The Collective
The Acid Cup 3: Day 1
Thursday, April 8
4:00 p.m.
The Cuban Club
Ybor City, Florida

Buy tickets
Steaming: FITE
Streaming: GCW: The Collective 2021 Bundle (FITE)

NOTE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, wrestlers may be removed from shows due to positive COVID-19 tests or exposure, so cards may be different than what is previewed below.

The last Acid Cup by GCW was just about the last wrestling event before the world went on pause (well, except some wrestling promotions). It took place on March 19 & 20th, 2020 and it was a pretty fun couple of shows that were happening despite the rest of the world canceling everything (hey, I lost my job the day prior!) That tournament was won by Chris Dickinson, as he defeated Blake Christian in the finals, but perhaps was more known as the show in which Jordan Oliver beat Nick Fuckin’ Gage. The first Acid Cup, a show I’ve never seen, was won by Joey Janela.

I’ll say right now that for all intents and purposes, Acid Cup 3 is far and away the strongest lineup they’ve put together for this tournament, and one of my more anticipated shows of the weekend. Bringing in a really exciting crop of talent from Mexico, including two of the absolute best wrestlers in the world right now (Laredo Kid & Arez), combined with many of the top talents that regularly work GCW and we have something actually quite exciting here.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Dragon Bane vs. KTB

You could be the biggest Dragon Bane fan in the world and still be half the fan the dude is of himself. Dragon Bane has been poised to be one of the biggest luchadors on the planet for years, but whether it be COVID, drama in the ring or his own attitude, he hasn’t quite gotten to that level. What is clear is that the dude is insanely gifted, one of the true master high-flyers in the sport, but with a body nearing Bandido, where he excels in a power setting as well. It’s exciting to see him on a “big stage” like this, as previously the way that most American fans would have seen him would’ve been his prolonged NOAH stint with Hijo de Canis Lupus. KTB for his part, fooled a lot of people that he was retiring, due to a cryptic video posted in 2020, but has been wrestling regularly since, which I am thankful for. A dude who is almost criminally underrated, the guy has been showing up on AEW Dark and steadily getting booking to showcase his unique skillset. If you’re reading this, you probably know the man from the woods, but this match is a real chance to showcase a true classic ECW-style exhibition here. I expect this to go hard. Who will win? Well, the safe money is on KTB as the bigger GCW star, but with all the great luchadors here, don’t be surprised to see Dragon Bane move forward.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Laredo Kid vs. Brayden Lee

There is a serious case to be made that over the last three years, Laredo Kid is a top five wrestler in the world. He’s the highlight of almost every show he is on, and one of those rare instances of a luchador that gets consistently booked in singles and showcase matches, rather than run-of-the-mill 6-man tags (though any combination of Los Jinetes del Aire is must watch). He had a tremendous match with Kenny Omega in December and has been working AEW and MLW since. It’s tremendously exciting to see him in the indie spotlight, because that’s a stage in his recent years that he hasn’t really had – and people who aren’t super familiar are going to see the difference between a good high-flyer and a great one. Brayden Lee is pretty new, looks like the exact type of prospect built for NXT or AEW and while he hasn’t quite put it all together, there is no doubt that he has the tools to really succeed within a couple of years. Expect insane athleticism here, but unless they’re crazy – Laredo Kid should be moving on.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Tony Deppen vs. Cole Radrick

Somehow this appears to be a first-time matchup, which is crazy because these are two wrestlers in a very similar mode that seem like they would be a natural to work against one another and even have a prolonged program. Both guys are a little less traditional in the ring, lack in size, but most often deliver zaniness in the ring. One of the things that really endears me to both guys is the way they move around the ring, utilizing craftiness above pure athleticism. Deppen is known by just about everyone at this point and can get something out of almost anyone, is one of the biggest names in GCW and would be the logical pick to move forward, but due to his increasing role in ROH, having his own show during the weekend and a lot of showcase matches, I have a feeling Radrick is going to get the upset here and that he might be a guy that gets elevated in future GCW shows. Expect a match with some wild spots and dives, weird counters and suplexes and for Deppen to dominate much of it, before taking the loss.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Colby Corino vs. Calvin Tankman

