There’s a common misconception about wrestling: The idea that it’s not dangerous. Just because the outcome of the match is predetermined doesn’t mean that the performers can’t really get hurt, and David Arquette really learned that lesson in a brutal way last Friday during a “deathmatch.”
Even if you’re unfamiliar with wrestling, seeing the words “deathmatch” probably tells you most of what you need to know, but the short explanation of a deathmatch is pretty simple: It’s a wrestling match that features literal melee weapons, shattered objects, and all sorts of insanity that makes the match wildly dangerous. They also don’t use disqualifications or count-outs. You know, a deathmatch.
It’s not uncommon for the wrestlers to actually bleed throughout the match, and there are tons of variations on the concept. These types of matches were wildly popular in the 1990s around the world, and while you see less of them today, they still happen here and there.
So, what the hell was David Arquette doing in a death match? Well, let’s just say that Arquette is a longtime fan of professional wrestling, but fans of professional wrestling don’t love him back. In 2000, Arquette won the WCW World Championship belt, and that just raises more questions. Why was he at WCW at all?
Also in 2000, Arquette starred in a movie called Ready to Rumble, which was about wrestling, and as a promotional tie-in the WCW decided to crown him champion. Wrestling fans were and still are pissed about this, and apparently David Arquette got sick and tired of being made fun of about it.
I don’t know why, but earlier this year, Arquette announced on Wendy (of all places) that he was going to re-enter professional wrestling and trained for six months to do it, which is how the 47-year-old actor found himself face to face with Nick Gage (a literal ex-con turned wrestler) in a deathmatch in Los Angeles. Towards the end of the match, Gage smashed a fluorescent light tube on Arquette’s head and it didn’t go so well.
Here’s a video of it, and look folks. This is NSFW, and it ain’t NSFW for anything fun. The shattered light tube sliced Arquette’s neck open, so if you click on it, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
Not only did Arquette get his neck sliced open and literally bleed all over the place, he kind of lost it and tried to take real swings at Nick Gage, and eventually had to go to the hospital to get stitches.
Now, this is beyond a mess of a situation, but the strangest part of the whole story is how well Arquette has dealt with it since that fateful Friday. On Monday, he Tweeted out a statement where he cleared the air. I recommend reading the whole thing, but there’s something that really stands out to me about the whole statement.
I’m not going to lie, I respect how much Arquette is trying to take the heat off of the concept of the deathmatch and how much responsibility he’s taken. In fact, he sent out another Tweet later where he specifically asked people not to blame Nick Gage or the organizers of the event.
That might seem insane outside looking in (the idea of the guy who’s neck got slashed apologizing for getting his neck slashed), but what you have to understand about professional wrestling goes back to how we started: Acknowledging that while the outcome of wrestling is staged, it’s still super fucking dangerous, and the wrestlers absolutely know that. Or, they’re supposed to, and as Arquette said, he was “clearly in over my head.” Owning the danger of wrestling is part of the job, and Arquette knows that, and he knows he walked into something he shouldn’t have.
But you heard the man. He’s still going to wrestle in the future, just not in death matches. Honestly, best of luck to David Arquette’s future wrestling matches. He clearly loves it, and he’s been wrestling throughout the half of this year already. This just happens to be the match we heard about. Because he almost bled out doing it, and that seems worth mentioning.
(I know that last GIF isn’t from a professional wrestling match, but it’s a personal favorite of mine, what can I say?)