Ah, there’s nothing like the holiday season. Snowflakes that, in the right light, could look like little pieces of broken glass flying through the air. And is that the smoke from a warm fireplace… or is that mercury powder and bits of fluorescent light tubes that have been smashed over someone’s head and is now blowing around and filling the air? And that red suit… wait a second, is that blood?
Violent night and holy s*** ! And that’s the type of death match fun that was on display on Saturday night’s XPW Merry Christmas Pay-Per-View.
As a hardcore wrestling fan (they do call me “Bloodthirsty” after all), I was very much looking forward to ending this wrestling-filled weekend with some good, old-fashioned deathmatchery. And, like Santa Claus himself, Merry Christmas certainly delivered the goods. Granted the show – and the genre – isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But for others, it was the perfect blend of milk and cookies. And blood. Lots of blood.
Match 1: “Brawlin’” Bo Cooper vs. Terex vs. “Judge” Joe Dred
If you’re not familiar with XPW, Cooper is like a modern-day One Man Gang, Terex is like a love child between Abdullah the Butcher and the Wild Samoans, and “Judge” Joe Dred is like if you ordered Kevin Owens from wish.com.
This could have been just a big slobberknocker of a fight between three big men, but within a minute, the weapons came out in the form of fluorescent light tubes, and soon the glass was flying and the blood was flowing. Terex also used a fork on Dred’s head and mouth, and – in one of the more creative weapons I’ve ever seen – a rubber chicken wrapped in barbed wire. Other weapons included carpet strips, a Singapore cane, and the customary steel chairs.
A neat spot saw Cooper wrap a chair around Dred’s neck and then baseball swing it with another chair. Later, Cooper got double-teamed and put through a wooden door set up in the corner. Terex poured out a bagfull of thumbtacks, and slammed Cooper through it. But Cooper rolled away from a follow-up splash, and Terex ended up bare-belly-flopping into them. Dred then went for a Running Senton on Terex, but he ended up back-first in the metal.
In the end, Cooper and Terex teamed up to take out Dred with a Clothesline/Chain Punch combo, and then Cooper simply punched Terex in the head to knock him out. Cooper then fell on top of Dred to get the win.
This was a fun bloody opener, though the ending was quite anti-climactic.
Winner: “Brawlin’” Bo Cooper
A video aired for SHLAK, the XWP King of the Deathmatch, who will defend the title against Ciclope later on tonight.
Juventud Guerrera’s Juice Bar
Two chairs were set up in the ring, and Juventud Guerrero hit the ring and threw out some profanities to the crowd and bragging about his wealth. He ripped into wrestlers like CM Punk who get opportunities everywhere while he doesn’t. So to make up for that, he said he is setting his sights on winning the XPW World Championship.
This brought out Willie Mack, who got a much getter reaction from the crowd, and who looks in better shape than when last seen in Impact. Juventud asked him to sit down so they could talk. But then Juvi sneak-attacked Mack, blindsiding him with a Dropkick and hitting him with a chair, leading to…
Match 2: Juventud Guerrera vs. Willie Mack
Guerrera was in firm control at the beginning, as Mack was still reeling from the pre-match attack, hitting him with various moves from all angles. Just as Mack was rallying up and mounting a comeback, Juvi slowed the momentum with a Draping DDT, and then a big Clothesline for a 2-count.
After mooning the crowd, Juvi went up top, but Mack caught him and coverted that into a big Samoan Drop, followed by a Standing Moonsault for near-fall. Mack went for a Flying Dive to the floor, but Juvi pulled out a chair and blasted Mack in the head. Juvi then hit a Frog Splash, a Juvi Driver, and a Tornado DDT, but Willie kept kicking out.
Juvi brought in a chair, but the referee took it away from her. Mack charged, but Juvi moved, and Mack ended up accidentally Avalanching the ref. As the ref recovered, Juvi pulled a page out of Eddie Guerrero’s book, picked up the chair, threw it at Mack who caught it, and hit the mat. The ref got up, saw Mack with the chair, and disqualified him.
