What I Did On My Summer Vacation: GCW Homecoming Night 2

GCW Presents Homecoming Part 2
Live from Atlantic City, NJ
July 26, 2020
Available on FITE.tv

I really should start out this piece by first going into detail on what happened after the show was over. This is a good way to introduce the second part of this write up; I’d say if there were an indicator of how crazy the weekend in Atlantic City was, this scenario would be it. And it’s all because I’m just too talkative of a wrestling fan when I’m stoned out of my mind.

Night 2 had ended and I wasn’t ready to leave the pier yet. Needless to say, my condition on Sunday night mirrored the way I barely functioned on Saturday night. So instead of leaving, my friends and I hung out at the pier a little longer. Several finely rolled blunts extended our stay (thank you Cody, all love). It was a beautiful evening, too - the sun was setting and the Steel Pier looked so fantastic lit up as we continued to get lit up ourselves. Time passed, people stayed around, people left to go hang out on the boardwalk. 

Much to my pleasure I found myself soon after sitting next to Emil Jay and having a great discussion with Coral (lord of handling sound at shows) about wrestling while we passed blunts around. Talking 90s wrestling with Emil is like talking Baroque concertos with a Julliard scholar. You can go on forever with the guy and never get tired. I think that’s where I may have officially lost track of time. Maybe it was after I lit one last joint. Either way it was long after the show that the three of us were ready to leave the Garden Pier. The moon was out, the ring was taken down and carried away, and the pier was empty except for us. Great night though, right? Yeah, we stayed a little long but damn…

...damn! Sure enough we find the pier gates chained and locked with high fences ahead of us and nothing but the ocean behind us. I’m sure at any other time that Emil, Coral, and I could have mobilized quickly enough to form a plan, but no, we were quite high at the moment. This is where I’ll say that it all goes to show you that the GCW crew are damn fine individuals who come in clutch when the situation calls for it. I sent an SOS tweet to Brett Lauderdale who was quick to respond by sending assistance, God love him. Before I could send a follow up message to him though, Emil and Coral already had devised their escape. I thought I’d gotten pictures of them doing so, but it turns out I was too altered to even get a clear picture of the whole scene. Thank God for blurry memories when blurry pictures won’t do.

Ironically enough, two nice ladies outside of the pier were smoking a blunt, saw our predicament, and were gracious enough to get involved by describing how between the three of us we could give each other a boost to climb over the fence. That was all well and good for the guys...but I was drunk, stoned, and wearing a dress with dubious support for someone wearing no bra whatsoever. I have to give a hundred percent credit to Emil for helping me over the fence while keeping me from fully flashing tits or ass accidentally to everyone on the boardwalk in the process. That’s how wrestling fans bond...in the messiest ways possible. :)

The GCW crew is a choice example of family. But how awesome is Brett Lauderdale, too? Dude is a truly remarkable individual. He’s done the absolute most this whole summer and still has time to try and help out my drunk ass after running two nights of fantastic shows. This is yet another reason why I’m dedicated to this promotion. Fucking hell, they’re dedicated to their fans.

Before I get into the matches, I can’t forget to mention J-Rose and how he has moved into his own as the show’s announcer. Yes, this is Emil Jay’s territory on the microphone, but it’s good to see he handed off a good deal of the duties to the young man from Indianapolis. And J-Rose kills it! I’m looking forward to seeing him again this weekend in Indianapolis keeping the energy going from start to finish.

Match 1: Lee Moriarty vs. Tony Deppen

I like how much everyone watching on the live stream enjoyed this match too. The first bout on an outdoor card is no joke - you’re in the late afternoon sun and heat in the most intense part of the day. Keep in mind both Moriarty and Deppen also had matches earlier in the day at Beyond Wrestling’s Two Weeks Notice show and you realize that damn, everything that went into this match was done by two solid-as-hell competitors. I predicted this match would be a banger, but even though I couldn’t confidently predict a winner I didn’t see Lee taking the win as he’s still the ‘new guy’. Gotta say I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome; Moriarty gets momentum with the victory in the opener and I hope he takes this winner energy into Indianapolis with him for Keep in Touch.

