Vince McMahon Approved an Insane WWE Deathmatch Idea

Vince McMahon once agreed for WWE to have an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch, according to former WWE writer Court Bauer. In a clip from AdFreeShows' new series The Insiders, Bauer explained how he pitched the idea to McMahon by showing him Atsushi Onita's famous barbed wire matches from Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling in 90s and that McMahon actually liked the idea of bringing that to WWE. However, it never saw the light of day and WWE instead pivoted to the infamous Punjabi Prison Match concept. That bout eventually debuted at the 2006 Great American Bash event and has only been used a small handful of times since with consistently bad reception from fans. 

"They were trying different things at this time, this is when (they thought), 'Hey, let's relaunch ECW! Let's try different stuff!' So I showed Vince an Onita exploding deathmatch and he said, 'Yeah, let's do it!' From there they said, 'Okay, get with Kevin Dunn and his team and let's get to work on it,'" Bauer said. 

Bauer said he got a first look at what Dunn and his team had created roughly two weeks out from its debut and quickly realized the exploding barbed wire idea had been scrapped. As for why plans changed, Bauer said, "I don't know if Kevin felt it wasn't feasible. We never got an answer for why they took the creative from exploding deathmatch to 'Temple of Doom playset' but it happened."

AEW Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch

The concept was eventually tried out by AEW in 2021 when they booked an AEW World Championship match between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega with that stipulation added in by "The Cleaner." The match almost went off without a hitch, but the final timed explosion misfired, leading to an embarrassing final scene of both Moxley and Eddie Kingston trying to pretend they were knocked out by the "blasts" in the ring.

Despite the flat finale, AEW president Tony Khan has stated in interviews that the company will attempt the match again in the future. He told The Dan Le Batard Show last year, "I was trying to be too safe and I let the professionals handle the stuff and they are guys who don't understand wrestling. A professional pyrotechnic guy. They totally s— the bed. I ended up not paying them. It was like $100,000 they ended up refunding for all the expenses of the match. I ended up not paying for the (exploding) barbed wire deathmatch, which I shouldn't have. They screwed up royally. We put together something great. Kenny and Jon worked their asses off and all they had to do was set up the final explosion. This is because we used professional pyrotechnic people who are supposed to know. The next time we do this, and I will do it again because the match drew. Everything Jon and Kenny did up until that point was outstanding, it wasn't their fault it didn't go off," he continued. "Long story short, it was a long time ago and we've bounced back since then. That was three months ago and everything has been pretty perfect and couldn't have gone much better. I was really grateful that the next pay-per-view was up and did a big number."