‘Mania weekend continued with a taster show as IndependentWrestling.tv brought the best of their service together for an offer show.

Kicking off GCW’s Collective weekend at the White Eagle Hall in Newark, New Jersey, we open with a title match… but not before Orange gets his WrestleMania Entrance, with a flutist playing him out. Sadly, there’s a tonne of empty seats opposite the hard cam, which is NOT a good look. Although MJF being front and centre is certainly a look. Commentary’s from a revolving crew, including Dylan Hales and Kevin Ford.

European Rounds Match for Independent Wrestling Championship: Jonathan Gresham vs. Orange Cassidy (c)
This was Cassidy’s 11th defence of the title that was originally won by Gresham last year under its old name.

Round One: We start with Cassidy pulling himself almost into a foetal position as he tried to sandbag Gresham to the mat… only for the challenger to kick his way free. Cassidy fakes out a handshake as his hands go into the pockets, as we almost have a faux pas as Orange’s glasses fell into Gresham’s mitts. They quickly turn up the pace with sunset flips for near-falls, before shoulder tackles sparked some slow-mo graps from the champion. Gresham watches Cassidy running the ropes before he’s caught in a lucha roll-through as the first round ends in a pinfall! It’s best of three-falls though, but Gresham’s given himself a mountain to climb.

Round Two: Cassidy gives Gresham his sunglasses, which get tossed to the mat, then booted into the crowd. This crowd have bad aim as they try to throw them back, as Gresham easily backs out of a headlock before he used some headscissors on the mat to keep Cassidy grounded. A modified cravat from Gresham is broken when Cassidy went for the nipples, before Gresham got some near-falls from a mare. Orange easily escapes a waistlock next, before he spun out of an Octopus stretch and caught Gresham with a roll-up for another near-fall. The pair work back and forth from a wristlock as Cassidy thought he’d gotten the arm, before he took Gresham into the corner as time ran out on the road.

Round Three: Before the round, Gresham gets a public warning for attacking the champion before the bell, and we get going at speed as they exchange ‘ranas. Gresham goes after the arm of Cassidy as he looked for the Octopus stretch, only for Cassidy to counter out with a Mouse Trap for the three-count – and Gresham loses 2-0! This was fine, albeit way too short and in a format that alienated the crowd, and that’s another defence for the confusing Cassidy. ***

Post-match, MJF enters the ring with the Limitless Wrestling title as Cassidy tried to fall asleep during the promo. Disingenuous isn’t the word as MJF got annoyed at how low down the list of contenders he was for the IWTV title… so he offered a title vs. title match. Which Orange refused… so MJF kicks the ropes into him before a slingshot piledriver left the IWTV champion laying.

Kobe Durst, Justin Sane & Kody Lane vs. Shane Sabre, Space Monkey & Brett Michael David
This was the offer match from Alpha-1 wrestling, featuring the A-1 Alpha Male champion Kobe Durst… but there was a lot of belts on show here. So many, in fact, the ref couldn’t hold them all.

We’ve an explosive start as all six men (okay, five and a monkey) brawled, but it’s Space Monkey who outsmarts his opponents as we settled down into BMD and Monkey against Kobe Durst briefly. The monkey moonsaults to the floor before BMD just decks Justin Sane with a lariat.

Sabre and Monkey double-team Sane with an assisted moonsault for a near-fall, as this quickly turned into the revolving door match with plenty of tags. Sabre gets monkey flipped into Kody Lane in the corner before a big boot from Durst turned it around. A Kobe-breaker from Dursty holds Sabre for a senton bomb from Lane, before a big splash from Sane finds its mark for a near-fall. A chop to the thigh surprises Sabre, who manages to sneak in with a DDT before he finally tagged out to Space Monkey, who took down Durst with the ol’ Molly Go Round. An ironic Monkey Flip sends Lane into Sane, before Durst ate another spin kick and a Michinoku driver for a near-fall.

Sane finds a way back in with a TKO to Monkey, before BMD snuck in with a Blue Thunder Bomb amid a Parade of Moves. A Finlay roll and a back senton from Lane finds its mark, before he took a Sabre superplex, a Monkey moonsault and a BMD 450 that saw him crush Lane with his knees for the win. A decent trios match, although not one that told me much about A1 beyond “hey, here are some guys”. **¾

Rich Palladino introduces Step Stool Sarah to ring announce for a bit.

