First reviewed here.
Few joys in pro wrestling are as simple and as delightful as the indie lucha bloodbath. As with so many examples through the years, the setting does half the work here. The ZONA 23 junkyard is one of the most immediately eye-catching in wrestling. A ring just plopped in the middle of scrap metal and refuse, folding chairs arranged on the dusty ground. It’s great because the ring itself feels almost secondary to the chaos around it, a mere formality.
That vibe bleeds into the match too. There’s a distinct lack of ceremony to what happens here. We see Wotan enter, take pictures with the fans, and then Demus just appears in the frame, squaring right up to him. They don’t even get into the ring before they start throwing some beautiful punches at each other and the match gets going.
Once things get going, it takes on the kind of momentum of a drag out alley fight. Victory’s perhaps less important than the prideful need to continue applying punishment. One sees it in the match’s quieter moments, there’s a heaviness to their wrestlers’ movements that speak to the physical toll of the fight. The pauses only ever really come to set up some weaponry or to sell the damage of the fight. Otherwise these two are a constant tangle of limbs, grabbing and biting and punching constantly. In one of my favorite moments of the match, they’re rolling about in the dirt as Demus just repeatedly knees Wotan in the balls before Wotan punches him in retaliation. Small bursts of violence like that combined with lighter moments like locals in the crowd begging the two to keep away from what looks like a stall or merch stand when they get to close.
All of it, the open air, the dirt puffing up from the ground on every step, the streaming blood, it all comes together to create the feel of a real goddamn fight. For all anyone knows these two just rolled up from the street to exorcise their grudges in front of a curious crowd of onlookers. Even better then when the match ends in what seems to be a double pinfall, a decision that both men react to by continuing to scrap until they’re finally spent.