This Summer marked the end of the reign of terror by the man known as The Necro Butcher as he retired after an eighteen year career. For those unfamiliar The Necro Butcher was an independent pro wrestler specialising in deathmatch and other hardcore type matches. In fact not long after his debut The Necro Butcher name became synonomous with ultra-violent matches across multiple promotions but particularly IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling. Now that the era of The Necro Butcher has come to a close I thought it would be a great time to sample some of his work by taking a look at five of his matches.
So in the interest of disclosure I should say prior to doing this all I really know about The Necro Butcher is through reputation and glimpses of him during his time in Ring Of Honor. I’m aware most of his matches involve weapons and brawling, both of which I’m usually a fan of so I’m expecting to enjoy the matches I’m about to watch.
Vs Mad Man Pondo (200 Light Tube Death Match) IWA-MS 2002
Well screw it, let’s jump in at the deep end and nothing says deep end like an 18+ warning flashing up before anything starts. I’m familiar with Mad Man Pondo’s name from CZW and IWA: Mid South but haven’t actually seen much of him so this will be interesting for both sides. For those unfamiliar a Light Tube match is basically a pro wrestling match centred on involving fluorescent light tubes as weapons. Before the match starts Pondo cuts a promo that due to the quality of the sound system I can’t really make out but I’m fairly sure he challenges the audience to a fight so he’s definitely the heel in this. The match gets going and immediately Pondo starts carving at Butchers face with a peeler or something, I guess that sets the tone of the match going forward. Light tubes are lining the ropes of the ring and two minutes into the match Pondo has gone through several of them onto a light tube rig on the outside. It’s then once you see the outside I realise there’s a crowd of roughly fifty people there for this event. After this there’s not a lot I can say about this match for a while, it’s pretty much each of them constantly hitting each other with tubes, at times not seeming too bothered by it, until Pondo gives Butcher a kind of DDT off the top robe through some tubes suspended by chairs. We’re mid way through the match and Butcher is bleeding, a lot. At one point Pondo hits a Senton onto Butcher who has tubes on top of him and even the commentators have to mention how that would hurt Pondo more than Butcher. After this things start to vary up a bit with chair/light tube and trash can/light tube combinations coming into play, the latter looking legitimately horrific. The ring is just covered in blood and glass at this point. It then goes back to constant tube hitting and a couple of top rope spots until Pondo constructs a bizarre light tube and ladder tower which the referee has to hold together then the recording bizarrely skips to Butcher being escorted out of the ring with people trying to stem the bleeding and people being asked to leave the arena. Okay, in the replay they show it with Pondo suplexing Butcher through it all and oh god his arm! His arm has been sliced open in a really nasty, serious, get the man to a hospital kind of way. There’s shouts for an ambulance and that’s all she wrote there.
Well, that was something. I often have a strong appreciation for ultra-hardcore matches but I just didn’t find this entertaining. The only variation over what was quite a long match for this type was that they got a bit creative with the tubes and introduced a couple of other items. But when they immediately started hitting each other with tubes and carried on for the entirety of the match it got almost boring pretty quickly. If you’re ever inclined to watch any FMW matches of this type, where it was done best, you’ll see key differences, most notably a build-up to the tubes or whatever the gimmick is being used. So a very violent but actually kind of boring match with a gruesome ending. We’re off to a rough start here.
Vs Samoa Joe IWA Mid-South 2005
Well here’s an opponent I’m a lot more familiar with. Samoa Joe is pretty well known to wrestling fans at this point, having had significant stints in ROH, TNA and now WWE, but I’m interested to see what happens in a match with Necro Butcher as it seems like a bit of a clash of styles from what I’ve seen of Butcher so far. Immediately the referee gets thrown out of the ring and after squaring up they just start hitting each other relentlessly then go to the outside. This is immediately awesome. Butcher starts bleeding which I’m wondering if he’s contracted to do every match. This is just a fight basically with the exception of Joe nearly killing Butcher with an ugly looking powerslam onto concrete. The commentary is actually really good on this and as I’m thinking that Butcher gets a guardrail into the ring and starts bashing Joe with it. There is an unbelievable spot of Joe slamming Butcher off the apron to the floor below which looks painful as hell and causes Butcher to drip blood from his face. Back in the ring and Joe powerbombs Butcher onto the suspended guardrail then german suplex onto a chair, all of which looks insane then we’re back into straight up fight territory. This match is unbelievably brutal but in an awesome way and as I think this Joe wins by KO. But then Butcher gets back up and starts fighting again. Joe leaves and there’s a bearded maniac covered in blood left wandering around.
