Monday, March 28, 2016

Nine MORE Insanely Violent Pro Wrestling Matches!

A heartfelt celebration of the carnival of cruelty and the pageantry of pain, complete with attempted murder in front of a live audience, Japanese people hitting each other with household goods and enough animal abuse to give Ingrid Newkirk five heart attacks in succession. 

By: Jimbo X

WrestleMania 32 is just a few days away, and on paper at least, it looks to be the weakest WM card in at least a decade. Triple H taking on Roman Reigns? Glorified backyard wrestler John Moxley against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar? The Undertaker's 80-year-old-looking ass taking on Shane McMahon and his inability to throw authentic looking punches? That's supposed to be your marquee PPV for the entire year

Alas, while WWE's biggest show of the year is almost certain to disappoint, if you've got a hankering for some sublime in-ring carnage, all you have to do is point your clicker on over to the YouTubes and the DailyMotions and you'll bear witness to heaps of fundamentally absurd pro 'rasslin goodness. Sure, we've already covered some of the proletariat theatre's more befuddling and stomach-churning moments, but considering the sheer volume of wrestling madness out there (I could fill up an entire site with nothing but the batshit crazy things promotions in Japan are doing), I reckoned it was worth our collective whiles to trudge through the mass media abyss to unearth a few more sports-entertainment incidents that'll make you wonder why the divine being of your choosing hasn't smat the holy shit out of all of humanity by now. 

How inhumanely violent and/or idiotic can wrestling be, you may be pondering? Well, whatever your preconceived notions may be, I assure you - the bottom of the barrel is much, much worse than you'd ever liked to have known. 

So strap on your seat belts and turn off the part of your brain responsible for empathy, folks: it's time to revel in the absolute sickest, strangest and sociopathic recesses of the squared circle...

New Jack exacts revenge on an old ECW adversary by literally trying to murder him in public

You really can't talk about absurd violence in professional wrestling without bringing up one Jerome Young, a "talented" grappler from Atlanta who spent a majority of his career wrestling under the ring name New Jack. Never really a performer too keen on the whole "skill" and "athleticism" stuff, his shtick primarily consisted of mercilessly pummeling the crap out of foes with sundry blunt objects while "Natural Born Killaz" played on a loop for 20 minutes. While New Jack - believe it or not, immortalized in the song "El Scorcho" by Weezer - has no doubt severely injured many an opponent (among other highlights, he legitimately beat a man half to death with a baseball bat, severed an artery on an underage wrestler and was actually arrested for stabbing another man in the middle of the match), probably the closest he has ever gotten to actually murdering another person on camera came at Xtreme Professional Wrestling's 2002 event Freefall. There, he was involved in a scaffold match with Vic Grimes, an old ECW chum who severely injured New Jack during the infamous botched "Danbury Fall" in 2000 (which, it should probably be noted, resulted in New Jack being literally brain damaged and permanently blinded in his right eye.) Sensing now was his time to exact revenge, New Jack proceeded to launch Grimes 30 feet off the scaffold above the ring in their XPW tilt, sending his follically-challenged adversary crashing through several tables, bouncing off the ring rope and nearly being decapitated in the process. Rather than downplay the incident as an accident as would any non-brain-damaged sort, New Jack was far from shy about telling anyone who would listen that he did it on purpose - going as far as to state that he actually was trying to kill Grimes in the 2005 documentary Forever Hardcore

CZW ... where weed whackers are the biggest box office draw!

