Combat Zone Wrestling - Tournament of Death 14 Review by Robert Trail

Townsend, Delaware
Saturday, June 13th, 2015

The biggest thing about TOD this year, before it even started, was the fact that is was hot out in that field. As my grandpa used to say, I was "sweatin' like a whore in church" before the show even started.

Still, it was cool to see some of "the crew" before the show. Nick Gage was out roaming around with everyone, talking to people and taking pictures. Dummy me though, I didn't know he wasn't staying for the whole show so I didn't go up and talk to him, mostly because I figured it would be cool to get a pic with him after the show when he's all bloody and stuff...oops! Oh well, King of the Deathmatches is next week.

The coolest thing was that I found out that my seat in the second row was going to be right next to Particle Don, so I knew that alone would make this show loads of fun! The show started about an hour late. Indy wrestling, you gotta love it, but who cares? It just meant more time to hang out and talk to people. The ring looked messed up because there was no apron over the top of it. I've since found out that someone forgot to bring it, and had to go back to New Jersey to get it. Once again...indy gotta love it!

DJ Hyde came out first, and welcomed us all to TOD 14. He then did a 10 bell salute to Dusty Rhodes. The field was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop...and Sabine's little doggie barking by the entrance gate! Haha! Everyone was respectful, which is always a little scary, considering the Philly/CZW fans. But it was a classy moment! R.I.P. Dusty! He was a true legend in the sport of pro wrestling, that's for sure! Best promos EVER!!!!!


Ron Mathis vs. Jake Crist
(Barbed Wire Boards Match)

I'm still not so sure that Crist belongs in a deathmatch tournament, but this match had it's moments. It wasn't exactly bad, by any means, but the whole thing seemed a little "tame" by TOD standards. Both guys took bumps through the wire boards and were bleeding pretty good. The end came when Crist hit a flip piledriver/tiger driver off the top rope and put Mathis through a board that was set up between some chairs. Not bad for what it was, and I gotta hand it to Crist for doing something he doesn't usually do.

Josh Crane vs. Matt Tremont
(Pits and Carpet Strips Match)

Tremont was over HUGE, of course, while a good part of the crowd didn't seem to have any idea who Crane even was. This was supposed to be a Pits and Strips match, although it was more a Pits and Light Tubes match, as there wasn't many carpet strips used at all.

Both guys really worked hard and hit some big moves. Tremont took a bulldog, face-first, into a pit of thumbtacks. Crane took a sidewalk slam onto some chairs that were on their side with tubes on top of them. In the end, Tremont hit a straight-up piledriver in the thumbtack pit for the win. Really good match and Crane got a deserved "Please come back!" chant.

Ricky Shane Page vs. Danny Havoc
(Light Tube Bundles Match)

These two guys have faced each other before in a deathmatch tournament. It was at the 2009 Carnage Cup, when Page was still doing his Christian Faith gimmick. This match was AWESOME!!! It was just a Light Tube Bundles Match, but there was one board set up on the side of the ring that had tubes on it. There were also cut-out bleach bottles filled with salt, set up so that when someone was slammed through the board, the salt would fly into them.

Page got cut open kind of early and was bleeding pretty good. But then, he back dropped Havoc from the ring apron to the board with the tubes and salt. Danny's whole head was covered in salt and somewhere in that, he got cut BAD. He was bleeding buckets through the salt. The end came when Danny backdrop drove Page through a huge bundle of tubes and pinned him. As Danny was getting up, blood was squirting out of the side of his head. Page also got a well-deserved "Please come back!" chant. This was, in my opinion, the match of the night...or afternoon, really.

DJ Hyde vs. Conor Claxton vs. Nick Gage
(Fans Bring the Weapons Match)

This was my first time seeing Claxton. He kinda reminds me of a slightly bigger J.C. Bailey, in a way, just by his look. DJ came out with a blow-up sex doll, for some reason. But the real story in all of this was NICK FUCKIN' GAGE!!! Saying he was slightly over with the fans is a bit of the understatement. Honestly, the crowd was yelling so loud (and yes, so was I!) that I couldn't even hear "For Whom the Bell Tolls" at all.

The match was a pure brawl. It started in the ring, but quickly, Gage and DJ went into the crowd and started fighting all over the field. The fans were so packed into the place that I couldn't follow the action at all, but at one point, Gage threw DJ into a bus and then went inside and did something. While this was going on though, Claxton just hung out in the ring. To me, that seemed a bit weird.

When Gage and DJ got back to the guardrail, Claxton did an awesome flip off the top rope onto both guys. Once they got back into the ring, just about every weapon was used. Gage carved up both guys with a pizza cutter and had the sickest, most sadistic look in his eyes while he did it! DJ and Claxon did mix it up a little at one point, but then Gage got back in and hit every one of his moves that he's known for, the frog splash, the boot scrape, and even a piledriver off the second rope onto Claxton. But then, Gage had DJ standing on the ring apron and ran at him to spear him through a wood frame with barbed wire around it, but Claxton jumped in front of him and back dropped him into the frame. The only problem was that Gage missed, and only hit the side of the frame. He had to basically pretend that his wrist was caught in the barbed wire, while Claxton laid out DJ and pinned him for the win.

Kind of a bullshit ending really, as the crowd just wanted to see Gage win the whole thing. But, I later found out that Gage was booked for another show in Jersey and had to leave. While I do understand that situation, still, having Gage go out like that absolutely KILLED the crowd and the whole show itself. The match was awesome though, but just because of the ending, I enjoyed Havoc vs. RSP a bit more. Still, it was great to see "The King" again, and I can't wait to see him at KOTDM!

