As I eluded to in the Collective Day One Full Review, For the Culture is a very special event. It’s a show dedicated to showing off POC athletes and the amazing things they can do. AJ Gray took the booking reigns and put on a masterful show full of exciting, hard-hitting, and just really damn powerful pro-wrestling. We’d see AR Fox take on 2 Cold Scorpio in a battle of icons, a three-team tag bout that broke the internet, the most intense title match of all time between Suge D and Trish Adora, AJ Gray and Dezmond Xavier try to kill each other and much much more, let’s get into it!

Opening Fatal Five-way: Mike Outlaw defeated Timmy Lou Retton, A.C Mack, Zay Washington, and Hoodfoot via Yakuza Kick to Retton

The show opened up with a surprise four-way watch that was derailed by a bitter AC Mack (he’d lost the S.U.P Bonestorm Title to Gray earlier in the day) who injected himself into the match and sent Retton out of the ring with a forearm. He and Hoodfoot fell to the outside as Washington and Outlaw showed off their rapid technical skills against each other. Retton took them out, then got crushed by a neckbreaker from HoodFoot. Mack smashed him with a low dropkick and then had Outlaw thrown onto him outside with a back-body drop. He followed up with a moonsault, then HoodFoot obliterated everyone with his own suicide dive. We got a four-way slugfest where Retton KO’ed everyone with a kick and stunned Outlaw with a back-roll cutter. HoodFoot KO’ed him with a lariat, then got thrown out of the ring by Mack who tried to steal the win. He struck out at Retton and Outlaw, then ate a vicious pounce. Outlaw nailed Retton with a Rock Bottom, then ate an Overdrive from HoodFoot. Washington nailed HoodFoot with a Liger Bomb but Mack struck from nowhere and drilled him with a devastating face kick into the Mack 10. He tried to do the same to Retton but Retton hit him with Broke Black Mountain. He looked set to win but Outlaw hit a Yakuza Kick out of nowhere and took the win. This was one hell of an excellent 5-way match and I was beyond happy to see Timmy Lou Retton in a GCW ring. Everyone rocked here and probably rocked each other by how hard they hit.

JTG defeated Trey Miguel via The Brooklyn’s Edge

Our next match was the battle of a prince against a Gawd. JTG has been on the comeback of a lifetime through his recent work in VxS and now he was coming to make a mark For the Culture over one of Impact’s top competitors. Trey attacked early and dropkicked JTG off the top and landed a powerslide DDT onto the concrete. JTG blasted back on the outside but got ran into the-ring post and dumped back in the ring. They continued to trade barbs and blows as Miguel tried to keep JTG from firing off. JTG finally landed a vicious blow with a backdrop neckbreaker and levelled Miguel with a series of lariats, a swinging Regal Cutter, and a sling blade. He tried to hit the Call of G but Trey reversed and tried to leap off the top. JTG caught him into a swinging knee facebuster and a swinging Uranage. Miguel tried to steal the victory with a roll-up but JTG broke out and knocked his teeth out. Miguel hit a Cheeky Nandos and tried to follow through but caught by a ripcord lariat from JTG. A slugfest broke out and Miguel got JTG into the Cheeky Nandos again and followed with the Sup-19. He tried to follow up with the Meteora but JTG dodged and ended Miguel with the Brooklyn’s Edge. This was very physical and featured a nice game plan from Miguel who tried to avoid the power game of JTG by striking first and striking fast. It didn’t work out in the end but it gave us one hell of a competitive bout.

