#Review: GCW “The Block is Hot”

GCW’s “The Block is Hot”, from Asbury Park, New Jersey, on May 3, 2019, was an incredibly solid showing with a lot of diversity which checked all the boxes: a strong grappling match between Deppen and Gresham, a sprinkle of blood and ultraviolence, an extremely hard hitting brawl between Chris Dickenson and Dan Maff which was perhaps the dark horse match of this card, and plenty of other stand-out matches.   

Emotions also reached a boiling point as Homicide and Corino continued to go after each other aggressively.  A main event championship matchup between Janela and Gage concluded the show on a high note, with a climactic finish that kept viewers glued in anxiety-induced intensity as the match simmered on and ended at the boiling point.  

MJF vs. Marko Stunt

MJF, as usual, berated the fans and told Marko Stunt that he is a nobody.  MJF poked fun of Marko’s background coming from a low-class, as perceived by MJF. He proceeded to call Marko a nobody and suggested that someone such as him probably likes to eat corndogs, further mocking him as this expectedly began to resemble a class-war.  MJF stated that he would buy him a corn dog if he could body slam MJF, clearly believing that Marko’s incredibly small stature would not make this a possibility.

Marko took the microphone and stated that if he can body slam MJF, he should buy all the fans corndogs, and MJF agreed.  The crowd chanted, “We want corndogs.” MJF clearly underestimated Stunt and wrestled at a slower pace than in his usual matchups, clearly taking on the style of a brawler as he wore Stunt down, and also appeared to enjoy deploying some submissions on him, such as a Boston crab.  

Multiple times, Stunt attempted a scoop slam to win his bet against MJF for corn dogs but failed to lift his body weight.  This was a clear psychological strategy by MJF to keep Marko fixated on a strategy he would not be able to pull off, and which MJF would be able to counter every time, or so he presumed.

Finally, MJF got Marko in a torture rack, but Marko countered out of it and quickly picked up MJF for the scoop slam, and successfully unleashed it, dropping MJF with a hard thud onto his back.  Though a scoop slam is not normally a move one wins a match with, MJF was clearly taken off guard by this, as Marko consolidated a surprise pinfall on MJF for the win.

MJF clearly looked shocked as the crowd went ballistic, chanting, “We want corndogs.” But MJF ran off humiliated before everyone could hold him to his word.  No one got any corn dogs, unfortunately, which is to be expected from a character such as MJF who often resembles a stereotypical scammer.
Winner: MJF

Orange Cassidy vs Lucky 13

The Block is Hot
Photo / GCW

As usual, Cassidy started the match in a nonchalant demeanor with his hands in his pockets.  His sunglasses fell off and Lucky put them back on him. Showing minimal effort, and for a man with his hands in his pockets, Cassidy did some impressive maneuvering to avoid Lucky’s quick offensives back and forth across the ropes.  

The crowd chanted “Holy sh**” as Cassidy’s glasses fell off again, and this time he was able to get them re-attached without using his hands.  Lucky decided to deal with Cassidy in the same manner, as both competitors traded slow motion chops to each other’s chest.

Cassidy hit an unimpressive slow motion Canadian destroyer, and the crowd humorously went berserk as Lucky immediately got to his feet and took off at full pace at Cassidy.  Lucky unleashed a springboard shooting star press to the outside. After some fast-paced counters, Cassidy blew orange juice in the face of Lucky then rolled him up and consolidated a surprise victory.
Winner: Orange Cassidy

Homicide vs Mance Warner

The match started with Homicide jumping Mance Warner early, getting a cheap shot in.  This match was a pure brawlfest as both men took the violence all over the inside of the venue.  Homicide threw a garbage can at Mance’s head and the two eventually took the fight to the stairwell.  Homicide unleashed a devastating piledriver to Mance on the stairs, his skull colliding with concrete.  Homicide also used his trademark fork on Mance, raking the inside of his mouth.

Back in the ring, Homicide and Mance took turns smashing each other’s head into a plastic ladder leaned in the corner turnbuckle, and threw chairs at each other’s face.  Homicide stabbed Mance in the forehead with his fork, drawing bloodshed, and then slashed it hard down Mance’s back and arms multiple times. He even began to stab the fork into Mance’s armpit.

