So, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for this one. I’m a deathmatch junkie and, bar one or two shows, there’s been very little to fill that void. Then, along came ICW NHB who announced a deathmatch show with a drive-in audience and fans bringing weapons. I’ve been hyped for this since it was announced and now it’s time to see who’d come out on top when Nick Gage took on Casanova Valentine, Tony Deppen took on Dominic Garrini, Alex Colon took on Eric Ryan and SHLAK took on John Wayne Murdoch. Plus, there were a few surprises in store as the show went on. Let’s get into the violence!

Nick Gage defeated Casanova Valentine (w/Riley Madison) via Light-tube Bumper Sword

Talk about a dream match. They opened with the King of the No Ring Deathmatch taking on the King of MDK Ultraviolence. It was going to get bloody and brutal quick here. Valentine didn’t even get his full introduction as Gage introduced a bundle of light-tubes to his back and then one to his head. Valentine bailed and Gage followed, beating and biting at his head and smashing him in the back with an audience member’s chair. Valentine struck back and battered Gage with a 2×4. Valentine tried to drag Gage through the crowd but Cage punched loose and broke a fan’s cooler on Valentine’s back. Gage broke more light-tubes on Valentine’s back and attacked his arm with a thumbtack bat. Valentine shook this off and brawled Gage into a fan’s chair, then superkicked him into a car. Valentine once again dragged Gage around but was shoved into a ring post and hit in the back with another thumbtack bat. Back in-ring, Gage set up a board and charged Valentine in the corner. Gage looked to kick light-tubes into Valentine’s face but Valentine came to and broke them over his head. He then DDT’ed Gage into the glass pile and splashed light-tubes into his sternum. He then put Gage through the door with an overhead belly to belly and then received the Stinger (a barbed-wire boxing glove) from Madison. He then taunted to the crowd, draped Gage over the chains (no ropes on this show), and started hammering the barbed wire into his head.

Gage tried to fight back but Valentine caught him with the Text Message Break-Up through more tubes. Valentine retrieved a carpet strips board and drove himself through it with a cannonball as Gage dodged. Gage hit the light tube face wash and started cutting up Valentine with a pizza cutter. Valentine retreated with a face pissing blood and came back with his head taped up for more. Gage hit him in the back with more tubes and went back to the face. Gage sat Valentine down and drove more glass into his face. Valentine rolled back into the ring, snagged some tubes, and baited Gage into Stage 5 Clinger into the tubes. Gage speared Valentine through a barbed-wire board and started gouging Valentine with a broken bit of board. He dragged Valentine and the barbed wire board into the centre of the ring and was handed a light-tube bumper sword. He brought this down on the bloody Valentine as he raised his middle fingers to him. Valentine went down and Gage won the match. What a fucking opener. This was amazing. Valentine may have lost but he took Gage to the limit. So much to enjoy and a touching tribute to Danny Havoc through the bumper sword.

Dominic Garrini defeated Tony Deppen via Gotch Style Piledriver

Next up was something more technical. Tony Deppen, one of the world’s best wrestlers taking on Dominic Garrini, a master of martial arts and pain. Deppen ran his mouth on the mic then tried to kick Garrini. These were no sold, as Garrini egged on Deppen to hit more and took Deppen down with one. Garrini hit some ground and pound and tried to lock in an armbar. He let Deppen up and hit him with even more kicks and knees then locked in another hold. Deppen had enough and brought Garrini down with a double leg takedown and started pummelling away. They slugged it out until Deppen downed Garrini with a jumping knee. Deppen peppered Garrini with chest kicks and caught him in the face when Garrini tried to counter. He continued to hammer down on Garrini and slowly went top-rope. He missed a senton so Garrini tried to lock on a sleeper. Deppen drove him into the chains and tried for a running knee but Garrini caught him into a German. Garrini followed with a rolling forearm but found himself trapped in a Guillotine then a Heel Hook as Deppen tried to beat Garrini at his own game. Garrini freed himself and started kicking Deppen but Deppen caught him into a rolling overhand chop and knee strike. Deppen called for fuckery and got a door. He set that up and hit a top rope double stomp. They fought around the door until Deppen but Garrini through with a DVD and through the broken door at Garrini’s head. This powered Garrini up and led him to play whack a mole with Deppen’s head and the door. They chopped it out and Garrini tried to lock in a sleeper again but Deppen turned it into a double stomp. Garrini caught him out of another running strike with a Sleeper Suplex duo and ended the match with a Gotch Style Piledriver. This was brutal for a whole different reason. Deppen and Garrini went to war without the deathmatch fuckery.

