7/20 MLW FUSION TV REPORT: Strickland defends MLW Title against Low Ki, gruesome hardcore match with Tom Lawler vs. Jimmy Havoc

By Kris Karcher, PWTorch contributor


JULY 20th, 2018

Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Rich Bocchini

-MLW intro played.

– A promo aired recapping Shane Strickland’s journey over the last few months. They showed highlights of him winning the championship. They showed highlights of him being attacked by Brody King and Pentagon Jr. They showed highlights of his match with King and then highlights of Low Ki attacking after the match. They showed Low Ki’s multiple attacks on Strickland the last few weeks and had Low Ki Narrate saying he was going to burn down Swerve’s House.

-The Fusion intro video played.

-Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini introduced the show. Schiavone said Strickland would be defending the title tonight against Low Ki. Bocchini also said that tonight Kimmy Havoc would go one on one with Filthy Tom Lawler.

(1) Kiki Roberts vs. Kahuna Khan

This was being called a prospects match by the announcers. Roberts looked very unimpressed with the bugger Kahuna Khan. Khan attempted to shake hands with Roberts but just as he looked like he might the lights went off. Red lights started flashing and Su Young & Zeda Zhang came down to the ring and beat the crap out of both contestants.


(Karcher’s Comments: These women must have something against prospects. I’d like to see one of them wrestle a match. So far we have only gotten one woman’s match here on Fusion. Quit teasing us with these interferences and start building up Young and Zhang as threats in the ring. Follow through on your promise to be more sports-like. That being said I did like the aesthetics of the attack. The lights are a cool effect. Schiavone referred to the pair as the Kodokushi Death Squad which apparently means lonely death. Scary.)

– The Dirty Blondes and Mike Parrow where shown walking backstage. The Dirty Blondes were hyping up Parrow. They ran into Fred Yehi and teased him about his mask. As things looked like they might escalate Tom Lawler and Simon Gotch came in through the back door and the Stud Staple backed off. Lawler told Yehi that Team Filthy has his back. He offered him a team filthy shirt and the three all shook hands. Gotch asked Yehi if he could have his mask and Yehi awkwardly handed it over. That was odd. So I guess Yehi is on Team Filthy now. That’s a pretty big addition in my eyes.


– Back from break, they showed footage from earlier in the day of Shane Strickland arriving.

– A video package aired recapping the confrontations between Lawler and Havoc. The package was well done mixing footage of havoc in brutal hardcore matches with the promos from the last few weeks. They did a good job of making me more excited for this match.

(2) Tom Lawler vs. Jimmy Havoc – Grudge Fight/No DQ

They really tried to play up the attack from a month ago where Havoc was thrown into the ditch. It was a little much for such a small attack but they said he punctured a spleen and broke three ribs. Lawler took his time stripping off his gear down to his tights. Havoc hit a suicide dive to the outside. He set Lawler on a chair and then faked a dive into Lawler and instead poked Lawler in the eye. The two brawled back into the bar area. Havoc hit Lawler with a piece of a wall. Havoc took out a cheese grater but Lawler attacked him before he could use it and Lawler took the grater and used it on Havoc. Havoc started bleeding and Lawler licked the grater. Havoc gouged Lawler in the eyes. Lawler found a staple gun and used it on Havoc. Lawler sat Havoc in a chair and repeatedly kicked him in the chest. Lawler then stapled a piece of paper to Havoc’s head. Schiavone said he is really digging this. Back in the ring Havoc hit Lawler in the groin with the grater. Havoc brought some chairs into the ring. Lawler release german suplexed Havoc onto the pile of chairs. Lawler set up a wooden board in the corner. Havoc escaped a choke hold by giving Lawler a paper cut between his fingers. He did it a second time and then picked up a bag of lemons and squeezed them onto Lawler’s cuts. Havoc tried to use a pizza cutter on Lawler’s head but Lawler fought back. Lawler ended up using the cutter on Havoc’s arm. Bocchini screamed Mamma Mia. Someone should tell Ranallo. Lawler picked up Havoc and dropped him on a setup chair. Havoc hit a short discus clothesline out of nowhere for the three.

WINNER: Jimmy Havoc

(Karcher’s Comments: That finish fell extremely flat. The fans were actually into the match but the abrupt ending took the wind out of the crowd quickly. Something might have been wrong with the cut on Havoc’s arm. It might have been too deep it was hard to tell on TV but he got out of there pretty quickly and a number of people came out to help him wrap up his arm. That match had okay hardcore stuff but also had some unnecessary risks. The pizza cutter thing just isn’t worth the pop if it really did go to deep. This hardcore stuff isn’t really my thing so I had a hard time getting into the match but I suppose if you like this sort of thing there might have been a spot or two that were worth seeing.)

– The announcers recapped the attack on Shane Strickland last week that none had taken responsibility for. They then went to a video of Sami Callihan doing just that. Chilean said he has a dirty secret. He said it was him who attack Strickland. He said he is the person who made him who he is today. He said he took him under his wing. He said he stabbed him in the back for the money. He said he doesn’t want friends he wants to get paid now. He said Strickland isn’t the same person he used to be. He said he let the fans get in his head. He said Strickland is not on his level and he never will be because he will take him out before he reaches his level. He said he loves him like a brother but this is bigger than family. He did the thumbs up, thumbs down thing. Wow, this was all over the place.