After Extreme Championship Wrestling went under in 2001, there was a big dearth in the North American garbage wrestling scene. Almost immediately, the northeastern indie promotion Combat Zone Wrestling rose to fill the void, complete with annual outdoor "deathmatch tournaments" that looked virtually indistinguishable from your garden-variety backyard 'rasslin set-up. With a cast of wrestlers somehow even less physically talented as ECW stalwarts New Jack and The Sandman, CZW in its early days had to really go for broke with the predetermined mayhem. Sure, we've seen barbed wire and fluorescent light tubes a million times, but say, have you ever seen a wrestler go after an opponent gasoline-powered lawn care equipment before? Such was the catalyst for the grand finale of CZW's first-ever Ultraviolent Tournament of Death in 2002, in which promotion hero Wifebeater (no, seriously, that was his name) broke out a weed whacker to finish off "Madman" Nick Pondo. The disturbing publicity ploy worked, however, as the wild and woolly incident immediately became an Internet hit and more or less put CZW on the map. Indeed, the iconic moment has more or less come to embody CZW as a whole, with the weed-eater finish being implemented time and time and time again ever since. 

CZW ... where hypodermic needles are fair game!

Of course, you can only watch people have their skin shredded off with lawn maintenance implements so many times before you are desensitized. With the weed whacker fu quickly losing its novelty, Combat Zone Wrestling had to come up with something fresh to freak out the masses - and since this is an industry where the working conditions routinely call for employees to be set on fire to earn a paycheck, I guess you could say the standard for shock had been raised and considerably. At 2009's Tournament of Death 8, grappler Thumbtack Jack (guess what his favorite office supply is?) decided to try something a little different in a contest against CZW owner DJ Hyde. In a "Jack in the Box" death match, Thumbtack brutalized his foe with the usual assortment of plunder - cinder blocks, glass window panes, your typical fare, really. But towards the end of the bout, however, he decided to break out a foreign object rarely seen in professional wrestling matches - a goddamn hypodermic needle, which he proceeded to shove through his opponent's cheek. Needless to say, the gruesome spot definitely made an impact on even CZW's hardened hardcore 'rasslin audience, with the medical instruments being trotted out by Thumbtack Jack in several subsequent matchups - including one bout where he decided to jam a syringe ALL all the way through both of his foe's cheeks and yet another where he stabbed his adversary with a hypodermic needle right on the sole of his foot

Big Japan ... home of the ever-popular Crocodile Death Match!

Perhaps due to excess radiation levels, wrestling in the Land of the Rising Sun has always been much, MUCH weirder than 'rasslin in the states. Interestingly, this manifests itself both in more realistic strong-style bouts where the wrestlers more or less beat the dog shit out of each other for real AND absurdist, self-reflexive comedy matches that are essentially satires - if not outright condemnation - of the pro wrestling biz as a whole. And then, there are bouts like this 1998 Big Japan Wrestling contest, which manages to be both irresponsibly violent and hilariously idiotic. For the most part, this bout featuring Shadow WX and Mitsuhiro Matsunaga - the latter kinda' looks like old-school WWF grappler The Ultimate Warrior, if he didn't take steroids and his diet consisted primarily of Hot Pockets - is  your standard death match. We've got people being crushed on barbed-wire wrapped boards, dudes being choked with baseball bats and a real crowd-winner involving a body slam onto a bed of razor-sharp spikes, but it's not until after the final bell sounds that things get really out there. That's when the refs put up a mesh barricade around the ring and the bout's loser, WX, is forced to wrestle a goddamn alligator (yeah, they billed it as crocodile, but we all know better.) Of course, it's an awfully petite alligator, all things considered, and WX - has no problem wrangling his cold-blooded challenger back into his container. The best thing about the match, however, is the palpable embarrassment displayed by WX, who has a look on his face like "this is the stupidest shit I've ever had to do in my entire life" throughout the whole regrettable affair. 

DDT presents the world's first Silent Match!

