Please credit Alan J. Wojcik of http://alanwojcik.comÂ if used.
You walk to the ring to find itâ€™s encased inside a 15 foot high steel cage. The promoter tells you its come as you are; bring your own weapons to defend yourself with. Your objective: avoid being tossed out the door or over the top of the cage. Welcome to a
Florida wrestling tradition known as Rage in the Cage. The famous match is the brainchild of â€œthe Hardcore Giantâ€ Ron Niemi. It debuted in the old IPW-Hardcore promotion in August of 1999. The first RITC saw co-winners as Sonny T and Rick Thames of the tag team Southern Posse ended their feud to reunite and start their war with the Shane Brothers, back then known as Phi DeKappa U. Past winners include Florida standouts â€œFreedom Ryderâ€ Mike Sullivan, Rod Steele, â€œThe Marqueeâ€ Bruce Santee, Lex Lovett, Sedrick Strong and Jeff Peterson Cup 2007 competitor Erick Stevens.
Here are some comments from the people who have dared to be part of Rage in the Cage, which closes night one of the 2007 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup. See www.jeffpetersoncup.com for all event information.
â€œModern Revolutionâ€ Steve Madison: RITC is lots of violence in a contained space. I was sort of in RITC 5, before hand I saved Buck Quartermaine during his match with Rod Steel. When I was trying to leave the match began and it was wild to see all the weapons being brought into the ring. The next year I wrestled (then NWA Florida Heavyweight champion) Todd Shane in the match before RITC and I suffered a concussion thanks to Buck. People always wonder how do you get tossed out of a cage match, well you can get claustrophobic in there. Plus you lose your bearings and next thing you know you are out the door. I won last year on a fluke because I stayed outside the ring the whole time and snuck in at the right time to win.
Michael Patrick: Itâ€™s a brutal and dangerous environment and that 100% shoot because anyone you think is a friend will sucker punch you when you least expect it. I have seen every weapon from a yard flamingos to a guy wrapped in bubble wrap to a literal kitchen sink. My advice to a newcomer to RITC is to be prepared and be willing to bleed through a long ass kicking.
RITC 7 Winner Erick Stevens:Â The cage, pardon the clichÃ©, is four sides of merciless steel.Â Then you add in a bunch of crazy dudes with weapons and what you have is essentially complete chaos.Â Rage In the Cage is a dangerousÂ match, I know first hand.Â
Sedrick Strong: For someone who isn’t “hardcore” or “extreme,” Rage in the Cage is like something you’ve never seen. There are 30 people in a 16′ x 16′ square locked inside a cage with weapons. Bats, trash cans, kendo sticks, stop signs, chairs, and anything else you can imagine are getting swung at you from all angles. When you duck a chain, someone hits you with a baking pan. You have to go into the match knowing you’re going to get hurt. You have to be prepared to bleed. There’s no escaping it. Simply put, Rage in the Cage is terrifying.
Stash of Fahrenheit 420: Although I may be hanging onto the last of my brain cells, I will never forget the chaos Fahrenheit 420 bought to Rage in the Cage. The awesomeness began with my choice of weapon. First you got your meatheads bringing in steel chairs. Then you’ve got your hardcore homos bringing in all sorts of barbed wire creations. Little did they know that the best weapon that night was my trusty 5 foot tall plant. Hiding behind it left it easy for striking unsuspecting victims at will. As bad as I wanted to win the match and earn a shot at the title, David Mercury reminded me what Fahrenheit 420 was all about. It was time to FIRE IT UP. As we simultaneously climbed to the top of the cage the crowd quickly rose to their feet. We proceeded to land a double plancha knocking out ten opponents on the outside of the ring. Not only did we knock nine them out, but we also ended the career of Killian. The move completely shattered Killianâ€™s ankle, but that wasn’t enough. I thought it would be cool to throw the injured Irish drunk into the crowd. Lucky for Killian, the crowd moved and their chairs broke his fall. Good times people…..good times!
Jaison Moore (formerly Kamikaze Kid): RITC is a match you have zero clue what is going to be brought in by your opponents as a weapon. Suits of armor, Aaron Epic in bubblewrap, I even think a potted cactus came in one year. I wish I could tell you but it canâ€™t be described in a few words. You have to see it in person.
IPW-Hardcore/NWA Florida referee Billy â€œthe Kidâ€
Dalton: Total insanity and madness inside a cage that doesnâ€™t have give to it.Â During previous events there have been 40 to 50 people inside at one time. From what I have seen itâ€™s always bloody and violent and has to be seen.
Jerome Hendrix: I’ve never been in Rage in the Cage. The only time I’ve been in the cage was when I wrestled Bruce (â€œThe Marqueeâ€ Bruce Santee, former NWA Florida Heavyweight champion) before the match that Erick (Stevens) won in 2004. The year before that I was jumped before getting in the cage by Sideshow. I will say this however; Rage in the Cage has done some major damage to some people (Killian getting his ankle snapped in half by David Mercury during a plancha). It’s also propelled people into
Florida and Indy Stardom like Bruce Santee and Erick Stevens. I’m interested to see who will emerge with a new purpose in the
Florida scene. Who will be the next main-eventer? Only time…and the first night of the 2007 Jeff Peterson Cup will tell.
Tommy Vandal: Craziness sums it up….hardcore craziness….the first time I ever bled in wrestling was at Rage in the Cage….everyone wants to win and will do anything they can to win.
Aaron Epic: Yes I wore a suit of bubblewrap into RITC. I also wore a helmet to protect me if they rammed me into the cage. The smartest thing you can do is avoid damage. Itâ€™s a pure game of survival and hope everyone destroys themselves as you go onto victory.
Jerrelle Clark: I can guarantee it is as crazy as they come in specialty or gimmick matches. Sometimes you can do crazy stuff like I have done, like eliminate yourself by jumping off the cage onto people below. But that here nor there. RITC is a fun atmosphere and people you never would see yourself wrestling like Bruce Santee or Mad Man Pondo.
Josh Rich: It was a big deal for me to be in the Rage in the Cage. I’d never been hit with a weapon and knew this might end up being my first time for that. I knew that I had to do it though, to get my name out there more and show people I was more than just a pretty face. I was pretty nervous before hand. I was watching all the guys in the locker room prepare for battle. Aaron Epic was covering himself with bubble wrap. Naphtali was lifting weights to get his guns even bigger so he could beat people up better. Mad Man Pondo was breaking things to make more weapons. Just a bunch of guys getting ready for something most had never been a part of. I got lucky and was the last to be called. It gave me a huge advantage over everybody else. Even though I didn’t win I still went down as having one of the most memorable moments in Rage in the Cage history. Even though I eliminated myself before I actually got inside the cage, I know that people will remember Josh Rich. Not only for his good looks. Not only for his amazing wrestling skillz. Not only for his incredible knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. No, I’d be remembered for having the guts to go up against a bunch of scary dudes with weapons and survive. Sure I slingshoted myself out of the match trying to bring my suit of armor into the ring. The thing is I tried. The Rage in the Cage was open to a lot of other guys but they didn’t compete. I did. And for that I can be proud that I’m better than a lot of other guys out there.