All Elite Wrestling returns to pay per event Sunday night for Revolution, which is headlined by a world title fight pitting reigning champion Kenny Omega against Jon Moxley.
This is the third meeting for the two megastars, with Moxley winning the first meeting in November 2019, and Omega leveling the score after defeating Moxley last December, taking the title in the process. Each artist is a reason on their own to watch AEW, and while both are highly decorated in their careers (Moxley most prominent in WWE, Omega in New Japan) neither have ever fought in a Barbed Wire Explosion Deathmatch. However, that distinction will change on Sunday night.
In front of a limited crowd at Dailey’s Place in Jacksonville, Omega and Moxley will voluntarily stand in a square circle containing three sides of rope wrapped in barbed wire, and contact with the barbed wire will cause explosions. There will be a “Triple Hell” section on the floor also connected to explosives, and after 30 minutes, all remaining devices in and around the ring will explode.
This is not something you will see in a Wrestlemania. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart, nor will it be a technical masterpiece, but it has the potential to be a show like no other match ever made in North America.
The explosion of barbed wire deathmatch became famous in Japan. The man whose performances will forever define the genre is Atsushi Onita, who appeared in a video promoting the match last Wednesday. Dynamite. Onita is synonymous with innovating the modern deathmatch in his Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling promotion, which peaked in the 1990s. One of his decisive matches took place in May 1993 against his legendary partner Terry Funk, where a Crowded Kawasaki Stadium watched in equal surprise and amazement as Onita and Funk put their bodies on the line in a cordless deathmatch exploding with barbed wire and time bomb.
Talking with Illustrated SportsFunk recalled the moment and also offered some advice for Omega and Moxley.
“It’s the toughest style match I’ve ever been in,” Funk said. “I put a lot into those games. I put 100% and I came out with a lot of damage to my body.
“If you want this combination to work, you have to give people their money’s worth. That is the end result, that is the most important thing. You must do everything you can to achieve it. Physically, that can sometimes be a difficult game to play. “
On Monday, without a doubt, the talk will focus on the carnage of this bloody encounter. But Funk wants more. Like his match against Onita, and many others, like IWA Japan’s gruesome King of the Death Match tournament in 1995, which included the famous No Rope, Barbed Wire, Exploding Barbed Wire Board, Time Bomb Deathmatch against Mick Foley, Funk wants to see a certain quality on display, one that captures the essence of professional wrestling.
“You’re not trying to tell a story, you’re trying to win a shitty match,” Funk said. “That’s the whole point. Win the match, win the fight.”
Now 76 and dealing with hip problems, while vowing to do everything he can to avoid another surgery, Funk noted that he keeps busy and follows the successes of his grandchildren. He also expressed his gratitude to those who continue to enjoy his work in the ring.
“For me, I always loved what I did, and I did the best I could,” Funk said. “I tried to make sure my matches were always different. In wrestling, you don’t always walk through the front door. Sometimes you go through the side door or the back door. I’m happy that that still means something to people. “
As Omega and Moxley approach their own appointment with destiny in RevolutionFunk offered one more piece of advice: don’t blink.
“Confidence is the key to success in this game,” Funk said. “And fighting in a match like this shows how much you love what you do. I have always liked this business. It’s my profession. It has changed, it has evolved, but there are still great people in and around it, like these two. I admire what they do in the ring.
“This is a difficult match. It was for me at least the hardest thing it could be. It is up to them how they treat it. This party, your job is to go ahead and give people their money’s worth. If they do, your party will live for a long time. These two guys, I think they will do the best they can. “
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.