#Preview: GCW Presents “The Last Ones Left”

GCW’s “The Last Ones Left”, live from Chicago on May 4, is the second show of two back-to-back shows following “The Block is Hot” in Asbury Park, New Jersey the evening prior. Click Here to view the preview for “The Block is Hot” and gain more insight into the action as the wave of violence continues to spread into Chicago. This is a busy month for GCW, as these two back-to-back shows take place just a week after GCW’s “Crime Wave” hit.  Click Here to read our in-depth review and results for that show.

Tickets for “The Last Ones Left” can be purchased on GCW’s Facebook page, or one can watch the event via a live stream on Fite.TV.  Both back-to-back shows can be purchased together as a weekend package, which reduces the overall cost partially.

Photo / GCW

Nick Gage vs Mance Warner

As Mance Warner will most likely be recovering from his match with Homicide, taking place a day prior to this, one can not help but wonder if he will be ready to take on Nick Gage, one of the toughest deathmatch wrestlers of the past twenty years.  But perhaps the bigger question is whether this will remain a GCW Championship match, depending on how “The Block is Hot” transpires a day prior this.  At that showing, Nick Gage will first be putting his GCW Championship title on the line against Joey Janela.

Janela is a tough competitor who has defeated Nick Gage before in singles competition and is also a major face and iconic figure in GCW’s growth as it heads into the future.  Many spectators believe Janela has a strong chance of consolidating the championship belt form Gage, especially at a time in which many are wondering when the change will occur.  To date, Gage has held the GCW championship for over 500 days.

If Nick Gage does retain his championship title, then this will certainly be a well-deserved title shot for Mance Warner, who has become a breakout star this past year, winning the CZW Championship belt and becoming one of MLW’s latest talent recruits.  Furthermore, if Mance defeats Homicide at “The Block is Hot” a day prior to this show, he will be entering this match with a lot of steam and some extra intimidation to face Nick Gage with. After all, a win against a veteran of 30 years in this business, notorious Homicide, is no small feat.

Photo / GCW

Joey Janela vs Orange Cassidy

Similar to this card’s matchup between Gage and Mance, the conditions which surround this particular match could change depending on whether Joey Janela wins the GCW Championship from Nick Gage the day prior or not.  If Joey Janela becomes the new champion, then it is entirely possible that Orange Cassidy may find himself as the new number one contender as this show approaches. However, cards can always change and there is always the possibility of Cassidy and Mance trading places in their matchups or anything else that fits the vast landscape of one’s imagination.  As wrestling fans are well aware of, cards are always subject to change.

But assuming Cassidy versus Janela transpires, as is expected, whether or not it is for the title is irrelevant to the overall enigmatic aura that hovers over every match with Cassidy in it.  For those familiar with Cassidy, certainly, there is great difficulty in trying to predict what any of his matches may entail.

But certainly, many questions or possibilities may spring to mind. Will Janela allow Cassidy to get under his skin with his nonchalant demeanor? Or perhaps he may go straight for the chairs and weaponry, which are a hallmark of many of Janela’s matches.  And in doing so, will he show Cassidy what pain really feels like and make it impossible for him to maintain his effortless preferences and force Cassidy to defend himself from becoming a bloody pulp?

Too many questions can be posed in trying to predict such a matchup, and it is best to just wait and see what happens, as we will likely witness something or another which was completely off our radar.  

Photo / GCW

Alex Colon vs Jimmy Lloyd

Deathmatch wrestling fan favorite Jimmy Lloyd will be taking on Alex Colon, an exceptionally solid performer whose big ego and arrogant attitude is often a turnoff among fans, regardless of his solid skills.  Colon’s background is unique, as he has established himself in high agility luchadore matches, while also being a veteran in deathmatches and a former CZW Wired champion. 