This match certainly did no favours for Willie. Not only did he take the beating for most of the match with very little in the way of a comeback. But he also got completely outsmarted at the end, looking weak and ineffective. Basically, Willie was made to look like a complete chump.
Winner: Juventud Guerrera
Match 3: Vinnie Massaro vs. Psychosis vs. Damian 666
As might be expected given the age of all three veterans, this one was a bit of a sluggish affair, with some points where it looked like they were moving under water. There were no illusions this would be a scientific affair, as a Singapore cane was leaning in one corner of the ring before the bell. Psychosis was the first to use it, but Damian may have done the most damage with it, clobbering Massaro a few times.
The slowness came into play here when Psychosis got in the ring way too late to break up a pin and the ref actually counted three on Massaro, but continued the match since that wasn’t the planned finish. Oof.
They went into a three-way chop-fest, leading to Massaro hitting a Double DDT before delivering some Singapore cane shots on both. He then got a wooden door and some steel chairs and constructed a bridge, atop of which he placed Damian 666. But Damian got up and this led to a Tower of Doom spot that put Massaro through the door. Psychosis was the instigator of the spot and since he was the one least hurt, he was able to simultaneously cover both men for the win.
Other than maybe for the sake of nostalgia, this wasn’t that good.
Match 4: Matt Cross vs. Bestia 666
This was the technical contest of the night, with both doing some straight traditional wrestling. Bestia used some cheap tactics and a frenzied offense. But Cross came back with some big moves of his own. And the back-and-forth battle was on. Uh-oh. Did I say technical contest? Because the wooden door that came into play would belie that description.
After some more technical moves – including a nice Handspring Stunner by Cross – the two jockeyed to put their opponent through the door. Cross won that contest, driving Bestia through it with a Running Dropkick. He followed that up with a nice Shooting Star Press to end the match.
This was good. The wrestling was solid and pretty traditional overall. Cross is one of those guys who probably should have gotten a shot with a major company, and might have if not for Steve Austin turfing him from Tough Enough back in the day for no real reason.
Winner: Matt Cross
Match 5: Kat Martini (c) (w/ Ludark Shaitan) vs. Biggie Biggs – for the XPW FITE TV Championship
Visually, you could not find more polar opposite opponent. But there was really no opportunity to compare them. At the bell, Martini kicked Biggs right in the crotchel area, but Biggs surprised her by pulling out a protective cup. So, Martini kicked him there again, and this time Biggs was hurt. She followed that up with a DDT, and it was all over.
What can you really say about this one? It took longer to read the match recap than the actual match went.
Winner, and still Fite TV Champion: Kat Martini
Match 6: MAGA Butcher (c) (w/ Jasmin St. Claire, Danny Ramirez, and the Hardcore Hillbilly) vs. Hardbody – Death Match
MAGA Butcher is formerly the Necro Butcher but is now a full-fledged Trump supporter, including a great touch of coming out to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and wearing Amercian flag overalls. He cut a promo before the match, saying that he was going to make wrestling great again, starting with beating Hardbody ,who he called a “communist trannie.” Ramirez then cut a pro-MAGA promo and called some of the audience illegal immigrants (the twist here is that he is Mexican who turned his back on his heritage). The crowd seemed equally-divided on cheering or booing Butcher. #PoliticalHumour
Hardbody took the mic and accused Butcher of spouting right-wing rhetoric publicly, but in the back was kissing boys. Hardbody then said he was going to kick Butcher’s ass.
As Body was climbing into the ring, Necro cheap-shotted him and knocked him to the floor. Where he proceeded to beat up Body, using the ringpost and the ringside barrier as weapons, including throwing a section of the barrier right at Body at one point. He then leaned a section of the barrier against the ring apron and slammed Body on top of it.
He threw Body into the ring and again smashed him with the ringside barrier a few times. Meanwhile, Jasmin and the Hillbilly took some cheap shots on Body from the floor. He then put the barrier on top of Body and dropped an Elbow Smash on it, crushing Body hard. Hardbody, to his credit, kept kicking out after absorbing the punishment. Butcher then leaned the barrier in the corner and Lawn-Dart Slammed Body through it, but again Body kicked out!
