Here we go, the indie super-weekender known as The Collective is here at last. The now annual collision of some of America’s top indies may have been delayed by COVID but the virus could not stop the show or shows going on. Day one brings us offerings from GCW in Jimmy Lloyd’s D-Generation F and For the Culture, AIW with Thunder in Paradise Indianapolis, and S.U.P in Swing of the Axe.
All four shows feature some of the top talents on the indies and For the Culture should be one of the most meaningful and important shows of the whole weekend for representation in wrestling. This piece will give you the full results and some of my thoughts from Day One as we jump into the biggest weekend of the year.
GCW: “Jimmy Lloyd’s D-Generation F”
The first show of the weekend was Jimmy Lloyd’s show for the young bulls of professional wrestling. We’d see some of the top young stars and teams duking it out against each other leading to a deathmatch main event between Atticus Cogar of 44OH! and Colby Corino.
Opening 7-person Scramble: Brayden Lee defeated Alex Ocean, Eli Isom, Elayna Black, Sonico, Kung-fu Janela & Griffin McCoy via 630 Senton to Sonico – excellent opener match where everyone involved got a chance to shine. It was all gas no brakes action (just like the winner) and it’s excellent to see Alex Ocean in GCW now.
4-Way Tag: I’m Working on Dying (Steve Sanders & Dyln McKay) defeated Top Flight (Angel Dorado & Air Wolf) vs Smoking Budz (Cody & David Morton) & YDNB (Ellis Taylor & Charlie Tiger) via Shooting Star Senton to Cody Morton – Godamn this was good. It started with traditional tag rules but descended into a frantic free-for-all of teams trying to out-strike, out-combo, and out-fly each other. Very good showing for all teams involved. Very nice to see the H2O team get a big win.
1 Called Manders defeated Logan Stunt via Top-Rope Oklahoma Stampede through a door- Want to watch a man die? That’s what it felt like for half this match as Manders threw Stunt around like a ragdoll into ring-posts and ropes. Stunt did his best to fight back and really got the crowd behind him but an Oklahoma Stampede through a door put him down for the three-count. Yet another hot match.
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) October 9, 2020
Tre Lamar defeated JJ Garrett via Frog-splash Elbow Drop – Yet another banger of a match. Two men who love to innovate hit each other with everything they had. We got to see a whole host of unique strikes, kicks, and headlocks as we got an incredibly competitive little bout to enjoy. Both guys have very bright futures ahead of them.
Calvin Tankman defeated Cole Radrick via Hidden Blade Elbow – This one made me wince. Tankman brutalised Cole Radrick so badly through most of this match. Radrick managed to come back with some very stiff kicks and DDTs but he seemed to injure himself off of a kick and fan-assisted moonsault. He gave it his all but Tankman was merciless and bludgeoned him to death.
Jordan Oliver defeated Ace Austin via Clout Cutter through a door – Austin and Oliver got incredibly competitive. Austin and Oliver put on a fast, evasive-heavy match of one-upmanship with a lot of heavy kicks, fast moves, and faster counters. Austin tried to bring out the plunder but it bit him in the ass and cost him the match. Very, very damn good little match here.
— Wrestling With Unicorns (@W_W_Unicorns) October 9, 2020
AJ Gray defeated Jimmy Lloyd via Blue-Eyes White Dragon – When in doubt, beat the guy the show is named after. Lloyd and Gray had an excellent back and forth bout that showcased both guy’s power, speed, and technicality. Gray and Lloyd both looked good at the end of this one but Gray was the one to get his hand raised.
Blake Christian defeated Starboy Charlie via Inverted Koji Clutch – Holy hell, this was insane. This went long, it went to physical places and it went far beyond what I expected it to. Blake Christian may just be the single greatest wrestler in GCW for making stars. He filled in the veteran dickhead roll here and made Starboy Charlie look amazing. This really was one damn good match with a young star in the making here. The crowd was very much into him coming back and I hope they keep giving him top-tier opponents to work against and learn from.
