Welcome back to the No-Ring deathmatch lesson. Part 2 of our conversation with the ‘Hipster Heartthrob’ Casanova Valentine covers COVID 19, storytelling in deathmatches, the Isolation Wrestling Federation, and making a name for yourself in the wrestling world. Enjoy.

I was going to ask how the COVID 19 had affected you…

“Well, I got out of Brooklyn. I flew back from Australia, came straight from Brooklyn to my parent’s house in upstate New York. I built a gym in the barn, and I’m just lifting and running, training like Rocky 4 until this comes back. The one thing I will say is, I was supposed to have a try out with a major American promotion this month that has been postponed. So it’s very frustrating, but hopefully, it’ll still be there when this all blows over. I’m going to train even harder for this try-out because it’s all I can do. Whilst I can’t say the company itself, the storyline would’ve written itself, “everyone here looks down on me cos I’m a deathmatch wrestler, I’m a trash bag wrestler, but you look at these scars, you know I’m willing to crawl through barbed wire and glass to be here. I’m willing to do anything. In fact, I look down on you because you don’t want it as bad as me.” It’s easy. You know what I mean?”

I mean, it seems well deserved; I only found the no ring scene through you…

“I think I’m the only wrestler in the world right now and it’s weird being a wrestler because if you say anything positive about yourself, you come off as an asshole but I’m not, I think I’m the only wrestler in the world that books and promotes their own shows, but I also travel on my own. I do no ring shows, I’ve done them in Orlando, Vegas, New Orleans, California, without a promotion attached. Like I draw a flyer and book a show. Well now, all my shows are under a banner called New Fear City, but like what other wrestler makes their own schedule like me? In between wrestling for other promotions. I’m setting up these underground deathmatches. It doesn’t get any more independent than me. What other wrestler is making their schedule and adding matches on the road and doing these underground fights in addition to a normal in-ring schedule?

The amount of work I do, the amount of hustling I do, it’s unimaginable. I book the cameraman. I book the bands. I literally have to work out what tours they’re on, and then be like, “Oh, I’m in LA when you’re in LA, so let’s double up and meet up for this show.” The amount of work and cross-referencing and planning, oh my god. If you looked at my schedule, I have matches in 2021 already booked. I’ve done so much work to pull myself out of the swamp, and that’s one of the things I refuse to die on, have people naysay me. I was a local New York wrestler, and I forced relevance. I crawled out of my grave. When I did no-ring deathmatches, I hadn’t wrestled on the indies in over a year because of all the drama and bullshit of local indie wrestling. So the no-ring deathmatch was me crawling out of my grave. But now I’m out of my grave, and I’m going to eat everyone’s fucking brains. I refuse to be ignored; I’m going to be a top guy. I’m going to be there; I want it too bad. I’ve willed this too hard. I won’t be denied, and I don’t feel ashamed for saying that. It’s just a fucking universal truth.

I’ve never wanted anything more in my life, and I’m not going to lose opportunities because of blacklisting or blah blah blah. I feel I’m really polarising. Whilst most people like me, some people don’t like me because “Oh, he books his own shows, he does his own thing.” Well, fuck you, I’m the GG Allin of wrestling, and I’m forcing myself into the conversation of wrestling. Oh, you won’t book me. I’ll book myself, motherfucker. I’m not going to wait for the approval of some weird promoters. I’m just gonna go do it. My life is my life. I can’t sit back and wait. You gotta live fast.”

See to me, the benefit of booking your own stuff is you’ve got your own YouTube channel, which is a great source of deathmatch wrestling…

“I’ll give you a reason why I do that. When I was first booked on the indies, I’d wrestle around New York, New Jersey, and Philly for like five years. It’s like pulling fucking teeth trying to get footage from any of these little promotions. All these little promotions are trying to nickel and dime DVDs so you can’t post the footage. Here’s a private link. So, what the fuck am I doing? You’re paying me no money to go do a violent match, and I can’t even get footage of it. What the fuck? To me, the footage is worth way more than any money I make from this. I’m not trying to juice my fans out of a couple of bucks to watch my matches. It’s worth more to me to have the eyes on me. Just see what I’m about. I don’t want you to sign up to whatever. There’s like 20 different streaming things. Just see it. Once you see it, you’ll love it. I know you’ll love it. I’m so confident I want it out there for free, and I just want you to look at it. You know what? I was right. I started putting the matches up think this shit’s going to blow up and it did. I got interviewed by Vice. There are no-ring promotions that solely exist because in 2016, I started doing these. So if I didn’t start this, there’d be no no-ring promotions in America. Do you think the one in LA would have opened if I didn’t make this popular? I just want it to exist. It means more to me to make it available. Now, I will always give them for free because it’s cool. It’s not like a wrestling show. It’s a punk rock show. I just want people to enjoy it, y’ know?”

