GCW Joey Janela’s Escape From LA Review

GCW Joey Janela’s Escape From LA Review

Taking a look at GCW’s event on August 9th, 2019 in Los Angeles. Featuring Alex Zayne vs. Blake Christian, Jungle Boy vs. Jimmy Lloyd, an awesome scramble match, Nick Gage, Kris Statlander, and more!

Jungle Boy defeated Jimmy Lloyd

This was a really good match to open the show. Both guys really busted their asses and went all out. There was a lot of back-and-forth action in this with lots of spots. Jungle Boy has become such a tremendous performer over the last few years. Jimmy Lloyd is a guy who is like a hybrid of Mick Foley and Kevin Steen. He’s got a look that most people would consider unappealing and he’s not the most athletic looking guy, but he can hang and do some cool stuff in the ring. Both guys really had good chemistry in this. Jungle Boy got the win with a crucifix pin. It might seem like a lackluster finish to some for this match, but I dug it. As I said, this was a really good match to start the show. If you’re a fan of matches with high-volume moves and such, you’ll dig this match. Go check it out.
Rating: ****1/4

Chris Dickinson defeated Kris Statlander

The first time I saw Kris Statlander was on Beyond Wrestling’s Americanrana. I thought her performance was really good in that. After seeing that match, I was interested in this one. Between this match and her cage match at Americanrana, I can see Statlander becoming the next breakout female star in wrestling. I thought this was another fun match that did a good job at following the opener. Kris Statlander had a really good showcase, and Dickinson was fun here. Dickinson got the win after hitting a Pazuzu Bomb (running Razor’s Edge) into a door propped up in the corner. Good stuff in this one. Statlander’s performance was very good. I hope AEW signs her because she’d do great there.
Rating: ***3/4

Mance Warner defeated Kikutaro

I love Kikutaro, but this match wasn’t a hit. While I usually find his matches funny, the comedy in this did not land at all. Kevin Gill’s commentary didn’t help either. He couldn’t go more than 10 seconds without mentioning that Mance Warner is from the South. GCW has a lot of good things going for it, but Kevin Gill on commentary is a major downside. The match itself seemed to drag, and there was stuff involving the Invisible Stan/Man gimmick that didn’t have good comedic timing. Warner won with a running knee to Kikutaro after shenanigans. This was worth skipping.
Rating: **

After the match, Warner cut a promo putting over the Invisible Man or Stan. I couldn’t tell because the audio from the microphone was hard to hear.

Alex Zayne defeated Blake Christian

When this match was announced, I told Steve that this will be Match of the Month in SoCal for August. Even though I haven’t seen the critically acclaimed Lucha Trios match from the last PWG show, this is currently my Match of the Year so far in SoCal. These two dudes went all out and absolutely killed it. From bell-to-bell, this was all action and crazy spots that will cause Jim Cornette to have a brain aneurysm if he saw what went down in this. One of the craziest moments in the match came when Blake Christian climbed onto a ledge of the building and did what looked to be a 20-foot dive onto Alex Zayne.

As the match went on, both guys kept throwing out a wide variety of moves. One spot saw them do a reverse Spanish Fly off the top rope. Another spot saw Alex Zayne hit a Shooting Star Press as Blake Christian was hunched forward, landing knees first onto the back of Blake Christina’s neck. Later in the match, Blake Christian removed the top rope and hit a Springboard 450 off the middle rope. Alex Zayne would end up getting the win after hitting a 630 from the middle rope. This match was crazy and my words cannot do it any justice.

As I said before, this is a strong MOTYC in SoCal. Both guys did a lot of great stuff and put tons of effort into this. Go watch this match. If this doesn’t win Match of the Month for August, I’m going to be declaring shenanigans and will lead a mutiny. But seriously, this was a great match. I hope these guys end up in PWG by the end of 2019.
Rating: *****

After the match, it was time for intermission. Following intermission, Lucas Riley, Matt Vandagriff, Tyler Bateman, and Ego Fantastico were in the ring waiting for the next match. Shane Mercer and Nate Webb ended up being the last ones to enter the ring.

Shane Mercer defeated Lucas Riley vs. Matt Vandagriff vs. Tyler Bateman vs. Ego Fantastico vs. Nate Webb in a Scramble Match

This entire match was a really fun scramble. The pacing kept things from being boring, and there were tons of cool spots throughout this match. One guy who I’ve become a fan of recently is Shane Mercer. This dude is a powerhouse who can do cool high flying spots. He had a really good showcase in the opening moments of this where he hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Lucas Riley over the top rope. Moments later, he hit a nice Asai Moonsault on the outside to everyone in the match. Lucas Riley and Matt Vandagriff also had a great showcase early on involving Ego Fantastico during the early stages of the match.

The highlight of the match though was Nate Weeb doing a moonsault off the top rope with a ladder onto the other performers. Moments later, Mercer threw Lucas Riley to the outside with one arm onto the other competitors. There were a lot of highlights in this, and I thought this was just as wild and fun as the Zayne/Christian match. Mercer got the win after hitting Riley with Moonsault and Battery from the second rope. Check out the GIF below to see what it is. While Mercer was the star of this, everyone in the match did a good job in it.