Reed Bentley defeated Akira via Cut-Throat

So, I’d never heard of Akira before this match. I instantly knew I’d like him as he came to the ring with a katana and cheesy 80s sounding music. Reed Bentley is touted as one of the most underrated deathmatch guys and the ring was full of fuckery. This was going to get ugly. They shook hands then Bentley instantly went to the light-tubes, smashing them into Akira’s head. Akira reversed another strike with a Scorpion kick and kicked tubes into Bentley’s chest. They exchanged strikes and kicks before Akira crotched himself in the chains and took a tube covered chair to the back. Akira reversed a kick with a Dragon Screw and started stabbing Bentley in the back with a BBQ fork. Bentley hit a Brainbuster and headbutted a gusset plate into Akira’s forehead. Akira fought back by kicking a gusset blade into Bentley’s head and dropping him with a Saito. They traded more suplexes and Bentley dropped Akira onto the chains and down into a light-tube box below. Bentley grabbed his vinyl record bat and broke it over Akira’s back then raked it into his face. He then smashed more tubes on him but Akira tanked it and fought back with his blade holster. They fought into the streets and Akira laid Bentley on some set-up tables, grabbed a bundle of tubes, and headed for a nearby roof. He then put the tubes behind his back and landed a back senton off the roof through Bentley and the tables below. Akira is a fucking madman. Bentley somehow survived and tried to handcuff Akira. After being woken up by a broken table shot, Akira started whipping Bentley with the handcuffs and fashioned a knuckleduster out of them. Bentley threw him into the ring post and completed his handcuff job. Akira broke them off but Bentley was ready with a light-tube. Back in-ring, Akira stunned Bentley and drove him through a tube box with a Back Suplex. He then tripped Bentley onto a bundle but was then thrown into a light-tube and carpet strip construction with a Regal Plex. Bentley then hit the Jay Driller for two and finished Akira with Cut Throat through a door in the corner. This was fucking awesome. I need more Akira in my life now seeing as I now know the guy is a maniac. Hats off to both of these guys for the bumps they took.

Matt Tremont defeated Brandon Kirk via DVD through glass

All of a sudden, Brandon Kirk appeared. Everyone in ICW hates him and he certainly wasn’t invited. He tried to troll the crowd but he was the one trolled as the one and the only Bulldozer Matt Tremont came out. The fucking greatest deathmatch wrestler in America was here to kick Kirk’s ass back to wherever he crawled out from. Kirk tried to run him mouth and charge Tremont but all he ran into was a fork to the head. He continued to stab Kirk in the head and played it up for the crowd. Kirk pleaded for mercy then hit Tremont between the legs with a nutcracker. Kirk jammed a fork in Tremont’s forehead, making a fucked-up unicorn horn and hammered it in further with light-tubes. Tremont no-sold this and broke tubes over Kirk. He went through 4 bundles on Kirk’s head, then levelled up to a bumper sword. He then hoisted him up into a Fireman’s carry and killed Brandon Kirk with a DVD through a glass pane. Tremont took out the trash in dominant fashion, saving the crowd from anything to do with Brandon Kirk.