Out of the matches on there, reckon you could pick a couple of favourites?

“What’s a shame is, I think the best match of my career is a no-ring with Effy in Orlando, which hasn’t even been released yet. But out of my shows, I think the best no-ring is me vs. DJ Hyde, which is Deathmatch X. I’ll tell you why I think it’s the best match. I started doing these shows at a bar called the Tender Trap, where I was a bouncer. A guy in one of the bands that used to open for me was a bartender at the Tender Trap. It was all like a family party, everyone at Tender Trap was included somehow in making these shows great. Tender Trap was closing, so it was the last match at the Tender Trap. Everyone expected me to get some big names like Sabu or Nick Gage, but I was like why not get the biggest heel in deathmatch, get DJ Hyde. So I booked DJ Hyde, and I had him offer me like a “This place is closing. You can shake my hand; I’ll give you a CZW contract, and we can walk out of here, or I can just beat you up, and you won’t go anywhere.” Then I’d shake his hand, go to walk out, and hit him. Then we’d have a full match, and later on, he beats one of my refs up. The ref goes to hit him to get him back and hits me and costs me the match, and I lose the last match at the Tender Trap. It was great, though.

I have a vest that says Tender Trap on it that I used to wear in all my earlier matches, I took it off and retired it and went out on a loss because that’s how life is. You don’t always get what you want. Tender Trap closing it sucked, but it shouldn’t have gone out super happy, it was a somber moment. So, I just retired my vest and got drunk with all my best friends. To me, the storytelling of that match is so much more intriguing than just a big deathmatch guy vs. big deathmatch guy, we do a deathmatch, and we shake hands. Me crying and retiring the vest in the bar that made me. These no-ring shows started in that building, and it was the last show there. That’s the way to close it out. I care about storytelling. Extra fact, it stayed open 3 more months, and I last minute did Nick Gage there in one more at Deathmatch XXX because the fans wanted it so bad. But the ending for me is the one with DJ Hyde because the storytelling is so good.”

That’s another thing you and Big FN Joe have in common, you both like your deathmatches to tell a story…

“Everyone who sees deathmatches or the elitists that go “deathmatches are just backyard trash,” and I will admit, there are some examples of bad deathmatches with no rivalries and stuff. Of course, there is, but if you watch my shows and you don’t enjoy them, I don’t know. If you’re a wrestling fan, and you can’t pick up on the storytelling or the continuity or what I’m trying to convey. There’s always a story in my matches. It doesn’t start and end with light tubes for me. I always believe in storytelling. That’s why Rickey Shane Page vs. Nick Gage is so enthralling because GCW finally did a fucking story. That’s all it took. One story makes everything mean more. It means everything can carry more weight. Like, look at Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. The finish is a Bodyslam, Leg Drop. It’s not the coolest shit, but it doesn’t matter because the story was there. You cared, y’ know? That’s all wrestling is. To make you care. To build up and blow off. Shawn Michaels said, “I’m sorry, I love you” before Superkicking Ric Flair in his retirement match. That means so much more than all the Canadian Destroyers in the fucking world. That’s what wrestling is to me. It’s storytelling.”

There was a similar moment in your match against Matt Tremont at H2O. Where you threatened to retire him. You wanted him to pass the torch and ended up getting a big fuck you…

“Originally, Tremont just wanted to do a cage match, a barbed wire cage match. He was looking for an opponent, but there was no story in place. We were going to do a one-off barbed wire cage match in the main event. I could’ve just been alright; we’re going to have a very violent match. I willed that story because it writes itself. It’s there. There’s Tremont, this beaten man who runs his own promotion. He does everything himself. He’s constantly trying to get NWA to notice him, and they won’t, and he’s gotten major injuries. He’s beat up and everyone that cares about him, cares about him and loves him and is concerned for him. He’s given everything to pro-wrestling, and pro-wrestling hasn’t really given him everything back. So, the story was easy for me. I go, look at you Tremont, you’re younger than me. You know that Tremont’s 30 years old, right? and you’re beat up, man. Why do you keep killing yourself for these assholes? I’m going to retire you because you need it. So, the story wrote itself, and then if anything, it kind of gave Tremont the push because he was about to go to Japan. He’s like I found myself. It’s more intriguing than having the blood and guts match just because. The same thing with Masada, I pushed him. I could have just had violent matches with Masada, but I kept pushing the story.”

