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ben.

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  1. Tournament of Death 3 7/24/04 Smyrna, PA So apparently we have moved for the third iteration of TOD. We are at the Breakaway Tavern and are treated to John House outside of the venue with fans showing off the weapons that fans brought. It sounds like some of their CZW students are going to be fed to the wolves in the first round while the fans want to see Nick Gage take this years tournament. The fact that nobody has said Nick Mondo tells me he is either injured or has already went into retirement. Arsenal Vs Hardcore Ninja Two IWS guys get their shot in the tournament. Not sure how much experience these guys have in deathmatches, Arsenal takes a press slam to the outside through a log cabin light tube setup and a table and slices his face open but it looks like it stops pretty quickly although he is constantly checking on it. Ninja does a disgusting looking leaping Tombstone onto a stops up chair where as they’re coming down, he lets go of Arsenal. Luckily Arsenal tucked and slid down the chair back but man that still had to hurt. Ninja takes a nasty looking Air Raid Crash from the ropes through a table. Ninja in the full mask and gear doesn’t show the extent of any bumps and bruises he gets. Arsenal wins via a Fisherman Buster from the top rope through two light tube log cabins. These guys seemed determined to kill each other to get themselves over and came close on both remarks. Ruckus Vs Nick Gage Ruckus is not a deathmatch wrestler. His weight loss continues and he is looking great but you’re definitely seeing a lack of deathmatch wrestlers in the tournament this year. Ruckus had no intention of taking anything outside of chairs. He was layered up and making sure the barbed wire wasn’t going to get him. Gage wins with a powerbomb into barbed wire that might have brushed Ruckus’ arm. Gage gives Ruckus a chair shot after the match to the head that just looks brutal though as it not only hits him but also throws Ruckus’ head down into the barbed wire board which I don’t think Ruckus was expecting. Location: The Tub I’ve got a chiropractor appointment tomorrow so let’s hope by the time I’m reviewing some of the other TOD’s, I’m doing it from the elliptical or a strip joint with a mask on. Or at the very least sitting upright. Mad Man Pondo Vs Wifebeater Everybody has their own story to tell with every wrestler interaction but Mad Man Pondo was always a good brother when our paths crossed. I’ve never met Wifebeater but I’m still pitching somewhere east coast side to do a convention and bring in a bunch of the 2000s CZW, JAPW, and ROH guys. I’d love a picture with the SAT or the remaining guys of The Big Deals. Bonus points if it is at Station 44 or on front of the Breakaway Tavern. Wifebeater hits Pondo over the head with albums and it reminds me of the scene from Roger Rabbit. Apparently the fans brought all of these weapons and I don’t see any spiked dildo nunchucks so the fans haven’t fully tapped into the creativity they would have in later years. They hit each other with some crazy stuff during this match and Wifebeater takes a bump something that resembles hedgehogs or cactuses and the way they stick in, ouch. Pondo tried to avoid the last bump on the plasma tv but Wifebeater picks him back up and powerbombs him to not give him a choice. Wifebeater wins. Pondo has some great facials in this. Sexxxy Eddie Vs Ian Knoxx Sexxxy Eddie brings Zandig’s wife in the ring to give her a striptease. I initially thought it was ODB. Fans start a “Show your tits” chant. He strips down to a stuffed set of tights and gyrates on her. Ian Knoxx has a bit more size from last year. IWS Vs CZW student and you have to wonder why they didn’t try to fill out the tournament with more deathmatch guys. The ref has a full face cover mask on but the only weapons in the match are thumbtacks and tack strips stuck to a board. They stall and tease a thumbtack spot which pops the crowd when Eddie takes a double arm DDT into them. There are so many thumbtacks in the ring that they’re slipping in them. They do a lot of thumbtack spots and what looked like the finish but somehow wasn’t was Sexxxy Eddie taking a middle rope choke slam where Eddie landed on his head and neck. Eddie tried to put himself in a trash can and moonsault off the top rope which didn’t really work but luckily didn’t kill either of them. Knoxx ends up taking a slam from the top rope to the outside through the tack strip board with thumbtacks on it set up on chairs for Eddie to get the win. Green Phantom Vs Necro Butcher The last of the IWS guys and at least Necro’s punching bag has some size to him. This show is apparently sponsored by Gamecrazy. I can only assume this type of frivolous spending is why they went out of business. This breaks out onto a bar fight. I love it when some guy just starts stiffing the shit out of Necro because you know Necro sees this as a free pass to just throw bombs. You have to assume that Necro told Phantom to just beat the shit out of him but if he didn’t and Phantom has the balls to do this to Necro, he belongs in this tournament every year. Phantom does a top rope double stomp to the outside with a skateboard with light tubes and cuts up Necro’s back. Necro is ready to reply and it is fucking brutal. A stiff kick to the face and then Necro SWINGS A CANDY MACHINE AT GREEN PHANTOM AND FUCKING CLOCKS HIM~! I’m sorry I ever doubted this match and I may have peed a little in