Game Changer Wrestling
Jimmy Lloyd’s Jersey Shore
August 23, 2020
Atlantic City Boardwalk
Atlantic City, New Jersey

Watch: Fite.TV

Coming on the heels of Saturday’s Tournament of Survival 5 (reviewed here by Kevin Hare), GCW closes out their portion of a jam-packed wrestling weekend with Jimmy Lloyd’s Jersey Shore. Taking place in GCW’s COVID-era homebase on the Atlantic City boardwalk, this card felt somewhat overlooked the weeks preceding it, overshadowed by the aforementioned Tournament of Survival. There are more than a few interest-piquing matchups on the docket though, and it should be a hoot.

As always, commentary duties are anchored by Kevin Gill. He gets a bad rap from some purists for his approach to the gig, but I’d argue that Gill comes in many flavors depending on his co-host, ranging from Dave Prazak (reserved, almost contemplative) to Joey Janela (there is no correlation between what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing on the television). Here, he’s paired with Emilio Sparks, who lands somewhere in the middle. As such, I’ll be highlighting my favorite Gill-isms from each match, the brightest flashes of that Giller instinct. 

Cole Radrick def. AR Fox

AR Fox made his GCW debut a day prior in a six-man scramble—the only non-deathmatch to take place during Tournament of Survival—and if he sticks around he’ll be a perfect fit. Fox is the polished, seasoned model of the airborne-lunatic type that’s become so popular at Game Changer shows.

Early on, the two have a killer sequence covering the perimeter of the ring beginning with Fox swinging over the top rope to boot Radrick on the floor, followed by Radrick performing a somersault senton from the apron, and finishing on the opposite end with Fox running up a corner post, leaping off into a moonsault onto the Atlantic City boardwalk. 

This is Radrick’s second consecutive appearance in a prominent singles spot against an opponent of note for Game Changer, after a match with Kylie Rae at the beginning of the month (that was originally scheduled to be against Nick Gage). This match is undoubtedly Fox’s show, but Cole does an admirable job keeping up, drawing from an array of cool suplexes down the home stretch. Fox flurries with a springboard cutter, an impressive dive to the outside, and a 450 splash, practically in succession. Radrick survives, and from nowhere lands a headkick that AR Fox sells so convincingly that I’m still not totally certain the resulting knockout wasn’t real, or that this was the planned finish. Fun opener. I find myself on the fence with Radrick, but a performance and finish like that sure helps. 

Gill-ism of the Match: (Impersonating Cole Radrick’s mother) “Cole, I don’t care if you’re going to go out and rassle, but you certainly can’t burn those little tits.”

Chris Dickinson def. Lee Moriarty

How the hell are you going to roll this match out second? Full disclosure, this match is the reason I said I’d review this show. Moriarty’s been red, magma hot in 2020 and I don’t think I have to tell you anything about Chris Dickinson. We got a preview at Paradigm Pro Wrestling’s UWFi-styled Heavy Hitters show last month, and the two put on a clinic in just a few short minutes. This match has to bang. It simply must. 

Dickinson likes to take things to the mat more and more these days, and against less technically-inclined opponents (which could come up often in GCW) it can feel a little square hole/round peg. Moriarty though, makes a fantastic foil, finding ways to exhibit his athleticism even through ankle picks and keylocks. As the “gnarly strikes” portion of the bout approaches, customary of any proper Chris Dickinson match, Lee has to maneuver around Dickinson like a bullfighter, moving through sets of graceful veronicas in finding openings for his own kicks and leaping European uppercuts. 

All the while, the Dirty Daddy is bit by bit slowing Lee down with attacks to his legs. They culminate in a Reverse Figure Four Leglock that forces a tapout. This is a well-worked match that, at a brief 11 minutes, felt like it had a lot left to give. Fingers crossed that we get more from these two soon. 

Afterward, Dickinson takes the mic to say Moriarty is his current favorite wrestler. A Dickinson promo is especially appropriate for a show named Jersey Shore because he has the exact same speaking voice as Ronnie (of smushing Sam fame). You’ll never unhear it now, you’re welcome. 

Gill-ism of the Match: “You talk about drip and swag, Dickinson has that too. It just goes through the Italian Processing Filter.”

Blake Christian def. Andrew Everett

Everett also made his GCW debut in the Tournament of Survival scramble match, and received plenty of shine. He enters the match establishing himself as a heel, a great approach to a match with Blake Christian, beloved by GCW faithful for his endless GIFability. The first half is interesting, with Everett taunting the crowd and trying to draw heat by keeping Christian grounded. Once Everett goes up for a moonsault of his own, all bets are off. The final few minutes are the marathon session in jumping off of shit that you’d expect from the names involved. It wraps in under ten minutes with a Cradle DDT from Blake. Christian’s extremely talented but at this point, I just want to see what he can do outside his comfort zone. I hope his New Japan USA bookings provide that.