He seems like a very scary man…

“Here’s the thing. Masada is real. Masada isn’t a gimmick. That is the real badass guy that will fuck you up.”

So, there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to know when it comes to your choice of weaponry. Where the hell did Satan Cock come from?

“Ah, Satan Cock. See I didn’t actually make Satan Cock. So, there’s a band in New Jersey called Pink Mass, and they dress up in gimp suits and play thrash metal and grindcore dressed up as gimps with zipper mouths, and dildos. The one guitar player used to wear Satan Cock as a codpiece whilst he was playing. I did a show called Necrofest, they booked this big music festival, and at the afterparty, I wrestled Jeff Cannonball. They brought that dick, and I said, “You have to let me use it in the match. It’ll totally get over. It’s so crazy.” So during the match, we used Satan Cock, and after the show, I’m at the bar cleaning up. I’m all covered in blood, and they left it. I was like, “Oh no, they left their fucking dick here” and picked it up and brought it home with me because I didn’t want it to get thrown out.

The next day on Facebook, the band kept posting that someone stole Satan Cock because they thought someone had stolen it when, in fact, they were drunk and fucking left it there. I then made a promo with it, cos I had it and I messaged them, “Oh look what I have. Satan Cock.” So we made a whole storyline out of it. I was going to do Necrofest this year. They were going to do a circumcision match where they take the dick from me, and I give it back. But what’s funny is, the Satan Cock got stolen from one of my shows because it’s so interesting looking. People will just wanna fuck with it. It got stolen, and it was on Subway Creatures. So, I have fans endlessly making me new dicks. I now have like 10. Every time I go to a show, someone hands me a Satan Cock they’ve built.”

Fun fact, because of Satan Cock, I had to start putting warnings at the beginning of my deathmatch reviews.

“People go crazy about seeing Satan Cock. Something about seeing a big cock with nails in it, they lose their minds. I’ve never had anyone try to report my videos until I had Satan Cock to use. People do not dig dildos.”

I can even remember the review; it was you and Lowlife Louie tagging; you attack Mitch with it I think…

“Yeah, we had him and Jeff Cannonball in a double Crossface. It’s crazy man, you can watch me go through tacks light tubes, barbed wire, bleeding buckets but you take out one dildo, and people lose their shit. It’s very interesting. Weirdly, that’s the hard-line. A rubber dick. It’s funny to see where everyone draws the line. To be fair, Low Life Louie was the first to use dildos. He’s been hitting guys with dildos since the late 90s, early 2000s. I was the first person to put nails in it. But he was the first person to use dildos. I’m going to make merch. I should have done it sooner, but it’s going to be like a milk carton container with looking for Satan Cock.”

Because we’re all on lockdown, you’re a part of the Isolation Wrestling Federation. Care to talk about it?

“So, a few of the guys I know from nightlife, bands, and bartenders, started a promo battle league, and they wanted me to be in it. There’re two pro wrestlers in it now, but it’s just no contact promo battles. It’s fucking hilarious. It’s just me and a bunch of other hipster assholes talking shit about each other. Now, it’s gotten really good. They just added three more people that are phenomenal. So, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be a top guy in it. The Isolation Wrestling Federation has filled the void whilst I cannot wrestle.”

When all this blows over, where do you want to go next? You’ve been tweeting about Zona 23…

“These are my immediate goals when this shit clears up. No-ring deathmatch, a big one, in Brooklyn. I’m going to try and make it as big as I fucking can. I want to get to Zona 23 because I feel it’s the closest shoot wrestling can be. If I’m the Kimbo Slice of pro-wrestling, I gotta go to Zona 23. It’s not up to me. I have to make the trip. I gotta go. It’s scary, it’s weird, it’s gross. I have to be a part of it. I want to win the Tournament of Death. I think it’s my time. So, I want to win TOD, and I want a TV contract. Those are my main goals, big no-ring deathmatch, Zona 23, win TOD, and I fucking want to be on TV. I’m going to get at least one of the four.”

Casanova Valentine on Social media: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube 

The Isolation Wrestling Federation: Instagram

People put over: Richard Shhhnary Treehouse Lee

Best of Casanova Valentine 2019

All images courtesy of Casanova Valentine, Chris Grasso, fuckyoubaker Videos courtesy of Casanova Valentine YouTube

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