Game Changer Wrestling from New Jersey is one of the hottest indie promotions these days. Originally founded in 1999, GCW found new success when Brett Lauderdale-turned-promoter bought the company in 2015. From then on, GCW grew into something of a peak era ECWwith a wide variety of deathmatches, high-flying indie showcases, shoot-style events and even comedy wrestling.
With well-known talent such as Jon Moxley, Matt Cardona and Ruby Soho finding their way to GCW, the company has garnered even more attention in recent years. There are likely a lot of new fans who missed out on some great moments, so let’s run through some of Game Changer Wrestling’s best moments to date featuring some familiar names.
10 Page vs. Gage (Run Rickey Run, 02/15/2020)
At the 2019 event Long. Live. GCW., AJ Gray ended hardcore legend Nick Gage’s nearly two-year GCW World Title reign, only to immediately throw the belt to Rickey Shane Page. Supported by his faction 44OH! RSP became a top seller in the company and retained the belt in a 488-day run. However, his first defense would be a big one – a deathmatch against former champion Gage. This main event bout would last nearly 30 minutes and would prove to be one of GCW’s best deathmatches of all time, combining ultra violence with classic pro wrestling storytelling, while pitting Gage against RSP and his cronies.
9 GCW Conquers Japan (The New Face of War, 8/23/2019)
Japanese deathmatch wrestling has been a major influence on the American deathmatch scene since the 1990s, so when GCW embarked on their first-ever Japan tour in 2019, it was a big deal. It also started with a bang, as the first show of the journey, The new face of fear, pitted GCW stars against a host of Japanese stars from the indie scene, as well as deathmatch staples like Big Japan Pro Wrestling and FREEDOMS. For example, the main event was a great match between G-Raver and popular Japanese deathmatch legend Jun Kasai.
8th Mox emerges (rSpring Break presented by 44OH!, 4/9/2021)
Nick Gage finally ended Rickey Shane Page’s reign of terror WrestleMania 37 weekend and defeated the champion in the main event of rSpring Break. The triumphant moment was compounded by the entry of a new challenger: AEW star Jon Moxley, who clashed with Gage while he was with Combat Zone Wrestling.
The promise of the moment didn’t disappoint when their game started half a year later Fight Club: Mox vs. Gage fully lives up to the hype.
7 Hammerstein (Fight Club: Mox vs. Gage, 9.10.2021)
When said fight club Event, GCW had a big announcement for fans when a super-slick, cinematic video package aired, starring GCW staples like Joey Janela, Chris Dickinson, Effy, Allie Katch and Nick Gage in a surprising venue: the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City Manhattan Center. This marked a milestone for the company: Game Changer hosted a show in a venue made famous among wrestling fans by ECW. During the show itself The world on GCWwas a mixed bag, the video itself marked an important moment in GCW history.
6 Social Distancing Rules (Acid Cup 2 – Night 2, 03/20/2020)
As the past few years have shown, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted pro wrestling as the nature of the sport involves not only personal contact but also the participation of large groups of fans. While fans saw big promotions like WWE struggling in a new paradigm, others tried to make the most of it and even have a little fun in the process. Night 2 of the 2020 Acid Cup Tournament brought a very entertaining off-tournament diversion when Joey Janela took on Jimmy Lloyd in a Social Distancing Rules match that required both contestants to stay six feet apart while wrestling. It was very fun stuff.
5 The Cocaine Spot (Hit ‘Em Up, 01/20/2018)
Promotions like GCW – and ECW before that – live or die on how offbeat and provocative they can be. In 2018, in the midst of a crazy, bloody deathmatch between SHLAK and the late Markus Krane, the two competitors stopped mid-match to snort cocaine off a large pane of glass. Whether the drugs were real or fake doesn’t matter – the spot itself was a wild choice that not only added to GCW’s outlaw feel, but would have made a lot of internet fans really, really angry had it been in the higher Awareness of the promotion would happen days in subsequent years.
4 Invisible Man vs. Invisible Stan (Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 – Part 1, 4/5/2019)
One of the annual highlights of the GCW’s WrestleMania weekend efforts is Joey Janela’s spring break, where “The Bad Boy” puts together a fun show with some weird matchups, comedy fights, and an always memorable Royal Rumble match called Clusterf— Battle Royal. In 2019, the third tranche of spring break delivered a must-see match that featured zero wrestlers.
The match, billed as Invisible Man vs. his brother Invisible Stan, resulted in referee Bryce Remsburg reacting as if people were actually wrestling in the ring, while the crowd reacted accordingly. It’s a great study of how referees and spectators contribute to the atmosphere of a game.
3 Nick Gage nearly kills David Arquette (Joey Janela’s LA Confidential, 11/16/2018)
In 2018, actor David Arquette reignited his wrestling career and embarked on a quest for legitimacy to make amends for his dodgy run in WCW, an effort particularly captured in the documentary You can’t kill David Arquette. Arquette’s journey took him into the deathmatch scene when he challenged Nick Gage in Los Angeles for the GCW World Championship and more than proved himself in the 18 minute match. During the fight, Arquette suffered a nasty cut to his neck that required him to be rushed to the hospital in a headline-grabbing moment.
2 Matt Cardona: Deathmatch King (Homecoming Weekend 2021 – Night 1, 7/24/2021)
After his release from WWE in 2020, Matt Cardona began dating indie and wrestling for AEW and Impact. Coming to GCW, the former Zack Ryder established himself as Heel, a WWE Superstar who looked down on the deathmatch trash bags he deigned to condescend to. at homecoming, Cardona challenged Nick Gage for the GCW World Title and eventually won the belt thanks to interference from Rickey Shane Page and 44OH! When Cardona was crowned the new champion, the star was pelted with an entire carousel room full of trash, leading to an iconic moment that also sparked controversy among fans and pundits alike.
1 Barnett vs. Suzuki (Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport, 4/4/2019)
GCW’s dedication to showcasing diverse styles of wrestling is evident in Josh Barnetts blood sports, which features competitive shooter matches with many great talents that happen to have “legitimate” abilities. The main event of the first blood sports with Barnett’s name as the main event, which saw the former UFC heavyweight champion take on New Japan star and King of Pancrase Minoru Suzuki in a 25-minute feat of engineering that ended in a time-limit tie.
ECW was a dark underground promotion with many classic rivalries. Some of ECW’s great feuds have been forgotten and need more love!
About the author