the tub. Necro says fuck this guy and I think Phantom is regretting the last few minutes right now. Phantom should have used this to unmask and become a fucking deathmatch legend. Necro wins. Green Phantom never unmasks, runs back to Canada and never fulfills his destiny of murdering dudes across the world in Japan, CZW, IWS-MS, etc. I’m assuming this match with Necro had to scare him away from a deathmatch career in this match because if he could have consistently worked like that, I’d seek out all his matches. Location: Top Floor I moved back the big tv for late night viewing. HighSpots really needs to create variables in the accounts to store last viewed for shows. I’m willing to help if it will keep me from having to remember my own time stamps. JC Bailey Vs Chris Cash Two guys taken from us too soon. Bailey works over Cash’s armpit of all things, kicking and stabbing a light tube into it and then biting it. Bailey does a spot where he makes it look like he gets impaled with a shard of the tube which is pretty cool. Cash is cut up all over from the tubes. Bailey buries Cash in light tubes and sentons onto him for the win. Sexxxy Eddy Vs Arsenal I spelled his name wrong in the last round but don’t feel the need to go back and change it. He is actually in decently good shape here. I think the last time I saw him, I thought it was Joel Gertner. Arsenal misses a kick to a light tube and ends up booting Eddy in the back of the head. Surprisingly Eddy is taking most of the tube spots. Tables get turned and Arsenal takes a nasty light tube against the back of his neck which it looks like opens it up. Arsenal damn near KOs Eddy with the bottom of a trash can where you can even see the camera guys wince. They tease a top of truck spot but then bail on it which pisses off the crowd. The crowd actually ends up behind Sexxxy Eddy as he hits a bottom rope inward flip onto Arsenal for the win. It looks like he nicked an artery though as you can see blood geysering from his forearm and he actually catches some of it in his mouth as he poses. They immediately duct tape it when he gets out of the ring and the crowd is HYPED. Zandig says they called an ambulance for Eddy and he is no longer going to be in the finals. The crowd loves him now and he looks like he will be a huge star in CZW. JC Bailey Vs Wifebeater Bailey starts off the match with using Wifebeater’s weed whacker on him. Sacrilegious. Bailey is hitting Wifebeater with everything. Wifebeater returns the favor and of course we get the yearly salt spot with Bailey getting that and then hot sauce poured on his back. They end up fighting to a truck that has a bed filled with light tubes and cardboard underneath with Wifebeater giving Bailey a sky high into them for the win. This means we will see a rematch from TOD 1 no matter who wins the next match as the two guys fighting in the next match both lost to Wifebeater on his way to the finals of the first TOD. Necro Butcher Vs Nick Gage They brawl all over. Necro does a flip for no reason onto a chair, never took him for a spot monkey. They do the bar fight spot and Gage makes it clear that he does not want to get hit. Necro hurricanranas Gage from the top turnbuckle to the outside through a plate of glass sitting on chairs. Gage’s right arm is bloody with glass stuck into it and he is moving slowly, that bump had to hurt. Gage does the boot scrap to Necro with a plate of glass in front of him and the glass carves up Necro’s left arm and chest area and looks like it might have caught his face a bit too. A distraction from BLKOUT and a powerbomb through a pane of glass gives Necro the win. These guys are just destroyed at the end of this match and I don’t know how Necro is going to have another match after this. If you want to see two guys finish a match on autopilot then watch this ending. Match started slow but got absolutely violent towards the end. Necro Butcher Vs Wifebeater This show has been all deathmatches. This is a rematch from the first round of the first TOD which Wifebeater won. They’re hitting each other with a bunch of fan made weapons. Wifebeater giving Necro a suplex from inside the ring to a chain link fence covered in light tubes straddling the ring and barricade is brutal but luckily it stays straddled and doesn’t come down with them. Both men’s backs are bloody. Necro is spent and can barely move, needing to be helped onto the truck for what I can only assume will be the final spot. The Mondo spot this year is Wifebeater sidewalk slamming Necro from the top of the truck through three tables with one on fire to win TOD 3. This show didn’t seem like it was going to deliver on paper with it missing a lot of the regular deathmatch guys, Mondo, Backseatz, etc. but was surprisingly good with Necro having a hell of a run in the tournament.
  2. This is something not a lot of people notice or think about so good question. You can see people in there sweeping what they can and in the matches that break up the tournament the mat looks relatively clean. There are a few points during the shows where you see a guy get in the ring and bail with the camera picking up him saying they need to get the tube fragments out of the ring. I assume that Smart Mark cut out a lot of the cleaning and I should keep an eye on if there are any canvas switch outs because I know at least from the Deathmatch Tournament I attend in Denver, they swap out canvases in between rounds so that the non-deathmatch matches aren't bumping around on errant tacks, glass, tubes, or bloodstains.
