All Elite Wrestling’s first pay-per-view of the year, Revolution, started strong, then fizzled for a bit and picked back up with a fantastic main event. Kenny Omega defended the AEW World Championship against former champion Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match. Both wrestlers worked extremely hard and told an edge of your seat story, making great use of the environment. Sadly, like a great movie with a bad ending, the only thing people will remember about the match is the dud of a finish.
Speaking as a wrestling promoter, sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. You design every meticulous detail of an angle or finish and review the plan several times, only for it to fail spectacularly. It’s the unfortunate byproduct of a live show. Initially, I thought the final explosion was a rib, and the real explosion would follow. It never came.
The finish, before the subpar explosion, incorporated the type of drama not seen in wrestling. A former friend turned bitter enemy Eddie Kingston come to the rescue of a batted and restrained Moxley to get him out of the ring before the countdown expired. The deadweight of Moxley wouldn’t cooperate, and with 4 seconds left, Kingston valiantly put himself on top of Moxley to shield him from the impending blast.
A seminal moment lost to the uncooperative explosives. I don’t know what was worse. The mild detonation or watching Moxley and Kingston sell the fallout.
What was ordered.
What we got
Again, mistakes happen; however, how AEW owner Tony Khan didn’t positively endear himself following the event. During the post-show media scrum, Khan said the explosion was weak by design due to the storyline of Kenny Omega building the exploding ring and failing to deliver.
“I think we’re all lucky that the bomb going off at the end didn’t really hurt anybody…Kenny’s big master plan — he built a dud. “Who would have thought when he drew the big plan with crayons that maybe the bomb might not fail to take both guys out.”
“But at the end, I don’t know what people really wanted unless you wanted us to actually explode the guys at the end, there’s only so much you can do,” Khan added. “So without actually blowing the ring and blowing both guys up, I think the basic explanation is Kenny’s ring was set to explode and his plan as a heel who built this thing with a hammer and nails as we saw, the final bomb just didn’t go off.”
I call shenanigans.
Moxley, Kingston, the commentators, referees, and medical personnel all sold the aftermath as if it worked. Prior to Khan’s comments, fan cell phone footage leaked of Moxley realizing what occurred and said over the house microphone.
“Kenny Omega may be a tough son of a b____, but he can’t make an exploding ring worth a s___!”
Tony Khan referenced the leaked video as proof that it was all part of the plan and later released it online through his own lens. The thing is if Khan is to be believed, WHY IS EDDIE KINGSTON STILL SELLING THE EXPLOSION??? Though on the fly, Moxley tried to save face and gave Khan a layup in the process. However, Kahn took it to a level too far.
If that’s not enough, Khan criticizing the fans because they expected an explosion he advertised for weeks on national television and asked them to pay fifty dollars for is pitiful. AEW prides itself as the fan-friendly, all-inclusive wrestling alternative, and at the first sign of trouble, they point fingers at the audience? This is an apparent lack of leadership from a promoter who doesn’t like it when he’s on the receiving end of negative criticism.
Of course, he doesn’t mind dishing it out when hanging a brass ring up high as the ladder match-winner’s symbolic prize as a dig at Vince McMahon’s behind-the-scenes “Grab the brass ring” pep talk.
But hey, he’s the 2020 Booker of the Year, so what do I know?