[NOTE/WARNING: PLEASE DON’T READ OR MOVE FORWARD IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH OR HAVE NO TOLERANCE FOR SEEING BLOOD. IN THIS BLOG POST, THERE ARE PHOTOS OF BLOODY WRESTLERS. PLEASE STOP READING IF THIS WILL MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE. I AM EVEN ADDING THE “READ MORE” OPTION ON THE FRONT PAGE SO PEOPLE CAN CHOOSE! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!]
I’ve seen a lot when it comes to professional wrestling.
There have been wrestlers sent through flaming tables. There’s been bloody battles. There have been hardcore matches.
Back in the day, I saw several of the original ECW shows, back when tumbling down a set of bleachers, fighting outside the building and using unconventional weapons wasn’t so normal.
There’s been “Stone Cold” Steve Austin spraying Vince McMahon with a beer truck (in Albany), or John Cena as a bloody mess, losing the WWE title when Edge cashed in Money in the Bank (also in Albany).
The Royal Rumble. Titles changing hands. Crazy and intense crowds and small crowds sitting on their hands.
Yep, I feel like I’ve seen it all. Until this past Saturday.
Visiting family in South Jersey, I opted to see if there were any wrestling cards in decently close proximity. I saw a handful, but the one that stuck out to me was Combat Zone Wrestling, also known as CZW. The federation is well-known among independent wrestling fans as having some of the best action out there, with a mix of great wrestling and some extremely hardcore and crazy matches.
As a fan of all aspects of wrestling, and having seeing several CZW wrestlers elsewhere, I thought it would be good to see them in their glory. Off I went.
Let me first say this — the bulk of the card was like many indy shows I’ve been to in that there were some amazing matches (AR Fox is simply incredible) as well as a few ho-hum ones. I could tell on some things because the crowd was either crazy into it or a little subdued. And, like some indy cards which use Internet Pay-Per-View or online shows, there were some angles/storylines that lost me, but I could tell if they were good or bad thanks, in part, to the crowd’s reaction.
Still, overall, I loved the card leading into the main event.
Then it took over.
See, I’ve never been to a card where they had to take a second intermission before the main event — just to set the ring up!
The whole time there, I wondered what a House of Hardcore match was. Now I know.
Long 2X4s were hooked on to each post. Wrapped around, high above, was barbed wire. There were chairs and bats wrapped in barbed wire. There was a stapler, a bucket of tacks (which, shockingly, wasn’t used). A table with barbed wire, a ring barrier, two pieces of plywood draped in — you guessed it — barbed wire.
Oh, I forgot to mention the board of nails.
There were some basics, too, like a trash can and regular metal chair. But most things (we’d find out later there was a power drill, of course with barbed wire), were downright brutal.
The match featured “Chainsaw” Joe Gacy (who I have seen in an Upstate New York federation) facing Matt Tremont.
Though I try not to swear much on this blog, there’s truly only one thing to say about this match:
Tremont was busted open in the first few minutes of the match after going headfirst into a barbed wire-covered chair, then toppling out of the ring and through one of the plywood barbed wire “tables.”
That was but just a preview of what was to come.
These two used pretty much everything in the ring, sans the tacks. Barbed wire was everywhere. Gacy actually used the stapler in two spots, including on the head, on Tremont.
I thought, maybe — just maybe, the stapler was empty. But one of the photos I took allowed me to close in on Tremont’s head and, yes, there was a staple.
I truly do wonder how somebody puts themselves through stuff like this. The crowd was into it and it was, by far, one of the craziest things I’ve ever watched in my life. So maybe adrenaline plays a part?
The ending came when Tremont wrapped Gacy’s face in barbed wire and pulled back, rendering Gacy unconscious and forcing the referee to, somewhat mercifully, call the match.
In the end, I was fully entertained. And as a “blood and guts” wrestling fan, I was highly impressed and gave mad props to both guys. But it also makes me wonder if it’s all worth it. I think only those two can be the ones to tell you yes or no on that one.
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