Tyler with my last guest, Matt Tremont, at King of the Deathmatches 2014!
Tyler brings up a good point in this interview. The venues that host the deathmatch tournaments are unique, and oftentimes downright intriguing. They add mystique to the show, and amplify the tournament atmosphere. Take for example, the Bellevue Plaza. A halfway house, a gymnasium, a hardware store, a pool school. What else lies within the decrepit venue's halls and behind it's crusted walls? Have you ever seen a show there?
Another example would be the location where Brink of Death 4 took place. The name of this website-less venue was given on the flyer without an address. I got lucky and was able to contact my friend Larry Bailey to get the address to BCW's deathmatch tournament in Rutland, Ohio. This venue, like the Bellevue Plaza, was also many things in one; a gymnasium, some kind of school, and the local police station. The parking lot was one snowy driveway with zero parking spots. I have no idea how we managed to park. Due to the location (middle of nowhere in a snowstorm) and lack of advertisement, there was barely anyone at this show. However, I thought the venue and location was PERFECT for a deathmatch tournament. It all added to the unique atmosphere - including the fact it was damn near impossible to find.
Tyler: My name is Tyler Becker. I am often referred to as "T-Beck". I reside in a small town in southwestern Illinois, about 40 minutes from St. Louis, Missouri. I graduated last year from SIU-Edwardsville.
Particle Don: What are some of your non-wrestling hobbies?
Tyler: One of my main hobbies is playing pinball. I actually compete in tournaments and play in a league. It's a lot of fun! It has developed into a passion for me. I'm also a big fan of the St. Louis sports teams, and have attended a lot of St. Louis Rams games. I love to travel, which makes going to deathmatch tournaments a lot of fun!
Particle Don: Tell us about your pinball hobby.
Tyler: The place I go to most often is called CP Pinball. For one admission fee, there are over 70 pinball machines, and they're all on free play. The owner has machines from brand new to all the way back to the 70's. I have been playing pinball regularly for 2 years now, but I'm still somewhat new to the competition side of it. I haven't won any tournaments yet. I hope to compete in more tournaments in the future, and hopefully achieve victory! I'd also like to have a pinball collection in my home someday.
There are people in my league who actually travel across the country to compete in big tournaments. The group I'm in meets every Wednesday night and has about 40 people from the St. Louis region. I'm currently in 12th, haha.
Ironically, Stern just came out with two versions of a WrestleMania machine. I thought it was cool because it combines two things I have been really into at points in my life.
Particle Don: Were you a fan of regular wrestling before you got into deathmatches? If so, how, and what federations did you follow? Who are some of your favorite non-deathmatch wrestlers?
Tyler: I first became interested in wrestling when I was about nine, in 2001. There was a show called "WWF Metal" that aired on Saturday mornings, after cartoons. The show featured matches and highlights of Raw and Smackdown. I quickly became immersed, and started watching Raw and SmackDown whenever I could. At the time, nothing entertained me more than watching WWF; I was your typical child fan. I loved Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Dudley Boyz. I remember always getting nervous watching their matches, because I wanted them to win so badly.
I got out of wrestling toward the end of the Invasion storyline, and moved on to other interests. Then, as a young teenager, I became obsessed with it again and started to watch whatever was on television (WWE/TNA) and read a lot about wrestling online.
Particle Don: What initially got you into deathmatch wrestling?
Tyler: When I was young watching WWF, I always loved the gimmick and hardcore title matches. Then, when I started watching again during 2005/2006, WWE was bringing back ECW. It introduced me to guys such as Sabu. At that point, I got all those ECW DVDs they released, and fell in love with extreme wrestling. Sabu was my favorite wrestler.
I would visit an old video store and browse their wrestling DVDs. I stumbled upon FMW, XPW, and those Japanese hardcore DVDs. I didn't buy any of them for a while, because at the time I didn't think my dad would let me. However, I would always read the matches on the back of the box, and thought they sounded crazy! I eventually started to learn more about deathmatches online. I'd hear about guys such as Nick Mondo, Necro Butcher and Mad Man Pondo. I was so intrigued!
