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Seaham Conservative Club wrestling 'death match' event probed by police Seaham Conservative Club wrestling 'death match' event probed by police
(32 minutes later)
Wrestler Benji said the event was not suitable for familiesWrestler Benji said the event was not suitable for families
A violent "death match" wrestling event which was staged in front of families is being investigated by police.A violent "death match" wrestling event which was staged in front of families is being investigated by police.
The show at the Conservative Club in Seaham, County Durham, on 29 April saw blood-soaked performers attack each other with a garden strimmer and glass.The show at the Conservative Club in Seaham, County Durham, on 29 April saw blood-soaked performers attack each other with a garden strimmer and glass.
The Colliery Championship Wrestling (CCW) event did not advertise it would be a so-called death match and had offered discounted family tickets.The Colliery Championship Wrestling (CCW) event did not advertise it would be a so-called death match and had offered discounted family tickets.
James Barrass of CCW apologised but said the audience had enjoyed it.James Barrass of CCW apologised but said the audience had enjoyed it.
Video of the event shows blood-soaked wrestlers smash glass tubes on one another within yards of familiesVideo of the event shows blood-soaked wrestlers smash glass tubes on one another within yards of families
The 35-year-old East Durham-based promoter claimed the match, between wrestlers Ronnie Thatcher and Blizzard, "escalated" and the use of weapons happened without his prior knowledge.The 35-year-old East Durham-based promoter claimed the match, between wrestlers Ronnie Thatcher and Blizzard, "escalated" and the use of weapons happened without his prior knowledge.
"Things can sometimes not go to plan. Obviously there was a little bit more that went down," he said."Things can sometimes not go to plan. Obviously there was a little bit more that went down," he said.
"I spoke to the two guys afterwards. We had discussions and obviously that will not be happening again.""I spoke to the two guys afterwards. We had discussions and obviously that will not be happening again."
He admitted the event "wasn't everyone's cup of tea", adding: "We have apologised but how many times do you say sorry? How many times do you have to be penalised in life?"He admitted the event "wasn't everyone's cup of tea", adding: "We have apologised but how many times do you say sorry? How many times do you have to be penalised in life?"
Footage taken during the event showed the two performers being cut with the gardening tool and having glass lighting tubes smashed over them as the audience of about 80 people watched on just yards from the violence.Footage taken during the event showed the two performers being cut with the gardening tool and having glass lighting tubes smashed over them as the audience of about 80 people watched on just yards from the violence.
Children can be seen and heard amongst the audience and several adults filmed the show on mobile phones.Children can be seen and heard amongst the audience and several adults filmed the show on mobile phones.
At one point a prostrate wrestler was attacked with a garden strimmerAt one point a prostrate wrestler was attacked with a garden strimmer
Teesside-based Twitch streamer and wrestler Benji brought attention to the incident on social media, and said while so-called death matches were popular in some contexts, they were inappropriate for children to witness.Teesside-based Twitch streamer and wrestler Benji brought attention to the incident on social media, and said while so-called death matches were popular in some contexts, they were inappropriate for children to witness.
"I've never seen this in my time in wrestling," he said."I've never seen this in my time in wrestling," he said.
"I've been involved for seven years and I've never seen this type of ultra-violence in front of a family audience."I've been involved for seven years and I've never seen this type of ultra-violence in front of a family audience.
"If I see a family-friendly show advertised, I'm going in good faith that my child will be seeing what they see on TV.""If I see a family-friendly show advertised, I'm going in good faith that my child will be seeing what they see on TV."
The poster advertised admission deals for familiesThe poster advertised admission deals for families
He does not believe that a "death match" could take place without being planned.He does not believe that a "death match" could take place without being planned.
"We've seen the packs of light tubes under the ring and the strimmer. The vast amount of light tubes they had in that show was ridiculous," he told BBC Radio Tees."We've seen the packs of light tubes under the ring and the strimmer. The vast amount of light tubes they had in that show was ridiculous," he told BBC Radio Tees.
"If I was a promoter and someone brought a strimmer to a show I would know about it. I've worked for 20 companies in the UK and this is something that doesn't get past promotions.""If I was a promoter and someone brought a strimmer to a show I would know about it. I've worked for 20 companies in the UK and this is something that doesn't get past promotions."
What is 'death match' wrestling?What is 'death match' wrestling?
A "death match" is a style of hardcore wrestling in which participants use a wide range of objects and weapons.A "death match" is a style of hardcore wrestling in which participants use a wide range of objects and weapons.
The format was popular throughout the 1990s with promoters such as WWF (which became WWE) and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) hosting hardcore matches and championships.The format was popular throughout the 1990s with promoters such as WWF (which became WWE) and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) hosting hardcore matches and championships.
Well-known performers including Terry Funk and Mick Foley became renowned for their "death match" shows, including matches where the ring's rope was replaced with barbed wire.Well-known performers including Terry Funk and Mick Foley became renowned for their "death match" shows, including matches where the ring's rope was replaced with barbed wire.
Although these matches are no longer on mainstream television, there are a number of UK promoters who specialise in them.Although these matches are no longer on mainstream television, there are a number of UK promoters who specialise in them.
A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: "We are working with Durham County Council's licensing team after a number of complaints were received by the local authority in relation to an event at Seaham Conservative Club on 29 April. Inquiries are ongoing."A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: "We are working with Durham County Council's licensing team after a number of complaints were received by the local authority in relation to an event at Seaham Conservative Club on 29 April. Inquiries are ongoing."
Mr Barrass said neither party had contacted him about the event, which had "opened more doors than it has closed" for CCW, and he is now planning to host more "death matches". Mr Barrass said neither party had contacted him about the event, which had "opened more doors than it has closed" for CCW, and he is now planning to host more "death matches" but only for over-18s.
On the injuries the men suffered, he added medics were present and they "didn't have to do too much".On the injuries the men suffered, he added medics were present and they "didn't have to do too much".
"They got looked after behind the scenes. A couple of scratches here and there," he said."They got looked after behind the scenes. A couple of scratches here and there," he said.
"Blizzard was out having breakfast with his girlfriend the very next day. He said getting a new tattoo hurt him more.""Blizzard was out having breakfast with his girlfriend the very next day. He said getting a new tattoo hurt him more."
Seaham Conservative Club declined to comment.Seaham Conservative Club declined to comment.
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