Georgia Championship Wrestling debuted in Macon debut Saturday night, drawing a crowd of 500 paid or that the Anderson Conference Center.
It was, by far, the most ambitious event GCW has attempted since Grady Odom decided to revive the brand name that has laid dormant to over two decades as an active promotion. GCW had previously run tune up shows in Americus and Cordele with scaled down talent lineups. They did something right in the promoting, perhaps it was the TV ads, because neither TNA or Rampage Pro Wrestling drew this well in Macon.
The Macon show was headlined by legends from GCW's heyday such as Tommy Rich, Tony Atlas and Abdullah the Butcher, while the bulk of the roster consisted of area indie wrestlers covering a broad spectrum of experience and in ring ability.
This show had the benefit of an extraordinarily forgiving crowd. They were thrilled just to be at a live pro wrestling event. I hope the promotion wasn't lulled into believing it was a top notch show, because it wasn't. The fan base at Georgia's top indy promotions (NWA Anarchy, Rampage Pro Wrestling and UIW) would have crapped all over most of the matches on this show. GCW needs to hang out the help wanted sign for a creative booker and better talent. And it's not like there isn't better talent out there. The heel side is especially weak. They've got the core of a solid babyface side, if they had a clue how to book them. I would love to know what percentage of those in attendance come back for more the next time GCW runs Macon.
(1) Pain defeated "Ticking Time Bomb" Chris Nelms in 4 minutes. They tried going with old style GCW by turning off all the house lights, but the ring lights didn't provide sufficient illumination. The masked fireplug, Pain, has added an amazing amount of table weight over the last 6 months. Not much wrestling skill displayed here, however they worked stiff and the crowd was popping for the impact of the blows. Pain dominated. Finish was a spear followed by a moonsault.
(2) Nigel Sherrod defeated Dangerous Danny Horne in 7:17. Sherrod was modeling his "As Seen on TV" t shirt. His dickish attitude was generating huge heat before he ever opened his mouth. Sherrod said Horne was representing Macon and just like with the Music Hall of Fame, Macon was going to suffer another loss. Horne was surprisingly over for an ordinary looking older guy. Sherrod smacked Horne's face on the break, then bumped his ass off for him. Once in control, Sherrod was aggressive on offense. He's always been a great buffoon, but he looks and moves more like a pro wrestler now. Horne's comeback culminated in a botched swinging neckbreaker for a near fall where he dropped Sherrod right on his head. Sherrod won it with a sunset flip using the ropes for leverage. Fun match. They worked a fast pace that kept the crowd entertained.
Ring announcer Dan Masters said Horne was robbed and suggest a rematch might take place when GCW returns to Macon, whenever that occurs. Masters is the best ring announcer around. He plugs all the key things repeatedly throughout the show, which seems to be a lost art these days, so it was a shame that no return date was set.
3) Convict Blade beat Antonio Garza in 4:59. Blade was a last minute replacement for no-show Cosmic Jammer. He's a fat guy with anger issues. Blade did mic work selling the idea that he was given a one hour pass from prison in order to wrestle. Really? One thing for sure, the only thing Blade is lifting behind bars is his fork. Blade blew up and to top it off, we got to see his butt crack. Garza is a legit Mexican with an abundance of athletic ability, but we saw none of that, as Blade plodded around the ring in full control. Blade got the pin with a lariat. A depressingly bad match. It sucked all the momentum out of the show going to the intermission. It was mind boggling that a guy with upside as a babyface was booked to lose to such a bum.
Coming out the intermission, ring announcer Dan Masters prompted the crowd to "GCW" so they could get it on tape. An underwhelming response but it was worth a try.
4) Zac Edwards beat Congolese Nightmare (with Abdullah the Butcher & "Honest" John Cheatum) via DQ in 5:10. It was sad seeing "The Madman from the Sudan" using a walker to get to ringside. On the other hand, that didn't stop him from delivering some wicked cane shots to Edwards' back when the time came. Cheatum said the WWE Hall of Famer was there to put his blessing on another generation. He hoped Edwards had gotten a chance to talk to his mama and get a hold of Jesus. Nightmare (formerly Mr. Jones in RPW) was wearing Kamala type face paint and his manboobs are already more pendulous than Abby's. Edwards fended off Nightmare's initial attack, so Abdullah lit a fire under him, and it was total decimation after that. No blood. Nightmare used the Abby elbow drop, a power slam and finished Edwards with a splash off the middle rope. Nightmare tossed referee Jeff McGowan like a ragdoll for the DQ.
