The final act of GCW’s riotous return to Japan is upon us. The Art of War was the final night of battle between GCW, BJW and FREEDOMS on this tour and it boasted some big matches to end it all. We got SHLAK taking on BJW legend Abdullah Kobayashi, KTB taking on the King of FREEDOMS Champion Toru Sugiura and a strong style rematch for the ages, Chris Dickinson vs Daisuke Sekimoto 2. Throw in some chaotic tag matches too and it was clear Art of War would be the crescendo to the orchestra of violence GCW has performed in Japan.

Tomoya Hirata & Gentaro defeated Kikutaro & Shigehiro Irie via Roll Up

For the final time, Kikutaro opened the show. This time, he actually had a match. He was teaming with the Beast that is Shigehiro Irie to take on two of FREEDOMs regular stars. This was a big chance for Hirata to show what he could do to a wider audience. He started the match against Irie with a collar and elbow tie-up that ended in a stalemate. The pair tried for knockdowns until Hirata gained enough momentum to knock down Irie. He tagged a very reluctant Kikutaro in. When Kikutaro couldn’t get the ref to fight, Hirata tagged in Gentaro. The pair performed some slow chain wrestling before Kikutaro hit an eye poke. He tagged in Irie and the pair went to work on Gentaro. He took the punishment but was able to escape Irie with a Backdrop Driver and tag out. Hirata took out both Kikutaro and Irie and nearly pinned the latter with a running power slam. He hit a lethal spinebuster and tagged in an unwilling Gentaro. This unwillingness unravelled their double team leading to Irie piledriving Hirata onto Gentaro. Kikutaro posed over a broken Gentaro and went for his finisher, a pinfall. He signalled for a Superplex but Gentaro low-blowed him. He missed an elbow drop and Kikutaro went for the world’s longest Brainbuster. Gentaro reversed into a roll-up and after trading two more, kept Kikutaro down for a three count. This was a fun little comedy match with Irie and Hirata stealing the show with their power. Once again Kikutaro shot himself in the foot to comedic effect.

Toru Sugiura defeated KTB via Top Rope Spanish Fly

Next was the culmination of a rivalry that had taken place across nights one and two. KTB and Sugiura have been at each other’s throats the whole tour. Now it was time to end it with one man standing tall. Because of the blood feud nature, KTB didn’t even let Sugiura get in the ring. He dived on him as he made his entrance. He tried to follow it up with a Powerbomb on the ramp but Sugiura reversed and dropped KTB back into the ring. He made KTB bail from the ring with a Missile Dropkick. He hit a dive of his own and shared a bottle of water with a fan. He mocked KTB with a fan’s foam hand and hit a running elbow into the corner. KTB had enough, caught Sugiura out of a crossbody and hit a spinning power slam. He hit a flurry of short-arm clotheslines on Sugiura but couldn’t keep him down. KTB kept attacking with a corner cannonball, chops and a springboard back headbutt. Sugiura couldn’t catch a break as KTB always had an answer, he even stopped a running attack with an atomic drop and splash combo. He went for the Lion sault but Sugiura was able to roll out of the way. The pair traded slugs but Sugiura got the better with a Michinoku Driver. They fought on the top turnbuckle with Sugiura laying in a kiss of death and hitting a top rope Spanish fly, winning the match and putting the feud to rest. Man, KTB is a great wrestler. An uber-athletic big man with a cool image. He dominated a lot here, really making Sugiura work for the win. He may have lost here but he looked like the beast he is. The pair laid all tension to rest with mutual signs of respect.

Daisuke Sekimoto defeated Chris Dickinson via Bridging German Suplex


It was time for the second strong style wet dream match of the tour as Chris Dickinson and Daisuke Sekimoto were up next ready to beat the Pissari out of one another. This was a rematch from a GCW show last year giving Sekimoto the home country advantage this time. The pair instantly locked up and started running into one another. Sekimoto aimed low but this just fired Dickinson up. He knocked down Sekimoto and started stomping a mudhole. He followed up with a Dropkick and DDT for a two count. He twisted the ankle of Sekimoto and laid in more kicks. He kept targeting the legs with kicks and submissions, twisting them in ways they should twist. Sekimoto fought out of a deadlift German so the pair traded chops. They went into forearms and Sekimoto levelled Dickinson with a lariat. Sekimoto locked in a chin lock but Dickinson fought free, only to be knocked down again. He tried to choke Dickinson in the corner then followed that with a trio of neck twists on the canvas. Sekimoto continued the neck-based offence with a neck breaker. He locked in a Camel Clutch but Dickinson powered out and drove Sekimoto into the corner. He continued his comeback with a Dragon Screw and Enzuigiri. Both men were down now, tired from their battle. Dickinson issued the “international language of fuck you” (thank you Kevin Gill), then hit a train of corner splashes and knocked Sekimoto down once again.

