Barbed wire, drawing pins and fluorescent light tubes - all within the confines of a wrestling match? You’d be forgiven that thinking they made up part of a horror spectacle but for one of the UK’s leading wrestlers, Big F’n Joe, he makes the trip stateside to Delaware to participate in Combat Zone Wrestling’s twentieth Tournament of Death extravaganza on 7th October which is likely to feature a whole plethora of these weapons - all in the name of wrestling!
Joe - an 18-year pro from Great Yarmouth, and trained by the legendary UK Pitbulls was initially earmarked to travel across to America for 23rd September however adverse weather put paid to the original event which is now rescheduled for October in Townsend, Delaware on CZW owner DJ Hyde’s family farm as usual. Naturally, the postponement of the event was a bitter pill to swallow for Joe:
“You plan so far in advance for trips like this and for the weather to cause a change of dates such last minute was really tough to take, not to mention a lost opportunity to work but at least with the rescheduled date it’s given me chance to prepare even more, and that’s bad news for the 7 other workers in the tournament!
It’s not Joe’s first experience of this particular tournament, as he makes his third appearance in the tournament, previously appearing in 2019 and 2022 (where he made it to the semi-finals) as he aims to finally bring the trophy back to the UK. In the first round of the tournament, he goes up against a former foe, and another Joe in the form of Judge Joe Dred who he defeated earlier in the year at XPW’s Problematic show.
With multiple appearances in the US over the course of the last few years, with multiple trips stateside already this year, Joe is a firm mainstay of the Xtreme Pro Wrestling promotion and whilst it’s certainly not a first for Joe working for CZW, one of the promotions he watched as a fan makes it an extremely sweet proposition to deliver his UK brand of wrestling across an international audience
“I never imagined I’d be part of the history of Tournament of Death”
“Both the US fans and UK fans are always highly appreciative of what we do as deathmatch wrestlers, the majority are always friendly and support what we do but to go Stateside and showcase what we can do in the UK and what we are about is always an extra buzz for me, I want to showcase UK wrestling in it’s strongest way possible”
And whilst highly decorated already as the reigning Extreme champion of Liverpool-based TNT Wrestling, CXW Extreme Champion, European Deathmatch title holder as well as the reigning TNT DOA Tournament champion the chance to go all the way in a tournament steeped in deathmatch wrestling history certainly holds a strong allure for Joe.
“As a teenager, I grew up watching CZW on VHS like many old-school deathmatch wrestling fans in the UK, back in those days I never imagined I’d be part of the history of Tournament of Death. Bringing back the trophy to the UK would really mean a lot to me and repay all the fans that show me their support.”
Shannon Hunter, one of the key people involved in the booking and coordination of Tournament of Death offered her expert insight on why Joe was chosen to represent the UK as part of the tournament:
“Big Joe has been in TOD twice now, and he feels like an integral and special part of CZW. It would not feel like TOD 20 without him. In addition, he has distinguished himself as one of the premier deathmatch wrestlers in the world today, and as such, he was a vital inclusion.”
“Tournament Of Death showcases the finest talent from all over the world, and that’s why it’s important to continue to scout internationally and feature athletes from the US, UK, Australia and beyond whenever possible.”
There will be little in the way of rest for Joe though as he returns to both his day job and multiple wrestling bookings over the remainder of the year, on 13th October he defends his European Deathmatch title as part of the RISE or Die show in Leeds and the following week sees him return to Liverpool to defend his TNT Extreme Title as part of their Cold Day in Hell show.
You can follow Joe’s progress through his Instagram account or his Facebook page.
What is CZW’s ‘Tournament Of Death’?
Established back in 2002 by original CZW owner and promoter John Zandig, Combat Zone Wrestling’s annual Tournament of Death is one of the biggest showcases of deathmatch wrestling in the world. Since it’s conception, it’s played host to some memorable moments such as Sick Nick Mondo and Zandig crashing off a roof in 2001, to current Game Changer Wrestling and opponent of Chris Jericho in AEW, Nick Gage being airlifted to hospital following a spot that went awry and suffering an injury that required emergency surgery.
Some of the current host of marquee wrestling stars have ventured into the Tournament of Death too, with current AEW wrestlers Jon Moxley who featured in two tournaments back in 2009 and Eddie Kingston who appeared in Tournament of Death 4 back in 2005
When is CZW’s ‘Tournament Of Death’?
CZW: Tournament of Death XX takes place on 7th October in Townsend, Delaware with doors opening at 12PM and a bell time of 1PM. Tickets can be purchased via the Combat Zone Wrestling website. For international viewers, the event can be viewed at a later date on the Premier Streaming Network.