  3. I'm really looking forward to their 7/24 show and didn't realize that they had a show up already, I'm going to have to check this out. I love the BloodSport shows with the BloodSport show Mania weekend being one of my favorite shows of that week so I am fully up for more promotions like this popping up.
  4. Tournament of Death 2 Dover, DE July 26, 2003 Location: my bed I took a nap in between viewings. Pain in my back is still going so I’m going to lay here and try and watch a bit of the next show. No video packages this time, straight into the first match with panes of glass in the ring. Zandig Vs Spyder Nate Webb So apparently they did somehow turn the end of last year into a storyline. It makes you wonder if they actually turned this into an angle or Ian just needed some money. I still love hearing Wheatus and it puts Nate Webb in the running for one of the greatest intros in pro wrestling. Nate Webb tries to play a heel and run his mouth and stall in the deathmatch. It works a bit and then Zandig just starts to murder him. Webb does some crazy bumps. Webb sets up a pane of glass over some chairs over Zandig and then moonsaults onto it with a chair which looks brutal since the glass is shattering over his face. Zandig hulks up and powerbombs Webb through it. Match is used to get over the rivalry and Webb dies for us to accomplish that. Post match promos are a fun addition. They also show Nate Webb missing a chunk out of his arm. I’m always intrigued by the post match war wounds so I loved seeing this. JC Bailey Vs Nick Mondo Another IWA-MS Vs CZW match. Bailey looks so young here. These guys are wearing the prototypical Indy gear that the pretty boys wore just before pleather. Mondo has Bailey move rope con Hilo to the outside onto a ladder on the asphalt which looked like it hurt. Bailey is bleeding from the back from tube shots and gets dragged through the tube particles on the mat. He gives Mondo a double stomp with tubes to Mondo’s stomach and an Assault Driver through some tubes set up on chairs. Mondo wins with a what I can only describe as a burning hammer that he sits out for through a bunch of light tubes positioned between two ladders. This was more tame than his run last year. With him working with Zandig in the next round, I assume that changes. Mondo in the post match promo mentions he has broken bones in his wrist and is still wrestling in the tournament. This guy has always been a tough son of a bitch. Necro Butcher Vs Corporal Robinson Corp got my name off a talent sheet one time and was trying to sell me Gathering tickets to find his drug habit. A good wrestler though, I will tell you that. Necro continuing that downward spiral that never really stopped. Corp drops a bunch of glass out of a cooler into the middle of the ring to start the match and these two just start beating the shit out of each other. Like you want to see guys use a little bit of weapons but just punch each other, this is the match for you. You still see some insane things like a nasty Death Valley Driver through light tubes positioned between chairs and Necro getting his lip stapled to the turnbuckle but if you want to see a bad fight, this. This. Corp is also a good promo, looks like a badass here and makes you want to seek out more of his matches. Not the later stuff though. Ian Rotten Vs Nick Gage Rotten calls the fans scumbags. Pot meet kettle. Gage immediately starts stabbing him with a fork. A fan brought a 2x4 with tampons on it. Yikes. The first half of the match is Gage stabbing Ian with a fork and then baseball sliding tubes into his face with the second half Ian slowly hitting and jabbing Gage with weapons with Gage getting a few hope spots. Nate Hatred interferes and puts Gage through a table with light tubes for Ian to get the win. Trent Acid Vs Z Barr Starts out as a squash. Trent is so good in the ring. Z Barr gives Acid a Five Knuckle Shuffle but they call it a Donkey Punch and i will never think of it the same again. Z Barr is sloppy during this match, messing up his signature stuff but ends up eating two Yakuza kicks. Location: The Tub My back is not in any greater shape as the disc is definitely pinching on a nerve so I’ve taken a half day off of work and am planning to soak in the tub to hopefully relieve some pressure. Plus, watch some deathmatch wrestling. But of course where I left off at is not a deathmatch but some schmozz. Chris Cash Vs Jude Vs Niles Young Vs Cory Kastle Vs Rick Feinberg Vs Ian Knoxx Jon Dahmer is the referee. This is guys just getting their shit in. This is a CZW student showcase with Dahmer in there directing traffic as a ref I assume. Like any student showcase, they had a bunch of practiced spots that looked decent and some ad libbed stuff that they undoubtedly worked on at practice the next week. Ian Knoxx looked decent but it looks like he retired in 2004 and only came back for memorial shows afterwards. Rebel, Flash, and Frazier come out and beat down Knoxx and trash the crowd and then say Knoxx and his partner will wrestle them at the next show. Johnny Kashmere Vs Nick Berk This was on open contract match and Nick Berk showed up. Completely unrelated to this match but does anyone know what happened to Ric Blade? Guy seemed to miss 50% of the moves he tried but would take insane bumps. Looks like he hasn’t wrestled since 2003. Anyways, cheating from Dewey and Trent but this is a fun little match. Berk looks like a smaller Buff Bagwell with a less shitty