Mance fought back and unleashed a full force Irish whip to Homicide, launching him horizontally through the air into the ladder as the plastic nearly snapped in half.  Following some more brawling, Homicide nearly underhooked Mance’s arms, but he reversed out of it and unleashed a chokeslam on Homicide. Both men slowly made their way to their feet and began trading blows.  Mance hit an elbow off the second rope, but when he attempted it a second time, Homicide jumped up and took him down to the canvas with a bulldog.

Homicide began beating Mance with a microphone and a wooden door.  Suddenly, Colby Corino came running out and interfered in the matchup, beating Homicide with his fist.  Homicide quickly gained back his composure and consolidated control of Colby. But Colby unleashed a tornado DDT to Homicide.  As Homicide got up, Mance speared him through the door by surprise, followed by a running knee to his face, gaining the final pinfall.

Colby was still angered and attempted to beat Homicide with a chair, but the referee stopped him.  Homicide lashed out with insults about Colby’s mother, and Colby ran back out and unleashed a codebreaker on him in response.
Winner: Mance Warner

Scramble Match: Grim Reefer vs. Teddy Hart vs. Facade vs. Pinkie Sanchez vs. KTB vs. Joe Gacy

As usual, this was a fast-paced matchup with high flying action and some powerful 1-on-2 maneuvers by KTB.  As the match got underway, KTB got the crowd behind him unleashing a double spear to Reefer and Sanchez. Facade set up a chair and used it to jump to the top rope and hit a springboard 450 splash to the outside onto everyone.  

Teddy Hart quickly followed up with a sky-high springboard moonsault onto everyone right as they climbed to their feet.  It was every man for themself at this point as they unleashed various signature moves on each other, rotating through the competitors as each wrestled in momentary singles competition in the ring.  

Finally, as the competitors were outside the ring dazed, KTB reversed a suplex off the second turnbuckle, turning it into a death valley driver all the way across the ring through a door that was leaning on the ropes all the way on the opposite side.  Only a man of KTB’s size and strength could likely toss a person that far. KTB scored the pinfall with that incredibly impressive finish.

Ted Hart got on the microphone and thanked the fans for making GCW and independent wrestling, in general, the success that it is, and allowing the wrestlers to make a living doing what they love.  He also mentioned it was Stu Hart’s birthday.
Winner: KTB  

Jonathan Gresham vs. Tony Deppen

Deppen expectedly kicked away Gresham’s attempt at a handshake to start the match, fitting of his usual character.  The two locked up and the match started with a lot of grappling. But Deppen tried to change the pace with a couple of attempts at a spinning heel kick which Gresham ducked, returning the match to grappling, the methodology Gresham knows best.  

Deppen locked Gresham in a headlock which he struggled to get out of, and the match soon turned into some back and forth shoulder to shoulder takedowns off the ropes.  But not before Deppen took a moment to blow his nose all over Greshem midway. Gresham faked Deppen out a couple of times appearing to go for some jumps which Deppen attempted to dodge.  Then, the third time Deppen presumed another fake-out was in order, but Gresham meant business this time and nailed him with a solid dropkick, winding him.

Gresham was about to hit a maneuver off the second rope, but Deppen pulled the referee in front of him to use him as a shield and Gresham paused.  Deppen took advantage of the moment and pushed Gresham hard off the ropes to the outside of the ring. Deppen, standing on the ring apron, nailed Gresham with a hard kick.  Deppen worked on Gresham for a while, deploying various kicks and boots to the chest.

Gresham faked Deppen out again, appearing to go for a punch to the head.  As Deppen attempted to block it, Greshem quickly changed course and went for his legs, pummeling him to the ground and returning the match to a game of grappling.  Deppen was not going to allow Gresham to play his game, and clobbered Gresham hard in the face and began working him down with more kicking and choking.

Gresham took back his offensive position when Deppen was pummeled into the corner in a sitting position, which allowed Gresham to smash his face in, running and connecting both feet into his noggin.  Deppen’s head wobbled around upon impact, appearing to suffer whiplash.

