GCW owner Brett Lauderdale responded to claims that he ordered fake COVID tests to allow GCW performers to compete during the pandemic.
COVID-19 had a profound effect on professional wrestling, forcing the industry to make major changes. While WWE and AEW found ways to continue television production during the height of the pandemic by holding shows in empty arenas or having wrestlers serve as fans at ringside, independent wrestling faced an even greater challenge in keeping companies afloat without ticket sales or television distribution.
One of the ways that independent companies found a way to survive was to produce closed events and broadcast them, asking for donations to support the performers involved and charging to view the events on platforms such as FiteTV or IWTV. One such event was the GCW-produced Fight Forever, which was a 24-hour event broadcast from January 29th-30th 2021.
Now, Twitter user @DoxxxyStocksy shared screenshots of an independent wrestler named Dirty Ron McDonald has accused GCW owner Brett Lauderdale of asking him to make fake COVID tests for some of the performers at that event. The screenshots reveal the names of the talent involved, sharing the real names of SHLAK, Homicide, Rickey Shane Page, Matthew Justice, and Brett Lauderdale himself. He also made claims about talent reimbursement and travel.
Imagining how much Delirious drug dealer and Orin Veidt undercut each other for fake tests pic.twitter.com/1INR1kXFFU
— doxxy (@DoxxxyStocksy) May 25, 2022
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful reached out to Lauderdale and shared a statement on the GCW owner’s behalf:
Comment from GCW owner Brett Lauderdale on the fake COVID test accusations: “I’ve referred this matter to my lawyer and as much as I’d like to comment, I’ve been advised not to.”
Comment from GCW owner Brett Lauderdale on the fake COVID test accusations: "I've referred this matter to my lawyer and as much as I'd like to comment, I've been advised not to."
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) May 25, 2022
GCW regular performer Tony Deppen took to social media to defend Lauderdale, and his comments were echoed by former AEW star Joey Janela.
“Before every show we had a group chat where we’d talk about her recautions and the deadlines for our covid tests. I also had to sit out two shows cause my tests didn’t come back in time – and that was at the request of Brett.”
— “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela (@JANELABABY) May 25, 2022
Janela is no stranger to making headlines with GCW, and most recently found himself the subject of controversy when he performed a flaming superkick on his opponent and was unable to put out the resulting fire right away.