GCW October Los Angeles HOT TAKE
"LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; NY gets god-awful cold in the winter but there's a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle."
- Jack Kerouac
Los Angeles is said to be the city of angels, where Hollywood spots illuminate and dreams are paved in gold on the silver screen. Well, that may be the mythical version of Los Angeles, but the reality is the air is polluted with smog, the chance of a successful career is miniscule and anyone who's ever wandered down Sunset Boulevard knows there's that The Golden State's most celebrated city is laminated with just enough sleaze to permeate through the fictional realm to make it clear that Dorothy certainly isn't in Kansas anymore.
That grease and grime is what makes Los Angeles just the right epicenter for Game Changer Wrestling on the West Coast, bringing pro wrestling's underground combat superstars back to FITE as the runaway momentum of GCW's punk rock atmosphere and athletic histrionics once again shatter all expectations, glass ceilings and assumptions….and hey, no Los Angeles traffic to deal with, either!
L.A. can be a place of great torment because the rewards are so huge, but the difficulties of getting your hands on those rewards is so great." - Geoff Dyer
It all begins this Friday October 22nd when the latest iteration of Josh Barnett's Bloodsport goes down. In a world with an insatiable appetite for all combat sports, Bloodsport is one of the most unique battlefields anywhere in professional wrestling with all the hype and pageantry stripped down to its barest, most raw elements. With no turnbuckles of ring ropes, fighters face off in a series of bouts that must end in submission or knockouts; no pinfalls.
Over the course of the previous six Bloodsport events, these battles have become some of the most talked about and celebrated bouts anywhere in professional wrestling and beyond. This Friday on FITE, GCW and Josh Barnett have again assembled an Avengers level roster of fighting superheroes, all seeking ultimate victory in a hybrid combat setting.
The live FITE broadcast will present a tremendous fight card, headlined by Barnett himself, the former UFC Heavyweight Champion stepping onto the battlefield against former WWE competitor Tiger Ruas, who well before his WWE tenure, was an unbeaten freestyle wrestling champion in his native Brazil and competed in the 2011 Pan-American games. Chomping at the bit to showcase his legitimate fighting background, Ruas will enter the battle with a chip on his shoulder, seeking to take down one of the most celebrated MMA fighters of the modern era.
Another former UFC fighter turned WWE competitor, Marina Shafir, will step back into a most familiar environment at Bloodsport, taking on hardened world traveled star and recent Impact Wrestling signee Masha Slamovich. Slamovich just turned heads taking Deonna Purrazzo to the limit at Impact's Knockouts Knockdown PPV, but Bloodsport is a different animal. Each fighter needs a strong showing to bring their name closer to the forefront. An arm raised in victory means more spotlight, momentum and money.
A number of New Japan Pro Wrestling dojo athletes will be stepping into Bloodsport seeking to prove their toughness, putting the respect of their dojo on the line against some of the toughest men who have ever entered the Bloodsport environment. Yuya Uemura will have to endure in order to battle former Ring of Honor World Champion Davey Richards, who helped to bring the modern MMA/pro wrestling fighting hybrid style to the forefront. Alex Coughlin, who's growth as a competitor and personality has been seen weekly on NJPW Strong right here on FITE will be tasked with fellow Strong competitor, former MLW Champion Tom Lawlor, who is no stranger to grounding and pounding his competition in both pro wrestling and mixed martial arts. A win for either New Japan dojo star will be a massive accolade to add to their list of accomplishments.
Then, we get to the big fights, in terms of power and size. Calvin Tankman and JR Kratos are similar in one regard - they are both renowned for their ability to enforce their will on their hapless opponents. Now, facing off in the Bloodsports ring, it's truly the old story of the immovable force and the unstoppable object. If even the ring can survive intact, California's proud son Bad Dude Tito is slated to scrap with Erik Hammer, who has thrown and suplexed and beaten many foes in the Inoki Genome Federation, bringing his Catch wrestling style to Bloodsport.
Pick your enemies carefully, or you'll never make it in Los Angeles." — Rona Barrett
The next night, Saturday October 23rd, Game Changer Wrestling brings a series of dream matches for those who are WAR READY live on FITE from Los Angeles.
