In this underground wrestling scene, scripted death matches unfold just inches from the crowd.
Photo: Colin Schappi
On Friday the 13th, a tall, bearded man in ripped black jeans, a studded leather jacket, and a yellow cap pulled over his long hair burst through the doors into the dim back room of the Kingsland Bar & Grill in Greenpoint. The venue, which normally hosts metal and punk shows, smelled of marijuana, beer, and body odor, and it was packed with about 250 people, who parted to let the burly man in leather make his way to the middle of the floor where his opponent was waiting. There, he knelt down and screamed, “Ah! Ah! Ah!” while pounding his chest and scanning the crowd, who roared back. Casanova Valentine, king of the “no-ring death match,” had arrived for the main event.