Monday 16 February 2009

The Most Psychotic Wrestling Matches Of All Time

Wifebeater Vs. Nick Mondo
August 31st 2002 - Dover, Delware
CZW: Tournament of Death
Barbed Wire Ropes 200 Light Tube Deathmatch

When people think of hardcore wrestling, often their first thoughts are of ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) - the promotion company that brought hardcore wrestling to the US, and thereby the mainstream. The thing is that whilst ECW was an amazing promotion, and its place in history is doubly assured, Philadelphia's Combat Zone Wrestling makes the average ECW pay-per-view look Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The Tournament of Death is an annual tournament organised by CZW since 2002, during which a number of wrestlers compete in various deathmatches in a knock-out formula similar to WWE's King of the Ring tournament. Unlike McMahon's boys, however, these tournaments include barbed wire, nails, thumbtacks, fire, and fluorescent light bulbs, and staggering amounts of blood loss.

John Zandig, Lobo, Ian Knoxx, Wifebeater, Nick Gage & New Jack VS The Messiah, Nate Hatred, The Backseat Boyz, Adam Flash and B-Boy
13th December 2003 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cage of Death V: Suspended
Cage of Death Match

John Zandig, the owner of Combat Zone Wrestling, is insane. Not just your every day "common or garden Terry Funk" insane...but your genuine not-happy-unless-he's-thrown-through-at-least-two-sheets-of-glass insane. You've seen hardcore matches, you've seen Hell In A Cell matches...but you've never seen the two combined so awesomely before.

For those of you who don't have time to watch the complete fifty-five minute dose of carnage, here's a highlight reel:

Terry Funk vs Sabu
8th September 1997 - ECW Arena, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ECW: Born To Be Wired
No-Rope Barbed Wire Match

Terry Funk is known for being old and insane. Sabu is known for being so insane that he was teamed with Rob Van Dam, and was known as the insane one. ECW are known for their psychotic matches.

The most psychotic moment of this match? When Sabu tears an 11 inch gash in his forearm, and (rather than calling for an end to the match), tapes his arm closed again, and carries on wrestling. God Rest You, Sabu.

He's not dead yet, but there's a every chance he's going to be by the time I've clicked "Publish Post". It's what we comedic Internet writers refer to as "The Winehouse Factor".

Sabu vs The Sandman
17th September 2005 - ECW Arena, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ECW Hardcore Homecoming
Stairway To Hell Match

"Ladder matches are cool, aren't they?"
"You know what sucks about them, though?"
"When the winner gets the belt down, the match is over."
"Wouldn't it be more awesome, if instead of a belt, they picked up a massive spool of barbed wire, and then used it to beat on each other."
"I'll get Sandman and Sabu. They'd be up for it."
"Isn't Sabu dead?"
"No, but he might be by the time we book the match. We'll have to move fast."

Note the point where Sabu breaks his jaw, duct-tapes it up, and keeps wrestling. This should highlight how overused the word "Hardcore" is in professional wrestling.

Atsushi Onita, Mr Gannosuke and Katsutoshi Niiyama vs Mr. Pogo, Mike Awesome and Hideki Hosaka
FMW's Exploding Swimming Pool Deathmatch


If we lived in a sane world "Exploding Swimming Pool Deathmatch" would be a Googlewhack. In this world we live in, it throws up 15,400.

Atsushi Onita is known in the field of extreme wrestling for being a cross between Abdullah The Butcher, Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Sabu and John Zandig. He is quite literally insane, and for his retirement match chose a Barbed Wire Steel Cage Exploding Ring Deathmatch. If all retirements were that cool, I'd pay more attention at office celebrations.

He also once took part in a "No Rope, Barbed Wire, Barricade Electric Land Mine, Double Hell Death match". I understand all of that apart from the "Barricade Electric Land Mine Double Hell" bit. Fuckery knows what that means.

Here's the Exploding Pool Death Match. If at any point you find yourself going "What the fuck?", the answer is "Yes, that's a sickle.".

Megumi Kudo vs Combat Toyoda
FMW's Explosive Barbed Wire Match

It's very, very easy to be critical of hardcore or "garbage" wrestling. I'd be the first to admit that a few of the matches in this article push the gimmick over the actual match quality. You've got a table, hey, you're going to use it, right? Hell, if you're the WWE you might plant someone through it at the twenty minute mark - if you're CZW you'll probably go for a 100 Tables Match, and if you're Atsuhi Onita you've probably invented the Exploding Table Landmine Bungee Cord Submersible Death Match.

This match, however, is a true classic for the exact opposite reason. Much as the greatest zombie movies aren't about the zombies, the greatest gimmick matches aren't about the gimmick. Don't believe me? Watch this and stand amazed.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Terry "Sabu" Brunk

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