attitude. It’s too bad he never got a real look by any other promotions. Ian Rotten Vs Necro Butcher This bracketing sets up a guaranteed IWA-MS Vs CZW finals and a shot for each group to show their best deathmatch and one up each other. If I had to take a guess, these guys are going to punch the shit out of each other and hit each other with hurty things but not fake any insane bumps. Ian hops on the mic for heel heat but opts to make them laugh in the end. Slow match with a lot of violence but their athleticism (or lack of it in Ian’s case) couldn’t keep up with the psychology they were going for in some spots. Ian is just holding a blade in his hand for a portion of the match while Necro beats the piss out of him. Necro gets crushed by a flat screen television by Ian and holy shit. It dawns on me that the final could be Mondo Vs Necro and I am hyped and cheering even more now for Necro. Necro gets a strip of tape with racks stuck to his chest and you can tell how much pain he is in when Ian tries to pull them off. Whoever brought this kendo stick tube thumbtack contraption is a sick fuck as it is just brutal when Necro sentons with it on Ian on the asphalt. Unfortunately unlike my deadpool every year, Ian wins this match and ruins my dream of a Mondo/Necro final. But I do have to say that if this is an advertisement for King of the Deathmatch, I may have any streaming goal in a few weeks. Zandig Vs Nick Mondo Definitely teasing the Zandig/Ian finals. But this could also be a catapult for Mondo. Highly unlikely Ian goes over in the final unless this is going to be a prolonged angle that sees a CZW guy win the IWA-MS tournament. Mondo looks haggard walking into this match. In either some foreshadowing, a tease, or someone’s ineptitude, the log cabin light tubes were not on the 6 tables set up next to the roof so Mondo has to call over to the ring crew to have them set up which delays the match. This heats up the crowd though so it seemed to work. This is more about the gimmicks than anything else and Mondo takes an absolute beating with the weapons. Mondo and Zandig take the insane roof bump and the tables might as well have been particle board as they don’t save either of them. Honestly I think if they would have just started the match on the roof then Mondo wouldn’t have needed to take all the unneeded bumps and the unexpectedness would’ve made the crowd molten. And for whatever fucking reason, they decide this wasn’t the finish. Apparently they wanted Mondo to go into the finals which is why it continued which makes no sense to take the bump before. Or they should have just had Mondo roll onto or land on Zandig after the big bump for the win and make everyone question if there would be a finals or if Ian would win with a bye but that is just my bathtub quarterbacking. Both semi final matches had different dynamics. Both had spots that were cool and other parts that made no sense. If I had to watch another one of these matches though it would have been Necro/Ian. B-Boy and Messiah Vs Ruckus and Sonjay Dutt Ruckus is partway through his insane weight loss journey here, looking way smaller than last year’s TOD. It has been a while since I’ve seen B Boy wrestle and damn his kicks were always so good. Messiah is apparently part of Hi5 now and also a heel. Ruckus with some great high flying spots and Sonjay shows some fiiiiire! The finish is a giant kick from B Boy leaping off Messiah’s back to Ruckus, it nearly comes from out of nowhere and just destroys Ruckus. Great finish. Location: Basement Standing Desk It is a new morning and unfortunately I have to start work in a bit. My back still is not feeling great and I think a trip to the chiropractor is in order. But I’m in the basement at the standing desk watching on the 40 inch television for our main event. Ian Rotten Vs. Sick Nick Mondo Beautiful People Vs. Last Resort. A battle of independent wrestling music from the 2000s. Mondo opts for a gear change and is in white pants for the main which you have to assume is going to be covered in crimson by the end of this match. While this isn’t the Mondo Vs. Necro that I wanted to see or the Zandig Vs. Ian that was teased (And lets be real, that match wasn’t going to happen), this is still Mondo taking on one of the original American deathmatch guys. A lot of trading light tube shots. Ian gets busted open and gigged and then has a bucket of salt dumped on his head. Ian busts out a bearhug in the middle of the match to target Mondo’s ribs. Mondo takes the tournament with an M Bison (Double stomp) from the top rope onto Ian’s head which is positioned between light tubes, a pan, and a chair. Neither of these matches were as good as the semi-finals but it should have been expected that neither of these guys were going to do too much for each other. Passing the torch promo from Ian to Mondo. Mondo’s documentary goes pretty in depth about his career and its sad that Mondo had such a short career but the stuff he was taking couldn’t have been something that he could have done for a long time. I’m just praying that one of these next TOD’s has that elusive Necro/Mondo match and please don’t spoil when it happens or if it happens somewhere else, I’ll find it if it does although as Zandig talks about the IWA-MS/CZW Explosion Cage Match, I assume they hook it up there a bit. But before all is said and done we go back into working mode and they hype up the exploding cage match. Apparently it is just Zandig Vs. Ian.
