31 Days of Deathmatches – Day 11: Piranha Deathmatch

If you didn’t catch episode one, welcome to 31 Days of Deathmatches. This is an advent calendar-style countdown to Halloween offering you a door of deliciously gory wrestling per day. Our trip to the spookiest day of the year will take us around the world and through time. This will chronicle some of the most significant deathmatches throughout the years but will mostly consist of my absolute favourite barbed wire bouts and glass shattering matches. Without further ado, let’s open the next door.

What’s the weirdest deathmatch stipulation you can think of? The Circus Deathmatch? Backyard wrestling? David Arquette’s deathmatch? Well, what if I told you there was a deathmatch involving piranhas? Yes, this is a thing that exists and may be one of my favourite examples of a goofy, yet surprisingly brutal match stipulation. Simply put this is a match where two wrestlers will wrestle around a man-sized tank full of piranhas. The aim of the match is to submerge your opponent in the tank so they get nibbled.

I have only ever seen this match type once and it was one hell of an experience. It was held in BJW and I found it after a late-night session trawling YouTube for some blood baths to enjoy. The match took place at BJW Summer Night Dream in 1996 and was held between Kendo Nagasaki and Mitsuhiro Matsunaga, who has been feuding for a while. The match was titled the Yokohama Amazon River Piranha and Barbed Wire Board deathmatch. That is a mouthful.

The match itself is an excellent early example of the BJW style deathmatch as the pair traded stiff strikes and power moves whilst also hamming it up by bleeding into the Piranha tank to rile up the flesh-eating fish. The barbed wire boards were liberally used and the tension would keep mounting as both men were held over the tank. In the end, Nagasaki won the match, throwing Matsunaga in the tank and trapping him in with a barbed wire board for extra emphasis. He had to be dragged off the tank so Matsunaga could be freed.

I love showing people this match and when it originally aired, it went over huge with the audience. The match, whilst rarely copied has been attributed to the acceptance of deathmatch wrestling in Japan and it’s rise to fame. Here are some of the highlights from the match so you can see the bizarre yet compelling footage for yourself.

Come back tomorrow for your next deathmatch treat!

Images courtesy of BJW, espn991.com,  Video courtesy of DMDrag0n on YouTube

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