Wrestler calls himself a magician in addressing criticism about headshots

December 30th, 2011 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

Steve Corino may wear wrestler’s trunks when performing. His stage is viewable for 360 degrees, and there’s no curtain. You can’t see wires, but you can see ropes. And he owns that stage when he wrestles.

But he says he is a magician. And he used some “tricks” in a violent match that got the wrestling world talking, and got us thinking about geek and shock magic — and especially one of the weirdest videos we saw all year from the Warriors of Goja.

Corino, a veteran of the ECW and NWA circuits, posted some interesting thoughts to his blog about chairshots and how they can be done safely. The post came after a particularly brutal match between Carino and Kevin Steen, as part of a Ring of Honor event. The match was one of several examples cited by a wrestling columnist who wrote about how chairs to the head were used excessively in 2011.

Recent advances in concussions and brain injury have led to widespread changes across the field. Keith Harris writes that chairshots to the head were supposedly banned from WWE and TNA wrestling leagues, and were have thought to be dissuaded in ROH. The deaths of Chris Benoit and Andrew Martin were caused by too many concusssions leading to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Harris writes.

So Corino’s and Steen’s particularly brutal match (summarized here by Sergio Hernandez) and another one featuring chair headshots during ROH’s “Final Battle iPPV” on Dec. 23 caught criticism for a league thought to be one of the most progressive. Corino and Steen both took shots to the head from steel chairs during the match.

Corino responded by writing he knows tricks to make the shots safe. He said that even though he and Steen wanted to put on a great match, there was no way they would risk their safety and future with their families for that end. And while things could have gone wrong, they would have been accidents, not tough-guy, take-it-for-the-team hits.

Pro-Wrestling and Sports Entertainment can be dangerous. It is dangerous. People get hurt everyday. But you also need to know that most of us, with what we know now about head injuries, can modify the dangerous elements … In NO way am I going to justify unprotected chair shots. If you are a wrestler and are not taking precautions before that shot, then you need to. Anything that causes damage to your brain needs to be modified. You owe to yourself, your family, and your fans. LOOK dangerous. Don’t BE dangerous. Be a magician.

Harris responded to Carino saying that even subconcussive blows can cause brain damage, and that there are plenty of other ways of making a match look gritty without chairs to the head. “A true magician would not need to use such shortcuts to convey that brutality,” he wrote.

Back to magic: Perhaps you remember the Warriors of Goja, one of the year’s most compelling, and borderline disturbing, videos. Did these guys use similar “magic tricks”?

Those of you interested in shock magic, geek magic or physical stunts have undoubtedly come across techniques of doing apparently violent things relatively safely. But how far is too far? How much are performers willing to risk their own personal safety for an effect?


  1. Owen Eastwood on:

    In the video the brick breaking has a scientific explanation as do the nail bed stunt and the car and motorbike ‘squish’. Also I assume a lot of the cuts and wounds and blood at the end were fake. Other than that I don’t know how much of the performance was achieved though I’m considering the possibility that the glass bulbs were sugar glass…

    As for how far is to far, I think you should be able to go as far as you want so long as you don’t severely injure yourself, others around you (who shouldn’t be injured at all) and that you don’t perform in front of anyone who isn’t mentally strong enough to watch the performance.

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