DATE: February 20, 2021
VENUE: The Monster Factory (Paulsboro, NJ)
COMMENTATORS: AJ Orcini & ??? (I couldn’t make out the name)
VIEWING METHOD: Fite.tv (Purchased with Credits)
Global Syndicate Wrestling marks its debut with Inception, featuring the crowning of its first Heavyweight Champion as Alexander Hammerstone takes on Austin Aries. Oof that’s a…choice for Hammerstone’s opponent. I’ll try to keep an open mind I guess.
- GSW WORLD CHAMPION: Vacant
- GSW WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Masha Slamovich
- GSW NEXT GEN CHAMPION: Gio Galvano
- Michael Elgin vs. Wrecking Ball Legursky (***1/2)
- Hyan vs. Masha Slamovich (***)
- Tyson Maddux vs. Richard Holliday (**1/2)
- Vicious Vicki vs. Gabby Ortiz (*1/2)
- Smiley vs. Ricky Reyes vs. Gio Galvano (**1/2)
- Trish Adora vs. Deonna Purrazzo (****)
- Alexander Hammerstone vs. Austin Aries for the vacant GSW CHAMPIONSHIP (***3/4)
“Unbreakable” Michael Elgin vs. Wrecking Ball Legursky
Prior to being outed as a big ol’ piece of sh*t Michael Elgin had a helluva career, winning championships in a lot of major companies both in the States and Japan. I’ve never heard of Lagursky before but I love that name and the fact he looks like a Bam Bam Bigelow doppelganger is super funny. Lots of ra ra about GSW “changing the face of independent wrestling” and beginning a new era.
Elgin and Legursky jockey for position to start, showing off their respective strength. The lock up turns into a forearm exchange, Legursky runs into an elbow in the corner but Elgin can’t bring him to the canvas with shoulderblocks. Legursky goes for a slam, Elgin escapes into a waistlock, Legursky breaks it with an elbow. Elgin connects with an elbow of his own, Legursky runs him over with a shoulder tackle and yells his name which the crowd starts chanting. Elgin and Legursky exchange chops and block one another’s suplex attempts. Elgin runs Legursky into the corner and gets sent to the apron. Elgin connects with an enzuigiri kick and goes for a suplex but Legursky blocks it so Elgin drops him across the top rope throat-first instead. Always a solid plan B. They fight to the apron, Legursky brings him back in with a lariat. Legursky climbs to the middle buckle, Elgin surprises him with a pair of enzuigiri kicks then peels him off the buckles into a powerslam for the 1…2…Wrecking Ball kicks out. Legursky lays into Elgin with chops, who responds with stiff forearms of his own that sends him crashing to his knees. Elgin connects with a legdrop across Legursky as he hangs over the middle rope, crowd is NOT a fan but he doesn’t care. Legursky FIRES up, reverses an Irish whip, Elgin counters a backdrop and goes for an Elgin Bomb but Legursky powers out. Legursky powers out a Full Nelson, Elgin hops on his back and gets squashed in the corner. Legursky charges, Elgin sends him crashing head-first into the middle buckle. Elgin charges, Legursky surprises him with a running crossbody and both men are down. Legursky goes on a babyface comeback with a series of jabs and an Avalanche in the corner followed by another in the opposite corner. Elgin blocks a clothesline and connects with a big boot. Legursky FLOATS OVER Elgin in the corner and connects with a powerslam for the 1…2…Elgin kicks out! Yoooo that was cool.
Elgin blocks a boot in the corner and connects with a corner clothesline, Legursky responds with a corner splash and both men lay into each other clotheslines. Elgin dazes Legursky with a series of forearms, Legursky hits a Black Hole Slam-adjacent move for the 1…2…Elgin kicks out again! Elgin connects with a running forearm to the back of the head for the 1…2…Legursky kicks out and Elgin is shocked. Legursky misses a clothesline, Elgin connects with a RELEASE GERMAN SUPLEX followed by a pair of corner clotheslines and a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER for the 1…2…WRECKING BALL IS NOT DONE YET. Elgin connects with a running lariat for the 1…2…LEGURSKY KICKS OUT AGAIN leading to a loud “WRECKING BALL” chant from the crowd. Chants start dueling as Elgin tries an Elgin Bomb but decides instead to BELT him with a forearm, Legursky counters an Elgin Bomb with a backdrop. Elgin surprises Legursky with a series of kicks, Legursky catches him charging in and flattens him like a whoopee cushion followed by a falling headbutt for the 1…2…ELGIN KICKS OUT. Cue the “THIS IS AWESOME” chant which they are not wrong about. Elgin dazes Legursky with a series of forearms then peels him off the middle buckle into an ELGIN BOMB for the 1…2…3!
