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MLW Fusion - The Restart
by Samoa Rowe
November 18, 2020
From North Richland Hills, Texas. Our hosts are Rich Bocchini and Jared Saint Laurence.
MLW National Championship:
Alexander Hammerstone © vs. Jacob Dugan
Hammerstone puts the boots to Dugan and finishes with the Nightmare Pendulum at 0:20. With the pesky match out of the way, Hammestone has time to talk.
Winner and still National Champion: Alexander Hammerstone
Hammerstone demands to know why he hasn't received a World title shot despite ranking #1 in the singles division for over a year (including the COVID hiatus).
Brian Pillman Jr.'s music hits but he's nowhere to be seen.
Coming soon: Lio Rush!
Back from commercial, Pillman Jr. is finally ready to compete. I *think* he's he babyface, because he's going against Myron Reed, whose SJW character made him a heel before the hiatus, but with all that happened over the summer, this may no longer be the case.
World Middleweight Championship:
Myron Reed © (with Jordan Oliver) vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
Aggressive start by Pillman, pummels the champion to ringside. Reed's chest protector doesn't seem to be helping, as Pillman drops him onto the apron. In the blink of an eye, Reed sprints into a dive. Pillman blocks a second dive with an uppercut. Pillman is wrestling like a heel as he picks Reed apart. Commentary references Reed's community activism in Louisville and Pillman's controversial social media comments, which validates the updated heel/face dynamics. Reed comes back with a guillotine leg drop and springboard forearm for 2. Reed voluntarily removes his chest protector for a slugfest. They collide on a double crossbody attempt and take a breather. Reed puts together a string of offense, including a slingshot leg drop for 2. Reed misses another springboard, and Pillman reverses into a backslide for a convincing 2 count. Pillman muscles into a spinebuster and springboard crossbody. Stunner by Reed and a springboard cutter. Inverted suplex by Reed but Pillman kicks out! Pillman chops the back of the skull and hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for 2. Reed pops up and hits Captain Crunch to win at 11:19. Decent match thanks to some interesting false finishes, which made up for the mostly awkward chemistry between the competitors, **½.
Winner and still MLW Middleweight Champion: Myron Reed
Reed declares that it's time for everyone to stop sleeping on the young G.O.A.T.
Los Parks promo in their gym, they want to be champions.
Josef Samael rants about how awesome CONTRA and Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu are. MLW may be restarting, but CONTRA never stopped, and we're reminded that they left Davey Boy Smith Jr. in a bloody heap in a stairway.
Konnan speculates that CONTRA has an inside man that allowed them into MLW headquarters to assault Smith.
Video package announcing the return of the Opera Cup Tournament and a recap of Davey Boy Smith Jr. winning the 2019 tourney.
Alicia Atout interviews Smith about getting ready for MLW's restart. Smith says it's been a tough road for him, but he's 100% ready for the biggest fight of his career.
Coming soon: Calvin Tankman! Yes!
Richard Holliday speaks to us consumers from the carribean, where he's been stuck for many months. He's mad about missing out on the restart and blames Alicia Atout.
Kevin Von Erich shares his wisdom with the young Von Erich boys as they train by the pond.
MLW World Heavyweight Championship:
Jacob Fatu © vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
They lock up like two bulls and feel each other out. They stand their ground with double shoulder blocks and Smith fires off a power slam. They slug it out and trade wild headbutts. Smith seems to hurt himself on the last headbutt, and Fatu begins working over his back and midsection. Smith counters a back handspring splash with his knees. Fatu then misses a head of steam and Smith rallies with bruising offense. Saito Suplex by Smith gets 2. Despite the solid work so far, both guys look rusty, hesitating often, and looking generally tentative. Smith's back gives out as he prepares a slam, and Fatu nails a Samoan drop. Fatu's moonsault puts Smith away at 10:22. Strong win by Fatu, who never looked to be in any danger, **½.
Winner and still MLW World Heavyweight Champion: Jacob Fatu
Fatu gloats on the mic and demands to know who's next. He doesn't have to wait long, as Alexander Hammerstone answers the call. Hammerstone is ambushed by several masked figures, including a hoss who chokeslams him onto the apron.
November 25, 2020
Richard Holliday finally managed to reenter the States. He gives Gino a hard time on the street for speaking on the phone in Spanish. This sort of thing is why Gino was fired from the Dynasty in the first place.
