Despite his recent no-show at the September addition of Ring ‘n Ears, MadMan Pondo (Kevin Canady) is developing quite a reputation in the independent hardcore community. Having wrestled in just about every American independent league, most notably the IWA — Ian Rotten’s seminal Hardcore promotion, nd the world famous NWA, which led to a four page spread on his pet match, (the Four Corners of pain in Pro Wrestling Illustrated), Pondo is becoming infamous for his style of hardcore. A style that recalls the likes of Cactus Jack, Sabu, Onita and Terry Funk, the ones willing to put their health on the lines for the fans enjoyment, the more Japanese than American style, with every drop of blood spilled, Pondo is fast becoming one of the crown princes of the American death match.

Mad Man Pondo. Courtesy

However, Pondo doesn’t want the fans who may have only heard about him by reputation to think he is just another hardcore wrestler, hardcore, especially the way it has been marketed by the WWF and WCW, isn’t what Pondo is about.

“There are so many guys who claim to wrestle hardcore, guys who get a bunch of weapons, throw them in the ring and hit each other with them, if I see another cookie sheet…” Pondo laughs. “If they want to call themselves hardcore, fine, they’re hardcore. Even more hardcore than the goofs who are just hitting each other are the lightweights, the highflyers that are committing suicide, flipping around, to me those guys are hardcore. Any monkey with a notion can do what I can do, but if I got up there and tried to do what they do I’d probably be dead.”

“The kind of hardcore that I do, and this is where I get my respect in the business, I’m not just swinging things, although I do swing things, is that I do deathmatch hardcore, the kind that originated in Japan, that’s where hardcore came from. There is goofy hardcore, which is guys just hitting each other in the head with stuff, there’s high-flying hardcore, which I totally respect and then there’s deathmatch hardcore, which is what I do.”

One of Pondo’s favorite deathmatches is a match he as nicknamed the Four Corners of pain, a match that sounds as sick, sadistic and violent as anything in Japan. It has also helped Pondo establish himself in the Wrestling world. But what is the Four Corners of pain? Pondo elaborates.

“There are four pits around the ring, one pit of thumbtacks, one pit of barbwire, one pit of glass and one pit of mouse traps. You just fight until someone goes into the pit; you don’t win unless you pin the man, but it’s pretty good if you can get them in all four pits.”

While there is no doubt the hardcore style doesn’t promote career longevity it’s becoming a popular choice for wrestlers out to make a mark, even at the cost of their own flesh. Undoubtedly, MadMan Pondo’s body has paid the price for being extreme, despite only coming into his hardcore own in the last three years of his ten-year career, he is, in his own words, “a scarred up freak.”

But when asked why he chooses the hardcore/deathmatch style over the more career friendly traditional style, Pondo is refreshingly honest.

“I can’t do the flips of a high flyer and there are a hundred and twenty guys in the locker room who can do the wrestling that I can. But there are only a handful of guys who will go that extra mile and wrestle in barbwire, therefore, that is where I’ve made my name. I like the hardcore the best; the only part I hate is going to a restaurant or going to a family dinner. You know how most grandmothers ask you to take your hat off at the table; mine asks me to put one on.”

MadMan Pondo isn’t exactly a household name to well informed wrestling fans; however, he may not be as unknown as you think. He’s appeared on an episode of the Jerry Springer show, was profiled on an extreme wrestling piece by Real TV and is good friends with the Insane Clown Posse, who Pondo wrestled for in the ill-fated Hellfire promotion and continues to help to this day.

“I wrestled on Insane Clown Posse’s Stranglemanina and then they were going to start their own promotion, Hellfire. Dan Curtis (who was a driving force behind Hellfire), god wrest his soul, passed away after the first Hellfire show, so that didn’t work out. Now they have a thing called Gathering of the Juggalos coming up and it is going to be two days of extreme, hardcore, deathmatch wrestling, and they’ve contacted me and they want me to put together a real hardcore/deathmatch card.”

There comes a time in everyone’s life, when they embark upon a chosen profession and achieve any sort of success, when they will meet an idle, someone they admired. For Pondo, it was in the ring, against one of the most ruthless, uncaring, hardcore men to ever spill blood on god’s green earth, it was against Abdullah the Butcher.

“When they told me I was going to wrestle Abdullah, I’ve been doing this ten years and I had never been nervous like I was when they told me. I wasn’t nervous because I was afraid of getting hurt, I was nervous because I did not want to screw-up in front of the legend,” says Pondo. “That was whom I was watching as a kid. Bruiser Brody was taking on Abdullah and the original Sheik, Abdullah was one of those guys who I grew up watching. After the match he told I did a good job and told me he needed a tape of our match to take with him to Japan so I guess I did a good job.”

After facing the legend that is Abdullah the Butcher, and having a match with the retirementally-challenged Terry Funk in the works, you would think Pondo would be considering either of the two the biggest accomplishment of his career. But no, Pondo has a different definition of success.

“My biggest accomplishment is that I’ve made a pretty good name for myself, so that anywhere I go I can get booked to wrestle. When I started wrestling there were all these guys in the back telling me ‘you can’t do this because I’ve been wrestling fourteen years’ and blah, blah, blah. But if they left their territories nobody would know who they are. While maybe not everyone knows who I am, at least I can always find someone to book me no matter where I am.”