War Ready will be headlined by a dream match unlike anything ever presented by Game Changer Wrestling. Last time GCW demolished Los Angeles, Minoru Suzuki thought his night was over when he defeated Jonathan Gresham, only to find himself face to face with former GCW World Champion Nick Gage, who threw down the gauntlet for Suzuki to take him on live before the world to see.
Suzuki, the legendary former King of Pancrase, has battled all sorts of opponents with all types of fighting backgrounds, but not even his worldwide achievements can prepare him for Gage's innate rage and prison yard Deathmatch strategies. Add in that Gage is desperately looking to redeem himself after failing to recapture the GCW World Championship from Jon Moxley.
A desperate, angry Gage may be the most fearsome version of Gage for anyone to deal with, but Suzuki is no ordinary man or professional fighter. Just days after his celebrated war with Bryan Danielsin in AEW, Suzuki steps into battle yet again, but one that no one can truly understand exactly how twisted and extreme it may get. With Los Angeles completely sold out, there is only one shelter safe from this once in a lifetime powder keg that is poised to explode - FITE's live stream of GCW War Ready.
The GCW World Tag Team Championships hang in the balance of yet another dream match as the forefathers of Ring of Honor, Delaware's most dangerous sons, Mark and Jay Briscoe step inside the Game Changer Wrestling ropes after shocking the world in Atlantic City with their challenge of defending champions Mance Warner and Matthew Justice. Warner and Justice have fought through the dirt and muck and blood to prove themselves worthy of being the definitive tag team for GCW. The Briscoes' intrusion promises a downright dirty brawl that could easily spill out into the streets of Los Angeles and back, threatening to splatter GCW's golden championships with blood. Whether this is Justice and Warner's biggest challenge to date is subjective but it is certainly their most high profile battle in some time as Dem Boys can never be underestimated in terms of ferocity and danger as tag team specialists.
Jonathan Gresham, easily in the 1% of the best in-ring technical professional wrestlers alive today, continues his stellar series of performances at War Ready when he takes on Alex Zayne. In recent months, Zayne has exploded across a number of pro wrestling spectrums, drawing tons of attention to himself as he fights forward with his sublime, cocky badassery. This is not just a tale of two styles but a tale of two strong personalities seeking to prove who is the better man, in order to stand in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, knowing they have left it all in the ring to achieve stardom once more.
The insanity continues with GCW's anything goes atmosphere and intensity setting the stage for lucha star Arez and GCW's resident aerial assault artist Ninja Mack taking to the air to destroy the other in all out combat. As if that's not enough lucha insanity for you, AAA's Psycho Clown, no stranger to all out riots and insanity, will make his Game Changer Wrestling debut this Saturday.
One of the most intriguing attractions at War Ready will see GCW's most unique team will face one of it's most fearsome alliances as former MLW Champion Jacob Fatu unit with one of California's rising powerhouses Juicy Finau to take on Chris Dickinson, who's been in the middle of his most celebrated year as a competitor and 18 year old sensation Starboy Charlie, who has captured the imagination and hearts of GCW fans with his in-ring exploits.
Third-generation star Nick Wayne steps into the ring against Jordan Oliver, who's risen from future prospect to world renowned star. As if that isn't enough, the Dark Sheik is lurking in the shadows of Los Angeles and Brandon Gatson is seeking to showcase the best that the Southwest has to offer.
Los Angeles is a microcosm of the United States. If L.A. falls, the country falls". –Ice T
Los Angeles has survived Earthquakes, wildfires and countless Disaster movies, but whether it can withstand the full brunt of yet another onslaught from the most fearsome collection of combat sports athletes that Game Changer Wrestling has to offer remains to be seen. GCW's stars are, as always, WAR READY, and you can witness the unique, first ever war of attrition between Nick Gage and Minoru Suzuki live on FITE.
Mike Johnson is the lead reporter for PWInsider.com and has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He can be found on Twitter @MikePWInsider and MikeJohnsonWrites.com.