When looking up and down the AEW roster, few wrestlers are as synonymous with the deathmatch specialty as Jimmy Havoc. Whether he’s having his skin split open with barbed wire or brandishing a staple gun as a weapon, there’s very little that Havoc won’t do or implement in a match to win. With All Elite Wrestling approaching its primetime television debut in the fall, one would wonder how Havoc’s style of wrestling will gel. As it stands, the Kent, England native will bring a unique brand of offense to TNT.
Prior to his AEW television debut, it’s worth covering Jimmy Havoc’s career that spans roughly a decade and a half. In this week’s AEW talent preview, we will look into the career of Havoc, who has proven that limits are merely suggestions.
Havoc’s wrestling career began in 2004 when he started training at the now-defunct NWA-UK Hammerlock. During this time, he trained alongside a number of other English wrestlers, including current NJPW signee and close friend Zack Sabre Jr. However, Havoc’s days in deathmatch wrestling didn’t begin until 2006, when he started working for the Coventry-based Triple X Wrestling. In November of the same year, he challenged Sabre Jr. for the NWA United Kingdom Junior Heavyweight Championship, which he was unsuccessful at. Nonetheless, Havoc wouldn’t become known for his junior heavyweight exploits, but rather his hardcore style of wrestling.
Havoc’s work with NWA-UK Hammerlock and TXW continued into 2007. In July, he competed in the NWA-UK Hammerlock Hardcore Lottery Tournament. Havoc defeated eXodus in the first round, Devilman in the second round, and Jon Ryan in the finals, each match with a unique hardcore stipulation in place. In December, Havoc won singles gold for the first time by defeating Majik for the TXW Smash Championship at Jak’ed Off. In early 2008, Havoc wrestled a dark match for International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom. He also competed in that year’s Hardcore Lottery Tournament, defeating Ryan in the first round before losing the final three-way match, which was won by Sabre Jr.
In February of 2009, he made his official IPW: UK debut, teaming with Paul Tracey in a losing effort against Sabre Jr. and Marty Scurll. Despite this, Jimmy Havoc would rack up wins in IPW: UK, including a second Hardcore Lottery Tournament victory. In mid-to-late 2009, Havoc debuted for Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany. In September, at xWx True Colors, he teamed with current WWE official Drake Younger to defeat Bernd Fohr and Axeman in a Tables, Ladders, Chairs, & Scaffold Match. Havoc’s hardcore wrestling exploits continued into 2010, including a victory in an IPW: UK Flaming Tables match against Ryan in February. In November, he competed in the German CZW Tournament of Death, losing to eventual finalist Masada.
Early into 2011, Jimmy Havoc sought after the 1PW World Heavyweight Championship in a tournament. In August, at NWA-UK Hammerlock’s The Battle of Britain event, Havoc bested Ryan in a cage match. His CZW endeavors continued in October against Ryuji Ito and Kankuro Hoshino. He capped off the year with a bang, defeating Cell for the NWA United Kingdom Junior Heavyweight Championship. Havoc continued to embrace hardcore wrestling going into 2012. In April, he debuted for Insane Championship Wrestling, teaming with Iceman to unsuccessfully challenge Jack Jester and Chris Renfrew. Havoc would go on to debut for PROGRESS Wrestling, losing to Danny Garnell at Chapter Two. In July, Havoc challenged Renfrew in the first-ever ICW Scottish Rules two-out-of-three falls match, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Due to his work in PROGRESS, despite numerous losses, Havoc earned the support of the fans.
In 2013, Havoc became involved in a major ICW feud with James Scott, who frowned upon his opponent’s ultraviolent style of wrestling. This led to a two-out-of-three falls match in April, at Get Yer Rat Oot, which Havoc won two falls to one. Meanwhile, in PROGRESS, Havoc went on a losing streak, falling to such opponents as Nathan Cruz, James Davis, and Sabre Jr. In November, Havoc snapped, attacking PROGRESS promoter Jim Smallman before joining forces with heel faction The London Riots. At Chapter Ten, Havoc unseated Mark Andrews for the PROGRESS Championship, establishing himself as the promotion’s top heel in the process.
PROGRESS Championship Reign
Havoc’s soon-to-be historic PROGRESS Championship reign continued into 2014, as he defended the title against the likes of Andrews, Sabre Jr., and Prince Devitt, the latter currently known in WWE as Finn Balor. He also recruited Isaac Zercher and Paul Robinson; together, they would become known as PROGRESS’ antithesis, Regression. Havoc continually defended the PROGRESS Championship, such as against Noam Dar at Chapter 14 in July. His final title defense of 2014 came at Chapter 16, in November, when he defeated Rampage Brown and Dave Mastiff in a three-way match.
