Deathmatches aren’t everyone’s cup of tea however, for the people who love a bit of blood and violence, TNT’s DOA Tournament every January is the highlight of the year.
In a dark club in Liverpool, one night a year, the best professional deathmatch wrestlers gather to do the most brutal and sometimes ridiculously horrific moves on each other for your entertainment in order to become TNT DOA Champion.
Previous entrants include Jimmy “Fucking” Havoc who is now working in the USA and signed by AEW, Drew Parker who is living the deathmatch dream out in Japan, and last year’s winner, Mikey Whiplash.
At the start of the evening the doors open to TNT VIP guests, who get to have their photographs taken with all eight entrants. This year the entrants include Jimmy Lloyd, Session Moth Martina, Charli Evans, Rickey Shane Page, Clint Margera, Spike Trivet, Jack Jester and Aspen Faith. 2020 is the first year that female wrestlers have entered the notoriously bloody and violent event.
There was a VIP dark match which was Nico Angelo VS Kid Lykos II, which was a fantastic match to warm up the evening. With high flying and fast paced moves, the crowd absolutely loved watching the guys warm up the room.
The first round of the tournament included four matches, which had a ‘Carpet Strips’ deathmatch, ‘Drawing pins’ deathmatch, ‘Barbed-wire’ deathmatch and ‘Fans bring the weapons’ deathmatch.
Before the show began, I went backstage to look at what type of weapons that the fans had brought, and they did not disappoint. There were four big tubs of weapons; a couple of my favourites included a keyboard that had all the keys replaced with drawing pins, except the carefully spelt words, ‘DOA’ and ‘WRESTLING’ which gave it a nice personal touch; traffic cones, Disney photographs, homemade bats with various things filled; a teddy bear filled with thumbtacks and someone even brought an Apple Mac.
The show got underway with the first match being Session Moth Martina vs. Jimmy Lloyd in the ‘drawing pins’ deathmatch. Session Moth started the match with a sexy dance to Lloyd but unfortunately, he wasn’t impressed and ended the dance by pushing her off into the canvas. However, Martina grabbed her homemade weapon of choice which was a kendo stick with beer cans attached – not just any beer cans, but TNT’s specially brewed beer by Top Rope Brewery, ‘DOA LAGER’.
As this was the ‘Drawing Pins Deathmatch’ – the pins were out in their thousands, covering the canvas like spikey gold snow. Martina took some horrific moves which ended in piles of the pins, including Lloyd rubbing her head into the mat. The first match was a win for Jimmy Lloyd who was through to the semi-finals.
The second match was the ‘barbed wire’ deathmatch. ‘The Kink’ Jack Jester came out holding a bat wrapped in barbed wire, and his opponent was ‘The Lost Boy’ Aspen Faith. The set up was with two corners of the ring having boards wrapped in barbed wire leaning against the ring posts. The match started off with the barbed wire being left alone, however steel chairs were pulled from under the ring and used as weapons both in and out of the ring. At one point, Jester disappeared behind the entrance curtain. When he came back out, he was wielding a crown… made of out barbed wire. This was only going to end painfully for Faith.
Straight away he walked over to Faith who was crawling on the canvas and forcefully stuck it on his head. Now before the show, I actually tried that on, and it hurt with me just carefully placing it on my head, let alone having it pressed down with force by a 17 stone deathmatch wrestler with a goal of being DOA Champion. The barbed wire boards were used in a form of sandwich scenario, and the results of this match saw Jack Jester going through to the semis, and Faith getting legitimately stuck in the barbed wire.
The third match of the night saw Charli Evans against deathmatch legend Rickey Shane Page. This was the ‘fans bring the weapons’ match and the boxes of weapons were laid in each corner of the ring, with RSP bringing his own light tube to the mix. 5 ft 2 Charli Evans against 6ft 4 RSP – Charli was out to make a point, and this was the perfect opportunity for that.