Finally, Body had had enough, and he rocked Butcher with a trio of kicks in the deep south territory. Body then shrugged off some attacks by Jasmin and Ramirez, taking out Ramirez by biting him right in the Baja Peninsula. He smashed Ramirez in the head with a bundle of light tubes, and El Kabonged Hillbilly with his own guitar. Hardbody rocked Butcher with a series of chair shots, but Butcher was unfazed and levelled him with a huge punch.
Necro then threw Hardbody on top of the ringside barrier, still leaning in the corner, with a Release Powerbomb. Hardbody was out, and the referee called a stop to the match.
After the match, Necro picked up Hardbody and raised his hand in an apparent show of respect. But it was all a setup, and he bashed Hardbody with a chair, just to add some insult to injury.
This was a great spectacle. Necro and his Mega-MAGA faction are major heat-seekers, and Hardbody was the perfect opponent for them. Credit to that guy for taking some brutal spots throughout.
Winner: MAGA Butcher
A video aired for the Mega-MAGA faction, complete with Photoshopped images that showed Ramirez in the middle of the January 6th White House insurrection.
Match 7: SHLAK (c) vs. Ciclope – for the King of the Death Match Championship
Weapons were set up in every corner of the ring for this one, including light tubes, a pane of glass, a door, and other implements of destructions.
Bundles of light tubes were thrown at each other before the bell, and that just kicked off this bloody, violent war.
They took turns smashing light tubes over each other’s heads, and soon the air was full of broken glass. Ciclope then carved up SHLAK with a broken tube.
SHLAK wrapped a plastic bag over Ciclope’s head at one point and then smashed him with chairs.
SHLAK then bridged the pane of glass over some chairs in the corner. But Ciclope fought back with a series of light tube shots and then Superplexed SHLAK through the bridge, sending broken glass everywhere. What a great visual. That earned Ciclope a two-count.
They actually did do some technical wrestling, exchanging roll-up attempts while rolling around in an ocean of broken glass shards.
Ciclope then laid out some light tubes on a chair like a glass seat cushion, put SHLAK’s face on top of them, and then hit a Stomp off the ropes, smashing the tubes and crushing SHLAK’s head between the tubes and the back of the chair – double ouch! But SHLAK would not stay down.
After another series of light tube smashes, SHLAK finally pinned Ciclope after a roll-up – yes, a scientific roll-up, take that Flair and Steamboat.
This was a really fun deathmatch. Lots of weapons, lots of blood. This wasn’t necessarily SHLAK’s goriest match, and the light tubes didn’t always cooperate, particularly in the last couple of minutes, so that took a bit of deathmatchery from the finish. But, really, how do you complain about that given the rest of the carnage?
Winner, and still XPW King of the Deathmatch: SHLAK
A video aired showcasing the women of XPW, using the song “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. The juxtaposition of the images from showing them in photo shots and then covered in blood, was a good testament to the talents that have competed for the company.
Match 8: Taya Valkyrie (c) vs. Lindsay Snow vs. Ludark Shaitan – Elimination match for the XPW Women’s Championship
It looked like Taya was paying homage to Bianca Belair for this one, as she was wearing incredibly long pigtails. And like Samson, the hair was giving her some power early on, as she dominated both women with big moves. To their credit, Ludak and Snow were smart, teaming up to try to eliminate Taya – and not stupidly trying to break up the pin when the other had Taya down, as is often done by dumb wrestlers in an elimination bout.
Weapons came into play early here, when Snow got thrown into a corner where there were some light tube bundles leaning. And then Ludark smashed a gusset plate into Snow’s forehead, bloodying her up – this was a great visual, as Snow was wearing all white and had blonde hair, so the crimson mask and her outfit were stained red.
As Taya held Ludark’s arms back, Snow stabbed Ludark in the head with some metal needles. Then Taya attacked Snow, hitting her with a big Spear, but not before using some of Snow’s own blood as warpaint. Ludak smashed a bundle of light tubes over Snow’s head, then hit a Pump Handle Slam onto another light tube to pin and eliminate Snow.
