Realistically, I could have made entries for every deathmatch wrestler out there. After all, deathmatches are a horror medium by their very nature. Despite this, however, some hardcore wrestlers exemplify horror in more straightforward and forthright ways. Case in point, G-Raver.
Photo credit: Pro Wrestling Cinema
I first saw G-Raver at Game Changer Wrestling’s “Tournament of Survival: 666,” where he wrestled Effy in a “Fuckery Boards Deathmatch” in the first match of the first round. Despite being only a casual fan of GCW at the time, I was captivated by the atmosphere G-Raver managed to bring into The Showboat arena that night.
Alongside being accompanied to the ring by cult-like druids, G-Raver was adorned in a Baphomet-esque horned mask, revealing his whiteout contacts, and a vest embellished with occult-like symbols. Among removing his entrance gear, he revealed a myriad of piercings and tattoos, and soon later, it was time for the brutality. G-Raver carved Effy up with the ends of shattered light tubes, threw him into barbed-wire and poured (then crushed) mashed up potato chips all over his opened wounds. I was hooked. The whole thing felt so… punk rock. This wasn’t the kind of deathmatch I was used to. I didn’t know who the bad guy or good guy was. All I knew was that this badass, scary-looking motherfucker just changed the way I saw deathmatch wrestling.
Though I was never of the mind that deathmatches were “garbage wrestling,” as they’re often called, I always just assumed they weren’t for me. Had it not been for purchasing that GCW show on a whim and seeing that first match on an otherwise boring Sunday, I don’t think I would see deathmatches as the art form I do right now. The match against Effy, as well as his semi-finals match against Atticus Cogar, proved to me that deathmatches were undoubtedly for me. Seeing G-Raver jab tattoo needles into Cogar gave me the same feeling I got when watching Jason Voorhess mutilate a camp counsellor for the first time. Deathmatch wrestling was like watching a real-life horror movie, and G-Raver was becoming my favourite slasher.
After TOS: 666, I became a hardcore GCW fan. In an attempt to understand the promotion better, I researched the last couple years of the company’s major storylines. I learned that G-Raver was one half of one of GCW’s biggest feuds, the contents of which reinforced him as my now favourite deathmatch wrestler.
On Friday, August 30, 2020, GCW hosted their “2 Cups Stuffed” pay-per-view, which saw a “Doors, Ladders and Chairs” match between G-Raver and Jimmy Lloyd on the card. Near the end of the match, a spot that involved Jimmy Lloyd giving G-Raver a brainbuster from the top of a ladder went horribly wrong and resulted in a life-threatening injury for Raver. The tray of the ladder basically snapped off, causing both men to fall, while G-Raver sliced his arm on some light tubes atop the ladder, causing a bloodbath as he just barely missed an artery. The match was immediately stopped and G-Raver was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Despite nerve damage that left him with no feeling in his left hand, G-Raver returned to the ring three months later, and would soon confront the man who was in the ring with him while his career nearly came to a premature end. The subsequent feud with Jimmy Lloyd was personal, violent and sometimes hard to watch. The “I Quit” match involving scissors, the confrontation that led to Raver setting Lloyd aflame, and the incredible “Glass Ceiling” match (which I consider a must-watch for any fan of hardcore wrestling) all made for some of the most amazing spectacles of deathmatch wrestling I had ever seen.
The relationship between G-Raver and Jimmy Lloyd is proof that hardcore wrestling is not only senseless violence. It’s an art form that tells a story, only through the lens of violence. Underneath the bloodshed and barbed wire, it’s a story of redemption, friendship, resentment and betrayal. Had it not been for the brutal, violent and often scary battles the two shared, the feud may have not had the same effect.
The scary get-up, the ulrta-violence and the incredible storytelling is what keeps viewers interested in G-Raver. He’s a true anomaly in the sense that his looks alone can incite fear, but his in-ring abilities can triple that feeling. That’s why G-Raver is not just another “garbage wrestler” to me. The sacrifices guys like him make each and every night make me thankful that I’m a fan of this amazing thing called pro wrestling. G-Raver opened my mind and inspired me to branch out into the world of deathmatch wrestling; the most visceral, unforgiving, dangerous and scariest form of storytelling.