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GCW If I Die First: Big improvement over Fight Club 2

GCW presented their second event of a doubleheader this past weekend, hosting If I Die First from the Athletic Zone in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, February 5. This event follows up the Fight Club 2 event that took place the previous night in Houston, Texas.

Personally, I didn’t care for the Fight Club 2 event but I had middle of the road hopes going into this show because of the better card that had better performers scheduled to wrestle.

Did If I Die First live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

Dante Leon & Ninja Mack vs. Jordan Oliver & Nick Wayne

Great opening tag team bout here between four guys who could all be in the running to be a GCW World Champion one day. Oliver & Wayne are really starting to gel as a team and had some fantastic double-team maneuvers here.

The action never really came to a stop either, it was just a full-on nine minute sprint between four average to above average wrestlers that made for a lot of fun. Mack won the match for his team after pinning Wayne with a 630 Phoenix Splash.

Rating: 3.25/5

John Wayne Murdoch vs. ASF

Murdoch was purely on a mission to just beat somebody up here since his original opponent, Matthew Justice, couldn’t make it due to travel issues. Murdoch practically beat ASF with a chair for a good portion of the match before finishing him off with a brainbuster through a door. ASF got a few spurts of offense in, and was impressive in those spots.

Rating: 2.75/5

AJ Gray (c) vs. Allie Katch – GCW Extreme Championship

Everyone harps on Allie Katch for her wrestling ability, so I’d really like to see her in more spots like this. This wasn’t some fast paced work-rate classic, but rather a fight between two people who are just trading really stiff and brutal moves.

AJ Gray is a blast to watch and I’m super glad he made this show despite missing Fight Club 2 due to travel issues. Since Gray and Katch are friends, they took turns hitting each other’s finishers in the match.

This match also did a good job at not overstaying its welcome. Solid stuff from both people, with Gray picking up the win with a second rope powerslam.

Rating: 2.75/5

Mike Bailey vs. Jimmy Lloyd

If you saw my review of Fight Club 2, you know that I had a big issue with the timing of that show. Many of the matches were way too short and the matches that were long didn’t need to be long.

I felt that Mike Bailey vs. Jimmy Lloyd could have used a few more minutes. The match never hit that second gear that I know both of these guys could reach. Bailey won in about seven minutes with a shooting star knee drop.

I appreciate any time that I get to see Mike Bailey wrestle, but this match could have used a few more minutes.

Rating: 2.25/5

Psycho Clown vs. Gringo Loco – Falls Count Anywhere match

This was the match of the night AND the match of the weekend for GCW.

Gringo Loco was getting it handed to him before he introduced a chair into the match. I cringed at a spot where Loco nailed Psycho Clown with the chair when he was going for a topè. Psycho also had a weapon of choice, but he went with a door instead of the chair — so you can only imagine why Loco was busted open quickly.

There were multiple dives from the balcony involved, both of which looked absolutely sickening. Gringo was the one to introduce light tubes into the match in the later stages. He would go on to regret it after Psycho Clown hit a Spanish Fly on him through a table after he was busted over the head with a light tube.

This match ended up going 26 minutes, but it didn’t feel like it. Amazing stuff from all involved here. Probably the best match that the company has put on in 2022 thus far.

Rating: 4.25/5

Atticus Cogar vs. Alex Zayne vs. Dark Sheik vs. Deranged vs. Grim Reefer

This scramble felt like its only purpose was to continue the winning streak that Atticus Cogar is on in GCW right now, and I’m fine with that.

Cogar is a major bright spot for the future of GCW and I have no issue with him racking up wins. He’s currently 4–0 in non-battle royale matches this year and hasn’t lost since November 11 2021.

Cogar didn’t earn this win by any means though. He was immediately attacked by all of the other competitors to start the match and never got a chance to get back into the thick of things. Instead, he had a blunt ashed on his forehead courtesy of Grim Reefer.

Lots of high spots here, but it’s a GCW scramble match so I wouldn’t expect anything less. Zayne almost pinned Deranged after hitting the Taco Driver, but Cogar came in and stole the pin at the last second.

Rating: 2.75/5

Blake Christian vs. Laredo Kid

This was exactly what you’d expect it to be. Christian gave it his absolute all (like he always does) and held his own against Laredo Kid, one of the more established luchadors in the current landscape of professional wrestling.

Christian seemed to have an answer for everything that Laredo Kid threw at him and eventually pinned him with a rotating DDT in about nine minutes.

Rating: 3.25/5

Dr Wagner Jr. vs. Joey Janela

I’d like to take a second and applaud Janela’s progress over the past few months. He’s become a very well-rounded wrestler who does many things well at this point. It’s a far cry from when he originally started in AEW.

Things got bloody fast when the bout spilled to the outside of the ring. Janela set up Wagner at the merch table and ran across the arena only to run back and dive onto him.

Doors got involved, which both men ended up going through one way or another. Janela gave it everything he had but Wagner ended up winning in about 20 minutes after nailing The Bad Boy with a Wagner Driver on a chair.

After the match, Psycho Clown confronted Dr Wagner Jr. and challenged him to a Hair vs. Mask match.

Rating: 3/5

Final thoughts:

As previously mentioned, this show was MUCH better than Fight Club 2. Everything was timed out better, many matches were better and some storylines were furthered. This was a great event to build towards the next doubleheader weekend, which is coming up on February 19-20,  followed by another pair of shows the following weekend that will see X-Pac return to the ring for the first time since 2019.

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