I think everyone who watched Revolution live will remember the confusion, disappointment, but also the hilarity of that first minute following the botched pyro for a long time, especially since the rest of the PPV was absolutely amazing. I instantly hopped online to join in the memes and discourse on Twitter like any other wrestling fan, but then came the question: how is AEW going to save face on this? How are they going to attempt to patch up this terrible botch? Let’s dig into what exactly they did.
The initial explanation for the botch was simple: a week ago in a segment on Dynamite, they had shown Kenny working on the ring himself. A couple days before the PPV, Kenny had also tweeted out his plans for the ring drawn up which were not the most technical to say the least. After the PPV, Moxley simply said “Kenny…can’t make an exploding ring worth a sh*t”. A mildly irritated Tony Khan went on to repeat this talking point during the media scrum after the PPV. It seemed like a plausible explanation. I am even a bit suspicious that AEW was worried some of the pyro wouldn’t go off properly and seeded the ‘Kenny built it’ angle just in case something went wrong.
It was at least something. This narrative was shared throughout Twitter and reinforced on Dynamite. It was an explanation for the ring not going off and an explanation for why Eddie sold when absolutely nothing happened. It fixed the seeming plot hole of the ring but that was it. If the CinemaSins guy did wrestling, it would have been enough to shut him up, but fixing a plot hole doesn’t automatically make something narratively satisfying. The “Kenny built it” angle was enough to plug that hole, but not enough to restore a satisfying conclusion to the match. You can patch a hole in a balloon, but that doesn’t change the fact all the air isn’t in there anymore.
I figured that there was not much else they could do, they did what they could and it’s time to move on. And then at the end of the first hour of March 10th’s Dynamite, Kenny came into the ring and revitalized the entire thing.
The segment began with Don and Kenny acknowledging the botch but not necessarily taking responsibility for it. Don refused to confirm or deny if they were responsible, to which Kenny turns to the camera and says “who knows” with a slight knowing smile to the audience. At this point, there is a sense that perhaps what is being discussed is not entirely within kayfabe, the point of this is to hint to fans that this may not necessarily be in character.
With this in mind, Don continues, saying he and Kenny enjoyed taking away something the fans were looking forward to. Again, this could easily be seen as applying in and outside of kayfabe. The lackluster pyro was something fans were extremely upset about (and honestly rightfully so). More so, it was something that the actual AEW company (outside of kayfabe) did that the fans were upset about, thus making what Kenny said a lot more personal than simply insulting the local sports team.
Don also positions himself in direct opposition to not just the fans, but Tony Khan and AEW itself trying to pull the heat onto them and away from the company. Again, working well with the hint of a fourth wall break here allows the audience to take that actual disappointment and direct it toward a kayfabe personality rather than the real company of AEW. Instead of breaking the fourth wall, think of it more as opening a portal and dragging the audience through it for them to direct their emotions at the story once again and away from the real life side of the botch.
What cinches all this, though, is when Don and Kenny are mocking Eddie for overselling “some sparklers”. All of this drives the meta nature of the scene, as this is exactly what fans had been saying online. Kenny even makes a joke about Eddie, saying “he never breaks character, he’s still looking like he wants to hit me”.
Everything that has been said to this point could be applied both to the character of Kenny and the actual person — it lets you choose which one you want. But this joke about Eddie never breaking character really pushes it over the edge as Kenny finally opens up that portal and drags the audience through just like Nancy Thompson dragging Freddy Krueger through to the real world. Everything about this segment is them addressing a shoot problem by in the most shoot way they can, and it works. It absolutely works.
This is the much needed other half of the explanation. The excuse that Kenny just failed at making the ring is a reasonable explanation in kayfabe for what happened, and they couldn’t have completely patched it up without that explanation. They needed to fix the more technical part of storytelling.
Meanwhile, Kenny’s segment wasn’t an explanation in the least. Instead, it gives the audience something in kayfabe to direct their frustration at. It couldn’t have done that if it hadn’t broken the fourth wall, if it hadn’t opened that portal to drag the audience through. What Moxley and Eddie’s segment did was patch the balloon. What Kenny did was fill it with air again. These segments wouldn’t have done much on their own — you needed both.
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