Full Reception: An On-Site Account of GCW No Signal in the Hills

GCW No Signal in the Hills

It has been exactly 1,471 days since I’ve attended a pro wrestling show. This past weekend, I had the distinct honor of attending GCW’s No Signal in the Hills in Los Angeles, California, at the Ukrainian Cultural Center. Not only was this my first show since 2017, but I got to experience this with a friend who’d be attending his first-ever independent show. For some years now, I had felt some kind of disconnect with professional wrestling, almost to the point where it not only felt like a chore to watch but found myself even hating it.

After talking to a friend, commentator Hot Tub Shawn, we decided that this would be the perfect show to re-introduce me to wrestling and fall back in love with something I once cherished. To prepare me for what I could expect, I watched some past shows such as GCW To Live and DIE in LA as well as Joey Janela’s Spring Break, which you can find on-demand on FITE. No matter how many shows I watched, I knew that there’s no substitute for just going to an event in person and just feeling the raw emotion of the crowd and talent, leaving it out in the squared circle.

GCW No Signal in the Hills

No Signal in the Hills – First Impressions

Upon arriving at GCW for No Signal in the Hills, I already got the feel of being at a modern-day ECW. Fan-favorite Nick Gage, greeting fans and giving out hugs before heading inside. Fans pregaming with alcohol and weed, I knew things would be lit, figuratively and literally, and we weren’t even inside yet. As I waited in line, a cameraman happened to walk by, to where a fellow behind me would exclaim, “Die Cardona die.” For those unfamiliar, Matt Cardona had just defeated Nick Gage at Homecoming a few shows prior.

Immediately, this caught the cameraman’s attention, giving him a quick interview, even asking myself and my friend a few questions as well, since it was our first GCW event. After an hour in line, we were finally inside the Ukrainian Cultural Center. My first impressions were that it was a cozy venue, well lit, a nice-sized stage upfront, and big enough to host this sold-out crowd. As fans gathered in, some familiar faces were setting up shop around the ring, such as Jack Cartwheel, Ninja Mack, Rickey Shane Page, and darling Dark Sheik, who received a massive ovation before walking behind the curtain. She’d be facing Nick Gage later in the night, a match that I looked forward to watching.

If there were a singular word for me to describe the GCW faithful, it would be infectious. Here I was, perched into a spot against a wall, with a birds-eye view of the ring, and I could not help but be drawn into everything they were doing. It is captivating, just watching along, as they sang along to everyone’s intro music; it was a concert. Though that could be said about most wrestling shows in general, this was more intimate, personal. It speaks even more volumes if your opponent is singing along to your theme as well, which BUSSY could not help but do so when Second Gear Crew burst through the curtain; granted, it is mighty hard not to sing along to Walk by Pantera.

AJ Gray vs. Lee Moriarty

No Signal in the Hills kicked off hot, with AJ Gray accompanied by “The New Age Punisher,” B-Boy, going up against Lee Moriarty. This was my first time seeing either of them in the ring, and I have to say, I was impressed. This was a hard-hitting bout, with Gray picking up a well-deserved win and the perfect way to kick off the show. If you like technical wrestling, this is a match that you would enjoy.

Antonio San Francisco vs. Jimmy Lloyd

Next up at No Signal in the Hills was a fun match between Antonio San Francisco (ASF), who had made his GCW debut back in a show in Houston, Texas, going up against the gatekeeper of GCW, Jimmy Lloyd, who was initially scheduled to be in the scramble. ASF quickly turned heads, with his high-flying ability, even catching Lloyd off guard in several instances. While I do enjoy high-flyers, the sheer brutality of Lloyd caught my attention the most, at one point, reversing a sliced bread #2 attempt by ASF into a tombstone piledriver on the apron. This was an innovative match, to say the least, with both men busting out moves that I had never seen before, and that is something that does not happen often, so this was quite the treat, with Lloyd picking up the win and a sign of sportsmanship in the end.

Chris Dickinson Starboy Charlie

Starboy Charlie vs. Chris Dickinson

The third match of the evening would be a rematch, as Starboy Charlie would look to get a win over the “Dirty Daddy” himself, Chris Dickinson. The two fought at GCW Zombie Walk this past June with the veteran, Dickinson, being too much for Charlie. The young Charlie was looking for some kind of retribution, and he brought his A-game, to say the least. Right off the bat, he was taking the fight to Dickinson. While Dickinson is the crafty veteran, the pure heart of Starboy Charlie could not be denied in this bout. Dickinson had thrown everything at young Charlie, but his will to continue was on full display, kicking out of everything.

Just when it seemed that Dickinson was going to finally put Charlie away, with a flurry of combinations, in a last-ditch effort, Charlie would catch him in an inverted octopus stretch, eventually transitioned into a modified armbar, making the “Dirty Daddy” submit. The crowd went absolutely bonkers. Not only did Charlie pick up a huge win and continued to turn some heads, but he had also earned the respect of Dickinson. What makes Charlie stand out the most is the simple fact that he had just turned eighteen years old, and he is already this good. Starboy Charlie is someone we all should be keeping tabs on for years to come.

