Wrestling Review //
Garden State Pro Wrestling
February 3rd, 2023
@ Knights Of Columbus Ridgefield Park NJ


Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

The only concern I had going into this show prior to buying tickets was whether or not we could make it out of Connecticut in time, but I kept checking and it kept saying it would only take us two hours, so I felt confident enough to buy the tickets and go.   We ended up getting to the venue a little bit before 6pm (we made good time!) and had a new concern.   This winter has been fairly mild, but on this particular Friday and Saturday, temperatures were dropping below zero.  It was the coldest day of the year.

When we drove by, no one was waiting outside so I took that as a good sign that people were being let in.   We parked, walked to the building and opened the door to go in.   As it turns out, we were the first fans there but also were told we could wait inside until doors were open.  I'm really thankful for the staff of Garden State Pro because I know others wouldn't have even unlocked the door and just left fans out there to freeze.   

We didn't hit traffic, Quentin got free Dunkin along the way and we didn't have to stand outside in subzero temperatures so everything about this show was looking up even before we got through the doors.  I will say, when the match between AVD-Bird Law was announced was when I bought tickets.   But the match between Sumie Sakai and Janai Kai was announced on my birthday and I was really excited for that as well.  GSPW just seems to know how to deliver.

There were two pre-show matches this time, as opposed to the one last time.   A tag team match had Pat Fitzpatrick on one team and he was on the last pre-show so I guess someone likes him.   He is also in a tag team with Dr. Cool, who was not there, so maybe they can try that tag team next time.  The pre-show also featured a singles match with Kamen MK, who was somehow playing the heel I think, but I was excited to see him.  The wrestler he faced came out to the UB40 song "Red Red Wine" but was most certainly not drinking red wine.

"V" officially opened with Myron Reed taking on Nikeem Avent, which was a teacher-student situation.   Myron Reed is literally one of the best wrestlers in the world today and I just don't feel like we talk about him enough.  From his stay in MLW to his appearances this year in Wrestling Revolver, Myron Reed is just someone I feel like we should be hearing more about than we do.   And with that being said, Nikeem Avent held his own and did really well in this match, so there's another name to put on your list of wrestlers to look out for if you haven't heard of him yet.

The second match was a dream match for many people, myself included, and Sumie Sakai played the heel against Janai Kai.   This match was a lot of fun and the crowd was behind both wrestlers.  One of the things that I really like about GSPW that I don't think about a lot is how the style of the matches can change from match to match and this was an example of that.   Janai Kai got a huge win here and I couldn't be happier seeing Sumie Sakai wrestle live for only the second time in my life.

Austin Luke took on Davey Richards in the third match and the style of matches just continued to change.  This was a hard-hitting match with a lot of kicks thrown and I don't think anyone expected anything less.   Austin Luke held his own for quite some time, but Davey Richards has been doing this for a while and is considered by many to be among the best in the world as well.  Just knowing he could hang like that with Davey Richards feels like a win for Austin Luke, who I feel has a bright future ahead of him.

AVD vs Bird Law was a really fun match because I love all four people involved in it.  This was the type of tag team match I like too because seeing Speedball vs Masha or Speedball vs AKIRA or Veda vs Masha or Veda vs AKIRA are all really good and I think breaking this tag team match down into future singles matches would be good, but the tag team match itself seemed to really help with that.

Speedball Mike Bailey is somehow who had one of his best years last year and I only saw him wrestle live once.  (That changes this year!)  AKIRA is always having a great year and it seems as if the future Impact KO Champion Masha Slamovich is as well.   Veda Scott is amazing on commentary but often seems to be overlooked in a wrestling sense (I'd like to see them do both at shows) but if Bird Law can remind people of that, then for sure bring on more Bird Law matches!  You can tell the quality of this match because of the wrestlers involved.

We went to intermission after this match and I'm going to take this chance to say that the ring announcer kind of annoyed me.   Before the AVD-Bird Law match, there was something said to the effect of "We're going to take a brief intermission, just for a little bit... but, we're going to also do that after one more match!"   The way I see this as a fan is that your concern shouldn't be what's yet to come but rather what's right in front of you.  Announcing and taking back intermission feels like it's taking away from the match that still has yet to happen.

Normally, I'd thnk this was just a mistake and let it slide but then as the second half of the show came it happened again.   Robert Martyr said he was going to challenge Alan Angels for the title, the ring announcer got all excited about that match, hyped it up as being next and then quickly changed the tune to "Oh, but we do have one more match before that main event"  And that just lets the air out of the sails.  

It also, in some ways, is like saying "We just have to get through this one match, then you can have that great match I just hyped up"  It's almost insulting to the match that is being glanced over.  I've been to a lot of shows, seen a lot of ring announcers and am not sure if that was just this one's particular style or just two errors but either way being more direct is how I prefer my ring announcers to be.

Intermission was really fun because while I was trying to figure out who had their merch set up and all, I saw Sumie Sakai come out and went up to her wondering where she'd set up.  She wondered too, so I suggested the ring since the tables were full and we headed over there.  The only other time we saw Sumie Sakai wrestle live she didn't come out to sell merch or anything, so this was one of those moments I'm going to really remember forever.