That match was intense, the pace was relentless and it was incredibly brutal. All of these things are credits in this case as it was compelling from beginning to end and totally unpredictable from where they quickly upped the ante to those sickening spots at the end. It was two guys who wouldn’t back down, who wanted to fight and had something to prove done brilliantly. Admittedly this was helped significantly by the fact I knew before the match started that both guys are tough guy fighters which made the dynamic of the match make sense from the off. While I thoroughly enjoyed this match you have to appreciate hardcore or the more brutal side of things for it to work but if you’re watching a Necro Butcher match it’s becoming apparent that’s what you’re going to get. Likewise if you’re looking for a typical Samoa Joe match this isn’t it as I think he did about five actual wrestling moves. In this case that’s totally fine though.
Vs Homicide ROH 2006
So this match was during the ROH Vs CZW feud, which was awesome by the way and is a great example of how to do company vs company. Punches are exchanged and they quickly go to the outside where Homicide proceeds to kick Butcher around the ringside area. It’s in this match where Necro Butcher’s rather unique style of movement/wrestling becomes apparent. It’s kind of a drunken swagger, always on the border of being out of control, I’ve never really seen anything like it. So after much brawling with chairs including out into the crowd Butcher ends up back in the ring at which point Homicide asks for a chair and yes it’s the Foley/Funk everyone throw chairs into the ring spot. I don’t begrudge it though, it’s always kind of fun. Plus at least it gets put to use with several spots and near falls onto the floor of chairs. It’s just dawned on me I’m watching a Necro Butcher match and am yet to see blood, maybe it’s an ROH thing? It’s pretty much broken down to a sequence of spots at this point but that’s okay as they’re all pretty impressive with Homicide just coming up with ways to inflict pain on Butcher. They get back in the ring for Homicide to finish the match off with a clothesline so he can then bathe in the adulation of his people. It should be noted at this point Homicide was the face of ROH and super over and they were in an inter-promotion feud so this was all very hot from the get go.
When I saw Homicide’s name and particularly a match in ROH I thought I may have found a match of Necro Butcher’s that wasn’t in some way a hardcore match. That turned out not to be the case but there was NO blood which for a Butcher match is a magic trick and it’s interesting and impressive to see the slight changes to the formula to make Necro Butcher and this type of match work in front of an ROH crowd, which work it did, for me and them.
Vs Toby Klein IWA-MS 2004
So Necro Butcher just hit Klein with a computer and this is probably a good a time as any to mention this was part of the King Of The Death Match tournament. As much as I enjoyed Necro’s non-deathmatches with recognisable names they’re not really what Necro Butcher’s about, it’s these kind of matches. The first couple of minutes are all weapon shots until they punch each other then go back to throwing things and weapon shots. No one has been in a ring yet and we’re four minutes in to the match but both guys are bleeding pretty well. At least there’s variety of weapons with Necro getting hit by a water jug on a stick and I think a giant light tube. Klein powerbombs Necro off of some bleachers to the floor eliciting a “holy shit” chant. Turns out it’s fall count anywhere rules as Klein goes for a pin that’s counted but Butcher kicks out. They’ve got in the ring! Klein rakes at Necro’s forehead with a rollerpin covered in pins. Some of these weapons are pretty creative and the ring is full of them. There is a lot of blood now. Necro Butcher isn’t the most proficient wrestler but he does an awesome chop which is almost definitely the only thing he has in common with Ric Flair. Klein literally pours salt in Butcher’s wounds when he throws an actual bag of salt over him which I have never seen in a wrestling match before. Wow, attempt at a sunset powerbomb over the rope by Klein turned into a flying head scissors by Necro! Even commentary is shocked. Klein gets hits by a rack of light tubes though just to remind us where we are. Commentary just said this is the final first round match of the tournament. I’m going to go ahead and assume someone died in the final. Necro just flipped off the top rope to Klein on the floor and wow, easily the most moves I’ve seen in one of these matches so far. Necro’s got Klein in a strangle hold, Klein’s smashing light tubes in his face but he’s holding on. Ref bump into an iron board of light tubes which causes him to miss Klein tapping. This has become shockingly chaotic for just two men. Klein tries a schoolboy for 2, another move! Back to punching each other, ref takes more bumps and Klein ends the match with some stiff chair shots and finally a sick looking driver onto a chair.
