Maybe it’s me. Perhaps I missed something or lost track of the plot. We are in a pandemic, so yeah, these things happen. But Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley’s feud jumped up several notches seemingly out of nowhere. Here we are a little less than two weeks away from their *ahem* barbed wire deathmatch at Revolution, and it doesn’t feel earned. AEW skipped several story beats in hopes that the ends justify the means.
The type of wrestling match indicates escalation. No holds barred, cage matches, falls count anywhere? All used to illustrate just how cooked the beef between these cats really is. Once we start talking about barbed wire and chains, we’re in “well-done” territory. What makes Omega and Mox so confusing is the evidence of the blood being this bad isn’t really there.
Omega stole the title from Mox, and the latter was off television for a couple weeks. And by a couple of weeks, I mean a month. Meanwhile, Kenny got so wrapped up in Bullet Club drama that Mox felt like an afterthought. When Mox came back, yeah, he was pissed he lost the title, but this is a guy who’s rubbed the wrong way if you look at him funny; he’s always pissed.
Mox, a man with the shortest of short fuses, did nothing to get his title back and quench his thirst for vengeance. He did what he always does: spit a few bars about violence, throw in some irreverence, and drop a couple of cats on their skulls. Rather than make a beeline for Omega and go through the Good Brothers, Don Callis, and anyone with a pulse if need be, he looked like a man biding his time.
This is the same man who dropped Kenny’s head through a glass table just because. But the Cleaner snatching his most prized possession doesn’t even elicit a backstage attack or an attempt to spoil one of Omega’s schemes? Make it make sense.
Putting the two of them semi-together in a couple of six-man tag matches could be a part of the sense-making process. But then KENTA happened, and that became a thing. Juggling and connecting multiple angles is a necessary art in storytelling.
The minute KENTA shows up? That’s your headline. The problem is AEW didn’t fully connect the dots to advance Kenny and Jonny. What we got seemed more concerned with Moxley and KENTA’s NJPW feud than anything happening in AEW. How would we get these two together and see the rematch Jon kinda sorta hinted at wanting?
Instead of thoughtful buildup, we get a last-minute twist with the rematch clause. Even worse, this fact was presented to us by the story’s villain instead of the hero. Why wasn’t Mox banging the drum for this rematch the entire month of February? Or the end of January? Kenny coming out full of piss and vinegar saying this match is his only way to erase Jon from his life reeked of “basketball reasons.”
EXPLODING BARBED WIRE DEATHMATCH! pic.twitter.com/V3rMsCEPMs— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 18, 2021
If something had to be done to get them together, this was the company’s best bad idea. I get it. I don’t like it, but I get it. That said, the champion now looks stupid by bringing up a rematch clause the challenger never bothered to mention. To say nothing of the fact, the same episode of Dynamite saw Kenny more concerned with storytime at an elementary school than dealing with any challenger to his title, let alone the former champion.
There was a way for this to work where everyone looked good. If we saw weeks of Mox butting his nose in Kenny’s business rather than throwing subtle shade on the mic, then Omega reaching a breaking point and demanding this specific match seems fitting. Then we’re telling the story of the bad guy pushed to his limits and willing to do whatever it takes to chop down the hero. And even a rookie wrestling fan knows there are infinitely better ways to use the rematch clause gimmick.
The main event of AEW’s first PPV of the year is just sort of happening. It’s the semicolon of a phrase rather than the exclamation point at the end of an emphatic sentence. That said, Kenny and Jon’s chemistry will carry them through what should be a dope match.
It’s because of that they deserve more than a rushed-together story that does more than a couple leaps of logic to get from one point to another while making neither of them looks like the sharpest tools in the drawer in the process. And that means they’ll have to work that much harder in a match that’s already hard enough. Maybe one day, it’ll all make sense.
How do you feel. Cagesiders? Too soon or right on time?