Game Changer Wrestling has become a promotion well known for scouting incredible talent and pushing the boundaries of professional wrestling. Whether it be deathmatches, or giving minority talent a platform to showcase themselves as was done with Effy’s Big Gay Brunch or their For The Culture events. Game Changer is always at the forefront of taking risks and making change in independent wrestling. Most recently, the company has caught fire due in large part to a feud between champion Nick Gage and former WWE star Matt Cardona.
The two will do battle at Game Changers’ Homecoming event scheduled for the weekend of July 24th. On the way to this event, GCW took yet another risk, hosting an iPPV event in Laramie Wyoming. A town of around 30,000, well known for the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was beaten and left to die outside of Laramie in 1998. That same town would host an event featuring Effy, an openly gay wrestler, who was well received and given a standing ovation following his match. GCW took a risk and the talent, as well as the fans, delivered a night full of unbelievable moments.
An event that likely began as a bit of a tongue in cheek joke in reference to Jim Cornette’s constant belittling of GCW, calling them an Outlaw Mudshow, turned into an evening many won’t soon forget. For myself, this was my first true taste at live independent professional wrestling in over five years. Having moved to South Dakota, the opportunity for live professional wrestling is now few and far between. When GCW announced their Outlaw Mudshow event in Laramie Wyoming, I knew I’d be making a trip to see GCW live. I purchased three front row tickets and after many weeks of anticipation, my brothers and I made our way six hours to see an Outlaw Mudshow.
This was a great chance to spend some time with family and also introduce them to my world. We used to go to independent shows together in Upstate New York, but GCW was a whole new world to them. In the weeks leading up, I started explaining who the talent were and how the atmosphere of GCW shows typically were, but had to warn them that this show in Wyoming could be different. When we arrived at the venue, my cautious feeling almost immediately disappeared. We showed up just before bell time and the turnout was amazing. The barn had such a different and cool vibe for a wrestling show, we found some seats and were ready for the action.
The show kicked off with a match I was most anticipating, featuring Jordan Oliver facing off with El Gringo Loco. This match was a good way for the talent and the crowd to feel each other out and get an idea of what the night would be. I, like many others, were chanting along and doing what we could to engage some of the audience who may be unfamiliar with the talent.
El Gringo Loco was an immediate fan favorite because he came to the ring with a literal goat. Both men performed well and Gringo Loco even performed a moonsault off a piece of the barn fencing, a perfect start for an Outlaw Mudshow. Oliver would come out on top gaining the respect of the audience by the end, despite having no animal sidekick. This match had plenty of banter between the crowd and the ref, with great chants and solid in ring action, all great signs that the rest of the night would be a success.
The second match of the night featured resident Game Changer badass Chris “Dirty Daddy” Dickinson taking on the legendary 2 Cold Scorpio. This match lacked some of the flashiness of the opening match but was a great chance to see a living legend in action against the Dirty Daddy. Dickinson’s nickname caught on easily and while his victory was expected, many in the crowd were supporting Scorpio. The Dirty Daddy got the crowd on his side by the end of it all by paying respect to the man he just defeated after their match.
The next match of the night would be Laramie’s first real taste at what GCW really brings to the table. An intergender match up between “Different Boy” Jimmy Lloyd and Allie Katch that would really open up the audience and get them excited to see GCW action. Lloyd would make his way to the ring on an actual Donkey, while Allie started the match off by holding Jimmy at (cap)gun point. The match would start off humorous but quickly turned serious. Lloyd would use a cheese grater to carve up Allie Katch’s head and she would return the favor by putting him through a door, a maneuver that excited the little girls in the front row. Lloyd would pick up the victory in this one with an insane piledriver through a door set up on the bottom turnbuckle. This match was incredible with two great talents giving their all to get the Laramie Wyoming fans invested in GCW.
Matthew Justice and The 1 Called Manders would follow that match with an epic second gear challenge bullrope match. Manders would attempt to make his entrance on a real horse, but the horse decided to go into business for himself and walk away from the barn. Manders eventually made it back to the ring on his own, but not before the entire crowd started a “fuck that horse” chant effectively giving Manders their support while turning on his trusty steed. The match itself was intense with both men beating each other down. Justice slammed Manders’ in the skull with the cowbell a number of times, and Justice took a nasty spot onto a steel chair setup in the ring. Manders would eventually find his second gear and pick up the victory over Justice. Post match, Matthew Justice cut an impassioned promo on the crowd letting them know the wrestlers appreciation for their reaction thus far in the show.
This would lead us to intermission, where I was fortunate enough to connect with a number of the talent on the card all of which were more than cool to talk to. Jordan Oliver and I spoke briefly before I grabbed some merch and took a few pictures with him. I also spoke with Jimmy Lloyd who was still down to take a picture despite going through hell with Allie Katch earlier in the night. It was exciting not only to meet with the talent but also see the lines forming for each of them as they all had plenty of fans to meet with during the intermission.
