I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a piece on death matches in wrestling but didn’t know how to put it across so after some thinking here it is.
I personally love death matches. That maybe because I’m a sick bastard, but I think death matches, especially when used correctly are amazing.
The reason I like it so much. Is because to me it shows how much wrestlers are willing to go to entertain us. Taking bumps on drawing pins, barbed wire etc, will hurt. There is no safe way to do it. There’s no “fake” about it. It will bloody hurt. And to me it just shows that wrestlers are willing to do anything to there body to entertain us.
I personally think death matches are used best to end a long feud filled with hatred. Story telling wise I think it’s great because it shows to us that they hate each other so much that will do anything no matter how sick to each other because the hatred has reached a high level. An example that comes to mind is the El Ligero vs Michael Gilbert street fight at PROGRESS Chapter 16. Over the last year, Gilbert has cost Ligero matches, including one to become number one contender for the progress title. Then eventually Ligero had enough and demanded to take Gilbert out of his comfort zone of a traditional wrestling match and to have a street fight. Now I thought this match was amazing. I was at the PCW VS ROH Shows as well as progress that weekend and I thought that was match of the weekend (no coincidence that Ligero was involved in one of the best matches at PCW vs Tomasso Ciampa) but I digress, the match with Gilbert was intense, it involved Ligero taking a bump on drawing pins, and Gilbert taking a cutter onto barbed wire. Gilbert was stuck in the barbed wire and when he was cut out his body was ripped to pieces with blood, and earned the respect of everyone in the room after just witnessing what he put his body through just to entertain us.
The reason I wrote this is because I often hear people say that death matches make a mockery of wrestling. I whole heartedly disagree. Companies like CZW and HXC who are known for their death matches are often ridiculed by others because of this. The way I look at it is wrestling is a form of entertainment and has completely evolved from the traditional style world of sport days. Wrestling has changed. It is about entertainment. And if people are entertained by death matches then I really don’t see the problem.
Another issue I have is people saying that death match wrestlers “can’t do anything else” to which I say Jimmy Havoc. Probably one of if not the best wrestler in the UK in 2014. Known for his work in death matches, but he is also an incredibly good technical wrestler, you just need to watch matches with Noam Dar and Zack Sabre JR to see he is not just a one trick pony.
Now, I know this is a subject in wrestling that has so many different contrasting views, which I will be happy to discuss with anyone. Tweet me @carefreedavies what you think!