Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

A podcast where politics, history, and culture are examined from perspectives you may not have considered before. Call it a parallax view.


episode 904: Inside the World of Deathmatch Wrestling w/ Mike Krueger

On this edition of Parallax Views, we delve into the controversial world of deathmatch wrestling with deathmatch wrestler Mike Krueger. For those unfamiliar with deathmatch wrestling, it is by far the most extreme variant of professional wrestling imaginable. When watching a deathmatch promotion like Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW), Underground Empire Wrestling (UEW), or any number of others similar promotions you can expect to see things that you'd never see in a mainstream pro wrestling promotion like WWE. This includes wrestler diving off balconies into glass, wrestler being thrown into flaming tables, and competitors using objects like light tubes and barbed wire bats as weapons. It is, in other words, the "outlaw" form of pro wrestling that is often heavily criticized for it's blood-n-guts gruesomeness.

And yet, deathmatch wrestling has cultivated a rather diverse audience. On one hand there's the "anti-woke" fans of Rob Black's notorious XPW. On the other there's Game Changer Wrestling, which has become popular especially with some in the LGBTQ+ community for its inclusiveness.

Additionally, despite its violence, deathmatch wrestling also has some famous fans. The Muslim gonzo punk novelist Michael Muhammad Knight, for example, is on record as being a fan of legendary deathmatch wrestler Necro Butcher. And then there's the RackaRacka Brothers aka Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou, known for directing last year's A24-distributed sleeper horror hit Talk to Me, who are not only making a documentary on deathmatch wrestling, but have actually participated in deathmatches.

And they aren't the only celebrities who have been involved in deathmatch wrestling. Actor David Arquette, known for the Scream movies (as well as his infamous stint in mainstream wrestling as the short-lived World Heavyweight champion of WCW), did a deathmatch with one of the genre's biggest names: Nick Gage. Additionally, rock stars like Glenn Danzig, Korn's Jonathan Davis, Slayer's Kerry King, and former Danzig bassist Josh Lazie as well as rap duo the Insane Clown Posse made appearances or were involved with XPW in the late 90s/early 2000s.

The deathmatch performance art shows of New York's Casanova Valentine have gained the attention of punk rock and urban hipster youths at bars. And VICE has tackled the topic in multiple documentaries, most notably in in season 3 of the popular TV show Dark Side of the Ring's "The Ultra-Violence of Nick Gage" episode.

Violent as it may be, deathmatch wrestling is, against seemingly all odds, arguably breaking through to the mainstream. The widely listened to Joe Rogan Experience podcast devoting an entire segment to the subject with the aforementioned Phillippou Bros. should attest to that fact.

What is the appeal of deathmatch wrestling though? Is there more to it than the elements of ultra-violence? And what is it like being a deathmatch wrestler?

Mike Krueger will help answers those questions and more. We'll discuss a number of topics including:

- The punk rock nature of deathmatch wrestling

-  The connection between deathmatch wrestlers and the smaller, more intimate audiences they perform for

- The Mount Rushmore of death match wrestling

- The trendiness of deathmatch wrestling in the past few years

- What drives deathmatch wrestlers?

- The dangerous nature of deathmatch wrestling and the fact that the damage the wrestlers' bodies take in deathmatches can't be fact even if the results are predetermined

- Trauma, psychological issues, and deathmatch wrestlers

- The psychology of deathmatch wrestling

- Old school deathmatch wrestling from Japan: Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling (FMW) and their infamous barbed wire exploding death match between Terry Funk and Atsushi Onita

- Storytelling in deathmatch wrestling

- The wear and tear Mike's body has endured from deathmatch wrestling

- The cut-throat nature of the independent wrestling scene; backstabbing in the scene; promoters that don't pay the talent

- The story of Mike getting hit multiple times with a weed whacker in a match

- The role of muscle memory in pro wrestling

- How do deathmatch wrestlers protect themselves when being hit by glass or lighttubes?

- Has deathmatch wrestling gotten too violent since the time it began? How has the deathmatch wrestling scene changed since Mike got involved in it?

- Mike Krueger's background in amateur wrestling and answering the question of how many deathmatch wrestlers are properly trained

- Why Mike quit pro wrestling and why he more recently made a comeback

- Deathmatch wrestling and how its violence combined with the type of wrestlers it attracts makes people question the "is this fake?" question more so than other forms of wrestling? How wrestlers like the late New Jack made people believe that they may be watching a "shoot" (a real fight)

- The craziest thing Mike has ever seen in a deathmatch

- The falls from high heights that deathmatch wrestlers take onto tables, concrete, etc.

- The So Cal deathmatch wrestling scenes and the late deathmatch wrestler Supreme

- What is "heat" in pro wrestling and how to get it in a match; how Mike has to get heat in a match without talking

- What's it like working matches with barbed wire; Mike talks about preparing for his first ever no-ropes barbed wire match (the ropes are barbed wire); taking hits from glass vs. barbed wire; the worst part of barbed wire matches

- The adrenaline rush the wrestlers get during a match and how the pain often sets in after the match is over rather than during

- How time flows differently for a wrestler during a match

- Feeding off the energy fans and the audiences during a match

- And much, much more!

fyyd: Podcast Search Engine

 April 5, 2024  1h50m