On May 5, 1993, at Kawasaki Stadium, the first-ever no-rope exploding barbed wire time bomb Deathmatch took place. The match would pit teacher versus student, with Atsushi Onita facing Terry Funk. As the camera would focus on the ring, the setup was fierce. With barbed wires strung along in place of ring ropes, we see both combatants in their respective dressing rooms going over the events of this match.
What was to come? With wrestling in the west taking a very different look and feel, wrestling in the east was pushing the envelope, particularly FMW (Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling).
The first time Terry Funk came to FMW I wanted to show him our success wasn’t about money. I wanted him to hear from a lot of people that Onita is a success. – Atsushi Onita
Terry Funk would be the first man to come out, much to the applause of those in attendance. Funk would gingerly slide under the bottom rope (barbed wire) toss his ring entrance gear to the audience as he awaited his opponent. At that point, the familiar sound of Joan Jett & The Blackhearts version of The Troggs classic – Wild Thing would lead to FMW’s leader Atsushi Onita. From a career that would initially have one direction to the seeming transition into deathmatch wrestling, Onita was determined to prove himself to not only the Japanese audience but to Terry Funk.Both men would stand in the ring as they were introduced. The referee dressed in attire that would appear to protect him from any harm would check both men before the match. Funk and Onita would circle each other as the Hardcore Icon would turn to the crowd, acknowledging his support. The two men would engage in a collar and elbow lock up in an attempt to lean the other against the barbed wire ropes.
No-Rope Exploding Barbed Wire Time Bomb Deathmatch
Funk would then break the hold with a pair of elbows to the top of Onita’s head, followed by a chop and a couple of right jabs. This leads to Onita falling back into the barbed wire ropes. Terry would continue to work over Onita with fists to his head and would try and drag him to the ropes once again. Funk would proceed to piledriver the already bloody Onita.
Terry would then whip Onita once again into the ring ropes leading to an explosion being triggered once again. The white shirt of Onita was becoming shredded at this point as the blood from his back would now stain it.
As Funk would lift Onita’s head in hopes of dragging him to the ropes, but it was met with resistance. Onita then is able to counter a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex. Funk headbutts Onita quickly and once again attempts to maintain control. But it is Onita that causes Funk to hit the ropes, this time triggering an explosion. A nearly unresponsive Terry Funk is then hit with a DDT at the hands of Onita. Funk is now bloodied as he kicks out of a count of two.Both men struggle to regain their senses as the loss of blood preoccupied both men. Onita would then hit Funk with several headbutts in hopes of him falling into the ropes. However, it is Onita that falls into the ropes triggering the fourth explosion as he falls out of the ring. Funk appears as though he doesn’t have his senses about him and Onita picks up on this. While Terry swings fiercely at Onita, it is then when the clock signaling the timer to which the ring would detonate.
A loud piercing siren could be heard overhead while a clock showed the time remaining before it was set to detonate. Funk and Onita would trade headbutts with the man from the double-cross ranch, appearing to get the worst of the exchange. As the seconds passed by, anticipation filled the air. It was at this point when Funk applied his spinning toe hold. Onita then would kick Funk off of him as he would hit the ropes leading to a fifth explosion taking place upon hitting the barbed wire ropes.
No-Rope Exploding Barbed Wire Time Bomb Deathmatch
Onita would capitalize on this by hitting a DDT on Funk and making the cover for the three count and the win. However, that didn’t stop the clock as 2:40 remained, leading to the rings’ detonation. Funk would then proceed to choke Onita with wrist tape in the middle of the ring. The ring bell would continue to ring, and Funk would knock out the referee at this point.
Onita would then hit a DDT and a powerbomb on Funk as the clock continued to count down. The fear of the ring exploding, the countless ring bells, and siren wouldn’t stop these men from battering one another. However, as the clock reached 0:30 seconds, Onita proceeded to climb out of the ring, leaving Funk inside. But that fear that something could happen to Funk, who laid motionless in the ring, led Onita to scramble back in.
Onita would slap Funk attempting to wake him as the final second struck. In fear that any harm would come to Terry Funk, Atsushi Onita would cover him at the last possible moment. At that point, a massive explosion engulfed the ring, filling it with smoke. As the smoke began to settle, we could see a tormented Onita lift up Funk as the two men were in the center of the ring.
It was a stadium full. About 30, 40 thousand and they don’t charge 0.50 cents a ticket over there either. There are the idiots in the front row people. We’re going to have an exploding ring match here tonight. Well, I want a front-row ticket! Bulls**t! I just went out to the damn ring. I’m a glutton for a crowd being into a match. I was just out there ready to just capture that crowd. And we did.
– Terry Funk.
Onita and Funk would embrace as the audience would show their appreciation of what they had witnessed. Before the two men left, Onita would pick up the microphone and address those in attendance. Wild Thing could then be heard once again as the two men would head back up the aisle, battered, beaten, bloodied, and yet likely closer than ever.
Your whole body feels the people’s cheers. Standing in front of fifty thousand spectators. I felt like, I am God.
– Atsushi Onita
Regardless, of the technical prowess that the match did or did not have it left its mark. The sheer spectacle that took place in bringing in Onita’s American hero to FMW. While the explosions themselves captured the attention of the audience it was its climax and selfless act of Onita attempting to shield his hero. A match and a moment still talked about to this day.
All quotes are taken from Dark Side of the Ring – Blood and Wire: Onita’s FMW episode
To see the match in its entirety please click on the video below.