Rise Underground is one of Britain’s best companies for deathmatches. Alongside TNT, they are the two companies that come to mind when you think British deathmatches. Now, just over a month out from their next Games of Death tournament, I’d like to re-visit last year’s splatterfest. For anyone unfamiliar with Rise Underground, they are the home of Big F’N Joe, the guy who had the best match in Tournament of Death 19 against Casanova Valentine (another tournament competitor.) Brace yourself, we’re about to visit England’s maddest wrestling show.

10,000 Drawing Pin Match: Iceman defeated Danny O’Doherty via Running Thumbtack Senton

The show opened for the then manager of Rise taking on European hardcore Icon Iceman in a match featuring 10,000 drawing pins or thumbtacks for international readers. O’Doherty was not popular with the crowd as he had booked himself into the tournament and he brought some company in the form of a big man called Ragnar. He tried to instantly claim victory by saying Iceman had shit himself and run home. This wasn’t true and Iceman made his grand entrance only to be attacked by O’Doherty and Ragnar. The pair continued their beatdown with O’Doherty busting Iceman open with his fists. Their plan fell apart though when Ragnar accidentally hit O’Doherty in the head with a chair. It was all downhill from there as O’Doherty tried to use a cheese grater on Iceman. It didn’t work and O’Doherty was subjected to further beatings including having the grater pushed into his face. He bailed outside again with Iceman calling him a chicken shit only for Ragnar to attack from behind. He retrieved the bucket of tacks and poured them all over Iceman. O’Doherty tried to go top rope but was slammed down hard into the tacks by Iceman. That was followed up by a running senton for the win. Bishop Auckland’s hardest man makes it up to round two over the boss of Rise. Good opening round match with a nice story of overcoming the odds. Plus, I would not have liked to pull those tacks out of my back.

Fans Bring the Weapons: Michael Caden defeated Leonardo Darwin via Blue Thunder Bomb

This match had a literal pin-ata. The fans had delivered some deadly and delicious weapons for Michael Caden and Leonardo Darwin to bash each other over the head with. The Good Doctor and the leader of the Sad Boy’s Club would have everything from kendo sticks and tack boards to a bag of prawn crackers to use on each other. Caden was Rise Hardcore champion during the tournament and brought his own plunder to the ring. Darwin tried to earn favour by bringing his dog out to ringside. The stakes were made even higher as the Hardcore title was on the line. Darwin started by knocking Caden down but was soon put on his arse by a chair to the face. He was laid out on the floor so Caden dropped an ironing board on him. Darwin tried to start duelling kendo sticks but Caden just mercilessly broke one over him. He managed to shunt Caden into a ring post and choked him out with a kendo stick whilst shouting insults at the crowd. The pair attacked each other with a spiky stick amongst the crowd. Caden tried to hit a top rope move but had a chair dropkicked into him. Darwin followed up with a Superplex/Fisherman Suplex combo but didn’t get three. Darwin took some of that fight out of Caden by breaking a light tube covered chair over his back. He went top rope and hit a chair assisted elbow drop for a two count. He grabbed a spiky thing and tried again but Caden got to his feet and threw a mousetrap board at him. He sat Darwin in a chair and went for a top rope cannonball but only got the chair as Darwin bailed. Caden kicked out and started breaking more kendo sticks over Darwin. He followed with a Blue Thunder Bomb to win the match. He kept his title and progressed through. This was another nice little match with some fun weapons. Shame the pinata wasn’t used. Darwin attacked Caden after the match, Curb stomping him into a chair. Even the ring announcer uttered a “fuck you Darwin” for that.

