COLUMN: Give me ‘Blood and Guts!’

AEW announced last week that its version of WarGames – in my opinion the spiritual successor of “The Match Beyond” – called “Blood and Guts” will make its return on the June 29 edition of “Dynamite.”

The WarGames was always one of my favorite match types growing up and it’s still one of – if not THE – best gimmick match in the history of wrestling, in my opinion. AEW began first teasing their version of the match way back in 2019 and Blood & Guts I was originally scheduled in March of 2020, just before the pandemic hit.

AEW put debuting the match off for over a year before it finally went down in early May last year. AEW finally doing this match was something that I had been looking forward to and was excited for, but the pandemic had other plans for me.

About a week before the debut of Blood and Guts, virtually every member of my immediate family was hit with COVID-19. Everyone reacted to the virus in different ways; my wife struggled with fevers, shortness of breath, nausea, etc. My brother and his wife had little to no side effects. Myself, my mom and my dad, on the other hand, were all hospitalized, one right after the other. 

Eventually, my mom and dad were both placed on a ventilator and I was kept in isolation in the COVID wing of our local ICU. Outside of the near suffocation that COVID hits you with, the isolation may be the second worst thing about it all. Nurses don’t even want to come in and check on you – for obvious reasons – and at the time the hospital wouldn’t even allow my wife to come see me. So, for the hours that I was awake – and lucid – it was endless television.

Pro wrestling has always been an escape for me. Ever since I was a kid, and when I fell in love with wrestling, it allowed me to immerse myself into those 2-3 hours that I was parked in front of the TV without a care in the world. Family having money problems and your parents fighting about it? Two hours of Monday Nitro would do the trick. My parents even used wrestling as a way to keep me on track (or get me back on track). Bad grades? No wrestling. Good grades? We’ll go rent a wrestling tape.

Even into my adult life, pro wrestling has been there as my escape, more so than music, comics, football, movies or just about anything else. When I needed to get away from the struggles and frustrations of every day life, I could always throw on some good ole “wrasslin” and escape every thing for a little while.

Laying down in a hospital bed with tubes hanging out of my body, an oxygen tank keeping me from suffocating and both of my parents in a much dire situation, I was in much-need of an escape.  At this point, my dad had already been placed on a ventilator and my mom would soon be on one, as well.

So, when it was revealed that Blood and Guts would be on that week’s episode of Dynamite I was disappointed I was going to have to watch it from a hospital bed, but also relieved that I had at least a little something to look forward to despite it feeling like my entire world was crumbling all around me.

I actually had to go back and watch the match recently because I remembered very little of it – save for the Jericho bump off the top of the cage at the end – as virtually everything from that time is extremely hazy and foggy. The only thing I can remember is that I actual felt happy to be watching the match and not thinking about everything else that was going on, if just for a few minutes.

So, while I’m excited for the return of “Blood and Guts” – and it being inside a packed arena instead of Daily’s Place – it also brings back some painful memories, as well. My mom passed a way a little over a month after I was released from the hospital. Every single day some memory pops into my head and it hurts all over again, but on June 29 “Blood and Guts” will be my escape again.