Deathmatch: Atticus Cogar defeated Colby Corino via Thumbtack Faceplant- You wanted a deathmatch, these guys gave you a deathmatch. This had every bit of deathmatch plunder you could want. From light-tubes to doors to tacks and fire, everything was there and broken in a personal bout of hatred. Atticus Cogar is one of the deathmatch elite now (even if he sucks at setting things on fire sometimes) and with 44OH! at his side, he seems nigh on unstoppable.
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) October 9, 2020
So, as you can see this was an excellent opening show of varying styles put on by young and hungry talents who are going to be the future of the business. From the madness of the opening scramble to the brutality of the closing deathmatch, everyone brought their A-game for the Collective’s opening act. Hat’s off all-round here. Stay tuned for a more detailed review of this show coming soon.
S.U.P: “Swing of the Axe”
Show two was the Nashville, Tennessee-based Southern Underground Pro or S.U.P. graps presented Swing of the Axe show boasting another stacked card of indie dream matches. Whilst this company had flown under the radar, its show had matches that could put it on a lot more people’s radar.
S.U.P Tag Titles: Violence is Forever (Dominic Garrini & Kevin Ku) defeated To Infinity and Beyond (Colin Delaney & Cheech Hernandez) via KO Brainbuster to Delaney – What a way to start a show. A high-stakes tag bout that would see the coronation of the newly minted S.U.P tag titles. This gave us a very high-energy bout between two amazing teams. To Infinity and Beyond continuously kept Violence is Forever on their toes through devious means and amazingly inventive combo moves. A very must-see match.
AJ Gray defeated Nolan Edward via Brutality Lariat – Ouch, ouch, ouch. This was vicious. It was a fast bout of horrifically brutal strikes. Both of these guys threw bombs at each other. AJ really let Nolan have it and Nolan answered back just as badly. There were very few frills here, just a lot of intense striking and kicking action. It wasn’t quite the public execution people were expecting but I bet Nolan felt dead by the time it was done.
Allie Kat defeated Davienne via Rope Hung Pussy Piledriver – Talk about fighting from underneath. Allie Kat had to work for that victory. Davienne was dominant for so much of this match that Allie’s chances of victory seemed almost impossible. She was able to come back strong and won with a nasty piledriver as Davienne limped back to the ring. It was a nasty war that saw Allie turn cat burglar to take the win
— Wrestling With Unicorns (@W_W_Unicorns) October 9, 2020
Daniel Makabe defeated Lee Moriarty via Makabe Lock – Okay, I’ll be honest, this was one of the matches I was looking forward to the most. Two technical masterminds mixing it up in a ring for a hot crowd. Fun fact, this match was every bit as amazing as it was hyped up to be. In fact, no, it was better. This is going down as one of the best matches of The Collective because it was a technical masterpiece with a whole host of amazing counters, submissions and strikes with so much tension. No words could do this match justice, just hunt it down and watch it.
O’Shay Edwards defeated Jake Something via Kaiju Driver – Now this is my type of match. I love big guys having a full-on Kaiju fight. O’Shay Edwards is a goddamn treasure to professional wrestling and he got to show off his brand of athletic big man violence against Jake Something being a dickhead. This was insanely good as well and offered a much different pace to the match before it. very intense and very damn violent.
Anthony Henry defeated Jaden Newman via Dragon Sleeper – Anthony Henry scares me. I don’t know if he’s human and he’s definitely more of a sadist than me. He tortured Newman. He pulverised him with horrifically stiff strikes and kicks all the while berating him to fight back, only to no-sell it. As the match went on Newman got more and more in but it all caught up and he was forced to tap to an arm-trapped Dragon Sleeper. He got Henry’s respect at the end of the match and I’m pretty sure he earned the crowd’s too. This one was scary.
Brett Ison defeated Erick Stevens via Ripcord Backfist – Another banger here. Erick Stevens and Brett Ison put on a shoot-style/King’s Road fuelled showcase of vicious strikes and submissions that surprised people with their speed and effectiveness. Erick Stevens is one of the few people to kick out of Street Justice and earned a loss to a new finisher from Ison.
