Originally created in 2016 by Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), a year after its rebranding from Jersey Championship Wrestling (JCW), the first Acid Cup tournament featured many friends and wrestlers influenced by early 2000s indie pioneer Trent Acid, who tragically passed away from a drug overdose in 2010. The first Acid Cup tournament was only held on one day and featured four Fatal Four-Way matches to star the tournament, followed by two semi-final singles matches and the finals. It featured a field that included Pinkie Sanchez, The Laredo Kid, DJ Z (now Joaquin Wilde in NXT), B-Boy, Human Tornado, and Teddy Hart and was ultimately won by then-rising indie star Joey Janela. It would take another four years for the follow-up, with Acid Cup 2 finally arriving in March of 2020, with Chris Dickenson winning the second tournament. It’s now become an annual showcase for GCW and this year’s Acid Cup 3 will be a part of The Collective Remix over WrestleMania Week, with Day 1 – featuring the first round match-ups of the 16 entrants – on Thursday, April 8 at 4pm EST, followed by the remainder of the tournament on Day 2 on Friday, April 9 at 4pm. You can watch GCW ‘Acid Cup 3: Day 1’ on Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 4pm EST on FITE.tv and ‘Acid Cup 3: Day 2’ on Friday, April 9, 2021 at 4pm EST, either individually or as part of the FITE Collective Bundle. Here’s a rundown of the first round match-ups.
GCW Acid Cup 3 – First Round Match-Ups
AJ Gray vs. “Spyder” Nate Webb
For the past few years, AJ Gray has emerged as one of the true impact players in the U.S. indies and the former GCW World Heavyweight Champion is still chasing his elusive rematch for a title he was practically swindled out of when Rickey Shane Page beat him for the title in late 2019 (after Gray himself finally ended Nick Gage‘s 722-day reign as World Champion). Also a former Paradigm Pro Wrestling (PPW) Champion and Black Label Pro Midwest Champion, Gray is currently the reigning Glory Pro Crown of Glory Champion and Southern Underground Pro (SUP) Bonestorm Champion and continues to mow down most challengers in his path. Now, in his first Acid Cup appearance, AJ Gray will be looking to dominate the tournament and get back into the World title contention once again in GCW.
Another veteran of the U.S. indies, “Spyder” Nate Webb has been a legend in the hardcore scene since his debut in 1999. A long-time mainstay with IWA Mid-South, where he’s a former 2x IWA Mid-South Junior Heavyweight Champion, Webb shifted over to GCW in 2018 and has become one of the locker room leaders and gatekeepers in GCW. Webb had a huge influence in keeping GCW going during the pandemic by helping turn his home state of Indiana into indie wrestling’s Covid-era Mecca, and now he enters his first Acid Cup to prove he’s still got a lot of fight left inside of him.
Arez vs. Aramis
One of four entrants from Mexico, Arez returns to GCW to compete in his first Acid Cup tournament. Like many Mexican luchadors, Arez has been competing since he was a teenager, and the 14-year pro is only 29 years old. He’s spent the bulk of his career wrestling the various Mexican independents, but he’s had runs with AAA Lucha Libre and has been slowly working his way into the U.S. indies since 2016, where he’s competed for GCW and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). Since 2018, he’s also appeared for IMPACT Wrestling when the company holds tapings in Mexico.
One of two substitutes, Mexico’s Aramis recently replaced B-Boy, who had to withdraw due to injury. While he’s appeared on several AAA Lucha Libre cards, his main promotion is International Wrestling Revolution Group (IWRG), where he’s a former IWRG Rey del Aire Champion and IWRG Intercontinental Tag Team Champion. Aramis made his U.S. debut in 2019 as an entrant in that year’s Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) Battle of Los Angeles tournament and has since appeared for the likes of AAW Pro, GALLI Lucha, and Warrior Wrestling. Now he’s making his GCW debut over WrestleMania Week as part of the Acid Cup 3. A true rising star in Lucha Libre, Aramis’ GCW debut will no doubt help catapult him in the U.S. and put more eyes on him than ever before.
Calvin Tankman vs. Colby Corino
Another Indiana native and a former IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion, Calvin Tankman exploded in 2020 with the likes of GCW, Paradigm Pro Wrestling (PPW), Black Label Pro, and Violence x Suffering (VxS). His meteoric rise last year also lead to him signing with Major League Wrestling (MLW), where he debuted this past November. He’s off to a huge start in his MLW career so far – he challenged MLW World Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu for the title in only his sixth match in the promotion – and looks to be one of MLW’s breakout stars in 2021, but first, he’s got his eyes on winning the Acid Cup 3.