Havoc began 2015 in winning fashion by successfully defending the PROGRESS Championship against Will Ospreay, in January, at Chapter 17. Jimmy Havoc went on to successfully challenge Grado at IPW: UK’s Battle Royal event, winning the All England Championship in the process. Havoc followed up this victory by competing at Southside Wrestling Entertainment’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestle event, where he won the SWE Tag Team Championship alongside Joseph Connors. In July, however, Havoc dropped the PROGRESS Championship to Ospreay at Chapter 20. Havoc’s reign ended at 609 days, the longest of any PROGRESS Champion in history. Havoc’s final PROGRESS appearance of the year came at Chapter 21, in August, when he lost to Robinson in an immensely violent encounter, apropos for Havoc. The same month, Havoc would also lose the All England Championship in the IPW: UK Future 8 tournament.
During the beginning of 2016, Havoc made his way to IMPACT Wrestling, setting his sights on Decay, Rosemary in particular. This led to a no disqualification match against Abyss that Havoc lost. He would also compete in the King of the Mountain match, which was won by Eric Young. Fast forward to March of 2017, when Havoc debuted for What Culture Pro Wrestling. He made his first appearance during the Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifiers, defeating Zack Gibson in the first round before losing to Sabre Jr. in the finals. The same month, Havoc competed in WWE’s WrestleMania Axxess event, where he lost to TK Cooper. Havoc would make his PROGRESS return in September, costing Marty Scurll the PROGRESS Championship during the Chapter 36 main event.
Though Havoc had prior experience in CZW, in early 2017, it was announced that he would become the first-ever English participant of the CZW Tournament of Death proper. After failing to win the PROGRESS Championship from Pete Dunne at Chapter 45, he went on to Chapter 46 to defeat Ospreay in a Loser Leaves PROGRESS match. In June, Havoc took part in the aforementioned tournament, each match featuring a unique stipulation. After defeating John Wayne Murdoch and Rickey Shane Page in the first round and Masada in the semifinal match, Havoc bested Conor Claxton in the finals.
Challenge for the WCPW Hardcore Championship
Not long after, Havoc challenged Primate for the vacant WCPW Hardcore Championship but fell short. The following month, Havoc teamed with Mark Haskins to unsuccessfully challenge PROGRESS Tag Team Champions Trent Seven and Tyler Bate. Following an impressive 770-day reign as IPW: UK World Champion, Jimmy Havoc dropped the title to Jonny Storm in a three-way match at SuperShow 11. In October, Havoc won the WCPW Tag Team Championship alongside former adversary Primate. In December, Havoc made his debut for Major League Wrestling, teaming with Darby Allin to defeat Shane Strickland and John Hennigan at Never Say Never.
Havoc would win tag team gold in February of 2018, teaming with Haskins to defeat Grizzled Young Veterans, Gibson, and James Drake, to finally win the PROGRESS Tag Team Championship; they would drop the championship back later in the month. Havoc’s MLW endeavors continued as well, as he competed in the MLW World Heavyweight Championship tournament, defeating Maxwell Jacob Friedman in the first round before losing to Strickland in the semifinal. In March, however, Havoc and Haskins won the Defiant Tag Team Championship at Road to No Regrets; they would lose the championship the following month. During the summer, Havoc defeated Lawlor in an Anything Goes match, a prelude of things to come for them in MLW. He would disappear from MLW in October when he lost to Sami Callihan, who trapped him in a body bag before piledriving him.
The Road To Double or Nothing
On February 5th, 2019, the second episode of “The Road to Double or Nothing” dropped. During the episode, a video package of Havoc played. He expressed his frustrations with being looked over, while his peers saw success, and took opportunities that he believed were otherwise given to others. All Elite Wrestling personnel discussed his value, as a performer, and it was not long after that the promotion confirmed his signing. En route to Double or Nothing, in May, Jimmy Havoc capped off his feud with Lawlor at MLW Rise of the Renegades in April. In this street fight, for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship, Havoc fell short. He would also challenge MLW Middleweight Champion Teddy Hart in June.
In May, Havoc wrestled his final match for PROGRESS, losing to Robinson in an emotional encounter. Later that month, Jimmy Havoc made his AEW debut at Double or Nothing, competing in the 21-Man Casino Battle Royale during “The Buy-In.” As one of the “Diamonds,” the second 5-man group to enter, Havoc eliminated Jungle Boy and Tommy Dreamer before being eliminated himself by Luchasaurus in the final four. In the main show, during the unveiling of the AEW World Championship, Havoc worked alongside Jungle Boy and Hangman Page to silence the loudmouth Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Havoc made his second AEW appearance in June, at Fyter Fest, where he competed in a four-way match that was ultimately won by Page. The following month, at Fight for the Fallen, Havoc teamed with Allin and Joey Janela in a losing effort against Friedman, Sammy Guevara, and Shawn Spears.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEWrestling) February 16, 2019
The Hardcore Future?
As AEW’s primetime television debut draws closer, one must wonder how Havoc’s brand of wrestling will mesh. With someone as big of a reputation in ultraviolent wrestling as Havoc, will new viewers be introduced to a style of wrestling that he has perfected over the years? Whether it’s under hardcore rules or traditional guidelines, expect Jimmy Havoc to bring anarchy.