Recently in the past week the topic of blood and extreme levels of violence; in pro wrestling, have been discussed. As someone who has competed in what could be dubbed “extreme” matches, I thought I’d share my view on the matter and how I feel the extreme side of wrestling should be utilised with in the business.
Now firstly, this was brought to my attention after Jimmy Havoc’s, match at ICW last Sunday. Jimmy gets a lot of stick from people for being a one trick pony with no real talent. This is far from the case. I’ve always really appreciated Jimmy’s lesser known work as one of the best story tellers in the country (bar progress where he’s been given the opportunity to really showcase this talent). Jimmy also is a good little technical wrestler and I’m sure could hold is own in a ‘wrestling match.’
But as much as I appreciate this about Jimmy it does bug me slightly when I see him involved in over the top death matches. Now these are outstanding to watch; but I personally don’t think they stand up to a street fight that has all the build up and story that makes it an epic main event; something that Jimmy could pull off.
For me the greatest hardcore match was Triple H vs Cactus Jack at the Rumble in 2000. It was a street fight that had been building for months and had all the drama of a main event feel. They told a fantastic story of ‘The Game’ now taken out his comfort zone and into Cactus’ world. One guy got busted open (the heel) and the match had two or three truly shocking moments. The rest was a violent contest that built to these moments, making them all the more exciting. There’s an art to pouring drawing pins on the canvas, then teasing who will be the first in them for the next couple of minutes of the match, making the audience hungry to see this insane bump. There’s no art in lighting something on fire to whack each other with it. These matches need that build and I think they should only take place if a story line requires it. If they happen more and more often for no real purpose; then before you no it this is all what audience expect and the rest of the card is fighting an uphill battle.
Sticking to the subject of hardcore; the other topic that had been discussed is unprotected chair shots. Now I say this comes down to your own personal decision. It’s a huge sacrifice. You run the risk of severe brain damage, blood clotting on the brain; just a whole bunch of potentially fatal risks that go along with this. I hold my hands up and admit, that the four chair shots (4 shots out of 736 matches) I took the shot unprotected. The last one being by Colossus Kennedy. The reason being is that I just think the impact can be lost if there’s a hand in the way and it’s not as shocking to the audience, this could be something you’ve been building to all match. But ask me if I advise it? Absolutely not. Especially if you do these matches regularly. The headaches and weird dense feeling I get in my head from time to time is no where near worth taking them shots on a British salary and in front of audiences around 200-900 people. I know if ever the match comes again that I’m required to take a head shot, my hand will be there to cushion the blow and that the match will be on the card because there is a reason behind these two characters colliding in such a violent environment.