GCW Unveils “The Collective” For WrestleMania Week 2019

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Photo: GCW

Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) has been doing exactly what their name implies when it comes to independent wrestling – changing the game. Combining the best of American hardcore with keeping a pulse on the latest indie buzz wrestlers (and in many instances, CREATING the buzz themselves), GCW has emerged as one of the leading US indies coming out of 2018. From stealing the show over 2017’s WrestleMania week with the debut of Joey Janela’s Spring Break to helping launch the buzz trend of PCO‘s comeback and Marko Stunt’s emergence, GCW has been defying the odds and rewriting the rule books. So it was with great anticipation fans held for news of what or who “The Collective” was that GCW announced on September 23 via their Twitter.

As it turned out, The Collective emerged as a unified front by several North American indies who, in a collective with GCW, would run co-branded events for WrestleMania Week in the New York/New Jersey area around WrestleMania 35 in 2019. GCW secured the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey for all their events and the past week, they’ve been announcing their partners in The Collective, each one a unique footprint on today’s North American indie scene.

Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) is the premier indie promotion in Ohio, running out of Cleveland since it’s founding in 2005 by John Thorne and the late Chandler Biggs. An early stomping and training ground for such stars as NXT’s Johnny Gargano and EC3, as well as the likes of “All Ego” Ethan Page and many other Midwest stars, AIW continues to be a commanding presence in the Midwest territory. It’s annual JT Lightning Invitational Tournament remains one of the Midwest’s top singles tourneys, and this year they added the Chandler Biggs Memorial Tag Team Tournament to it’s schedule. The AIW/GCW Collective show is slated for Thursday April 4 at the 11:59pm slot.

The second promotion announced last week was Montreal, Quebec, Canada’s International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS), one of Canada’s top hardcore companies. Founded in 1999 by Sexxxy Eddy, Nixon Stratus and PCP Crazy F’n Manny, IWS is one of the longest running promotions in Canada and a monster of the Quebec scene. Early stars for IWS include Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, PCO, and LuFisto, and they’re still going strong today with the likes of one of Canada’s best indie tag teams, Tabernak de Team (Mathieu St. Jacques & Thomas Dubois). The IWS/GCW Collective show runs on Saturday April 6 at 4pm.

With their first two partners being veteran promotions who have been building their fanbase and reputation for two decades, the third announcement was a brand new promotion that was not even a year old. But Blackcraft Wrestling (BCW), founded earlier this year by Bobby Schubenski in Pittsburgh, PA, has already become a cult favorite after only one event, their debut Burning Bridges. A nefarious gothic horror atmosphere, combined with a cult leader authority figure (played by Doug Bradley, who portrayed Pinhead in the Hellraiser films), plus top indie stars like Johnny Blackcraft (aka John Morrison), Jimmy Havoc, Brody King, OvE, Saraya Knight and more, has already created a buzz for this upstart promotion making their WrestleMania week debut. The BCW/GCW Collective show will run at the midnight hour, 11:5pm on Friday April 5 (traditionally the slot for Joey Janela’s Spring Break, which next year moves to the 8pm slot on the same night as the lead in).

The latest announcement came this afternoon, when it was revealed that the four promotion joining GCW in The Collective was Fairfax, Virginia’s NOVA Pro Wrestling. Founded in 2015, NOVA Pro has made leaps and bounds since it’s early days, becoming a top indies in the Mid Atlantic territory. Combining top touring international indie stars alongside emerging local or regional talent, NOVA Pro has become one of the new innovative companies on the US indie circuit, who added their own tournament to the schedule this year, with the Commonwealth Cup. The NOVA/GCW Collective showcase is slated for Saturday April 6 at 12pm, leading into the afternoon GCW/IWS show.

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