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In Defence of Hardcore Wrestling

Hardcore wrestling is back in the s*it again after a spot at GCW: DOA went awry. During the bout between Hoodfoot and Slade, an exchange of light tube blows ended with both men stabbing each other in the bicep. Initially, it seemed to go off without a hitch only for it to become very obvious that Hoodfoot was in trouble. His arm started to – for want of a better term – piss blood. The referee tried his damndest to patch Hoodfoot up with tape, but there was no way that he could carry on and the match was stopped and Hoodfoot was helped to the back. Now, according to GCW owner, Brett Lauderdale, Hoodfoot is fine and wanted to go back out and complete the match;

But as soon as I hit that part of the show this morning – there’s a massive time distance between the UK and America and as much as I love GCW, I’m not staying up until four am to watch a PPV live, I’ve got kids to deal with in the morning, dammit! – I went straight on to the internet to 1) Check that Hoodfoot was okay and 2) To see how bad the inevitable backlash against hardcore wrestling would be, from what I like to call “The Jim Cornette Corner”.

It was, as you can imagine, pretty f*cking bad.

Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, groups, and message boards across the world wide web were – and still are – filled with people feeling the need to vent their spleen about hardcore wrestling. It was the usual argument about how hardcore wrestlers and promotions are just “…pure garbage” and that they shouldn’t be allowed to continue operating, yadda, yadda, yadda.

There were calls for all hardcore wrestling to be outlawed – cause, yeah, that’d stop it – and stupid, ill-informed opinions about how it’s nothing more than glorified Backyard Wrestling that is amateur at best and liable to get someone killed at worst. Quite frankly, this has stuck in my craw.

So much so in fact that I am here to tell you if you’re one of those fans you are wrong.

Hardcore wrestling and all its bastard offspring have been an intricate part of the sport ever since certain branches of the NWA decided that blood was the way to go during the late 50s. Take, for example, Championship Wrestling from Florida. Here was a company that wasn’t afraid to use violence as a means to an end way back then, and was also responsible for launching the likes of Louis Thesz and The Funk Brothers unto the world. Now, granted, Thesz wasn’t much of a bleeder, but if CWF hadn’t been so eager to embrace the use of claret and weapons, they’d have never been in the position of popularity to help set these – and many more – wrestlers on the road to superstardom.

Still not convinced? Okay, how’s this for a list of hardcore wrestling’s who’s who.

  • The Sheik
  • Classy Fred Blassie
  • Bruiser Brody
  • Mick Foley
  • Terry Funk
  • Sabu
  • Tommy Dreamer
  • Nick F’kin Gage
  • Jon Moxley
  • Eddie Kingston

And that’s just a random ten off the top of my head. Hell, all you had to do was look at Ric Flair back in the day, and he’d have a crimson mask so thick he’d have to wait until it dried to peel it off.  Hardcore wrestling is as much a part of the game as Hulk Hogan refusing to lose to anyone or The nWo becoming an over-blown car crash, and it’s far more entertaining.

Every company has used hardcore wrestling in one form or another. Even to this day, the WWE holds the Extreme Rules PPV where you might be lucky to see one person go through a table for the entire three hours of its run time. And if you tune into any of AEW’s biggest shows, you know you’re going to see at least one performer bleed like a stuck pig before the night is through.

So why do certain fans of those companies feel the need to look down on the men and women, like Hoodfoot, Slade, et al, who have chosen not to tread the path of becoming a corporate shill, and have, instead, walking the path of hardcore, for better or worse?

Well, I think I’ve just answered my own question, haven’t I?

There are a minority of wrestling fans, who all fall under the category of “The Jim Cornette Corner”, that have this insane idea that if you’re not with their company, then what you do is awful. WWE fans that hate AEW fans, AEW fans that hate WWE fans, NJPW fans who hate both WWE fans and AEW fans, as if this was Liverpool vs. Man Utd. Or for the Americans among you…er…I’m terrible with American sports, are The Metz and The Yankees still a feud? This is both laughable and idiotic. Wrestling is entertainment. Very athletic, amazing, oh-my-god-if-I-tried-that-I-would-break-every-bone-in-my-body entertainment, but entertainment nonetheless. It’s storytelling at its finest and it is an art form.

You wouldn’t go to The Louvre and get into a blazing argument with someone who likes The Mona Lisa just because you’re a Van Gogh kind of guy or gal, would you?

“F*ck you, man. Da Vinci was a garbage painter. F*cking amateur who should’ve had his paint brushes taken off of him before he hurt someone”

Sounds f*cking ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Yet, as a hardcore wrestling fan, this is what I and many others have to listen to every time a planned spot in a match doesn’t work out and someone gets hurt. Look, I’m not making light of injuries in wrestling, I know how terrible and life-altering they can be, but wrestlers know that what they do is dangerous and they accept that there are risks behind following their dreams and doing what they love. Even more so if they follow the extreme path of hardcore wrestling.

And I get it, some fans like what they like and only what they like and that’s fine. I have no problem with that. I’ll watch as much wrestling as I can cram into 24 hours because even when it’s bad, I appreciate what the performers can do in the ring more than I hate Corey Graves reminding everyone when the opportunity arises that he’s sleeping with Carmella.

Yet, at heart, I’m a hardcore wrestling guy, and if I have a choice between another WWE PPV where nothing happens or watching the likes of Matthew Justice and Mance Warner lather their opponents with tables, ladders, chairs, doors, glass tubes, and the f*cking kitchen sink, then there really is no choice on how I’m going to spend the next three and a half hours.

If you don’t like hardcore wrestling, then that’s on you. But don’t – and I mean f*cking don’t – think that that gives you the right to spout pointless, inane, uneducated opinions towards wrestlers you know f*ck all about. It f*cking doesn’t.

Those of us that follow this branch of wrestling understand that these men and women deserve nothing but our utmost respect for their willingness to do what the next wrestler might not, and to do it nearly every night of the year, just to entertain us. In fact, we love them for it. They’re “our” people. Not yours.  And if what they do and what hardcore wrestling is is still a mystery to you that makes you feel the need to spout bile at the mere mention of its name, then turn the f*cking tv off. Change the goddamn channel. Go watch something else.

We don’t need you.

Long live Hardcore Wrestling.

Long live GCW.

 

 

 

Written by Neil Gray

SPOBS very own Mouth Of The South (West).

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