As a professional wrestler, Kyle Francis is used to receiving punishment.
Willingly landing on his back and falling down from high plateaus is not something the typical person is used to doing on a regular basis, but it is a pain Francis quite familiar with.
After years of repetition, Francis has grown a callous to the basic bumps and tumbles that come with being a professional wrestler, even at the independent level.
Despite all of that, none of the training or prior in-ring experience can prepare Francis for what it is like to have a light tube smashed over his back or to be thrown through a pane of real glass.
Not breakaway glass that is used for stunts in movies, but actual glass that will lacerate a person's skin.
But it is almost inevitability that Francis will experience one of those borderline inhumane acts, as he will take part in his very first deathmatch Saturday on one of Combat Zone Wrestling's marquee events, Tournament of Death, in Townsend, Del.
Tournament of Death is the one event CZW focuses on its roots as an ultraviolent wrestling promotion, where for one night, matches that involve light tubes, thumb tacks, panes of glass and cinder blocks will be the norm.
Oh, and blood. There will be lots and lots of blood spilled on that grassy field in Delaware.
In wrestling, these are called deathmatches. Francis calls them necessary.
Francis has spent his entire life/wrestling career idolizing/emulating WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, whose style had nothing to do with having a dollar bill stapled to his forehead.
But Francis believes that participating in the 16th annual Tournament of Death will lend his persona in the ring — "The Main Line Main Eventer" Kit Osbourne — the vicious side that he currently lacks. If anything, Francis is surprised that he hasn't made this decision sooner.
"This is far more real than anything I've ever done before," Francis said during an interview with philly.com. "I want to say I'm 100 percent ready for it."
Francis may be close to being fully ready for his first foray into deathmatches, but admitted that Tournament of Death has weighed heavily on his mind ever since he was officially announced as a participant.
He has thought about what barbed wire slicing his skin could feel like and the permanent scars something like that could leave behind. What he has not thought about is telling his family, as he has kept his participation in deathmatch a secret.
Francis plans on keeping it that way so that they don't begin to worry about him.
"I definitely wasn't trying to call up my aunt that I see at Christmas every year and go, 'Hey, guess what? I wanted to tell you something. Remember that time you dropped the glass ball from the tree and you stepped on it? Well, I'm going to be doing that. Like a lot, but on purpose and to other people.' I don't think that's something that's going to go very well."
Francis has sought the advice of seasoned deathmatch veterans. The biggest piece of advice Francis has received had nothing to do with the weapons or the violence. It was about the fans, which can be more brutal on the wrestlers than the objects that will alter their bodies.
But according to Francis, winning over the fans is just as important as winning in the ring. One way to win over the fans is to refrain from showing fear, as doing so will turn the fans against him in an instant.
"You know what these fans want," he said. "It's daunting, but I understand that ultimately what they want is blood. That's as simple as you can get."
Although Francis is all-in on his first deathmatch, he has not committed to doing a second. He said that depends on how his first one goes. Someone that will undoubtedly have another after Saturday is Jeff Guerriero — better known to CZW fans as Jeff Cannonball.
Guerriero has only been wrestling since 2010, but estimates that he has already participated in more than 20 deathmatches since he started doing them in 2013.
Unlike Francis, Guerriero has aspired to be in deathmatches since he began watching them in high school.
"I don't want to say I'm immune to it because no matter what, getting hit with a light tube is going to hurt, falling into barbed wire is going to hurt," Guerriero said during an interview with philly.com.
Guerriero hasn't spoken to Francis personally, but shares the same advice with virtually all of the first-time participants he works with.
"Don't do anything you're not comfortable with because if you're going to hesitate on it, that's when you're going to get hurt," he advises. "That kind of goes for all wrestling, but when you throw in the glass and the barbed wire and possibly the fire, you just kind of take that chance."
"With that stuff, you're not going to feel good afterward and in my opinion, if you decided you're going to do something you can't hesitate because that's where accidents happen," he added.
Guerriero tells them to have fun, as well. What sense does it make to get hit with cinder block if you're not going to have fun with it, right?
So far, Guerriero has been comfortable with a lot of things, including panes of glass and even a kenzan/flower frog. Yes, one of those.
"It was a four-way panes of glass match, so it was me and three other guys," Guerriero recalled. "I believe I was the second person to go through a pane of glass and the way we did it was simple. I charged somebody, they sidestepped me and I want through it pretty much head first."
"I remember as soon as I landed I saw blood just kind of pouring and being like, 'Huh, I didn't expect it this early,' and then I felt the back of my head and I had I want to say three pieces of skin just hanging off the back of my head," he added.
Guerriero said that when he hit the pane of glass, he braced for the impact by slightly turning, which caused the glass to slice a piece of the back of his head. All of this occurred within the first two or three minutes of the match.
Fellow deathmatch veteran Matt Tremont helped tape pieces of Guerriero's skin back to his head. Guerriero then drove home eight hours and took part in another match the next day.
However, the effects of the first match lasted far longer than anticipated, as Guerriero said he found shards of glass in the back of his head six or seven months later while he was sitting at his desk at work. According to Guerriero, that has happened multiple times.
For deathmatch wrestlers, it's one of those "Don't you hate when that happens?" moments.
The same man that helped tape pieces of Guerriero's skin back to his head was responsible for driving a kenzan into the top of his head at a recent Tournament of Death.
"That was by far the worst experience," Guerriero said. "Probably the worst pain of my life — wrestling or not."
"Going in, it sucked and it was terrible," he added. "Coming out was the actual worst thing."
After the match was over, someone attempted to yank the kenzan out of his head with a pair of pliers. Guerriero said it took about five minutes, but the man was able to get it out. The sound it made once it was finally yanked out, however, was not very pleasant.
Guerriero wasn't worried about the damage the kenzan could have done to his head. He was more concerned with going to the hospital to get it removed, as it would force him to explain why he had such an object stuck in his head.
Guerriero's kenzan episode was documented in a feature from Vice.
"I've watched it a bunch of times afterward and even for me, who lived through it, it makes me feel uneasy to see that happen," he said. "Even though I know now I'm okay, I'll watch that and I'll hear that sound and it still makes me feel just so disgusted with everything."
Guerriero said that he has not used a kenzan since, but did not rule out using one again in the future.
"I know me and I know that if something comes up where I'm excited about it and I decide to do it, I'll end up doing it again," he said.
Francis may not go quite that far, but it is willing to go pretty far to gain a new level of respect from the fans.
Whether that respect will actually be earned is a different story.