If you didn’t catch episode one, welcome to 31 Days of Deathmatches. This is an advent calendar-style countdown to Halloween offering you a door of deliciously gory wrestling per day. Our trip to the spookiest day of the year will take us around the world and through time. This will chronicle some of the most significant deathmatches throughout the years but will mostly consist of my absolute favourite barbed wire bouts and glass shattering matches. Without further ado, let’s open the next door.
It’s time for our first trip to the past. Today, I take you to the year of 1995 for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling’s (FMW) 6th Anniversary show. Taking place from Kawasaki Stadium, this would prove to be the ground for Atsushi Onita’s last match with the company. This wouldn’t take place in an ordinary ring though. It would take place in an Electrified Barbed Wire Exploding Cage. Even the title for the match is an exercise in excess. The company may sound familiar as FMW is basically the blueprint for all Japanese deathmatch companies and often the gateway to deathmatches on the whole in the classic era whilst still being heavily sought after today.
The match itself is a marvel as it is a paradoxical mix of excellent chain wrestling crossed with the brutal environment. There is a deliberate pace set to build tension as each potential throw or shove could cause an explosion. Plus, there is a looming 15-minute countdown until the whole ring explodes. Hayabusa was one of the best wrestlers in the company and Onita was on technical fire, locking up Hayabusa to stop him kicking and flying. Both men finished the match bloodied, cut and powerbombed. Onita managed to retain his Brass Knuckles Title one last time before passing the torch onto Hayabusa as his successor and selling the company into a new era.
On paper, this match sounds like it would be total bat shit insanity. Instead, much like yesterday’s match, it was a slow, deliberately built exercise in tension put on by two master wrestlers. The difference here is there was exploding barbed wire and blood. The match went 18 minutes with Onita trying to protect the referee with his body when the 15-minute mark was reached. The two men stumbled on into the closing stretch and Onita getting his hand raised after two Fire and Thunder Bombs. This match is an absolute classic and a fitting end to an era for FMW.
The match can be watched here but please ignore the XPW commentary unless you want to be driven mad. This is the best quality I have found.
Come back tomorrow for your next deathmatch treat!
Images/video courtesy of TERRIBLEVIOLENCE on YouTube and Wrestling Amino