Bonestorm Title: A.C Mack defeated 1 Called Manders via Dirty Roll-Up – This is what we call an uphill struggle. The loudest man in wrestling had to defend his championship against a guy who was way bigger than him. It would be a battle of wits and speed against raw power. Manders had Mack on the ropes so many times but it would be the resilience and deviousness of Mack that would see him win with a dick kick and roll-up as the ref was incapacitated. He tried to cut a promo bragging but he was cut off by AJ Gray who basically implied he was coming for his blood and the title.
Bonestorm Title: AJ Gray defeated A.C Mack via Brutal Lariat – Mack tried to screw Gray by making a title match AFTER he’d kicked Gray in the balls but Gray kicked out, dodged Mack 10 and then floored Mack with a lariat to take the belt and free S.U.P from the tyranny of A.C Mack. He then offered a title match to Brett Ison for whenever he wants it.
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. I knew S.U.P had a lot of talent to boast and the card they offered looked exceptional but even then, this blew away my expectations. Swing of the Axe presented an incredibly varied card with a lovely amount of match types. The interesting tag opener, the Makabe/Moriarty show-stealer and everything else around them all made for an amazing show from a company with a lot to offer. I’ll certainly be checking out more from S.U.P.
AIW: “Thunder in Paradise Indianapolis”
Next up would be Absolutely Intense Wrestling’s offer for the weekend Thunder in Paradise… I mean Indianapolis! They too had come to Indiana with a loaded card of matches that would see their big belts defended (one in a no-ropes barbed-wire deathmatch) and a whole host of other big matches like Alex Shelley vs Lee Moriarty vs Tre Lamar, Karate Man vs “Filthy” Tom Lawlor 2 and Danhausen vs Mordecai. It was going to get wild and Absolutely Intense (do you get it?)
Dr Daniel C Rockingham defeated Zach Thomas, Derek Dillinger (w/Ziggy Haim) & Pretty Boy Smooth (w/Jocelyn) via Sit-Out Twist Powerbomb – A totally hectic opener with a whole lot of bodies spilling everywhere and a lot of showing off. All six people involved in this match took ridiculous bumps and showed some exceptional athleticism. It took a while for PB Smooth to get into the match but after seeing what he was capable of, I completely understood why his opponents tried to keep him out of the match. Again, exceptional work all round.
Danhausen defeated Mordecai via Victory Roll – Okay, this was the funniest match that we’ve seen so far. Danhausen treated Mordecai to teeth and tequila whilst Mordecai tried to ward Danhausen off with his staff and battered him with a realtor’s sign. This match had a ton of goofy moments but it was damn fun to watch. I love Danhausen and he made magic with Mordecai here. Plus, we now know when the rhythm takes him, Mordecai cannot be stopped.
Erick Stevens defeated Dominic Garrini via Northern Lights Bomb into KO Forearm – Team Filthy went to war against each other here as Stevens and Garrini smacked the absolute hell out of each other. Despite the signal cuts, it was a damn good match. This felt like a shoot fight and offered up a nice slugfest of a match with a franticly competitive feel to it.
The Bitcoin Boiz (Mikey Montgomery & Eric Taylor) defeated Allie Kat & Levi Everett via Dropkick DVD combo on Everett – This was an excellent tag bout that saw Everett and Allie rush the Bitcoin Boiz and look dominant for a while only to be screwed in the finish. Everett may be one of the greatest guys I’d never seen in a match before as he threw himself into everything. I won’t take anything away from anyone here as everyone was class.
Tre Lamar defeated Alex Shelley & Lee Moriarty via Frog-Splash Elbow Drop on Moriarty– I was very excited for this one. Alex Shelley is one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet and he was about to tear it up with two of the brightest on the scene right now. We saw Alex Shelley take a tough mentor role through this match, underestimating his foes and bringing the best out of them until the final bell where he celebrated with them when Lamar took the win. To describe everything awesome that happened in this match would take forever. This is another one where you should just watch.
Mance Warner defeated Mr Brickster via Chair Platform Piledriver – This was mental. There are plunder matches then there’s this glorious car crash of chair shots, brawling and bleach. Sometimes to make an impact on a show, you impress with wrestling ability. Here Brickster went out to prove he had bones of steel and a few screws loose. Between the bleach, CTE-inducing chair shots and the hideous beatdown Mance gave at the end made this something to remember.