Scramble: Red Eagle vs. Mike Verna vs. Ethan Page vs. Arik Cannon vs. Mikey vs. Ophidian
This involved wrestlers from Portugal’s CTW, Italy’s IWA (although that was tenuous as all hell with Mike Verna…), “himself” (Ethan Page), First Wrestling, St. Louis Anarchy and Demand Lucha.

It’s one fall to a finish, as we start with Arik Cannon working over Red Eagle as the crowd booed Ethan Page’s dad joke. Eagle fought back with hiptosses and dropkicks, taking Cannon outside before Verna caught Eagle with a knee in the ropes as he then tried to steal a pin. A deadlift, rebound suplex from Verna dumps Ophidian, before Mikey came in and caught Verna with a knee… then went hog wild with body slams.

Ethan Page and Mike Verna are waiting for him, but of course he can’t get them up, as he had to go up top for his big finish… a big splash that missed. He then wandered into the ref, who slammed him, before Mikey hit the bricks as Verna and Page came in. A suplex from “All Ego” drops Verna, before a neckbreaker from Cannon found its mark amid a Parade of Moves, ending with a powerbomb/slam combo from Verna on Cannon and Eagle for two two-counts. Ophidian flew in to break it up, before he got caught in the corner as we teased a Tower of Doom… which was a doomsday crossbody/DDT combo for more near-falls. Eagle’s back with a dropkick and a big boot, before he gets caught with a small package by Ophidian as a parade of pinning attempts ended with Eagles’ O’Connor roll for the win. A very solid offering that didn’t outstay its welcome – and just about everyone involved looked like a good fit here too. ***

Another IWTV sting plays that the live crowd weren’t aware of.

Jack Bonza, Mick Moretti & Bel Pierce vs. Steph DeLander, Caveman Ugg & Unsocial Jordan
Representing PWA Black Label in Australia was this trios match, which featured the “Internet Explorer” Unsocial Jordan. What an Edge.

DeLander replaced Robbie Eagles in this match for reasons that weren’t explained, as we start with Bonza and Jordan on the mat, exchanging headlocks and escapes before they reached a standoff. In comes DeLander and Moretti, with Steph landing some shoulder charges before a big boot dropped Moretti for a near-fall.

Jordan’s back with a running knee, but his headscissors just left Moretti on his head as he suckered Jordan in for more headscissors, as Bonza got the tag in. Bonza stretches Jordan on the mat with a modified single leg crab, only for Jordan to escape and rebound with a leg lariat. Tags bring in Pierce and DeLander, with Bel landing some headscissors of her own before a running splash led to a near-fall. Steph tags in Caveman Ugg, as Bel responds by… throwing glitter at him. That’s gonna be a bugger to clear up. Bonza’s back to exchange chops with Ugg, which got the crowd going, before Pierce tried to get involved with a crossbody. Things go all wacky as another Parade of Moves broke out to clear the ring, before he countered headscissors from Jordan into an ankle lock. Moretti comes in to keep up the pressure, scoring with a release Regalplex before he impressively monkey flipped Jordan into Ugg.

Ugg has a monkey flip of his own, sending Moretti high, but in the end a TKO from DeLander sent Pierce to the outside, ahead of a Jackhammer Fire Thunder Driver as the movez kept going. That looked nasty. Glitter continued to shine on the wrestler’s backs, but in the end it was Moretti who got the win. This was a good little trios match that got all six folks’ characters across – but it’d be nice to have had a match from someone that played into ongoing storylines. ***¼

Kylie Rae & Isaias Velasquez vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Robert Anthony
This comes from Freelance, as we have champions past and present on one side… and Frank the Clown outside the ring.

Shotzi and Kylie start us off, exchanging some flowing sequences before Rae superkicked Shotzi into the corner as Anthony tagged himself in. Velasquez comes in too, and traps Anthony by the rope with some kicks… they make a comeback though, as Shotzi and Anthony worked together to trap Isaias with some low legdrops. Anthony traps Velasquez in a Romero special, then flings him out with the release as Kylie Rae walked into an inverted powerslam. Things break down into a brief scuffle as Shotzi sends Kylie outside… but she then crashes on a back senton that was aimed at Velasquez. Duelling cannonballs crash into Blackheart and Anthony for a near-fall… but Anthony gets back in as he dropped Kylie as that back senton from Shotzi connected for another two-count.