After trading a few kicks between each other, Gresham locked Deppen into a Figure 4 Leglock.  After Deppen reached the ropes, both wrestlers traded punches and kicks. Deppen’s ankle was clearly in pain and he was having balance issues after Gresham worked on it a bit.

Deppen scored a kick on Greshem’s head as his face was pulled down between his legs while standing on the second rope.  Deppen followed by tossing Gresham off the second rope with a running powerbomb. Deppen went for a double foot stomp off the top rope, but Greshem moved.  

Deppen was still able to land on his feet and jump over Gresham’s quick attempt to kick his knee in.  In the same seamless maneuver, as Deppen came down from the jump, he stomped his feet down on Gresham’s chest.  It was a very impressive and quick thinking maneuver. Deppen followed up with a stiff knee to Gresham’s jaw, but the pinfall was averted with a foot on the ropes.

Deppen pulled his knee pad off and attempted to bash his jaw in again, but Gresham avoided it and nearly scooped Deppen up for a surprise pin.  As the two struggled to their feet, they began brawling, trading punches to the face in an all-out frenzy.

Gresham disrupted the brawl with a surprise kick to the back of his head, then attempted a German suplex which transcended into a series of belly to back reversals between the two.  But Gresham took the upper hand connecting with a springboard moonsault off the second rope, followed by an inverted figure four leglock.

After breaking out of the leglock just barely, both wrestlers traded blows to each other’s legs, followed by chops to the chest.  While trading multiple types of pin attempts and cradles on each other at an incredibly fast pace, one after another, Deppen surprised Gresham with a quick knee strike to the face which knocked him out.  Deppen scored the pinfall and obtained an upset win over Gresham.

While it was an average length matchup that did not stretch itself out, the pace was incredibly fast and it never seemed as if any particular wrestler had an advantaged position, at least not for more than a few short moments.  There was little to no mid-match slowdown and even near the end, it maintained blazing speeds.

It was very much a match that was in a constant state of fluctuation between both wrestlers trading offensive and defensive positions.  If anything, the match was an impressive demonstration of two wrestlers demonstrating their cardio abilities. A lot of wrestlers would have been completely winded in trying to maintain this pace throughout the entirety of the match.
Winner: Tony Deppen

Shlak vs G-Raver – Qualifying Match for Tournament of Survival 2019

This was a classic GCW deathmatch, with barbed wire wound around two sides of the ring ropes, a couple of barbed wire boards in one corner, a trash can with some weapons in the other, and what looked like a board in the other corner with spiked truss plates on it.

These two competitors wasted no time to cut to the chase as the bell rang, as Shlak instantaneously charged G-Raver and attempted a spear, as he happened to be standing near the corner.  Raver hopped over Shlak as he charged face first into the board with the truss plates on it. Raver immediately grabbed a bag of thumbtacks and poured them on a hardwood board. Shlak quickly regained his train of thought and stomped Raver’s hand into the tacks.

But Raver fought back, pummeling Shlak.  While Shlak was regaining his stamina, he was on hands and knees, his face hovering just above the thumbtacks.  Raver executed a double foot stomp off the top turnbuckle smashing his face and skull into the tacks.

Raver stood a chair in the middle of the ring and jumped off it -Sabu style- and springboarded off the second rope with a back heel kick to Shlak.  But it did not wear down Shlak, as the beast climbed right back up and powerbombed Raver through the metal chair.

Shlak then smashed the side of Raver’s head into the thumbtacks, and many could be seen deeply embedded in the side of his scalp after.  The tacks would remain embedded in him throughout the rest of the match.

Shlak beat Raver a couple of times on the head and back with a crutch wrapped in barbed wire, bending the aluminum metal.  Shlak then proceeded to smack him on the side of the head with a trash can lid, pushing the thumbtacks in deeper, presumably.  

Shlak continued to draw bloodshed out of Raver’s head by raking it with the barbed wire on the ropes.  Shlak was clearly dominating, until he went to the top rope and Raver pushed him, propping him upside down with his foot caught in the turnbuckle.

Raver leaned a board of razors against Shlak’s upside down torso and face, then jumped off a chair and thrusted both his feet into a downward kick which smashed into the wood, shoving the razor’s into Shlak’s soft flesh.    

