It’s the most violent time of the year again as we have entered death match season. GCW kicked things off with the Tournament of Survival, now it’s time for CZW’s annual bloodbath, the Tournament of Death. The infamous tournament has been a Mecca for death match wrestlers and deathmatch fans alike. It’s time to see what this year’s offering has brought. It was originally meant to feature Session Moth Martina but due to unforeseen circumstances, she was not there. That being said let’s dig into this mess of blood, glass and other household objects. It should be a spectacular ride. With each match, I have included a clip from CZW’s Twitter so if you like what you see be sure to check them out!
Doors of Death: Dan O’Hare vs SHLAK
How do you get yourself hated if you’re Dan O’Hare? You eliminate a returning favorite in SHLAK by scummy means. After a horror show of barbed wire doors, light tubes, and chairs, O’Hare won with a plastic bag assisted roll up. Both men went to war here with SHLAK murdering O’Hare with chair shots to the head, slams from the top turnbuckle through doors and even a flaming Elbow Drop. It was an exciting opening contest that saw the heel win despite being mercilessly beaten. He’s going to have some heat going into round two and not just from the Flaming Elbow Drop. The crowd was already hot as we saw Death Valley Drivers through light tube or gusset board doors. It was the opening taste of the madness to a tournament full of it.
Summer Fun time Death Match: Jimmy “Chondo” Lyon vs Conor Claxton
This wasn’t a match; it was a mugging. Claxton murdered Chondo with every object in this match, except the watermelon he brought to the ring as a fan dropped it. This summertime death match featured a pencil board, a pineapple, a noodle float full of cactus needles and a sandpit full of thumbtacks. How fun does that sound? Chondo got to sample them all, bare backed and bare footed including a whiffle ball bat of tacks to both bare feet. He also took a bowling ball to the balls and a light tube low blow. He would have been stretchered out after a Backbreaker to a chair but Claxton Double Stomped him off it and finished the match with a Piledriver on a van. Claxton progressed with no damage to him and looking like a supreme dickhead.
Shattered Dreams: John Wayne Murdoch vs Jimmy Lloyd
No this was not a Goldust themed death match. Instead, it featured a ton of glass. There were glass panes galore as last year’s winner, Jimmy Lloyd took on John Wayne Murdoch. This was pure carnage as glass flew everywhere. They took the action into the crowd, assaulted a “fan” and even saw flaming glass introduced after some interference on Murdoch’s side. Instead, Lloyd was able to overcome to Destroyers through glass panes and overcome to finish Murdoch with an Assault Driver through a flaming glass pane in front of his own help. This was by far the messiest match so far as there was glass and blood everywhere. It was a death match fan’s ultimate glass fantasy. Lloyd is going into the semis strong but also injured as he had to face off two opponents by the end.
Bundles & Boards: Big F’N Joe vs Casanova Valentine
Up next was a fellow Brit as Big F’N Joe was unsuccessful in his match against Casanova Valentine. This match featured an excessive amount of light tube bundles, gardening equipment, and barbed wire boards. This was the longest and most competitive first round match as Big F’N Joe dominated a lot of the match, using his hulking size to take control. However, his exposed legs and erm… big F’N Joe was often a target for offense. Casanova is a fan favorite so the crowd was hanging on his every move and willing him back to life when he was down and out. He got to use his garden strimmer in the match, dragging it across the back of Joe. In the end, he won the match by hitting Joe with a top rope Uranage through a barbed wire board, after being thrown through the others in the match. Valentine went through and the crowd was chanting “please come back” to Big F’N Joe. He is definitely someone who should be on everyone’s radar.
Home Run Derby Death Match: Murdered by Kicks vs The REP
Next up was a little CZW vs House of Glory blood feud as the CZW tag champs took on a House of Glory team in an everything but the kitchen sink deathmatch. This was mad as both teams went haywire with the toys at hand including but not limited to glass panes, a barbed wire chair, thumbtack bats and blowtorches. This may have also featured the most wrestling in one of these matches so far. It was a fun sprint between four heated wrestlers and their entourage. The HOG team got surprisingly creative with the weaponry once Matt Travis stopped being a wuss and took his armored vest up. This was an excellent intermission between tournament rounds. The REP got the win with a top rope moves through a glass pane. It would have been a glass pane on fire but their blowtorch stopped working.
