Originally published at Deathmatch Hall of Fame 2022 Report
Deathmatch Hall of Fame 2022
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Carousel Room, Showboat Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey
JC Bailey, inducted by Mad Man Pondo
JC Bailey is one of the more tragic stories in Deathmatch wrestling as he lost his life to addiction at the age of 27. While his time on earth was short, he left an amazing legacy behind him. Pondo went over the history of how JC Bailey started in the business by going to IWA Mid-South shows with his dad. Pondo told a story about how he and JC went to the ICP show and helped lie to his parents so he could go. Pondo said that JC learned a lot from that show and was introduced to a backyard wrestling DVD distributor. Pondo finished off the speech by recounting the famous Circus Deathmatch from IWA Mid South which saw JC and Pondo take four bumps off of the scaffolding onto a barbed-wire net. Pondo ended his speech by saying he was going to give this award to JC Bailey’s niece.
Toby Klein, inducted by Brandon Lee FKA Deranged
Deranged talks about the first wrestling show he went to and how Toby stood out to him. They met each other at wrestling school and for the next decade-plus, they rode together tagged and worked at the same shoot job. Deranged mentioned how he has a true bond with Toby. He mentions Toby’s struggle with addiction and how he was in a dark place at one point but was able to get his life back on track. Deranged also mentioned how he was on a similar path and Toby saved his life.
Toby talked about his 25-year career, how he and Necro Butcher worked each other every weekend for months in brutal hard-hitting matches, they got sick of it so they formed a tag team instead. Toby took the time to thank the wrestlers and support staff that he’s worked with throughout the years. “I see so many memories that have been beaten out of my head”
Klein noted how he was Nick Gage’s first opponent in TOD, first match in the CZW arena was against Nick Mondo and Wifebeater. He brings up his addiction issues and how he almost died, and if it wasn’t for his wife he would be dead. He noted how he is now 9 years sober and works as an addiction and drug counselor.
He took the time to introduce his kids. This was by far one of the best speeches ever at the Hall of Fame, you could really feel his passion and how much this moment meant to him.
Dewey Donovan was inducted by Nick Gage
“I love you man and I love you in my fucking corner” “now come get your fucking plaque”- Nick Gage
Dewey noted that “when I’ve bled it’s because I didn’t get out of the way fast enough” which got a good laugh from the crowd and crew. He went over how he wears the same suit jacket from the 2000s. “Most bled on jacket in all of wrestling” goes over his various tag teams. He stumbled into this job and 20 years later he’s still with Gage. He reflected on how many major moments and memories he’s been a part of and how his friendship with Gage means the world to him. He expressed how grateful he is to everyone he’s ever shared a locker room with. Dewey asked Gage to do the call and response for him but Gage said that Dewey can do it this time which he did perfectly.
Wifebeater, inducted by Nick Mondo
On a Saturday night in 2007, I was in my room with our dog Dakota; I was searching for Abyss vs. Sabu Barbed Wire Massacre from TNA. This was when Youtube only allowed 5 or 10-minute videos, I had multiple tabs open and in the corner, I saw the famous Beater/Mondo weedwhacker spot from Tournament of Death 1. Intrigued, I clicked on it and watched Nick Mondo get destroyed by the whacker. I was horrified and threw my laptop and startled Dakota, that was the day I swore to myself I’d never watch that shit again. Well, here we are 14 years later and I’m friends with Nick Mondo by pure chance. I saw him at the first AEW Dynamite in DC and messaged him on Facebook asking him if he’d like a tour of the US Capitol and US Senate and he showed up. I’ve been to countless Deathmatch shows and I finally got a picture with the living legend, Wifebeater.
“You don’t get what you don’t ask for”- Laura O’Neill
Mondo went over how tough of a competitor Wifebeater was and all of the punishment he was able to absorb. He noted how Beater had no real idea about wrestling but after he was discharged from the Marines he found out about wrestling and ended up getting in touch with John Zandig and the rest is history. Mondo noted how Wifebeater’s gimmick was to no-sell everything, walked through all the pain no matter what and that’s what made his sudden retirement so shocking. Mondo noted it also made him take a step back and think about his own future in the business, knowing that he wanted to have a healthy future. He noted that it was a pivotal moment in his career. That lesson really showed its importance when you are comparing Mondo and Beater’s health to how some of the original guys are holding up today. CTE was sadly really prevalent tonight and made for some awkward moments but that’s why I think what Mondo was saying was so important. Knowing when to get out, knowing that you want a future where you are able to walk and talk.
I highly recommend going out of your way to watch Mondo’s induction speech.