– They went backstage with Barrington Hughes and Kotto Brazil. Brazil said he is tired of Callihan and the Death Squad attacking everybody. Hughes and Brazil started to bicker and Strickland appeared and told the tow that he knows exactly what to do about Callihan and the Death Squad.

– Bocchini previewed what we would see at the Battle Riot. He recapped the rules again which are as follows. A new wrestler enters every 60 seconds. Eliminations are by pinfall, submission, or by throwing your opponent over the top rope. There are no disqualifications. Winner gets a world title shot anytime anywhere. He said we would also see a new Middleweight champion crowned.

– They said coming up next we would see Low Ki take on Shane Strickland for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. They showed Low Ki warming up and Salina de La Renta showed up with a suitcase and said she has 60,000 ways of reminding him of his goal tonight. Low Ki said he gets the job done ten out of ten times.

– Bocchini said Havoc was taken to the emergency room.


(3) Shane Strickland (c) vs. Low Ki – MLW World Heavyweight Championship

Low Ki was chomping at the bit to get the match started. The two exchanged words in the center of the ring and then got into a slap fest. Strickland got the better of the early exchanges. Low Ki fought back with some hard chops and punches. Low Ki stood on Strickland’s through in the corner and then hit some hard body kicks. Bocchini commented on how quiet the crowd was claiming they were hushed by Low Ki’s domination of Strickland. Probably best to not point that out. Some dueling “Let’s go Low Ki” “Low Ki sucks” chants broke out. A chant for “Swerve” started but Low Ki quickly stifled that with some more kicks. Low Ki chocked Strickland from behind thought the ropes and then hit what I believe was a springboard head kick but the camera cut to de La Renta and missed it. Low Ki took too much time loosening his tie and pandering to the crowd and Strickland started to fire up and battle back. Strickland hit ahead but and Low Ki went down. Low Ki hit a big role through double stomp to the ribs for a two count. A loud “Who’s house?” “Swerves House” chant broke out but dyed quickly as Low Ki continued his offense. Strickland flipped Low Ki out to the floor. Strickland hit a very impressive handspring over the top rope into a head scissors takedown onto Low Ki on the floor. It lost a bit of its momentum at the end though. The crowd didn’t even react. Back inside the ring, the two brawled for a bit. Strickland started to remove Low Ki’s shirt and tie essentially helping him. Strickland hit a half and half overhead suplex and got a two count. Strickland grabbed Low Ki but the knows and attempted to powerbomb him but Low Ki countered out and catapulted onto the turnbuckle and bounced off it to double stomp Strickland’s ribs. Low Ki went for the cover and got a two count. Strickland went for a roll through cutter but Low Ki reversed. Strickland was able to go for it again and this time he hit it. he covered for a two. Strickland went to the top rope and attempted a swerve stomp but missed. Low Ki hit a blow to the back of the head and then hit his switchblade kick and scored the pinfall.

WINNER: Low Ki to capture the MLW World Heavyweight Championship.

(Karcher’s Comments: Wow, a new champion. The first title change on Fusion. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about Strickland’s run ending so soon. Perhaps he will just win it back right away we really haven’t seen much of MLW’s booking to know how they treat their top championship. The match itself was average. Nothing special. Your standard match no real big spots or intense storytelling. I would be shocked by the finish had they not spoiled the ending on sisal media earlier in the week. Just a head up to MLW most people don’t like to have that spoiled for them. And if your one of those people that don’t, I suggest you be cautious about following MLW on social media. Also, I hate to say it but the fans were awful during this match. They were for whatever reason not into it. The guys in the ring didn’t really give them much to be excited about but you would think with the belt being on the line that there would have been a little more excitement. The announcers also shouldn’t point out the lack of crowd noise like they did twice here. They tried to claim it was a crowd similar to a Japanese crowd. You’re just drawing unnecessary attention to it at that point.)

As Low Ki stood in the ring with the title over his shoulder and de La Renta by his side the crowd booed and chanted Low Ki sucks. La Renta handed Low Ki his briefcase filled with money and Low Ki stood in the center of the ring and said they have the money and the power.

– Bocchini hyped the two-hour broadcast featuring the Battle Riot that will air next week on Fusion.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Interesting show. We got more Sue Young and Zeda Zhang hype. We had a gruesome hardcore match. Finally, we had a long but underwhelming Heavyweight Title match where the belt changed hands. I’d say tonight was more interesting then it was entertaining. I was enjoying Strickland’s babyface run with the belt. Hopefully, they can tell a compelling storyline going forward with Strickland attempting to avenge his loss or even someone else stepping up to the main event scene. Next week should be a really fun show with the 2-hour broadcast and the Battle Riot. That’s it for this week. Be sure to check back right here next week for my MLW Fusion Report here on PWTorch.com.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 7/13 MLW Fusion TV Report: “Filthy” Tom Lawlor vs. Jake Hager (f/k/a Jack Swagger), plus Joey Janela, Barrington Hughes, Stud Stable hosted by Schiavone and Bocchini

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