Alex Colon defeated Eric Ryan via Top Rope Spanish Fly through a door of doom

After trailers for the next two No Holds Barred events, was a match set to blow the non-existent roof off the place. Alex Colon, the best deathmatch wrestler right now taking on Eric Ryan, an underrated talent in more deathmatch fuckery. Colon was wearing a Danny Havoc sweatshirt in tribute to the fallen deathmatch icon. Colon tried to be technical but Ryan seemed more content to stab him with a fork. They locked up then picked up light-tubes for a duel. Colon went low, Ryan went high then both men broke tubes over their heads. There were more duelling tubes and Colon dominated Ryan with a shopping trolley on the outside, suplexing him onto the underside of it. Colon then retrieved a barbed wire wrapped shopping cart and tried to attack Ryan with that one too, but Ryan kicked it into him and rammed the trolley and a bundle of giant tubes into Colon’s chest and gut. Ryan set up some chairs and rested another long bundle onto them. Ryan tried to slam him onto them but Colon reversed into a half and half through the tubes. Colon drove more tubes into Ryan’s head and drove a fork covered bodyboard into Ryan’s chest with double knees. Colon did the same with a wooden fork board and a diving senton to the back. He set up a table on the outside and put Ryan through it with a blockbuster of the apron. They slugged it out, then Ryan dragged Colon into a glass pile and broke tubes over him with a senton. He dropped him with a release Northern Lights and hit him with a light tube lope to the outside. Ryan took too long setting things up in the ring so Colon was able to catch his breath and dodge more light tubes. He then broke them into Ryan’s chest with more double knees. Ryan threw tubes into his face and put Colon through a board with a DVD as Colon was trying to cannonball Ryan. He went top rope but missed a top rope leg drop on Colon and ate a Code Red for two. Colon hit his own light tube dive and went top rope for a missed frog splash. Ryan dumped Colon on the top rope and set up more chairs and tubes. He joined Colon up top and Superplexed him through the tubes. Colon kicked out at one and broke tubes over Ryan’s head. They slugged it out and Ryan kicked him back down. Ryan had a barbed wire/light-tube door brought out and set it up on some chairs. He tried to stun Colon and climb to the top but Colon smashed a tube over his head and followed him up. He then hit Ryan with a top rope Spanish Fly through the door of doom and won the match. Once again, we got another fucking awesome match from two top-tier deathmatch stars. This was a lot more high flying focused and chaotic than previous matches and offered some hilarious weapon choices.

John Wayne Murdoch defeated SHLAK via Brainbuster to Chair

The main event would see the Duke of Hardcore, John Wayne Murdoch take on the most recognisable man in deathmatches, the public animal, SHLAK. The ring was filled to the brim with toys for the grand finale of fuckery. They started with punches, then chops then Murdoch went for a quick roll-up attempt. SHLAK kicked him off and ran through him with a glass pane. SHLAK continued to fight off Murdoch’s attempts at offence and hit him with an Olympic Slam. They both threw tube bundles at each other, bailed to the outside and Murdoch hit SHLAK in the head with a trash can and tube bumper sword. Murdoch continued to grind at the head with a broken tube and hammered a gusset plate into SHLAK’s arm. When that fell off, Murdoch headbutted it into SHLAK’s forehead. SHLAK smashed the trash can into Murdoch’s head and hammered the gusset plate into Murdoch’s shoulder. Murdoch dragged SHLAK to a light-tube table and signalled for a destroyer but SHLAK reversed into a back body drop through the tubes.

Murdoch attacked SHLAK with a chair and placed another glass pane in the ring. He set the pane against the chains and pummelled SHLAK with more jabs but SHLAK reversed his bionic elbow and put him through the pane with an exploder. Both men went back outside, SHLAK smashed some tubes over Murdoch’s head and the pair traded headbutts. Both men collapsed to the floor after 22 headbutts. SHLAK got to his feet first and raked Murdoch’s head with a handful of broken glass. SHLAK set up more plunder as Murdoch pried free a broken light-tube and chased down SHLAK to hit him in the head with it. They broke more tubes on each other then Murdoch shanked SHLAK in the gut with a broken tube. Murdoch fell into the boot of someone’s car then traded more chops. SHLAK threw Murdoch back into the ring and locked on a choke, when that failed, he started gouging the eyes. More duelling tubes followed by SHLAK spearing Murdoch into a guardrail covered in tubes. They fought over a table so SHLAK bust out the plastic bag and tried to suffocate Murdoch with it. He forced Murdoch onto the table and went top rope for an elbow drop through the table. A choke bomb followed, which didn’t do the job so SHLAK broke a board and smashed it over Murdoch’s head multiple times. Murdoch remained cognizant, tripped SHLAK onto a chair, threw an entire box worth of tubes onto SHLAK, and hit a brainbuster onto the chair for three. Murdoch went through hell and survived SHLAK’s onslaught. Both men would have happily died in that ring full of blood and broken glass. It seemed like SHLAK’s fight but he survived and hugged it out with SHLAK to end the show. What a conclusion to an amazing show.

So, there you have it, ICW NHB’s Deathmatch Drive-In volume 1. This was insane. A violent, maniacal return to deathmatch wrestling from a show willing to say fuck you to the rules. They had pyro, a rabid crowd, and six matches of absolute gold. Everything was fun, sometimes silly and sometimes funny. This is the type of wrestling I wanted back and ICW NHB gave me a treat. I cannot wait for the next one in a few days. Welcome back ICW and welcome back the riotous world of deathmatch wrestling violence.

All images courtesy of Earl Gardner Photography, Chris Grasso, SHLAK Twitter, ICW NHB Twitter