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

Okay, this was where the show kicked into another gear. You got three incredible tag teams with a point to prove and tell them to go do what they do best. This match saw so many different things happen. From insane aerial acrobatics to raw power to buttery smooth wrestling that very few if anyone can pull off better. We started with Air Wolf and Casanova having a very nice technical exchange that led to Top Flight taking control over both teams. Lamar took out Dorado with a dropkick and brought in PB Smooth to send people flying. Tasha Steelz stepped up to Smooth and tried chopping him down with strikes and chops. Smooth booted her down so both teams ganged up against him with Top Flight giving Steelz the air to take him out with a Hurricanrana. Top Flight and Culture SZN went back after each other with Casanova being sent to the floor. Top Flight tried to take flight but Smooth took them out and flattened Air Wolf with a slam and leg drop. 40 Acres hit a chokeslam/neckbreaker combo, then got taken out by a massive dropkick from Wolf. Casanova dived onto Smooth, then Air Wolf smashed the crowd with a Fosbury Flop, Steelz followed with a tumbleweed and Dorado finished the series with a Fosbury Flop into everyone. Casanova escaped mostly unscathed and went to the top only to be launched with a Dragonrana from Dorado. He landed on his feet and took out Dorado with a Mistica Facebuster and made Top Flight KO each other with a combo destroyer. He continued to target Air Wolf with a rope-hung rebound back leg drop but couldn’t follow up as Wolf rolled out and Smooth re-entered the match. He took out Steelz and flattened Casanova with a lariat. He hoisted Casanova onto his shoulders and won the match with a Fireman’s Carry Bomb. This got wild and I loved it. 40 Acres were the biggest team in the fight but they had stiff competition in the flight skills of Top Flight and the Smooth stylings and daredevil antics of Culture SZN. An excellent example of tag teams in action.

Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling Championship: Trish Adora defeated Suge D via Submission

Next up is a match that could have easily been the main event. When I did the quick review for the match, I openly gushed about how this was the most psychologically intense match I’d seen. This was a technical wrestling masterclass that saw the pair escalate through feeling out processes, mind games, and horrifically brutal submissions. I’ve never seen someone manage to get under Suge D’s skin quite like Trish Adora. She brought out a very violent and sadistic side of Suge D that saw him lock her in all sorts of brutal holds and go all out to try and immobilise her for good. The levels of intensity made this match a masterpiece. Once again, I’m not going to go into a play by play for this match. There is so much to unpack here that it could take up pages. This whole show is worth watching, I’m spoiling that now but if I’m picking a shortlist of matches to watch, this makes it into the top three. It had story and substance as the two put on a war for one of the best-designed championship belts I’ve ever seen. Plus, Lariat Tubman is a thing of beauty as far as finishers go. This is how you do a story-telling wrestling match and both competitors pulled it off exceptionally well.

Calvin Tankman defeated O’Shay Edwards via Tenzan Driver

That was followed up by some big meaty men slapping meat. I find commentary summed it up perfectly with that line right there. This had two athletic monsters through down in a ring and try to kill each other. A kaiju fight from the Big Bad Kaiju against the Heavyweight Hustle. They started with lock-ups and reached a stalemate so started traded shoulder tackles to the same effect. After a bit of misdirection and striking out of the corner, Tankman sent Edwards out of the ring with a pounce. He looked to follow up with a dive but O’Shay hammered him out of it. They traded more shots, then Edwards nearly broke Tankman with a spear. He hammered down on Tankman, then initiated a chop-fest. Tankman regained control by making Edwards bail again with a massive dropkick and landed a Tope Suicida to the outside, landing on his feet. He missed a running Shooting Star Press so Edwards punished him with a German suplex and more stiff forearms. Tankman fired back with a spinning back elbow and the pair collided on duel crossbodies. They traded more bombs, then Tankman caught Edwards out of the air into a backbreaker/lariat combo. Edwards kicked out and pushed Tankman to the ropes for a pop-up spinebuster but only got two. Edwards tried for the Kaiju Driver but Tankman broke free and nailed Edwards with a spinebuster. He followed up with a vicious hidden blade but Edwards got up from it. Tankman quickly responded with another elbow and muscled Edwards up into a Tenzan Driver for the win. This exactly the type of contest you wanted after the slow-burn before it. it was much more smash-mouth, shocking, and full of big man violence.

