CZW VS. THE CITY OF DOVER, DELAWARE
CITY OF DOVER, DELAWARE SEEKING TO OUTLAW PRO WRESTLING?
By Mike Johnson September 4, 2003
An ordinance being proposed by local politicians in Dover, Delaware is seeking to outlaw "extreme fighting matches" within the city limits, in response to a videotape of Combat Zone Wrestling being presented to them, according to an article on www.Newszap.com.
John Zandig's CZW, the Philadelphia, PA based "Ultraviolent" promotion has run off and on in the State of Delware for the last several years, including the promotion's Tournament of Death, held in Dover on 7/26.
Without the stricter regulations the promotion works under in the State of Pennsylvania, CZW events in Delaware are designed to show off more of the blood and guts that the promotion is most known for as opposed to the wrestling it presents as well.
Dover Fire Marshal David Truax noted in the article that the CZW tape was, "not actually wrestling" and specifically noted the use of weedwhackers and lightbulbs.
The written ordinace reads that "tough man" competitions would be prohibited, as would "sham or collusive contests ... (where) the results thereof have been prearranged."
That wording would technically put an umbrella ban on all professional wrestling events from being held in the city limits. There is at least one professional wrestling company that runs Dover, Delaware beyond CZW, Delaware Championship Wrestling. Both DCW and CZW use the same venue in Dover, Racks Bar & Grill.
The ordinance was approved on 8/25 as written during a local Council meeting and is up for a vote this coming Monday.
Bob Magee of www.PWBTS.com has provided information for fans interested in writing local politicians about the matter, which you can find by clicking here.
To read the complete article, click here.
VOTE ON DOVER, DE BAN OF "ULTRAVIOLENT WRESTLING" SCHEDULED FOR TODAY; WWE UNAFFECTED; LAWSUITS THREATENED
By Mike Johnson September 8, 2003
The city council of Dover, Delaware is scheduled to take a vote today regarding an ordinance that would effectively change all professional wrestling events promoted within city limits, with the exception of World Wrestling Entertainment. The issue is covered in an in-depth piece on website DelawareOnline.com by Kristian Pope.
In the article, it is noted that the ordinance is a direct attempt to prevent Combat Zone Wrestling, which ran several events in Dover over the summer including itÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Tournament of Death II event in July, from having ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ultraviolent matchesÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â within city limits.
According to the article, the ordinance, if passed, would state, ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“That no professional wrestling matches in which anything but the human body or boxing gloves are used would be allowed to take place within the city limits.ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In English, if anything other than the wrestlers or boxing gloves (which arenÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢t used in wrestling) come into contact with a performer during a wrestling bout, itÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s illegal by the letter of the law. In other words, no tables, no steel chairs, no ladders, no guard rails, and of course, no glass.
The article notes that World Wrestling Entertainment, which contacted the city upon hearing of the forthcoming vote, would remain absolutely uneffected.
2nd District Councilman Eugene Ruane stated, ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our intent isn't to close down regular wrestling matchesÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦.The WWE group has events that are pretty controlled. They go into acceptable criteria. What we're dealing with [in ultra-violent matches] is an aberration."
The article does not note that many of the WWEÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s past stunts, including Mick Foley going off the Hell in the Cell cage or Shane McMahon being suplexed into and through glass partitions, would fall under the description of exactly the style of ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“UltraviolentÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â wrestling the ordinance is designed to prevent. There is also no word as to whether attached a ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“liveÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â car battery to someoneÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s testicles (as soon on last weekÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s WWE Raw) or the advertised Steel Cage Match for tonightÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Raw event, would fall under the ordinance in the city of Dover.
James Kozel, the owner of Rack's Bar & Billiards in Dover, which hosted this past summerÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s CZW events, has already hired a lawyer and intends to sue to continue hosting events if the ordinance passes today, according to the article.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â"This will open a can of worms. As an adult, you have a choice of entertainment. Dover is telling me I can't see this. What's next, I can't go to an R-rated movie?" said Kozel.
Kozel noted that he was unaware of any CZW performers being injured and there were no problems with any of the six events he has promoted in Dover. He learned of the ordinance being pushed by the Council when he filed for a permit for the last event in August. There had been plans to bring CZW back in October before the ordinance became public record.
