I love a good tournament. You can’t beat the energy of so many wrestlers pushing themselves to survive multiple matches in a day. The ante is always upped when weapons come into the mix. Enter the Hardcore Cup. A one-day dose of hardcore bouts with eight of the top brawlers, bruisers and bloodletters on the planet. We’d see Alex Colon, Devon Moore, John Wayne Murdoch, Lord Crewe, Conor Claxton, AKIRA, Jake Crist and Cole Radrick all go to war for the honour of earning the title of first Hardcore Cup holder. As well as the wrestlers in the tournament, we’d also see non-tournament action from Sage Phillips, Don’t Die Miles, Lexus Montez and Aaron Williams. Let’s get into this monster of a show.

Hardcore Cup 1st Round Falls Count Anywhere: John Wayne Murdoch defeated Devon Moore via Chair Brainbuster

First up was a brawl that would probably go everywhere but the ring. It was the IWTV wrestler of 2020 John Wayne Murdoch taking on the Grimiest fighter in the game Notorious Devon Moore. Since it was a Falls Count Anywhere, it was a given these two would explore the venue. The pair started in the ring chain wrestling and dancing around chairs before Moore was driven into a chair twice and the fight went to the outside. Moore ate a chair and trashcan then brawled with Murdoch, trying to win with a quick roll-up. The pair battled into the toilets and ended up locked in a stall. When the door opened again, Murdoch looked like the Yeti wrapped up in toilet paper. Murdoch used the paper for a choke and dumped Moore back-first on a chair. Moore hit low and mashed Murdoch with chairs to the head, cracking him in the head through an open chair. They staggered back towards the ring and trades punches on the apron. The fell to the floor again after Moore hit an apron Bulldog and nailed Murdoch with a splash off a chair. Moore continued with a piledriver in-ring but only got two so he dumped Murdoch in a trashcan and hit a diving elbow drop. Murdoch kicked out again and followed Moore up to the top to deliver a Superplex through a door. Moore kicked out at one so Murdoch smashed him with a back-fist and ended things with the chair Brainbuster. This was a chaotic opener with Moore using his best strikes to try and score a win over the Duke. A fun introduction to the brutality to come.

Hardcore Cup 1st Round Doors, Ladders, Chairs: Jake Crist defeated Cole Radrick via Crist Cutter Backslide

Up next was the Modern-Day Man in Black Jake Crist against the Wildheart of Indiana Cole Radrick in a doors, ladders and chair match. The plunder was aplenty and both guys were more than willing to destroy each other with it. Crist kicked Radrick to the outside and the pair struck it out around the outside until Radrick took out Crist with a dive. He went for a ring-post chop but Crist moved and he hit nothing but ring-post. It didn’t seem to phase him as he battered Crist away and nailed him with a kick off the apron. They fought over a Suplex on the concrete and Crist dumped Radrick on the apron with a duo of backdrops. He set up a door and tanked a barrage of strikes to put Radrick through the door with a powerbomb. Radrick kicked out and kicked off with the Bobby Knight Kick and scored a near fall with a Lionsault. Crist pelted him with a chair and fought through a jawbreaker and powerbomb attempt to break the ladder with Radrick’s body. Crist took his time retrieving another door so Radrick kicked him to the floor as he slid it in and set up the door. They went to the top and Radrick drove Crist onto the door with an Olympic Slam. Crist fought out of a slam and landed the Crist Cutter into a backslide for the win. Radrick had given him hell but Crist had persevered and come away victorious after rearranging Radrick’s spine multiple times. What a nice match from the pair.

Hardcore Cup 1st Round Heavy Fucking Metal: Lord Crewe defeated Conor Claxton via Trashcan X-Plex

The third first-round match was going to get rough. It was the Bareknuckle Berserker Lord Crewe taking on Conor Claxton under Heavy Fucking Metal rules. Both guys love to throw hands and would happily slug each other in the face until the other stopped moving. The plunder was but a bonus. Crewe opened with a joke and dropkicked Claxton in the face. A slugfest broke out and Crewe lit up Claxton with jabs and a running knee. Claxton knocked him out of a dive with a chair to the head and drove him into the ring-post with a chair around his neck. Claxton continued to assault Crewe with fuckery and gave him some headbanging head-slams into the seat of another chair, even the ref joined in on the headbanging then dropkicked the chair into Crewe’s head. Crewe returned the favour with a punt kick to another chair and DDT’ed him onto the open chair. Claxton grabbed a chain and choked out Crewe dragging him into a Rude Awakening. Crewe rolled out and belted Claxton with a cookie sheet to the face. This just pissed Claxton off and he took a crutch to Crewe’s back. Crewe escaped certain doom and rocked Claxton with a cyclone boot then DVD’ed him into a ladder. Claxton hit low with the chain and covered the ring in tacks. Crewe fought back but Claxton spat tacks at him and dumped him into the tacks with Cut Throat Burning Hammer. More chair shots followed and a tack drag but Claxton made the mistake of going to the top rope and Crewe punished him with a chair to the head. Crewe threw him onto a trashcan with a deadly drive and crushed the can with an X-Plex for the win. This one looked like it fucking hurt. Both guys took some heavy shots and absolutely beat the shit out of each other. This was a good one.

