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MLW Fusion on Thanksgiving
November 25, 2021

by Samoa Rowe

MLW Fusion

Taped from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our hosts are Joe Dombrowski and Rich Bocchini.

Opera Cup Tournament - Semifinals:
TJP vs. Calvin Tankman

Fans give them a dueling chant, but TJP looks annoyed that Tankman has any support. Tankman controls early, but TJP fires off a dropkick and uppercuts. Tankman reverses a hard Irish whip. Big, one-armed hip toss by Tankman leaves TJP reeling. TJP regroups with a tight side headlock. TJP hits a foolish slap to the face and runs away. Back from commercials, Tankman lights TJP's chest up with chops and tosses him halfway across the ring. Tankman telegraphs a dive, so TJP hides. Alex Kane distracts from the stage, allowing TJP to spray mist into Tankman's eyes. High crossbody by TJP, who goes for an armbar instead of a cover. Tankman recovers, but TJP reverses a slam into the Octopus. TJP dropkicks Tankman out of the ring, where he's ambushed by Kane and a mysterious big man. TJP arrogantly rubs his boot against Tankman's face and gets blindsided with a shoulder tackle. Backbreaker/clothesline combo by Tankman gets a good nearfall. Tankman absorbs a roundhouse kick and nails a pop up swinging back hand. Tornado DDT by TJP, but Tankman catches him with a palm strike on the top rope. TJP flies into Tankman's arms, but pulls off turnbuckle padding to save himself. Kane and his associate send Tankman into the exposed buckles, and TJP finishes with a frog splash at 14:42. This was really long winded for a match built around poorly executed interference and shenanigans, **.
Winner: TJP

Alicia Atout scolds TJP for his cheap victory but he doesn't care.

In case you missed it, MLW recently announced an open door policy for all free agents. Ho Ho Lun will debut at their Texas event.

Alicia Atout interviews WARHORSE, the most interesting man in wrestling (per Pro Wrestling Illustrated). He's annoyed that his plaque misspelled his name by not using all caps. I've made that mistake before too, bro. He's interrupted by KC Navarro, and WARHORSE doesn't appreciate the interruption, and they start brawling, even though KC claims to like WARHORSE.

An irate Calvin Tankman goes a profanity-strewn rant about what just happened. Myron Reed steps in and talks Tankman down.

NZO will debut in 2 weeks. Does he have to?

Video promo with the Von Erich boys, hanging out in their backyard. They're ready to come back to work and deal with "gatekeeper" Cesar Duran and Konnan. They demand a Tag Team Championship match in Dallas, ending a 40 year drought of Von Erichs competing for gold in the city.

Budd Heavy vs. Gnarls Garvin

Garvin is presented as a trailer park bruiser and he smashes Heavy and nails a dropkick. We learn that Garvin has been banned from the Nashville fairgrounds as he splashes across Heavy's back. Garvin's backdrop driver finishes at 0:49. Nice to meet you, Gnarls.
Winner: Gnarls Garvin

Alicia Atout talks to Garvin about his win. He loudly orders Alicia to get him some Coors and takes the mic. Garvin says he's here to chew everyone up and spit them out, and we'll just have to deal with him.

Alicia Atout interviews MLW World Champion Alexander Hammerstone and Richard Holliday about their big win over CONTRA, who might be finished. Holliday says it was natural for the babyfaces to prevail, Hammerstone thinks he's more of a tweener. They argue about when Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving, and a masked man gives them gold watches from Cesar Duran. Holliday eagerly wants them, but Hammerstone knows better and talks him out of it.

Alex Kane hangs out with his new friend and have a good time while Calvin Tankman is restrained from an attack.

Meanwhile, in the Lucha Underground universe, Cesar Duran has gathered the MLW reporters and questions why he needs two of them. Alicia Atout argues that she's been doing this since she was 16 and has a knack for it. The guy reporter argues that he's a warzone reporter in the trenches. Duran's lady friend thinks they should lock the pair in a room with a broken pool stick and see who makes it out. Instead, the reporters are challenged to one up each other with scoops. Duran then discovers that Hammerstone and Holliday rejected his gift, which is sure to have repercussions.

MLW National Openweight Championship (Ladder Match):
Alex Shelley vs. Alex Kane vs. Zenshi vs. Myron Reed vs. ACH

Everyone piles on against Kane at the bell. Kane busts out a double clothesline and reverse double suplex. Kane's large buddy passes a ladder, but ACH prevents any climbing. ACH tries a dive onto Kane but hits Shelley instead. Back from commercials, Reed uses his athleticism to clear the ring, but Zenshi stops him from climbing. Zenshi reaches the belt, Reed tips him over, but Zenshi springboards off the rope. Zenshi nearly dives onto a ladder, so he does a fancy handstand, but ACH and Shelley throw the ladder at him anyway. ACH and Kane fight for control and the crowd chants “you f*cked up” at something I missed. ACH hits a tornado DDT on Kane and then throws Reed into a ladder. Reed puts ACH down with a springboard cutter. Reed stomps a ladder onto Zenshi's fingers! Shelley STO's Reed into a ladder! Reed tries a cutter on Kane, but lands on a ladder! Shelley traps Zenshi inside a ladder for a dropkick. Kane hits a German suplex off of a propped ladder, and then hits another onto it. Reed botches a guillotine leg drop on Kane, and then nails a flying crossbody to outside. Reed, ACH, Shelley, and Zenshi gather under the belt, Zenshi hoists himself upside down to take Reed down with a rana! Kane pulls Shelley down and retrieves the title at 10:30! Kane is a good winner, and he played a good role throughout the match as the strong man who picked his spots well. Overall, this was a fun ladder match despite some sloppy moments, ***.
Winner and new National Openweight Champion: Alex Kane

Calvin Tankman tries to rush Kane but gets restrained and escorted off. Good night for Kane, terrible night for Tankman.

Final Thoughts: Solid hour of wrestling entertainment that did a lot to put over Alex Kane and set up Calvin Tankman as the logical challenger to his newly won championship. I continue to admire the episodic soap opera elements to MLW that don't sacrifice the professional wrestling identity.

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