GCW Presents Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport
April 5 2018
We’re in New Orleans, Louisiana for WrestleMania weekend. WWN’s venue is the Pontchartrain Convention & Civic Center. It’s not the most stunning of buildings to run wrestling in but apparently that’s what NOLA has. Let’s just make the best of it.
Speaking of which Low Ki has come down with jobberitis (it’s been so long since his last case too) and has been replaced on this show with Minoru Suzuki! I would have perhaps enjoyed a new match more, because in this weird old world I’ve already seen Suzuki vs. Riddle (live too), but it’s a very strong replacement bout.
Obviously the show started late because carnie Gabe Sapolsky’s shitty website couldn’t handle the traffic (THIS HAPPENS EVERY FUCKING YEAR).
And we kick off thirty minutes delayed. Larry Legend is the ring announcer. Would have been neat if Matt Riddle had just done all the jobs on this show. Ring announcer, commentator…and he’s forgotten to put the ropes up! Ok, it’s a no ropes show and wins are by KO or submission.
Dominic Garrini vs. KTB
KTB had a break out weekend last year, against Sami Callihan (so he must have been good). Garrini is new. They do this MMA style, which is as expected and the lack of ropes is just weird. They have a roll around on the mat as we ease ourselves into ‘Mania. KTB walks into a triangle and gets choked out. This was what it needed to be; swift and to the point. Make up for the 30 minute delay.
Final Rating: **
Tracy Williams vs. Eddie Kingston
Riddle is cornering Eddie and is dressed like the Bride in Kill Bill. I’m into that. Eddie is not the first name that springs to mind when booking an MMA kinda promotion but he’s tough as a two dollar steak. The ‘MMA style’ rules are somewhat abandoned as Williams kicks Eddie when he’s on the deck. Eddie clearly doesn’t give a fuck. Eddie gets the very big pop of the weekend with a Sleeper Suplex, dumping Hot Sauce on his neck.
They head into submission attempts and Eddie straight up murders Tracy with big bombs and finishes with a spinning back fist. Street Concrete Jungle baby.
Final Rating: ***
Martin Stone vs. Masada
Masada is here to show he’s “not just a death match guy” but he totally is. His chaining here is ugly as sin. Some of it is passable but most of it is urgh. Masada’s traditionally traditional sloppy style is exposed and then the match just randomly stops for some reason. It’s a knock out? No, it wasn’t lads. Let’s just forget this happened.
Final Rating: DUD
Tom Lawlor vs. WALTER
Lawlor is a former MMA fighter, until recently, and we all know how WALTER vs. Riddle panned out in terms of quality. Lawlor is smaller than Riddle so WALTER is able to use his size, although Lawlor has a few wrestling tricks up his sleeve.
Lawlor tries to go with Roman Reigns offence and WALTER kills him for it. This is fantastic. Lawlor has the Gojira scouted by WALTER kills him with a powerbomb to escape the armbar and the Gojira Clutch finishes. Shame about the buffering in this but what I did see was awesome. WALTER is going to kill this weekend. In fairness to the rating I had Aqeel and Ian both go **** on this, in the chat, so it’s definitely a tasty bout.
Final Rating: ***3/4
The intermission allows us to glimpse some of the delicious hype videos for Joey Janela’s Spring Break II, which is really the focal point of the weekend.
Chris Dickinson vs. Dan Severn
When Severn wrestled Riddle at last year’s Mania weekend they basically winged it. This match has a similar feel, only without Riddle’s execution. Dan still comes across as your manly uncle who you were scared of as a kid. So it’s all good. Dickinson and he roll around on the mat for most of the run time. Chris decides to whomp Dan instead, because he’s not able to out-grapple him. Dickinson tries a series of high kicks and Severn, looking feeble for a moment, then takes the fucker down and stretches him. It ends up being a way better match than I was expecting. Back and forth, executing submission attempts and throwing strikes. It’s a little dull at times but that was always an issue with Severn in MMA and wrestling. Dickinson rains down elbows on a motionless Severn and Chris has to get the referee to drag him off. That was a bad idea. Dan gets a choke and it’s over. Bad referee.
Final Rating: **3/4
Tim Thatcher vs. Nick Gage
Tim controls with holds so Gage bites him and throws punches. The crowd, who are not into Thatcher because they’re Tories, largely sit on their hands until they go outside and brawl. Basically Gage can’t wrestle Tim’s style so poor Thatcher is forced into Nick’s world. They do some decent brawling but Gage mounts with punches and the ref stops it. This was a messy clash of styles and Gage’s “MMA style” was like Eddie Kingston’s from earlier only far worse. Seeing as Tim Thatcher is legitimately great at this style, given the right opponent, I’m pinning this on Gage.
Final Rating: **1/4
Minoru Suzuki vs. Matt Riddle
Minoru is in NOLA! They’ve tangled before but that was in Rev Pro on an undercard. This is a main event, kicking off WrestleMania weekend. The crowd seems a little feisty. Everyone is fired up. It’s happening! Their trading is excellent. It immediately jumps over everything else on the show bar WALTER/Lawlor. Riddle is playful, having been in the ring with Suzuki before, but this gets him roughed up. I love how they wrestle out of the ring, because there’s nothing to keep them in there. It just plays into their match.
I love Suzuki getting riled by the shitty ref telling him he can’t submit someone on the floor. Suzuki has magnificent controlled temper tantrums. I also love how Suzuki layers his selling as a show of respect for Riddle, among his usual disrespect. He’s very good at this. Watch his total refusal to sell for young boy Tyler Bate in Rev Pro.
Riddle gets caught in the choke and refuses to submit but passes out. MiSu is happy to hug Riddle afterwards, showing how much he rates him. Lovely guy. Unless you’re a rookie. Then he’ll kill you.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Solid show to start the weekend. Two very good matches in Riddle-Suzuki and WALTER-Lawlor. A fine way to get hyped up for the weekend ahead. Nothing here is going to be Match of the Weekend or anything but it was an interesting experiment and when it clicked, it clicked beautifully. A few issues with commentary and wrestlers not being any good at the style can be overlooked when the good stuff worked.