize it, he rocked Cardona by accident. Swoggle appeared, but the massive Sam Stackhouse attempted to cut him off. A missed moonsault by the big man set up a showdown between Swoggle and the returning Marko Stunt.

    Stunt put Swoggle through a door, Janela delivered a big elbow from the ring to Cardona and through a table on the floor. Green rocked Stunt with the Internet Championship, then delivered a Canadian Destroyer. Cardona blasted Janela with a chair and delivered an Attitude Adjustment onto a chair for a two-count.

    As Janela took Green out of the equation with a piledriver, an unknown assailant entered the ring. Under a black motorcycle helmet, he speared Janela through a door and revealed himself to be Brian Myers. He joined Cardona for Radio Silence through another door for the win.

    After the match, Sean “X-Pac” Waltman hit the ring and made the save, clearing the heels from the ring.

    Moments later, Mance Warner made his return after a devastating knee injury, only to have his address interrupted by Atticus Cogar. When the rest of 44OH joined its leader, Matthew Justice made the save. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Sabu and Bill Alfonso appeared. The babyfaces cleared the heels and stood tall while Pantera’s “Walk” played, an homage to ECW and Rob Van Dam.



    Cardona defeated Janela






    If you grew up on Attitude Era wrestling in both WWE and ECW, with overbooking running wild, you loved everything about this.

    The twists, turns, weapon usage, character work and red-hot fan interaction were a welcome return to nostalgia. Cardona is a master heel, just a great, unlikable bad guy who finally found a role he can ride all the way to the top of the industry.

    Janela, with his unbreakable connection to the fans, made the perfect opponent for this. His ability to put his body through hell to sell the match only enhanced the entire thing.

    This was just glorious, pro wrestling chaos followed up by a great moment featuring Warner, Sabu and Alfonso.

Ruby Soho vs. Allie Katch

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    In arguably the biggest match of her career, GCW stalwart Allie Katch battled All Elite Wrestling’s Ruby Soho.

    A competitive, back-and-forth match saw Katch earn the early upper hand, only for The Runaway to mount a comeback and wrestle control back in her favor. Late, though, it was Katch who delivered her trademark piledriver and appeared to have the match sewn up.

    Soho kicked out at two, to the surprise of the fans. Moments later, with Katch perched atop the ropes, Soho met her up there and grabbed her arm. She proceeded to deliver the Riott Kick for the win.

    After the match, the fans in Hammerstein rained down with boos, to which Riott shrugged and visibly mouthed the words, "I'm sorry." A big embrace between the two post-match gave way to chants of "Allie Katch," out of respect for the home-grown competitor. 



    Soho defeated Katch






    This was a hard-fought, uber-competitive match. Katch wrestled well, proving to a worldwide audience what GCW fans already knew: She can hang with any wrestler in the industry. Katch had Soho reeling more than once and probably should have won with her piledriver to really payoff her story.

    As it is, Soho picked up the win, presumably as per an agreement with AEW for her usage on the show. A fan-favorite in her own right, she did not earn—nor did deserve—the negative reaction of the fans. Soho helped elevate Katch’s star and put her over, even in defeat.

    Katch is over, and hopefully, the wrestling world was paying attention because she has the talent to compete on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

EFFY vs. Jeff Jarrett

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    The self-proclaimed Last Outlaw, Jeff Jarrett, took the fight to EFFY from the opening bell Sunday night. Jarrett attacked him with a leather belt, whipping him around the squared circle before binding him to the top turnbuckle. 

    Before he could use a steel chair on him, EFFY broke free and unleashed hell on the 10-time world champion.

    As his back welted from the belt shots earlier, he unloaded on his opponent with the weapon. A low blow to Jarrett momentarily stunned the Hall of Famer, but Double J blasted him with a guitar shot.

    EFFY fired up but Jarrett dropped him with the Stroke for the pinfall victory.

    After the match, the commentary team suggested the rivalry is not over.



