wrestling / TV Reports

411’s Dark Side of The Ring Report: ‘The Ultra-Violence of Nick Gage’

May 14, 2021 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Nick Gage GCW

-Death Match time as I will admit this type of wrestling isn’t my favorite, but I know others love it. I have heard of Gage, but don’t know much so I am looking forward to learning some things here. Let’s get to it!

-Narrator: Chris Jericho

-Nick tells us he loves what he does and he is the best mother fucker doing it today. Chris Jericho talks about the underbelly of wrestling with death matches and the King of that real is Nick Gage. They show highlights of his match with David Arquette where David ended up getting his throat cut. Gage then went down a path of pain killers and other drugs and then went to prison for robbing a bank.

-We start proper with Jericho telling us Death Match wresting is a live action horror movie. Everyone has to try to one up what was done before and it feeds off a blood thirsty crowd. Nick Gage says you have to love this shit because it hurts and burns. You do question what you are doing at times because it’s certainly not for the pay. He introduces himself as the best death match wrestler in the world and he is the leader of The MDK (Murder Death Kill) Gang. The producers asks him why death match wrestling and he admits he is probably crazy in the head and he also has high tolerance of pain. He also wants to show people that death match wrestling is legit and they can tell stories that move a crowd.

-Jon Moxley tells us that some death match wrestlers are the best story tellers in the world. They show Mox’s debut in AEW and Jericho tells us that Mox grew his name on the Death Match scene before becoming a World Champion in the big time. Mox talks about their first match as Gage broke out a pizza cutter and he felt it was going to be a safe spot with some magic to get what they wanted, but Gage legit cut him with the pizza cutter. The crowd was going crazy and Gage was getting up with them and decided to cut Mox’s mouth. Again, not my style, but whatever they are cool with doing to each other. Mox loves getting a crowd to react like that and that means more than money and fame. He loves the backstage with the boys after a match where they smoke a cigarette and drink a beer.

-Next they discuss The Tournament of Death that is held every year on farm lands in Delaware. Mox calls it Woodstock for Death Matches as fans camp out and smoke weed. They need a place way out there to avoid the cops.

-The finals to crown a champion is between Thumbtack Jack and Nick Gage. We meet Brett Lauderdale (owner of Game Changer Wrestling) who tells us he was right there for the match and it was crazy. He tells us he has been through it all with Gage whether good or very bad. At the time of this match he was the referee. It seems Jack was an import from Germany and it was the two baddest Death Match wrestlers in the world. Gage had heard all the hype and he had something to prove as Jack was coming to his house. The ring is surrounded by light tubes and a spot sees Gage getting tossed into them to the floor and a shard pierces an artery. The footage is just nasty as blood is pouring out of his chest. He is telling the medics to tape him up and let him go out there. He tells the camera to make sure they are getting that he wants to go out there. “Put this shit on camera smart mark.”

-Commercials!

-Back to the field in Delaware as Gage tells the camera to quit filming. They can’t get an ambulance to the property so a helicopter has to fly in and life flight him out of the field. That is the last thing he can remember as apparently he flat lined for 7 minutes. Mox says Tournament of Death is just a phrase as you aren’t supposed to die, but Nick did. Gage tells the producer there was no way he was going out like that as he will do this until he says he can’t anymore.

-We go back to Nick’s childhood as he was raised in Jersey by a single mother, Patty Dukes. He shows us a picture and you can tell his mom means everything to him. Next we meet his girlfriend of 20 plus years, Sondra. She echoes the sentiment that Nick’s mom meant everything to him and she loved her son to death. His mom had breast cancer and they did the cancer walks every year. Next we learn about his brother Chris (Justice Pain).

