Preview: GCW – Crime Wave (4/25/19)

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GCW
Photo: GCW

Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) returns to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Thursday night with another stacked indie card in Crime WaveLots of intriguing matchups for Thursday’s event, streaming live on PPV at Fite.tv.

Photo: GCW

A surprise entrant in this year’s Clusterf**k Battle Royal at GCW’s Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 over WrestleMania weekend, Dustin Thomas isn’t your average wrestler. But the athletic star on the rise has taken a physical limitation – Thomas has no legs – and turned it into a unique form of wrestling that went viral on Social Media after his outing. Not bad for a guy who only debuted last September. No opponent has been named yet, but keep your eye on this amazing discovery from GCW.

Ophidian vs. Gringo Loco

GCW
Photo: GCW

A CHIKARA veteran since 2007, Ophidian is one of the most underrated wrestlers of the past two decades. He’s been working more and more outside indies of late, including Beyond Wrestling, Freelance Wrestling, and the UK scene, and made his GCW debut in March at their last stop in Philly, where he defeated another indie veteran in Lucky 13. On Thursday night, he takes on another indie veteran, in longtime Chicago area wrestler Gringo Loco. Loco has been wrestling since 2000, working with All American Wrestling (AAW), GALLI Lucha Libre, and Freelance, but really broke out in the past year since debuting with Major League Wrestling (MLW) in 2018.

Marko Stunt vs. Jimmy Lloyd

GCW
Photo: GCW

One thing that GCW and their Joey Janela series has done incredibly well is find untapped potential in unknown names (as well as resurrect retro names from the past) and make them go viral. They kickstarted PCO’s incredible comeback story and last year at Joey Janela’s Lost in New YorkGCW introduced the nation to Marko Stunt. The “Fun Sized” superstar became a viral sensation after his match with KTB and the result was entry into 2019’s Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) Battle of Los Angeles and an appearance at Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks‘ All In event last September. But in the fall, he suffered a broken leg and has been out for five months. He made his return at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3, where he defeated another injury return in Janela himself, and on Thursday night he’ll be facing another of 2018’s breakout stars in The Prince of American Hardcore, Jimmy Lloyd. Lloyd has made incredible improvements in the ring over the past year and emerged as a solid storyteller and risk taker, as seen by his matches in GCW, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Hardcore Hustle Organization (H2O) and Mexico’s Desastre Total Ultraviolento (DTU).

Jonathan Gresham vs. KTB

GCW
Photo: GCW

Ring of Honor‘s Jonathan Gresham just made his debut with GCW earlier this year at March’s Code of the Streets in Philadelphia, and had two amazing matches for GCW over WrestleMania week, first in a straight up fight against Japanese death match specialist Masashi Takeda at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsportfollowed by a clinic against Japanese legend Shinjiro Otani at Orange Cassidy is Doing Something or Whatever, Who Knows?!? Gresham has long been an underappreciated mat technician and it’s great to finally see the rest of the world catch on to his abilities.

Homicide vs. Colby Corino

GCW
Photo: GCW

Trained by NWA legend Manny Fernandez in 1993, Homicide has remained a top threat in the squared circle for 26 years now. An early star with Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW), he joined ROH in 2002, where he competed for 12 years, winning the ROH World Championship in 2006. That same year, he joined TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, joining Konnan and Hernandez in Latin American Exchange (LAX), where together with Hernandez, he became a 3x Tag Team Champion in TNA, and in 2009, he captured the IMPACT X-Division Championship. He moved back to the indies in 2015, where he still competes regularly. The veteran faces a young emerging star who is younger than Homicide’s wrestling career, in 22-year old Colby Corino. The son of former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Steve Corino, Colby started out in ROH alongside his father, before heading out into the indies to make his own name. He joined EVOLVE in 2018 and is now part of the stable The Unwanted, alongside Shane Strickland, Eddie Kingston , and Joe Gacy.

SHLAK vs Mance Warner

Photo: GCW

It may not seem like it on paper with the other matches announced, but this could be the dark horse match of the night. Two intense hardcore warriors, of different sizes and shapes, who both will fight until the last breath and pump of blood runs through their veins. The monster SHLAK has been a wrecking machine since his debut in 2016, and has run riot through CZW, GCW, H2O, and just about every other promotion that will let his savagery run wild. His opponent is former CZW World Heavyweight Champion and MLW star Mance Warner, who has emerged as one of the breakout stars to watch in 2019, after debuting in late 2015. A regular with IWA Mid South, Warner is now regularly competing for promotions like Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), AAW, Wrestling Revolver, and others, as he continues to gain notoriety.

Joey Janela vs. Tony Deppen

Photo: GCW

Much like Marko Stunt, Joey Janela was out for five months with a severe leg injury, and after it seemed like he would be out over a year, he made a shocking return during the premier episode of Beyond Wrestling’s new show Uncharted Territory during WrestleMania week by attacking rival David Starr, before returning to the ring at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 against Stunt. The “Bad Boy” of All Elite Wrestling and countless other indies is returning to the ring this Thursday against one another unheralded wrestler in Tony Deppen. Deppen has been wrestling since 2009, but its just been the past year or so since he began to work regularly with GCW, CHIKARA, and Beyond Wrestling that the indie community at large has caught on to his talents on a larger scale.

GCW World Championship: Nick Gage (c) vs. Conor Claxton

Photo: GCW

The King of American Hardcore, Nick Gagecontinues his epic reign as GCW World Champion, as he heads into day number 496 on top of the company. A former 4x CZW World Champion, Gage continues to defy the skeptics and after nearly two decades as being “just a death match guy”, Gage has emerged as a top star for multiple promotions like Beyond, Black Label Pro, AIW, Freelance, and more as well. Before he can hit the 500-day mark, he has to get past one more challenger, and that’s six-year veteran Conor Claxton. A product of the CZW Dojo, he trained with DJ Hyde and Drew Gulak in 2014 and has remained an emerging star with CZW ever since, where he’s a former CZW Medal of Honor Champion. He’s also a regular with Vicious Outcast Wrestling (VOW), where he’s a former 4x VOW Anarchy Champion, as well as H2O, where he held the H2O Hybrid Championship. He debuted with GCW in 2016, and has faced the likes of Danny Havoc, Jimmy Lloyd, Markus CraneDan O’Hare, and SHLAK, and now on Thursday, he gets a shot at the top prize in GCW.

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