Kylie counters some mounted punches with a powerbomb out of the corner, and then Frank the Clown gets involved to ruin it all. Shotzi gets hung up on the ropes as she dumped Velasquez on the apron with a sliced bread, while Anthony nearly put away Kylie with a death valley driver. The idiot clown gets in the ring with his spikey shoes, but he accidentally nails Anthony with itas Shotzi got posted on the outside… that left the Clown in grave danger, as he took a pair of superkicks before duelling submissions on Blackheart and Anthony forced the submission. Lovely stuff, even if that goddamned clown had to be around. ***

Action Wrestling Championship: AC Mack (c) vs. Fred Yehi
Yehi’s one of those guys whose careers has taken a weird turn after he left EVOLVE, popping around from promotion to promotion without ever getting picked up.

AC Mack does his own intro, inflating his weight, before he started the match by… being grabbed in the balls as Yehi chopped his way into things. A back elbow dumps Mack, as he was sent scurrying ahead of a German suplex and a low dropkick as Yehi was firing on all cylinders. Yehi nearly snatched the win with a folding powerbomb in the middle of the ring, before a shot to the gut turned things around for Mack.

Yehi lifts him to the outside, then followed him out… and that’s a mistake as Mack superkicked him in the ropes ahead of an attempt at the Mack 10… except Yehi slips out and takes him to the mat for a Koji clutch. An eye rake got the champ free as he followed back in with a Meteora, then with a swinging DDT as Yehi was taken into the corner for a cannonball. Yehi recovers and picked up Mack with a giant swing, but the slingshot’s a little wonky… what wasn’t wonky was the takedown into another Koji Clutch, and with Yehi pounding away on Mack’s hand, he lets go before he went in for some ground and pound that the ref broke up. Grabbing the belt, Yehi teases a belt shot, but the ref disarms him as a low blow and the Mack 10 (a cross-armed Pedigree) was landed for a near-fall… only for Mack to hit it again for the win. Well, at least we finally figured out what the move was, as Mack had to take a shortcut to get the win and escape with his title. ***

Kris Statlander & Solo Darling vs. Shazza McKenzie & Jessica Troy
There was a substitution here as Kimber Lee pulled out, having attacked Statlander after her match with AR Fox at Beyond yesterday. Kimber’s very salty on commentary, playing the “nobody appreciates me” card.

Darling begins by kicking away at the legs of Troy, who shoved her away for some brief ground and pound before McKenzie tagged in. A splits legdrop from McKenzie gets a cover as the referee seemed to forget who was legal as Troy puts the boots to Darling. McKenzie’s suplex gets a near-fall on Darling, who looked to be in big trouble as the Aussies kept her away from a tag out. Eventually Darling gets free as she carried Shazza on her back before getting a tag to Statlander, who clotheslined Shazza (and set off an accidental DDT) for a near-fall. A big boot from Troy drops Kris, as Solo gets caught in the ropes for some kicks from Shazza… just as a tope from Troy gets caught on the outside.

Solo made Shazza join them after a suplex onto the apron as the dives continued, before another Parade of Moves broke out, leading to a wheelbarrow German suplex from Statlander on Troy. Darling followed that up with a Cloverleaf, which she clung onto despite Shazza’s kicks, but in the end a stunner from McKenzie drops Statlander as Solo’s caught in the corner with knees for a near-fall. All four women trade strikes in the ring, before Statlander caught McKenzie with a nasty package tombstone for the win. This was pretty good for the time they had, even if Kimber Lee’s commentary was all “me me me” to play up the storyline with her and Statlander. **¾

O’Shay Edwards & Mr. Brickster & Cabana Man Dan vs. Brett Ison & SADKAMPF (Kevin Ku & Dominick Garrini)
This was the Southern Underground Pro offer match, as their ring announcer, Righteous Jesse, came in with way too much caffeine. No, I don’t know why they’re called SADKAMPF either…

Kevin Ku puts the boots to Brickster early on, but the neon-loving Brickster turns it around as he put Ku down on the mat… only for Brett Ison to come in. We’re quickly cycling through tags here, as Cabana Man Dan tried his luck with forearms before his bare feet seemed to struggle with rope walking as he instead lands a leg lariat.