After a series of waist clutch reversal, Dickinson got Sekimoto on his shoulders for a DVD. That only kept Sekimoto down for a two count though. He avoided a German Suplex attempt from Sekimoto and locked in a Figure-Four. Sekimoto reversed the pressure and insulted Dickinson with some push-ups as he scrambled for the ropes. Dickinson went back to the leg but Sekimoto struck back. He powered Dickinson into a vicious Brainbuster but Dickinson kicked out. Dickinson escaped a deadlift attempt and smashed Sekimoto into the corner, attacking the knee again. The pair went to town on each other again with Dickinson coming out on top with a head kick. He couldn’t capitalise though as Sekimoto powered back and finished Dickinson with a bridging German Suplex. What a war. Dickinson continues his run as a MOTY/MOTN factory. He may have lost but he made Sekimoto suffer throughout. Once again, he showed respect after the bout too. Just wow, this was vicious fun.

Ryuji Ito, Toshiyuki Sakuda & Drew Parker defeated Jimmy Lloyd, Matthew Justice & Orin Veidt via Dragon Splash

Time for some good old-fashioned company warfare. It would be BJW taking on GCW in six-man tag deathmatch rules. We had light tubes and fuckery at the ready as Ryuji Ito and his younger companions set to destroy the new generation GCW team. Time for our first fuckery match. It started with Lloyd and Parker who had a fast and frenzied reversal fest before tagging out to Justice and Sakuda. This was Sakuda’s third night of fighting guys way bigger than him, not that that stopped him. He won a test of strength but Justice made him pay by driving a gusset plate into his head. Justice grabbed a chair and DDT’ed Sakuda onto it. Justice brought in Veidt, who went for the light tubes. He hit a light tube body slam and dug the broken bit into Sakuda’s skull. Lloyd entered the match again and poured lemon juice over the face of Sakuda. He went to hit Sakuda with a light tube but it was kicked into him and had lemon juice spat into his face before being dropped with a Japanese destroyer. The ring was cleared so Ito and Justice could collide. They exchanged forearms with Ito winning with a mid-kick then an axe kick. He missed a corner splash and bailed to the outside. Justice followed by jumping onto everyone on the outside from the top rope. He dug under the ring and found a barbed wire board. He set it up on the apron but fell through it when Ito threw a chair into his face. Lloyd dealt with Ito and found a weedwhacker. He and Parker fought over it getting dangerously close to the ref. Parker powered it up and drove it into the gut of Lloyd then dropped him with a Code Red. Veidt broke up the pin with a head kick and cut up Drew with the weedwhacker. Sakuda came back to fight Veidt but smashed himself with light tubes and got clotheslined for his troubles. Veidt dragged out a saw board but his attempt to slam Sakuda onto it was thwarted by a Shiranui from Sakuda, sending him back first onto the saws. Sakuda set Ito’s light tube bundle on his fallen body and Ito finished him with the Dragon Splash. Once again, these guys deliver a chaotic mix of wrestling and violence. Some innovative weapon choices and excellent match-ups made this way more enjoyable too. Ito wins both of his matches on the tour.

Abdullah Kobayashi defeated SHLAK via Flying Elbow Drop

That carnage was followed up by even more carnage as we got the continuation of the SHLAK tries to murder legends tour. This time he was going to war with Abdullah Kobayashi, the face of BJW, current death match heavyweight champion and one of my personal favourites in a light tube deathmatch. The ring was full of plunder so you just knew we were in for some of the good old ultraviolence. Kobayashi showed his might by eating a light tube and spat back the glass at SHLAK. Not to be outdone, SHLAK did the same back. Kobayashi struck and whipped SHLAK into the tubes attached to the ropes. SHLAK returned the favour and knocked Kobayashi down whilst he had a tube stuck in his pants. SHLAK followed up with a light tube elbow drop onto the apron and the back of Kobayashi’s head. They fought outside the ring with Kobayashi headbutting a tube into SHLAK. They fought into the crowd trading shots, headbutts and a throat punch before Kobayashi threw a whole box of broken glass at SHLAK. Again, not to be outdone, SHLAK fired back with a light tube headbutt. Kobayashi returned fire with an even bigger bundle to headbutt. The fight reached the stage where the pair once again threw hands. Kobayashi made SHLAK take a seat with a Mongolian Chop and bit into his skull. SHLAK bit back and spat blood into the air. The pair finally got back into the ring of glass where Abdullah the Butcher produced a fork and stuck it in SHLAK’s head. He tried to do it with a second fork but SHLAK fought back and embedded it in Kobayashi’s head. He did the same with a kenzan but the result happened. Kobayashi fired up and headbutted more light tubes but got sent into a corner.

