2021’s most unlikely rivalry came to a boil on Saturday night (July 24) at GCW Homecoming at the Showboat in Atlantic City.
Matt Cardona - current Impact Wrestling star and formerly WWE’s Zack Ryder - started beefing with Nick Gage online, then impersonated Jon Moxley (who Gage is also feuding with on the independent scene) to attack the King of Ultraviolence at a June GCW show. Gage returned fire by crashing Cardona’s Major Wrestling Figure podcast live taping, and a match for the GCW World title was set for Homecoming.
The belt has been with Gage since he defeated Ricky Shane Page for it on WrestleMania weekend, on the same show where he was first attacked by Mox. Page played a role in this one too, but only after Gage had tortured Cardona with his usual array of MDK tricks.
This is unreal #GCWHomecoming pic.twitter.com/W0OgQH5KzR— TIGER DRIVER (@TigerDriver9X) July 25, 2021
Fozzy’s “Judas” played at one point, a tease for Gage’s opponent on AEW Dynamite this week, but it was a bit of misdirection that led to the 44.OH! stable coming out to hassle the champ. Gage fought them off, and looked to be getting an assist from Page to ensure no one else would get involved - but then RSP turned on Gage. Cardona recovered during the chaos, using a light tube attack of his own as prelude to his Radio Silence finisher.
Matt Cardona is the GCW World Heavyweight champion, and the faithful were not happy.
WOW. @TheMattCardona wins the GCW title. The heat is real.#GCWHomecoming pic.twitter.com/aDdcxxZ1r1— Evan Husney (@evanhusney) July 25, 2021
The crowd response led to criticism about the dangers to performers and other fans of throwing trash in the ring. Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer was one of the most prominent critics, and that led to “fuck Dave Meltzer” chants at Sunday’s Homecoming Night Two show. Those were egged on by Mark Sterling, who referenced Meltzer in a promo announcing a kayfabe class action lawsuit against the GCW Universe for their actions.
And in a move some believe is taking the GCW vs. mainstream wrestling attitude too far, last night’s audience also chanted “don’t come back” at AEW’s Cezar Bononi after his match with Chris Dickinson.
For Cardona, he’s capitalizing on all of the attention the evening’s been getting...
I trended #1 last night…— Matt Cardona (@TheMattCardona) July 25, 2021
Ahead of UFC & Olympics…
I’m the NEW @GCWrestling_ Champ…
AND I’m the Internet Champ…then…now…FOREVER!!!
DEATH MATCH KING! : @themattcardona & @NickKarpPhotos— Matt Cardona (@TheMattCardona) July 25, 2021
Buy the shirt on @PWTees! https://t.co/FH6nWtbMBS
“BLOODY” version will be up ASAP! Thanks @ttdwrestling! pic.twitter.com/WNnL2xI18u
And got fixed up by his fiancée so they could spend a nice Sunday at Universal Studios:
Dr Chelsea come through. pic.twitter.com/5lTlvseyIb— CHELSEA GREEN (@ImChelseaGreen) July 25, 2021
Enjoying a Butterbeer in Hogsmeade! @majorlandpod @UniStudios pic.twitter.com/hjVCTeJBNf— Matt Cardona (@TheMattCardona) July 26, 2021
Pro wrestling, everybody!