Furthermore, Colon is not one of these solid high-agility competitors who wrestles in hardcore deathmatches only occasionally as sort of a guest or an experiment to see what transpires or how he handles the dilemma. Instead, Colon prefers deathmatch wrestling as much as he appreciates pure wrestling.  He is a very solid performer who easily could have established himself in the business even without choosing to perform in such violent matches.

Colon’s career achievements also reflect a man who has spent his time in both worlds,  holding the Rockstar Pro Wrestling Luchadore championship title, and having competed in both CZW’s Tournament of Death and Best of the Best tournaments.  

Jimmy Lloyd, on the other hand, is more exclusive to deathmatch wrestling, and one of the top wrestlers in the scene for only having a few years of wrestling under his belt.  Lloyd has a reputation for being particularly fast paced for a deathmatch wrestler. He won CZW’s Tournament of Death last year, which was certainly well deserved.

For a man with a slightly thicker physique, Lloyd has an impressive ability to keep up in fast-paced chain wrestling encounters with smaller sized wrestlers in general.  His fast flowing match with CZW cruiserweight Lucky 13, at H20 wrestling from last December, is proof enough that he can still impress fans in a pure wrestling matchup with lighter competitors, without any deathmatch elements.

Lloyd also incorporates some impressive martial arts kicks into his arsenal, particularly his spinning heel kicks.  His overall style appears to draw strong inspiration from Japanese strong styles.  These often include strong usage of “fighting spirit” elements by which he will overcome hard blows, only to turn the pain into energy to fuel frenzied retaliatory offensives.

It would be accurate to say that, specifically, Lloyd’s style is similar to the  Japanese variant of deathmatches often seen in BJPW. After all, it was Japanese deathmatch legend and BJPW veteran Masashi Takeda that Lloyd demanded a dream match with at Spring Break 3.  Expect these Lloyd and Colon to demonstrate what an ideal hybrid matchup looks like, with fast-paced pure wrestling and deathmatch mayhem.  

Photo / GCW

Marko Stunt vs Tony Deppen

Tony Deppen has slowly been gaining in name recognition over the last couple of years, taking some time for growth. Marko Stunt, on the other hand, broke out into the independent scene fast and furiously.  During Marko’s first match with GCW against KTB at Spring Break 2, he created much buzz on social media. He surprised the internet with his impressive arsenal of high flying and fast paced maneuvers. Marko proved himself capable of giving the large brute an unexpectedly difficult challenge.  

Marko’s heart and willpower to keep going surpassed initial expectations.  It was especially impressive given Marko’s small stature which makes most cruiserweights look like mid-weights in comparison.    Marko has been on fire since and has established himself as a fan favorite, with a lot of heart.

Deppen, on the other hand, knows how to get a crowd angered, as he often lacks basic sportsmanship in his demeanor and resonates a condescending and immature personality in and out of the ring.  Fans recognize his amazing athletic abilities and matches that are nothing short of jaw-dropping at times. However, Deppen’s childlike temper tantrums and whiny attitude are not taken well.

Furthermore, whether one respects or hates Deppen, in many ways he is one who has paid a lot of dues over the last few years to get where he is at.  Yet it is apparent that Deppen is still unsatisfied with where he stands thus far. He sees himself as underappreciated by the wrestling world and disrespected. 

One can imagine that Deppen likely feels some envy or resentment towards Marko Stunt, a competitor who has become a fan favorite and won strong recognition seemingly overnight, without having to spend years in the business establishing his name slowly and patiently.

On another hand, Deppen also shows a lot of willpower in presenting extremely difficult challenges to his opponents.  For example, just a week ago, at GCW Crime Wave, Joey Janela gave much credit to Deppen. He stated that their matchup was one of the most taxing in his career.  But often times one has to wonder if that extreme willpower within Deppen is really just a childlike stubbornness that is too proud and full of ego to accept a loss.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of this matchup is the chemistry in seeing two competitors square off against each other who both demonstrate absurd amounts of willpower in trying to overcome the odds set against them.  This collision of two determined competitors is likely to extend the match far beyond its expected breaking points.

