During his Tues., July 6 appearance on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz podcast to promote AEW Dynamite in Miami (and talk Jacksonville Jaguars football), Tony Khan was asked about the dud ending to Revolution’s main event - the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch between Kenny Omega & Jon Moxley.
As you’ll no doubt recall, the explosion turned out to be one bang, a little smoke, and four sparklers on the ring posts. Eddie Kingston ran in to “save” Mox, then was the only one to sell the “explosion”. All involved played it off well in kayfabe, but Khan drew criticism - including from this writer - for acting as if everything had gone to play in his post-show comments.
After praising AEW’s overall efforts during the pandemic, Stu brought up the disappointing end of Revolution. Here’s what TK had to say:
“I’ll never let the non-wrestling people - I was trying to be too safe, and I let the professionals handle the stuff, and they’re guys who don’t understand wrestling. They’re professional pyrotechnic guys. They totally - can I say... can I swear on the show? They totally shit the bed, these guys. I ended up not paying them. It was like $100,000 that they ended up refunding me for all the expense of the match. So I didn’t end up paying for the barbed wire deathmatch, which I shouldn’t’ve. Because these guys screwed up royally. We put together something great, Kenny and Jon worked their asses off, and all they had to do was set off the final explosion.
“And again, this is because we used professional pyrotechnic people who are supposed to know - and the next time we do this, and I will do it again, because the match drew. Everything Jon and Kenny did up to that point was outstanding, it wasn’t their fault the thing didn’t go off.
“So anyway, long story short, that was a long time ago. We’ve bounced back since then. But what I’m really proud of is basically since that, that was three months ago, everything has been pretty perfect since then. Things really couldn’t have gone much better. And what I was really grateful for is the next PPV event was up and did a big number, up from last year... and it was really important to me to come back and give the fans a PPV that was start to finish great. Because where you get in trouble in the wrestling business is not if you make one mistake, it’s if you make a consistent pattern of making these mistakes. If you make a habit of it, if you do a string of bad shows, that’s where you’re gonna screw yourself in wrestling.”
Whatever you think of Khan throwing the pyro guys under the bus*, this is the kind of answer many of us would have liked from him back in March. I guess he didn’t want to step on the “Kenny’s bad at bomb-building”/”Eddie had a PTSD episode” storyline explanation. But as was pointed out at the time, AEW’s President has broken kayfabe in his comments to the post-show pressers before. Not doing so after Revolution felt a tad insulting, but better late than never.
Where Khan is right, and where fears of critics like myself were unfounded, is that the dud ending hasn’t hurt AEW’s business. Maybe they would be doing even better numbers now if the pyro guys hadn’t “shit the bed” - who knows. But after Revolution didn’t deliver the promised big kaboom, fans don’t seem to have turned away from the product - at least not many of them.
And it sounds like we’ll get a chance to see if they can get it right on the second try Tony’s promising... this time without any of those pesky “professionals” to screw it up*.
* Do you need to be a wrestling person to know what an explosion looks like?