Gill-ism of the Match: “Blake Christian’s leg just totally limp, just dangling, but like a participle.” Didn’t see that one coming!

AJ Gray def. Lucky 13 (Deathmatch)

This match ruled before it even started with the arrival of Nick Gage on commentary. AJ Gray wrestled his first deathmatch at one of the Homecoming shows last month against Alex Colon, and took to it swimmingly. Lucky 13, apparently bolstered by the company of a woman he “met at a strip club last night” named Kelsey, begins the match with a moonsault off a bar on the boardwalk. The two brawl to a second bar where Lucky lines up a shot of Fireball for each of them, but throws his in AJ’s face. He’s then inexplicably slapped in the face and abandoned by his brand new escort. 

Thankfully, the transition from adult Looney Tunes bits to deathmatch is a successful one. When the action returns to the ring, Lucky’s agility and willingness to take vile bumps play well with AJ’s predilection for ragdolling opponents across rings. Gage breaks down light tube spots like a veteran point guard talking you through the pick and roll. His call perfectly accentuates the moment when Gray misses Lucky with a top rope legdrop and lands on a barbed-wire chair: “That barbed wire went straight up his asshole!” The two transition through weapons and props pretty seamlessly, with little of the contrived set-up that can plague matches like these. By the time Gray finishes Lucky with a Pumphandle Flowsion, they’ve put together one hell of a contest. Honestly? This would have been in my upper half of matches in the Tournament of Survival. Forcefeed me AJ Gray deathmatches, please.

Kevin keeps things pretty run-of-the-Gill in this match, but Gage gives us this gem: “Sometimes we be havin’ pussy camera men where they fuckin’ try to zoom in but not enough. I want to see where that glass slices him open! I want to see where that cut starts oozing out the blood!”

KTB & Shane Mercer def. Injustice (Myron Reed & Jordan Oliver) 

Kyle the Beast spent his quarantine slimming down, and he looks great. Even his facepaint’s shaped up into modest EVIL-esque dabs of eye black. As someone who learned how to ride a bike this summer, I can appreciate the COVID glow-up. I’m intrigued by his pairing with Shane Mercer, whose red and blotchy complexion appears to be one part sunburn and one part being twenty-four hours removed from a fantastic deathmatch with Eric Ryan. They impress early, exhibiting a tandem offense that mostly consists of suplexing their smaller opponents back and forth into one another, like a violent game of catch. In one instance, Mercer somehow german suplexes Oliver into KTB, who catches him and completes a tombstone piledriver. 

Whatever weight KTB’s lost, Jordan Oliver appears to have found. The added mass is clearly working to his benefit, as a brief exchange between the two comes off hard-hitting and believable in a way it never could have a year ago. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear to have impacted his ability to get vertical, as he and Reed are constantly taking off in synchronous dives. 

The match is a blast; it’s nine minutes feels more like five. Though teeming with cool spots and creative tandem offense, it’s hampered by some iffy execution and way, way too many cutters. At its conclusion, Emilio Sparks declares, “Now that’s tag team wrestling!” I share some of his enthusiasm, even if there was definitely not a single tag made in this match. I’d love to see more of the KTB and Mercer duo. They could even pose a threat to tag champs Ciclope and Miedo Extremo, just as soon as anyone remembers that GCW has tag belts and that they’re out in Mexico on Ciclope and Miedo Extremo.

Jimmy Lloyd def. Elayna Black 

My first exposure to Elayna Black was her five-minute match the day before against Billie Starkz for Black Label Pro. I gather she’s a spooky type based out of Freelance Wrestling in Chicago, who begins matches by putting a photo of her opponent into a tiny little coffin. Arrite! Regardless, I tip my cap. I can’t think of a better way to make your Game Changer debut than a full-on deathmatch against this show’s namesake, the Different Boy Jimmy Lloyd. 

She seems to be shaking some nerves off at first, mistiming consecutive attempts to springboard off the ropes, but it’s not long before the two find a groove. Lloyd is sent tumbling through a barbed wire table in the corner and I get the impression he’ll be doing the heavy bumping. It’s not long though, before Black’s eating back-to-back Tiger and Blue Thunder Bombs onto a pile of broken glass that she supplied, her face totally bloodied. After dropping Black through a thumbtack-covered table with an Assault Driver, Lloyd sets his own kneepad on fire, intent on driving it into her face. It’s such a cool idea, and it’s a bummer that the camera angle shows Lloyd’s knee miss Black’s head by a country mile on the fight-ending Flaming Go To Sleep. 