  5. The service is ran by Vin Gerard, the Chikara regular who was Equinox and then unmasked back in the day. I feel particularly horrible because I think Vin was looking for help with the programming of the site early on and I declined in a DM which kills me because I would have loved to work on this. There are a lot of cool features and hidden gems on the service. I definitely recommend checking out Zona 23 for some weird outdoor Lucha deathmatch wrestling and they put up the old school ICW shows which I’m pretty sure is the first place I saw Low Ki in 2000. Another cool thing is the pop up fact shows like the old VH1 show. They did one on Joey Janela’s Lost in NY where they talk about the NYSAC nearly shutting down the show at a bunch of points and it is so intriguing to read about.
  6. Tournament of Death 2002 Location: My top floor couch I feel like death. My right leg is nearly useless as the popped disc makes most moving a chore and a lesson in how much pain I can actually take. So let’s relieve my pain by traveling back to Dover, Delaware on August 31, 2002. Did you know that the 2020 version of Tournament of Death was supposed to be in England and that I was considering going? I’ve done BOLA, I’ve done Best of the Best, I’ve done Slave to the Deathmatch, I really wanted to knock another tournament off my list. Oh well. We get the big block letters that seem synonymous with mid 2000s independent wrestling. If you’ve seen the RF or Smart Mark tapes, you know what I’m talking about. First combatant shown in the highlight is Nick Gage giving a chokebreaker 18 years ago. MDK all day. A lot of CZW originals in this added with the West Coast export Homeless Jimmy and Midwest export and 2000s deathmatch darling Necro Butcher and Toby Klein. I now realize that I had misremembered myself fandom. I realize I had actually bought a few XPW tapes in 2000 and decently enjoyed them but this was when ECW was still popular and never revisited the promotion outside of the We Wrestle show I would watch every now and again. This death metal highlight package is brutal. The amount of light tubes and barbed wire boards and blood is insane. What did I get myself into? We immediately get introduced to the outdoor venue which I feel is a staple of the TOD shows. I was always such a sucker for outdoor shows as a kid that seeing things like this was a fun change of pace. Zandig Vs Nate Hatred Eric Garguilo makes it sound like Zandig is running this show because he can’t pay his bills. Sounds like an Indy promoter. The crowd starts a “Fuck Rob Black” chant. I’m too lazy to look up in the timeline if XPW has moved to the east coast at this point, if Messiah’s thumb is missing, or if the snake is scheduled to eat the puppy on PPV yet. Zandig and Nate Hatred starting this off. I dig Hatred’s anarchy barbed wire contraption. If anyone knows Dewey, let him know I want to buy him a round and just talk about early 2000s CZW. This match has only a few moves before Rockin Rebel, Z Barr, and Danny Rose hit the ring and beat them down. The week before this viewing I saw a young Rockin Rebel challenge Sandman for the ECW title. He looks pretty much the same. Lobo apparently owns CZW right now. His group beats down both guys. They wrap Zandig in barbed wire and there is a barb dud pretty good into his midsection. They lay Hatred down on a table on the asphalt and then throw Zandig from the inside of the ring out into Hatred. The mic sucks so I have no idea what is going on but Adam Flash stays in the ring and now is going to wrestle Messiah who makes a surprise return. No match as he hits Carlito’s Way and pins Flash. So apparently we are in the timeline where Messiah is missing his thumb as his hand is wrapped up and he is clearly missing a thumb. Green Phantom and Arsenal Vs Hardcore Ninjas This is an IWS showcase match. These are four guys who seemingly never ventured too far from IWS their entire careers. This takes me back the 2000s Indy wrestling, spots and head drops. And weapons! But mostly spots. Necro Butcher Vs Wifebeater The crowd is hyped for Necro Butcher as his reputation precedes him. It is always interesting to see these guys who are staples of other deathmatch groups work in a different deathmatch group for the first tome. Wifebeater out with his bag of chips and the commentators are hyping this up as a deathmatch dream match. Big Mac Smack, memba him? They hype the staple gun up as this very serious weapon in 2002.. hahaha. Necro is the first to bleed on the show. Wifebeater aims for Necro’s forehead with chairs. Necro gives Wifebeater a top rope karate kick while Wifebeater is stuck in a trash can. Necro gets his shirt stapled to his lip with the staple gun which is pretty crazy. Necro seems like he hurt his leg at the beginning of the match of all things rolling outside on a trash can. Wifebeater puts a mouse trap on Necro’s dick which is hardcore for any era. Wifebeater hits a sky high on Necro from a platform through a bunch of chairs to to the asphalt for the win. They eliminate the IWA-MS Deathmatch champion in the first round. Necro looked good here and not as haggard as he would in later years. I think a 2003 WWE run for Necro would have made him the next Foley but instead we got a decent ROH run, a lot of Necro killing himself for Indy crowds, and a broken down man nearing getting murdered by Shlak. What could have been. Toby Klein Vs Nick Gage This is also Toby Klein’s CZW debut. Gage comes out with a H8 light tube creation. Gage takes the first light tube bump of the night and gets his forehead carved up with the remnants of the H8 tubes. Tack strips are all