Willow Nightingale defeat Devon Monroe, Faye Jackson & Marti Belle via Doctor Bomb on Monroe

Up next was more multi-person chaos as Willow Nightingale, Devon Monroe, Marti Belle, and Faye Jackson all came to fight in four-way action. Everyone here had their own signature style and they were going to use it to try and succeed. Jackson and Belle started with beef as Jackson was not happy with Belle’s use of My Milkshake. We started with roll-up trading and Jackson sending Belle for a run. Monroe derailed this with an ass slap and arm drag to Jackson. He hit another twisting arm-drag on Jackson and forearmed Nightingale into the corner. He tried to whip her but she cartwheeled out and dropped him with a superkick. She tried for the Three Amigos but Belle returned to kick her about. Nightingale hit a Russian Leg Sweep into an Octopus on Belle, then Monroe locked a neck crank on here. Jackson broke this up with a but pump and nailed a cannonball to the outside. Belle avoided this and hit a lope onto everyone but Monroe who jumped onto the crowd with a Pescado. He went to the top but Nightingale followed him up and dragged him down with a superplex. She rolled through but Jackson took both down with a spear. Belle took out Jackson with a crossbody, leaving everyone down. A four-way strike fight broke out which resulted in everyone getting knocked down again. Belle nailed Monroe with a Codebreaker, Jackson nailed Belle with a Samoan Drop, Nightingale nailed Jackson with a DVD and Monroe cracked Nightingale with a springboard Jawbreaker. Monroe hit Belle with the Rear View, then smashed both Belle and Jackson with a double knee/headbutt combo. Nightingale struck during the confusion and killed off Monroe with a Doctor Bomb to take the win. This match redefined the term divas match. This had all the wrestling skills you’d want with the fun and energy of a divas bout. All four gave it their all and all four definitely made the most of their time.

AJ Gray defeated Dezmond Xavier via Brutal Lariat

After that was the head booker’s match. AJ Gray in his 4th match of the day going against one of the fastest guys in wrestling, Dezmond Xavier of the Rascalz. Would Dez be able to finally do what no one else could and best Gray in a singles bout? They started with a lock-up and dragged each other around under Dez launched Gray from the corner. They continued to trade technical holds until Gray launched Dez and dropped him with a shoulder block. They reached another stalemate and Gray played chicken with a dive. Dez rocked Gray with a kick and sent him falling with a Crossbody. Gray KO’ed him with a leg lariat and hung in him the ropes for a faceplant. They traded more strikes, then Dez was knocked to the floor with an elbow. He continued by brutalising Dez in the corner and ate a combo into a cutter. Dez hit his own brutal combo in the corner and nailed Gray with a flipping cannonball. He continued to strike at Gray’s ribs and kidneys, then ran into a spinebuster/powerbomb combo for a near loss. Gray tried for a diving headbutt but Dez caught him into a Dragon Sleeper. He rushed Gray into the corner and hit and a double flip Pele kick. He hit Gray with the Final Flash but only got two. A slap-fest broke out and the pair rocked each other with jabs. Dez hit low so Gray floored him with a lariat. Dez fired back with a superkick and tried for the flipping Pele again but Gray caught him into a burning hammer across the ropes. He hammered Dez with a final lariat and won the match. This got intense as Dez seemed determined to battle Gray with his own style of offence. Gray wasn’t playing though and almost murdered Dez by the end of it.