However, clearly, their willpower is derived from different roots.  Seeing Marko’s highly determined heart contend with the willpower that is Deppen’s uncompromising ego should make for a match that extends itself to an all-out war between the two.   

Orin Veidt vs Eric Ryan

Orin Veidt, also known as “The Dark Prophet”, and current Midwest All-Star Wrestling champion, will be taking on Eric Ryan, “The Demonic Disciple.”   Veidt is the larger sized of the two, and a brawler at just over 200lb. Veidt describes himself as being able to incorporate some light Lucha into his style as well. Orin mostly utilizes power moves to win by pinfall, brawling his way to victory.  He is a fairly new wrestler with just four years of experience. Here he has the opportunity to further establish himself, especially if GCW continues to utilize him and foster his growth.

Eric Ryan is also a deathmatch wrestler with just over 10 years of wrestling experience and is a former CZW tag team champion and multiple time AIW tag team champion.  He’s built his career mostly wrestling for AIW out of Ohio.

Unlike many of GCW’s current deathmatch talent whose backgrounds were defined in CZW and IWA Mid-South prior, Veidt comes from lesser known deathmatch leagues such as ICW and is not fully fleshed out yet.  Ryan is well known in AIW and has wrestled for CZW in the past as a mid-carder. However, he still has not seen a rise in career prominence which he may be due for. GCW may just be his best opportunity.  Both these two have much to prove in this matchup and may utilize this opportunity as proving ground for themselves.

If anything, this is a great opportunity for GCW to bring in lesser known talent and fresh new recruits and let them demonstrate their capabilities.  It will allow GCW to shape and develop such talent on their own platform. This will help to establish the next generation of deathmatch wrestlers.  This provides ample room for growth and to shape the future of the scene.

This is the proper way a promotion such as GCW is maximizing creativity while building its own unique product.  As Veidt and Ryan clash at The Last Ones Left, do not count this match out. It could potentially be the dark horse of this card.

Markus Crane vs John Wayne Murdoch

Markus Crane is another GCW deathmatch wrestler of a particularly smaller stature, whose reputation is slowly brewing as he’s fleshed out his wrestling skills and developed his style over the last few years.  He has shown much improvement in comparison to his matches of earlier years. However, he has not completely broken out yet.  He caught a slight break into the scene when John Zandig recruited him into the 2016 Tournament of Survival. The evolution of his career appears to be gravitating towards the rank of a stellar mid-carder.

John Wayne Murdoch, are more well-known name, has built his tenure in IWA Mid-South’s deathmatch scene for some time.  However, he has not yet seen his prestige blossom fully in the GCW arena. He has had some major career highlights, however, having taken on Sabu a few years prior. 

More importantly, he is a former IWA Mid-South champion and even took on Davey Richards in a dream match in 2014.  If there are any doubts about how much guts Murdoch has, look no further than the Canadian Destroyer he executed off the roof of a barn in IWA Mid-South in December 2014.  

This opportunity may stand as a potential breakout match or golden opportunity for Markus Crane if he can score an upset victory over Murdoch, or at least demonstrate his aptitude for deathmatch wrestling in what may be some major proving ground here.  

photo / GCW

Jake Atlas vs Shane Mercer

Mexican-American wrestler, Jake Atlas, has been taking the west coast by storm these past couple years and has finally spread his name to the east coast, becoming one of the most sought after cruiserweights in independent wrestling today.  He is the first openly gay Southern California Rookie of the Year as of 2017.

He has climbed the ladder of success starting from below, having started his career wrestling in the dimly lit garage of the Santino Bros training academy in Southern California in front of merely tens of people.  Soon after, he found himself in PCW Ultra, where he captured the league’s light-weight championship in the Los Angeles area.

Just a few weeks prior, Atlas invaded DEFY Wrestling to take on their newest champion, Artemis Spencer, in the main event matchup in the Pacific Northwest.  It is a region where pro wrestling is experiencing a golden era in its own right. They are becoming a new frontier within indy wrestling and a major proving ground. 