-His dad was a wrestling fan and the brothers would watch anytime they stayed with him. Nick remembers watching Saturday Night’s Main Event and he thinks his dad regrets getting them hooked on wrestling. He talks about the matches he and his brother would have with barbed wire as they were influenced by Japanese Death Matches. That gives us footage of Cactus vs Terry in Japan and that match set Nick and his brother on their way. From there they got into watching ECW and they loved all of that. From there they joined CZW and Mox says that was just crazier than anything out there. Gage says that ECW told them they were too dangerous as light tube matches were too far. Gage says they were just mad that a new generation came along that were tougher and crazier than they were. That’s one way to look at it!

-Sondra talks about being front row for the matches and cheering him on. She was worried when he talked about getting set on fire and they show the match where he was put through a flaming board. He tried to stop, drop and roll, but Gage says that shit doesn’t work. He says it sucked, but he finished the match. Again, video to show the burns and aftermath from the match.

-Talk shifts to pain killers and Gage says he was never a druggie, but when he didn’t have oxycontin or perc he would go get heroin from the streets. He was blowing all of his income on heroin as we are told that was basically his life.

-Commercials!

-He and his brother have a match in CZW and Nick was so out of it, his brother slapped the piss out of him to wake him up. Chris knew his brother was in no condition so he ended the match quick with his pain killer that nearly broke Nick’s shoulder.

-Things gets worse as his mother loses her battle with breast cancer. He spirals after her death and was on the verge of homelessness. His had no family as his dad passed away and he wasn’t speaking to his brother. He lived with his girlfriend and her mom, but they were both kicked out of the house. Sondra says neither of them cared about going to work or making money. Lauderdale tells a story of Nick and Sandra squatting in his house when they thought he was out of town. Nick: “fuck him man as he kicked me out of his house when it was 10 degrees and needed money.”

-Nick says he needed money and he was freezing so he was going to go get his. He walked by a bank and had an idea, but chickened out. He psyched himself up as he came near another bank and he ended up robbing the teller. He dumped the money on a table by Lauderdale and told him he robbed a drug dealer. Lauderdale knew the money was too new and asked if he robbed a bank. Moxley says he got a call to check his e-mail and there was a picture from a security camera (shown to us) of someone robbing a bank. Mox: “It was clear as day. It’s Nick Gage.” Nick says that he didn’t even know the camera was there, but “I looked right into that bitch. I didn’t even have a mask on.” Mox points out that Gage wears a mask like a train robber when he comes to the ring and yet the one time he doesn’t wear one is when he robs a bank. Sondra says she found out when she saw it in the newspaper, but she is a ride or die chick so she stayed with him. He told her they needed to get out of here so they headed to Atlantic City and his goal was to spend all the money.

-Commercials!

-Atlantic City: Gage has no end goal and he knows he is going to prison, so he is going to ball out for the week. Lauderdale says he wasn’t going to be a snitch but he told Nick to let him know when he wanted to turn himself in to the police. After 9 days Nick called him and Lauderdale picked him up and they stopped at Burger King. Gage drank a 40 and smoked some blunts before tuning himself in. He ends up getting 5 years and put on a block with murderers and is told to just go find a bed. His brother never visited and Lauderdale says that he visited from Day 1 until he was released. Chris didn’t show as he looked down on him as a criminal.

-Gage started getting fan mail in prison and that’s what kept him pushing. They show some of the letters and Gage never realized the impact he had on people. His goal when he got out was to change his body, mind and soul and he wanted to bring Death Match wrestling back. He put away the Whoppers and started training hard. They have footage of his prison release as Sondra and Lauderdale are there to pick him up after 4.5 years. Brett has the idea with GCW to have a Nick Gage Invitational Death Match Tournament and then he gets a call that someone took Nick.

-Commercials!

-Nick was doing well for a while, but fell into bad habits again. Nick says that you can’t run away from problems and they catch up to you. He says he was busted for using someone else’s urine on a drug test. Brett tells the camera that was part of it and says Nick may have also tried to use some other device. He was pissed at Nick for being stupid and he ended up going back to prison for two more years.

-GCW becomes the place to be for Death Matches and Brett gives Nick another chance when he gets out of prison. His popularity grew while he was gone and that’s where he came up with the MDK Gang. They mean something to his heart! He realized how popular he was as MDK was in Europe, Australia and all 50 States.

