It’s called Tournament of Death XI, but no one actually dies.
In fact, no one really gets seriously injured.
Middletown High School graduate David John Markland, 34, is not only the company’s lead script writer, but he is also the owner of Combat Zone Wrestling.
“Wrestling is an art form,” Markland said. “It’s not all scripted, but the outcome is predetermined.”
On June 23, wrestlers from as far as Japan will travel to Townsend, as they have in the past, to perform on Markland’s family’s rural family farm on Ebenezer Church Road.
“It’s not real, [the wrestlers] are not trying to kill each other,” he said. “It’s called a death match to bring in the draw.”
Markland, who goes by the stage name DJ Hyde, is a 1996 graduate of Middletown High School who resides in Newark.
Initially he went to college to play football, but after tearing his ACL he decided to make a change.
He found a wrestling school and began to train.
It was always a passion of his.
“I was always the kind of guy who slept outside for Wrestlemania tickets,” he said.
Markland didn’t found CZW, but he has been with the internationally based company for quite some time. When the former owner decided to sell it three years ago, Markland jumped on the opportunity.
His love of wrestling was one of the reasons he decided to purchase it.
“What really prompted me was the fact that I love this business,” he said. “I could have started by own company, but this is my family. The guys that wrestle here are not only employees, they’re also friends.”
CZW is based out of Delaware where its business license is. The company’s main training facility is in Philadelphia, where “WWE: Tough Enough” star Al Snow has also trained.
The wrestlers are trained to perform their in-ring stunts.
“It’s scripted, but its no trampoline,” Markland said. “It’s real. It’s an art form. We’re basically glorified stunt men.”
Like in any other professional sport, wrestlers can be injured, but the injuries aren’t as serious as they appear. The wrestlers learn how to take a chair to the face or how to jump onto barbed wire without the horrible consequences most people interpret.
In CZW’s 17-year history, there has only been one serious injury, he said.
Markland says that his company is “pretty predominant in the independent scene.”
The June 23 event will be done tournament style.
“It’s basically a tournament of top death match wrestlers from around the world,” Markland said.
Death match is a nitch in the business, as is hard-core wrestling and extreme championship wrestling.
The well-known WWE wrestler C.M. Punk has competed in CZW.
All of the wrestlers have to have blood tests done since there is some blood spatter. The head wounds are generally small, self-inflicted cuts that bleed out to appear more serious.
There will be EMT’s and a doctor on scene June 23 and Markland said that the company will be obtaining all of the proper permits from the state of Delaware for the event.
With everything that goes into organizing the combative sporting event, Markland doesn’t only work behind the scenes.
On the company’s website, there is a list of matches.
In one of the first round match ups, ‘Bulldozer’ Matt Tremont will go up against the returning Abdullah Kobayashi.
If Tremont wins the tournament, his character will get to have a one-on-one match with Markland, or as he’s known in the ring, D.J. Hyde.