GCW Ransom Weekend 2023 HOT TAKE
The insanely skewed rampage of Game Changer Wrestling continues this weekend as the most criminal promotion in combat sports rolls into Atlantic City, New Jersey for multiple live broadcasts for FITE+ subscribers this weekend from the infamous Showboat!
If there is a hourglass that radiates the glorious power and might of combat sports and the seedy underbelly underneath, the dreams and the nightmares that empower the glory of those victorious fighting and the agony of those defeated, it may indeed have been crystallized into the form of Atlantic City.
From the neon lights that shine off the Atlantic Ocean and the miles-long wooden Boardwalk that runs through the America's Playground to the grimmer sights just a few blocks inward, where those who have failed at testing their luck now pawn their belongings for one last shot at redemption, Monopoly City is a perfect haven for GCW, where combatants leave it all inside the ring for their taste of golden championships and glorious moments. This Saturday, all roads lead to the Showboat, where Game Changer Wrestling's fighters step into the squared circle, seeking to change their fortunes forever.
It all begins this Saturday evening with GCW Holy Smokes, featuring a spectacle that may indeed be the end of an era for a GCW Original who has fought and bled with all his heart and soul - Drew Parker. Last week, Parker announced that when he steps into the ring at Holy Smokes against John Wayne Murdoch, for all intents and purposes, this will be Parker's final Death Match competition.
"Thought about it long and hard but I've decided that I'm wrapping up deathmatches, " Parker announced. "Got a million thoughts on the whole situation and anyone close to me knows that this has been coming for a while; but it just isn't for me right now. My match with John Wayne Murdoch at GCW in March will likely be my last deathmatch full stop. Thank you."
Over the course of his career, the 25-year old Parker has competed not just in GCW, but for FREEDOMS, Big Japan and many other promotions in daring and violent clashes, but as he evolves himself inside professional wrestling, is seeking newer and brighter goals and championships. There's just one problem with that - he still has to find a way past John Wayne Murdoch this Saturday on FITE+.
While Parker may have nothing to lose with one final quest, descending into the death match environment, Murdoch is the one with everything to gain. If he sends Parker retiring from this form of combat with a loss, he will forever maintain a mental and emotional victory over Parker, leaving a permanent blood-stained crimson blemish on Parker's career.
Coming off a massive win at the Nick Gage Invitational 7, Murdoch, who was already the shining star of Southern style violence in the world of professional wrestling, seeks to carve another notch in his belt. So what happens when perhaps GCW's most fearless competitor has everything to gain against Drew Parker, who is seeking a happy ending by walking away from the battle ground that accentuates endless punishment and insane brutality? Holy Smokes, indeed.
No matter what condition Drew Parker is in when he emerges from battle, the next night at GCW Ransom, he will showcase what a truly multi-faceted competitor he is, battling the accomplished "Speedball" Mike Bailey in a match that will truly test his physical and mental skills. If Parker could pull off the unthinkable and defeat both Murdoch and a top of his game Bailey, he will truly deserve being inscribed into the Game Changer Wrestling time capsule forever. FITE+ subscribers will see whether he can descend to hell, ascend to heaven and emerge immortal over the course of 48 hours.
This weekend will also be a major one for the Kirk family as well as each step into the biggest matches of their Game Changer Wrestling singles careers. This Saturday at Holy Smokes, Kasey Kirk, who has never shied away from violence and chaos, will challenge GCW's reigning and defending GCW Ultraviolent Champion Rina Yamashita. Yamashita has battled across the spectrum of promotions, from Ice Ribbon to JWP to DDT Pro Wrestling but in 2022, she changed the face of Game Changer Wrestling with her Ultraviolent title win over Alex Colon. Since then, she has defeated a bevy of contenders, including Ciclope, Mance Warner and Coke Radrick, among others. Now, she defends against Kasey Kirk, who has submerged herself in Death Matches in the United States and Great Britain alike, but is seeking to truly define herself with a massive championship victory.
Then Sunday at GCW Ransom, it will then be Kasey's husband Brandon Kirk who seeks out his own biggest GCW victory to date, challenging The Bad Boy Joey Janela in the main event on FITE+, seeking to wrest the GCW Extreme Championship from one of the most important historical figures in all of Game Changer Wrestling history. While Janela has toured the world and left no country untouched since exiting AEW, Kirk has been on a different quest, building his reputation and win/loss record across ICW No Holds Barred, H20 and more promotions, but he has yet to score his first major GCW victory in a number of years. Now the most dangerous man to ever hail from Sayreville, NJ is on the precipice of greatness - he just has to defeat the most debaucherous wrestler from New Jersey to do it.