Corino was a last-minute replacement for Ken Broadway and while I usually would think that would be a downgrade (no slight to either guy), I actually think for this particular matchup, it’s quite an upgrade. Tankman excels when he is in matches where he is far bigger than his opponent, and that will be the case here. Obviously, Corino is not the tiny human he was 5-6 years ago when he would put out sneaky bangers on tiny indies and in ROH, but he’ll still be dwarfed by the size of Tankman and the way he carries himself. Should make for an interesting story where Corino is sneaky and quite heelish in attempts to confuse and thwart Tankman. Being that Corino is a replacement participant and Tankman is a known quantity in GCW, I can’t imagine Corino getting the W, but who knows!

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Arez vs. Aramis

If this is the single best match of the entire weekend, ALL shows included, do not be surprised. These two have faced off in various combinations something like 40 times in the last ten years, are two of the most promising luchadors in all of Mexico and are both poised to make huge splashes in 2021, should they be able to get more regular American bookings. If you can find it, Arez and Hijo Del Vikingo put on a MOTY candidate for RIOT Lucha Libre last month, that unfortunately is filmed in some of the worst, shakiest video quality possible in 2021, but still made lists for a lot of big-time wrestling fans, myself included. Both showed up in 2019 WrestleMania Weekend cards, but Arez is the one that really impressed and probably has a higher ceiling. He’s one of the best bases in all of lucha libre and one of the most consistent workers as well. He has had missteps, to be clear, but his ceiling is super high. Aramis is no slouch either. An expert on the mat and one of the smoothest and most impactful small high-flyers. Man, I’m stoked for this. I expect Arez to get the win with some insane move few of us have ever seen, but this should be the single highlight of the first round. If GCW books this like previous Acid Cups, there should be a scramble with all the first round losers on the second show, where Aramis will get a chance to truly shine.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
AJ Gray vs. Nate Webb

The presence of Nate Webb on GCW shows is the kind of fun I appreciate. The guy still tries hard this far into his career, is hugely over with the fans, but can’t really compete on an athletic level with the current crop of talent. Due to his popularity and status, he can win any match, but he’s best served as sort of the true “good guy” of GCW, maybe the ultimate babyface of the promotion. AJ Gray was on the cusp of being the de facto “face” of the promotion, winning the title, before losing it right away in something many people are still pissed about. He’s gotta be one of the favorites to win this tournament, and while Nate will put on a fight, he won’t be slowing down AJ too much here.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Lee Moriarty vs. Treehouse Lee

This will be an interesting one. Two of the craftiest, most unique wrestlers on the scene going at it. Moriarty, as has been stated by just about everyone, is one of the smoothest, most likable wrestlers in the world. He doesn’t have the high spots that make you say holy shit, but his ability to snake in and around his opponent and pulls submissions and reversals out of nothing is truly remarkable. Treehouse, for his part, having recently come back is also super creative in ways that hardly make sense? Can’t say that watching a Treehouse Lee match is always going to be good, but you’ll definitely see him bounce off the ropes and do something that you haven’t seen before that moment. Should be a super fun, crafty one here and I think Treehouse is going to win to set up a matchup with one of the luchadors in the second round.

The Acid Cup 3 First Round
Jordan Oliver vs. Edith Surreal

Jordan Oliver does nothing for me. I’m not going to bag on him, plenty of people have done it before me and I give the guy respect for taking it in stride and working to improve himself, but I still don’t see it and actively dislike watching the guy wrestle. Edith Surreal for her part, has been steadily improving since the closure of Chikara and has a fun mat-based style that isn’t quite refined, but is getting there quick. Give it a year or two and she’s going to be one of the most consistently enjoyable wrestlers in North America. I don’t have a ton of high hopes for this match, but I am almost 100% in the camp that Oliver will win. He made it to the semi-finals the previous year, as stated above and I expect him to get to the finals this year.