This past weekend David Arquette took part in a professional wrestling death match in Los Angeles that left the actor bloody and injured after his neck was cut with glass from a fluorescent glass tube used in the match.
Wrestling against Nick Gage, Arquette took a shot to the head with the light tube before it appeared the shards slit his neck as Gage fell. Arquette, stunned by what took place, seemingly stood up and held his throat — concerned the damage was more severe than expected.
The actor then “no-sold” the finish, meaning he didn’t make the end of the match seem real — and stormed out of the ring, clutching his bleeding neck and seemingly furious with Gage.
What is a “death match?”
A particular brand of hardcore wrestling, death matches are essentially anything-goes brawls that incorporate the use of foreign objects and weapons, originating in the mid-20th century, but gaining popularity in the 60s, 70s and 80s with superstars like The Sheik and Abdullah The Butcher . Initially used as a high-stakes conclusion to long-standing feuds, death matches became more prominent during wrestling’s proliferation in the late-90s, particularly in the United States with ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling).
As WWE returned to its roots and aimed to pitch its product to a younger audience, so too did the traditional hardcore match die out of mainstream popularity. However, death matches are still commonplace in smaller promotions looking to fill a niche abandoned by the bigger companies.
Why the heck was David Arquette wrestling?
The 47-year-old Scream star is a long-time fan of professional wrestling, but there’s more history here than that. In 2000 he was stunningly given the WCW World Championship belt during the promotion of the movie Ready to Rumble, which is still viewed today as one of the worst decisions in professional wrestling history.
Putting the belt on an untrained actor was symptomatic of the issues WCW had prior to being bought by WWE, but Arquette’s 12 day title run is held as the moment the company truly jumped the shark and was unable to recover. Wrestling fans have routinely mocked the decision, and Arquette by proxy.
In 2018, during an appearance on Wendy, Arquette announced his return to wrestling with the desire to redeem himself in the eyes of fans and prove them wrong.
“For 18 years I’ve been trolled on the internet, and people have attacked me — and I just want to bring some respect back to my name.”
Arquette announced that he had been getting in shape, training and in July of 2018 he made his debut with Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, an independent promotion based out of Los Angeles.
Is Arquette okay?
Immediately following the match he was taken to hospital to receive stitches and repair his wounds. Following the match he made light of the situation on Twitter, just as the wider public were becoming aware of the match.
Turns out Death Matches aren’t my thing— David Arquette (@DavidArquette) November 17, 2018
On Monday he issued a statement, saying he was unaware how brutal the match would be — and apologized to wrestling as a whole for bringing “negative attention” to it.
The main reason I got injured was because of my lack of experience - don’t try this at home pic.twitter.com/icQK2wnQNc— David Arquette (@DavidArquette) November 19, 2018
Arquette says he plans to return to the ring in “much different circumstances,” but it’s unclear at this time what form that will take.