Two weeks removed from capturing the GCW World Championship from the bloody hands of Nick Gage, Matt Cardona is still riding high off that momentum. Onn Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette, “The New Deathmatch King” spoke of his gruesome battle with the MDK leader and what entailed before, during and after their highly anticipated and social media trending match.
They begin by talking about what happened post-match at GCW: Homecoming.
“It was a disaster,” Cardona revealed when asked about his post-match wounds and trying to travel back home. “Believe it or not, there’s no medical staff backstage at GCW. Luckily, there was a nurse who did stitch me up a bit, but all my slices and wounds were exposed. Luckily, my friend Giancarlo (Dittamo) had a hotel room he let me use to shower off, and then he taped towels to me so I could fly home. He like, dressed me. I went through airport security like that, and I flew right to Anaheim for Disneyland. I was bleeding out on this flight. It would dry, and as I would move, it would rip open again, and there was blood everywhere. I had to go to a hotel and get cleaned up. I took a bath, and it looked like I was stabbed or stabbed somebody.”
Although he did not reveal how much he took home from his prizefight with Gage, Cardona did mention the gear he sold made him quite a lot of money.
“I sold all my bloody gear. For big bucks, baby. I sold the boots, the wrist tape, the gloves, the pants, the shirts, all sold separately. [I made] more than I got paid for the match. I got paid a lot for the match, but that’s how much the stuff was going for. I don’t control the market. It’s supply and demand,” Cardona chuckled.
Prior to their ferocious encounter, Cardona mentions that he tried to study Gage’s style of wrestling, but just couldn’t stomach the gruesomeness of it.
“I heard about Nick Gage. I’d never seen a full Nick Gage match. Of course, I’ve seen clips,” Cardona revealed on if he knew much about Nick Gage and his style of wrestling. “I tried watching [his] Dark Side of the Ring episode, but I couldn’t get through it because it was too gory and disgusting.
“So, I knew, ok, I’m going to bleed in this match. That’s why I wore all white. I did not think my white shirt would turn red. I did not realize there would be pizza cutters and glass. Maybe, I should have done more research.”
It is crazy to picture that former WWE Superstar Zack Ryder would become the King of Deathmatches one year after his WWE release. Still to this day, Cardona says it puts him at ease knowing this pivot towards the indie and mainstream [AEW and Impact] have given him room to grow and expand horizons he thought he couldn’t have achieved before.
“I definitely would not have imagined it,” Cardona replied. “This kind of fell into place – fell into my lap. The opportunity was there. At first, I thought it was a joke. I didn’t know if fans started tweeting it or Gage started tweeting me. I was playing along with it, too. I thought it was a joke. I was like, ‘Yeah, MDK.’ But I turned it into ‘Major Detolf Kollectors.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m in.’ Then it turned into this, and it escalated.
“It’s been a lot of fun. But I was really scared going into the match, 100 percent. Right before I went into the curtain, I was like, are they going to try and kill me in here? Like, legit, murder me in the ring? I wasn’t sure.”
Cardona detailed some of the moments in the GCW World Title match, and how at one point, the referee had to check-in due to the persistent blood loss he was enduring.
“I told myself going into this, I’ll do light tubes, chairs, whatever, [but] I’m not doing that pizza cutter bulls–t. I’m not doing glass [either],” Cardona explained. “But when you’re in there with Nick Gage, you’re going to do what he wants you to do. You know you don’t really have a choice.
“So, I went through glass. I got the pizza cutter, and I superplexed him through this glass pane. And like, yeah, it hurt, I went through glass, but the referee was like, ‘[Do] you want to continue? Your arm is really bad; it’s gushing blood.’ I’m like, if this referee is scared for me, [then] I’m scared!”
Gage made an appearance on AEW recently to face Chris Jericho as stipulation number three in the “Five Labours of Jericho” saga. Despite losing his debut match, Gage came out the winner as he received major appreciation from fans, which is something Cardona was glad to see. As he concluded his thoughts on his GCW World Championship match with Gage, Cardona stated a man like Gage deserves all the praise and recognition that he can acquire. He also mentioned that promotions like AEW showcasing deathmatch wrestling and other various styles on mainstream TV is a definite sign that pro wrestling is evolving in a whole new direction.
“I think there’s room for anything,” Cardona proudly stated about pro wrestling displaying assorted styles on mainstream television. “I respected Nick Gage before the match [and] certainly now. Not because of the violence; not because he would die in the ring, [but] because he made a name for himself. I saw firsthand the love and respect that his fans give him. No writer could write that, you know? That can’t be manufactured. That’s real.
“Is deathmatch wrestling my favorite style of wrestling? No. Yeah, I am their King, and that’s what they hate about me. But it’s one of my least favorite styles of wrestling. Who am I to say that it’s not correct or it’s not acceptable? I think there’s room for anything. I’m pretty sure the ratings for Jericho-Gage went through the roof. Me and Gage were number one [on Twitter] above the Olympics. So, that kind of speaks for itself.”
You can listen to Matt Cardona’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.