I had a look afterwards and that was a Fans Bring The Weapons Death Match which would explain the creativity of weapons at least. So first off there was more wrestling moves in this match than all the other matches I’ve seen so far combined. Everytime they did one they got a reaction which was interesting. While it was good to have the variety of weapons which mixed things up a bit we were back to end to end, constant weapon shots with no attempt at a story or build until the last few minutes.Like the earlier match with Pondo, not really something I enjoyed.
Vs Low Ki IWA-MS 2006
Having now seen as much of a variety as I’m going to get the last match I can find of note is this one against Low-Ki who at this time was a major name on the indies. Low Ki sneaks into the ring and gets the jump on Necro and they fight as streamers are thrown into the ring. Low-Ki’s kicks are awesome and Necro sells them like a champ. Going outside pretty much means being in the crowd in this venue so they fight into the seating just moving chairs aside as they go. This is actually kind of a great match up as it’s martial artist vs brawler, both liking their stiff shots. Once in the ring Low Ki takes over for a long stretch. It’s actually gone to near enough a regular wrestling match with moves and pinfall attempts although with a lot of kicks thrown in. That looks to be finishing as Low Ki brings a table into the ring. They tease going through it which includes a cool reversal from Low Ki out of a Necro powerbomb attempt. Back to kicks and Low Ki goes aerial but Necro hits a SICK looking clothesline to put him down. Back to the outside and Necro’s throwing chairs. Necro goes for a pin and the ref has to point out he needs to be in the ring. That was a minor problem which Necro fixes it by pulling Low Ki up by his mouth and getting him in the ring but he kicks out for the new pin. All Necro now and he remembers the tables is there so he sets that up, gets him up in a firemans carry to put him through the table but Ki gets a submission hold when he’s up there. Necro has to put him down in the end and falls on the ropes leading Ki to get an awesome but painful looking spot from the top here he lands on Necro’s back while he’s hanging on the ropes. They go up top which eventually ends with Ki putting Necro through the table with a two footed landing. Somehow Necro kicks out of the pin but Ki goes into a submission and after frantically trying to get to the ropes Ki keeps him away long enough for Necro to pass out and with that Ki gets the win.
That was a good match and the closest of the five to an out and out wrestling match. I say that not because the move count was particularly high (it wasn’t) but because it had build toward the later spots and the table being used, they didn’t just pull it out, use it anywhere in the match then carry on. Also thread running through the match is that they were wearing each other down and it was the question of who could withstand the others style of offence, which I really liked.
With that there we have it, five Necro Butcher matches of different varieties. As you probably gathered as we went through the matches, I didn’t enjoy them all unfortunately. The deathmatches were just too much for me, not in a level of violence sense but just the relentless of them, from bell to bell. It meant they became boring and to lose any drama and suspense. Like I mentioned after the first match with Pondo, the best pro wrestling matches have build, pace changes and a flow, regardless whether it’s a regular pro wrestling match or some sort of deathmatch. That was the difference with the other three matches with it almost being a coincidence that they were less violent/hardcore. This was worth doing to see the Samoa Joe match alone which was excellent and shows how good Necro Butcher could be given the right opponent and situation.
And that is probably the big take away here is that in the scope of The Necro Butcher there is definitely some excellent matches and not always an ultra-hardcore deathmatch. The constant that does run through all his work seems to be taking it to the limit and to an extreme in one way or another, which will always get some kind of reaction. After seeing five matches, regardless of the size of the crowd or where he was The Necro Butcher always pushed the limits and gave it absolutely everything and that has to be admired. So thank you Butcher for the blood, the pain, leaving it all in the ring and always getting a reaction from us, one way or another.