On Saturday, Game Changer Wrestling held Night One of their Homecoming event in Atlantic City. It was a big deal, actually trending number one overall in the United States on Twitter for most of the night. The event was solid, the wrestling was brutal, and people were obviously getting behind it.
The main event featured one of the most popular independent wrestlers around right now, Nick Gage. Recently making his AEW debut, Gage has been helping build up GCW to what it is today for a few years. His brutal and violent wrestling made for an extremely gruesome spectacle at any show. He was the company’s main star and held the promotion’s main title for over 800 days over the course of two reigns in the last four years.
However, at Homecoming, Gage lost his title for what will likely be the last time. In the main event of night one, Matt Cardona, thanks to some outside help, upset Nick Gage for the GCW World Title. In an extremely brutal deathmatch that involved bumps through glass, light tube shots, and the inventive use of several other foreign objects, the former Zach Ryder proved he can handle the brutality that comes with being GCW’s top guy. It was a good finish, especially if the rumors of Gage going to AEW long-term are true.
The fans, apparently, disagreed.
The Fan Reaction
The fans in attendance went into full riot mode immediately after the final bell rang. The boos and insults were one thing and should be expected. Cardona was everything that fanbase hates, while Gage was everything they loved. This was an RVD vs. John Cena level heat long before the opening bell rang. The point of the finish was to get them to boo and hurl insults at Cardona.
However, when the beer cans and the water bottles started flying, things went too far. I am going to include some videos below so that you know I am not blowing this up bigger than it was. However, be warned, these videos contain profanity, violence, and blood.
This is completely unacceptable. Shameful, even. Just one of those thrown beer cans could legitimately end either Cardona or Gage’s career. The odds of that happening as over a hundred are thrown are extremely high. This does not even account for the extra risk involved with both men having open wounds with alcohol and soda and various other things flying through the air. Or the extra risk from the glass all over the ring, which either man could slip into thanks to the extra water and beer on the canvas.
We should also not overlook the possibility of a poorly thrown object that could hit and injure a fan. Actually, if you watch the videos, many bottles very clearly go over the ring and likely hit fans in the front rows.
You would think that the wrestling community would come together here. No one wants to see someone get legitimately injured, let alone by a fan. We would all come out in unison against this right?
The Blue Checks Weigh In
Here is Sean Ross Sapp, wrestling reporter for Fightful.com, condoning the actions.
Oh, you want even more mainstream? How about Pabst Blue Ribbon, the beer company, promoting this fan violence.
You would think that the most important voice in this situation would actually be the promotion themselves. Surely they would be unhappy with their new champion being involved in a legitimately life-risking situation.
Nope. Here they are making fun of Dave Meltzer for speaking out against the moment.
Some people have theorized that maybe GCW actually set this up. Maybe they put plants in the audience to throw the first few bottles. “This would help build heat,” they say.
This would be the single stupidest and most dangerous thing a promotion has ever done if so.
If this is true, GCW just told their fans, “if you do not like a result, just try to maim the winner”. Remember, this event is also the biggest in the promotions history, so it not only told their own fans this but the thousands of new fans who tuned in for the first time. This will have dangerous effects in every single wrestling promotion, and will more than likely result in the injuries of several talented individuals. Even just the condoning of this may result in that already.
However, let us get back to highlighting journalists condoning the shortening of Matt Cardona’s career. How about Rachel of Wrestleplannia?
How about Vollmayer from Barstool? At least his comments do not explicitly condone the action, just praise it.
And now for the fans
You maybe like, “But why is it a big deal that journalists are tweeting these things? How can you imply it will lead to fans thinking that this is okay and normal without proof?”
Do you want proof? Cool, it is down below. I am blacking out these people’s names and profile pictures here because I have a bigger platform than them and I do not punch down. For context, these are all in response to GCW’s response to Dave Meltzer.
Yes, wrestlers need heat. A heel wrestler wants fans to boo them when they come to the ring. They want the crowd to get angry when their music hits.
However, that does not mean that they deserve to nearly die because of a character they play.
This is not “normal” like fans above imply. This is not “heat” like the fans imply. Things like this happening in the WCW days do not make this acceptable. It just means the wrestling you used to enjoy was extremely problematic, but we did not need that reminder.
However, when these fans are told by the journalists they look up to and see them condoning these actions, they feel emboldened in these extremely dangerous opinions.
Time to protect wrestlers
The people with these opinions do not care about the safety of the wrestlers who put their bodies on the line for their education. These people, including the journalists, are showing, with their opinions, that they would like for a wrestler to get legitimately hurt for their entertainment. These people are even showing that they would consider being in on the violence if they felt the wrestler had “heat” and “deserved it”.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the promotions to take action and ban these people for the protection of their wrestlers and fans. This includes these journalists who are condoning the violence.
The ring is supposed to be a safe place for wrestlers, and the crowd is supposed to be a safe place for fans. Sure, the wrestlers are choosing to put their bodies on the line, but the spots they take are normally consensual. If they want to get hit with a beer can, they will plan that spot with their opponent. They get to choose that, not the fans.
Any promotion that allows fans to act like this and people who express these opinions to go unaddressed is responsible if any wrestler gets injured by an event like what happened to Matt Cardona.
And companies that not only condone it but push for more of it, should immediately shut its door and never be allowed in this community again.
Looking at you GCW…
If you disagree, or if you want to issue an apology for your comments, my Twitter is @byronborefsmith (I will publish all apologies from any individual called out). Follow Border Fuel while you are there @borderfuelhq and then go to our home page and read more wrestling content.