Taipei Deathmatch: Casanova Valentine defeated “Light tube” Lou Nixon via Stage 5 Clinger

The third quarter-final match would be a Taipei deathmatch. This was only the second of its kind in the UK and was going to be very brutal to watch. It would be a competitor of the first, Lou Nixon taking on US Import and one of this writer’s personal favourites, Casanova Valentine. Commentary was sure to mention Nixon’s head being all over the place following a betrayal from his former partner, Shreddy Brek. The pair had their glass gloves on and were prepared for war. The pair had a Mexican stand-off that saw Valentine go for the Stage Five Clinger Slam early but have it countered into a triangle. Nixon used this to start pounding away at Valentine’s head with his glass-covered hands. Lou beat Valentine around the ring and got fans involved to hold Valentine in place for some kicks. He upped the ante by breaking a light tube over Valentine’s back and ground it into Valentine’s head. He then introduced Valentine to some light tube assisted Yes Kicks for two. Valentine came back with an Overhead Belly to Belly and started carving into Lou’s head with glass. He broke a light tube bundle over his back then slammed Lou down with a Gunslinger. He ground more glass into Lou’s head and landed a spinning wheel kick to the throat. We got a glass powered slugfest that saw both men down from a lariat. They rose for another slugfest that powered Lou up only for him to be DDT’ed into broken glass. Valentine went for the lawn weasel, missed the shot and was dropped with a waistlock forearm. Lou tried to pin Valentine but the kick out pushed him onto the lawn weasel. He brought out the big guns by bringing in his biggest supporter, Uncle Ralph, who was armed with a light tube. Ralph stood over Valentine poised to break the tube only to break it over Lou instead. Ralph tore away his Lou Nixon shirt to reveal a Shreddy Brek shirt and Valentine finished him with the Stage Five Clinger onto a light tube bundle. Betrayal had struck Lou Nixon again and cost him one of his biggest opportunities. How could you Uncle Ralph?

Bat out of Hell Match: Big F’N Joe defeated Danny Darko via Tombstone Piledriver

The final match saw the Rise Champion Big F’N Joe take on the Bud Light King Danny Darko in a Meatloaf street fight. Okay, that last bit is a lie but Big F’N Joe was going to have an uphill battle dealing with a former hardcore champion if he was going to keep his belt and progress in the tournament. This was Joe’s brainchild and he was going to go all out to win it all. The ring was full of modified bats giving this stipulation some life. We had cricket bats and more covered in deathmatch fuckery. The pair locked up, fighting over a tack covered baseball bat. Joe won the exchange and battered Darko in the back with the bat. Joe picked up another and smacked him in the head with it. He got a two count from a Uranage so he started pummelling Darko. He bailed so Joe chased him with a lego bat. It was a trap though and Darko hit a Uranage onto the ring apron. Joe came back with an evil sneer and a light tube across the head. Joe chopped him against the ring post and smashed a light tube across his sternum. Joe ground tube into Darko’s head and Darko fired back by breaking a light tube bat across the exposed leg of Joe. The pair traded more shots with Joe spitting beer in Darko’s face. That just powered him up and he unleashed a flurry of strikes on Joe. Once back in-ring, Joe rebounded getting Darko in the corner and pushing pins into his chest. He hit a corner cannonball but was kicked out of two more and Darko slammed him onto two tack bats with a Michinoku Driver. Darko stomped both of Joe’s hands into spikes but ate a flurry of forearms and a back full of tacks. The pair fought over a Suplex so Joe changed tactic and DDT’ed Darko onto the tack bats. Darko rebounded with a running knee and DVD but Joe kicked out. The pair traded strikes over a light tube bundle which Joe countered into a Tombstone into the tubes. He got the three count and managed to beat Darko. This may have been the best match of the first round as it was competitive, crazy and very very violent. Joe was able to retain…. For now.

Drunken Deathmatch: Casanova Valentine defeated Michael Caden via Stage 5 Clinger but Drunk

Our first semi-final would see the Sad Boy take on the Hipster Heartthrob in a drunken deathmatch. Whilst that may sound fun, seeing a ring full of beers and light tubes may make you think differently. The two rules were you fight and you drink. These two did just that. After some posturing to the crowd, Valentine and Caden shared a drink or three. Caden wanted to show the Yank how to really drink. They even set up chairs for a proper bar fight. They drank and hit each other in the face until Caden kicked Valentine down and hit him with a chair. He rearranged the plunder and tried to go for a Suplex but Valentine reversed, low-blowed Caden and hit the Stage 5 Clinger Slam into the pile of light tubes for the win. Valentine made it to the finals and took the Rise Hardcore Title. Not bad going for your first night with the company? This was so odd to watch but somehow still really fun. Big Lou Nixon was waiting outside of the stage exit to ambush Valentine and stole the Hardcore title via Pass out.

