Limitless World Title Match
Daniel Garcia vs JD Drake
Vacationland Cup 2021
August 28, 2021
Yarmouth Amvets Post #2
If you’re the sort of person that reads websites like this, there’s a chance you’re sick of reading about Daniel Garcia this year. Hey, I get it. Garcia’s been one of independent wrestling’s most hyped commodities—and rightfully so.
But maybe you’ve just recently become acquainted with Garcia in AEW as the talented “son” of the tag team 2point0. Maybe you’re wondering what the big deal is about this relatively small dude who wins matches on Dark. Well then, let me point you to Danny Garcia’s six-month reign as Limitless Wrestling’s champion—a stint I consider to be the centerpiece of his breakout year—and his tremendous defense in August against JD Drake.
Limitless Wrestling plays host to one of the most underrated matches and feuds of the year: Daniel Garcia vs. JD Drake. But, to get there, we have to talk a little about Limitless as a promotion.
Based out of Maine, Limitless has always had plenty of luck with big names coming through its doors. Still, no matter who came and went, there was a shortlist of cornerstones to the promotion: names like “The Retrosexual” Anthony Greene, elbow specialist JT Dunn, Christian Casanova, and the face of Limitless, Acey Romero.
Every year Limitless holds the Vacationland Cup, their big annual tournament. Beyond the world title, it’s the promotion’s top prize. Since its inception in 2018, every cup has been won by one of those four men (Dunn’s never won but is a two-time finalist).
I mention all this because if you were to break up the Limitless calendar into seasons, like in professional sports, and you considered the Vacationland Cup the cut-off point or the postseason, 2020-21 would be an especially unique and notable season. Toward the end of 2019, Ace Romero was picked up by IMPACT Wrestling, which would eventually cut into his availability. Then, COVID struck, which eliminated crowds—as well as the presence of JT Dunn— for 16 months. In October of 2020, WWE signed Anthony Greene, who at the time was the reigning Limitless champ. After he vacated the belt, it made its way to Christian Casanova. By February of ‘21, WWE had nabbed him as well.
The 2020 Vacationland Cup in December was the first full card Limitless ran after 10 months away. (They’d been relegated to dojo tapings and episodes of The Road, a short weekly show, during the pandemic.) The voids left by departing talent were already filling up with glimpses of what was to come; all it took was a look at that year’s four finalists (who, by the way, were competing for the vacant championship):
- Alec Price, who eliminated Acey Romero, setting the table from his ‘21 ascent across multiple promotions.
- JD Drake, the (relative) vet who’d go into the next year without his Workhorsemen partner Anthony Henry (he’d also get scooped up by NXT). He eliminated Kevin Blackwood.
- Daniel Garcia, who stole the show in the opener eeking by Lee Moriarity. They had one of the best no-crowd matches of the year, and both would feature heavily into the next year.
- Christian Casanova. Yes, he’s the old guard, and yes, he wins the whole thing. But he’d drop the title in his first defense on the very next show. The new champion? Daniel Garcia.
Blackwood, dissatisfied with his VLC performance against Drake, would seek Garcia’s help in bringing out his “aggressive side.” By the end of March 19, 2021’s “Double Vision,” Daniel Garcia and Kevin Blackwood—the Buffalo Boys—reigned over Limitless side-by-side. Their dominance and the rest of the roster’s attempts to unseat them formed the narrative thread of the next six months.
Garcia brought the belt to Tampa for a classic against Kevin Ku over WrestleMania weekend. He put on a technical clinic with Lee Moriarity, this time in a Submission Match. He stood up to the hulking Jake Something, a surprise opponent at Limitless’s first show back in front of a crowd, “Patience Is A Virtue.” Hell, he even held on long enough for Ace Romero and Anthony Greene to come back, and he dispatched them too. His stronghold on the title seemed unreasonably firm, and whenever anyone got too close, Blackwood was there for the assist. They were perfectly obnoxious heels, without compromising the match quality that was making every Limitless upload on IWTV a must-watch affair.
— Scottify (@scottyda78) April 17, 2021
All the while, JD Drake played the role of the cantankerous old hand, growling at youngsters in the back until it was time to trudge out to the ring and put the likes of Big Beef or Robert Martyr in their place. Drake and Garcia met for the first time at “The Games We Play” in May. In a grueling 25 minute ordeal, Garcia was able to find openings by attacking Drake’s bad left knee, but not quite able to put him away. That is, until Kevin Blackwood got involved, grabbing Drake on the apron to allow for a Garcia assault on the knee that would lead to the finish.
The best independent professional wrestler in the world!! Red Death survived a brutal assault and made JD Drake pass out from the pain!#ANDSTILL the Limitless Wrestling World Champion!
— RedDeathDarbyGargano (@darbygargano) May 8, 2021
At the end of July, Drake would finally get another shot by ending Kevin Blackwood’s six-match winning streak at “Undeniable.” The stage was set for the rematch at the 2021 Vacationland Cup. The same event where things all started to take shape in 2020 – the end of the season. In the opening match of the ‘21 VLC, Blackwood wrestled Anthony Greene with the stipulation that if he lost, he would not be allowed to accompany Garcia to the ring later. He lost. Garcia and Drake would tangle with no distractions, just two of the most talented guys on the circuit going to war.
As for the match itself? Well, you should watch it. In the early going, Drake appeared to tweak his left knee again. The match was halted while officials filled the ring to help him exit. The whole thing was a ruse though. At the first opening, Drake rose to his feet and assaulted the champ; the knee would not be an issue. They brawled outside the ring and returned without sacrificing an ounce of palpable mutual hatred. At one point, Garcia was able to hoist the 279 lb. Drake over his head for a Spider German Suplex from the top rope. Drake immediately rose to his feet to deliver a Somersault Cannonball into the corner while Garcia was still hanging from the suplex.
— RedDeathDarbyGargano (@darbygargano) September 10, 2021
The champion appeared more controlled, more capable, in the rematch. This time, he was able to hold his ground until finally, Drake’s knee did begin to show weakness. Eventually, the tide would turn in Garcia’s favor long enough for him to pounce, battering Drake with frantic grounded strikes, and securing the Garcia Lock for the win.
There was a certain meta quality to the match that added to the intensity. It felt like a real culmination, like a satisfying ending. It felt like time to move on. Garcia was finally willing to take on his most heated rival with no outside help, and he succeeded. Then, after months of playing the sniveling shithead, he earnestly extended a hand to Drake (who responded with a superkick). In his backstage interview, he gave a promo that almost read like a farewell address.
“I need you people to realize something. The stuff that you’re witnessing right now his historic. Ten, fifteen years from now, you’re going to be bragging to all your friends that you saw Daniel Garcia wrestle in an AmVets hall in Yarmouth, Maine, I promise you. I promise you that this is historic. Enjoy me while you can.”
One week earlier he’d wrestled Jon Moxley in front of 15,000 people at the United Center in Chicago. At the next Limitless show, he would drop the title to Anthony Greene, right back where it was before all of this. AEW would eventually announce the signings of Garcia and Moriarity, Anthony Henry and JD Drake would reform the Workhorsemen (who have also made an AEW appearance), folks like Ace Romero and JT Dunn had returned to making regular appearances and Limitless’s bizarro interlude had come to end. Hell of a season, though.