Three months after he was Lost in New York, Joey Janela headed to LA for another feature show which drew headlines for the wrong reasons.
We’re coming from the Hi-Hat in LA – a venue that kinda resembles a larger version of the Frog and Bucket that ATTACK! use in Cheltenham. It’s not the place they’d originally booked, but their first venue got a little spooked at the line-up. Larry Legend is your ring announcer, who gets the crowd to cheer for Janela, who couldn’t make his own show due to injury. Commentary is largely handled by Kevin Gill, whom you may get sick of by the end.
DJ Z vs. Great Sasuke
There’s something about the ring announcer filming the entrances on his phone (blatantly live Tweeting/Facebooking or whatever) that I find endearing or unprofessional. Your mileage will vary! This was meant to have been Amazing Red vs. Sasuke, but flight issues forced the change.
Sasuke had Kikutaro in his corner, just because, for his second GCW appearance of the year. Hopefully this doesn’t go 25 minutes and meanders as badly as his match with Janela in April.
DJZ’s got a mask too, and he starts by taking Sasuke down by the arm, before he called for his airhorns, much to the annoyance of Sasuke. There’s some mind games as Sasuke dizzies DJZ with his hands as we’ve got some video game-like stuff going on, with the hypnotism eventually forcing DJZ into a flip. DJZ comes back with some kicks, but Sasuke keeps sitting up in a meditative pose, before popping back with an armdrag to catch DJZ off guard.
A cheapshot from DJZ looked to have him back in it, but Sasuke just shoves him into the crowd as DJZ went up top… then followed him, as he negotiated a hanging speaker and whiffed on a senton bomb as he crashed onto the side of the ring. No idea where DJZ was. Back in the ring, DJZ clobbers Sasuke with a series of clotheslines, before the Japanese veteran hit back with some kicks… only to run into another clothesline.
DJZ keeps up on Sasuke with a chinbar, then a side headlock before a quick comeback from Sasuke ended with him running into a flying lungblower. Those airhorns telegraph a rolling DDT to Sasuke, who took a superkick insead before a rewind ‘rana ends up being turned into a German suplex by Sasuke! An Octopus stretch follows for Sasuke, before he transitioned into a stalling piledriver for a near-fall.
Sasuke goes up top to try and finish off DJZ, but he sentons into DJZ’s high knees. There’s an impressive dive as DJZ leaps off the DJ booth for a tornado DDT from the outside in for another near-fall, before Sasuke hit back with a powerbomb and a top rope elbow drop for the win. This was okay, but it clearly had its limitations. Thankfully Sasuke didn’t do any bin dives like in April, but this felt like a slowed-down TV match. **¾
Tony Deppen vs. Jungle Boy
Jungle Boy is fairly popular under another name on the California indys, while Deppen is slowly breaking out on the other coast. Oh, and apparently running to the bathroom too…
After blowing snot on Jungle Boy, Deppen pulled him down by the hair as we had a fairly scrappy start. Deppen swings and misses with kicks on the way to a square-off, as Deppen relished the crowd’s hatred of him. Jungle Boy does some flips, before finally scoring with some satellite headscissors and a springboard tornillo armdrag.
Jungle Boy’s got more flips in him as another armdrag and a dropkick puts Deppen down. We’ve a flying ‘rana that sent both men outside, but Deppen lands on his feet on the floor and recovers to powerbomb his opponent into the ring post. Jesus christ! Deppen follows up with a huge tope con giro that sent him into the third row. They end up into the crowd as Jungle Boy back body drops Deppen into some chairs, following up with an Asai moonsault from the ring onto the stage. YIKES.
Back in the ring, Deppen somehow gets the upper hand as he boots Jungle Boy into the corner, before he lifts his foe onto the apron… Jungle Boy eventually retaliates with a rolling DDT, then with a version of the Buckshot Lariat for a near-fall. The pair exchange chops as they looked to maintain an advantage, but it was Jungle Boy who edged ahead with a knee to the gut and a pump handle gutbuster before a sit-out gutwrench powerbomb almost found him victory.