Four Corners of Pain: Big F’N Joe defeated Iceman via Saw Assisted Running Senton

The second semi-final would see the wounded Big F’N Joe taking on the destroyer of the first round, Iceman. The pair were to do battle in a Four Corners of pain match. I think this stipulation is pretty self-explanatory. It was going to be a battle of the big men here with four corners of fuckery at their disposal. The pair started with a slugfest and tried to launch each other into the corners of pain. Joe hit a cannonball against light tubes and Iceman but Joe through a glass board. Joe bailed, retrieved a barbed wire bat and dug it into the back of Iceman as he left the ring. He followed that up with a light tube to the head and glass to the back. He broke another across Iceman’s arms and attacked Iceman with a coat hanger. Iceman came back with barbed wire around Joe’s face but Joe took it and attacked Iceman with cheese graters. He took a fan’s tack board and smashed Iceman in the head with it. He gave a fan a light tube bundle to break over Iceman, but Iceman avoided and Joe was hit in the head. A fuck ton of light tubes were added to the ring and the pair engaged in some duelling light tubes. Joe took advantage of the mess and DDT’ed Iceman into the broken glass. Joe sent Iceman into a grater board and crushed Iceman with a corner cannonball. Iceman kicked out and came back with a massive lariat. He tried to use a light tube board on Joe but Joe smashed it over his head. He followed up by grabbing a saw board and hitting a running senton. That got three and Joe won. He goes to the final. He made sure to show his respect to Iceman leaving the ring though. He came out of retirement and gave the audience a bloodbath. What a legend. I bet he felt saw in the morning though.

Crucifixion Deathmatch: Casanova Valentine defeated Big F’N Joe via Glass Table Stage 5 Clinger

After all the guts and the gore, only two men remained. Two bitter rivals who would go on to fight around the world. This was the ultimate battle for the glory of winning G.O.D. and the Rise Championship. Was there a more fitting way to end G.O.D than with a crucifixion. The two combatants made their way to the ring with Valentine coming to the ring to Team America’s America Fuck Yeah for added laughs. Valentine instantly went on the attack once the bell rang with a low blow and DDT. He continued the onslaught with a light tube bundle to the back and a tack filled clock which he also broke on the back of Joe. He uppercut Joe into barbed wire ropes and headbutted tubes into him. Valentine wrapped his body in barbed wire and splashed Joe against the ropes. The carnage continued with a tack racquet to the arse and a splash to light tubes on Joe’s bareback. Valentine grabbed his garden weasel and started raking it up Joe’s back. The sadism went to another level by light tube bundles placed at Big F’N Joe’s big F’N Joe that Valentine smashed with the garden weasel. Joe came back smashing the pin-ata over Valentine and fighting in the crowd. Joe avoided being stapled by Valentine and stapled a G.O.D poster to Valentine’s head. He followed up with a guitar to the back and kicked Valentine into the barbed wire. He went after Valentine’s head with light tubes and gave Valentine a hat full of tacks chased with a chair shot. The pin-ata made a return by being kicked into the dick of Valentine. Joe continued his warpath with the carpet gripper crucifix to the back of Valentine and more stabbing to the head. He made Valentine pay with an attack from a weed whacker and a Uranage but only got two. The pair fought around a table made of light tubes and traded setups. Valentine headbutted Joe and hit the Stage 5 Clinger through the table to win G.O.D. He was awarded a chorus of both boos and cheers. He had walked into Rise, fought through hell and come out the Rise champion. This match was a total spotfest of beautiful proportions. An Over The Top battle of murderous intentions.

So, there you have it, Rise Underground’s Games of Death 2019 reviewed for your reading pleasure. I loved this. It was a roller coaster of feel-good wins, triumphant returns and massive amounts of blood and broken glass. Rise is a company with a rabid fan base that added an extra level of atmosphere to a tournament built for the bloodthirsty. I also had no idea how much fun it would be listening to Tom Campbell commentate deathmatches. The whole show was a joy to behold and on March 28th it all happens again. For more information on the company and to buy tickets, click here.

All images courtesy of Thirumalavan Kumaran, Casanova Valentine, Carl Gac Photography  Video courtesy of Rise Underground YouTube

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