Match 2: Second Gear Crew (Manders, Matt Justice, Mance Warner, and EFFY) w/ AJ Grey vs. Benjamin Carter, Logan Stunt, FACADE, and Pinkie Sanchez

WOW. It’s not an overstatement to say that this match went all the hell out and all over the place. I’m a fan of the SGC, baby. They have that old-school dominant supergroup feel and it’s impossible for me to not cheer them on no matter how dirty they get. It was fun to see AJ Grey providing verbal support while kicking it and having a smoke at ringside. Meanwhile on the other side I see Ben Carter and Logan Stunt as two of the biggest futures in GCW that not everyone may have taken notice of yet. Ben worked his ass off all weekend and in this match as well, and Logan has reached a point after a year that he’s ready for the same platform his brother Marko leapt off of so successfully. SGC came away with the victory and stood tall in the end; I say we can expect more of this from them as long as they remain a cohesive and powerful unit.

Match 3: KTB vs. ACH

ACH’s GCW debut was designed to show us all that he’s still got it; however this match proved to us that KTB has found it. The bad Beast from the Woods took the quarantine opportunity to work on his physique and the results have been impressive this summer. KTB’s appearance was peak in this match and he looked great going up against ACH. Just like with the night before, ACH did a fine job of establishing his cocky assurance to the viewing audience, mocking the polite golf clap that he received from the fans. I still came away from this match proud as hell of both competitors although ACH was the one who was victorious in the end. I feel like KTB’s just opened a lot of new doors for himself with his streamlined new look and ACH just kicked open a new door for a different path in his career.

Match 4: Zachary Wentz vs. Alex Colon

Holy shit, Zachary Wentz. I don’t think anyone watching was expecting this level of deathmatch chaos from him when they saw this match would take place. I completely understand, though - you don’t half step when you’re in your first deathmatch. This is especially the case if you’re taking on Alex Colon. God, this was brutal. I loved witnessing this go down live. There is nothing like seeing blood drip profusely off a man’s head while he’s climbing to the top rope for a huge spot. The ring was covered in so much blood and glass shards. Looking right in front of you the scene is like a warzone playing out at your feet. Wentz has found his place among the deathmatch badasses with this one. Colon, of course, secured the title of legend at Homecoming weekend with this match and going up against AJ Gray in a deathmatch just 24 hours earlier. Amazing, surreal, quality brutality with Alex picking up a second win for the weekend.

Match 5: Alex Zayne vs. Jimmy Lloyd vs. Tre LaMar vs. Jordan Oliver vs. Blake Christian vs. Myron Reed

I slightly prefer the Night 2 scramble over Saturday’s scramble. This one fucked that much harder. How can you not love the long-form build of the professional rivalry between Alex Zayne and Blake Christian? GCW does great storytelling with these two, even in a scramble with multiple other individuals involved. Jordan Oliver and Myron Reed put in damn good work here too. Anyone else other than me interested in seeing Jimmy Lloyd take on one of the newer guys one on one? Yeah he’s certainly solid in scramble matches but let’s see him in a singles bout again that’s not a deathmatch. I wouldn’t mind seeing him take on Tre LaMar. Fun as hell match, though, and I’m glad to see Blake Christian reigning as GCW’s current king of the scramblefuck.

Match 6: Calvin Tankman vs. Chris Dickinson

Hell yeah big body hardbody shit! Calvin Tankman has officially arrived in GCW now that he’s gone toe to toe with the Dirty Daddy. This one banged hard just like I’d expected it to. Now that we know how well Tankman delivers, I want to see him in all the hoss fights from here on out. Get that man to Japan, in fact, whenever it’s possible to get the outlaws back there. I’m thinking that this summer has prepared Calvin pretty damn well to go worldwide with his bad ass. Dickinson, however, got the pinfall win because let’s be real, he’s the final boss when it comes to GCW hoss fights and it’ll take even more than anyone’s A-game to take him out. Good to see the Filthy Father giving Tankman his props after getting the win over the big man in the meantime. 