A back elbow from Deppen stops Jungle Boy briefly, as the local guy comes right back with a slingshot stunner – the Canopy Cutter – for another agonising near-fall. Jungle Boy rolls through a 450 splash as Deppen looked to counter back with a massive double stomp that planted Jungle Boy head-first in the mat. From there, Deppen goes back to the chops before he’s caught with a spin kick and a reverse ‘rana out of nowhere! He puts Deppen up top, and brings him down with a sunset bomb for a near-fall as Deppen would not stay down… and eventually he stole the win with a roll-up… and a big ol’ handful of tights. The crowd hated that result, which came across as the “wrong man won” in this particular vacuum. As for the match, it was fine – they tried some ambitious stuff, but it was very rough around the edges at times. ***½
Brody King vs. Hardcore Holly
Apparently the live feed for this show gave up during this match, so this match didn’t get seen much by those outside the venue. Hardcore Holly’s looking a little older than I last saw him when he had that brief TNA run… and no, I’ve no idea how Hardcore Holly is on a top level indy show in 2018.
From the opening tie-ups, they end up in the corner with Holly swinging and missing early with a chop. King doesn’t miss, as he clubs away on the former Intercontinental champion, taking him into the corner with some boot chokes… but Holly kicks and clubs his way back in, only to get slammed and squashed with a back senton.
A retaliatory spear from Holly almost ends it, as he connected with some punches before a Holly suplex gets reversed for a near-fall. Chops follow, which puts Holly back into his element, and we’ve a jump cut, presumably from where the show dropped out. Oops. We’re back as Holly gets whipped into a corner for a big lariat, before a chokeslam from King’s countered into a DDT.
Holly keeps up with an Alabama Slam for a near-fall, before an attempt for a second one’s rolled out of as King returns with a lariat for the win. Much like the opener, this was fine, but felt like a bit more of a jacked up TV match. I don’t think you missed too much during the downtime, and this was one you could really get away with skipping. **½
Human Tornado vs. Penelope Ford
I remember Human Tornado from the late 00s, when he was one of the big names on the scene… then he was forced to retire due to a back injury, but has been shockingly active in the last few years as his comeback’s been totally under most people’s radars.
HT starts with a waistlock takedown… but Ford’s got one of those too before she grabbed a front facelock… which Tornado stops by lifting her onto the top rope before patronising her. Something inappropriate’s met with a slap as she comes off the top with a lucha armdrag, then some headscissors, taking HT outside… but he catches a tope and suplexes her onto the wooden stage. Ow.
An attempt to throw Ford back into the ring sees her thrown into the bottom strand as things took a somewhat dangerous vibe. Tornado puts the boots to Ford as he threw her around the ring, roughing her up with some dancing kicks in the corner. There’s a diving dropkick through the corner as Tornado continued to give zero fucks, which finally prompted a fightback as Ford… slipped as she went for a springboard armdrag. Cue some groans and boos.
Tornado’s right back on her as she’s flung off the ropes, keeping up the one-sided nature of the match, hauling up Ford for a suplex for a near-fall. Ford sidesteps a kick in the corner as she finally hits back, pulling HT into the buckles with a German suplex for a near-fall, but her momentum comes to a crashing end when she leaps off the top… and gets slapped on the way down.
Some figure four headscissors keep Ford on the mat, as does an elbow drop, before a chinlock followed. This is dragging. A jawbreaker gets Ford free, and she bounces in with a handstand stunner for a two-count before she went for a modified chinlock of her own… but HT’s able to get free after raking the eyes when going the long way around for the ropes didn’t work. Tornado’s back to slamming Ford, but his nonchalance costs him as Ford catches him up top, only to get rocked with an elbow ahead of an avalanche snapmare.
Ford’s somehow able to kick out from that, before she’s forced to block a back suplex as she fought back with some big boots to HT. A clothesline puts her back down as the crowd boos the ongoing dominance, before he finally scored that flipping released back suplex. That looked NASTY to take. He still doesn’t go for the cover as the crowd continues to turn on him, calling him an asshole as he danced around Penelope. Another back suplex looked to follow, this time off the top rope, but Ford counters into avalanche sliced bread, which she almost spikes herself doing… but Tornado’s up at two.
The pair look to slug it out from there, as Ford intersperses that with a handspring DDT… and thank GOD that’s the win. This was real bad and real sluggish. I’m sure this isn’t the case, but it looked like an intergender match where the guy was booked to lose and wanted to make it look as stupid as possible. The old banana skin finish. Penelope tried, but I guess we found out why the comeback’s been low key. AVOID. *
D-Lo Brown vs. Ethan Page
The Fire Pro random button’s been pushed again… I was a huge fan of D’Lo Brown back in the day, but much like Hardcore Holly, it’s not the late 90s anymore!
