31 Days of Deathmatches – Day 23: FMW 7th Anniversary Show Part 1: Terry Funk & Mr Pogo vs Hayabusa & Masato Tanaka

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.

FMW is the grandfather of deathmatch wrestling. It’s the inspiration to most of the companies working that style today and honestly, put on some matches so shocking in their brutality that it’s a miracle the wrestlers who performed them are still walking. I am going to be presenting a double bill over the next two days of two such matches from FMW’s 7th Anniversary Show. This happened on the 5th May 1996, in the post-Onita era. There was an American invasion happening as stars like Terry Funk, Cactus Jack, The Gladiator and the Rock n Roll Express had made their presence felt in the company. We were bordering the Funk Masters of Wrestling Era which would happen in the coming months.

The first is the main event match between the teams of Terry Funk and Mr Pogo taking on Masato Tanaka and Hayabusa. We had three of FMW’s biggest stars and a hardcore legend in the same ring taking part in a (take a breath) No Rope, Exploding Barbed Wire, Double Hell Exploding Ring Deathmatch. The match was every bit as long and as brutal as it sounds. We got the early-doors tension as someone has to take the first plunge into the explosive barbed wire. That unfortunate victim would be Tanaka who ended up leaping chest-first onto the wire. In fact, Tanaka probably took the worst bumps of the match being gouged in the back by Pogo’s chained sickle. It was monstrous. He would have been set on fire too but Hayabusa sacrificed his body to Spear Pogo into the exploding wire on the floor. Tanaka could not do the same as later in the match both men had fire spat at them. I could go on and on about the violence here but honestly, go see it yourself and be shocked.

Once again, FMW blows my mind with how shocking it was. This company is the blueprint for most deathmatch companies out there today. They pushed the envelope of brutality and wrestling so far by giving us matches with such horrific violence but also such excellent wrestling. Tanaka and Hayabusa are some of the best wrestlers of the time and they’re plying their craft whilst also being attacked by barbed wire and fire. The company was also a big pusher for match equality as you’ll see tomorrow…

Come back tomorrow for your next deathmatch treat!

Images courtesy of billibilli.com, Reddit  Video courtesy of Xavier Francisco Carriel Reyes (YouTube)

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