Welcome to the third and final part of this exploding barbed-wire miniseries. With AEW’s Revolution PPV being main-evented by an exploding barbed-wire deathmatch, I decided to make showcase a small collection of exploding barbed-wire matches from Japan to showcase the different styles of match you can get from this single weapon. We’ve seen the classic exploding wire set up, exploding wire bats and now it was time for another classic.
Today, we are focusing on another match featuring two classic hardcore icons. Mick Foley and Terry Funk were wrestling long before they ever found the WWE or ECW. They had been around the states and the world practising their craft and getting into some truly ghoulish spectacles. One such match was their IWA Japan King of the Deathmatch final from 1995. This would be a no-rope barbed-wire match that the fun addition of C4-laced exploding barbed-wire boards. Much like FMW and the Tokyo Dome encounter that saw them nearly set the place on fire, this match has gone in history as one of the most infamous deathmatches in history. Not that it’s bad, just extreme for the time it was done. Foley was in full Cactus Jack madman mode for this one.
This was going to be a hell of a fight. Both guys had already been cut and bled in fights before this and were coming into this one nursing old wounds. Within seconds, Funk had opened a gash above Foley’s eye with a couple of jabs and they danced around the wire. They wrestled around the explosive boards and Foley used the wire ropes to cut up Funk. A Suplex battle broke out and Funk pushed Foley hard into the wire, forcing him to take a seat. Some more jabs later and Funk was on wobbly legs before collapsing onto the first exploding wire board. Both guys had more collisions with the wire and Foley got cut up badly. Funk dragged out another board and threw Foley onto it with a hip toss. He continued to murder Foley with a wire-board piledriver and continued throwing him against the boards. The fight fell outside and Foley attacked Funk with anything that wasn’t tied down or explosive. The ring explosion count was coming dangerously close and Funk tried to win with the Texas Toe Hold but interference came and a spurned competitor threw Funk into another board. Funk kept kicking out and the ring “exploded.” I used inverted commas because it was not particularly explosive and the crowd was disappointed. Foley said they had to win the crowd back so more explosive board bumps came and the finish left both men with burns as they crashed off a ladder into more wire and Foley crawled to the pin.
Foley may have won the match but he came away with just as many scars as Funk. He wrote about this match in his autobiography and explained the C4 grade had been raised to be more spectacular and just how damaging this match was. It was exceptional fun to watch and knowing these guys went through 2 other deathmatches before this makes it all the more spectacular. This feels like it could be the closest representation to what we’ll see from AEW but the company has been know to surprise and shock so I can’t say for certain. All I can say is, watch this match. it’s easy to find and with Foley’s commentary providing insight into how the match played out is so interesting. You don’t have to love deathmatches to respect the hell these two went through for their art and the love of wrestling.
All images courtesy of Tommy Girard, The Overtimer Video courtesy of Matthew Dunn YouTube