When All Elite Wrestling added Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc to their roster, it seemed like there could be a more violent and bloody element to the promotion than most other current televised wrestling. (Janela thought there would be.) The addition of Jon Moxley, who used barbed wire in his teaser video for his post-WWE career, made deathmatches or at least extreme hardcore matches in AEW seem more likely. After his match with Dustin at Double or Nothing, Executive Vice President Cody made it clear that the company at least doesn’t have an issue with the use of blood.
Two wrestlers with deathmatch experience, Janela and Moxley, were booked against each other for this Saturday’s Fyter Fest, and have since been cutting promos on each other about who is more extreme and violent. As of an announcement today, the violence of their match won’t be restricted by regular wrestling rules. According to the video below, “Due to both competitors’ propensity for violence and the statements coming from both camps, AEW has decided to strip this match of all rules. This is a non-sanctioned match.”
The announcement video shows Moxley at some kind of supervillain computer set-up watching a promo Janela staged at his own funeral and some of his more extreme career highlights at the same time. It also shows some of Moxley’s gorier moments along with him going into the woods to dig what we can safely guess is a grave.
It’s interesting that in contrast to the death match work these two have done in companies like CZW (and for Janela, GCW and Beyond Wrestling), the kayfabe company of AEW isn’t presented as embracing or encouraging more violence on their show. Janela vs. Moxley is something that can’t be sanctioned by the promotion rather than given a, “hardcore,” “no holds barred,” “extreme rules,” or, “death match,” stipulation. So while it looks like AEW will have a more violent element, this type of match is a special attraction for the company. They’re presenting themselves as a promotion that has death matches rather than a death match promotion.
If you want to see what Moxley and Janela have done in actual deathmatch promotions and guess if they’re going to try to top it at a video game convention this weekend, here are some clips from the 2009 Tournament of Death bout in which Moxley takes a weed wacker to the forehead, followed by Zandig and Janela bumping off of a roof onto light tubes and fire in Tournament of Survival.