Michael Elgin defeated Wrecking Ball Legursky via pinfall (16:58)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Helluva way to start your first-ever show. Elgin, all his real-life bullsh*t aside, is a tremendous wrestler so I knew he was probably going to bring it but this match belonged almost entirely to Wrecking Ball Legursky. I judged a book by its cover with him and ate my words at the end as he went toe to toe with Elgin in a tremendous hard-hitting match. Great stuff. I need more Wrecking Ball in my wrestling diet. (***1/2)
Legursky leaves Elgin to celebrate his win but it’s short-lived as a MASKED MAN appears from the crowd. Elgin turns around the man removes his mask, revealing himself to be…JACOB FATU. Fatu attacks Elgin, dropping him with a superkick and Samoan Drop. Fatu tries to finish him off with a moonsault but Elgin rolls to the floor to avoid it. Loud “FATU” chants as the commentators wonder what he’s doing in GSW and where he came from. Elgin grabs the mic and says if this happened a normal man they’d tuck their tail and run but Fatu did it to HIM and “Big Mike” doesn’t run from anyone. Elgin asks everyone if they want to see them fight right now, Elgin says he doesn’t run…but does what he wants WHEN he wants. He tells Fatu that he’s now the first undefeated wrestler in GSW and Fatu will have to prove himself. Elgin leaves, Fatu gets on the mic and asks to kick his ass at the next show which the crowd (and commentators) fully support.
–Masha Slamovich (OH MY GOD WHAT A F*CKING NAME) comes out, GSW Women’s Title in hand (when did that happen)? Slamovich complains about being stuck in New Jersey instead of Tokyo and that GSW brass has not lined up anyone to face her tonight. Music hits and out comes Hyan to accept what I guess was an open challenge.
Hyan vs. Masha Slamovich
Slamovich slaps Hyan, Hyan takes her to the canvas with a side headlock takeover. Slamovich tries to counter into a headscissors but Hyan dodges and wrenches the headlock in. Back to a vertical base Slamovich escapes and gets dropped with a shoulder tackle. Hyan walks over a drop down from Slamovich and catches a slap, following up with a series of knees in a cravate position. Slamovich catches one of the strikes and trips Hyan up, quickly following up with a double stomp. Hyan belts Slamovich with an elbow followed by a basement dropkick for the 1…2…not yet. Hyan does a float over to nobody, awkward AF, Slamovich lets her finish then drops her on her head with a release German suplex. Commentators are talking but I can barely hear them over the ring audio. Not sure if I’m missing anything good or not. Hyan starts fighting back, Slamovich yanks her hair and brings her to the canvas, following up with a series of strikes in a full mount. Slamovich connects with a backbreaker and covers Hyan but only gets a one-count. Commentators mention that this is actually a NON-TITLE MATCH since it was an open challenge. Lame.
Slamovich toys with Hyan, talking trash and kicking her full force in the ribs. Dueling German suplexes, dueling lariats, and both ladies are down! Nice. Both get to their feet and start throwing bombs, Hyan ducks a backfist and connects with a clothesline followed by Wasteland and a legdrop for the 1…2…Masha kicks out. Slamovich rolls through a wheelbarrow with a victory roll into a double stomp. Hyan counters a power bomb with a backdrop into a cover for the 1…2…Slamovich kicks out. Hyan wraps Slamovich up in a Rings of Saturn-looking submission (also Garga-No Escape adjacent). Slamovich struggles and powers through to get to the ropes, forcing Hyan to break the hold. Slamovich and Hyan trade roll-up attempts but both manage to kick out in the nick of time, earning a round of applause from the crowd. Hyan drills Slamovich with a forearm and connects with an inverted airplane spin, Slamovich comes out with an armdrag followed by a roundhouse superkick. Slamovich signals for the end and drills Hyan with a package-ish piledriver for the 1…2…3.