Raver sat him up on the top turnbuckle.  He then set up a sickening contraption comprising a trash can upside down in the middle of the ring, with a folded metal chair on top of it, and thumbtacks added on top of the chair.  Raver then attempted a hurricanrana off the turnbuckle, but Shlak countered it and powerbombed him through that tower of metal, bending the top of the trash can as it buckled lopsidedly.    

Shlak used this opportunity and went on an offensive, brawling, deploying power moves and stretching Raver’s arms, attempting to make him submit.  Shlak put a plastic grocery bag over Raver’s head, then picked him up on his shoulders similar to an Argentine backbreaker, but dropped him on the back of his head through the trash can.  It looked to be something resembling a cross between a reverse death valley driver and a neck breaker.

Following a slapping duel, Raver german suplexed Shlak through three chairs, the back of his head appearing to smack the vertical chair rest hard.  It is hard to tell whether his head or neck was throbbing more following that devastating maneuver. Both the impact of his rear skull smacking metal and his neck seemingly bending at ninety degree both looked dreadfully painful.  The chairs did not give, to make matters worse.

Raver capitalized on Shlak as he was still dazed, and hammered a hand full of tattoo needles into his forehead, which would remain embedded there until the end of the match.  Raver followed with a series of gruesome maneuvers that would hammer the needles into his head harder and bend them further. This included as a springboard tornado DDT and some gruesome head shots with the chair.  

Raver setup a makeshift table using a door and two chairs, then layed Shlak across it and sandwiched him with a barbed wire door placed on top of him.  Of course, the barbed wire was facing downwards, digging into the entirety of Shlak’s body. Raver went to the top turnbuckle and delivered a senton, snapping both doors and crushing Shlak as the barbed wire was pressed into him with Raver’s full body weight.

Shlak immediately stood to his feet in pain, his torso visibly smeared with blood oozing out of his wounds.  The pain put Shlak in a frenzy; fight or flight had kicked in immediately, following the pain triggered by being impaled from barbed wire, and Shlak chose to fight.

As the beast rampaged at full pace, adrenaline pumping through his veins, Raver was able to maintain clear thinking and avoid his offensives multiple times.  Raver responded by throwing a chair straight into Shlak’s head, followed by a superkick to the jaw which dropped the giant and shut off his frenzy. Raver immediately scored the pinfall and will enter this year’s Tournament of Survival.
Winner: G-Raver

Chris Dickinson vs Dan Maff

This match was the dark horse match of the night, with some unbelievably stiff wrestling that resembled more of a shoot during some segments.  Some of it could be difficult to watch for some people. The match started with Dickenson delivering a saito suplex to Maff. Moments later the roughly 300lb Maff delivered a high-risk suicide dive through the second rope onto Dickinson as the match got off to a lightning start.

The two aggressively brawled on the outside of the ring for a while.  Then, they took turns unleashing hell on each other in the ring. Dickinson came off the ropes and delivered a hard boot that spun Maff around, allowing Dickenson to score an earth shattering german suplex.  

Dickinson brought a steel chair into the ring and smashed the top of Maff’s skull so hard that the steel bent.  Normally one observes cookie sheets or trash can lids bending similarly to this, but not thick steel chairs. Maff looked knocked out for what seemed to be a couple minutes, and throughout the entirety of the match he appeared dazed.  One of the GCW announcers described it as the hardest chair shot he has seen in some years.

While Maff was out cold, Dickenson looked angry and left the ring to go backstage for some reason.  Dickinson then returned to the ring some moments later and took a door out from under the ring and began beating Maff with it before setting it up in the corner.

While Dickinson had left, the referee or someone took the chair away.  Dickinson got angry and insulted the referee, shouting at him to bring the chair back.  Dickinson then shouted to Maff, “You want a fight?” He then smashed the other side of the chair onto his head again, bending it back the other way.  He turned the chair around again, and bashed it into Maff’s skull a third time, which put Maff in an angered frenzy.

Maff fought back with punches, and as Dickinson raised the chair to attempt a fourth shot, Maff speared him backwards into the ropes and began choking him.  Following some chops between the two, Maff dropped Dickinson on the back of his head twice with half nelson suplexes. Maff went to work on Dickenson for a while.