A line had formed behind us to meet Sumie Sakai- which was great- and we headed over to see Bird Law.  It had been almost a year since I'd seen Mike Bailey last, so I wanted to know what kind of new merch he might have.  I also asked both members of Bird Law what the name meant because Jess wanted to know and I was left with more questions than answers.  I'm still not sure I 100% understand and that's okay.

A funny side note to all of this is that I was wearing my blue Mike Bailey shirt with the monkey on it.  Sumie Sakai right away recognized it as Speedball.  She then looked at Quentin's Mario Kart shirt and said that was her favorite and was talking with Quentin about Mario Kart.  I also bought a Mike Bailey shirt that's the same Brass Monkey logo just on a tye dyed shirt instead of just blue.   So I would say intermission was a success.

After intermission we came back with a Billie Starkz Open Challenge.  Billie Starkz was one of the first names announced for this show, but she was never given an opponent.   The music hit and Ruthless La La answered the challenge.  La La has been absolutely dominant so this was an interesting matchup because Billie Starkz has also been on a roll.   This match was hard hitting with both wrestlers just giving it their all.

In the end, Billie Starkz won via count out, but it wasn't really a tainted loss.  Billie Starkz flew out of the ring onto Ruthless La La, which then prevented La La from being able to get back into the ring.  Had a similar situation happened inside of the ring, it would've likely been a three count since this was a ten count, so I'm not even mad about the count out victory.

One of the fun things about being a wrestling fan is never knowing what other wrestling fans think of certain wrestlers.   Sure, I know how the GRIND crowd will react to Anthony Henry, but since I've never seen him wrestle in NJ before I wasn't sure how they would feel about him.  Maybe he's a heel here, who knows.  But he got a nice reception and the fans did seem to be behind both him and Kzy, as this was just a dream match on many levels.

I used to watch a lot of Dragon Gate back in the early 2000's- back when Apollo Crews was there and I remember wrestlers like BxB Hulk.   I should try and get back into it, to see if there's a way to watch it now because Kzy is really good and also one half of their tag team champions.   This match also made me want to see Natural Vibes vs Work Horsemen and if it already exists out there I will find it and watch it.

There is just something about watching Anthony Henry wrestle that I can't put my finger on.   He's so methodical- everything he does has such a great purpose and there is no wasted movement from him.   And it is difficult for me, seeing him live for the first time this year, to imagine anyone else as being the best in the world right now.

The other half of Natural Vibes, BIG BOSS Shimizu, was up next against Robert Martyr, who has just been crushing it in GSPW and pretty much everywhere he goes.   I really enjoyed this match and afterwards Martyr cut a promo about how GSPW was the first place to really take a chance on him like this and I'll agree.  You may seen Robert Martyr before, but I truly do feel like GSPW is bringing out the best in him.   

Yoya is over in a big way in NJ and this felt like Ryan Mooney's GSPW debut but I'm not sure.  This is like the Anthony Henry thing where I don't know how other fans feel about wrestlers outside of where I usually see them.  The fans of GSPW may not have seen that Mooney match in GRIND and so it feels like we're in the multiverse.   

But Ryan Mooney did what he does best and wrestled the hell out of Yoya.   This was a really fun match because both wrestlers have that speed but also those strikes.  Whenever I go back in time and try and think of who is such a speedy striker my mind usually takes me to Tajiri and this match almost did feel like a classic ECW matchup with Tajiri vs Super Crazy.

The main event saw Alan Angels defend the GSPW Openweight Championship against Marcus Mathers.   There was this one moment in the match where it looked as if Marcus Mathers had won and was the new Champion.  The place just erupted.   Even though it got overturned, the fans are ready for Marcus Mathers to be Champion.  I don't think it's as much as the fact that the majority of that crowd hates Alan Angels, but also because the crowd loves Marcus Mathers that much.   My prediction is before the end of 2023 Marcus Mathers will be wearing gold.

When the show was over, Natural Vibes came out so Quentin got a picture with them.  I really appreciate how GSPW has certain wrestlers come out during intermission and others after the show.  If everyone was just out all at the end, it might not be as easy to see everyone you want to see, but this system just seems to work so well.   And so far every GSPW show that we've gone to hoping to meet a wrestler there we have yet to not meet someone we wanted.

This was the fifth overall show of GSPW.  It took us about two hours to get there, but it's closer to an hour and a half drive home.   The first three GSPW shows were further away into NJ. but as long as they keep coming back to the MECCA, I will continue to drive and see them because they just have these matches where every match feels like a main event.  It's so hard to choose what my favorite match was because I just enjoyed them all so much.

Not many promotions will present you with a card that makes you want to drive this far to see it and they only have a handful of matches announced.   And then, on top of that, they go and announce a Sumie Sakai match three days before the show when I already have tickets.   My advice for fans wanting to buy GSPW tickets is to get them as soon as they go on sale because the closer it gets to the show date the bigger names and matches start coming out as well.


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