over the ropes. One breaks off and fans are collecting them. Someone still has one of those hanging on their wall to this day. Nick Fucking Gage chants in 2002. Baby faced Nick Gage looks a lot different than 2020 badass King Nick Gage and it is so cool that we are going to get to see some of that evolution through these shows. Klein loses in another IWA-MS/CZW battle. I imagine Ian Rotten was probably pissed watching this show. Homeless Jimmy Vs Sick Nick Mondo They leave the tack strips up because 2002 Indy death matches are about blood, not presentation. It starts raining on the outdoor show which could be the most hardcore element of all. Sick Nick Mondo in 2002 is young and looks great. They allude to the idea that there were rumors that Mondo would show up somewhere else. Apparently XPW was running their first ever east coast show at Viking Hall. So I guess it would make sense that CZW’s big tournament would be born from trying to fight for east coast supremacy with XPW while also taking a jab at Ian Rotten at the same time. This was Homeless Jimmy’s only CZW appearance and you have to think he was brought on as a fuck you to XPW. I wonder what the falling out between Jimmy and XPW was. These guys both do some pretty insane bumps with Jimmy launching himself to the outside onto Mondo at one point and then taking a crazy bump and catching his arm on his shopping cart a bit later. Homeless Jimmy takes a powerbomb on the outside through two chairs and a washboard which did next to nothing to save him from taking the bump on the ground. Ouch. Mondo at one point just punches Jimmy straight in the side of the head. Jimmy and Mondo have a great moment on the top of a Ryder truck where they tease throwing each other off. Mondo hits an ASSAULT DRIVER on Jimmy off the top of the truck through a bunch of light tubes and four tables. In the first round. How do they top that? They replay every single camera angle they have of it. It looks like Mondo came down after Jimmy hit the tables so Mondo pretty much came down with little concrete on his tailbone on the ground. This spot is insane even now, doing it in the first round of 2002 is insane and makes you question if it can even be topped during the show. I am going to assume it can’t. Jon Dahmer and Towel Boy Vs Chris Cash and GQ Vs Sonjay Dutt and Derek Frazier Vs Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere You have ECW’s towel boy managed what I think is supposed to be a knock on RF. A very young Sonjay Dutt and one of my favorite tag teams in 2002, The Backseat Boyz. SPOTZ! Tuttle nearly kills Sonjay when he lifts him over his head like he was going for a back body drop but holds onto the legs and sits out with it, nearly spiking Sonjay head first into the mat. New School and Backseats choreographed a spot for this. Backseats has a fun exchange with Sonjay, Acid was so good in the ring. Dahmer, the CZW trainer, double backdrops the Backseats and drops Acid on his head. I haven’t seen the T Gimmick in forever, I loved that move. T Gimmick on New School to finish the match. I would have killed for a Backseat Boyz Vs Hardy Boyz match, the Backseats were so good. Even dream matching them against Motor City Machine Guns, Young Bucks, and the other spotty teams of the 2000s is a fun exercise. It’s hard to say they were ahead of their time but had they lasted longer or came along with the same gimmick a few years later, there were so many good matches that could have been had. Nick Berk Vs Ruckus Vs Justice Pain The spots. The beginning of this is Justice Pain watching Berk and Ruckus run through spots at a hundred miles an hour with each spot seemingly a setup for the next spot as Ruckus at one point rolls himself out of the pin instead of going for the three count so he could post for the next spot. I have to give it to Ruckus, he was a chubby guy who could move but wanted to fly and went on a crazy weight loss journey to accomplish the goal of being a light heavyweight. Justice Pain joins in on the highspots with a quebrada and a great looking pescado. Ruckus at one point in the match darts a chair at Nick Berk’s head and hits a flipping Van Terminator onto a Tree of Woe’d Justice Pain. The names of theses moves with the Berkoset, Pain Driller, I love it. This was a good wrestling in the middle of a deathmatch show. Nick Gage Vs Wifebeater There are giant panes of glass in the ring. They call Nick Gage the future of hardcore, good call. Big back body drop on the glass and I cringe but at least he took it on his back with a shirt. Boot scrape from Gage to Wifebeater through a pane of glass and you can clearly see Wifebeater gig in front of the camera. Wifebeater pulls out a bunch of thumbtacks and they do some spots in them with Gage putting a handful on Wifebeater and then hitting a frog splash. Last glass spot is a second rope sky high. The lack of blood outside of forehead gigs and a little bit from the thumbtacks makes you think they got extremely lucky with the glass bumps. Brutal for the time I’d say. The announcer tells everyone about the after party and it makes me want to get a time machine and just live on the east coast from the mid 90s on. Location: My bedroom I switched from the 75 inch TV to the 55 inch since my back is still in horrible shape. I ate one of my fit meals (shredded beef, rice, and broccoli) and am now ready to see what should be a very, very violent deathmatch. Nick Mondo Vs Messiah The ring is surrounded by light tubes and Mondo and Messiah bring out even more. Messiah sells his hand since he doesn’t have a thumb to fully close his fist, what a smart thought. Living up