SIX FEET!: Joey Janela and Jimmy Lloyd Wrestle Social Distancing Match

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Joey Janela vs Jimmy Lloyd social distancing
Credit: GCW/IWTV

Levity, it’s something we all need right now and during night two of the GCW Acid Cup 2, Joey Janela and Jimmy Lloyd delivered exactly that when they wrestled the world’s first-ever social distancing rules match.

So what exactly is a social distancing rules match? Well, it’s quite simple. Wearing a face mask, referee Kris Levin, otherwise known as Kid Ref, and special guest ring announcer Matthew Justice explained how things worked. At all times, Janela and Lloyd, who was billed as hailing from Wuhan, China, were instructed to keep six feet apart so that the CDC didn’t shut them down. Of course, this wasn’t going to be the case as the rest of the matches on the card were fought under normal one-fall or in the case of the Clusterf**k, pinfall, submission, over the top rope, leaving the building or death rules. But, the spirit of their effort was there nonetheless.

As the match began, Levin made sure both men were six feet apart from one another as it was noted that the match they were about to wrestle was going to be the future of professional wrestling. It would be the way they’d be able to get away with having matches during the current landscape. So while GCW held the first such match, Janela was certain it wouldn’t be the last. As the match began with the appropriate non-handshake and Janela and Lloyd performed a social distancing rules lock up, the crowd began to chant “Six feet *clap, clap* six feet!”

The hope was both guys would maintain the six feet barrier at all times but there was one point where things got dicey and Levin had to break out the tape measurer just to make sure the rules were being strictly followed. This included making sure to sanitize the steel chair and door frame that were used at various points in the match. The contest was impressive as for every move Janela made, Lloyd sold it as if he had actually been hit, including a spot where he was thrown through the door frame he had moments before disinfected with a Lysol wipe. The same went for Janela, who sold no shortage of moves including a crossbody and reverse canadian destroyer, in a match he called one of the toughest battles of his career.

 

When the match ended, with the winner’s hand raised social distancing style, Janela thanked everyone in the building, which was comprised of just GCW personnel and special guest John Cena (in cardboard cut-out form) due to limits on crowd sizes in the GCW Performance Center. While the match itself was a gimmick, it wasn’t one that made light of the coronavirus pandemic, but rather brought attention to measures all of us can take in our day-to-day interactions to help limit community spread. As Janela said prior to the match, “social distancing will help the spread and you can learn from us.”

When the Acid Cup 2 began streaming on Friday night, Janela opened the show with a message that hit home, “this might be the last thing we get to do before we’re all locked in our houses.” While a national lockdown may not be the ultimate end, several states including New York, California and Illinois, where Freelance Wrestling was meant to do their own empty arena show, instituted shelter in place guidelines taking effect this weekend. Countries around the world have done the same and individual cities and counties in the United States are doing everything they can to keep the death toll low in their communities.

 

But in the meantime, fear, panic and uncertainty can’t guide our lives. There still needs to be moments of joy, unity and hope. On Friday, Janela and GCW made sure fans had that and more.

“All we have is this,” Janela, who did double duty as the lone commentator on the show, repeated several times at the end of the night. “All we have is professional wrestling.”

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can watch the entire social distancing match, full two-night Acid Cup 2, and support GCW and nearly 100 other independent wrestling promotions at IWTV.

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