Masha Slamovich defeated Hyan via pinfall (11:44)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: When did Slamovich win the GSW Women’s Championship? Was it a tournament in Rio de Janeiro or something? Weird to see a champion out on a company’s first show, but that’s just dorky nitpicking. Solid match here; this is the first time I’ve seen Slamovich and I am ALL ABOUT HER now, she f*cking slaps and whips (and piledrives and roundhouse kicks). Hyan was great here as well and I enjoyed this all the way through. 2 for 2 from this new company so far, they’re softening the blow of having Austin Aries in their main event. (***)
Hyan offers a handshake out of respect, Slamovich slaps it away because she’s the champ and doesn’t need that bs. Slamovich leaves, crowd gives Hyan a round of applause and one very zealous dude tries to start a “PLEASE COME BACK” chant. I respect the try, dude.
–Richard Holliday makes his way out for the next match but has something to say first to the “consumers”: when he’s in the building the people are breathing “RARE-ified air”. Holliday throws shade at Paulsboro New Jersey for not having a coffee shop within 20 miles, a sign that this town is POOR. Holliday says everyone thought he was going to face someone else tonight but the card is subject to change (Jake Crist); instead he will be facing Tyson Maddux whose name will only be said once because Holliday will be the one with his hand raised.
“The Hybrid Athlete” Tyson Maddux vs. Richard Holliday
Maddux is a BIG BOI, a former Arena Football player (is that still around?) as well as a track athlete. Definitely the opposite of who Holliday was preparing to face tonight, and the third person on this show I’m seeing wrestle for the very first time. Holliday is one of the bright spots of MLW, a company that I both like and can barely stand at the same time, with The Dynasty being one of my favorite stables of the past few years.
Holliday tells Maddux to wait so he can take his AirPods out, asking for silence from the crowd for his sacred ritual. Holliday is finally ready but Maddux stops him so he can put his grill in, and mocks him for his “dollar store” AirPods. Ha. Now we got a “Christmas Tree Shop” chant and MAN I’m really missing the Northeast now. What a pointless store I always went to anyway. Holliday gets back on the mic and says he’s never heard of all these broke as a joke establishments the crowd has been chanting. Almost four minutes in and FINALLY the two lock up…which ends in a stalemate. Holliday grabs a wristlock, cracking it across his shoulder to further weaken it. Maddux counters into a wristlock of his own, Holliday flips through and takes him to the canvas with a side headlock, Maddux counters with a headscissors and Holliday lands on top for the 1…2…Maddux kicks out and the two reset once again. Maddux takes Holliday to the canvas with a waistlock, Holliday counters into a hammerlock, Maddux counters into a front chancery but Holliday quickly counters back into the hammerlock. WRESTLING. Holliday drops Maddux with a shoulder tackle, Maddux leapfrogs him front and back followed by a powerslam for the 1…2…Holliday kicks out and bails to the corner, Maddux follows him in with a running clothesline. Holliday escapes a suplex and belts Maddux with an elbow, covering for a two-count. Holliday chops Maddux, Maddux responds with a pair of chops, delaying the second one to freak his opponent out. Love it. Holliday goes on the offensive, hanging Maddux across the apron and connecting with an elbow to the sternum. Maddux surprises Holliday with a dropkick, Holliday connects with a Northern Lights Suplex for the 1…2…Maddux kicks out. Commentator calls Holliday “not much of a suplex guy” even though his finishing move is a SUPLEX. Honestly that sounds like a thing I would have done too.
Maddux counters a second suplex attempt, delaying it before sending him crashing to the canvas for the 1…2…Holliday kicks out. Maddux splashes Holliday in the corner, Holliday escapes a suplex and connects with a right, Maddux ducks a second right and this time hits the belly-to-back suplex for the 1…2…Holliday kicks out. Holliday leapfrogs a charging Maddux who…sorta hits the buckles I guess? Seemed like a glancing blow at best. Holliday sends Maddux back to the floor and throws him into the post. Maddux kicks out of another lateral press, Holliday seats him on the top turnbuckle and lays in a pair of right hands. Holliday peels Maddux off, Maddux powers into a reversal but Holliday escapes and connects with a superplex. Maddux escapes a Tiger Suplex, Holliday boxes the ears, Maddux catches him with a snap German suplex out of the corner followed by a sorta Shining Wizard-ish for the 1…2…Holliday kicks out. Maddux quickly follows up with a belly-to-belly suplex for the 1…2…Holliday kicks out once again. Maddux ducks a clothesline and damn near takes Holliday out of his boots with a spear for the 1…2…Holliday kicks out and even the crowd thinks it should have been a three-count. Holliday counters a pumphandle with a schoolboy for the 1…2…Maddux kicks out and drills Holliday with a urinage for the 1…2…Hollidays gets his shoulder up. Holliday kicks Maddux in the arm, wrenches him down to the canvas, then hits the 2008 (twisting suplex) for the 1…2…3.