Despite Atlas enduring the loss against Spencer, the match was so impressive that DEFY’s own booker, Matt Farmer, went to Twitter to describe it as a Defy championship matchup that was “On another LEVEL”, presumably raising the bar in comparison to previous championship matches there.  

Keep an eye on Atlas, because he may not stick around in the indies for too much longer, as larger leagues such as WWE, AEW and ROH may want him exclusively in the near future, for the right price.  He is just that damn good. For the time being, he will be taking on Shane Mercer in what will certainly be a unique treat.

“The Iron Demon” Shane Mercer is an absolute powerhouse, with a particularly strong physique and some incredible aerial abilities for a man of his strength and size.  This was definitely a match that needed to be booked at some point. Atlas and Mercer can bring out the best in each other. They can also offer some incredibly unique maneuvers that can offer fresh new creativity to contemporary wrestling.  

Mercer’s unique ability to mix power with aerial maneuverability will presumably provide ample room for Atlas to demonstrate his own ability in shaping the perimeters of physics in this ring, from both a defensive and offensive position.  

Mercer’s ability to throw wrestlers across the ring and toss them through the air in ways that fans have never witnessed will pose both a threat to Atlas, as well as ample opportunity for potential counter maneuvers for a man with such strong aerial maneuverability.  After all, Atlas is not just another fast-paced cruiserweight with a gymnastics background and a high quantity of aerial maneuvers.

Atlas is an athlete who has put much time into perfecting the cruiserweight craft by trying to do every established maneuver better than the rest (in addition to presenting plenty of his own creations).  For instance, there is nothing new about luchadores executing seamless springboard arm drags. Atlas makes sure he will do the same move that much better than the rest. He also springs off the ropes that much higher in the air in comparison. Watch any of his matches on Youtube if doubts persist.  

On the other hand, and in a similar token, Mercer is a powerhouse that will do much of the same moves as other strongmen, such as a belly to belly overhead suplex.  When Mercer does it, he makes sure he tosses his opponents that much further or higher into the air. After all, he has built his reputation upon making jaws drop. He throws competitors around as if they are weightless stuffed animals.  

Both Atlas and Mercer are wrestlers who take the established craft they have chosen and raise the status quo a couple of notches.  Despite different styles, the way they separate themselves from the rest of the pack. They also share many similarities in the way they have both carved out their reputation as unique.  On May 4, we may just witness one of the most innovative and creative matches in GCW history. 

More to come?

As always, expect there to be some unexpected surprises on the card, as GCW rarely announces all the matches that ensue.  Certainly, there is a good chance we can expect the common F***fest matchup with multiple competitors making surprise appearances, including up and coming stars.  

Furthermore, expect this GCW card to be particularly violent and bloody.  Though GCW is most often defined by its hardcore wrestling matches, even for its own standards it is apparent that this card is disproportionately stacked with an abundance of wrestlers known for their deathmatches.  

It does not guarantee that each and every one of them will decide to bring in deathmatch components, as many of them can stand their ground within the realm of pure wrestling.  But the odds are certainly probable that deathmatch components will be resorted to. This is their chosen preference as the norm, not the exception.

Micah Shapiro, a native of Seattle, a father, and a husband, holds a Master of Science degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, and is a war and history junkie with a fascination for the dramatization and narration of human conflicts (obviously, pro wrestling fits that spectrum very well). He avidly watches independent pro wrestling as an escape from the daily anxieties of life in general, and his logistics day job. Though a typical hermit, sometimes he'll actually leave his house to go to DEFY's shows. Besides pro wrestling and global conflicts, he enjoys BBQ'ing (his specialty is Turkish Aleppo-pepper chicken kabobs), playing adventure and RPG video games, board games, painting war game miniatures, and reading science fiction, horror and fantasy novels.