GCW kick off their 2020 Japanese tour in the sold out Shin-Kiba 1st RING building, last year’s cards where a good time with classic death matches Alex Colon vs. Masashi Takeda and Jun Kasai vs. G-Raver being the highlights. With names like Chris Dickinson, Yuji Okabayashi, Masashi Takeda, Alex Colon and Masato Tanaka this looks like it could surpass last years. You can support GCW through FITE TV by either purchasing the single show or bundling all three nights.
Tag Team Match
Kikutaro & KTB vs. Takashi Sasaki & Toru Sugiura – **1/2
A fun opener with the Pro Wrestling FREEDOMS founder Sasaki and the current King of FREEDOM champion Sugiura taking on the unlikely pairing of comedy wrestler Kikutaro & the powerful KTB. Toru Sugiura is coming off the best death match of 2019 (vs. Violento Jack at FREEDOMS Blood Xmas). He brought a wild energy to this match and showed a lot of charisma. Definitely one to watch in 2020. KTB looked good just as he had on the last GCW tour of Japan where he had a respectable match with Daisuke Sekimoto.
Here he brought a strong energy to the match, being explosive and powerful in the right spots. His rolling spear into corner looked cool and his deadlift power bomb on Sugiura was impressive. Kikutaro kept the comedy to the minimum so when he did use it, it did make me smile. Early on he paid respect to Sasaki and got the crowd to applaud him but followed up with an eye poke which was a fun old school heel spot. His funniest spot cost his team the match, he spent far too long thanking the fans for coming to the show while prepping Sugiura for his finish allowing Sugiura to reverse and score the pin.
Matthew Justice vs. SHLAK **1/2
After performing one wrestling move each and some posturing to the crowd both guys started tossing chairs into the ring. The first half of this match was a hell of a lot of dueling chair shots to the head and no selling which the crowd loved, chanting “HOLY SH*T” AND “G-C-W”. We got some walking and brawling in the crowd before getting back in the ring. They suplexed each other onto chairs for a bit the match ended somewhat abruptly when SHLAK put a plastic bag over Justice’s head for the referee to call the finish.
Your enjoyment for this will depend on how much you like watching people taking really stiff, unprotected chair shots to the head. A very short match, which didn’t outstay its welcome. Not a lot to it to really recommend but the plastic bag finish was a cool visual, especially as SHLAK does look dangerous and deranged.
Alex Colon vs. Violento Jack – ***3/4
This was a great death match, not surprising when you have one of the best western death match wrestlers, Alex Colon and FREEDOMs veteran Violento Jack in there. This had an urgency about it that helped avoid lags that some death matches can suffer from when setting up plunder. Colon provided the first highlight of the night when he hit a suicide dive holding a light tube right to Jack’s face. Back in the ring it was Jack’s turn to punish Alex Colon, an overhead belly to belly sent Colon through a barb wire board in the corner. Jack tore up his opponents head with a gusset causing Colon to bleed pretty bad from the forehead.
They followed up with some wrestling as Jack hit a DDT in the corner and they then traded some high speed reversals as they tried to smash the other with light tubes. Jack reversed a frankensteiner attempt into a power bomb onto a bunch of tubes, Colon reversed a sunset flip by smashing a bunch of tubes into Jacks torso and face with a double knee. It looked like the finish was coming when Colon hit a frog splash onto a barb wire board covered Jack but Violento got straight up and laid Colon out. Jack went to the top rope after placing a row of light tubes on Colon but his attempt was thwarted. Colon hit a Spanish fly from the top rope through the row of light tubes for the win.
A spectacular finish to a great match. No moment was wasted and they kept the match moving along to provide us with an action packed match.
Chris Dickinson vs. Yuji Okabayashi – ****1/4
This is the match I was fired up for ever since it was announced. Chris Dickinson’s match with Daisuke Sekimoto last summer was a MOTYC and Okabayashi has had a multitude of incredible matches the past year!
They did not disappoint, they started off taking turns running into each other, trading chops and by the time Dickinson ran through Okabayashi at a high velocity I had a massive grin on my face that must have made me look a goof. Dickinson hit a scary back suplex to Okabayashi, who landed on his neck. While he was recovering Dickinson got to working over the legs with stiff kicks and a submission hold. Dickinson would target the leg throughout the match when looking for an advantage or a reprieve from Okabayashi’s strong offense.
Dickinson was clearly fired up, he was hitting everything with vigour and intensity. Okabayashi wasn’t holding back either, he won control with a HUGE power slam, a powerful stalling suplex and locked Dickinson in torture rack. Amongst the number of lariats exchanged, Dickinson hit a Death Valley driver on Okabayashi, took a German suplex and then stopped a Gollum splash attempt with a ring shaking superplex.