Taya won the chop-off over Ludark and then conducted some hoo-ha assault on Ludark with some chairs. As Ludark recovered, Taya bridged a wooden door onto some chairs in the ring. They brawled on the floor, even spilling into the crowd when the ringside barrier fell over after Taya got thrown into it. The women fought it out among the chairs which the crowd had to empty out and scatter away from.
Back in the ring, Taya shoved a gusset plate into Ludark’s back and then stomped on it – ouch! Taya laid Ludark onto the door bridge, but Ludark caught her going up top, and Powerbombed Taya through it for the 1-2-No! Undaunted by the kickout, Ludark immediately rolled Taya up into a Bow and Arrow submission, and Taya had no choice but to submit. As Ludark celebrated, Kat Martini rushed into the ring to celebrate with her.
This was good. Lindsay Snow has a great look and is really fun to watch. Taya is a top tier star and one of the best women wrestlers in the world today – how WWE dropped the ball with her is mind-boggling. A strong, hard-hitting match. It will be interesting to see if Martini will eventually try to backstab Ludark – my guess is yes.
Winner, and new XPW Women’s Champion: Ludark Shaitan
Match 9: MASADA vs. Drake Younger – for the XPW World Heavyweight Championship
Vampiro was supposed to be MASADA’s opponent, but Younger came out and said that Vampiro wasn’t there, and challenged MASADA for the title. Since MASADA was in a fighting mood – and there were panes of glass, light tubes, and yet another wooden door already set up in and around the ring – MASADA agreed.
There was some traditional wrestling to start this one before they ramped up the violence, with Younger hitting MASADA with a Tornado DDT, planning the champ’s head onto a chair on contact. They tried to put each other through the glass, and it was eventually Younger who won that battle, as MASADA got smashed through it, causing glass to explode everywhere.
Younger rubbed MASADA’s face into the broken pieces on the mat, and then went to the floor and set up a wooden door bridge. He then took some time to punish MASADA, carving up his forehead with a piece of broken glass. But MASADA fought back, smashing Younger with a light tube and then gouging Younger’s head with the jagged edge.
MASADA then put Younger on the door bridge, and put him through it with a Springboard Somersault Splash from the ring to the floor. MASADA used some chairs to punish Drake, but there was no give in the challenger’s mindset, and he surprised MASADA with a BlockBuster.
MASADA recovered, and stomped Younger’s chest into light tubes in the corner, which looked unpleasant to say the least. Drake got to the ropes to break a submission attempt – which begs the question why have rope breaks in a match where light tubes and other weapons are allowed, but I digress.
MASADA went up top, but Younger caught him and put MASADA through a chair with the Vertebreaker – which looked tremendous – but MASADA kicked out! Younger hit another Vertebreaker, this time assisted with light tubes, but MASADA kicked out again!
Younger set up another pane of glass bridge, and was going for the finishing blow, but MASADA stabbed him in the head with a bundle of wooden skewers repeatedly before hitting him with a Snap Sheik Suplex through the glass for a 2-and-a-half.
Younger blocked a move and kicked MASADA down, which resulted in MASADA on his back with some light tubes lying on top of him. Younger hit him with a pair of Frog Splashes, smashing the tubes, but MASADA was able to kick out. Younger set up a chair on the ground and opened it so legs were pointing upwards. He looked to hit MASADA with a Vertebreaker on to the open legs, but MASADA escaped over the top and rolled up Younger for the win.
This was another really good death match. MASADA is great at making a death match into something more than simply bloody violence, actually taking fans on an up-and-down ride, blending wrestling and deathmatch tactics effectively to tell a story. The ending wasn’t perfect, as it didn’t end with a big climactic moment/move. But everything leading up to it was good.
Winner, and still XPW World Heavyweight Champion: MASADA
XPW Merry Christmas - December 10, 2022
The Derby Room, Pomona CA
It’s hard to rate a deathmatch show like other shows, because they’re so different. This one had some more traditional wrestling matches, and other than the one three-way, they were pretty good. But at the end of the day, you have to judge this kind of show on whether it delivered the violence. It did, and other than an over-reliance on doors, it was a good showcase for violent, deathmatchy goodness. From that standpoint, it gets 4 scars.