Exploding Bat Death Match: Jimmy Lloyd vs Conor Claxton
What is better than a barbed wire baseball bat? An exploding barbed wire bat, that’s what. This was probably the shortest match of the show as Jimmy Lloyd lost to Claxton via roll up. It was a shocking end as it came so quickly and didn’t involve a hideous bump. Lloyd was hit by the titular bat and managed to hit Claxton with the Assault Driver through some factory sized light tubes. Unfortunately, Claxton withstood all of the abuse and won with a crafty roll up. Last year’s winner is out but was sure to give the ref a light tube to the on the way out. Conor Claxton is the first man through to the final but the crowd was not happy about it.
Texas Tangled Web Death Match: Dan O’Hare vs Casanova Valentine
This turned into a Mick Foley tribute match as Casanova Valentine was rocking a Cactus Jack shirt and using a bunch of Mick’s moves, including a hardcore variant of Mr. Socko. The spirit of Mick was unable to carry Valentine to victory though as O’Hare low blowed his way out of the Mandible Claw, kicked out of the Double Underhook DDT and was able to withstand the thumbtack boxing glove strikes. Both men tumbled through a barbed wire crate contraption and fought their way through an audience count. In the end an Inverted DDT into the barbed wire tumbleweed. It was a sad result for Valentine but the crowd gave him the appreciation he deserved as he left ringside. Again, the second-round matches were notably shorter than the first. That now means both hated men of their matches are in the final.
Fans Bring the Weapons: Matt Tremont vs Mance Warner
I’m deducting points from this match as there was a long section where the action happened away from the camera. They took the fight into the crowd, into the bleachers and far away from any camera. This meant that neither I nor the commentators had any idea what was going on until they were nice enough to start fighting ringside again. However, I will immediately re-add those points as the rest of the match was sheer carnage. These two are CZW favorites and both men went crazy with the weaponry provided. The Bulldozer Tremont, now a CZW legend won with a light tube bundle top rope Splash but was sure to show respect to Warner, who also fought like hell, especially after having his tongue stapled to a door. They pummelled each other with drums, beer bats, ring post mounted light tubes and more in a chaotic mix of brawling, wrestling, and savagery with the crowd being electric for all the bits they could see. Again, the intermission match provides an adrenaline pumping break from the tournament action.
Grand Finale: Conor Claxton vs Dan O’Hare
These two certainly went out of their way to make this match the most WTF worthy. Claxton and O’Hare started out how any other deathmatch usually does, by smashing light tubes of each other’s heads before escalating to something truly insane. They fought around ringside before Claxton walked off stating he had something better than a dildo to show the audience. Cue a scaffold above a barbed wire exploding trampoline. I’m serious. Claxton was waiting atop the scaffold, drinking a miniature of Fireball whilst waiting for Dan O’Hare to join him. Claxton and O’Hare share a drink, spit it back at each other then Claxton hit a slam off the scaffold and won by knockout. It was a fun and minorly hilarious way to end the tournament and give Claxton the tournament win he has fought so long to achieve.
So, there you have it, Tournament of Death 18 has come and gone. It’s sad that Session Moth Martina wasn’t there but the tournament still flourished. To some, this will just be a mess of glorified backyard wrestling. To me, this was another excessively fun mess of gratuitous violence and pure unbridled insanity. It’s not going to win any awards for the best-produced show but it was exceptional for what it was. There’s plenty to enjoy here if you enjoy the violent side of wrestling. Big F’N Joe deserves more attention, Valentine may be the best Mick Foley tribute ever and Jimmy Lloyd was screwed out of dual tournament wins. Who says death matches don’t have stories? Now to wait until next year and do it all again.
(All images courtesy of czwwrestling.com and CZW Twitter)