I would visit the CZW and IWA websites a lot. I remember viewing pictures of King of the Deathmatches 2008 (Royal Day of Death; the year Devon won via the Scaffold match). I fell in love with the craziness. I eventually bought a "Best of Deathmatch Wrestling" 3-Pack from the video store that included CZW and IWA matches, and I've been hooked ever since.
Particle Don: Who are some of your favorite deathmatch wrestlers, and why?
Tyler: I really do like a lot of them, but if I had to name three I would say Masada, Sexxxy Eddy, and Matt Tremont. For whatever reason, I seem to enjoy their matches the most. Bryant Woods is one of the best rising stars.
Particle Don: What was the first deathmatch tournament you saw on film?
Tyler: The first deathmatch tournament I saw on film was IWA Mid-South Double Death 2006 that was on that Best of Deathmatch Wrestling DVD. I watched it like three times that weekend; I loved it. At that point, I had been reading about deathmatch tournaments for a while online, and it was great to finally see one on DVD. I didn't know about Smart Mark Video at the time. When I discovered them in 2009, I became a regular customer of deathmatch tournaments, haha.
Particle Don: What was the first deathmatch tournament you attended live?
Tyler: King of the Deathmatches 2011. I had been watching all the tournaments for a couple of years at that point, and wanted to start attending. I would recognize these fans on the DVDs that literally traveled to every tournament. I thought it was really cool seeing the same fans at all these shows. It inspired me to start going.
It was a little less than a 3 hour drive to the venue, so KOTDM was a great first tournament for me. I remember arriving at the spectacular Bellevue Plaza and honestly being star struck seeing Masada at his truck in the parking lot, along with more recognizable fans such as Yuki Kasai. I had been religiously watching these tournaments for years, and it was surreal to finally be in that environment in person.
Particle Don: If possible, give us a list or semi-list of all the deathmatch shows you've been to!
Tyler: I am still a newbie at traveling to all the shows, but I have been to a few to this point:
IWA-MS Kings of the Crimson Mask - 2010 - Bellevue, Illinois
IWA-MS King of the Deathmatches - 2011 - Bellevue, Illinois
IWA-MS King of the Deathmatches - 2014 - New Albany, Indiana
IWA-MS Queen of the Deathmatches - 2014 - New Albany, Indiana
IWA-MS Prince of the Deathmatches - 2015 - Clarksville, Indiana
IWA-DS Carnage Cup - 2015 - Jasper, Tennessee
EPW Hardcore Harvest - 2014 - New Albany, Indiana
Chaos Pro Wrestling 7 Deadly Sins - 2014 - Metropolis, Illinois
Particle Don: What was your favorite live deathmatch event? Why?
Tyler: The best tournament I have been to is King of the Deathmatches 2011. however, the Royal Day of Death last year was the most fun and an amazing atmosphere I've been a part of! It was awesome how we were literally outside the entire day watching deathmatches (although it was like 100 degrees). Also, the 10th Carnage Cup this year was probably the sickest tournament I have ever seen live.
Particle Don: What is your favorite deathmatch venue? Why?
Tyler: I feel like the venue is really important in creating that unique atmosphere that deathmatch shows are known for. Of the ones I have been to, my favorite is the Rustic Frog in New Albany, Indiana. This was the site of Hardcore Harvest and King of the Deathmatches 2014.
I feel like deathmatch tournaments in a way were meant to be outside, maybe because that's how they held the original one in Japan. But beside from just being outdoors, the venue was great for many reasons. Among other things, it had a bar outside, and plenty of parking. There was a lot of open space for fans to walk around, and was a great setting with the Ohio River right next to it.
Even though the building was kind of a dump, I also liked the Bellevue Plaza. The setting just seemed to be made for deathmatch shows.
Some of my favorite venues I have seen on DVD were that bowling alley parking lot for KOTDM2008, the Ultraviolent Underground (site of TOD), and the South Charleston Community Center where the first three Masters of Pain took place. I also love and would still like to visit the arena in Philly one day.
Particle Don: Where did you first hear of Particle Don?
Tyler: After KOTDM 2014, I was talking to Robert Trail and I think he introduced me. I definitely had heard some of the songs before, but didn't know who he was until then. Don was actually sitting next to me Night 1 of KOTDM 2011, but I didn't know who he was at the time. He gave me two CDs and I listened to them on the drive home. Every show I drive to, I make sure to play some of his songs in my car. I admire his creativity and passion towards deathmatch wrestling.
