When Kenny Omega cheated Jon Moxley out of his AEW World Title, it was only a matter of time before Mox would get his rematch.
But how could Mox and Omega top their 2019 Lights Out match, whose senseless barbarity and danger Dave Meltzer unequivocally condemned in his 4.5-star review?
With bombs, that’s how!
Given the choice of any kind of match for his title defense, Omega chose an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match…
…and went about constructing the elaborate rig himself.
In such a match, the ring is surrounded by barbed wire that triggers explosions when touched. And after 30 minutes, regardless of whether the match is over or not, one final explosion would blow up the ring and anyone left in it. Never before had a major American promotion hosted anything close to this.
Japanese promotions like FMW and Big Japan, however, were notorious for such matches, which were as ultra-violent as they were comprehensively titled.
If you thought “Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match” was a mouthful, check out matches like:
- the No Rope Barbed Wire Electrified Barricade Double Hell Death Match
- the Chandelier broken glass drum cabinet barbed wire baseball bat no rope barbed wire double hell death match
- the No Rope Barbed Wire Scapegoat Hell Barricade Mat Street Fight Tornado Electric Mine Dynamite Death Match
and my personal favorite:
- the no rope barbed wire electrified dynamite land mines time bomb death match.
Atsushi Onita, the king of such matches, even cut a promo for AEW about the Moxley-Omega match.
At Revolution, as challenger for the AEW title, Moxley came out first, drinking from a flask.
Then the champion Omega came to the ring and unveiled a commemorative shirt (a hot-selling item for precisely thirty minutes).
The referee, decked out in a fireproof haz-mat suit, drove home the tremendous risk the two opponents were taking just by stepping into the ring.
And then the match began. And it was… fine. Really good, even.
As advertised, there were explosions.
And bigger explosions.
And even more explosions on top of that.
But they were nothing compared to the cataclysmic blast that would await both men half an hour after the opening bell.
Kenny won with help from the Good Brothers, but the carnage wasn’t over; handcuffing Moxley, the trio brutalized the challenger post-match.
And when the countdown clock flashed on the screen, the heels left Mox for dead in the ring.
In burst Eddie Kingston, Moxley’s friend-turned-enemy, who battled through Kenny and the Good Brothers to get to the ring. Showing his true colors, Kingston selflessly put himself in danger to spare Mox from further harm (or to get the best ending in Super Metroid). But there was no getting the barely-conscious Moxley out of the ring before time expired. And so, Eddie did the only thing he could do and shielded Mox with his own body as the timer hit zero.
And then, the explosion that rocked the foundations of Daily’s Place:
Well that wasn’t supposed to happen, was it now?
The fans, who had been promised an earth-shattering blast, reacted as one would expect.
And Eddie Kingston, meant to be AEW’s new babyface hero, ended up looking like the Shockmaster.
But then again, maybe it was supposed to be a joke.
After all, Kenny Omega had personally rigged the bombs. This was just a prank to make Moxley and his friend look foolish, right?
Well, no. Not only did the AEW commentators play the alleged explosion completely straight…
“I can only imagine what it felt like in the ring, because it was a lot of heat blasting our way when those bombs went off.”Tony Schiavone
…but Don Callis himself, Kenny Omega’s manager, just happened to be at the announce desk to put over the 10-megaton destructive power of Kenny’s bomb. Surveying the prone bodies of Kingston and Moxley, Callis remarked, “Looks like two less contenders”.
And still, Eddie Kingston lay motionless atop Jon Moxley.
The same fans who had just booed the failed bomb blast now chanted Eddie’s name for his commitment to the bit.
The same AEW doctor who once cleared a blacked-out Matt Hardy to finish a match, tended dutifully to Eddie Kingston as the show went off the air. Such was the gravity of the situation.
Afterwards, Jon Moxley got on the mic and disparaged Kenny Omega’s pyrotechnic abilities.
AEW then had three days to salvage the baffling ending before that Wednesday’s ironically-title Dynamite on TNT. And… well, they did the best they could.
Eddie Kingston, God bless him, said he had a panic attack. And he’s such a good promo, you could almost believe him.
Eddie said Kenny’s bomb was a prank. Moxley said it was just a dud.
Callis talked out of both sides of his mouth. And Kenny mocked Eddie’s attempted heroics.
“69 me, Don!” quipped Kenny.
Obviously, such an absurd catchphrase never took off.
And… well, that’s about it. Imagine this winning the Gooker Award this year, and me having to pad out the induction further than I already have. It would have really been extremely, extremely terrible and bad.
Still, I’d have preferred it to the actual outcome, which required me to binge-watch 30+ hours of NXT 2.0.
If there was one positive of the Non-Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match, it was that AEW’s Tony Khan learned never to let an idiotic post-match screw-up put a damper on another classic match.
This lesson lasted him 59 days, until Chris Jericho plunged through a “solid steel stage” of cardboard to cap off Blood & Guts.