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Got Blood?

Mike Woods and Dayion Pruitt are good friends who share a common goal: To become famous by beating the crap out of each other.


Mike Woods needs a pair of material binding clamps. His wife, Christa, drives their Toyota Corolla through the leafy suburbs of Clayton County, toward Wal-Mart. He's thinking about picking up some alcohol, too. But he doesn't have a lot of time. Glory, or at least bloodshed, is awaiting him. And he's behind schedule.

Dayion Pruitt, sitting in the back seat, rattles off the places he and Woods have fought -- in the garage, the bedroom, the street, the woods. He looks out the window. Somewhere out there, another fight is about to happen.

"I fucking hate it when people call it backyard wrestling," Pruitt grumbles.

Pruitt's philosophy is this: Fight wherever you can, for whoever wants to watch. But don't ever do "none of the stupid shit" without a camera. "Because if I break my leg," he says, "I want it on film."

Videos, if marketed right, can lead to recognition. Recognition can lead to fame. And fame, Pruitt hopes, will get him paid for all the hell he's been through.

But performances in a backyard (or a bedroom, the woods, garages, the street) are a long way from professional rings where fighters -- real or otherwise -- find real fortunes. But it's fortune Pruitt thinks about during his shifts as a stockroom manager at Kirkland's in Southlake Mall.

Woods, who works nights as a for-hire security guard, is not after fortune. Woods wants something different, something like the feeling he got from fighting in front of 120 people in a Florida match. Or something like the time last month when he walked into the Masquerade and about 20 people recognized him. "And I had one or two of them ask for my autograph," he says. "I get all giggly and stuff."

He wants something like that, but more.

"I would love to walk down the street or go to a grocery store or a porn store and see some motherfucker have on our shirts, with a picture of Death Match Guy [his stage name] or Kidd 19 [Pruitt's stage name]," he says. "I want for someone to say, 'Hey man, can I buy your video? I bought the last 14.'"

And on another level he wants to make up for the times past when he was too young to fight back.

"It's just a lot of anger that has built up over the years due to being picked on and pushed around and abused, just crap that goes on in the world that pisses me off," Woods says. "This is my stress reliever, to beat the crap out of somebody."

Yet Woods is the one who takes the brunt of the abuse when he and Pruitt fight. He's more willing to endure pain. He's trained to. The price of Woods' training can be measured in memory loss and broken bones.

Woods is 5 feet 8 inches. He's not a feather over 130. He says he has lost 10 percent of his memory. Last year didn't help. He had joined a wrestling club that met off Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta. After one of the matches, a fighter twice Woods' weight grabbed Woods, stood on the top ropes of the ring and dropped him a good 15 feet. Woods crashed through a plastic lawn chair, fractured some vertebrae and spent two days in the hospital. He paid $7,000 for the incident.

Pruitt, at 5 feet 9 inches and 135 pounds, is a more appropriate opponent. Woods says he fights Pruitt "90 percent of the time." They know each other's limits, but they are not easy on each other.

Pruitt hasn't broken any bones in his four years of serious fighting -- not his own and not anyone else's. He says he doesn't really want it to come to that.

"I'm not out to hurt him, know what I'm saying? That's the last thing I want to do."

Pruitt knows, though, that pain is one of the first things the camera and the crowd are looking for.

And sometimes that's what they get to see. "Right Mike?" Pruitt chides.

"Yeah, right," Woods says. They're pulling into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Woods runs in. His wife and Pruitt wait.

Woods, 21, and Pruitt, 19, have been fighting since their middle school days in Jonesboro. They would set up a ring of pillows and practice moves they saw the mammoths of the World Wrestling Federation perform on the small screen.

They'd take those moves and create dirtier ones. They added an arsenal. They christened their club Muther Fuckin Wrestling.

There are similar clubs, with similar names, with more members, across the country. MFW may be the product of two teenagers' creativity. But it is not a first, nor is it an original concept.

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