Richard Holliday defeated Tyson Maddux via pinfall (16:46)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Entertaining start to the match with Maddux and Holliday trading barbs and Holliday stalling as long as possible with his AirPods removal. Match itself went a little long for my tastes but the bulk of it was pretty good, nice seeing Holliday wrestle a longer match than I’m used to seeing from his MLW work (also not against Savio Vega for once which was nice). First time seeing Tyson Maddux, and I would not be surprised to see him end up at the WWE Performance Center at some point in his career. In a positive way. (**1/2)
“Vivacious” Vicious Vicki vs. Gabby Ortiz
Ortiz connects with a series of forearms, Vicki rolls under a clothesline attempt and Ortiz takes her to the mat with a pair of armdrags into a rolling wristlock and a glancing dropkick for a two-count. Ortiz charges at Vicki in the corner, who picks her up and slams her head-first into the top turnbuckle to go on the offensive. Vicki bows to the crowd and tries to slingshot her into the bottom rope but Ortiz shimmies to prevent it so she covers instead for a two-count. Huh, okay. Vicki rakes Ortiz’s eyes across the top rope and stomps her down in the corner. Vicki follows up with a snapmare (that Ortiz takes all on her face) followed by a kick for a two-count. Ortiz blocks a suplex and counters with one of her own, covering for the 1…2…Vicki kicks out and levels Ortiz with a clothesline but it isn’t enough to get the three-count yet. Vicki splashes and clotheslines Ortiz in the corner, following up with a bulldog-ish for the 1…2…Ortiz kicks out. A lot of these moves are not connecting as expected which is disappointing. Ortiz slams Vicki off the top turnbuckle and goes on some BABYFACE FIRE OFFENSE including a corner splash and hanging neckbreaker for the 1…2…Vicki kicks out. Ortiz rolls Vicki to the canvas and applies a submission hold I don’t know the name of. Vicki escapes and quickly grabs a chinlock. Ortiz escapes, Vicki connects with the New Jersey TurnSPIKE for the 1…2…3.
Vicious Vicki defeated Gabby Ortiz via pinfall (6:44)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: Oh boy this one was rough. I don’t know if there was just no chemistry or the communication was off but it felt like most of the offense Vicki was trying to do Ortiz was not ready to sell for and a lot of it landed with a thud (the bad kind). That was disappointing. I do love that Vicki’s finisher is called the New Jersey TurnSPIKE though. Great play on words. Also f*ck driving in New Jersey, for real. Did it once and will never do it again. (*1/2)
–Alexander Hammerstone cuts a pre-recorded promo on tonight’s match against Austin Aries (Aries’ first match in over a year) for the GSW Championship. Hammerstone talks about the stigma of being given too much based just on how he looks while Aries has had to scratch and claw to earn everything he’s had and at Inception they will be shaking off their stigmas.
-A VHS-style video plays to hype Hammerstone/Aries for tonight, complete with 90s-sounding rock anthem. Hats off to the video editor for this one, it looks pretty great.
-Two fat white dudes have a podcast called Armbar Audio, and Rohit Raju/Hakim Zane is apparently a big fan. I feel like I’m the only fat white dude without a podcast at this point.
-Follow GSW on all sorts of social media channels or buy some merch, you jerk!
-A pre-recorded promo plays from Trish Adora hyping her match with Deonna Purrazzo tonight, using the chess game she’s apparently playing against herself as a metaphor. It’s A LOT better than I’m making it sound.
“The Psycho Superman” Smiley vs. Ricky Reyes vs. Gio Galvano
Galvano is the current GSW Next Gen Champion, so he must have also won a tournament in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the company’s first-ever show. He and Slamovich are cleaning up in Brazil! Never seen Galvano or Smiley (pronounced regular, not “SMI-LAY” like Norman) before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Ricky Reyes wrestle at least once. He’s been around for a minute.