From the opening tie-up, Page shoves down D’Lo before offering a mocking pose befitting the Nation. Yeah, the Attitude era stuff’s also in Ethan’s wheelhouse. A shoulder tackle and a D’Lo head wiggle follows from “All Ego”, which prompted a fightback from D’Lo as he hit some shoulder tackles, then a leg lariat as Page was taken down.
Page gets taken into the corner for some chops next, but he stops D’Lo with a hotshot onto the ropes ahead of an elbow drop. D’Lo tries to fight back, but another elbow drops him, as Page continued to wear down the veteran, leaving him on the mat in place for… a People’s Elbow which misses. I look away for a moment and see D’Lo’s back with a moonsault for a near-fall (!!), which draws those pesky “you’ve still got it” chants.
There’s some more back-and-forth as D’Lo takes Page into the ropes, only for duelling clotheslines to connect. Both men pick themselves up, but it’s D’Lo who’s back with clotheslines as he found his groove. Scoop slam, legdrop, two-count! A forearm from Page connects, but he runs into a Sky High for a near-fall, before he took Page up top… only to get knocked down with a kick to the back as Page followed up with a senton bomb for a near-fall.
Page tries to go for a uranage, but D’Lo tries to counter out… only to get caught with the uranage anyway for a near-fall. Page goes for a chair, and makes full use of GCW’s no DQ environment as he uses it on D’Lo’s back… that fires up D’Lo, forcing Page to scarper… but he’s caught on the apron as D’Lo tried to bring him back in with a back suplex, only for Page to use brass knuckles to punch out D’Lo and fall back on him for the pin. A bit of a weird finish, but it worked – and truth be told, this wasn’t that bad a match. Out of the three “stars of the past”, D’Lo looked the least in shape, but the most competent on this form. ***
Kikutaro vs. Takeshi Minamino vs. Delilah Doom vs. Facade vs. Jake Atlas vs. Jimmy Lloyd vs. Chase Owens
Would you be shocked to hear that Chase Owens came out in Bullet Club garb (and with their music)? Chase… there’s a memo you ought to read!
It’s all a bit wild to start off with as some guys are on the apron waiting for tags, before we settled down with Jake Atlas and Takeshi Minamino. Atlas backflips away from a lariat, only to get taken down moments later as we began to cycle through bodies as we seemed to be under lucha libre rules. There’s a very wonky analogy from Kevin Gill on commentary as Facade flipped around, including involuntarily as he’s thrown into the buckles courtesy of a Jimmy Lloyd German suplex.
Delilah Doom’s next with a 619 to Lloyd, then a shotgun dropkick into the corner ahead of a Code Red off the top that didn’t go well. Nor did the piledriver attempt as the match threatened to fall apart. Atlas turns a springboard from Doom into a full nelson facebuster before we built up into a Human Centipede of submissions, as Doom rolled over a chain of headscissors into a Boston crab. Kikutaro’s back with a camel clutch to Lloyd, only for Chase Owens to break it all up.
A satellite DDT from Doom dumps Chase, and Delilah’s on fire with German suplexes for pretty much everyone. Kikutaro mule kicks Doom, but of course it doesn’t work, and she gets the German suplex in anyway. The Parade of Moves continues as Chase hits a nice reverse DDT/uranage combo, before he’s caught with a springboard cutter from Lloyd… who then eats a springboard Destroyer from Facade!
Doom’s back to ‘rana Facade to the outside as we start our dives… a tope into a DDT takes out Lloyd, before Minamino clips the ropes as he went for a tope. Back in the ring, Atlas goes for a cartwheel off the top into a DDT, but nobody seemed to expect it so it looks bad. Kikutaro does a dive… in the form of an axehandle off the apron as we go back to the ring, where Facade’s handstand dropkick clears out Owens, who’s left for dead after a springboard cannonball to the floor.
Lloyd’s still in the ring as Facade cuts him off with a missile dropkick, following through with a step-up senton to the outside as Facade was bringing us all the flippy shit. His manager, Dani, gets in on it too with a similar dive to the floor, before Doom goes back… only to get cut off by Facade’s springboard bulldog for a near-fall. Minamino gets caught with a package piledriver from Owens, before Chase takes a big atomic drop from Kikutato… we’re still going, and Doom slips on a crucifix to Kikutaro before she’s met with a pumphandle driver from Atlas.
