Welcome back to the exploding barbed-wire miniseries. I have made this mini spotlight series of lesser-known exploding barbed-wire matches to showcase the different types of deathmatch you can find within this sub-genre. With AEW main-eventing Revolution with one of the biggest exploding barbed-wire deathmatches in recent year, between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley, it made sense to showcase just what you can find when you look for matches involving exploding wire.

Today’s choice comes from the Joshi scene. STARDOM, home of some of the best and brightest in Joshi, had themselves an exploding bat deathmatch during their 2018 Dream Slam tour. It would be the team of Io Shirai and Tam Nakano taking on the top villain faction Oedo Tai. They had sent Kagetsu and Natsu Sumire to take part in this devilishly explosive contest. Kagetsu is no stranger to deathmatches and those who have seen Shirai’s NXT daredevil antics won’t be too surprised to learn she was doing deathmatches earlier in her career. She has taken inspiration from the Great Sasuke in the past (the trashcan dive for example) now she gets to share a series with him. Exploding bat matches are some of the most common nowadays to feature exploding barbed-wire and can be found in DDT especially and if you’ve seen the 31 Days calendar before whenever the Blast Queen Title enters a scene. Now, let’s dissect this match a bit, shall we?

The action opened with a brawl as Oedo Tai ambushed Shirai and Nakano. After bullying Nakano for a bit and using crowd chairs as a weapon, the duo brought out more chairs and smashed them off of Nakano. She was pummelled down until she could mount a comeback and an angry Shirai found her way back into the match. Like all good exploding object deathmatches, there was a nice build to the being used as Shirai showed off daring athleticism and evened out the match. Kagetsu was the first to activate the exploding barbed-wire bat and we got our first bat standoff, with Shirai avoiding being hit by it with a Matrix escape. Shirai showed reservations overusing the bat, Nakano had no such reservations and tried to use the bat on Kagetsu. Again, it was thwarted but the bat had been teased. The bat was forgotten about for a while as the wrestling took centre stage again and Kagetsu tried to soften Shirai up with kicks and a chokeslam. Nakano saved the match after a 450 splash and Kagetsu tried to use the bat for a second. After 16 minutes, we got our first explosion as Kagetsu crashed the bat into Shirai’s midsection, sending them both flying. Shirai was carted away and Kagetsu was recovering so Sumire picked up the fight with Nakano. The two on one beating picked up until Nakano turned a double Suplex into a double DDT. Kagetsu cut off the comeback with the Oedo Tai board and Shirai came back to save Nakano, beating up Sumire with the deactivated bat. A whip entered the match and more wrestling took centre stage. Kagetsu accidentally took out her own partner and Nakano brought out the bat again, smashing it into Sumire and once again sending everyone flying. Shirai went for the kill with a Jay Driller into the moonsault and we got a final frantic stretch ending with Nakano getting the big win with a running knee.

I picked this match because it encapsulates the idea that these matches don’t have to be spot fests. This was a traditional hardcore tag bout that built up to two big explosion spots. It was well-paced, well-controlled and perfectly built around the impending doom of getting hit by the bat. If you want more exploding bat goodness, DDT has multiple Onita and company exploding bat matches featuring the likes of Maki Itoh and Yuki Kamifuku to enjoy. If you liked this one, I’d highly recommend checking them out. Exploding bat matches are a nice way to have a more controlled and easier set up exploding barbed-wire style of match. They come in many forms but this might be one of my absolute favourites because of the talent involved and how it all built so perfectly. Come back soon for the final part in this exploding wire miniseries!

All images courtesy of Stardom Twitter, LWOPW, Joshicity, TDE Gifs