Asylum offers dispatches from the farthest reaches of Planet Earth.
This weekend I saw a horrific bloodbath for entertainment. If you've ever wanted the experience of watching a Roman gladiator match, you don't need a time machine, all you've got to do is head to Delaware and watch Combat Zone Wrestling.
Apparently Delaware is some kind of law-free zone for blood sports. I was lured to this event by promises that a guy was going be set on fire in the first match. I'd never been to a pro-wrestling match, but this tournament seemed to me the shadiest. Organized by Combat Zone Wrestling
, this aptly named "death match" was to take place in the middle of nowhere (in the backyard of one of the wrestler's parents). The event was BYOB and tickets only cost $20.
When we pulled in, the ticket takers asked if we had brought any weapons. Apparently, fans make weapons at home for the wrestlers to use on each other during the matches.
Read more about the bloodbath and the ensuing MedEvac
, after the jump.
After parking, we started drinking immediately, just like everyone else who was there. I guessed there were around 300 people (CZW's Web site claims 800), many of whom looked like they had never had and never would earn more than $20,000 dollars in a year.
The crowd may have been one of the rowdiest I've ever seen, full of women, children and the disabled; everyone was smoking and drinking; drugs were done openly. I would estimate that the average life span of the most audience members wouldn't go past five years from today. They were so haggard, so rough, so obese, that I can't imagine they had much life left in them.
Barbwire, Fire and Syringes
The first match was a "fire match." The ring ropes were made of barbwire with boards tied to the wire that were wrapped in lighter-fluid-soaked rags and set on fire. Yes, barbwire and fire. And this turned out to be the most tame match of the evening.
We saw everything. There were 12 matches: nine death matches as part of the tournament, and three regular wrestling matches. In each of the death matches the stakes were raised: a wrestler getting hit in the head with a cinder block was followed by a guy getting his head sliced open with a Sawzall. A man was hit with a wiffle ball bat wrapped in barbwire. Endless fluorescent light bulbs were shattered on wrestlers' heads and backs. Thumbtack Jack, a wrestler from Germany, brought a case of syringes that he stabbed into his opponent's head, until his opponent pulled the needle out. After putting Jack in a head lock, he stabbed the needle through Jack's cheek.
Engaging the Crowd
There was even an unscripted fight. During the three non-tournament, regular wrestling matches, the crowd went rabid taunting the men onstage for not bleeding for our amusement.
During one of the last matches, the crowd began chanting "worst match ever" and one of the wrestlers took exception to this. He singled out one very vicious fan, grabbed the fan's sunglasses and broke them in half, then took his cap and spit in it. The fan, drunk and enraged, climbed over the railing and tried to pick a fight but only ended up getting choke-slammed by security. He was dragged out wide-eyed, his shirt stretched out and covered in dirt, bleeding from the neck while the crowd jeered him, chanting, "Where's your glasses?"
Nick Gage, Saved by MedEvac
In the final match the two fighters looked like corpses, completely covered in broken glass and blood. They were supposed to break 200 florescent light bulbs on each others bodies, but in the middle of all this shattering Nick Gage (pictured above, in the Jordan jersey) was sliced open so badly he fled the ring for medical attention. All of the remaining wrestlers charged the ring in a violent "the show must go on" battle royal. Even the owner of CZW, who is also one of the wrestlers (the one who was hit by a cinder block), got back in the ring and was promptly thrown back out into a pile of glass panes and florescent light bulbs. Meanwhile backstage, Gage was bleeding to the point that the medical staff called in a helicopter.
They loaded Nick Gage onto the helicopter in a stretcher and he weakly threw up the devil horns to the crowd, much to their delight. Then some douchebags in an SUV started pumping the song "Mortal Kombat" and screaming "Fatality!" at the top of their lungs, which was disturbingly appropriate considered Nick Gage, who was supposed to win the match, might actually die.
"The horror, the horror ... "
In the past few days I haven't been able to stop thinking or talking about the death match. It has given me bad dreams and put into my mind memories I wish had never been there. When we loaded up the car on Saturday with a case of beer, little did I know that Delaware was about to become my "Heart of Darkness."
"The horror, the horror ... "
-- Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
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