Game Changer Wrestling is set for its biggest event ever on January 23 when the promotion comes to the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom for The WRLD on GCW.
The Hammerstein Ballroom hosted the final two ECW pay-per-view events, the first two ECW One Night Stand events, and has been the home for ROH, NJPW, and TNA/IMPACT.
Before GCW invades Hammerstein on January 23, GCW will partner with Orange Crush to present the first-ever Independent Wrestling Hall of Fame, which will be headlined by Jerry Lynn being inducted by Sean Waltman. Other names to be inducted include Homicide, LuFisto, Dave Prazak, and more.
Speaking to Fightful, Orange Crush Editor-In-Chief Adam Abdalla discussed how the idea for the Indie Hall of Fame came together.
"In terms of the Hall of Fame in general, as many people know, my good friend Brett Lauderdale and GCW have managed to sell out the Hammerstein Ballroom on January 23. I believe the running count, at least from WrestleTix, is 2,005 tickets sold. They reconfigured the building to essentially allow the largest crowd for wrestling that has been there in at least the last decade. With that, and with the confluence of Independent wrestling fans coming in from throughout the country, GCW, Brett, us, we wanted to create a moment to help honor the legends of Independent wrestling that helped usher in a moment like [GCW in the Hammerstein Ballroom] and helped make it possible. We did a lot of scouting for venues in the city, which is tough for a banquet event in Manhattan on a Saturday, but we found great partners with the Cutting Room. We're really excited to induct the first class of the Indie Hall of Fame," he said.
The Indie Hall of Fame ranges from active competitors Homicide, who will challenge Jon Moxley for the GCW World Title at The WRLD on GCW, to Jerry Lynn, who was a local legend in Minneapolis before hitting it big in ECW, to female legend LuFisto, managers Dave Prazak and Ruckus, and the legendary Tracy Smothers, who will be inducted posthumously.
"Some of it is availability, some of it is having a diverse class of inductees that represent different moments in Indie wrestling history that have their own audiences that need to be honored," said Abdalla when asked how the inductees were decided. "Jerry Lynn, he's most famous for his matches with Rob Van Dam and ECW, but previous to that, in the early 90s, he really revolutionized the high-flying style in professional wrestling with matches with the Lightning Kid [Sean Waltman] and Sabu. Everyone who is being inducted, I consider to be an Indie wrestling legend and have a unique history. If it's more recent, people are really familiar with their work on the Indies, if they are someone who kind of have a more historical influence or they may know as being more present in the big leagues. If you look at it a little bit, you'll see that they also had a lasting impact and body of work on the Independent circuit."
One of the most famous names in independent wrestling history, CM Punk, will also be in attendance as he'll induct Prazak, who served as his manager during portions of his independent career. Punk went on to hit the mainstream with WWE and AEW, but it was his run in Ring of Honor as well as stints in IWA Mid-South, FIP, IWC, and other Indie promotions that helped define who he would eventually become.
When asked how they were able to secure Punk to induct Prazak, Abdalla replied, "Dave Prazak is probably one of the most influential figures in the history of Independent wrestling as a booker, a manager, a legendary commentator. He really touched so many people. His legacy is probably defined by the work that he did in running SHIMMER, which really turned out so many hugely successful and influential women wrestlers, including some who are at the top of wrestling currently, Becky Lynch, for example. Dave is absolutely beloved and we really wanted to find someone that he had a genuine and historic relationship with that also conveyed the gravity of his contribution. We reached out to Punk, we thought it was a long shot, but given the relationship with Dave, we thought it might be possible. He was very gracious in accepting and we're very excited for him to show up."
The Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame is scheduled for Saturday, January 22 from The Cutting Room.
The WRLD on GCW will air live on FITE TV and pay-per-view on Sunday, January 23. The event will be headlined by Jon Moxley defending the GCW World Title against Homicide, Joey Janela vs. Matt Cardona, Allie Katch vs. Ruby Soho and more.
Fightful will have coverage of The WLRD of GCW on Sunday.