Fresh off of intermission, we would get a matchup that many would consider the match of the night. Warhorse would return to a GCW ring to face off with Effy in a matchup that I was intrigued to see how it may be received by the Wyoming fans. Turns out, Wrestling is Gay and Wyoming loves it. The crowd had a blast with Effy chanting for him throughout the match, even utilizing a chant from earlier against Warhose, as the entire crowd chanted “Fuck that Horse” at the superstar. Effy was victorious and the entire crowd was excited to see him succeed. He received a standing ovation and was easily one of the most entertaining wrestlers on the show for many.
Effy’s involvement was important as many were unsure what to expect for an openly gay wrestler competing in a town with the history Laramie has. For many it was a history lesson, the match Effy and Warhorse had allowed some to learn about a tragic story. It opened some eyes while also showcasing the growth this small town has seen in the last 20 plus years. GCW also made a statement with regards to holding their show in Laramie as well as a donation to the Matthew Shepard foundation.
AJ Gray and Orin Veidt would follow this match and take the Laramie audience to an entirely different realm of what GCW does, putting on a wild deathmatch. It was the first time the audience saw barbed wire doors or hardcore wrestling at this level, but as a fan of GCW, it was expected. Gray and Veidt delivered a wild matchup for an audience that was pumped up to see some intense violence. Neither man held back because they were in a new town. Instead, they got the fans in the new town interested in what they do. AJ Gray picked up the victory in this one, but both men came out of it beaten up but heavily supported by the GCW fan base.
The semi-main event of the night was one heavily promoted locally with legendary tag team superstar Ricky Morton of the Rock N Roll express making his Wyoming wrestling debut. This would be Ricky’s 50th and final state to wrestle in, having had matches all across the country. His opponent Atticus Cogar is no slouch. He has started to make a name for himself in GCW, and is likely a name to watch going forward. Throughout the night, the crowd was so pleased with the event, it rarely felt like we were dealing with the traditional heel/face dynamic. This changed the second Cogar made his entrance, it was clear he was not likeable. On a night where a majority of the talent were cheered, Cogar played an amazing traditional heel receiving nothing but boos all night long.
The match with Morton was short, just under five minutes with Ricky winning in a bit of an upset. Cogar tried to feign happiness for Morton but the fans didn’t buy it. Before Morton could shake Cogar’s hand, Cogar attacked and threatened to use his trademark skewers on the legend. Joey Janela would ditch the commentary booth and clear Cogar from the ring, before challenging Cogar to a match that night. While fans were more than ready to see this go down, Cogar declined. Joey set up a match between the two at GCW Homecoming, which could prove to be a night many more learn just how good Atticus Cogar is.
Despite how great this moment was, the night was not yet over as we still had the main event Bunkhouse Brawl for the GCW championship. Mance Warner would challenge MDK legend Nick Gage for his championship and the two would tear the house down. They would fight through the arena/barn and into the concession area, completely destroying everything in sight. Nick Gage would utilize everything from a glass covered chair to a pizza cutter to destroy Mance Warner and retain his championship. The match got so real that someone decided to make a call to the local Laramie police who would fortunately arrive after the event was already over.
While the match itself was hardcore in nature, the reception of the audience excited me. We saw the typical Nick Gage mosh entrance, however they changed it up a bit. All of the kids from the audience got involved for a wholesome moment. Those same kids were excited to see Nick Gage win by putting his opponent through a flaming table but were more excited for what came after.
Following his brutal twenty minute match Gage would stick around and take pictures with every fan that asked. It took Gage nearly twenty minutes to make his way 30 feet through the ring entrance as fan after fan asked the champ for a picture. A number of young fans and adults alike got photos, as well as moments of inspiration from the champ. Gage was constantly expressing a gratitude to them, almost greater than theirs for him. Nick Gage, the champion of GCW, would place his championship on every fan’s shoulder and call them the champion and thank them for what they do to inspire him. It was a powerful moment to see a man who does what Gage does, still be so humble to his fans.
The night would end by taking pictures with a number of the talent who all came out to mingle after the show. For many, their merchandise was long sold out, but they still wanted the chance to sit and talk with fans. This was a great closing moment to an amazing show. Wrestlers like Allie Katch and Effy were being asked for pictures and to sign autographs from so many fans who were totally new to GCW.
Game Changer Wrestling traveled a great distance to bring their product to a small town in the middle of Wyoming. Unsure of the result, they took a risk as they have done with so many different shows with Spring Break, Bloodsport, Effys Big Gray Brunch, or For the Culture. As with their previous shows, the risk resulted in the reward of a magical evening. An Outlaw Mudshow performed in a literal barn with actual cows and goats heard throughout the evening, as fans were cheering for their favorite wrestlers. The event was one where no one knew what to expect, but it turned out to provide so much in one evening. From Effy being accepted wholeheartedly by the audience while maintaining who he was to the fullest, to Nick Gage taking pictures with kids minutes before police arrive to speak with him. Game Changer Wrestling delivered magic at the Mudshow in Laramie Wyoming.