Ninja Mack vs. Dante Leon

If you had to ask me, what was the one match that would have not only sold me on wrestling but GCW? I would look no further than Ninja Mack vs. Dante Leon. It was the hard-hitting, fast-paced, all gas, no breaks type of match that I did not know that I needed until I watched it happening before my very eyes. These men knew each other, very well having a rivalry from Houston to Atlantic City. The raw athleticism of both men was on full display here.

Whenever you thought one guy had the upper hand, the other would battle back with an innovative counter. Dueling in both kicks and flips, this was such a fantastic match, with one of the biggest highlights being Ninja Mack, scaling to the top of the rafters, hitting a beautiful moonsault on Leon. Another, being Leon unmasking Mack, receiving several boos and middle fingers from the GCW faithful, myself included, for the disrespect. This ended up being my match of the night, with Ninja Mack picking up the win.

GCW No Signal in the Hills Second Gear Crew BUSSY

BUSSY vs. Second Gear Crew

With four matches in the books, it was time for our first tag-team bout and only title match of the evening. Allie Katch and EFFY, collectively known as BUSSY, looking to dethrone the defending GCW Tag Team Champions, Matthew Justice and Mance Warner of Second Gear Crew. At the beginning of the match, EFFY and Justice would have a lighthearted moment, exchanging kisses to the cheers of the GCW faithful, even encouraging Katch and Warner to share a smooch. Quickly, those public displays of affection turned into public displays of violence.

EFFY and Katch were first to introduce weapons into the match with steel chairs, and from there on, we saw doors, duct tape, and even a knife! While this match did have some moments of comedy, it was a war. SGC looked to end BUSSY, with their own makeshift weapon of violence, double stacking doors onto some chairs. Justice, with the assistance of Warner, looked to squash the opposition, but as the old saying went, “No water in the pool.”

At one point, Katch and EFFY had duct-taped the arms of Justice to the top rope, forcing him to watch his defenseless partner take vicious chair shots, with his hands taped together as well. I was beginning to wonder how far BUSSY was willing to go to become the new champions, smearing the blood of their opponents across their own faces. Once Katch had pulled out a knife, I knew. Things definitely did not look to favor the champions, but alas, with some quick thinking and a ton of grit, they were able to secure the win. This was a solid match that I would recommend.

The No Signal in the Hills Scramble Match

To give the crowd something a bit more lighthearted, the gears had shifted to the much-anticipated scramble match. This match would feature Eli Everfly, Jack Cartwheel, Nick Wayne, Grim Reefer, and Lil Cholo. From the start of the match, all systems were go. Lil Cholo kicked things off with a wrecking ball dropkick to the outside, and this set the tone for things to come. Everywhere you looked, the action was going on; it was a bit hard to keep up at times.

Each competitor was trying to outdo the other with a dive, but the winner, hands down, had to go to Grim Reefer. Sitting upon the top turnbuckle, taking the time to have a brief smoking break, before launching himself onto the combatants on the outside, even landing on his feet for style points, cigarette still in the mouth. In fact, Reefer wrestled a fair amount of the match with the cigarette. This was a quick match, with Reefer getting the win.

GCW No Signal in the Hills Janela Stunt 44OH

Marko Stunt and Joey Janela vs. 44OH (No Signal in the Hills Co-Main Event)

Before I knew it, we were at the co-main event of the evening. This would be another tag team match as AEW’s own “Mr. Fun Size” Marko Stunt and “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela would face off against Rickey Shane Page (RSP) and Atticus Cogar of 44OH. There would be no love lost in this match, where RSP would be looking to live up to his promise of throwing Stunt as far as he could. Cogar had his own issues with “The Bad Boy,” the two having a deathmatch on Night Two of Homecoming, with Janela getting the win. This match quickly burst into the crowd, which was quite exciting since a good amount of the action was near my area. Not only did RSP live up to his promise of launching Stunt, but 44OH did also end up picking up the win.

Nick Gage vs. Dark Sheik (No Signal in the Hills Main Event)

It was now time for the main event of the evening, “MDK” Nick Gage taking on Dark Sheik. The mood in the room changed drastically. Doors wrapped in barbed wire were being placed inside the ring, with Kevin Gill giving a fair warning if we saw wrestlers coming or glass flying our way to get the F out of the way. This was something I had no issue with, being nice and safe in the back, and with a few Guerrilla Warfare matches under my belt, I was okay. This match was a bit hard for me to watch, I must admit; it was hard for me to watch not because it was too violent, but my view was obscured.

However, I would not let that stop me from trying to get a peep of the action, peeping at the recordings of phones, or trying to stand on my toes. Though I could not see much, I was able to hear the smashing of light tubes and even caught MDK sending himself and Dark Sheik through a barbed-wire door placed on a bed of chairs. If ultra-violence is what you were looking for, look no further than this match. Light tubes, barbwire, and yes, even Nick Gage’s famous pizza cutter was used. They were battered and beaten, but the King got the victory in the end and gave a feel-good moment to Sheik for her efforts.

Overall, this was a solid show, and this might have been what the doctor ordered. I can see myself coming back, bravo, GCW.

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. Catch a replay of GCW No Signal in the Hills on FITE.