Lee Moriarty defeated ACH via Mousetrap Pinfall

Well, this was going to be a certified banger. One of the best in the world against one of the future best in the world in a match that would test both guy’s wrestling IQ and ability. TAIGA STYLE is becoming one of the most popular things to see and Moriarty cannot stop putting on good matches. This was going to get wild. They started with a show of respect, then went through a series of fast and aggressive technical exchanges. ACH threw out a chop so Moriarty locked on a nerve hold and sent ACH flying with an arm drag, then delivered a kick to his arm. ACH swatted him out of the sky and hammered Moriarty with more chops, then ran into a dropkick and apron PK. They traded chops on the outside, then Moriarty baited ACH into chopping the ring post. The action returned to the ring and Moriarty went after the hand and arm of ACH. ACH picked up the pace and kicked out Moriarty’s leg into a double stomp. He went after Moriarty’s back and ribs, then chopped him again. Moriarty hit back, then ran into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. ACH continued to work the spine and launched him into the turnbuckle and hammered him with yet more strikes. Moriarty made some space and nailed ACH with a knee strike in the corner, then slid round into a giant double stomp. He landed another double stomp to the shoulder and dragged ACH into a DDT. They fought over a Suplex, then ACH tripped Moriarty into a shotgun dropkick. ACH nailed the outside/in Cutter but only got two. They traded waist-locks, then ACH caught Moriarty into a backbreaker/bridging German combo for another two. ACH took Moriarty to the top and tried for a superplex but Moriarty snapped his fingers and hit another double stomp to ACH’s outstretched arm. He landed a hammerlock DDT and the pair stared each other down on the apron. They slugged it out on the apron until Moriarty hit a hammerlock trip slam onto the apron. ACH’s shoulder was nearly ripped apart but he still caught Moriarty with a brutal dropkick on his way back into the ring. They traded more slugs, reaching terminal velocity, then Moriarty nailed a head kick and ACH chopped him into a Tiger Driver. ACH climbed to the top and leaped over Moriarty but caught in Joint Custody. ACH made it to the ropes and unleashed a vicious series of kicks into the Buster Call. Moriarty dodged a 450 and trapped ACH in a mousetrap pin for the win. TAIGA STYLE won the day and put on the work-rate match of the night. This was all gas from start to the finish and gave us a match only these two could put on.

AR Fox defeated 2 Cold Scorpio via 450 Splash

Last but not least, the main event was upon us. A battle between two icons who have done so much for POC representation in wrestling and continue to do so through their matches now. AR Fox and 2 Cold Scorpio were going to do what they do best, tear the goddamn house down. Bodies were going to fly as two guys who are the life of the wrestling party came to throw down. They went through a relaxed feeling out process and enjoyed the fan appreciation. They shook hands and went into a tight lock-up. Scorpio nailed Fox with a dropkick and took him down with an arm drag into an armbar. He continued to hammer down on Fox in the corner, then at a skin-the-cat dropkick from Fox. They took the fight to the outside and brawled around the ringside and fan area. Fox kicked Scorpio through a chair, then got tripped face-first on the apron going for a moonsault. Scorpio stopped for a water break so Fox treated him to a duo of yakuza kicks and blasted him with a DDT. He missed a Swanton so Scorpio punished him with knees and a twisting kick. He rolled Fox over and hit him with a flipping Leg Drop and continued to batter Fox around the ring. He KO’ed Fox with arising kick and perched Fox on the top. Fox woke up, kicked Scorpio away, and deposited him to the mat with a Tornado DDT. Fox went up again so Scorpio rolled away to the corner. Fox wasn’t phased and blasted Scorpio with a coast to coast. Scorpio rolled out and Fox hit him with a plancha. He upped the ante with an apron leg drop and landed the Swanton for two. Fox dragged Scorpio to his feet and was stunned by a flipping heel kick. Scorpio followed up by dropping the bomb with a front flip leg drop and Moonsault leg drop after a Back Suplex. Fox kicked out and tanked a stiff kick to the ribs to hit Scorpio with an enzuigiri and diving cutter. He leaped to the top and finished off Scorpio with a 450 Splash for the win. This is how you close a show, with a big generational fight full of respect. These two brought it hard and messed each other up with some unbelievably flippy stuff. Props to both men, they nailed the main event spot.

So, there you have it, For the Culture reviewed for your wrestling pleasure. What can I really say here? The matches speak for themselves. I was treated to two and a half hours of excellent wrestling from POC athletes. Some I knew and some I saw for the first time that night. Regardless of that, they all killed it. There wasn’t a single moment of drag. No wasted matches, no dead air, just wall to wall action. I learned of new people, new things, and gained a whole lot of new people I expect to see booked everywhere. They’ve been given the spotlight, now I want to see companies take the initiative and spread their influence far and wide. Even if this show wasn’t so historically important, I’d tell you to watch it anyway, it was that damn good.

All images courtesy of Earl Gardner Photography, HeyyImRob, Wrestling with Unicorns, GCW Twitter,