The match started strong from Evans, who used a ‘fan brought weapon’ – a bat covered with thumbtacks – to smack RSP over the head with, which sprayed like water out of a hose all around the ring. The wrestlers both looked into the boxes of weapons for a potential pain enhancer, the disgruntled look from RSP as he pulled out a baguette and launched it into the audience. He decided to grab his trusty light tube, and unfortunately for Evans, this ended up in her jaws and it being broken in her mouth. Her face started to resemble The Joker’s – a massive red smile, covered with blood.
With some leaps from the top ropes and a ‘rana from Evans onto a homemade weapon (that I’m struggling to describe, but it had a pack of plastic cutlery pointing upwards mounted on a plastic board) that RSP went headfirst straight into. The blood was pouring and the final backbreaker from RSP saw Evans flop to the floor and RSP progress through to the semi-finals.
After the match, Charli grabbed the mic and made the statement that women belong in these types of tournaments and announces that there will be an all-women’s DOA Tournament in 2021!
However, the She-Wolves made themselves known that they claim to be the women of TNT and attacked Charli in the ring.
I spoke to Charli about competing and the all-female DOA tournament next year, and she told me:
“I’m dead excited! I’m excited to see who is ready to step up for it, like me and Martina. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and there’s a few other girls that want to do it, but there’s not been a platform for girls to do it so I’m excited to see what happens!”
The last of the qualifiers for the semi-final was between the notorious Spike Trivet against one of my personal favourite deathmatch wrestlers, Clint Margera. This match was the ‘Carpet Strips’ deathmatch in which the ring was set up with bits of wood, with nails sticking out to be used as weapons.
Spike came out and delivered a promo which insulted the crowd as standard and then Clint’s entrance music was brilliantly ironic, choosing “The Used – A Box Full Of Sharp Objects” to make his way to the ring.
The match began with Spike bringing out a staple gun and attacking Clint with it straight away. Unluckily for Spike, this went the wrong way for him and Clint stapled Spike’s tie to his forehead. Then out came the carpet strips, not just one but several taped together to make a kendo stick of carpet strips, with Spike beating them down on Clint’s back until they broke into several pieces. There was some hand biting by the well dressed Spike and a few forearms, before Clint was dragged into the corner of the ring where a fence of carpet strips where placed and Clint made it into kindling as he ploughed into the ring post, smashing everything in his way. The steel chairs came out and Spike was powerbombed into the chairs. Clint got the pin to make him the fourth semi-finalist.
The semi-finalists of the DOA Deathmatch tournament were now Jimmy Lloyd, Jack Jester, Rickey Shane Page and Clint Margera. One of these men will become TNT’s DOA Champion.
The first of the semis was Jack Jester vs. RSP. The crew around the ring are prepared with safety goggles and gloves as this was a 2 out of 3 panes of glass deathmatch. The panes of glass were placed against the corners of the ring posts. The first pane of glass to be broken was a power slam through the glass which was being held between two steel chairs – Jester was the first to go through that.
The second pane was also Jester smashing through the glass. Referee James Greenwood covered his face as glass shattered everywhere, and that meant RSP was through to the final, with the second of three panes being smashed.
The last of the semi-finals was Clint Margera against Jimmy Lloyd and this was ‘A light tubes death match’ The crew were going around the crowd, making them aware to cover their faces and drinks as while the match was happening, there was a strong chance of flying glass! The ring crew set up the light tubes and I’d guess there were about 100 light tubes in the ring. There were singular tubes and tubes of 4 and 6 stuck together with tape to make HUGE light tube weapons.
The match began and Clint and Lloyd are using these light tubes in every possible way, throwing each other into the ring posts and hitting each other over the head with various amounts of tubes whilst the audience cowered for safety! The winner of this match was Clint Margera and he would face Rickey Shane Page in the final.