A lucha-style armdrag’s blocked by Garrini, who finally found his stride with a release gutwrench suplex. O’Shay Edwards got a tag off-camera and comes in with German suplexes to fold up Garrini, but Ison’s in to dropkick him outside as Ku snuck in for a lowpe into the front row… which gets caught as Edwards powerbombed him against the ring post. Garrini comes in with a tope next, as Edwards gets isolated in the corner for a series of strikes, leading to Ku’s Dragon suplex and a Garrini German for another two-count. Brickster and Cabana Man Dan’s back in to help, and they surround Ku… who tries to subdue them with chops, only for the numbers game to prevail as Edwards then heads up top for a sweet moonsault onto Ku that almost took the win.

Ku comes back with a palm strike and a gutwrench lumbar check onto Dan, sending him flying outside before Brickster just absorbs a series of chops. An inverted crucifix bomb from Brickster sent Ku down to the outside, as Ison comes in to put Brickster away with a Praying Mantis Bomb… except he doesn’t go for a pin as he instead looked to put Edwards away with it too, before O’Shay countered with an Air Raid Crash. The Lucha rules continue as Garrini replaces Ison for a strike battle, sending Garrini into the ropes, only for the former EVOLVE man to hit Edwards with a short piledriver. Dan’s in with flip flops, which he slaps Garrini around with ahead of a Rolling Thunder STO… and that’s the cue for Ku to keep up the insanity… only for Dan to counter with Sliced Bread off the top for the win! Very snappy and very indy, but this was another decent outing that certainly opened my eyes to a few folks I’d not been paying attention to before. ***

Last Man Standing Match: Jake Parnell vs. Gary Jay
In the last two years, these guys have had over a dozen matches, in the likes of Zero-One USA, CZW and EVOLVE. Apparently Parnell’s the top contender for Orange Cassidy’s IWTV title,,, and for a blood feud, Gary Jay’s very eager to fistbump the front row.

We start with the pair trading chops as they wanted to redden each other’s chests early on, before some headscissors took Parnell outside for a barrage of topes from Jay. Rather than keep Parnell down for a standing ten-count, Jay throws some more chops before a springboard lariat took him outside as Parnell’s tope con giro through the ropes took down the “Stiff Robo Ginger”… and nearly a fan as well! Parnell heads up top next, but he’s knocked down as Jay nastily flung a chair at him from the floor. More chops follow as they brawled around ringside. There’s a slam on the floor by the merch stands, before Jay ran into a release Northern lights suplex by the ring. Back inside, an enziguiri from Parnell dropped Jay ahead of a series of stomps… but Jay gets free as they continued to slug it out with chops and forearms, before Jay flew off the middle rope as he DDT’d Parnell.

More chops on the apron follow before Jay went up to the middle rope to land a flying DDT onto the apron with a nasty thud. Parnell ups the ante with a release German superplex back in the ring, sending Jay flying inside out, as the double count-out was teased… before they rolled to the outside and onto their feet. Technicalities! Back on the outside, Parnell’s thrown into the stage by Jay… only for the Warhorse to fly off into a stomp on Jay. Parnell pulls a door out from under the ring, prompting ironic chants of “Door Horse” as he tried to throw Jay through it… but the (makeshift) table turns as Jay dumped him through it with a death valley driver, before he went under the ring for some spanners as Jay made a callback to a prior match as he began to remove the top rope.

Eh, just starting off the work for Bloodsport later tonight!

In a prior match, Jay used a turnbuckle iron to cut Parnell’s mouth open… and Parnell knew what was coming here. He throws Jay aside and lands a lariat to avoid the assault, before he got payback as he dug the turnbuckle hook into Jay’s mouth, then flung him outside as we had the direct revenge.

While the ref counted, Parnell grabbed another door – hoping for better results this time – propping the door against the remaining turnbuckles, only for Jay to fight back… and get dumped through the wood with a half nelson suplex. OUCH. Parnell leaps into a forearm as Jay puts his head in a chair… then connected flush with a nasty double stomp before he used a second chair to knock it off. EVIL!… and that’s enough as Parnell didn’t beat the count in a finish that caught me by surprise. So that’s a win in a plunderiffic Last Man Standing match for Jay, who may well have usurped Parnell in that list of contenders. ***½

As a show, this was a very easy watch with a killer main event… and some matches that flew by… perhaps too quickly in the case of some matches, but this was a good way to ease into the intensity of ‘Mania weekend. My only nitpick? I wish these were more matches that somehow bled into ongoing storylines to make you watch these promotions after the face.