Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) is an American based professional wrestling promotion, based around the 'ultraviolent' style of professional wrestling. In 1999, John Zandig and four of his students, Ric Blade, Lobo, Nick Gage and Justice Pain began to run wrestling shows in New Jersey and Delaware, showcasing a brand of hardcore wrestling dubbed as "ultraviolence". Ladders, tables, thumbtacks, barbed wire, light tubes and fire are common elements of "ultraviolent" wrestling matches in CZW. The company filled a niche for hardcore wrestling fans that had been left open by the fall of Extreme Championship Wrestling. CZW found fame in the New Alhambra Arena with their Cage of Death 3 show in 2001, the year ECW folded.
Their tightly knit homegrown roster helped establish what became a top independent promotion in later years. The biggest misconception is that the promotion only focuses on hardcore wrestling. Although they are most commonly known for their 'ultraviolent' style, rarely do their shows feature more than one or two ultraviolent matches. In late 2002, they were forced to further tone down their style after the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission issued a ban on the use of fluorescent light tubes (among other things) in Philadelphia. Their annual Tournament of Death show emphasizes the ultraviolent style of CZW and usually takes place in Delaware.
All of their shows are taped and distributed by Smart Mark Video, who releases the shows on DVD via their website. CZW is broadcast on TWC Fight! to viewers in Great Britain and Ireland as part of the "Bloodbath" program. CZW continues to run on a monthly base in the New Alhambra Arena. Aside from their monthly shows, they also run shows outside of Philadelphia, where the promotion is based.