The road to The Collective (Dallas) continued on this weekend, as GCW returned to the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California for a doubleheader affair, featuring shows on Friday and Saturday. Welcome To Heartbreak, which was Friday’s show, was the bigger show of the weekend as it featured the in-ring debut of wrestling legend, X-Pac.
The Briscoes defeated Jacob Fatu & Juicy Finau
What a car-crash-like match to start out here. The tag rules went out the window quickly, with all guys brawling on the outside. Mark Briscoe attempted a dive to the outside with a chair, but Juicy Finau stopped it mid-flight and pile drove him into the chair instead. Briscoe tried it again a few minutes later and succeeded, while also landing on sliding chairs in a cool fashion.
— RydeenBomb (@RydeenBomb) February 26, 2022
There was so much outside brawling in this match that the first few rows of fans didn’t bother to move their chair back after the first few minutes of the match. Despite this, everybody was still really into the match.
Starboy Charlie, who was in the crowd for the match, got involved at one point and dove onto Fatu & Finau. This would assist the Briscoes and ultimately help lead them to finish the match with a Froggy Bow elbow drop onto a Finau who was laying across a propped up door.
Match Rating: 2.5/5
Nick Wayne vs. Blake Christian
Blake Christian has been the most successful individual in GCW this year, as he’s undefeated and has wins over the likes of Jimmy Lloyd, Laredo Kid, Lio Rush and Bandido. Nick Wayne has kept his name in the headlines too though, as he recently signed a deal with AEW.
The match started out on the mat, with both guys exchanging wrist and headlocks. The intensity ramped up quickly and both guys started working at an insane pace, hitting multiple moves in rapid succession. Christian eventually was able to ‘outrun’ Wayne as the bout progressed on. Christian eventually went on to win with his swinging reverse DDT maneuver.
There was a point where the constant counters and false finishes got to be too much. If this match would have been say 3-5 minutes shorter, I would have enjoyed it more.
Match Rating: 2.75/5
Tony Deppen vs. Kevin Blackwood
Deppen was over-confident at first, but that would cost him quick as Blackwood came to the dance with his dancing shoes on. Deppen began to use heel tactics as the match went on, including sneezing in Blackwood’s face to gain an advantage on a turnbuckle encounter.
Blackwood would give Deppen everything he had, but it wasn’t enough as he eventually fell victim to a Cattle Mutilation submission. The match was good and didn’t overstay its welcome like the previous encounter on the card.
Match Rating: 3/5
Ninja Mack vs. Mike Bailey
This match started out with a sign of respect between both guys and normal chain wrestling. What followed afterwards was pretty wild and not expected from ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey.
The two eventually fought into the crowd, with Bailey drawing heat. Ninja Mack set up a door onto four chairs, but it was mysteriously left alone after being set up.
The structure came back into play when Bailey and Mack climbed a ladder onto a small structure atop the walls of the Ukrainian Cultural Center. The ledge was maybe a foot and a half wide. Bailey then delivered a Crane Kick that sent Mack crashing onto the structure on the floor, although he didn’t hit it all the way.
— xyz (@LouisFromTexas) February 26, 2022
Bailey then quickly put him away afterwards, even despite some resistance from Mack.
The match was centered around this big spot, which actually delivered.
Match Rating: 3.25/5
AJ Gray (c) vs. ACH – GCW Extreme Championship match
A couple days before this match, AJ Gray noted on Twitter that nobody brings out as good of a match in him as ACH does.
And I’d have to agree.
— Rob (@HeyyImRob) February 26, 2022
This match continued the pattern that’s been riding all night long, just solid match after solid match. You could tell that both guys were putting everything into this bout, especially by the way some of the strikes were landing. ACH seemingly had a chance to win the match at one point after delivering a superkick-brainbuster combo, but would instead attempt a risky top-rope maneuver that allowed Gray to regain his composure, hit a series of maneuvers and win the match.
Match Rating: 3/5
Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Homicide
This bout was fine, but I would have preferred a shorter match as this was the sixth match in a row to go over ten minutes. Although the style of this match was much different than the majority of the other stuff on this show, I would have preferred a ‘test’ match in this spot.
Chairs were a big thing here, both wooden and steel. Wagner was using them much more often than Homicide, and that would cost him as the finish saw Wagner throw him into the corner where a steel chair was positioned. Shortly after, Wagner finished ‘The Notorious 187’ with a powerslam.
Match Rating: 2.25/5
Second Gear Crew (Allie Katch, Dark Sheik, Gringo Loco & Matt Justice) vs. Team Reefer (Grim Reefer, Jack Cartwheel, Jimmy Lloyd & Jordan Oliver)
Jack Cartwheel was far away the star of this match. No other components of the match , aside from a blunt exchange with Matthew Justice and Grim Reefer, really interested me.
After riding a wave of momentum throughout the match, Cartwheel seemingly had the match in the bag after hitting a rolling Death Valley Driver on Dark Sheik. Unfortunately, Justice speared him through a door a few moments later. Gringo Loco eventually finished the match after powerbombing Cartwheel off the top rope.
Match Rating: 2/5
Chris Dickinson speaks
Chris Dickinson cut a promo seemingly confirming that he’ll be ready for his in-ring return by WrestleMania weekend. Dickinson said he had unfinished business in Bloodsport, before asking Josh Barnett to let him face Minoru Suzuki at the eighth edition of the MMA-crossover event.
Cardona interrupted the promo, which led to Dickinson challenging him to a match at Joey Janela’s Spring Break.
X-Pac and Joey Janela vs. The Major Players (Matt Cardona & Brian Meyers)
I wanted to complain about this match unnecessarily being twenty minutes long, but I can’t bring myself to do it because the encounter was very entertaining. It was a delight to see X-Pac back in action.
— 𝐃𝐫𝐚𝐕𝐞𝐧 (@WrestlingCovers) February 26, 2022
Pac actually saw action early in this match, instead of playing off the obvious hot tag scenario they could have gone with. After hitting a few suplexes, Pac was setting up for his signature Bronco Buster on Cardona but it was halted by Myers. The middle of the match saw Myers and Cardona work over the leg of Pac while Janela anxiously waited for the tag.
The last few minutes of the match showed the age of Pac, as he was clearly tired, but that was to be expected. Cardona and Myers set up a table for the ring, but Myers would end up going through it due to a Cardona mistake. Pac would go on to hit an X-Factor on Myers through a door, which scored his team the win.
Match Rating: 3.25/5
After the match, Janela super kicked Pac as he seemingly was retiring from in-ring competition again. The crowd covered the “Bad Boy” in trash as the show went off the air.
— Jordan Cassel (@jordanw_s) February 26, 2022
Welcome To Heartbreak turned out to be a show that I would consider GCW’s best show of 2022 thus far. There wasn’t a bad match on the card, everything was at least average, with multiple matches exceeding that mark. The Ninja Mack/Mike Bailey spot was one of the craziest things the company has done in recent months, and that’s saying something.
Janela making the turn in the main event was something I genuinely didn’t expect to happen. In today’s wrestling landscape, you can’t take surprises for granted and I’m really excited to see how the angle ends up playing out. With Janela’s history of facing legends at Spring Break,I’d presume we’re in line for a X-Pac vs. “Bad Boy” bout at the esteemed WrestleMania week event.