The match is bookended by unfortunate stumbles, but still makes for a promising first showing for Elayna Black. And that’s before considering she’s less than two years into her career and to my knowledge, not a regular deathmatch competitor. 

Gill-ism of the Match: “[She’s] just papercutting his lips! Those are the lips Jimmy Lloyd uses to vape with!” 

Post-match, 44OH hits the ring and attacks Lloyd and Black, before Rickey Shane Page cuts a promo lambasting them for allowing him to lose the Tournament of Survival. Heel stuff. 

Pinkie Sanchez def. Effy

The penultimate match of the evening comes to the ring as the sky over AC begins to darken. Pinkie and Effy almost have two separate matches. The first half lulls you into a false sense of comfort, played for laughs, Effy asking Pinkie to choke him harder, you know. Then they get you in the back end (no pun intended, I swear) of the match: Spanish Flies on chairs, shining wizards, powerbombs into tables that don’t break.  Fortunately, the two are both more than equipped in either format, and the crowd eats the whole thing up. 

The sequence that will likely stick with you most though, is the one that bisects the two halves. Effy and Pinkie find themselves face to face on the apron, and trade blows directly to the mouth. Not punches, or even forearms, no, but rather kisses. Brutal, stiff, unrelenting mouth kisses. 

Gill-ism of the Match: “We’ve all heard about Effy’s supersonic dick, but this is the first evidence that —” [Interrupted by stretch of action] “…anyway like I was saying, we’ve all heard about Effy’s supersonic dick, and things of that nature, rumors, you know, innuendo. But what just happened on that top rope, I believe it to be a factor.” 

Joey Janela def. Alex Zayne

Since Joey returned to GCW after some time away focusing on AEW, his matches have taken on a sort of “big fight” aura that Game Changer doesn’t often evoke. The actual contents of those matches have been uneven though. Janela’s brought with him a longer, ‘main event’ style, and its successes are largely dependent on the capabilities of his opponent. That said, he’s pulled grand slams in his last two appearances with the likes of Lio Rush and ACH, and turned in predictably strong matches with both. 

Zayne leaps at the opportunity presented, quite literally, flinging his body into any obstacle in sight. Alex Zayne has come off like the clubhouse leader of GCW’s burgeoning high flying contingent, and he builds on that perception here. He performs a backflip off of a ringside pillar and a somersault into rows of empty steel chairs within the opening minutes of the bout. He’ll later eat a chair shot while plummeting from the ring to the floor, and be flipped upside down with a ladder wrapped around his head. While Janela never quite matches Zayne as an agent of chaos, he’s a bottomless well of charisma and gamely matches Zayne in a duel of dives to the outside.

Alex Zayne’s Crunchwrap Supreme, an unfortunately named Shooting Star Press to a standing opponent, is a move I just as easily love or loathe depending on its execution. An early attempt in this match illustrates everything that could go wrong. Janela is left awkwardly bobbing around, looking over his shoulder for what feels like an eternity while Zayne ascends the turnbuckle. Luckily, they take a second shot at it, where Zayne uses a ladder to trap Janela in the corner, the ensuing impact driving Joey’s face into the rungs. I love it. 

The gargantuan ladder at ringside (Chekhov’s ladder, if you will) is finally utilized at around the fifteen-minute mark, when Janela scales it halfway for a moonsault. Not to be outdone, Zayne nearly climbs to its zenith, swaying in the wind, before lunging through a table in the corner. This match, while not always entirely cohesive, is designed to make you say, “oh shit.” In that regard, it succeeds in multiples. When they’ve finally run out of things to fall off of, or onto, or through, Janela secures his win with a moonsault double foot stomp. 

Gill-ism of the Match: “[Janela] might just get whisked away by a chopper and go off on six or seven dates with like, local news personalities and various women he’s met through the television industry. And the travel industry, too. And the nightclub industry. And the wrestling industry. He pulls from a lot of pools, the bad boy. He also pees in a lot of pools, because he’s the bad boy.” 

Final Thoughts

This one could easily slip under your radar in a dense weekend of shows from the likes Beyond and Black Label Pro—not to mention its directly overlapping with SummerSlam. With a good deal of variety and match lengths mostly hovering around ten minutes, Jimmy Lloyd’s Jersey Shore is a delightful watch. The commentary’s not too bad either. AJ Gray vs. Lucky 13 and Janela vs. Zayne are worth a peek if you’re cherry-picking.