Jimmy Lloyd’s Degeneration-F
Thursday, April 8
The Cuban Club
Ybor City, Florida
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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.
Opening The Collective’s Thursday slate will be the second edition of Jimmy Lloyd’s Degeneration-F, kicking off at noon.
Once more, Lloyd’s show will be aiming to highlight the young talent within the GCW-sphere of independent wrestling. The 2020 show featured no one over the age of 26, and if anything, its lineup seems more impressive looking back today. Participants Cora Jade (then Elayna Black) and Blake Christian are both now under WWE contract, and Top Flight have become regulars on AEW Dynamite. This year’s show features a similarly young lineup (Everett Connors and 1 Called Manders will be the elder statesmen at 27 apiece) that hope to make a bigger dent in a dense independent landscape the way some of their peers have. Having said all that I guess we should, AHEM, break it down.
Nolan Edward vs. Daniel Garcia
In the current climate of pro wrestling contracts being tossed around the way they are, I wonder how much longer we’ll be seeing these two floating around the independents. Nolan Edward has been absolutely on fire lately — appearances on both of Josh Barnett’s 2021 Bloodsport shows, a berth in the New South HOSS tournament (featuring a strong first-round showing against O’Shay Edwards) and quite possibly my favorite match on the American independents this year against Alex Colon. While Edward bolsters his resume with a growing number of deathmatch bangers, purists might prefer the 22-year-old prodigy Daniel Garcia. Also known as “Red Death,” Garcia’s marveled in an increasingly lighthearted indie scene with technical prowess that belies his age and experience. In VxS he’s effectively been pushed as a killer, and will face AJ Gray in a Pure Rules match at their Lucid Dreams event over the weekend. He’s somehow made appearances for both NXT and AEW Dark and recently seized the Limitless Championship, going 20 minutes in Christian Casanova’s farewell bout from the indies. This match has the makings to stand up to anything you’re going to see this weekend.
Jimmy Lloyd vs. Starboy Charlie
“The Different Boy,” the man who the show is named for, takes the 18-year-old high flyer Starboy Charlie as his opponent. Charlie’s garnered attention for his aerial prowess along some west coast independents before getting his foot in the door with a strong Scramble showing at GCW’s Just Being Honest show in LA last year. At last year’s Degeneration-F he went a whopping 23 minutes in the show’s centerpiece bout against Blake Christian. While the intention was good, it seemed to me like a misguided way to highlight either man. Believe it or not, I think Lloyd makes a much more enticing opponent. While Jimmy’s often put in a box as a plunder-dependent deathmatch goon (and he is a very good goon, for what it’s worth), he’s also shown a surprising aptitude and athleticism in high-paced bomb-fests. Just look to his multitude of GCW scramble appearances, a sleeper banger this past January against Zicky Dice for No Peace Underground, or the less bloody portions of his signature bout against Masashi Takeda at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3.
Juicy Finau vs. 1 Called Manders
For Juicy Finau, mileage of his feelgood story that began at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 4 is beginning to lose steam. It’s time for us to show why he belongs here. That’s entirely to say he’s done poorly – his bout with Chris Dickinson at GCW’s The Wrld Pt. 3 was legitimately my favorite match (that I saw at least) of the entire 24-hour Fight Forever marathon. Afterward, Dickinson took the mic and delivered a scathing promo attacking underprepared, unprofessional opponents. I still have no idea if this was a shoot or not (it could have possibly been feeding into an oncoming heel turn against Janela?), or if Juicy was meant to be the target, but it certainly seemed that way. But I felt bad! Juicy went through hell against the Dirty Daddy that night, did a good job selling an attack on his leg, and helped put together an engaging match that utilized his size and his strengths. If that sort of match will continue to be his forte, Manders is a dream opponent. Manders isn’t exactly a one-trick pony, but he impresses most in hard-hitting brawls apropos of a guy hollering his way into the ring with a cowboy hat and bullrope. His Hybrid Wrestling main event last month against a similarly huge opponent in Calvin Tankman was a highlight match for both men, and he’s been a total stud atop the last handful of Southern Underground Pro shows.
Billie Starkz vs. Skye Blue vs. Rok-C
Billie Starkz catches a whole lot of criticism in some corners of the internet for how frequently she’s booked despite still being pretty green. You gotta hand it to her though, Starkz is putting in work and certainly has her fans to show for it. She’s showing up everywhere this year, and gathering this much experience against so many different opponents can only bode well for the seemingly long future ahead of her — she’s only 16 years old. Rok-C hails from Texas and has seen her share of big spots. Since debuting in 201, she’s been New Texas’s representative in bouts against the likes of Su Yung, Kylie Rae and Thunder Rosa. Skye Blue just made her NWA debut on the most recent edition of Powerrr. What gives this match the potential to surprise is the chemistry these three have likely developed. Starkz and Blue have wrestled five times for four different promotions this year alone, Starkz took on Rok-C in the New Texas Women’s Title Tournament, and Rok-C faced Skye Blue last month for…the other GCW.
Jordan Oliver vs. Everett Connors
This one threatens to be the 20+ minute grind of the day. Jordan Oliver has been pushed very heavily by Game Changer as of late — I still have to remind myself that the two-hour ironman match with Tony Deppen at Fight Forever really happened. Opposite him will be Everett Connors, a St. Louis Anarchy regular who broke in and impressed with a long, physical bout against Joey Janela at The Wrld Pt. 3. In an uncomfortably emotional post-match promo, an emotional Janela emphatically put Connors over.
Elsewhere on the card MLW standout Myron Reed will take on Dante Leon, who some might remember for barely surviving poking around the wrong spooky cage-in-a-burlap sack. In tag team action, Young, Dumb N’ Broke representives Charlie Tiger and Ellis Taylor will face The Unguided. We’re also promised appearances from Hijo De Canis Lupis and Ninja Mack, likely in some sort of scramble match.
Jimmy Lloyd’s Degeneration-F airs on Fite.TV at noon on 4/8, as part of The Collective 2021 Bundle.