There is a fine line between idiotic and brilliant, and Japanese indie comedy fed Dramatic Dream Team (DDT) straddles the line better than anybody. It's kind of hard to tell whether the company is just plain offensive and stupid or if it is supposed to be some kind of sly commentary on the general offensiveness and stupidity of pro wrestling as a whole. While DDT has featured countless ideas that could be construed as both unfathomably stupid and subversively clever over the years - among other knee-slappers, one of their top performers for years has been an inflatable sex doll and they have the proud distinction of holding the first ever "gay or straight" match in the history of pro wrestling (which was essentially an "I Quit" match, only you had to make your opponent confess he was a homosexual) - but for my money, no match embodies the dual retardedness and genius of the promotion than the infamous "silence match" between NOSAWA and Muscle Sakai from 2007. What's a "silence match," you may be wondering? Well, it's a match where the competitors start off with three points, and every time they make an audible noise, they lose one. As a result, we get some truly inspired spots in this epic clash, including several moves performed in slow-motion, a mid-bout smoke break, brazen product placement for coconut water galore, a sequence where one of the wrestlers loses a point because he screams after his foe pinches his ass and the clincher - and quite possibly the greatest finish in any wrestling match ever: a grappler being disqualified for illegal flatulence. Forget Rauschenberg and Warhol and the rest of those dweebs; as far as I'm concerned, this is the real zenith of post-modern art. 

Japan ... where inanimate objects wrestle, and sometimes hold championship belts!

Throughout the history of pro wrestling two pieces of hardware - ladders and tables - have played pivotal roles in some of the pseudo-sport's most iconic moments. So, leave it to the ultra obscure Japanese promotion Saitama Pro Wrestling Company (SPWC) to give the oft-utilized instruments the venue to shine without all those sweaty meatheads around to soak up the spotlight that I believe we can all agree is rightly theirs to begin with. It's not a terribly exciting match, by any means (in fact, the whole shebang is over and done with in less than a minute) and one can't help but feel a little underwhelmed by the competitors - a mini-step ladder and not one of those 20-foot metal monstrosities and a table that, if I didn't know any better, was decorated in such a way as to mask the fact there may have been someone underneath it moving it around. Still, the energy from the crowd makes this nonetheless one of the most surreal matches (or condemnations) you'll ever see in the wild and woolly world of pro 'rasslin. Still a little too high brow for you? Well, you can always fire up the Internet and check out some of the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight contests, which includes a downright indecipherable deathmatch parody in which a half dozen competitors (one of whom is inexplicably dressed like Ryu from Street Fighter II) job to the company's defending strap holder ... a six-foot tall ladder

Four words: Apartment Complex Pro Wrestling!

DDT is a company known for its, well, experimental, model. In addition to the kooky publicity stunts we've already drudged up (Home Depot supplies as champions, matches where the loser has to publicly announce he's gay, etc.), the promotion is also renowned for its extremely in-depth, pseudo-storyline-driven "matches" that take place well beyond the confines of the wrestling ring. In simpler terms? A wrestler shows up at a random place with a film crew, he tries to procure a service - like, oh say, visit a campground - only to have a million billion heels attack him in a long, winding single take movie/bout that often exceeds an hour in length. In 2011, DDT decided to embark upon their most ambitious - and perhaps, unintentionally brilliant - anti-match with an hour and a half long opus that saw star grappler Kota Ibusha (who, to those not in the know, truly is one of the best wrestlers on the planet), attempting to purchase a rental space (why he's dressed in his ring regalia while apartment hunting, I can't tell you.) For the next 90 minutes, he floats from floor to floor, encountering - and then beating the living dog shit - out of a whole host of bizarre characters, including, but not limited to, an S&M gimp we meet humping a birdhouse, a kickboxer who has tennis balls scattered all over his floor and probably not-of-age pron posted all over his walls and a guy whose sole possessions consist of inflatable pool toys and half-empty pots of water. It's even funnier once you realize that all of these wackos are actually pro wrestlers on the DDT roster - something tells me that you'd never see John Cena or Triple H agree to pretend to be homosexual lovers or have Roman candles launched at them for the sake of a comedic bit that's really more Jackass than Ring of Honor, which ultimately, makes the entire package all the more satisfying. Oh, and just wait until you get to the part with the impromptu watermelon eating-contest, the two-on-one brawl with the egg-throwing meth-manufacturing twins and the concluding rooftop battle, which may very well consitute the single greatest backyard wrestling match ever recorded on tape.