This was loads of fun and really well planned. If Shane Mercer isn’t in PWG by the end of the year, Super Dragon is fucking up. The dude is way better than most of the guys booked for this year’s BOLA.
Rating: ****1/2

Masato Tanaka defeated Tony Deppen

The crowd was really hot for this one and were going crazy when it started. Tony Deppen was working over Tanaka for heat, leading to Tanaka mounting a comeback. As the match progressed, things went back-and-forth with both guys exchanging several chops and strikes. At one point in the match outside of the ring, Tanaka hit a brainbuster on Deppen onto a door which looked really sick. The match went on, and the two ended up exchanging chair shots to the head on each other. Shortly after that, Tanaka got the win with a sliding lariat. While this wasn’t as good as the previous two matches, this was still fun to watch.
Rating: ***1/2

Dustin Thomas defeated Joey Janela

If you’ve never seen Dustin Thomas before, he’s got no legs. I’m not making this up. The guy legitimately has no legs. Joey Janela, who is one of the most popular performers in wrestling right now, got heat from the crowd for beating up on Dustin Thomas for most of the match while Dustin Thomas mounted comebacks. At one point in the match, Janela hit Dustin Thomas with a brainbuster on the ring apron. Moments later, Janela broke the bottom rope as he tried to climb them to deliver the Super Humman Elbow Drop. Janela kept trying to put Dustin Thomas down, but Dustin Thomas kept fighting back. Dustin Thomas eventually got the win with a Crossface on Janela.

This match was pretty rough and the weakest on the show. The highlights of the match involved Dustin Thomas’ dive off the top rope and him taking a brainbuster on the ring apron. Aside from that, this match is worth skipping. During the match, the Dodgers got into a scuffle with the Arizona Diamondbacks after losing 3-2 in extra innings. It was more entertaining than the match, even though both teams didn’t do anything but put on a front. Alex Verdugo seemed like he was legitimately down to fight though. He’s my new favorite Dodger.
Rating: n/a

*Update: I was told Dustin Thomas suffered an injury three minutes into their match. With that being brought up, I changed my rating to n/a as a result. I don’t feel right rating a match where a worker ends up injured. With this being known to me now, my thoughts sorta changed on this match. I have nothing but appreciation for Dustin Thomas. The fact that he has no legs and worked through an injury really shows how much heart that guy has.

After the match, Joey cut a promo putting over Dustin Thomas and addressed the crowd briefly. Before the main event, the GCW staff fixed the bottom rope and set up light tubes on the ropes for the next match.

GCW World Championship Match: Nick Gage (c) defeated Jimmy Havoc

Right now, there is nobody in pro wrestling who has a rock star-like aura the way Nick Gage does. The fans were going crazy for him while the ring was still being prepared. To say they were pumped for this match would be an understatement.

The match itself was what you’d expect from these two guys. It was full of brawling around the venue and lots of violence. The in-ring work was kinda sloppy, but who was expecting this to be a polished masterpiece? It was all about the violence. In that aspect, they delivered. They smashed light tubes over each other’s heads and slammed each other through the doors, with one being wrapped with barbed wire. There was also a spot that saw Havoc hit Gage with a Frankensteiner onto light tubes set across some chairs.

Nick Gage got the win after hitting a Piledriver on Havoc onto chairs. This was a fun main event. It wasn’t the craziest match I’ve seen, but it was still pretty enjoyable.
Rating: ***1/2

After the match, Gage got on the mic and cut a promo.putting over the fans in LA. Jimmy Havoc got on the mic, cut a quick promo, smashed himself in the head with a light tube and left to close the show.

Final Thoughts

GCW had a really strong showing for their third trip to Los Angeles. Kikutaro/Warner and Janela/Thomas were the only matches that didn’t do much for me. Kevin Gill’s commentary was the only lowlight of the show. I’ll pull the “I’m sure he’s a nice guy” card because he could be a solid dude for all I know, but listening to him call a match is excruciating. Aside from those matches and Kevin Gill’s commentary, everything on the show ranged from sold to great. Eli Everfly also did commentary, and he was really solid. Dickinson/Statlander was a fun match that did a good job of showcasing Statlander’s skills. Gage/Havoc felt like a match that was fun to watch even though it was obvious Nick Gage was going to go over. Tanaka/Deppen was a well-worked match that had some really good energy from the crowd.

The opener, the scramble match, and Alex Zayne vs. Blake Christian were all tremendous matches. I’m a big fan of matches that can keep a certain excitement level to them as they progress. Often times, I find myself bored by a lot of matches because they tend to follow the same, dull formulas all the time. It’s hard to sit through a show where every match has a slow start, one person or teams starts working over the opponent for heat, leading to the finishing stretch. I really just can’t stand that shit anymore and have no patience when it comes to sitting through three hours of the same stuff. But these three matches I mentioned were creative and exciting.

The opener was a good back-and-forth match. It had a good pace and got the crowd really energized for the show. The scramble match had lots of fun moments and spots. There were lots of memorable moments, and it made me appreciate the greatness that is Nate Webb. It also did a great job at showcasing Shane Mercer’s skills.

While those were fun matches, I thought Alex Zayne vs. Blake Christian was the best match on the show. Both dudes really went nuts out there, and I enjoyed every moment of their match. I can understand if older audiences or people who like slower-paced (or if we’re being politically incorrect, boring) wrestling matches, but I doubt anyone can convince me this wasn’t one of the best matches in SoCal this year. I really hope more SoCal promoters bring in Alex Zayne and Blake Christian in the future, along with Shane Mercer.

Overall, this was a really good show from GCW. Check it out. If you can’t check out the entire show or don’t want to, just watch Alex Zayne vs. Blake Christian, Jungle Boy vs. Jimmy Lloyd, and the scramble match.

About the Author

Andrew
SoCal's favorite son.