Hardcore Cup 1st Round Swing for the Fences: Alex Colon defeated AKIRA via Camel Clutch

The final first-round contest belonged to the Death Samurai AKIRA and the best deathmatch wrestler in the US (though he won’t accept it) Alex Colon. Both of these guys are proficient in both traditional and hardcore wrestling so they were going to put on a masterclass amongst all the bats and bottles. The pair opened with a gimmick bat dodging contest and went into a technical exchange. Colon broke a block (you know the type) bat across AKIRA’s head off a failed Sunset Flip and AKIRA dropped Colon into some chest kicks. He then repeated the process by kicking a toy soldier bat into Colon’s chest and delivered a Russian Leg Sweep into the blocks. AKIRA got cocky so Colon gave him a bat to the head. AKIRA struck back and blasted Colon with a running knee. Colon remained defiant despite the chops and kept on him with a Scorpion Kick into the Bridging Northern Lights. Colon kicked out so AKIRA barred an arm and bonked Colon on the head with a bat. Colon raked the eyes and cracked the bat into AKIRA’s back and head. AKIRA went for a German so Colon swung the bat low, striking AKIRA’s baseballs. AKIRA avoided water jug-shaped doom and tried for a superplex up top. It failed and Colon double-stomped through him. Colon couldn’t capitalise quick enough so only got a two-count. They duelled with water jugs and Colon shattered his over AKIRA’s head then AKIRA used his to combo Colon into a head kick and Saito. AKIRA grabbed a tack bat and smacked Colon in the head with it. Colon got the bat and smashed it into AKIRA’s head then got a two-count of the Spanish Fly. Colon flew into a rage, broke the tack bat in half on AKIRA’s skull and snapped him in half with the Camel Clutch for the win. Colon had bested the Death Samurai in the best match of the opening round. This had the perfect mix of weaponry and wrestling from two guys who are masters of their craft.

Sage Philips defeated Don’t Die Miles via Grounded Cobra Clutch

Our first non-title match was to be fought between the Technical Wizard Sage Philips and Don’t Die Miles. These guys are no strangers to one another and were going to offer a fun styles clash as Philips would look to cripple Miles before he could fly. That’s exactly what we got as Philips worked to lock Miles up in knots and take out Miles’ legs. He tried to play to technique but Miles came back at him with dropkicks and high-flying offence. Philips didn’t let this fly though and quickly went back to working limbs. He focused on destroying an arm and kicked, twisted and slammed it until it could be used no more. Every chance he got, he reversed what Miles threw at him and punished him for it. Miles fought through as much as he could and gave Philips the same fight back with lethal kicks but in the end, the damage was done and Philips won with a Cobra Clutch after Miles missed a Shooting Star Press. It was a hard-fought battle but technique and wits bested heart here. Miles always shows out when he’s given a spotlight but here, this was the best I’d seen Sage Philips yet. He was ruthless, mean and vicious which is how I love my technical guys to be.

Hardcore Cup Semi-final Battle of the Blocks: Jake Crist defeated John Wayne Murdoch via Crist Cutter Backslide

It was back to the tournament and our first semi-final. Jake Crist was about to meet the King of ICW in hardcore action. It was about to get messy as the pair had some unique wrist tapings and more plunder to play with and heavy hands to knock each other out with. The pair started by throwing haymakers with block taped fists and Murdoch raked more of those blocks into Crist’s eyes. Murdoch dragged him into a swinging neckbreaker and cut him with more sharp blocks. He beat down Crist with a crutch and filled the ring with blocks. The pair punched it out and Crist sacrificed himself to hit a cutter into the blocks. He did further damage to himself and Murdoch with a sit-out block bomb and dragged blocks across Murdoch’s head. They both crashed down into the blocks again as Murdoch hit a Russian Leg Sweep and set-up a door. Murdoch was pissed now and went about systematically damage Crist with everything at his disposal and covered the door in the blocks. Crist capitalised with a DDT onto the blocks and took Murdoch to the top to drop him through the door and block bucket with a superplex. Murdoch somehow kicked out and stumbled to the corner as Crist set the door up again. Murdoch pummelled Crist with punches and put him through the door with a Deep South Destroyer. Crist kicked out and quickly hit the Crist Cutter/Backslide combo to win the match. Fucking hell this was rough. Those block spots must have sucked and I commend both guys for going through with it. Crist scored the upset and became out first finalist.