Colby Corino is another substitute, replacing Ken Broadway, but Colby Corino is no slouch. The son of former ECW World Heavyweight Champion and NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Steve Corino, Colby has been a star in the U.S. indies for over a decade and he’s only 24 years old. He’s a regular with Premier Wrestling Federation (PWF) and Premiere Wrestling Xperience (PWX) in the Carolinas, as well as working with everyone from EVOLVE Wrestling to Freelance Wrestling, as well as appearances for WWE and Ring of Honor.
Dragon Bane vs. KTB
While he may not be familiar to many US indie fans, Dragon Bane has had an international presence for a couple of years now. The 21-year old luchador from Mexico City has been competing since he was an early teenager, working the Mexican independent scene since he was only 13. In 2018, he finally broke out, making his debut for AAA Lucha Libre, but his primary home in Mexico is International Wrestling Revolution Group (IWRG), where he debuted in 2015, and he’s the current reigning IWRG Intercontinental Middleweight Champion. In 2018, he made his U.S. television debut with IMPACT Wrestling, in a match filmed in Mexico for IMPACT Xplosion, and in 2019, he made his Japanese debut with Pro Wrestling NOAH. He had a second tour with NOAH in 2020 as well. A gifted young highflyer, he’s making his GCW debut at Acid Cup 3.
Another former GCW World Champion in the tournament, KTB returns for his second Acid Cup (he was in last year’s edition). A GCW mainstay since day one, KTB held the GCW World title for 350-days from 2016 to 2017. While he’s been more focused on tag team matches in GCW of late, teaming with Shane Mercer as Ironbeast, he’s still a dominant force in singles competition as well. Last fall, he made his debut with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), where he competed on three episodes of AEW DARK.
Jordan Oliver vs. Edith Surreal
You’d be hard-pressed to find many wrestlers who have improved their game in the past year than Jordan Oliver. A regular with Major League Wrestling (MLW) and GCW, Jordan Oliver has become one of the top workhorses in the U.S. indies – at GCW Fight Forever, he defeated Tony Deppen in a two-hour Iron Match. Over the past year, he’s scored huge wins over the likes of ACH, 2 Cold Scorpio, Ace Austin, Daniel Garcia, and former GCW World Champion AJ Gray, and earlier this month faced MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu on MLW Fusion. He made his Acid Cup debut in 2020 and made the semi-finals – beating Nick Gage in the Quarter-Final – and this year he’s got even more experience and a newly focused drive that makes him an earlier favorite to win the 2021 trophy.
Another of 2020’s many break-out stars was Edith Surreal (formerly known as Still Life With Apricots & Pears). A trailblazer in the exploding LGBTQ+ scene, she was arguably CHIKARA’s brightest young star in the promotion’s final year of existence, where she went 18-2 in 2019 and won the 2019 Young Lions Cup Tournament. Since CHIKARA’s demise, she has become one of the principal stars of Camp Leapfrog and made her GCW debut at GCW EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch at last October’s Collective, where she had a Match of the Year candidate with Dark Sheik. She’s also competed for the likes of Hoodslam, Beyond Wrestling, Black Label Pro, and Freelance Wrestling, and this past December, she teamed with Boomer Hatfield & Molly McCoy to win the Camp Leapfrog Christmas Trios tournament. Just last month, she won the inaugural Cassandro Cup tournament, adding to her tourney trophy case. Tournaments have become Still Life’s strong point and she could leave Tampa with her fourth tournament trophy.
Tony Deppen vs. Cole Radrick
One of the names synonymous with GCW over the past few years has been one of its Gatekeepers in Tony Deppen. The veteran has been with GCW since 2016 and continues to have big match after big match. But his success isn’t relegated to just GCW rings – he’s also been a standout with CHIKARA, Beyond Wrestling, ICW No Holds Barred, VxS, and many more, including debuting with Ring of Honor last fall in the ROH Pure Tournament. He’s recently had two incredible ironman matches – one a two-hour match against Jordan Oliver at GCW Fight Forever, plus a 6o minute match against Trish Adora in Beyond Wrestling. Apart from competing in the 2020 ROH Pure Tournament, he competed in his first Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) Battle of Los Angeles in 2019.
