As a fan of the wrestling underground, if there was one name that I was confident would never be able to bring his uncut character to one of the two big mainstream companies, it would be Nick Gage. Lest we forget, this man almost killed David Arquette by slashing his neck with a broken light tube, in a match obviously. He also went to prison for robbing a bank, without wearing a mask, being recognised on the news by wrestling fans. In the likes of CZW, we have seen him have some of the most bloody and violent matches ever, yes wrestling is pre-determined but as good ole JR likes to say “This ain’t ballet!” and Gage’s shtick could never be shown on the big boy channels in prime time…Could it?
Enter Tony Khan, the fan’s fan who since starting AEW has listened to what ‘his people’ want to see and has given it to us. The Elite? Yep. Top Japanese stars? Yep. Strong female talent? Affirmative. So following the recent Dark Side Of The Ring episode on Nick Gage, Khan obviously heard the rumblings as we began to fantasy book this Tasmanian devil. Then last week, MJF, constantly one of the most entertaining things on AEW TV, introduced his next challenge for Chris Jericho and out came the psycho himself, Nick FVCKING Gage!!! I popped like never before, but could the match meet my expectations and what I had seen Gage do before in front of tiny audiences. The answer is YES. I’m still fanboying now, tbh.
Jericho brought back his popular Japanese wrestling persona The Painmaker and Gage certainly brought the pain, instantly slashing Jericho’s arm with a pizza cutter. It was subtle, but this tiny detail showed the ‘weapon’ drawing blood and so when Gage took the same cutter to Jericho’s forehead, I was squirming, although it appears not as much as Domino’s whose advert was shown directly after this attack. D’oh. Light tubes, both singular and batches tied together were used and however many times I have seen this both on TV and IRL, they look painful and savage and the was plenty of blood here. Not enough? How about a piece of glass brought it and then Gage thrown into it from the top rope. Incredible.
This match, in my book one of the most breathtaking and exciting of the year has been dismissed in some quarters but it is telling that those complaining about it are from the ‘classic era’ of the sport, like the guys who rode horses moaning about these new ‘car’ things, that will never take off. I guarantee that there were people all over the world headed straight to Youtube after the show to see what other ridiculous things Gage has done, and by god, there are loads. Khan giving this sort of underground sensation a spotlight can only be commended. I’d say this is the greatest thing Tony Khan will do in 2021, but there is the small name of Phil Brooks to think about. Post coming soon on THAT. In the meantime, here’s Gage/Jericho. Enjoy, if that is the right word. *applause*