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) October 10, 2020
“Filthy” Tom Lawlor defeated The Karate Man via 5 Steps of Death – When you kill a Karate Man, you better not be sad or he’ll come back from the grave and come after you again. Lawlor killed Karate Man once, could he do it again? Wow, this was a ride. Lawlor and Karate Man had a video game and karate infused bout of strikes and silliness. We even got a team-up segment as they had to take out other ninjas. Lawlor managed to kill Karate Man again but once again, the Karate Man resurrected himself after the match.
2 out of 3 Falls AIW Tag Title Match: defeated The Philly Marino Experience (Marino Tenaglia & Philly Collins) defeated To Infinity and Beyond via Roll-Up/Sunset Dreams – So, after two mental matches it was nice to have something a bit more grounded. I mean it was still crazy in its own right but I feel this one at least felt more like a traditional match. it was full of devious heel work, awesome tag moves and plenty of flying, power and charisma. It’s nice to see PME get rewarded for bringing it back from going down a fall.
AIW World Championship: No-Ropes Barbed Wire – Joshua Bishop /w Wes Barkley defeated Matthew Justice /w Bill Alfonso via Ladder Drop Chair Shot – Oh man was this going to get very ugly. It was going to be violent, vicious and full of blood. These two have had wars stretching back months. Bishop might be one of the few people crazier than Matthew Justice and those familiar with him know how bold a statement that is. He came out to a barbed-wire match in trunks… how is that not crazy? The match was just as crazy with both men and Barkley being introduced to the barbed-wire multiple times in many different ways. Even Fonzie tried to get involved but got brained by a chair and put through a table. Justice also got a table spot as he speared Bishop through a table and splashing him through one-off of the balcony. This got mental but given the contenders in it, I am really not surprised. I could write a page in blood from the insanity present here. You read the finish, just try to imagine it.
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) October 10, 2020
Third showdown and the hot streak continues. I’ve yet to run into any bad matches. Every show has been crisp, well structured and full of fun. AIW delivered something that offered some gore, some laughs, some drama and a whole load of good matches. I’ve found new wrestlers to appreciate and had a blast watching it. Between the Karate Man beating death to Brickster being beaten by Mance to the blood and barbed-wire, this show had it all.
GCW: “For the Culture”
To round off the exciting round of action from day one, came a very special show. For the Culture is a true celebration of representation in wrestling. A card made up entirely of athletes of colour that were taking the spotlight and showing just what they were all capable of. This was going to be amazing as it boasted some truly stellar matches. We’d see Trish Adora vs Suge D for the Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Championship, AJ Gray taking on Dezmond Xavier, 2 Cold Scorpio taking on AR Fox. JTG vs Trey Miguel and a battle of the big men as Calvin Tankman took on O’Shay Edwards.
Opening Fatal Five-way: Mike Outlaw defeated Timmy Lou Retton, A.C Mack, Zay Washington and Hoodfoot via Yakuza Kick to Retton – Okay, once again we start things fast. An unannounced fatal four-way made into a fatal five-way by a very angry A.C Mack. From there we got a frenetic mix of everyone showing what they could do with some homages to other famous black wrestlers. I can’t think of a better way to start the show. Plus, I finally got to see the HoodFoot in action!
JTG defeated Trey Miguel via The Brooklyn’s Edge – What’s a prince to a gawd? We were about to find out as Jay Tha Gawd took on the Powerslide Prince Trey Miguel. Turns out it meant a very strong back and forth bout that saw Miguel use his speed to try and outdo the power and size of JTG. It got ultra-competitive and we saw both guys get rocked by some stiff strikes and kicks. JTG eventually got the win with the beautiful Brooklyn’s Edge. We also got an excellent show of sportsmanship after the match.
Triple Threat Tag: 40 Acres (PB Smooth & Tre Lamar) defeated Top Flight (Angel Dorado & Air Wolf) & Culture SZN (Christian Casanova & Tasha Steelz) via Fireman’s Carry Bomb to Casanova – Now this, this threatened to steal the match of the night spot. It was crazy good with all three teams going all-out on each other. We got flippy stuff, Tasha Steelz getting massive air, PB Smooth being a juggernaut and Christian Casanova being the smoothest pro-wrestler I’ve ever seen. This was unbelievably good. Just watch it, it’s well worth your time.