Big Japan ... home of the Grocery Store Death Match!

Sometimes, the squared circle is just too dang restrictive when it comes to absurd violence possibilities. Sure, you can throw a lot of weaponry into the mix, but at the end of the day, you are still stuck pretending to beat the shit out of each other surrounded by four ring posts and a bunch of rope. To really maximize the creative destruction, you've sometimes got to step outside the confines of the arena and turn the boring, banal real world we all know and love into a smorgasbord of unusual brutality. Hence, the premise of this infamous 1995 Big Japan bout featuring up-and-comer Kendo Nagasaki doing battle against no less than four veteran challengers. Sure, things start off normal (well, normal enough by Japanese standards), with the wrestlers duking it out in makeshift ring outside the entrance of a grocery store. Well, as anyone who has ever watching 'rasslin before can tell you, the shenanigans most certainly will not remain locked to the ring (here, just a rain tarp surrounded by chicken wire.) About three minutes into the contest, the competitors are already brawling in the audience and whacking each other with chairs, and then, the fruit stand fucking gets it. Things only get weirder from there, with Pepsi cans becoming weapons of mass destruction, a wrestler having his face slammed into raw chicken and a segment containing quite possibly the only instance of a figure four leglock being applied in a bakery in recorded history. Oh, and you're going to love the part with the projectile hot dog cart - it's a real crowd-pleaser, to say the least. As asinine as it all is, probably the weirdest thing about the whole affair is the post-editing, which includes the use of this really out-of-place melodramatic moments and a few fourth-wall breaking segments where the action stops and we see wrestlers being treated for their injuries. And after all the mayhem and madness - including a very Platoon-esque sequence where the camera surveys all the broken glass and crates the wrestlers created - all of the competitors drop the violent madmen gimmick and act chummy as can be, even helping one another shave their eyebrows. Maybe it's a super-duper subtle allegory for the relationships between the U.S. and Japan in the wake of Hiroshima or something - 20 years later, I'm still not sure how any of us are supposed to interpret this stuff

The first ... and hopefully only ... Alive & Dead Food Death Match!

Linguistically, we all acknowledge the term "death match" is a misnomer. Yes, they are indeed bouts in which performers intentionally mutilate and maim each other, but unless New Jack is one of the participants, I think it's safe to say that attempted homicide is never the core objective of the contests. That's what makes this 2010 tag team hootenanny between Jun Kasai and the Great Sasuke against the Brahman Brothers (the guys who pelted Kota Ibusha with ketchup in the Apartment Complex Death Match discussed above) such a hideously intriguing prospect - it's probably the only match out there that actually DOES involve the mass killing of living creatures as a part of the match stipulations. One part screwball comedy and one part Cannibal Holocaust, the thirty minute or so bout includes the use of several sea creatures as weapons; there's a spot where a snapping turtle bites one of the competitor's noses and a pretty gosh-dang hilarious bit where another performer smacks the shit out of another with a live octopus. Granted, your mileage may vary on the entertainment merits of such madcap mayhem, especially if you are one of those PETA-types that think you can't even sneeze on a kitten without committing a capital offense. That said, by the time the competitors start throwing flaming fish heads at one another and stomping live lobsters and lizards to death in the ring, you really, really have to start questioning the sanity of the Japanese citizenry. Once a fairly accessible bout on the YouTubes, finding the infamous Alive & Dead Food Death Match nowadays is a real chore, and it's pretty much impossible to stream anywhere online (since, in the wake of a bill authorized by Barack Obama in 2010, it's potentially material considered obscene under U.S. law.) Having now taken a near-urban legend status, this bizarre beyond interpretation throwdown remains one of the most talked about - yet rarely seen - "death matches" in the annals (anals?) of professional wrestling. 

And yeah, until we start actually killing people on purpose for our amusement, it's about as sadistic and unsettling as wrestling is going to get, I reckon. 


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