-Brett comes up with the idea to have a Death Match between Nick and David Arquette. Nick says he knew this was going to get brought up. David Arquette is here and introduces himself as former WCW Champion. “You can’t take that away from me.” Jericho talks about Arquette winning the World Title and David says that fans hated it. He wanted to earn the respect of the fans and he was asked if he wanted to wrestle Nick Gage. He didn’t know who Nick was, so he looked him up and he thought this was a great way to show the fans what he was willing to do. He even agreed to a Death Match. Arquette took them out to a fancy restaurant in LA for steaks to talk about the match. David was into everything, but his rule was for Nick to not cut him. Nick told him ok, but he wasn’t going to go soft and he tells us all he could think was “I am going to whip this dude’s ass.”

-Match time as each man talks about what was happening. Arquette was diving off the ropes into the crowd and Gage says he was laying it in a bit, so he decided to take it to the next level. Gage gets a pizza cutter and told David he wouldn’t even feel it. He splits Arquette’s head and then puts it in his mouth and that trust was gone for David. He tells us he was getting pissed at this point and Nick brings up breaking a light tube over his head and trying to cut him with it. You can see Arquette get legit angry and he tries to fight back and ends up getting a piece of glass jammed in the side of his neck. Nasty! “Oh shit, did I just kill David Arquette?”

-Commercials! Collision in Korea in next week!

-Arquette is screwed as blood is gushing out of his neck. Nick says the cut was fine and it wasn’t gushing so he wanted to keep going. Arquette throws a chair at him which Brett says was a bad move as now Nick was going to beat him up for real. Instead Nick gets a judo throw and forces Arquette to stay down for the pin. Nick: “He did good man, until he started being a crybaby. He ran into Luke Perry’s car and I haven’t heard from him since.” Arquette says that he was in over his head and shouldn’t have been there. I agree with David that he was over his head, but at the same time Gage took advantage and if he agreed to not cutting Arquette he broke that trust. Again though, Arquette never should have been in there.

-The match goes viral and Nick’s reputation and popularity only grow, but things take a turn again as he brother commits suicide. Gage cuts a promo at a show telling the fans his brother passed and he thanks the fans for getting him through this. We learn his brother jumped off The Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia. He left a note that read “sorry.” He apparently stole a car and as the police were trying to catch him, he jumped off the bridge and that was it. For years Nick was the one in trouble and then the brothers flipped positions. Chris ended up on drugs and became paranoid that someone was coming for him. Brett knows deep down Nick has some regret. The bridge he jumps off is behind Nick’s house and he sees it everyday when he leaves, so he says a prayer for his brother daily.

-The producer asks if Nick’s story is one of redemption. Brett says that as of now it is, but Nick has to finish it out as every day is a battle. Nick knows that time is ticking and he knows in his mind that he is going to go out young. He doesn’t have a death wish, but he knows he will die sooner than later. “I would rather die a good way rather than a bad way.”

-For now though he is 40 years old and is going to go hard. Moxley says that Gage has the one thing everyone wants and that’s a connection with the audience. “Vince McMahon would kill to have one person that has the connection with an audience the way Nick Gage does.” I kind of doubt that, but again, they know better than me. Sondra says Nick is her everything and he is going to keep going until he turns 60 and can’t go anymore.

-Nick puts over the fans and how he represents those that got in trouble and have bounced back. He is proud of it and is proud of The MDK Gang.

-Again, this isn’t brand of wrestling isn’t my cup of tea, and that’s okay. I know there is a lot of fans out there that enjoy this type of wrestling. As for this show it was good and I learned a lot which is all I wanted out of this one. Moxley was great here as he always has a way of telling a story to make it entertaining. This one benefited from only having a handful of talking heads as they covered everything that was needed. Having all the footage of the moments they were discussing also helped. Some will enjoy this one more than I did, but it’s a story I am glad I got a chance to hear. Thanks for reading!