to their reputation, these light tubes are brutal. Mondo is picking tube shards out of his elbow and has a bloody back. They do a good tease over a spot on the outside into chairs set up with light tubes on it. Messiah ends up taking a sick (no pun intended) bump through it to the outside. It looks like there is blood on the bandaged hand of Messiah that is missing the thumb. Mondo takes a back drop from the top rope onto a bunch of light tubes on a table but the table doesn’t budge, the spot looked absolutely brutal. Ref bump. Lobo’s army beat down Messiah and Zandig makes the save. Assault Driver finishes Messiah. This was a great deathmatch and Messiah selling his thumb told a good story. Nick Mondo Vs Wifebeater I assume the ring crew probably took a bit to set up the ring and I hope there was an intermission to give Mondo a few minutes to recover. Mondo comes out with a big bucket of salt (Things That Sting~!) and Wifebeater rushes out with the weed whacker. Their backs are cut up quickly from the tubes and Wifebeater dumps all of the salt onto Mondo. Mondo’s back is CRIMSON. The weed whacker spot finishes the match and you can just see the blood and skin fly off of Mondo’s midsection. This match was 100% these two just trying to make the other bleed. It wasn’t as flashy as the first round finish but remembering the salt and seeing the blood and then the weed whacker to the stomach made this match a spectacle. For no reason, Necro, Klein, and Homeless Jimmy hit the ring and then get beat down by the CZW guys. Yeah, that was a shot at IWA-MS and XPW. They were definitely bringing the Japanese deathmatch style to the US which ECW wouldn’t fully do. Looking back, it was weird to see Necro job out in the first round although he did it to the eventual winner. Mondo was the star of this show though even in losing the finals. I can’t remember Mondo’s career before this but this show makes you want to see Mondo just for the way he is willing to risk his body during a match. It really makes me hope that him and Necro had a deathmatch before Mondo retired which I’m not going to Google so I can pop if it happens during a TOD, you get so few moments to really pop for something anymore.
  7. I went to my first wrestling show since going to Future Stars of Wrestling in Vegas right when COVID hit (Ring of Honor cancelled their shows that weekend 3/4 of the way through my road trip). The show was Primos Premier Pro Wrestling doing a Black Wrestlers Matter show in a bar in Denver. The bar would only allow 50 people into the building including the wrestlers so there was a smaller crowd with clustered seating for people going together (with their names on the chair clusters) and everyone was required to wear their masks outside of the wrestlers, commentators, and the referee. Definitely a new world we are temporarily living in but the crowd was still rowdy and excited to see live wrestling again and it made me happy to be at a show since I'm used to going to 30-40 shows a year. The main event was a banger, two guys in Colorado who I think are going to hopefully be big names later are Marlion Bishop and Justin D'Air. Bishop has some size to him and is a daunting figure and D'Air is a good flyer who will put his body on the line for a spot but also makes the spot make sense. Anyways, just wanted to share. With the COVID cases rising, I am probably not going to go to any more shows for a while until cases start dropping. I signed up for the Jericho Cruise and assume I won't be at a live show until that point unless things get better and I'm able to journey back to Tokyo for WrestleKingdom. Be well good brothers and good sisters.
  8. Quick note: If any of you have ever been to a Tournament of Death, I'd love to hear your experiences. I am always intrigued by live accounts and that "On The Road" style review of how the day was (What did you eat on the way and how did you get there, what workers were wandering around and how did they interact, what sticks out in your mind that day). So post all that in here to help expand on the experience good brothers and good sisters! Preface When I was a kid in the 90s, I was your typical WWF fanboy. Growing up in Denver right after the Denver Auditorium was remodeled into the Buell Theatre and the AWA no longer had a viable arena to run (and WWF ran them out of town), the WWF was the only game in town. When I was 6, I became aware of another wrestling promotion when a later night scroll through the channels presented me with WCW Pro. Not as flashy as the WWF, I’d make note of it but wouldn’t really actively follow the shows for another two years or so. Around 1997, a kid in my class who I didn’t normally talk to walked over and showed me an ECW catalog because he knew I liked wrestling. I was shocked. I hadn’t known this level of violence before and I was still about a year out from really falling down the rabbit hole of professional wrestling and trading tapes through the Wrestle World boards. Imagine my even bigger surprise when my 12 year old friend let me borrow the Onita tapes he bought off of the internet! Fast forward to 2002 and I was hip to a lot of the forms of wrestling. ECW and WCW was dead, my enjoyment of the now-WWE was dwindling and the only thing that could really hold my attention was this backlog of AJPW and random death match wrestling I was finding and trading for. But one of my main problems being a 15 year old kid with a short attention span was the lack of commentary. Now don’t get me wrong, Japanese wrestling has commentary. In fact, it has glorious commentary with passion and emotion that can sometimes be lacking