Every week on Place to Be Nation, a combination of correspondents review one match from the outer regions of the conventional wrestling bubble. This is a deep cut of sorts that should be of interest to the hardcore wrestling fans hoping to consume content for every region in the professional wrestling world.
All Dojo Wars events are posted on their youtube page.
This was the first deathmatch in Dojo Wars history. Dojo Wars features developing talent on the independent scene but does mix in “bigger” names from time to time such as Rhett Titus and Drew Gulak.
DJ Hyde comes in after Emil to talk about Dojo Wars and the wrestlers being the future of wrestling or at least the future of CZW. DJ is a guy that gets so much shit from certain sections of wrestling fandom and so much love from others it’s hard to really see anything he does with out that twinge or shade. As I watch this, I just can’t help but think about his motives and if he’s truly being sincere here.
Jimmy Lloyd went to PWG BOLA a few years back and when everyone was booing Gulak & Biff for being from CZW, he defending the company with a bellowing roar of “CZW”. With that mindset, it’s nice to see Lloyd here getting to actually start to be a part of company he has a lot of love for. SHLAK is a big scary monster man that legitimately scares my wife in the perfect way for wrestling. SHLAK has been working in CWF-Mid Atlantic lately actually getting amazing heat.
The match is still a pretty standard deathmatch fair as SHLAK really beats the crap out of Lloyd. Lloyd seems to work a CZW based Tommy Dreamer from WWE tribute gimmick that probably has just enough legs to get him to cult status in CZW and other similar size indies. Lloyd gets the crowd behind him pretty solidly and hits a pretty nice looking swanton on to SHLAK under a barbed wire board. SHLAK hits a reckless driver off the apron through a door covered in thumb tacks for what is the biggest and craziest spot of the match. Both men bleed everywhere possible and cover the ring in blood. SHLAK reminds me of a time when this kind of wrestling wasn’t just dumb and pointless but dangerous and cool. SHLAK wraps himself in barbed wire for an elbow drop off the top that seemed fruitless but was just awesome.
Deathmatch wrestling isn’t for everyone but who the people it is for it is everything that is great about wrestling. Visceral violence covered in blood and guts. Passion and commitment rarely seen in any other form of entertainment. I stopped watching deathmatches regularly years and years ago at this point. Seeing it done like this by young men looking for a leg up in the business where you can tell they are enjoying and loving it, makes me forget the sleezer broken down side of the culture of deathmatch that involves old men trying to hold on to the money, fame, and glory of their salad days.
Deathmatch wrestling is my ultimate guilty pleasure in wrestling. I don’t know what that says about me as a person but I have never been turned off by the gore or violence and see it for it’s sideshow, carnival glory aspects that it tries to adhere to. I will fervently argue there is a right way to have a deathmatch and a wrong way. Doing crowd walks and mindless weapon shots are not appealing to me. Ditto a stunt show match where it is just building to a big spot that may or may not look half botches. The kind of deathmatches I enjoy have insane spots but also a layer of storytelling that intertwine everything together.
It is weird for a casual viewer to see 100 shows under a CZW umbrella and this being the first death match. Dojo Wars presents a great bare bone approach to wrestling that is accessible to watch the development of certain workers. The matches aren’t always good and you are unlikely to see any MOTYC level stuff, but the concept is unique in that it provides access to a training ground of sorts for the wrestlers that we as viewers haven’t seen at any point in pro wrestling history. That is the beauty of the technological revolution we are in where there is so much access for the pro wrestling fan.
The deathmatch proper has a lot of good elements to it. There is a clear heel/face structure. SHLAK looks the monster he is conveying. The spots that are built to are hit with good enough execution. Both bleed all over the dojo arena. One thing about the camera work is that while it is spotty and handheld in execution, that also adds to the overall grimey atmosphere.
The match takes place with no commentary and Emil Jay is in a white suit looking on at the proceedings. It is a beautiful image of a ringmaster that has went to far in trying to provide more paying customers. SHLAK winning feels like the right choice and could build to Lloyd getting the huge upset in the future. Overall, this was the mission statement of Dojo Wars. Two hungry guys continuing their development and we are lucky enough to be along for the ride.