Every strike echoed around the arena and was accompanied with a spray of sweat, it was exactly what I had hoped for! Dickinson looked to be in control after a front spin kick took Okabayashi down, the crowd was chanting “fight forever” in appreciation. Dickinson looked to go to with Okabayashi again but this was reversed and he ending up eating an incredible looking power slam from the top rope for the 2 count.
Okabayashi followed up with the Gollum splash for the win.
A hard hitting war which I cannot recommend enough, this exceeded my expectations and has only increased my expectation of Dickinson vs. Sekimoto 2 on day 3 of this tour.
Six Man Tag Team Match
Danny Havoc, Isami Kodaka & Matt Tremont vs. Drew Parker, Jimmy Lloyd & Toshiyuki Sakuda – ***1/4
A wild, energetic 6-man tag, never a dull moment in this one. Toshiyuki Sakuda was the MVP, being involved in many of the highlights of this match. He showed great chemistry with the much larger Matt Tremont, which they played on for laughs. Early on Sakuda performed some push ups in an attempt to increase his strength to take Tremont down which ultimately failed but was funny especially when he pulled out a staple gun afterwards.
Tremont looked impressive when he was in against the much smaller Parker & Sakuda. He smashed them both with Samoan drops however Jimmy Lloyd reversed the attempt on him by sticking a fork under the skin of Tremont’s forehead. Sick but the kind of violence we come to see on these cards.
For only his second match since 2017, Danny Havoc did not look like he had lost a step, hitting some big power moves and even a corkscrew senton at one point. He was triple teamed for a bit before all 6 wrestlers where in the ring and brawled.
The finish came when Kodaka and Havoc isolated Parker, Kodaka hit a light tube assisted rolling leg drop from the top and Havok followed up with a big Death Valley driver for the 3 count. An easy watch (unless you’re squeamish) this flew by and was very enjoyable. I was pleased to see Toshiyuki Sakuda back to his best after his fall on the Big Japan Ryogokutan show back in November.
Masashi Takeda vs. Orin Veidt – ***1/2
Masashi Takeda is the number one death match wrestler in the world and until the unfortunate end of this match he showed why. For majority of the match he was in control which kept this match moving along at a brisk pace, he can switch from wrestling to ultraviolence at the drop of a hat and it’s always an entertaining watch as he such a charismatic performer. Both guys start off avoiding being thrown into the light tubes on the ropes but Takeda stops all that when he voluntary smashed one over his own head.
We got dueling light tubes and forearm exchanges. Afterwards Takeda was drop kicked to the outside where we were treated to the first cool moment of this match when Takeda stopped a Veidt suicide dive by throwing a bunch of light tubes in his face. Things got sadistic when Takeda was stabbing and slicing Veidt’s forehead with a large pair of scissors.
Another cool visual happened when Takeda smashed the back of Veidt’s head while he had a light tube in his mouth causing it to explode. A suplex on the ramp couldn’t quite mask a botched DDT attempt by Veidt but they quickly move on and brawl. Not long afterwards Veidt got a near fall with a falcon arrow, then he attacked Takeda’s skull with a gusset plate. Takeda gained control with DDT while there was a gusset plate in Veidt’s mouth.
Takeda pulled a knife board from underneath the ring, those blades looked enormous! After a brief back and forth, Veidt gained control and side slammed Takeda onto the knife board in a stomach turning spot. Takeda’s back was cut deep, his lower back resembled fish gills! He looked to be in a lot of pain and after a quick inspection the match was called off.
Takeda gave a short speech before being whisked to the back for medical attention. Before the injury this was a very good death match and the best one of Veidt’s I had seen. Worth checking out.
At less than 90 mins it is impossible for me not to recommend this show, it was an energetic card with a certified banger in Chris Dickinson vs. Yuji Okabayashi. Alex Colon & Violento Jack was a very good death match and Veidt & Takeda were on their way to one too until the end. While not must see, the opener and 6 man tag matches were very enjoyable and neither went too long.
Live Fast, Die Young was an absolute breeze to watch, like all GCW’s shows you come out looking forward to the next show. Based on this card it looks like GCW’s Japanese tour is going to be a success.
Alex Colon vs. Violento Jack
Chris Dickinson vs. Yuji Okabayashi (must-see)
Masashi Takeda vs. Orin Veidt
Again at 90mins you can watch the whole show in half the time of most PPVs….