I decided to make my first ever trip to a Masters of Pain tournament. It was the first one since 2012, and I had always been a huge fan of this tourney. It was about an 8 hour drive for me, but it was awesome to finally attend one, and continue to fulfill my dream of attending deathmatch tournaments across the country.
The venue was a haunted house in downtown Charleston. I drove down Beauregard street and was in a seemingly rough neighborhood. I was thinking "Where the hell am I?" I passed a big warehouse type building and saw Matt Tremont, guys from Smart Mark Video, and fans with light tubes outside. I knew this was the place! The doors opened about a half hour late. A rather large line of fans formed outside waiting to get in. I recognized a lot of these people who were travelers just like me. This is one of the coolest aspects of going to these big tournaments.
The venue itself was pretty neat, and somewhat eerie. It was literally a haunted house! The building was dark, and had a pretty low roof. There were two rows of chairs surrounding the ring, and some makeshift bleachers made out of wood pallets. The venue was a great location for deathmatches. It had a certain unique and scary vibe to it, which made the show that much more special. The crowd was pretty decent sized, including a mix of locals and traveling Deathmatch fans. They all seemed to really be into the action! They went crazy all night, especially during the Gage matches. The venue had a wide variety of food at the snack bar and a big merchandise table. Overall, it was an excellent deathmatch atmosphere.
This was the scene before the first match started.
The Gatekeeper's card was sitting on the table.
There was a meet and greet with all the wrestlers before the show. Gage was the most popular, since he was making his return. They started the show by introducing all the wrestlers and getting an in-ring photo op with the combatants. The tournament then began!
Ron Mathis vs. Matt Tremont vs. Mad Man Pondo
It was exciting to see a cage in a deathmatch tournament, as those matches seem to be pretty rare. While it was cool to see a cage, the match was nothing interesting as the cage wasn't used too much. Mathis eliminated both of them to advance to the next round.
Josh Crane vs. Elkview Adam
(Thumbtack Pit Match)
This match was supposed to be Murdoch/Crane in a Garden of Eden match. However, Murdoch didn't make it because of car troubles. Elkview Adam looked good, him and Crane put on a pretty solid match featuring many bumps into the tacks. Josh Crane picked up the victory.
Nick Gage vs. Sid Fabulous
(Barbed Wire Massacre Match)
We all knew Sid was gonna get killed in this match, which was exactly what happened. Nick Gage came out ready to kick some ass, and boy did he give Sid a brutal beating! I thought it was scary and awesome at the same time. The crowd was going ballistic, and Nick Gage picked up the victory.
Viper vs. Smokey C
(Fans Bring the Weapons Match)
Just a typical Fans Bring the Weapons match, nothing spectacular. Viper seemed to carry most of the match, and picked up the victory.
They then went into intermission. The first round was okay, but it went by very fast. Fattawn got on the microphone and announced to the fans that Viper tore his ACL, and wouldn't be able to wrestle in the next round. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. They said that Nick Gage would get a bye into the finals. While I understood that these things happen, it was somewhat disappointing as the show seemed as it just started, and yet they only had two tournament matches left.
Ron Mathis vs. Josh Crane
(High Impact Tables Match)
These two seem to work well against each other. Not a crazy match by any means, but a simple tables match that was solid none the less. Ron Mathis knocked Crane off a mini scaffold into a light tube covered table for the win.
Crazy Mary Dobson vs. El Drunko
This was basically just a comedy match to give us a break from all the violence. El Drunko is hilarious. Crazy Mary picked up the win.
Ron Mathis vs. Nick Gage
(Panes of Glass and Light Tube Log Cabins Match) [Finals]
This match was AWESOME!!!! Gage gave it all to Ron Mathis but he kept kicking out and firing back. They fought all over the building. The fight featured tons of glass, and both men were bloody messes when the match was over. The finish came when Gage tried to put Mathis away with a frog splash. However, he hit his head on a ceiling pipe (remember how I mentioned the low ceiling?) and Mathis was able to capitalize! Ron hit Gage with a tombstone onto some tubes and got the victory to become the 2015 Master of Pain!!
The event turned out to be fun, but I don't believe it was as good as the past Masters of Pain tournaments. They set a pretty high standard considering how shocking they have been in the past. This is not to say the show was bad by any means, but I noticed two things. It was awful short, and had no unique gimmicks at all.
Now I understand the reason it was so short was mostly situational because of Viper's injury and therefore one less match. I was, however, somewhat disappointed in the lack of unique gimmicks. Not that they can't have good matches without them, but the Masters of Pain tournaments have developed a reputation for having some of the most unique match types. This year, the gimmicks came off comparably boring.
Overall, I believe this tournament will mostly be remembered as the Gage show. It was great to see him back, and his two matches were by far the most talked about of the night. Gage was officially back in deathmatches, and looked better than ever! Congratulations to Ron Mathis on the win. I'll be back for Masters of Pain 2016.