— Wrestling With Unicorns (@W_W_Unicorns) October 10, 2020
Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Championship: Trish Adora defeated Suge D via Submission – So, this felt like the main event. It was a battle of wits as well as a battle of physicality. The mind games at the start bled into a very physical bout of stiff strikes, limb targeting and horrifying submissions that looked nightmarish to be locked in. As far as psychology goes, this was the match of the whole day. Talk about having a big fight feel with big fight athletes over an insanely important title.
Calvin Tankman defeated O’Shay Edwards via Tenzan Driver – Commentary named this match better than I could. It was big meaty men slapping meat and it turned into a monster movie-Esque battle of giants. These two were hitting each other with bombs that would destroy lesser men. Edwards is one of the first men I’ve seen to handle Tankman as easily as he did and he really brought the fight. This slapped as hard as they slapped meat.
Willow Nightingale defeat Devon Monroe, Faye Jackson & Marti Belle via Doctor Bomb on Monroe – This self-proclaimed divas match had everything you could want from a representation angle. We had action spilling everywhere with all four stars showing what they got and hitting each other very damn hard. I had never seen Devon Monroe in a match before but now I need to see more. Yet again For the Culture keeps the pace strong and the quality stronger.
AJ Gray defeated Dezmond Xavier via Brutal Lariat After the loudest rendition of Waka Flocka Flame’s Oh Let’s Do it, we got into another banger of a match. This was the most challenging match AJ Gray had on day one and it certainly hit the hardest. Dezmond Xavier had almost all of Gray’s offence scouted and had clever counters prepared. He also hit low a couple of times but we’re going to ignore that. Both guys murdered each other here as they both hit hard and upped the intensity for this special match.
Lee Moriarty defeated ACH via Mousetrap Pinfall – Talk about a meeting of two of the best. ACH was the best wrestler on the planet and since he’s come back to wrestling, he’s been busting his ass to prove that’s still the case. Here, he found one of fastest rising stars out there, Lee Moriarty. ACH got a taste of TAIGA STYLE and it made him go out of his way to control the pace of the match. ACH brought out a much more aggressive Moriarty and it came back to bite him in the ass on several occasions. In the end, it was Moriarty’s wrestling genius that would see him trap ACH and take the win, earning him a valuable W and the respect of one of his idols. Lee Moriarty is the only person to have two “match of the night” contenders on the same day.
AR Fox defeated 2 Cold Scorpio via 450 Splash The final main event of the day would see two icons clash. 2 Cold Scorpio, a legend took on the modern-day icon and all-time wrestling great, AR Fox. These two were ready to celebrate the culture with a top-tier fight. When the time for fighting came, these two didn’t hold back. Fox dazzled with his usual range of creative moves whilst Scorpio tried to cleverly stop him whilst showing off his own greatest hits. It was almost like a chess game where the pieces could randomly fly off the board. 2 Cold Scorpio was busting out moves most people couldn’t do when they were 20 years younger. This was a generational dream match and the perfect way to end a show as important as For the Culture.
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) October 10, 2020
So, that ends day one with a bang. Talk about a super-show. This really did showcase just how many POC athletes there are in wrestling that deserves more of a spotlight. There was no drag, not a single match sucked and it was all for an important cause. The Pan-Afrikan title match was amazing, the three-way tag bout insane and Lee Moriarty vs ACH was a masterclass in pro-wrestling. Everyone should watch this show because it showcases everything good about professional wrestling and will put stars you’d never seen before on your radar. Everyone involved takes a bow, you just showed the world something incredibly valuable.
A more detailed review of For the Culture will be up soon, so stay tuned to SteelChair for that as well as a full review of Day Two (order here) where we’ll cover Effy’s Big Gay Brunch, Glory Pro’s Are Ya Wrestling Son?, Joey Janela’s Spring Break 4 and Freelance/Freelance Underground’s “We’re not in Chicago Anymore.” See you then!
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) October 10, 2020