Maff attempted to suplex Dickinson off the second turnbuckle rope, but Dickenson sunset flipped over him and delivered a running powerbomb on Maff across the ring to the opposite end towards the door in the corner.  Dickenson released him early, sending him sailing through the air and into the door. The door bursted exactly as one would imagine when approximately 300lbs gets tossed hard through it. Rather than a crunch, it sounded more like a thick pop.

Maff kicked out, and as the camera got a close look at his face, welts and blood could be seen on various areas of his scalp from the earlier chair shots.  Moments later, Maff back hand slapped Dickenson across the cheeks as the sound rang across the venue. It was perhaps one of the hardest slaps to ever transpire in pro wrestling.  By its appearance, it is possible Maff meant for it to be a chest slap, but was so uncoordinated and unbalanced that his aim was off, striking Dickinson too high.

Dickenson immediately shot back with a set of multiple slaps to Maff’s cheeks, as the sound rang across the arena signifying just how stiff they were.  The two began brawling for some time. Out of nowhere, it looked as if Maff botched a back body drop as Dickenson tumbled crookedly through the air and landed on his head, after springing off the ropes at Maff.  Dickenson got up and piledrove Maff’s head into the mat.

The two brawled some more, wearing each other down.  Dickinson went to the outside and started throwing chairs in the ring then signalled for the fans to throw in more chairs.  In the end, there appeared to be twenty to twenty five chairs in the ring, approximately. Some of them were folded and some opened, with the steel legs and plastic components sticking upwards at randomly slanted angles.  

Maff delivered a fireman’s carry to Dickinson onto the chairs.  Dickinson responded back to Maff with a Canadian driver. Dickinson attempted another chair shot, but Maff ducked it and delivered a burning hammer onto the chairs, scoring the pinfall on Dickinson.  

As Dickinson was laying on the ground, Maff patted Dickinson’s head and hugged him, as if to make good for the bitterness and beef between them in this match which became very heated. Both of them embraced each other in a hug. Even after it was all set and done, Maff appeared as if he was still in pain, his head likely ringing from those steel chair shots at the start of the match. This will be a match to be remembered for a long time.

Jimmy Lloyd vs Colby Corino

Colby attempted to shake Lloyd’s hand, but Lloyd refused and insulted him.  Colby slapped him in return, and the two brawled, trading blows. Following some impressive kicks between the two, Colby scored a half nelson suplex on Lloyd, followed by a dive to the outside.

After some brawling, Lloyd clobbered Lloyd multiple times in the forehead with a chain wrapped around his fist, busting him open.  Moments later, Lloyd missed a spear and went head first through a chair between the corner ropes. Both competitors went into a Japanese fighting spirit style frenzy in which they both traded flip over DDT’s springing off the ropes, and getting right back up.

After some dueling with chairs and further brawling, Colby grabbed a stapler from Lloyd’s hand and stapled him in the head. Colby proceeded to staple a dollar bill to his forehead, just to show the audience these staples meant business.

As Lloyd attempted to fight back with the chain, Colby was able to wind the chains around Lloyd’s neck and pulled him off the ring apron, flipping him onto the four chairs sitting side by side.  The chairs flew in all directions, as if exploding upon the impact of Lloyd’s weight.

Colby began whipping Lloyd hard with the chain, followed by throwing multiple chairs at his head.  Back in the ring, Colby delivered a death valley driver to Lloyd through a chair. He then brought a door in the ring and set it up so it was sitting horizontally on top of the bottom ropes in the corner.  

Moments later, Colby stomped him through the door with both feet as Lloyd was hanging upside down in the turnbuckle, with his foot caught in the ropes.  The door completely snapped in half.

Suddenly, Homicide’s music started playing, the sounds of sirens ringing throughout the venue.  Colby became distracted. It turned out to be some sort of mind game, as Homicide did not come out at this moment.  Colby built a makeshift table in front of the corner turnbuckle with a door and two chairs. But Lloyd gained control and tombstoned him off the second turnbuckle through the door.  