Kozel notes that he pays CZW ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“less than ten thousand dollarsÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â per event, then splits any of the live gate beyond that amount with the promotion.
The articles reveals that the talk of the ordinance began after a videotape of a CZW event at Racks was mailed to the City Council anonymously. The council was ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“appalledÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â by the tape, specifically noting the use of light tubes in matches. Should the ordinance go into effect, it will be enforced immediately, according to Ruane. It may need to be rewritten to ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“explicitly define the types of matches which will not be allowedÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â as well.
CZW owner John Corso (John Zandig) and wrestler Matt Burns (Nick Mondo) are also interviewed in the piece. Noting that both men came off the roof of RackÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s through several tables and light tubes at the Tournament of Death, the article notes that CZW has medical personnel at all events and all those suffering wounds have them cleaned with saline solution and peroxide by medical personnel. That has indeed been the case since I began covering the promotion in 2001.
Corso claimed that no CZW performers has ever been injured, an interesting statement for any promoter to make, and that the blood is the draw for many fans.
"It's controlled chaos; we live out the fans' fantasies," Corso says in the article. "You have to watch what you do, but we make it as safe as possible. This is the entertainment business, and we're all trained professionals."
Burns noted in the article that he has suffered eight concussions, various broken bones and a hematoma on his jaw during his career.
The article also notes that ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“Extreme WrestlingÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â is banned in the State of New Jersey, although itÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s a ban that is rarely enforced now that the media hype of that situation has died down. It claims that CZW moved to Delaware following the ban, although the promotion has been running Philadelphia, PA on a monthly basis since December 2001.
To read the complete article, click here.
DOVER, DE PASSES BAN ON "ULTRAVIOLENT" WRESTLING; UPDATED WITH WORDING OF LAW By Mike Johnson September 9, 2003
The city council of Dover, Delaware officially banned "Ultraviolent" style matches within city limits last night, passing the measure with an 8-1 vote.
The ordinance refers to the genre as "Ultimate Fighting," which has nothing whatsoever to do with professional wrestling, Ultraviolent or otherwise, as UFC is a Mixed Martial Arts company.
According to the measure, "Ultimate fighting is described as (section A paragraph:
8)a live match in which (section A paragraph 8.c)match rules do not (section A paragraph 8.3) prohibit contestants from (i)using anything that is not part of the human body, except for boxing gloves, to intentionally inflict serious bodily injury upon an opponent through direct contact or the expulsion of a projectile.
Ultimate fighting is described as a live match in which match rules do not prohibit contestants from using anything that is not part of the human body, except for boxing gloves, to intentionally inflict serious bodily injury upon an opponent through direct contact or the expulsion of a projectile."
The ordinance, brought up to prevent Combat Zone Wrestling from returning to the city after a series of events this summer, was re-worded to specifically exclude "traditional" professional wrestling events with pre-determined endings, after concerns were voiced by both WWE and another local promotion, Delaware Championship Wrestling, from the original wording of the ordinance.
CZW could technically still run in Dover, but would not be able to do matches featuring the violent props and blood that have become a staple of previous events there.
"This will eliminate someone from jumping through panes of glass and barbed wire," said DCW's Steven Grossman to DelawareOnline.com. "[Combat Zone is] not wrestling."
It should be noted that DCW has booked CZW performers in the past, although CZW had greatly outdrawn them in the city this past summer. The promotions had also shared the same venue in the past, Racks Bar & Grill. Results of their last event listed on their official website, held 6/13, features mentions of weapons used in several of the matches that evening.
The city council brought up the measure when a videotape of a CZW event held in Dover, DE was mailed to them by an anonymous source. CZW ran three events in Dover this past summer, including their Tournament of Death II event, one of the promotion's marquee annual shows.
James Kozel, the owner of Racks Bar & Grill, which brought in events produced by CZW to Dover, had publicly stated prior to the vote that he intended to sue if the measure was passed. He and CZW owner John Cosco (John Zandig) have yet to comment on the passing of the ordinance.
Fans of CZW from several states, including Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey had championed an email campaign to the politicians involved, noting that they specifically came to Dover and spent money within city limits while attending CZW, and would no longer be willing to do so if the measure was passed.
CZW returns to Philadelphia, PA with an event this Saturday at the ECW Arena.
To read the complete article, click here.