on American wrestling promotions. But no amount of studying the Japanese language or being absolutely attentive to the goings on could get me through an entire show in one sitting. It was this crossroads that I began to question my passion for American wrestling. Would my English viewing soon become limited to occasional Raw and Smackdown fast-forwards to see the one or two matches or angles on the cards I cared about supplemented by 70s, 80s, and 90s cards I had seen a half dozen times? Enter the indies. I had heard of the indies in 2000 but with ECW, WCW, and a VERY HOT 2000 WWF on my television, I had no need to seek out additional wrestling. But now in 2002 where I was hungry for a change, I needed to know more about that indies. This is where a new friend steps in. The friend that introduced me to ECW had long since stopped wrestling but a new friend at school had a similar propensity for hardcore wrestling but wanted something different. We met in high school and after learning of each other, we began to trade our tapes with each other and when I introduced him to tape trading on the internet, a whole new world opened. He had RF Video catalogs but didn’t know that on Crazy Max or The Video Zone, you could dub your tapes to trade with others. Quickly he began reading about Jun Kasai getting so beat up in a match that you could see the bone in his elbow. He immediately got the tape and suddenly a whole new world opened up to us on that first viewing of Un F’n Believable. I credit CZW and very soon after ROH with re-invigorating my fandom in professional wrestling. After seeing the initial CZW tapes, I found myself drawn to Best of the Best (even knocking a live Best of the Best off my bucket list on 2017 in Orlando) and then ROH’s style of professional wrestling. I still enjoyed a bit of hardcore wrestling but the evolution got too extreme even for the guy who sought out Sabu’s bicep tear and Jun Kasai’s elbow bone showing at the end of the match. But now, in this time of quarantine, I think it is time to give it another go. So as I lay here on the couch on the top floor of my house with a disc shifted from sitting too much, I am going to start and watch through every CZW Tournament of Death on the HighSpots Wrestling Network (Best 9.99 in the biz~!). Now obviously this won’t all occur in one sitting. Or from the same place. One thing about me is I always watch wrestling in some interesting places so this journey will be no different. Today it starts on the couch, tomorrow may be from the elliptical in the basement, the day after from the Electric Car Charging Station at the Target, the day after on an iPad as I lay in the tub drinking a Red Bull Vodka (from a wine glass so I can feel classy with my death match viewing), and if this virus ever lets up we will see if we can freak out passengers someday soon on a plane as I venture out for more live graps viewing. This journey will be a long road, let’s see how far away from the couch it will take me.
  9. I'm going to start dropping some footage on my Twitch stream every Thursday and Saturday. Pros: I'm going to drop some harder to find footage such as a fancam of Sammartino/Brody, some Hawaii footage, etc. Cons: I'm going to use this as an opportunity to see if I am any good at doing wrestling commentary. Saturdays will be a VLOG version of a DVDVR On The Road Review as me and my friend will be doing commentary and talking over shows we have been to exclusively. If you have a Twitch, you can follow at https://twitch.tv/ifightgiants
  10. Weren’t the Labelles’ also one of the first people to sell off to Vince too? As it pertains to SF, I feel like Patterson’s book mentioned that Shire decided to retire and once that happened, the business tanked and the promotion folded nor long after.
  11. The local Colorado lucha company that I've been filming is now working with me more to let me do more at their shows which is pretty awesome. They just had the STRONGHEARTS on their shows and definitely presented some clashes of styles that I'm working on getting uploaded over the next few weeks. For example, their main had one of the hometown boys tying up with both CIMA and Cassandro in a triple threat match. I never thought I'd see CIMA and Cassandro in the same match. I'm working on getting the others uploaded too. Septimo Dragon and Matt Sydal had a great match and then T-Hawk and Lindaman put on a great match with a local luchador and a luchador from Texas named Sairus that was great (and we got to hear T-Hawk chop Sairus through his souuuul).
  12. So I decided to try my hand at the classic DVDVR Road Reviews that Ray and Pete and Dean used to do. I'm not nearly as funny or as knowledgeable but I see a lot of fun shi-tuff so I thought I'd put one up and see what people think and maybe do some more https://medium.com/@ifightgiants/njpw-wrestlekingdom-14-night-1-road-review-6c7343c8c8fc
  13. Another match from the last IWC Legacy show. I'm pretty excited for this next week as tomorrow night I'll get to see El Vaquero Fantasma Vs. Negro Nevarro and Psicosis although which one I'm unsure and then I'll be off to Chicago for Survivor Series weekend. Anyways, enjoy Hikuleo Vs. Legacy King Vs. #IAMTHEPROVIDER
  14. GoD Vs Hijo De LA Park and Hijo de Fishman These last few months at this promotion has seemed like the Hijo de LA Park show. He gets this crowd on fire with help from GoD and they have a great match with the crowd invested and flipping out nearly the entire time.
  15. El Hijo del Santo is great in this. The main from the IWC Legacy show in Denver.
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