Spencer, Indiana’s Cole Radrick returns for his second Acid Cup after making his tournament debut in 2020. Cole Radrick has reinvented himself over the past two years and become one of the Midwest’s hungriest young stars, including a 245-day reign as PPW Champion. Radrick is one of the true underdogs in pro wrestling – he may diminutive in size in comparison to many of his competitors, but he’s got a fight in him that is unparalleled. Prior to Nick Gage’s injury in 2020, Radrick had been chasing the leader of the MDK Gang trying to incite the “God of This Shit” into a war.
Lee Moriarty vs. Treehouse Lee
Arguably no other US indie wrestler made the most out of the pandemic year of 2020 than Pittsburgh’s Lee Moriarty. A standout in the Pennsylvania indies since his debut in 2015, by the end of 2019, his momentum was starting to gain national traction. In 2020, Moriarty exploded on the national stage, with huge matches against Alex Shelley, Nolan Edward, MV Young, and others. In June, at GCW The Wrld on GCW 2, he made his GCW debut against Tre Lamar, instantly becoming one of GCW’s new favorite stars. He would also break out into Black Label Pro, Beyond Wrestling, and others, collecting more Match of the Year candidates with the likes of Daniel Makabe, ACH, Alex Zayne, Chris Dickinson, and Blake Christian. This past October, he made his IMPACT Wrestling debut on IMPACT Xplosion, where he faced Suicide. He’s coming off a huge tournament victory at Enjoy Wrestling‘s Enjoy Cup, and in early March, ended WARHORSE‘s record-breaking 532-day reign as IWTV Independent Wrestling Champion. Moriarty has climbed the ladder quickly and now enters 2021 as one of the top stars in the U.S. indies period.
Treehouse Lee has been a rising star in the Florida indies since 2017, and finally broke out on a national level at the end of 2019 when he made his GCW debut at GCW Jimmy All The Way, where he was victorious in his debut Scramble Match. He returned to GCW for two more events in early 2020 before the pandemic hit, somewhat sending Treehouse Lee into hiding, just as the rest of the country was becoming aware of his amazing in-ring abilities. In December of 2020, he made his GCW return at Good Riddance, where he defeated another GCW returnee in Saieve Al Sabah. Two months into 2021, he’s rebuilding his momentum with strong showings in VxS and Florida’s No Peace Underground, and faced Joey Janela at GCW Wind of God during GCW Fight Forever. Expect him to have a solid showing at Acid Cup 3.
Laredo Kid vs. Brayden Lee
The fourth entrant from Mexico, AAA’s Laredo Kid returns to the Acid Cup for the first time since he made his GCW debut in 2016 at the inaugural tournament. Laredo Kid is the reigning AAA World Cruiserweight Champion and has competed for multiple promotions in the U.S. over the years, including MLW, IMPACT Wrestling, PWG, Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), and AAW Pro, as well as multiple Mexican indies. He’s also heading into Acid Cup 3 after back to back appearances with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), most recently teaming with The Lucha Brothers (Penta El Zero Meido & Rey Fenix) against AEW World Champion Kenny Omega and The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) last Wednesday night on AEW Dynamite.
One of the multiple rising young stars from the Midwest, Indiana’s Brayden Lee was one of the many new wrestlers who made their GCW debut in 2020, and one of the few over the years to win their debut match. In a seven-wrestler scramble at Jimmy Lloyd’s D-Generation F at last October’s Collective, Lee outlasted Alex Ocean, Elayna Black (now NXT Superstar Cora Jade), Eli Isom, Griffin McCoy, Kung Fu Janela, and Sonico to pick up his first GCW victory. At January’s GCW Fight Forever 24-hour event, Lee competed three times, facing Myron Reed at GCW Wind of God and Shane Mercer at GCW Wrld on GCW III in singles losses, but won his second scramble at Jimmy Lloyd’s Up All Night. Lee has been a talent in the Indiana indie scene since 2018 and in 2019 broke out with IWA Mid South, where he’s already a 2x IWA Mid South Junior Heavyweight Champion. He’s also competed for the likes of CHIKARA, AAW Pro, Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), Black Label Pro, and ACTION Wrestling, and this past January made his debut with IMPACT Wrestling, where he faced Sami Callihan on an episode of IMPACT Xplosion.
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