The Shadow Cylinder is a cage match in which the object is to knock your opponent out for a count of 15. If both participants are knocked out for the 15 count, the first one back on their feet is declared the winner. The match has only been used once as the feud ender between brothers Merrill "Shadowbird" Waters and James Dawson. It is considered Merrill Waters' signature match.
Rules and Details of the Match
The match is contested in a 28 ft. 3.5 in. diameter, 15 ft. high circular steel cage with an open top. The rules are:
- There are no disqualifications. Weapons are not only legal but encouraged.
- There are no pinfalls or submissions.
- The match will not end if one of the competitors escapes the cage.
- The first person to incapacitate their opponent for a count of 15 is declared the winner.
- If both competitors are knocked out for the count, the first person to their feet is the winner.
Thanks to the open top and the use of ladders, high spots are almost a certainty, particularly Merrill's special Dimension Moonsault, which has made an appearance in all the Shadow Cylinder matches to date. To encourage a violent and bloody match, the mat is littered with various other weapons before the start of the match. Also, wrestlers are encouraged to bring their own weaponry into the ring, as long as they do not bring incendiaries (other than lighter fluid), projectile weapons (such as crossbows or guns), or power tools. While the Cylinder is a match designed to bring out the darkest in the competitors, no one wants anyone to be deliberately killed.
History of the Match
To this date, there has been only one known Shadow Cylinder contest. A second is scheduled for the June 4th edition of UHW Blood Zone and is part of a three match series between Merrill Waters and "Iceman" Rainier Wilz.
SC I: XOW Love's Worst 2006
In February 2006, in the Xtreme Online Wrestling promotion, two brothers that had been at each other's throats for more than half a year finally met. Merrill Waters designed the Shadow Cylinder specifically for the final match of his feud with his brother James Dawson, and his idea finally came to fruition in XOW. Up to that point, Merrill and James had only faced each other in XOW in multi-competitor situations, including a Four Way for the No. 1 Contendership for the XOW World Title. Merrill had been exhibiting erratic behavior, and by the time the PPV came around, Merrill was feeling at his darkest. Both brothers ended up bleeding like stuck pigs, sliced open by barbed wire and busted open by hard steel chairs. Finally, after successfully applying an Eclipse submission hold with a shinai, Merrill scaled to the very top of the Cylinder structure and plummeted to Earth in a jaw-dropping Dimension Moonsault. Both brothers were counted down, and Merrill barely managed to get back up to his feet first to be called the victor. After the match, both men were removed from the arena on stretchers and were out with injuries for the next three months.
SC II: UHW Blood Zone June 4th, 2007
This match was the second match in a Best of Three Platinum Championship Series. Merrill Waters, then the UHWF Platinum Champion, challenged "Iceman" Rainer Wilz to "step into his world" after winning a Scaffold Match to take an early lead in the series. The highlights of this match included a suicide Dimension Moonsault from the top of the cage by Merrill, an attempted Fire on High splash that resulted in Merrill crashing through a flaming table, and an Ice Driver through a table that secured the win for Rainer to tie the series at 1 apiece. Merrill sustained a Grade II concussion as a result of his daredevil moves but recovered in time to compete at Grand Slam in an Ultimate Submission Match three weeks later.
Variations of the Match
Merrill has created several variations on his signature match, but none have yet been used.
Variation 1: Scaffold Escape
In this title variation, a scaffold is placed across the top of the cage, and the title belt (or a folder containing a contract for a title shot) is hung from a hook on the underside of the scaffold. The first person to retrieve the title or folder and escape the cage with it is the winner.
Variation 2: Scaffold Attack
This variation is set up much like the Scaffold Escape variation, except the person who holds the belt or folder must perform an aerial maneuver off of the scaffold and onto their opponent into the ring in order to win. This variation can also be used for non-title contests.
Variation 3: Shadow Submission/Shadow Submission Elimination
The rules of this variation are much similar to the conventional Shadow Cylinder, except that in order to win, one must cause their opponent to submit, either by a submission hold or by making them say "I Quit!" This match also opens itself up to multiple combatants, in elimination format.
Variation 4: Shadow Cylinder 2.0
This variation can be simply described as "one version greater, one hundred times more dangerous." The cylindrical cage is given a roof and is extended to 25 feet in height and an even 30 ft. in diameter. A 15 foot standard cage is placed within. The object of the SC 2.0 is to pin your opponent or make them submit within the standard cage, then take them outside the inner cage into the Cylinder and lay them out cold for 15 seconds. If both competitors get pinfalls in the inner cage, the first one to knock their opponent out for 15 will be the winner. As always, weapons are legal.
Variation 5: Team Submission
The first of the tag variations borrows much from the Shadow Submission variation in that submission determines the victor. The difference is that in this match, all participants are legal, and the match only ends when all members of one team submit by tapping or saying "I Quit!"
Variation 6: Team Elimination
This variation also borrows from the Shadow Submission variation, but it adds elimination rules. In this match, when one member of a team submits, they are placed into a penalty box for one minute. If during this time, their partner also submits, the other team wins; however, if one minute elapses before the other partner submits, then the participant is released and the count starts over. The first team to eliminate both of their opponents wins.
Variation 6a: Team Elimination (3x3 and 4x4)
In this version of the Team Elimination Shadow Cylinder, pinfalls are allowed as well as submissions, and the time limit is extended according to the number of people on each team. The time is extended to two minutes for six-man matches and four minutes for eight-man bouts. Note that the clock does not start over at each elimination; it is cumulative.
Variation 7: Tag Scaffold Attack
In this variation, the match proceeds much like a Scaffold Attack match (either title or non-title). In order to win this match, both members of one team must attack either one or both of their opponents with a double team maneuver from the scaffold.