Reyes immediately throws Galvano out of the ring and goes after Smiley, ripping his mask off to reveal…ANOTHER MASK. Smiley surprises Reyes with a sorta-hurricanrana, Galvano connects with a wheelbarrow armdrag. Smiley dodges a corner splash and connects with a monkey flip, Galvano lands on his feet and attacks Smiley in the corner. Galvano rolls Reyes up with a sunset flip for a two-count, Smiley bounces off the ropes and splashes Galvano, Reyes gets involved as well, and the trio reset after a series of nearfalls. Galvano drops Reyes with a back elbow, and rolls Smiley up with an O’Connor for the 1…2…Smiley sends Galvano into Reyes, who sends him back into Smiley’s arm and drops both with a DDT/neckbreaker combo. Reyes chokes Smiley in the corner and drops Galvano with a snap belly-to-back suplex for the 1…2…not yet. Reyes slingshots Smiley’s throat into the bottom rope, Galvano drills Reyes with a vertical suplex for the 1…2…not yet. Reyes connects with a butterfly suplex for the 1…2…Galvano kicks out, Reyes immediately locks in a Cross Armbar which Smiley breaks up. Galvano catches Smiley with a Disaster Kick and Reyes with a lariat and dropkick. Galvano dropkicks Smiley as well and nips up to show off his athleticism. Galvano catches Reyes with a leaping bulldog for the 1…2…Smiley breaks it up. Smiley levels Galvano with a lariat followed by a power bomb and sling basement DDT for the 1…2…Galvano gets a shoulder up. Smiley sits Galvano on the top buckle, Reyes throws Smiley to the canvas and goes for a superplex but Galvano fights him off and catches both with a flying crossbody. Forearms from everybody, superkick from Reyes to Smiley, everybody down. Smiley sends Reyes into the middle rope and connects with a splash, then turns it into a rana to Galvano on the floor after Galvano tries a power bomb. Smiley tries a moonsault but lands on his feet sorta, Reyes sends him into the buckles and connects with a swinging neckbreaker for the 1…2…Smiley kicks out.
Galvano re-enters the match and eats a forearm, Galvano dodges a clothesline and connects with a jumping enzuigiri. Smiley superkicks Galvano, following up with a Lionsault for the 1…2…NOT YET. Smiley climbs the buckles and knocks Reyes off the apron, but that gives Galvano enough time to dodge his corkscrew splash attempt. Galvano measures Smiley and wrecks him with a jumping knee strike, Reyes throws Galvano out and covers Smiley for the 1…2…3! THIEVERY.
Ricky Reyes defeated Gio Galvano & Smiley via pinfall (11:26)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: No contrived spots in this one, just three wrestlers pummeling each other en route to hopeful victory. I appreciated that. Galvano and Smiley seem alright, I don’t think I truly understand what the “goofiness” of Smiley is supposed to be; here he was just a chubby dude with hops more than like “CRAZY”. Galvano seemed kinda bland at first glance but had some good moves (and is already a champion, apparently), but experience wins out as Reyes stole the win. Not bad. (**1/2)
-Impromptu intermission so the ring crew can tighten the ropes, leaving the commentators to fill time by discussing what we’ve seen so far.
“The Afro Punk” Trish Adora vs. “The Virtuosa” Deonna Purrazzo
I’ve heard great things about Adora and Purrazzo has been carrying Impact’s Knockouts division on her back for like a year so I’m HYPED UP. Purrazzo was originally slated to face Shaul Guerrerro, but she pulled out for mental health/family reasons (much respect to her, I hope she’s doing okay).
