Death by Lego: ISW’s Michael Woods Talks Conception of Professional Wrestling’s Most Colorful and Unique Match

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Lego Death Match
Credit: ISW

As a kid, you probably thought Legos were pretty cool. I mean, what wasn’t to love? They are colorful little blocks that you could use to pretty much make anything you wanted, including a nice mess on your bedroom floor. As an adult, specifically a parent, chances are you don’t love Legos as much as used to because chances are you’ve stepped on one of the remnants of those colorful floor messes. And if you have, you know just how painful even one little block can be to your foot.

Now imagine not just stepping on a Lego but being piledriven or back body-dropped into thousands of them as you try to move around a ring, also covered in blocks of various shapes, sizes and shades of color, all waiting to imprint themselves piece by piece into your skin.

Founder and promoter of Inter Species Wrestling, Michael Woods, knows full well how a children’s toy can be weaponized. In 2006, ISW, the Canadian indie promotion that has become known for it’s off the wall matches and event cards, used Legos for the first time as part of a match. Two years later, the promotion was credited with professional wrestling’s first-ever, official, Lego Death Match. And now, as part of the Game Changer Wrestling Collective of WrestleMania Week, they are bringing back the stipulation in what is expected to be the biggest and perhaps most painful Lego Death Match of all-time.

“It’s an eye-catching hardcore style match for sure,” says Woods, who first conceived of the idea during his backyard wrestling days. “People see it on a poster, and their first thought is usually one about that time they stepped on a block, and how much it hurt. The idea of someone getting slammed on them has that car crash effect. You can’t help but want to stop and stare.”

Imitation is the highest form of flattery so while ISW was the originator of this epic deathmatch style and while they have put on the most, about a dozen by Woods’ count, they aren’t the only promotion to embrace the use of Legos in the ring. Since ISW’s first-ever, Winner Kills, Cooks and Eats the Loser Fans Bring the Lego Barnyard Brawl at ISW Hot Summer Rub-Down in June 2008, there have been over 35+ additional matches, according to Cagematch, that have used Legos in some capacity. The matches have been held by 20-some different promotions, including most notably in PROGRESS Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling and IWA: Mid South. The most recent match was held for H20 Wrestling: Hardcore Hustle Association, as part of Hardcore Kingdom 3 in a first round, Forks, Tacks and Legos match in March 2019.

While other promotions have adopted the idea of the Lego Death Match, none still quite do so in a way that is as big and as bold as ISW, which is one of few that allow fans to bring the Legos in order to fill the ring before, after and most importantly, during the match. And this year, for ISW’s Boner Jam IV: Balls Out show, their biggest in company history, there was an Amazon wishlist through which fans, who maybe otherwise wouldn’t be in town for Thursday night’s event, were able to purchase Legos for the cause. According to Woods, several fans purchased blocks, which were mostly listed as off-brand because in his words, “they’re the exact same thing as the name brand – just cheaper. Plus, there are no filler pieces like doors and wheels, just horribly painful to step on blocks.”

By Woods’ estimation (he has 8,000 Legos alone at his house), there could be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 blocks used in this match. His goal? To have absolutely no inch or even centimeter of canvas showing in the ring.

“My expectations from this upcoming event’s match?” Woods ponders. “Mayhem. Absolute mayhem.”

Taking part in the Balls Out main event are four individuals who are known for their reputations of competing in deathmatches including Matt Tremont, Jeff Cannonball, Nick Gage and Addy Starr. The trio of men, Gage, Tremont and Cannonball, have won nearly 50 titles between them and have taken part (and won several of them) in just about every hardcore tournament that has been held this side of the Atlantic Ocean. They have worked for CZW, GCW, H20, Vicious Outcast Wrestling, the list goes on. They’ve all competed in deathmatches and have put their bodies on the line in ridiculous, physics-defying, career-threatening, life-altering spots. They’ve earned their place in the world of hardcore and deathmatch wrestling, and yet, none of them are likely to be as prepared on Thursday as the lone female in this group in Addy Starr.

Cannonball and Tremont have each competed in one Lego Death Match in their careers and Gage has never wrestled in this stipulation. Starr, on the otherhand, who has somewhat become the face of Lego Death Match wrestling, has been in five. Her first came in 2011 with ISW during the Burger King of the Ring event. According to Woods, Starr took some pretty brutal bumps in the match (which you can view above), but it was what she did afterward that drew attention. Following the match, Starr posted photos of the bruises, with some in the shape of small imprinted blocks.

“That’s when fans and other wrestlers took notice of how wild the matches were and how tough she is,” Woods says.

Starr “carried the Lego Death Match on her back,” and has become known for the stipulation, taking part in Lego deathmatches for other promotions including against Rhia O’Reilly in PROGRESS, in a tag team one with O’Reilly against Evil Uno and UK hardcore legend, Jimmy Havoc, and a barefoot fans bring the legos death match against JD Boom for Tidal Championship Wrestling in 2015. Now, four years later, Starr is returning to yet another record-setting appearance of the match type she helped put on the map.

While the term “card of the weekend,” has been thrown around a lot leading up to some of the bigger events set for this WrestleMania Week, Balls Out is certainly can’t miss in its own way. It features a Lego Death Match, a food fight, Hornswoggle and more (you can read a full preview here). It’s certainly a card you don’t want to sleep on.

“Inter Species Wrestling puts on a show like nobody else,” Woods says. “It’s a solid mixture of traditional pro wrestling, comedy, wacky gimmicks, punk rock and hardcore wrestling. Whether you like wrestling or not – this is the show for you.”

Tickets still remain for Balls Out, which you can purchase directly at the venue, at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey, home to all of the Collective events. You can also order the show through Fite.TV or IndependentWrestling.TV. It begins at 7:30 PM on Thursday, April 4th.

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