Great Championship Wrestling made their Macon debut Friday night at the Bloomfield Community Center.
It was test run for taking the show on the road rather than a full-scale attempt to run Macon on regular basis (although it would be close perfect as a double shot weekend with Phenix City).
They didn’t much effort into promoting the show locally, so a house of 60 was acceptable, and the make up of the crowd was encouraging. They were fairly knowledgeable – they knew people like David Young and Johnny Swinger from TV – but not in a smart mark way, and this group had considerably more class than the scary folks that used to inhabit stands at the Nashville Fairgrounds. It was also a racially-mixed audience – something I rarely see on indie shows- in a city that is 60% black.
The Bloomfield building is serviceable, much like what IWA Mid-South/Deep South uses, except the power supply wasn’t sufficient for GCW’s far more elaborate set up (wouldn’t it have to be?).
A couple of problems will be easy fixes. For one, they use the canned “ramp time” time intro, which was rendering meaningless once GCW left Columbus. Now THAT was a ramp. The real annoyance was how the six-sided ring wasn’t in synch with the seating. Each section was facing a post.
Billy Roper announced that commissioner Scrappy McGowan had renamed the GCW Columbus Title as the GCW Interstate Championship.
(1) J Connection (Ruben James & Randall Johnson) beat Frankie Valentine & Tex Monroe in 11:51. Crowd had no idea who these guys were. The babyface team looked dorky and didn’t connect with this crowd at all. J Connection did better in that department. Johnson wore this sparkly blonde wig attached to a red trucker hat. Strange, very strange. He was trying to cover up the shaving he got at the hands of Valentine, but I don’t know how anyone in Macon would have put that together. When the gimmick came off, it looked like a normal WWE haircut. James has something going for him besides the British accent, but needs to step up his physicality in the ring. Valentine took the heat. A double suplex by the heels got polite applause. The crowd reacted to a huge missed moonsault by Valentine. He really laid that sucker out there. Valentine put Johnson down with a spinning heel kick and did his step up elbow instead of tagging. Oops. A slight problem with ring positioning there. James pinned Monroe with a variation of the Dominator.
Quentin Michaels came out with Shaun Banks. He was unhappy about the lack of “respect” for their entrance, so they did a redo for more heat. Michaels said Banks’ scheduled opponent, John Bogie wasn’t there and challenged anyone in the back. David Young came out to a better pop that he gets in Phenix City, a place he’s held multiple titles. Go figure.
(2) David Young beat Shaun Banks (with Quentin Michaels) in 10:48. Like Consequences Creed, Banks is greatness disguised as an unknown Georgia indie guy. His bumping, facial expressions and ability to flat out entertain are the makings of an awesome heel. Banks also happens to have the most ripped junior heavyweight physique around. Point being, they didn’t do a whole lot and this match was still a huge step up the opener based on ring presence alone. Banks ducked one enzuigiri from Young but got nailed by the second one. He took a belly flop bump out of the ring onto the linoleum. Banks got a couple of arm drags and did this hilarious dance. Young slapped the taste out his mouth. Banks stepped aside allowing a charging Young to take a flying crotch bump on the buckles. Banks seized the on the opening and appeared to have the match well in hand when Young caught him with a spinebuster out of nowhere.
(3) Scotty Beach beat Cru Jones (with Michaels) via DQ when Banks interfered at 7:18. There was a rumor that Jones has signed with WWE. Not true but easy to believe with his physique, and the fact that he got TV time at Deep South. Beach struck me as a more effective babyface here than he has in Phenix City. He made a nice connection with the crowd. The lei tossing gimmick worked. And he wasn’t booked to look dumb. Jones had to cheat to take over. He gave Beach one hell of a body slam – so simple and yet so effective when it’s done that well. Jones did a stalling suplex and released the support arm to flex his bicep. Beach showed fire. Jones pounded him. Beach rolled out from under a flying elbow drop to start his comeback. He hit the Beach Balls (double legdrop to the groinular region) and went to the top. Banks clubbed him and referee Jeff McGowan called for the bell. Afterwards, Banks and Jones doubled on Beach. Michaels accosted Roper for announcing the DQ and had to be pulled off of him.
(4) Thug Rowe beat Hooligan (Devin & Mason Cutter) in 8:58. A very indietastic match in that occasionally something looked good, while a lot looked really mediocre. Fans instantly picked up on the Highlander wannabe aspect of Hooligans. They attacked Rowe before the bell, and used quick tags to control most of the match. Rowe hit a big time piledriver on Devin. Mason tried to interfere, but Thug saw him coming and planted him on top of his brother for a double pin. Well done. The crowd was into Thug after seeing that finish, but not so much until then. If the idea was to portray Thug as a major force, he should have been able to dominate the likes of Hooligans.
(5) Johnny Swinger (with Quentin Michaels) beat Mister #1 in 14:25. Basic match that worked fine because the crowd knew them and they had a solid heel/face dynamic going. Mr. #1’s physique is looking more “Samoan” these days, but he does the same stuff and hasn’t lost any speed. The match opened with a lengthy comedic stalling routine. Swinger tried to brawl but couldn’t phase #1’s coconut-like Samoan head. Enough with the stalling. #1 sent Swinger into the rail and turned his attention towards Michaels. Swinger capitalized with a high knee to the back of #1. Swinger scored a series of near falls as he continually managed to thwart #1’s comebacks. When #1 kicked out of a Russian legsweep, Swinger tried to end it with a sleeper. The lights were dimming, but #1 broke free with a jawbreaker to start a full-fledged comeback. Finish came as #1 had Swinger set up for the Samoan Cutter. Michaels distracted the ref. #1 gave Michaels a headbutt. Swinger put #1’s lights out with a set of brass knucks.
(6) A.J. Steele pinned Death Row to retain the GCW Interstate Championship in 14:15. Death is not a main event level guy, and for Steele to be one, he needs to a strong opponent. The thing that saved it was how ridiculously over Steele was as the hometown hero. Before the match, Death attacked Roper. He’s from the Institute for the Criminally Insane. Those crazy eyes are a dead giveaway. The Intern ran out with a syringe in a failed attempt to tranquilize Death. This got more reaction than it does in Phenix City where the fans some variation of that spot every week. Death and Steele started slugging away and it was ugly. Steele went down on an Irish whip like he had blown out his knee, but Death didn’t pick up on it. Steele speared Death. Not good. They both looked blown up. Steele tried to go up top, and Death brought him off with a Samoan drop to get the match on track. Death punished Steele’s back on the rail and ring frame. That part of Death’s game looks fine, but he’s sloppy as hell when he applies any type of hold, like he’s had no training. The crowd was pulling hard for Steele. Death cut off his comebacks. Death shrugged off a pair of lariats. Steele put him down with a backdrop. Steele used a DVD and a top rope shoulder block for near falls before putting Death away with the Steele City Bomb (similar to a Catatonic).
NOTES: GCW returns to their home base at the Gr8 Sk8 Plex in Phenix City, Al on 10/20 with Beach vs. Swinger in an I Quit Match and David Young & Chris Stevens vs. Hooligans in a tag team tournament match…The GCW Heayweight Champion, Bull Buchanan has made several defenses of that title during his current tour of Japan. Through an agreement between GCW and NOAH, Buchanan has defended against Akira Taue, Takuma Sano and Go Shiosaki…No return date was officially announced, although they have a tentative date of 11/30…The fourth episode of GCW TV aired this morning at 11 am on East Alabama cable 7…During a recent match, Jones got this line off on Buff Bagwell. “Buff, you used to be the stuff, but now you’re nothing more than a pudgy cruiserweight.”