Lloyd returns to take a roundhouse kick, but he shrugs off a lucha armdrag to hit a Destroyer DDT and a Dominator piledriver for the win… despite the despairing dives of Chase Owens. This was one big Parade of Moves from end-to-end, and while a lot hit, there were some glaring misses. Very indy’riffic from bell to bell. **¾
KTB vs. Jacob Fatu
KTB’s got a habit of making a name for himself on these Janela shows – but then very little seems to come afterwards. Last time he was the other guy in the ring when Marko Stunt broke out, and since then… nothing. For him, anyway. He’s ditched the Renegade-like facepaint.
Jacob Fatu is part of the LONG, LONG list of Samoans in wrestling, related to the Rock, Umaga and Rikishi among plenty of others. He’s barely wandered out of California, which is a bit of a shame as he’s gotten pretty good reviews.
KTB tries to attack him with a chair before the bell, and it kinda works as KTB kicks the chair through him… only for Fatu to catch a charge and take KTB down with a spinebuster. A dive from Fatu’s snuffed out as they end on the apron… where Fatu gets met with an implant DDT on the edge of the ring. Jesus!
Fatu recovers with a Sasuke special of all things as KTB was playing to the crowd… and my God, I was NOT expecting that! It’s time for plunder as Fatu grabs a door-sized piece of wood, then props it against the ropes, only for KTB to catch him with a full nelson into a cutter for a near-fall. That wood remains.
Fatu slips out as he tried to ‘rana free of a KTB powerbomb, and after a couple of superkicks, Fatu ends up trading blows like two big blokes in a bar fight. They “upgrade” to clonking headbutts, but KTB hits back with a spinebuster and a German suplex before he spears Fatu through the door! One sit-out powerbomb later, and it’s still not over as Fatu kicks out, and we’ve another door!
The door’s placed across two chairs as KTB looked to hit an avalanche German suplex, but Fatu fights free, and ends up springboarding in with a moonsault to put KTB through the wood, before a pop up Samoan drop gets the win. Another indyriffic outing that was full of plunder. Fatu had his moments, but this was hardly a star-making outing for either guy. Solid, but not memorable. ***
Eli Everfly vs. Marko Stunt
Stunt’s back in the company where he broke out, and he’s instantly caught by a wild Everfly who knocked him off the top to the floor, and followed up with a moonsault as we know we’re in for wacky, flippy stuff here.
The pace quickens back in the ring as the pair swing and miss a lot, before Stunt sits down on a roll back as he tried to make Everfly beat himself. Stunt calls for a powerbomb, but he has to make do with a sunset flip as we go to some lucha-style stuff, including an enziguiri to Everfly, who heads outside and comes back with an Asai DDT on the apron. Oof.
They brawl into the crowd, far away from the mobile cameras as Everfly sets up some chairs… only to crash into them as a springboard corkscrew senton that was aiming for Stunt got nothing but chairs. Marko doesn’t miss with his tope, nor with a running dropkick as he started to settle into a groove against Eli.
Stunt has to roll out of a 450 splash before sidestepping Everfly’s flips, only to take a springboard DDT and a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. Everfly turns the kick-out into a stretch on the mat, but Stunt just rolls out into the ropes as they reset. Another running knee from Stunt gets him back into it, as do a series of palm strikes, before Everfly hit back with a wacky sunset flip/backslide bomb into the corner. OW.
We’re still flailing all over as Everfly kicks Stunt up top and whiplashes him down with a headscissor takedown then a Destroyer as Stunt seemed to have a penchant for landing nearly on his head. The pair end up brawling through the crowd, which is where things start going south… a spinebuster sees Marko thrown through a chair as the mobile camera was blind to almost all of this.
Stunt’s buried under chairs, and we can’t see for nothing. Everfly walks across a staged area where the crowd are, and comes back with some helpers who have another door. Like he can carry it himself. We’re blind to things again, eventually picking things up as Stunt caught Everfly with a Destroyer off the stage through the propped-up door… and that’s where the match came to a shuddering end. During the landing, Stunt snapped his shin against a step, breaking his leg as the referee was forced to wave off the match. Commentary tried to call it as “being due to the uncontrollable nature of the match”, as Everfly was awarded the match. I’m not going to kick a man when he’s down, but when the bulk of the match looked like (ahem) one big stunt, it felt like it was a matter of time before something went badly awry. This wasn’t one of those moments where “something straightforward and everyday” caused a bad injury. Get well soon Marko. ***
The feed stays up as Larry Legend called for (what I assumed) were medical staff to help the stricken Stunt.
