Welcome to something a bit different. Since AEW are building to the first mainstream exploding barbed-wire match I can think of in years (I know CZW had one but they’re not on TNT, now are they), I felt it a worthwhile exercise to look at some of the lesser-known exploding barbed-wire matches from Japan and compile them into this little miniseries. Between now and March 7, I’ll pick a small collection of matches I haven’t done for the 31 Days of Deathmatches calendar and put the spotlight on them for your reading pleasure. Let’s get into the first match…

When you think of exploding barbed-wire, the default face you associate with it is Atsushi Onita. The man who built FMW and revolutionised the deathmatch game within Japan. He took barbed-wire and explosions to whole new levels and to this day, still takes part in the diabolical match type for DDT. Well, here is a match I found thanks to Twitter and more specifically Kayden, whose gifs you are going to see throughout. I present to you Atsushi Onita, deathmatch icon battling The Great Sasuke, another wrestling and hardcore icon in a No Rope Barbed-Wire Timebomb Exploding Landmine Double Hell Deathmatch on Sasuke’s home turf, Michinoku Pro. For those about to search it up, it’s from the 30th of October 1994.

We start the video with a helicopter tour of the ring, adorned with all its ghoulishness and big entrances from both guys getting the fanfare they deserve. Onita comes out in full FMW gear, flanked by FMW guys showing that even if the event is taking place on Michinoku Pro turf, he ain’t entirely alone. These two would then have a near 15-minute war that ended right as the timebomb went off. They started with the usual barbed-wire match dancing and spent the opening gambit trying to push each other around and show off their technical wrestling. It was a very smart technical build-up to the madcap violence that would follow. Sasuke tried to win the match without taking a single scratch from the wire as he worked Onita’s legs and tried to tap him out. The shoving contest returned and Sasuke got a back-full of exploding barbed-wire. Onita continued to beatdown Sasuke but couldn’t launch him into the mines. Sasuke got revenge with a piledriver and whipped Onita into the exploding wire. He kept up the pressure by kicking Onita into the landmines below. Onita staggered to safety only to be hit by a Sasuke special over the barbed-wire. With two minutes to impact, the pair picked up the pace as Sasuke tried to win with a bridging German. It failed and Onita dumped him with a backdrop. Onita gave him another back-full of wire and got a two-count on a Fire-Thunder Bomb. He threw Sasuke into the mines and dragged him back into the ring for another two-count. With ten seconds left, Onita hit a second Fire Thunder Bomb and won. He quickly grabbed the ref and the three took cover as the ring exploded.

When the smoke cleared, Onita stumbled up from the mess and was declared the winner. A lot of carnage played out in this match’s 15-minute runtime but it manages to perfectly encapsulate what a classic exploding barbed-wire deathmatch should be. Two sides of barbed-wire, a floor of mines, and a whole lot of explosions. Both men had felt the fire and Onita roused Sasuke back to consciousness before carrying him to the back in a show of sportsmanship. I couldn’t not write about these two icons being in a deathmatch together after learning it existed. This wasn’t the only deathmatch the pair had but it’s one of the best remembered. Onita is the go-to for exploding barbed-wire and Sasuke is not only a wrestling genius but also a madman who takes part in unique and often wince-inducing deathmatches. I hope you enjoyed our first dive into exploding barbed-wire matches and watch out for more in this deathmatch miniseries!


All images courtesy of Pinterest, Kayden, gfycat

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