Since 2002, arguably Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW)‘s biggest annual affair has been the Tournament of Death. This Saturday, the 18th edition of the Tournament of Death arrives, continuing a legacy of brutality that has seen some of the most dangerous men in all of the professional wrestling worldwide clamor for the title of tournament winner. Danny Havoc (’02, ’08, ’13) and MASADA (’11, ’12, ’13) lead the way with three tournament wins, while other names who have won the tournament include Nick Gage, “Sick” Nick Mondo, Jimmy Havoc, Necro Butcher, Jun Kasai, Matt Tremont and more. One change to the line-up is that Irish indie star “Session Moth” Martina, who was previously announced as the first entrant, has been pulled from the tournament, leading many to assume that she is in the process of signing with NXT UK following a successful tryout in the UK earlier this month. Still lots of action to look forward to, so let’s have a look at Saturday’s card.
Preview: CZW – Tournament of Death 18
Tournament of Death, Round 1: Doors of Death – Dan O’Hare vs. SHLAK
The big “Officer” of CZW, Dan O’Hare has been shedding blood since emerging from the CZW Dojo in 2013 and continues to make his presence known in CZW. Last year was his first TOD but he’s hoping for better results this year. He was originally slated to face Martina in the first round, but now that she’s out, her replacement is a monster of a man in the beast known as SHLAK. SHLAK is entering his third straight TOD but has yet to get into the semi-finals. These are two big men with a lot of power and force, so having them in a match that features the unforgiving strength of doors will not only be a test of their power, but of their resilience to continue to the next round.
Tournament of Death, Round 1: Summer Funtime Death Match – Conor Claxton vs. CHONDO/Jimmy Lyon
Conor Claxton has been a hardcore staple for seven years now, not just with CZW, but with Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), Vicious Outcast Wrestling (VOW) and Hardcore Hustle Organization (H2O). A 4x VOW Anarchy Champion and winner of the VOW Lords of Anarchy Deathmatch Tournament in 2016, he’s been in ever TOD since 2014. He made the finals his first year but has struggled to match that success since. Jimmy Lyon is one half of the H2O Tag Team Champions, but he’s looking to improve his singles stature with a big win in CZW’s TOD. A regular with H2O, he’s looking for a breakout showing at TOD to further deeper into CZW.
Tournament of Death, Round 1: Bundles & Boards – Casanova Valentine vs. Big F’N Joe
New York City’s Casanova Valentine started out in 2014 with New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC) but has become one of the new beast big-men to watch out for of late, with his thundering abuse in the likes of CZW, H2O, Unsanctioned Pro, Blackcraft and more. He actually made his CZW debut last year in the TOD 17, but hopefully, this year proves to be a better showing. Big F’N Joe is coming from England to show his penchant of violence, where the 14-year pro has been damaging bodies for over a decade. An early regular with the Knight Family’s World Association of Wrestling (WAW), the big violence machine has been terrorizing FutureShock, Tidal Championship Wrestling, and many more over the course of his career.
Tournament of Death, Round 1: Shattered Dreams Panes of Glass – Jimmy Lloyd vs. John Wayne Murdoch
Jimmy Lloyd will be looking to win back to back TOD tournaments after winning last year’s TOD 17, the first to do so since MASADA won three straight from 2011 through 2013. The Prince of American Hardcore has a tough battle ahead of him, facing off against 16-year pro John Wayne Murdoch, who has been on a mission of violence for two decades throughout IWA Mid South, GCW, VOW, Paradigm Pro Wrestling (PPW) and others. A 5x IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion, this is only JWM’s second ever TOD, but he’s no rookie at these types of things – he’s been in six IWA Mid South King of the Death Matches, winning the annual event in 2016.
Home Run Derby Death Match: The REP (Dave McCall & Nate Carter) vs. Murder By Kicks (Ken Broadway & Matt Travis)
The bad blood between CZW and New York’s House of Glory (HOG) continues as CZW World Tag Team Champions The REP face another HOG tandem, this time in a death match. They’ve just finished battling off HOG’s New York Wrecking Krew (Chris Seaton & Smoothie Blackmon) and House of Gangone (Anthony Gangone & Amazing Red), and now Murder By Kicks is coming in for the kill.
Fans Bring The Weapons Death Match: Matt Tremont vs. Mance Warner
This has all the makings for the deathmatch of the year. Matt Tremont is a former CZW and GCW World Heavyweight Champion and one of the best hardcore/deathmatch combatants of the past decade. He’s heading into a match with one of the fastest rising stars of the past year and one of 2019’s breakout stars in former CZW World Champion Mance Warner. Warner has transcended the “hardcore” genre, now regularly appearing for Major League Wrestling (MLW), but he’s never forgotten his roots. Ol’ Mancer is always willing to get back to the down and dirty, and on Saturday, we’ll have one hell of a match. And with it being a Fans Bring The Weapons match, expect this to be one for the ages.