GCW Heavyweight Championship: Nick Gage (c) vs. David Arquette
Let that settle in. Nearly 20 years after Ready to Rumble, David Arquette is wrestling. A real match. A death match. Against Nick Gage. In the words of the video game character Bubsy, what could possibly go wrong?
Quite a lot, as it’d turn out.
While this wasn’t exactly Arquette’s first match (thanks Vince…), this was the first time he was in a weapons match… and given Nick Gage’s reputation, this had all the ingredients to go off the deep end quickly.
Things got going amicably enough, as Arquette stalled for time, getting the F away from Nick Gage… a man who got fed up and pulled the former WCW champion back into the ring so he could spit on him. A forearm just decks Arquette, who tries to turtle up… and gets tossed to the outside pretty much straightaway as Gage wasn’t in the mood to mess around.
The mobile cameras catch the pair throwing chairs at each other, just as commentary mentioned that this very match was what lost them their first venue. Well, to be fair, the Avalon had every right to be jittery as Gage threw Arquette into the crowd, before throwing a fan’s beer into his opponent’s face, as they went deeper into the crowd. Good luck catching this!
The brawlers eventually returned to the ring, with Gage having a chair in hand as he looked to turn things up a notch. Arquette manages to hit back, sending Gage into a chair he’d wedged between the buckles, before scoring with a ‘rana!?! Gage is sent outside by that, but the former actor struggles to follow up as he slipped on the buckles before launching himself to the floor with a body press!
Things go awry when Arquette gopes for a chair-assisted tope, clipping the ropes the first time he did it, before scoring the second time. A third time ended up going wrong as Gage hits him with what looked like a fan’s drink, before the plunder came into effect. First: a door in the corner, which Arquette goes through as Gage speared him, before the remnant of the door was just whacked against Arquette’s head like it was nothing.
Gage makes sure the door’s completely smashed as he threw it at Arquette again, before he went to the back… and returned with LIGHT TUBES? Oh dear God. Arquette looked bewildered by the sight of those things, but we had a distraction in the form of Joey Ryan, who came in with his arm in a sling (Ryan was Gage’s initial opponent before he tore his pec). There’s a superkick from Ryan, as he forced Gage into a Penis Suplex… only for Messiah (of all people, from XPW back in the day) to make a save. O-kay? I guess Kevin Gill was back in his element as he could talk about the Backyard Wrestling video games for a moment there.
Arquette tries to capitalise on the confusion with a cutter, but Gage kicks out at one and just waffles Arquette with a bundle of light tubes. Dear GOD. We get slightly more sedate from there as Gage sets up some light tubes across some chairs… and Arquette fought and bit back into it, before dumping Gage with a cutter through the tubes! More tubes come into play, but this time Arquette gets hold of them and sets some up against Gage in the corner… then cannonballs into them?!
That might not have been wise, David!
After taking a second to compose himself, Arquette remembers he has to make a cover, and gets a near-fall. Things take a turn for the worse when Gage finds a pizza cutter and uses it on Arquette as commentary referenced the Mass Transit incident. Well… We go there when Gage finds a remnant of a light tube and slices Arquette with it.. .and in the hurry to escape, Arquette looked to slice his own neck.
Arquette tries to get the pin from there while holding his neck, before he left the ring and went towards the back as things went a little weird. A moment later he’s back in the ring as Gage puts boots to him again, before Arquette looked to go for a takedown… it’s stuffed and turned into a judo takedown as Arquette got pinned… then popped up and walked to the back. That was bizarre as hell. Arquette took a serious cut to the neck and, understandably, freaked out over it. While they finished the match from there, it was a very weird finishing spell as your suspension of disbelief came to a shuddering halt. As for the match, well, Gage managed to make something look realistic against a heavily inexperienced opponent, so there’s that. That being said, this was a match that almost fell off the line between violent and reckless… and could well have gotten GCW into a much more problematic situation. ***¾
With no Joey Janela on the show due to injury, this was a show that seemed to be a “Janela show” in name only. Sure, you had your wackiness and the random as hell matches, but this didn’t seem to have the same aura as Lost in New York or Spring Break. It seemed like the GCW idea is to twin these Janela shows with the big WWE pay-per-views, but in truth it may be an idea to dial it down to just one or two a year, lest the novelty wear off.
LA Confidential was a fun show, in spite of the injuries and the incidents that overshadowed the show, but unless you really want to see Death Match David Arquette, you can probably give this one a pass… or just use your Fite Bucks!