    Jarrett defeated EFFY






    The shot of EFFY firing up, the broken guitar hanging around his neck, was a great moment and made him look like a total badass. Jarrett putting him down may not have been the popular outcome but if the feud is to continue, the heel needed to go over to propel things forward.

    After all, the babyface spent the entire build calling Jarrett a "clout vampire." The legendary competitor responded by beating him, in his own yard, in front of a hostile crowd. 

    EFFY will get his moment and revenge, and he absolutely should. Maybe during WrestleMania weekend.

    Until then, this had a big-match feel, and the wrestlers held up their end of the deal. Now, it will be interesting to see the ultimate payoff and just how big a star EFFY is coming out of it.

GCW World Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Homicide

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    Off-the-charts intensity dominated the GCW world title match pitting Indie Wrestling Hall of Famer Homicide against AEW star and defending titleholder, Jon Moxley.

    The fight spilled to the arena floor and back into the ring, where Moxley flattened his challenger with a double-arm DDT. When that failed to put Homicide down, Moxley tried for his signature choke. Homicide, his mouth bloodied and his tooth on the mat in front of him, barely made it to the ropes to break the hold.

    The Notorious 187 fought back and nearly executed his finisher, only for Moxley to deliver the Paradigm Shift on a pile of steel chairs, but Homicide kicked out. 

    The action escalated, with near-falls ensuing. Some biting by Moxley gave way to the Paradigm Shift onto a single, seated chair ended the battle and gave Moxley the victory.



    Moxley defeated Homicide






    Homicide won the Ring of Honor world title from Bryan Danielson in the Manhattan Center, home to the Hammerstein Ballroom. The idea of him dethroning another all-timer and taking the title made for a great story but he simply could not overcome the physical onslaught of a refocused, rejuvenated Moxley.

    The match was less a wrestling match, more of a fight. A war of attrition, even.

    Moxley knocked one of Homicide’s teeth out and the physical marks of battle painted both men’s bodies before the champion decimated his opponent with his trademark finisher.

    The aerial shot of AEW star (and former WWE champion) Moxley holding the GCW title, in the middle of a sold-out ballroom, was magical and a testament to everything the promotion has been able to accomplish in the 20-years since its inception.  

Open Invitation for the GCW Tag Team Championship: Briscoe Brothers vs. ???

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    Credit: Game Changer Wrestling

    The GCW tag team titles were at stake in the night’s main event as The Briscoe Brothers defended in an open invitation. Answering the challenge? Deathmatch legend Matt Tremont and MDK himself, Nick Gage.

    Jay Briscoe and Tremont sparred with chairs before Mark Briscoe and Gage did the same with pieces of a door. Speaking of doors, Mark drove Tremont through another at ringside moments later while Jay pounded away at Gage.

    The champs dominated until MDK drove Mark through the door with a piledriver. Jay attempted to break up the pinfall, but the referee counted three, called for the bell and awarded the titles to Gage and Tremont.

    After the match, the GCW locker room spilled into the ring, and Gage addressed the fans. The in-ring celebration concluded the show. 



    Gage and Tremont defeated The Briscoe Brothers to win the titles






    The surprise of Gage helped rescue what was looking like a disappointing answer to the open invitation. 

    The match was little more than plunder, and not even an overabundance of it. Whether the match was cut short due to time or was never intended to go long, it felt like a rushed title match that produced the desired outcome but failed to put the exclamation on the night that the show deserved.

    Gage addressing the fans and his recent hiatus was important, and the in-ring celebration with the stars of the company was a nice touch. Even if the in-ring action in the night’s main event did not live up to expectations, the star of the promotion and the man most synonymous with it got his moment in front of the largest audience in Hammerstein Ballroom history.

    For a guy who has quite literally given his blood, sweat and tears for GCW, Gage being the last wrestler we saw as the show went off the air was as fulfilling as a seven-star match from the Tokyo Dome.