Opera Cup - Opening Round
Caribbean Champion Richard Holliday vs. TJP (with Bu Ku Dao)
Slow start, thanks to Holliday being more concerned with showing off his unofficial Caribbean title belt and making a show out of removing his earbuds. Once the bell rings, Holliday proves himself to be a capable technical wrestler, but TJP still breaks a headscissors with a handstand and dropkick to the face. The match restarts with some good chain wrestling. TJP hits a soft shoulder block, and Holliday answer with a stiff block. The feed momentarily cuts to the CONTRA logo, but quickly returns as TJP dropkicks Holliday to ringside for a flying missile dropkick (which may have been intended to be a rana). Despite having been on the receiving end of a high spot, Holliday is back in control, at least until TJP locks on a sharpshooter. TJP snaps the arm hard, but Holliday gets right back up, not selling any effects, and hits a clothesline on the apron. Holliday blocks a draping armbar (though it looked more like TJP botched it) and he nails a slam for 2. Chinlock by Holliday, but TJP blocks a butterfly suplex. Sloppy Sliced Bread by TJP and then the Three Amigos. TJP misses a Swanton Bomb and Holliday akes him pay with a Spinebuster and Market Crash for the win at 10:25. After a good start, this just fell completely off the rails, from both a narrative and execution standpoint, *½.
Winner: Richard Holliday
Kevin Von Erich and his extended family gather together to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving!
Lio Rush wants his MLW debut to be a title match and calls out Myron Reed.
King Mo rants about not being in the Opera Cup from his backyard. Dan Lambert also complains on his behalf from a parked car.
Salina De La Renta accuses the commentary team of trying to get her barred from MLW, and she's going to sue anyone who stands in her way.
Calvin Tankman vs. Robert Martyr
The aptly named Martyr hits an ineffective dropkick, so Tankman shows him how it's done. Tankman hits a nasty backbreaker, more like a hipbreaker, and finishes with the Tankman Driver at 1:14. Exactly what it needed to be.
Winner: Calvin Tankman
Tankman puts over his excitement over joining MLW and dedicates his win to his pregnant wife. He's on a mission to beat everyone in his path until he becomes champion.
Alexander Hammerstone calls in for an interview. He feels cheated after CONTRA injured him last week. He doesn't know where these CONTRA soldiers keep coming from, but he promises to make them pay.
Josef Samael doesn't take Hammerstone's words kindly and threatens him with further pain.
Opera Cup - Opening Round:
Rocky Romero vs. Filthy Tom Lawlor (with Dominic Garrini)
They lock up and go right down to mat as Lawlor throws MMA style blows to the face. Match restarts with some standing chain wrestling, but Lawlor manifes to block an armlock takedown. Romero transitions to rapid shoulder blocks, but Lawlor takes him down with one might block. Dropkick by Romero sets Lawlor up for a flying knee at ringside. Romero applies the Octopus, but Lawlor breaks, but Romero holds on to a head scissors for a takedown. Lawlor no-sells and goes to work on the ankle, but slips while going for a surfboard. Lawlor targets the head with a bulldog and low clothesline. Romero desperately and cleverly counters into a modified crossface. Rope break and they trade vicious chops. Lawler snaps Romero down into a heel hook. Romero breaks with an enziguri but sells a bad ankle injury. Lawlor counters into a choke and exploder suplex. Romero answers with a tornado DDT, and then drapes Lawlor on the second rope for a double stomp. Lawler appears to be in big trouble as Romero goes for an armbar, but Lawlor blocks, forcing Romero to settle for a running Sliced Bread for 2. Romero's momentum is wrecked by Lawlor's uranage. They light each other up with palm strikes, and Romero dropkicks the knee. Lawlor counters into a Rear Naked Choke and rolls Romero's shoulders down for the pinfall at 17:43! Some people will like this more than I did, but I felt every minute of this 17 minute drag on, despite both guys putting forth a tremendous effort, **.
Winner: Tom Lawlor
Lawlor claims everyone at MLW is too scared to give him a proper interview and declares himself to be the next Opera Cup Champion.
Final Thoughts: I'm really glad MLW is back, their absence over this pandemic era felt heavy. Unfortunately, these first two shows back were plagued by ring rust and totally unremarkable matches. The good news is that this promotion feels alive thanks to all the quick, concise interviews and video packages, and there is a solid foundation being set for emerging feuds and fresh talent. I'm going to call these two episodes a mild Thumbs Down because I had anticipated MLW's return for so many months, but I do recommend that you keep an eye on this fed.
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