Particle Don: What is your favorite Particle Don song?
Tyler: It has to be Danny Havoc's theme!! I have listened to that song many many times traveling to the shows and I'm still not tired of it.
Particle Don: What wrestler would you like to hear Particle Don write words for?
Tyler: I think it would be cool if Particle Don would write themes for tournaments or promotions as a whole. Particle Don could write a theme for IWA Mid South or Deep South, kind of like CZW has their Lay the Law theme. Or write themes for specific tournaments, such as King of the Deathmatches, Tournament of Death and Carnage Cup.
Particle Don: Throughout wrestling history, what is your favorite entrance theme? Why?
Tyler: It definitely would be Last Resort for Nick Mondo. The sound and lyrics suited him perfectly. I also love the CZW Law the Law theme song.
Particle Don: What would be your dream match?
Tyler: Sexxxy Eddy vs. Masada in a No Rope Barbwire and Glass Panes Deathmatch.
Particle Don: Any recommendations of specific wrestling shows or promotions we should check out? Where can we find it?
Tyler: I have never been there, but CCW over in Evansville, Indiana seems to putting on some good shows. They are running their first deathmatch tournament in June entitled "King of the Coliseum". It is being filmed by Smart Mark Video.
Particle Don: Any unique experiences or fan interactions you've had while attending a deathmatch show that you could never get at a normal wrestling show?
Tyler: One time I bought and decided to eat a slice of pizza during a deathmatch. After one of the spots, I discovered pieces of glass on top of my half-eaten pizza, haha. You won't get that at a normal wrestling show!!!!!! I learned from then on to only visit the snack bar during non-tournament matches.
Another one would be when I brought a friend from my college dorm to King of the Deathmatches 2011 (the tall guy that was sitting with me). He was somewhat of a wrestling fan but had never even heard of deathmatches. His reaction when we first got there was priceless!!! I kind of explained to him on the car ride what to expect, but he still had no idea of the violence we were about to witness. When we first got in line at the Bellevue Plaza, while waiting for the doors to open, the fan in front of us was carrying an aluminum bat wrapped in razor wire. I remember my friend whispering to me "What the fuck kind of event are we going to?!" He ended up having a great time that weekend, though.
Overall, deathmatch exhibitions are like nothing else! They are much more interactive than any other shows, with aspects such as "Fans Bring the Weapons" and all the brawling in the crowd. I have met many cool people at these shows, and hope to attend many more in the coming years. Particle Don: What tournaments are you attending this year?
Tyler: I have attended thus far Carnage Cup and Prince of the Deathmatches. I will also be at:
IWA East Coast - Masters of Pain - 2015 - Charleston, West Virginia
Coliseum Championship Wrestling - King of the Coliseum - 2015 - Evansville, Indiana
IWA Mid-South - King of the Deathmatches - 2015 - Clarksville, Indiana
IWA Mid-South - Queen of the Deathmatches - 2015 - Clarksville, Indiana
My dream has always been to attend a Tournament of Death, but I can't make it this year. If any others tourneys get announced for this year, I will try to make them.
Particle Don: What are you looking forward to with deathmatch wrestling in general in 2015? Do you plan on attending any shows?
Tyler: 2015 is shaping up to be an EPIC year for deathmatch wrestling! It is the first year since 2011 that all of the "big four" tournaments will be taking place (Carnage Cup, Masters of Pain, Tournament of Death and King of the Deathmatches). I am pumped that I am attending three of them.
There also is a lot of new talent emerging lately, and even some older talent coming back, making for some great matches.
I would say I am most excited for KOTDM/QOTDM. The lineup is amazing, and that weekend is going to be so much fun. Particle Don: T-Beck, thanks for the awesome interview! I think it's great learning a little bit about the fans of deathmatch wrestling. I only get to see them at shows, and there is so much going on that you don't always get a chance to catch up on things!
Tyler: Thanks Particle Don, it is truly an honor to be interviewed by you. I love your website and the themes you have created. Keep up the good work!!!