This weekend could indeed be the greatest weekend for the Kirk family since their wedding, or it could be their own personal hellgate. Only FITE+ viewers will see who survives the carnage and the insanity to raise their championships high and mighty, live as it happens from Atlantic City.
The GCW World Tag Team Championships will also be on full display this weekend as Los Mazisos, Ciclope & Miedo Extremo, have a pair of massive championship defenses this weekend in Atlantic City. Mexico's most notorious tag team will first encounter the legendary Jose and Joel Maximo, the SAT in combat at GCW Holy Smokes. While one of the most influential tag teams of the last two decades, The Maximos' time off before returning to the ring has allowed a new generation of teams to rise up. Now finding themselves in the unique position of being veterans in a world where they were once the upstarts.
This will be a lucha-centric meshing of styles inside and beyond the ring. The SAT are well versed in classic tag team offense and high-flying aerial assaults. After all, they perfected The Spanish Fly. However, the reigning champions are as much at peace bringing destruction and chaos to the ring, apex predators who love their place as the ultimate aggressors. Miedo and Ciclope can pivot from lucha beauty to brawling madness in a New York minute and if they can do that successfully, they will retain the titles. However, one may argue that The SAT are the hungrier team here, seeking to reclaim their stake as the best in the world with a championship victory.
To the winner go the spoils, absolutely, as this Sunday live on FITE+, The Motor City Machine Guns, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin, the most decorated and celebrated team in Impact Wrestling history, will arrive in Atlantic City to challenge the GCW World Tag Team Champions in one of the sterling main events presented for GCW Ransom. Shelley and Sabin are in the midst of what may be their most spectacular run as a tandem to date, but they haven't stepped inside the ring with the Maximos since 2010 and have never faced Los Mazisos.
While the Guns have ruled over New Japan Strong and Impact Wrestling, GCW is a very unique, different world when it comes to combat sports. While The Machine Guns will have every opportunity to push themselves physically and bring forth all of their tag team greatness, will they be able to do it against either of these incredibly talented teams - and walk out with the GCW Championships? No matter what the fates deliver on Saturday, a true dream match awaits on Sunday for everyone in Atlantic City and beyond!
Game Changer Wrestling has always exuded an international flavor, opening the doors for the best talents to arrive from Japan, Mexico, Europe and beyond and this weekend will be no exception. This Friday on FITE+, GCW Holy Smokes will feature the return of one of the most talked about and celebrated lucha libre sensations Hijo del Vikingo as he steps into battle with Alex Zayne.
Zayne, making his first Game Changer appearance since his most recent extended tour of New Japan Pro Wrestling, is seeking to step forward with his ever-evolving in-ring skills and test himself against Vikingo, who's flurry of athletic insanity is second to none. This unique attraction is sure to set the bar for all of the other GCW fighters to attempt to best this weekend, no matter which internationally traveled star is victorious. Purist wrestling fans will see an incredible international game of chess develop before their eyes on FITE+.
Beyond Rina Yamashita, a number of other tremendous stars from Japan have set their sights on GCW in Atlantic City this weekend. VENY will make her GCW debut after an incredible career in Japan's Sendai Girls, WAVE and many other joshi puroresu promotions. An incredibly skilled and hard fighter, she dives right into the deep end of the GCW pool this Friday at Holy Smokes, challenging Joey Janela in an attempt to make the most impactful GCW debut ever.
This Sunday at GCW Ransom, Maki Itoh returns to the GCW ring as well, teaming with Rina Yamashita & VENY to take on the vaunted trios combination of Billie Starkz, Janai Kai and Sawyer Wreck, allowed for all the demented insanity one expects from these tremendous international stars.
GCW's big events in Atlantic City this weekend live on FITE will also feature Blake Christian, EFFY, AKIRA, Allie Katch and more as the red-hot molten heat of GCW's competition collides with the insurmountable fearlessness and creativity that comes with unbridled violence and ferocity. While that may break the boundaries of insanity and criminality, it means one thing is guaranteed: mind-blowing live events as only Game Changer Wrestling can present
Live on FITE+ this weekend, GCW HOLY SMOKES AND GCW RANSOM!
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.