Whilst Clint and RSP composed themselves, ready for the final, TNT treat the fans to a tag match. Unfortunately, the announced match couldn’t go ahead due to The Grizzled Young Veterans making it to the final of the Dusty Rhodes Tournament in the USA with the WWE, So The Kings of the North came out and offered an open challenge. They advised that they wanted to have some fun, which can only mean one thing… The Anti Fun Police. The Kings of the North delivered some horrific chops and fantastic wrestling to the team of Damien Dunne and Los Federales Santos Junior, and kept their reign going at TNT.
The ring crew worked endlessly to keep everyone safe whilst preparing for the matches, and the main event included weapons from every part of the show so far. Light tubes were tied to the ropes, tables full of barbed wire at the edge of the ring, boxes of weapons brought by fans, panes of glass against the ring posts, you name it – if it could hurt – it was in the ring.
As the ring was being set up, there was a little announcement on the big screen. CZW’s owner DJ Hyde came onto the screen, he addressed TNT and have come up with some ideas… CZW and TNT Extreme are having a UK TOURNAMENT OF DEATH 2021! The crowd went WILD! To have TOD, which has seen some of the best deathmatches ever, be in the UK is just incredible! What an announcement!
Now it’s time for the main event.
Rickey Shane Page vs. Clint Margera.
The ring is set, the trophy is on the line, the bell has rung, the crowd are cheering for both wrestlers. The final of TNT DOA tournament has begun. The Extreme Deathmatch. Clint and RSP started out by having a light tube duel over the head. Blood is pouring from the head of RSP, as he throws Clint into the ring post which has carpet strips and light tubes against it. Clint throws a light tube at RSP, in defence it’s volleyed in the air and straight into the crowd, narrowly missing Ref James Greenwood by inches.
At this point, the ring is full of shattered glass, steel chairs and bits of wood from the carnage within the first few minutes of the match. In the middle of the ring was a table with light tubes strapped to it with tape. RSP gets Clint into the corner and looks to piledrive him into the table but Clint escapes the hold and powerbombs RSP through the table instead. The final move saw Clint do a Death Valley Driver through a pane of glass to make the pin, and the whole room erupted. Clint Margera is TNT DOA Deathmatch Tournament winner 2020 and now the Number 1 Contender to the Extreme Division Championship! Confetti falls from the ceiling and Lykos presents the trophy to a bleeding and beaten Clint Margera.
Whilst in the ring, Mikey Whiplash comes out to make an announcement that he will be with Clint Margera on 20th February at Merseyside Massacre for the contract signing to make it official to be facing him at Supreme Extreme for the TNT Extreme Division Championship.
I managed to grab a word with Clint after the show, this is what he said about becoming TNT DOA Champion:
“I feel unbelievable, I’m over the moon, like, I’ve said it already tonight but, everything that I’ve done before this, every deathmatch that I’ve had before this, Tournament of Death, every bit of blood, and every scar, its all been worth it for tonight. Because this… this means the absolute world to me.”
At this time, I want to give a huge shout out to TNT’s staff, both front and back of house. The endless teamwork to make nights like this happen. From Mad Dog who was ring announcing, to Tony Knox for getting the most amazing photographs, to Jack Sexsmith, Kieran Moran and Mikey Whiplash on comms, to Jay, Cat, Steve, and Ben who are the backbone of TNT.
Huge thanks to ring crew, who are all aspiring and training wrestlers who in times like this deserve the credit as you’re usually there from early afternoon and the last ones out at night. Thank you to, Conor Clyne and his team of Tom Winstanley, David Franklin, Harrison Harrison, Mason Mitchell, Chris Quirk, Jamie Williams, Rick Dunn and Ryan Stanley.
TNT’s next show is an Ignition BreakOUT on 16th February at Fusion Nightclub in Liverpool and this is a family-friendly show. The next TNT Extreme show is Merseyside Massacre on Thursday 20th Feb at Hangar34 and is an over 18s event.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @MsLucyOpenshaw. Thanks for reading!