Lloyd picked up the pinfall for the win, and Colby lay there, unable to move.  It appeared that Colby was talking to the referee and complaining about pain in his neck, clearly the aftermath of the devastating tombstone.  

Lloyd left the scene, and Homicide came out, walking slowly towards the ring. Colby was still lying there, completely vulnerable and unable to escape.  The referee tried to stop Homicide from coming near Colby, as he was suffering a potentially injured neck. But Homicide knocked the referee out with a cutter.  

Homicide pulled out a sharp knife and grabbed Colby by the hair getting ready to attack him.  But GCW staff and another referee suddenly bursted into the ring to stop him. They were clearly afraid of Homicide, given that he had a knife in his hand, and were trying to talk him out of doing anything violent, while also hesitating to fully restrain Homicide.

They were finally able to remove the knife from Homicide’s hand.  However, Homicide he was still able to get a cutter on Colby and gave him a hard whipping with the chain before departing. Colby was helped to the back by one of the referees, as he was having trouble standing due to a potentially damaged or strained neck.
Winner: Jimmy Lloyd

Joey Janela vs Nick Gage – GCW Championship

Joey Janela and Nick Gage locked up multiple times and started with some basic grappling.  The crowd was split between the two, both being fan favorites. The first third of the match resembled a normal wrestling match, with both competitors trading blows, countering moves, and trading shoulder to shoulder takedowns through a show of force between them.  

Janela climbed to the top turnbuckle to do a crossbody to the outside, but it seems he considered the risk and hesitated, since that was the move that broke his leg last year and put him out for months.  Gage capitalized on his hesitation and pulled him down.

Gage went to work on Janela for a while, but Janela was able to pull Gage off the turnbuckle.  Janela followed with a skull shattering emerald fusion on the ring apron, the thick thudding sound reverberating across the arena as the back of Gage’s skull bounced.  The crowd moaned at the sight and sound of such agony.

This time, Janela went to the top rope and nailed the crossbody dive off the top to the outside, without hesitation, colliding with Gage with full force.  Moments later, Janela and Gage traded saito suplexes, but Janela put Gage out as he quickly shot back with a clothesline.

Janela worked on Gage with a number of forearms off the ropes, becoming frenzied.  But his offensive was interrupted when Gage caught his spinning forearm and turned it into a spinebuster.  Gage proceeded to beat down on Janela using his usual sets of moves, then brought in the pizza cutter. Janela stole the cutter from Gage and sliced his forehead open, leaking plenty of blood.  

Gage scored a DDT on janela moments later, and Dewey Donovan, Gage’s manager, threw chairs and a door in the ring.  Gage setup a makeshift table in the middle of the ring, but Janela delivered a roaring forearm that sprawled Gage across it.  Janela crushed Gage with a sky high frog splash off the turnbuckle through the door.

Gage recovered and attempted to smash Janela’s head with part of the door, but accidentally clobbered the referee who was checking on Janela.  Janela knocked Gage out with a superkick, but there was no referee to make the count.

Janela setup six open chairs beside each other.  As the two were standing on top of the chairs, Janela drove Gage’s head through them with a package piledriver.  But, again, there was no referee to make the count, as Gage was out cold.

Finally, another referee came in the ring to make the count, but he was too late and Gage kicked out.  Janela attempted to go for another superkick, but Gage caught his foot and gave him a piledriver not once, but twice, followed with his chokebreaker.  Somehow, Janela was able to kick out.

As Gage picked Janela up, he surprisingly caught Gage in a Boston crab out of nowhere.  Gage reached the ropes, and Janela obtained another door from underneath the ring, setting a makeshift table up in front of the turnbuckle.  The crowd was taking turns chanting both competitor’s names, clearly split in favoritism.

As Janela was on the top turnbuckle, Gage caught him off guard and delivered a piledriver through the door off the second rope.  Then he immediately put Janela in a crossface and made him tap, retaining his GCW Championship title.

The show ended with Gage giving one of his usual closing speeches, stating that he will take on anybody, anytime, and anywhere.  He proceeded to thank his fans, who always get him fired up, while Janela sat in the corner, catching his breath with a look of disappointment on his face.
Winner: Nick Gage

To read our past preview of GCW’s The Block Is Hot click here.

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.