Zandig vs. Nick Mondo (CZW Tournament of Death II 7/26/03)

Match Reviews

This review was commissioned by Connn over on my Ko-fi account.

We know why we’re here.

CZW, GIF-ed by Joseph Montecillo

It’s one of the most famous deathmatch wrestling spots in history. GIF-ed to death across message boards and surviving into the Twitter age. Clipped and disseminated via music videos and compilations, probably even making an appearance on Botchamania (if memory serves). And it truly is just an immaculate thing of horror and carnage. In the second fall of match where you have to put your opponent through a lighttube log cabin twice, Zandig hits perhaps the most iconic Mother F’n Bomb in history by leaping off a goddamn roof while holding Nick Mondo overhead and the two go fucking falling through the tubes and a pile of tables.

It’s exactly as gross as it looks, and the anticipation to it is so palpable. Even all the years later, knowing exactly what’s going to happen, watching Zandig lift Nick above his head on that rooftop sends the heart racing. If it’s perhaps your first time, maybe you think, They can’t possibly. Yes, yes they fucking can.

It’s such an immediate shock to the system that there’s even confusion on the ground. The ring announcer incorrectly calls the match in Zandig’s favor, forgetting that this was only the second of a two out of three falls match. Honestly, I understand the impulse. How could it go on after such a thing? And shouldn’t the winner be the dude who did the sickest, craziest thing anyway?

As with anything this deranged and beautiful, there’s a physical price to be paid. Mondo had come into this match already with broken bones in his wrist, and after this spot his back is completely shot as well. General idea is that this spot basically accelerated him to retirement just a few months later. Look the footage over again and it’s clear why, Zandig’s feet crash through the tables, leaving Mondo none of the cushioning effect that Zandig was able to take advantage of.

It’s frankly astonishing that either man gets up to finish the match after this. Even more so when you realize that Mondo has one more match left in the night after this: the finals of the tournament.

As for the match itself, even when it comes to other deathmatches, there’s not a lot going on around this. The first fall is good enough, we get some bethumbtacked wiffle bat shots that are always absolutely nasty with how they dot the skin. The finish to the first fall too is pretty sick with Mondo going body first through one of those log cabins propped up vertically.

CZW, GIF-ed by Joseph Montecillo

The third fall is a little less enchanting, for obvious reasons. Both men are hobbled from the horrific bump, and both men are eager to get it all over with. Mondo himself can’t even get Zandig up on his shoulders for the finish. Sign of a broken back or a shocking prescient crumble sell from Sick Nick? You be the judge, he gets points either way.

In the history books, the match itself is just a means to an end. That end being one of the craziest things you’re ever bound to see anywhere.

It’s a one-spot match, but my god what a spot.

Rating: ***3/4 barely

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