Adora and Purrazzo trade wristlocks to start, Adora bringing Purrazzo to the canvas as she transitions into an armbar. Purrazzo quickly escapes, trapping Adora in a leglock, Adora counters out into a hammerlock. Purrazzo tries to roll through, but Adora follows and keeps the hold applied. Purrazzo finally gets a break after backing Adora into the corner, catching her with a back elbow. Purrazzo grabs a hammerlock of her own, Adora sends her to the floor to break it and they reset. Purrazzo blocks an O’Connor Roll and they run the ropes, Adora surprises Purrazzo with a crucifix for the 1…2…Purrazzo kicks out and after a couple of rollups goes for the Fujiwara Armbar but doesn’t have her in the right position. Adora goes back to the hammerlock, Purrazzo forces a break at the ropes for a second reset. Purrazzo and Adora lock knuckles, Adora turns it into a hammerlock, Purrazzo escapes with a snapmare and grabs an armbar, Adora counters out into an armbar of her own. Both block armdrag attempts, Purrazzo drops Adora with a back elbow and drops another elbow to the back of the neck. Purrazzo grabs a brief Camel Clutch and belts Adora with a crossface, then settles into a regular chinlock. Adora escapes, Purrazzo catches her charging with a lariat and admonishes the crowd for not showing her the respect a Knockouts Champion deserves. Purrazzo goes to work on the arm, slamming it into the canvas and goes for a cover in the event that was enough. It isn’t.
Adora tries to fight back with her good arm, but Purrazzo keeps her focus on the bad one, wrapping it around the bottom rope to wrench it in an unnatural position. Adora and Purrazzo exchange forearms, Purrazzo CHOPS HER IN THE THROAT, Adora catches her in mid-air and hits a World’s Strongest Slam but hurts her arm even more which stops her from going for a pinfall. Purrazzo catches a kick and connects with a forearm, Adora surprises her with a crossbody for the 1…2…not yet. Adora brings Purrazzo out of the corner with a snapmare followed by a PERFECT NECKSNAP and a backbreaker for the 1…2…Purrazzo kicks out. Adora goes for the Cattle Mutilation but once her again her bad arm gives out and Purrazzo easily escapes. Adora escapes the Fujiwara Armbar but doesn’t escape an Exploder-style suplex and Purrazzo covers for the 1…2…Adora kicks out. Adora and Purrazzo trade strikes, Adora levels Purrazzo with a lariat for the 1…2…KIMBER LEE PULLS THE REF OUT OF THE RING. Impact invades GSW! Adora understandably gets distracted at this turn of events and Purrazzo goes for Cosa Nostra but Adora escapes so Purrazzo catches her with the Fujiwara Armbar instead and gets the submission victory.
Deonna Purrazzo defeated Trish Adora via submission (14:17)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: I was hyped going in and I’m hyped going out, this match f*cking rocked. Everything here was great and built off each other beautifully; Kimber Lee showing up to keep her alliance with Purrazzo across companies was surprising and also kind of a lame way to get to the finish but I appreciate the continuity and an Adora/Lee match would probably rule too so whatever. Damn good stuff here. (****)
–Austin Aries makes his way out to the ring for the main event wearing a mask that says “OBEY” and with NO reaction from the crowd. Commentators call it an “eerie hush”, I’m projecting it as wholesale rejection of having that sack of sh*t on their wrestling show.
Alexander Hammerstone vs. “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived” Austin Aries for the vacant GSW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
When I pre-ordered this PPV it was originally slated to be Hammerstone taking on Joe Doering and that sounded like the sort of “big meaty men slapping meat” match worth my 15 bucks. But then Doering pulled out and instead in came Austin Aries, a “polarizing” figure if you’re being kind, a “Covid conspiracy-peddling dumbass” if you want to be accurate about it. Needless to say I don’t consider this to be a worthy replacement but I’m going to TRY and be as open-minded as I can about the actual match itself because Hammerstone rips and Aries at one point was one of my favorite wrestlers. TRY. I’m gonna TRY.
Aries teases locking knuckles and uses his quickness to get in a couple of shots to the hamstrings. Aries tries to bring Hammerstone to the mat with a top wristlock, Hammerstone easily flings him off and they reset. They lock up, Hammerstone tosses Aries across the ring and he quickly bails to the floor, using the count to regain his composure and stop the momentum. Aries brings Hammerstone to the canvas and goes for a Last Chancery but Hammerstone escapes and slides out to the floor to stop his momentum. Aries tries to drop Hammerstone with shoulder tackles but he doesn’t budge; Hammerstone allows him to try again and this time Aries hurts his shoulder so he grabs a side headlock. Hammerstone picks Aries up and breaks by seating him on the top turnbuckle, slapping at his chest and telling him to take a breather. Aries uses his speed to bounce around Hammerstone, cartwheeling around and taking him to the canvas with a side headlock; Hammerstone counters with headscissors, Aries escapes and connects with a dropkick. Hammerstone swats away a missile dropkick and drills him with a shoulder tackle. Hammerstone sends Aries bouncing out of the corner chest-first and to the canvas. Hammerstone deadlifts Aries and throws him overhead, covering for the 1…2…Aries kicks out.