During the match, Nightmare lacked that edge of danger that was true of vintage Abdullah, but the postmatch was a different story – a long, excessive beat down with a bizarre twist. Nightmare splashed Edwards again and really beat the hell out of him. Washington Bullets tried to make save, and Nightmare clocked them with a coconut that had a face painted on it. Abdullah gave Edwards more shots with the cane, while Nighmare caressed his coconut.
(5) Vordell Walker and Vic Roze went to a 15 minute (actual time 13 minutes) draw. The first 5 minutes was all walk and talk. Roze was getting a ton of heat, and crowd was into Walker, who had his work shoes on. Unfortunately, it was tough for Walker to get much of a match out of Roze. I'll spare the details. Suffice to say, Roze was another sluggish, out of shape older guy, and I doubt he was any great shakes to begin with. Walker made Roze miss with a top rope elbow. It looked more like a collapse. Both men down for a count of six, Walker got a pop with standing moonsault, and the bell rang as he covered.
The crowd broke out a strong "five more minute" chant. Masters said he lacked the authority to make it happen. Whoever was in charge needed to call an audible for Walker to win in overtime, and then perhaps have Congolese Nightmare attack him. There's no future in Roze.
(6) Tony Atlas & Tommy Rich beat Billy Black & Steve "The Brawler" Lawler via DQ in 12 minutes. Assuming they went the time they were allotted, the booker didn't do the legends or the fans any favors by leaving them out there so long. It should be noted, though, that the crowd treated the legends with the utmost respect. Lawler moved better than the others and took full scale bumps. Black looked like he ate Hornswoggle for lunch. Atlas still has the muscular physique. Black, Atlas and Lawler all wore tights and singlets. Rich worked in a baggy t-shirt and tights. The fans chanted "USA" for Atlas and Rich. Atlas did the hard head routine where he no sold shots into the turnbuckle. Atlas took the heat. The DQ came when referee Keith Steinborn saw Black hit Atlas with his cowbell.
Rich got on the mic and said this was a 30 year reunion with Atlas. "You want to play dirty? We did that before."
7) Washington Bullets (Jon & Trey Williams) beat Exotic Ones (Simon Sermon & Tommy Too Much) in 9:50. Match of the night. Bullets were over like crazy with the kids. There had been precious little athleticism on this show, and the Bullets brought their A game. They've developed into a smooth, ultra agile tag team dynamo, and the flamboyantly gay Exotics make the perfect foils. Exotics jumped the bell, but the Bullets sent them packing with an explosion of combo moves. Simon spread the ropes so Tommy could toss Trey out. The kids in the crowd were screaming their fool heads off as Exotics worked Trey over. Trey ducked a double clothesline with a Morton roll to make the hot tag. Jon cleaned house with dropkicks. He hit a standing moonsault on Simon and Tommy saved. Exotic hit a double sidewalk slam on Trey and Jon saved. Jon pinned Sermon after the Marion Barry (backcracker/stunner combo).
(8) Jake Slater beat Micah Taylor in 10:58. Taylor was also way over. Slater is a competent heel, so they were getting strong heat. It was all Taylor early with tons of "Micah" chants from the kids. Slater bailed and they battled outside the ring. Slater took over. Taylor took a spinning inside out bump on Slater's lariat. Taylor nailed a dropkick to spark his comeback. Slater ducked and Taylor's lariat took out ref McGowan. Taylor gave Slater 10 corner lariats. Slater gave Taylor a donkey kick and clocked him with a chain. 1-2-3. Fans weren't all that upset about the finish. I think they were expecting something more imaginative, I know I was. The show ran 3 hours, and folks wasted no time heading for the exits.
NOTES: GCW is bringing in Diamond Dallas Page for back-to-back shows on August 19 at Clarke Central High School in Athens ond August 19 in Augusta…The show was taped for a TV show that is in works as well as for the gcwlive.com website…Commentary duties were handled by Dan Masters, Bobby Simmons and Nigel Sherrod…Notables in the house included Ted Oates, Mr. Donnie and Colt Derringer (part of the Harley Davidson Crew, a faction that Tommy Rich was once aligned with back in the day), Peach State promoter/RPW announcer Ben Masters, legendary referee Charlie Smith, former PSW manager Diamond Dave and North Georgia Wrestling promoter Gordon Clemons.,,The David Ragan (NASCAR driver) Ford dealership in nearby Perry had a "wrestling & racing" event on Saturday afternoon advertising Reid Flair, Road Dogg, Barbarian, Ricky Morton, C.W. Anderson, Lodi, Chris Hamrick, and George South.