WARNING: STRONG VIOLENCE AHEAD
It’s spooky season once again. You know what that means. It’s time to dive into another 31 deadly, bloody, horrifying deathmatches as we go into the 3rd annual deathmatch calendar. As always, this will be a day-by-day calendar of gore as we break into some of the greatest, nastiest, and most infamous of deathmatches across the years culminating with my pick of the year so far at the number 31 spot. With the preamble out of the way, let’s see what is awaiting us in this year’s tour of wrestling terror.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make wrestling compelling. Back in the 70s, there was a lot of order when it came to wrestling. Your matches took place in the ring, the fight area, or the cage or you lost. However, the territories were always out for new ideas and ways to bring eyes to their products and in 1979, a routine tag title match between the pairings of Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee and Larry Latham and Wayne Ferris (AKA The Blonde Bombers) would create something so notorious and raw that it inspired plenty of imitators and brought shock and horror to a range of wrestling fans. I am of course on about the Tupelo Concession stand brawl in Memphis. Latham and Ferris had won the titles on a dodgy count so a massive fight broke out. The two teams were smacking each other in the head and back with titles. This fight couldn’t be contained and the former champions took the fight to the back and eventually found the concession stand where they kept attacking each other with anything not nailed down. It may have only lasted a few minutes but it was one of the most real things seen in quite some time. Boxes, condiments, merch, and more flew everywhere as the two teams were determined to end each other there and then. Security couldn’t get it under control as the tables were broken and more and more detritus met bodies. It was a ghastly sight that tantalised the viewing audience and mesmerised a whole lot of non-fans too. This felt as real as real gets and brought out an intensity that was hard to top…
So, in 1981, in the same venue, it happened again. This time it happened between the teams of Ricky Morton and Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert and Masa Fuchi and Atsushi Onita. From name value alone, this was awesome. Before the brawl even started Morton had gone wild on everyone with what commentary called a Japanese Fighting Stick. Again, this rabid brawling found the concession stand and went wild amongst the food, tables, glassware, and more. Tojo Yamamoto had also been dragged into the madness as every fighter went wild with whatever they had to hand. It was another dose of wild brawling that once again pushed the boundaries of realness as the environment would bite them in the ass by making them slip. Again, the improvised weaponry was used to maximum effect as security and referees lamely watched the fighters tear each other to shreds. Everyone was bloody and broken by the end of it as Tupelo proved to be the cursed ground for wrestling brawls. As expected, this brand of violence left its mark on Onita who loved the hellish brawling and brought it to FMW years later. Come back tomorrow for the next deathmatch delight.
All images courtesy of Memphis Wrestling, Videos courtesy of David Bayens, and Memphis Wrestling Video Vault