What Is the Cosplay Death Match?

Conventions GeekMom
The best shot I could get of the Cosplay Death Match contestants. photo via Corrina Lawson
The best shot I could get of the Cosplay Death Match contestants. At least you can see the zombies. photo via Corrina Lawson

One of the mainstays of the Connecticut Convention, held this past weekend, is the Cosplay Death Match. There’s nothing like it that I’ve seen at any other con.

The Cosplay is basically a costume competition by way of the World Wresting Federation.

And it is loud.

So very loud.

Essentially, the competition is decided by audience acclaim. The louder the applause, the bigger the win. All this is overseen by a shirtless host tell bad Dad jokes, leading rock sing-a-longs, and all while zombies drag the “dead” (losing) cosplayer(s) off the stage. Ties are decided by a game of rock, paper, scissors.

It takes place in the ballroom of the Connecticut Convention Center, a venue that holds at least 2,000 people. And it was packed.

The winner?

Captain Levi of Attack on Titan fame, but a very specific Captain Levi ,complete with cleaning supplies, including a mop, who mopped (hah!) the floor with Maximillion Pegasus of Yu-Gi-Oh. This surprised me, as my money was on either Chewbacca or Invader Zim, both of whom were crowd favorites. Not to mention the excellent Freddy Mercury cosplayer, which gave the MC the chance to begin a Queen sing-along.

Among the early matches:

  • Darth Vader vs. One-Punch Man (Vader won)
  • Rocketeer vs. Invader Zim (Zim won)
  • The Tenth Doctor plus companions vs. Hellsing Ultimate‘s “Bitches Love Cannons.”  (Cannons won)
  • Disney Princesses vs. Snake Plissken (Princesses won)
The Blues Brothers weren't in the death match. I bet they could've taken down Vader. photo by Corrina Lawson
The Blues Brothers weren’t in the death match. I bet they could’ve taken down Vader. photo by Corrina Lawson

Also appearing were Castiel from Supernatural, Solomon Grundy, Luigi of the Mario Brothers, and cosplayers from the Legend of Zelda and Gundam Wing. Whenever Chewbacca appeared, there were cries of “Chewy, Chewy, Chewy!!”

Winning over the crowd seemed key to victory, as Pegasus stayed in perfect character the entire time, as did the cleaning Captain. There was even a family in the contest, consisting of parent angels and two small ones from either a video game or anime that I’m not familiar with, unfortunately. That doesn’t matter during the Cosplay Death Match because the fun is seeing the cosplayers act out their parts, win or lose.

Often the best part is watching the zombies drag the losers off-stage. At one point, a zombie picked up a dropped cell phone and pretended to make a call. (The zombies weren’t allowed to eat the children.)

But, of course, there is the crowd At one point, during a close match, it was clear there was a gender division because the cheers for one contestant were deep, while his opponent received support in a higher pitch. That only shows how equally men and women enjoy Connecticon, which is the most gender-mixed of all the cons I’ve attended. Only GeekGirlCon has had such a plethora of women.

When the death match ended, I was vibrating from sound and my ears were ringing.

A terrific event but once a year is enough. (My youngest daughter, who screamed her lungs out, disagrees.)

I could wish other cons would try this but I’m not sure it can be duplicated. It’s a unique confluence of audience, cosplayers and zombies. But it is true to the spirit of Connecticon, which is very much a fan-run con and most interested in making sure guests have fun and providing events for them to participate in.


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