Game Changer Wrestling
Holy Smokes
March 4, 2023
The Showboat
Atlantic City, New Jersey

Watch: FITE+

The Results

  • Gringo Loco def. Jimmy Lloyd, Shane Mercer, Grim Reefer, Carlos Romo, Alec Price (7:33)
  • JCW Championship: Jordan Oliver © def. Alex Coughlin (18:30)
  • Blake Christian def. Akira (8:58)
  • GCW Extreme Championship: Joey Janela © def. VENY (16:12)
  • Effy def. SLADE (9:17)
  • GCW World Tag Team Championship: Los Macizos (Ciclope & Miedo Extremo) © def. The SAT (Jose Maximo & Joel Maximo) (12:12)
  • Hijo del Vikingo def. Alex Zayne (22:57)
  • GCW Ultraviolent Championship: Rina Yamashita © def. Kasey Kirk (18:47)
  • Maki Itoh def. LuFisto (8:43)
  • John Wayne Murdoch def. Drew Parker (14:50)

The night’s big story was Drew Parker’s retirement from deathmatch wrestling in the United States. A former King of FREEDOM World champion, two-time Big Japan Death Match champion, GCW Ultraviolent champion, Tournament of Survival and Ikkitousen Death Match Survivor winner Parker has been one of the top deathmatch wrestlers in the world since he started working the style. Continuously evolving and certainly one to watch, Drew Parker’s next step in his career begins the next day in a match with “Speedball” Mike Bailey but on this night “The Prince” met “The Duke” to close this chapter of his career.

John Wayne Murdoch wore white, so you know this was getting bloody real quickly. Parker got a hero’s welcome when he stepped out from behind the curtain. Drew Parker’s final deathmatch played the hits immediately with the gusset plates and the darts. The panes of glass were shattered soon thereafter with both men sporting crimson masks. Despite being his last deathmatch, Parker wrestled the match as if it were his first. Parker pulled out all the stops including two Swantons through glass but “The Duke” refused to go down. Drew gave it his all but he went out on his back after a top rope Deep South Destroyer through a bundle of light tubes and a Koji Clutch. And with that final tap out, this chapter of Drew Parker’s career has ended. One hell of an emotional deathmatch!

Thank you Drew Parker.

The GCW Ultraviolent Championship match started with a big fight feel when The Showboat was split right down the middle in their support for both tremendous deathmatch wrestlers. Yamashita is batshit insane and carved herself up with the remnants of a light tube within three minutes. Rina dominated Kasey in the early portion of the match but things switched up when Kasey speared her through a glass pane and introduced the gusset plates. A superplex onto a barbed wire door was not enough to put away Kirk. A bundle of light tubes was not enough to put away Kirk. A chair shot directly to the dome was not enough to put away Kirk. On the other hand, a Psycho Driver on a bridge of six chairs was not enough to put away Yamashita. Both women gave it their all and would not give up. After 19 gruesome minutes, Rina hit a Splash Mountain Bomb on a pile of chairs for the well earned win. These two are absolutely insane and it led to a fantastic deathmatch. Tremendous stuff.

The JCW Championship match had an interesting champion vs. challenger dynamic. Oliver, the champion, was working the match from underneath. Coughlin took his time overpowering and stretching him and it slowed the match to a crawl until Oliver picked up the pace a little bit when momentum swung his way. Oliver then took his time dismantling Coughlin and the match once again slowed right down. Oliver has had better matches recently and I hope he has more matches like the one against Mance Warner in LA. The chop battle was cool though.

Hearing a crowd chant “You fucked up” because a wrestler forgot to bring out the belt they were defending is a new one for me. Thank you Joey Janela.

The Janela vs. VENY title match had a completely different vibe than the one earlier on the show. It started with some fun crowd brawling followed by VENY hitting her beautiful moonsault to the outside. The in-ring was pretty good and some of the impact spots were gnarly – including Janela catching a moonsault and hitting a tombstone piledriver for a near fall. It’s unfortunate that the door refused to break but Janela made the best of it by doing a Sabu and putting himself through it and then they both used the remnants to batter each other. This rocked! A great showing for VENY in her GCW debut.

The GCW World Tag Team championship match started real hot with some crowd brawling but transitioned to your standard tag team match. It wasn’t awful but it could’ve been a lot better. More crowd brawling and plunder could’ve helped it.

As most know by now, Hijo del Vikingo is a human highlight reel. Not all of his batshit insane moves connect though and can lead to some scary moments like as happened when he didn’t connect with his signature poison rana and landed on his head. The action between the spots was sloppy and took too long to set up the next spot. The spots that did connect, however, were great – including a wild step-up springboard 630 to the outside through some doors. When the match hit, it hit. When it didn’t, it felt like it was going on too long.

Blake Christian is a heat magnet. I really like Akira starting the match with a flurry of offense right at the opening bell. Recent Christian matches have had the tendency to start slow and go long but this one was very snappy. Christian hit a cool top-rope DDT through a door and then a sick curb stomp onto a chair for the win. I liked this and would like more of this from Blake Christian matches in GCW.

Also on the show… Shane Mercer is always great in the Game Changer scramble matches. He’s a big guy and him throwing guys around will always be fun to watch. The scrambles are always good vibes when opening the show, they are full of high spots and get the crowd amped up for the rest of the show. Effy vs. SLADE was fine for being a story match previewing Allie Katch/Charles Mason on the next day’s show. Maki Itoh vs. LuFisto happened between the two deathmatches and was a match. The post-match with Itoh and Nick Gage was fun.

Final Thoughts

As expected, the deathmatches were the best matches on the show and both had two completely different vibes. Drew Parker’s farewell to deathmatch wrestling was emotional while the GCW Ultraviolent Championship match was a true Match of the Year Contender. Watch the three matches recommended below for a good time. The entire show was an easy watch if you dig GCW and their style.

Match Recommendations

  • Drew Parker vs. John Wayne Murdoch (****)
  • GCW Ultraviolent Championship: Rina Yamashita © vs. Kasey Kirk (****½)
  • GCW Extreme Championship: Joey Janela © vs. VENY