Match 7: Joey Janela vs. Lio Rush

For the life of me I’ll never understand how it’s so hard for some people to ‘get’ Joey Janela. He’s got a love for the business that immediately makes sense to me, so I never had trouble figuring the guy out. I guess it’s for the same reason that people refuse to ‘get’ Lio Rush; both Joey and Lio are outspoken as hell and made the correct decision to say (and do) what they damn well please despite what anyone thinks. To me, that’s commendable. I truly hope this isn’t the last time we see Lio Rush in a wrestling ring as I feel he has a hell of a lot more to offer the business. I got a thrill after the fact seeing the shock and even the online outrage of Joey’s dive off the pillar on the pier. To be there and see it in person was actually pretty intimidating...and then to hear Joey’s head hit the wooden planks of the pier upon landing was sickening. Did I love the hell out of it, though? Absolutely. Bless Joey for not giving a fuck and continuing to do himself at his best. Praise Lio for not closing the door entirely on his career, hopefully. We need him back, because he really does belong here.

Match 8: Allie Kat vs. Spyder Nate Webb

There’s nothing better than having Spyder Nate Webb dance with you during Teenage Dirtbag. Dammit, I love his entrance. Fuck 44OH, by the way, for ruining our fun and attacking two of the most beloved people in GCW. What could have been a damn good time before the main event went to no contest thanks to RSP and his asshole buddies in their stupid green pants.

Match 9: 44OH (Rickey Shane Page, Atticus Cogar, Eddy Only, Gregory Iron, and Eric Ryan) vs. SHLAK, Alex Colon, AJ Gray, and Nick Gage

44OH is Dollar General DX, there, I said it. Their new ring gear only served to piss me off even more. Thankfully the deathmatch badasses were on hand to give the Ohio boys the hell they so richly deserved. The show ended with the most possible satisfaction, though. AJ, Alex, and SHLAK came off looking great taking on all five members of 44OH and yet managing to fuck them up decently. I was glad to see how this match worked out despite Gage’s unfortunate and untimely injury he’d gotten earlier in the day at the Beyond show. In the end Gage stood victorious despite only getting involved at the end of the match. It hurts to see the King injured, but I’m glad we got to see him send us all off with some encouragement by picking up the pinfall win.

Post-Show Thoughts

I’ve said it before, but we’re right in the middle of the summer of GCW. When I first started following the promotion last summer I had a feeling that they’d grow even more within a year, but for GCW to have made such headway in uncertain times is something incredible. I’m seeing now with the success of these shows that there’s a whole other element of anger and bitterness from others in the wrestling industry that comes along with it. I saw it after the Backyard show and I saw it after Homecoming weekend. You know, I get it. Society’s in a pressure cooker right now and the only way for some to let off steam is to try and drag down others that are making a hard-earned come up. 

That’s too bad; I really feel like these people looking for reasons to latch on to bullshit and drag the outlaws down would have a pretty damn good time if they actually just watched a show. This anger, though? It’s from people who lost that satisfaction of simply watching wrestling a long time ago. No, there’s no fun in that to them; these are the people who finish playing with a toy and start tearing the stuffing out just to see how much they can disrupt whatever’s under the surface. That’s pretty damn tragic.

I’ve been there, though. I’ve been that jaded with wrestling. After a while when these naysayers realize they can’t stop this momentum the promotion’s riding on they’ll do what I did - step away from wrestling for a while because the burnout’s run too deep. Hopefully for their sake they’ll find something that rekindles their passion for the business, much like GCW did for me. Life’s too short and time’s too precious for anyone who’s ever enjoyed wrestling to be worried about anything else than finding where you belong.

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