Hardcore Cup Semi-final Presents of Pain: Alex Colon defeated Lord Crewe via Camel Clutch

The other semi-final would prove to be another dream fight as Alex Colon met Lord Crewe in the ring. It was going to be another hard-hitting affair as both had surprise plunder to unwrap. Crewe started by raining fists down on Colon and unwrapped a chair to batter Colon with. Colon lost his pocket skewers as Crewe unwrapped a TV. Colon took Crewe to the outside and smashed him off the TV. He tried to dive over it onto Crewe but Crewe caught him and lawn-darted him into the TV. They brawled towards commentary and Colon gave everyone the sound of Crewe dying by choking him out with a mic lead. He retrieved his skewers and stabbed them into Crewe’s arm then gave him a kick in the face for good measure. The pair traded can shots and kicks before Crewe drove Colon headfirst into another chair. He unwrapped another TV to swing at Colon but Colon tripped him and kneed the TV into his face. Colon unwrapped a keyboard and continued to swing on Crewe, letting the audience decide the direction. He didn’t even bother unwrapping the last present, he just broke it over Crewe again. He charged Crewe for a Hurricanrana but Crewe caught him and powerbombed him onto a TV. Colon got a taste of keyboard to the back and Crewe dumped him on the top rope to fill him full of skewers. Colon pulled them out and drove them into Crewe then brained him with a Tornado DDT. Crewe kicked out so Colon gave him another assault with the TV before double-stomping it through his gut. A kendo stick in a box was the next weapon and Colon took great joy in caning. He smashed the stick across Crewe’s back multiple times and locked in the Camel Clutch for the win. This was exactly what I wanted it to be. A hard-hitting, plunder-fuelled smashing spree of violence. It was fun, brutal and physical. Crewe held his own against the best around.

Aaron Williams defeated Lexus Montez via Cross-Legged Cradle Driver

Our next non-tournament match gave us an interesting bout between two very talented fighters. It would be Lexus Montez looking to battle the sadistic Aaron Williams. These two were going to throw hands in a battle for striking dominance. They started with stiff kicks and a lock-up then continued to up the ante throughout the match. This had a hectic mix of hard striking, excellent technical execution and creative spots. Montez and Williams put on one hell of a showcase for themselves as they both showed why they get the praise that they do. Both guys fed off the abuse from the other and seemed to want to kick the other to death. This was pure MMA-infused violence. It somehow hit harder than the plunder matches as many of these kicks made me wince harder than some of the hardcore stuff. The assaults raged in and around the ring with both guys hitting harder and harder with Frog Splashes and Brainbusters entering the mix. These two beat ten shades of shit out of each other until Williams finally got the win with a Cradle Piledriver. Holy shit this rocked. This was the longest match of the show and it earned its spot. This hit hard shocked everyone and impressed the hell out of me.

Hardcore Cup final Barbed-Wire War: Alex Colon defeated Jake Crist via Barbed-Wire Door Spanish Fly

Last but not least, the grand finale. Alex Colon and Jake Crist had gone through two other competitors to meet each other in the final of the Hardcore Cup. Both had their war wounds and would have to give every last bit of energy they had to leave the victor. This was going to be furious fun. This could get bloody as barbed-wire doors were now in play. Crist covered the ring in blocks again and ran Colon into one of the barbed-wire doors. He lit Colon up with jabs and threw him through the board again. He clawed at Colon’s face and dumped him into the blocks with a duo of Snap Suplexes. He rushed Colon and got thrown through the second barbed-wire door. He bailed and Colon gave chase with a barbed-wire bat, introducing it to Crist’s back. Crist snatched the bat off him and raked it into Colon’s forehead and back. Colon smashed up Crist with the broken door and the pair slugged it out on the floor. Colon won the exchange and stabbed Crist with another door part. Crist kicked back and dumped Colon on the apron with a backdrop. He dragged blocks onto the apron and did the same again, fighting through Colon’s attempt to block. He dragged Colon up and went one step further with a piledriver onto the block-covered apron. Crist cut him up with another barbed-wire bat and fed Colon blocks for a superkick. Crist searched under the ring for chairs and Colon assailed him with a water jug. Crist shook off the assault and levelled Colon with more head kicks into a Tiger Suplex. The pair traded headbutts on the mat and slowly got to their feet. Colon KO’ed Crist with a baseball punch and leapt off the top only to get caught by the Crist Cutter. Colon kicked out of the backslide so Crist climbed to the top. Colon beat him with the water jug and set up the final barbed-wire door. He climbed to the top, stunned Crist with another headbutt and ended the match with a Spanish Fly through the barbed-wire door. It had been a violent and hard-fought bout but Colon had bested Crist, the barbed-wire and the blocks to win the Hardcore Cup. What a strong choice to lead your hardcore division and what a way to pick a hardcore champion. This show kicked ass from top to bottom and is totally worth the watch. Don’t sleep on Unsanctioned Pro and don’t sleep on the people involved.

All images courtesy of Unsanctioned Pro Twitter, Kayden, IsThisWrestling, ThatRoseTattoo

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