SHLAK hit a sliding forearm into the corner and light tubes and hit an overhead suplex. Kobayashi held out and came back with the Shining Wizard and a light tube elbow drop. SHLAK just kicked out so Kobayashi gathered up a bunch of tubes and threw them directly onto SHLAK’s grounded body. He tried to go top rope but SHLAK cut him off by tossing some tubes and dropped him with a Superplex. Kobayashi kicked out with a war cry and went on a round of duelling light tubes with SHLAK. He smashed a giant bundle over SHLAK but SHLAK just went back to eating glass. The pair threw every remaining light tube at one another before Kobayashi finally dropped SHLAK with a wheelhouse kick. He hit the flying elbow drop but SHLAK kicked out. He placed some more tubes on the floor, hit a cactus piledriver onto them and then hit SHLAK with a second elbow drop for the win, smothering SHLAK with his body for extra emphasis. Fuck me this was amazing. I loved this. I love Kobayashi and he had such great chemistry with SHLAK. The pair murdered each other with as much glass as they could. Kobayashi even ended it nicely with a “SHLAK, I love you” and prompted SHLAK to make a speech, who returned the compliment and kissed him on the head. The pair posed together to end the segment.

Isami Kodaka, Takashi Sasaki & Kenji Fukimoto defeated Danny Havoc, Matt Tremont & Alex Colon via Super Double Knees


What better way to end the tour than with one final six-man festival of fuckery? Team GCW took on Team Japan as Kodaka teamed up with two FREEDOMS stalwarts for the last main event of the tour. They would have to handle GCW’s elite and legends as Havoc, Tremont and Alex Colon came to play. Team Japan attacked quickly with the action spilling everywhere. Havoc and Sasaki took centre stage, smashing each other in-ring, Havoc took out Sasaki so Colon and Fukimoto took over the ring. Fukimoto chowed down on a light tube then broke another over Colon’s head. Colon blocked more tubes and cut down Fukimoto with a forearm. He hit a light tube suicide dive leaving the ring to Tremont and Kodaka. The pair went slugging with some stiff shots before Kodaka raked at the scar tissue on Tremont’s forehead. Kodaka tried to fly but Tremont caught him and flattened him with a slam and splash. Havoc flattened everyone with a Moonsault then threw Kodaka through a barbed wire board. Havoc faked out Kodaka by breaking a light tube bundle then slamming him into the broken glass. He tagged in Colon who launched into the ring with a Frog Splash. Kodaka fought back, suplexed Colon into the glass and brought in Sasaki. The FREEDOMS founder ran rough-shot over Team GCW before going for the light tubes which he would then kick into the midsection of Colon in the corner. He perched Colon on the top rope, taunted GCW then bit Colon on the head. He followed that up with a Superplex into the glass and paid tribute to Jun Kasai with the Butterfly Piledriver. Colon avoided a second and hit Sasaki with the double knees.

Tremont entered the match and went back and forth with Sasaki. He tagged in Fukimoto who started attacking Tremont with giant scissors. He continued the assault with chairs to the head but ended up sandwiched in the corner and dropped with a Samoan Drop from Tremont. They both bailed so Havoc and Kodaka picked up the fight. Kodaka beat him down with a ladder but Havoc joined him at the top of it and Superplexed him off it. Colon broke some tubes with Kodaka’s body and Tremont knocked him down with a vicious lariat but Kodaka fought through and spiked Havoc on a Moonsault with a barbed wire light tube bundle. Team Japan cleared the ring and kicked light tubes into Havoc’s face. Colon and Tremont got given the skewer treatment but Havoc was able to reverse Kodaka into the around the world slam but couldn’t capitalise as he was kicked into a crucifix bomb. Team Japan worked together to put Havoc down with the Super double knees off of the ladder onto a bundle of light tubes. A fitting way to end such a violent fuckery fest. The perfect main event for the final show. It was violent, vicious and full of brutal moments to get those deathmatch emotions flowing. Kodaka nearly put his foot in his mouth by insulting GCW, bringing out the full roster but Sasaki calmed things down. I feel the FREEDOMS Collective show will be VERY interesting.

So, there you have it, GCW The Art of War reviewed for your reading pleasure. A fitting end to a tour full of deathmatch delights, strong style showdowns and comedy gold. This show was no exception. The matches delivered, everyone benefitted and the crowds got treated some exceptional wrestling. This one even went to the effort of tying up stories and giving rivalries meaning. GCW knocked it out of the park with this tour and I’m glad to have written on all three shows. If you read all of these then thank you for joining me on this Japanese flavoured slice of deathmatch fuckery.

All images courtesy of GCW Twitter, Gifs by HeyyImRob Twitter

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