Next was an intermission and during this time, the beer was flowing pretty hard, and the heat was taking its toll on everyone. At one point, I started getting a headache and felt light-headed, as if I was having a heat stroke from the whole thing. By the time the matches started again, the ring apron was there, and the crowd was absolutely dead!

Lucky 13 vs. Eric Ryan
(LOL - Ladders, Oranges and Legos Match) [Non-Tournament]

As I have already said several times, the crowd was just gone by this point. The match wasn't bad at all, it's just that no one wanted to see it. Honestly, I can't even remember much that even happened, except that Lucky 13 won it.


Matt Tremont vs. Danny Havoc
(Light Tube Bundles Match)

Not a bad match at all, but again, the heat and the crowd really killed the feel of the whole thing. Also, both guys did all of the same stuff you would expect. They had pretty much done all of this stuff before. This isn't exactly a bad thing, but I think everyone was just looking for more of a "WOW!" factor. In the end, Tremont hit a powerbomb off the ropes onto a bundle of tubes that was set between two chairs for the win. The cut on Danny's head re-opened, and he was bleeding pretty good.

Jake Crist vs. Conor Claxton
(Panes of Glass Match)

Honestly, if someone had told me that Jake Crist would be one of the last three guys in TOD, I wouldn't have believed it AT ALL!!! There was only two panes set up in the corners, and one on the outside. So, the first part of the match was mostly "wrestling", which again, killed the crowd completely. If I remember right, Claxton went through both panes of glass in the ring, but Crist got cut up on his arms pretty good from those bumps. In the end, Claxton suplexed Crist into the last pane of glass that was sitting on two chairs and pinned him. Again, not exactly a bad match, but certainly nothing spectacular either.

Devon Moore vs. Dave Crist
(Scaffold Match) [Non-Tournament]

Before the match started, Dave climbed up on the scaffold and some guy behind me was yelling at him about having a small dick. So, Dave first moons the guy and then, yells back, "What? You wanna see how small it is? HERE!!!" and then pulls his dick out and shakes it at the guy. Granted, this is a CZW show, and it's a deathmatch tournament, but still, that was a bit much.

Devon came out on DJ's dad's tractor/lawnmower. Before he got in the ring, Eric Ryan ran out and attacked him. Then, Danny Havoc and Lucky 13 ran out to help Moore. The brawl was on. They fought all over the field, and at one point, Moore jumped off the bus onto someone (I couldn't see). When they got back to the ring, Moore laid Dave onto a table and did an elbow drop off the scaffold onto him. Then he climbed back up to fight with Ryan, who he dropped through a barbed wire board from off the scaffold.

Dave rolled up Moore and got a quick pin. After the match, Dave jumped over the rail next to us and got into the guy's face who had been heckling him, but Lucky 13 jumped in and attacked Dave. Weird match, but I gotta say that I was impressed with Eric Ryan's willingness to take that crazy bump off a scaffold through the barbed wire board.

After the ring was set up for the finals, Tim Donst and Joe Gacy came out and cut a promo. Gacy put over the fact that Donst had beaten cancer, and then Donst challenged him to a match at the next CZW show for the Wired title.


Conor Claxton vs. Matt Tremont
(No-Rope Barbed Wire with Wooden Frames and Panes of Glass Match)

The structure kinda looked like a smaller version of some of the Cage of Deaths from over the years. The match was alright, I suppose, but I think one of the things that really killed it was having Claxton in there. It's not that Claxton is bad, by any means, but honestly, someone who's only been in CZW for four months just didn't belong in the finals of TOD. It showed, as he really sorta seemed "lost" during most of the match. While they did do sick bumps through the panes of glass, the wire part of the frames were never even used. That just seemed like a waste.

At one point, Claxton brought in a log cabin of light tubes and Tremont hit a death valley driver through it, and pinned him. That was it! Everyone was kinda looking at each other like, "Huh? That's it???" It wasn't exactly a terrible match, but for the finals of TOD, everyone was expecting a lot more. On the good side of things, Matt Tremont won TOD, and that was extremely deserved! Say what you will about Tremont, but the fact is, he's kept deathmatch wrestling alive. When everyone said it was dead and gone, after Gage went to prison and JC Bailey and Brain Damage both died, he took the ball and ran with it.

On top of all that, Matt is just an absolute awesome guy, who deserves what he gets. Now he's the only guy to win all of the "big four" tournaments (TOD, KOTDM, Carnage Cup and Masters of Pain). DJ came out and cut a promo about how he always liked and believed in Tremont (You'll go to hell for lying like that, Deej!). Tremont got on the mic and put over Claxton as the future of deathmatch wrestling.

After the show, I hung around and talked to some people. I also congratulated Tremont, because over the last few years, I've really gotten to know him. Like I said, he's is one of the nicest guys I've ever talked to in the wrestling business. As I was driving out, DJ Hyde was standing over by the gate and thanking everyone for coming to the show, which honestly, as much as I almost hate to admit it, was a classy move by the Deej!

All in all, it certainly wasn't the best TOD ever, and will probably go down as one of the worst. Still, just being there is such a big part of the fun and for that alone, I had a pretty good time. I drove up to New York City the next day and had a blast up there, too. So overall, it was a fun weekend! Still, I will admit that I'm pretty darn excited for King of the Deathmatches next week, and I'm pretty certain Ian Rotten is going to put on a show that will bury this year's TOD!