Updated: Dec 28, 2020
I assume most people now are familiar with “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela in AEW. Joey Janela is one of my favorite wrestlers out there right now and it’s partially because he puts on great matches and knows how to work a crowd.
This man has a mind for the business as evidenced by his success with booking for GCW and almost everything he does. Joey has booked several shows for GCW over the past couple years including “Joey Janela’s Lost in New York,” “Joey Janela’s Escape from LA,” and the most prominent “Spring Break.” For those uninitiated, Spring Break is one of the biggest independent shows of the year on the Friday night of Mania weekend booked by Joey Janela.
To put it into perspective, this show sold out in about 3 minutes and GA tickets were about $100 after fees.
This show probably needs to be experienced live to properly enjoy it but I will do my best as it was maybe my favorite show I have ever been to with all the off the wall angles mixed in with banger dream matches; there was never a dull moment.
The first match of the night was Joey Janela vs Marko Stunt. These 2 absolutely tore the house down in this opening bout. This featured both men coming back from injury to wrestle in the opening contest here. These 2 were even crowd surfing at one point with Joey chopping Marko while being held up by the crowd. I have to give a nod to Joey here too as he let the young up and comer get the win. At this point Joey was signed to AEW however Marko Stunt was not yet so it was great to see the vet going out let the younger guy get the pin on his way out especially on his own show.
Now here is where the show really started going off the rails.
After the opening contest, Tony Deppen came to the ring for an open challenge. If you aren’t super familiar with Tony Deppen, he is a perfect wily heel. The man oozes heat. So Tony Deppen comes down to the ring and is talking about his open challenge and how he would take on any of us out of shape fans, really working the crowd, until he lands on his opponent. Tony Deppen then proceeds to go out to the crowd and pick up a man with 2 amputated legs out of his wheel chair and carry him to the ring for the match. NUCLEAR HEAT is now coming from the crowd. Now I don’t think anyone saw what happened next coming, the man the crowd dubbed “No Legs,” his real name is Dustin Thomas, came out fighting and we were 100% behind him, and when “No Legs” hit a toe hold into a 6-1-9 the crowd collectively let out a massive pop. At the end of the day, Tony Deppen came out the winner but Dustin Thomas had won the crowd.
Next came what every good indie show needs: a 6 way scramble match but with the Joey Janela flair. This match was Jungle Boy v A-Kid v Jake Atlas v Australian Suicide v Slim J v Shane Mercer. This is already a star studded match on the indies, especially looking back on the fact Jake Atlas is now on 205 Live and Jungle Boy is on AEW every week. This match also tore the house down in a pretty traditional way with everybody getting in their spots. Anyone familiar with the indies understands these matches are very fast paced and showcase the strongest aspects of the performers. Jungle Boy came out on top but in my opinion Shane Mercer came out looking like a star and I can’t wait to see what this guy can do. You may also remember him as the guy who picked up the bleachers in a match that went viral on Twitter.
This 6 pack scramble got the crowd ready for what was coming next, the GCW world title match. This match featured The King Nick Gage vs Shinjiro Otani, the Japanese wrestling legend. It’s not hard to figure out I am a huge Nick Gage fan, and GCW now this is his home promotion, Nick Gage is genuinely the King of this shit in GCW and the fans treat him like it. At this point Nick Gage was running on a nearly 500 day title run which ended up being 722 days so he came in like a warrior going to battle. I thought this crowd was going to riot, I’ve seen some rowdy entrances but this one takes the cake. Nick Gage’s music hit and these fans were ready, they were foaming at the mouth for this man, and I was right there with them. Gage came out and the entire building turned into a mosh pit and the gang was ready. This match was very fun and they hit all their big spots with Gage retaining his title. Nick gage then went on to cut a promo to this hot crowd that Shinjiro Otani was his favorite growing up so when Joey asked who he wanted for the belt at Spring Break, he had no choice.
This next match is maybe my favorite I have ever seen in person and nothing even happened. This is the special type of thing you will only get at Spring Break. I know this is on YouTube because I’ve watched it about 100 times. Invisible Man vs Invisible Stan. Invisible Man is the brain child of Joey Janela and appears every year at Spring Break, this year fighting his own brother in a match. Now the joke here is that Invisible Man and Invisible Stan don’t exist… the entire match was the ref selling moves and the crowd reacting. This was one of the hottest crowds I have ever been a part of. They hung on every move of referee Bryce Remsburg. Now the back story to this match may be even weirder than the match itself. So according to the story line, Invisible Stan murdered his twin brother Invisible Man, then Stan went to jail, Man was resurrected by Destro, and Stan broke out of jail to have the match. All across the board this one was all over the place but the crowd LOVED it.
Next up came a very special match. We have Orange Cassidy vs Taka Michinoku. I’m sure everybody knows OC, he is one of the most over wrestlers in the business right now. I know most people know Taka Michinoku, the first ever WWF Light Heavy Weight Champion. This was a fantastic match with Orange hitting his lazy spots and Taka fighting back. To paint a little picture of this match though, Orange Cassidy was not the star he is today. He was pretty popular on the indies, but he wasn’t on TNT every week so this was a big spot to put him in and he crushed it.
If you haven’t noticed a pattern of strange phenomenon at this show yet here comes the next one. The next match was the battle for Ethan Page’s soul. Ethan Page has wrestled at the first 2 spring breaks and had been climbing a Mortal Kombat type totem pole up the ranks. Tonight was the final battle for his soul. Ethan Page comes out and begins cutting a promo and out of nowhere comes a masked man dressed as Starman from the NES classic Pro Wrestling. Starman rolls up Ethan Page for a quick 4 second victory. Starman comes up and stands tall, he pulls off the mask, and none other than Virgil is standing in the ring! Virgil has won Ethan Page’s soul for Joey Janela!
And now we come to the main event. Jimmy Lloyd vs Masashi Takeda, 2 deathmatch kings. Jimmy Lloyd had won the privilege of choosing his opponent at Spring Break earlier by winning a ladder match for the brass ring. Jimmy Lloyd wanted the best of the best in death match wrestling and he chose Takeda. I don’t know if I have ever seen so many light tubes broken as during this match. There were gusset plates, scissors, razors, and even a weed whacker. This was a bloody brutal affair only emphasized by Jimmy Lloyd’s white ring gear and Takeda’s bleach blonde hair. In the end Takeda came out the winner.
This show was all over the place and left me begging for more. It was here and there and everywhere, but it gripped every member of the audience the entire time. This was truly wrestling Spring Break.
Follow Jon on Twitter @Badger751