Aries catches a charging Hammerstone with a back elbow and comes off the buckles with a follow-up hurricanrana. Hammerstone bails to the floor and catches Aries slingshot splash in mid-air; Aries slides out of his arms and sends Hammerstone crashing into the ring post. The concerned ref checks on Hammerstone then starts the count, Hammerstone almost doesn’t make the 20-count (that GSW uses apparently) but Aries stops the ref to prevent winning that way. Aries slaps Hammerstone and sends him back to the floor, following up with a bullet suicida, taking a seat in the crowd to take a breather as the crowd chants his name. Action moves to the apron, Hammerstone dazes Aries with a stiff forearm, Aries blocks a power bomb attempt and connects with a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER ON THE HARDEST PART OF THE RIIIIING. Goddamn. Aries rolls Hammerstone in and heads to the top, Hammerstone pops up and crotches him across the top turnbuckle, following up with a TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX that shakes the ring and probably blew out a few mics but it’s not enough to get the pinfall victory yet. Hammerstone signals for the end, Aries blocks it and connects with a slap to the chest, Hammerstone responds with a pump kick, Aries counters a bomb with a sunset flip for the 1…2…Hammerstone kicks out, Aries immediately locks in the Last Chancery in the center of the ring. Hammerstone struggles and crawls and finally gets to the bottom rope, forcing a frustrated Aries to break the hold. Aries connects with a neckbreaker across the middle rope and connects with what was supposed to be a 450 Splash but looked more like a 450 Double Kneedrop (JUST AS PAINFUL) for the 1…2…Hammerstone kicks out! Aries dropkicks Hammerstone in the corner, Hammerstone counters the Brainbuster with a throw and follows up with a power bomb, Hammerstone goes for a suplex but Aries counters with the BRAINBUSTER for the 1…2…HAMMER AIN’T DOWN YET.
Aries and Hammerstone exchange forearms as they return to a vertical base, Aries removes his elbowpad and lays into him with a series of strikes. Aries charges, Hammerstone picks Aries up in a suplex position, Aries finally breaks out after a series of knee strikes. Hammerstone counters a rolling elbow with a brutal lariat and finally hits the NIGHTMARE PENDULUM for the 1…2…3!
Alexander Hammerstone defeated Austin Aries via pinfall to win the GSW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (18:56)
- JON’S THOUGHTS: A lot of pressure in a match to decide a company’s first World Champion and these two nailed it with a tremendous match that I honestly thought could go either way there with some of those exchanges. My own feelings about him as a person aside I thought Aries was really good here, and even his whole “darker” presentation was not too bad once I got over my hangups. He did a great job putting Hammerstone over here, and I’m glad Hammer got the nod as he’s easily one of my favorite wrestlers going today. Loved the top rope superplex and the surprise Brainbuster/Nightmare Pendulum spots so much. (***3/4)
Hammerstone barely gets a chance to celebrate (amid “Austin Aries” chants, ugh) before Chris Dickinson (now known as Dickinson, I guess) interrupts and grabs the GSW World Championship. Hammerstone puts over Aries as one of the greatest wrestlers in history despite his personal flaws (OF WHICH THERE ARE MANY). Dickinson snatches the mic and congratulates Hammerstone on beating Aries; unfortunately for him though, Dickinson is going to be Hammerstone’s first title defense on May 22nd.
I bought GSW Inception on impulse for a match that ended up not happening so it took me awhile to finally check it out, but I’m glad I did. Helluva first show for a new company, with three standout matches and an undercard that was mostly on point. Hammerstone become the first World Champ guarantees my interest for a little while at least, and I loved the end of show tease for his first title defense. GSW might have something going here…even if I’m going to be fighting my own personal feelings towards one of its more prominent roster members. Go go gadget cognitive dissonance.
- FAVORITE MATCH: Trish Adora vs. Deonna Purrazzo
- FAVORITE MOMENT: Richard Holliday’s AirPod ritual was great, as was the opening few minutes of banter with Tyson Maddux.