10/19 MLW Fusion TV Report: Schiavone and Striker call action between Shane Strickland and Tom Lawler, plus Sammy Guevara, Sami Callahan, Jimmy Havoc, Samoan Island Tribe

By Kris Karcher, PWTorch contributor

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OCT. 19, 2018

Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Matt Striker

The MLW intro aired. 

They aired a video package highlighting tonight’s main event between Shane Strickland and Tom Lawler. Strickland narrated the video and said that people shouldn’t forget who runs MLW. 

The Fusion intro played. 

Tony Schiavone and Matt Striker hyped the main event matchup. 

(1) Hijo De La Park (w/ Salina De La Renta) vs. Sammy Guevara 

During Guevara’s entrance, they showed a video from a few months ago where La Renta effectively fired Guevara via cell phone while relaxing in a Jacuzzi. I’m very happy to have Striker back on commentary btw. Guevara went to shake parks hand but got an elbow for his troubles. Park suicide dove onto Guevara on the floor. Ten seconds later Guevara corkscrew dove onto Park on the outside. Park hit a cross body from the top rope and then a hurricanrana. Guevara hit a dropkick then went up top for a cross-body. They had a picture in picture promo advertising some of the matches next week including Callihan vs. Havoc and PCO vs. LA Park. Park hit a moonsualt off the turnbuckle onto Guevara on the outside. Guevara went for a shooting star press but Park rolled out of the way and Guevara landed on his feet. Guevara went for two more standing flips hitting the second one. Park hit Guevara with a Spanish fly for a two count. Park reigned down kicks to the face of Guevara. Guevara fought back and hit a suicide dive onto park outside the ring. He rolled park back into the ring and climbed to the top rope. Park rolled out of the way of Guevara’s attempted front flip splash and hit a huge piledriver for the win. 

WINNER: Hijo de La Park 

(Karcher’s Analysis: Short match. Some cool spots but outside of telling any story in the match these moves didn’t have much of an emotional impact. I like both these men and think they both deserve a spot on the roster and TV time but this wasn’t anything to write home about. I wouldn’t mind seeing another longer match between the two just to see if they could punch it into another gear if given the chance.) 

Kaci Lennox was backstage with Tom Lawler. Lennox asked Lawler what he thinks about his upcoming match. Later said the match will determine who will be the ace of MLW and everyone wants to know the answer. he said he already knows the answer. He said you know what you are going to get out of Tom Lawler but he said its a mystery what Shane Strickland you are going to get. They could get the Strickland that ran through the first title tournament or the one who couldn’t even make it into the War Games match. 

They aired a small video package hyping the premiere of Rush coming to MLW soon. 

Konnan was backstage cutting a promo. He started to speak in Spanish and then mentioned Salina trying to call ICE on the Lucha Bros. (I’m not sure if they are going to air that footage since it did not get a good reaction live but he’s referencing a storyline where La Renta called ICE agents on both Pentagon and Rey Fenix.) Konnan said he has dealt with crooked people like La Renta and then he talked about the upcoming tag team championship match November 8th and how the Lucha Bros were going to be on point like a decimal. 

(2) Samoan Island Tribe (Lance Anoa’i & Samu) vs. Smash ‘n’ Dash Connection (Kotto Brazil & Barrington Hughes) 

This should be… interesting? The Samoan Island Tribe jumped Smash n Dash before the bell sending Hughes out onto the floor. Anoa’i and Brazil become the first legal men. Brazil hits a tilt-a-whirl head scissor and then a lung blower for a two count. Anoa’i grabbed Brazil’s hair and hit a back body drop to take over offense. Anoa’i tug in Samu and the two double teamed Brazil. Samu choked Brazil in the corner. Samu hit a bit clothesline on Brazil and tug in Anoa’i. Anoa’i spit on Hughes on the apron. Anoa’i whipped Brazil into the corner but Brazil went up and over grabbing Anoa’i’s head with his legs, and then sending him down into the corner with his knees on his back. That was a cool looking move. Brazil then hit a German release suplex and tried to tag in Hughes but Anoa’i cut him off with a fireman carry drop. That got Anoa’i a two count. Anoa’i started repeatedly super kicking Hughes who was just standing on the apron. Higher was groggy hanging in between the ropes. Brazil tried to repeat the move he did a few moments ago but Anoa’i caught him with a kick. Anoa’i tug in Samu and the two hit a double team face plant. Anoa’i then climbed on top of Samu’s shoulders and attempted to a splash onto Brazil but Brazil rolled out of the way and tug in Hughes. Hughes took out Anoa’i and Samu with punches and corner splashes. He smashed both men’s heads together but they just head butted him back. Brazil then came flying off the top rope taking out the Samoan Island Tribe. Brazil hit a body splash on Anoa’i in the corner and then Brazil and Hughes threw their opponents into each other. Brazil used Hughes chest to run up and delivered a cutter to Anoa’i and Hughes followed up with a standing body splash for the win. 

WINNER: Smash n Dash Connection 

(Karcher’s Analysis: Not a bad little tag match. I like the strategy of isolating Brazil for the majority of the match by any means necessary. Even going to far as to just blatantly super kicking Hughes when he was the legal man and was just on the apron. It was a fun little match and gave a lot of time to Brazil to shine. Of course, he was on defense for much of the match but it was good to see him pick up a win.) 

They previewed next weeks Fright Night episode again. 

Sami Callihan was backstage cutting a promo. He said he usually yells and screams to get his point across but right now he is going to yell. He talked solemnly about how he used to be friends with Havoc. He said he realized Havoc was a phony. He said he was lying about being the most violent professional wrestler because he himself is the most violent wrestler. He said only one man inlacing out of fright night and that is going to be him. 

They aired a brief video hyping Stokley Hathaway coming to MLW. 

Kaci Lennox was backstage with Shane Strickland. Strickland said he is confident. He said he feels like a winner and he’s been preaching that since day one. He said he is going to prove he is still the franchise player in MLW. He said he’s bled for this company and Lawler has not. He said this is still Swerve’s house. 

They previewed the Fightland card coming up on November 8th. 

Salina de La Renta was backstage. She responded to Konnan. She congratulated him on getting The Lucha Bros back to America. She asked him if he has been playing with magic. She said she was going to read the future. She said she sees a very bright future for her men. She then dressed The Lucha Bros directly in Spanish. 

They showed Lawler warming up for his match with Simon Gotch. Gotch seemed to be asking Lawler about details regarding something Lawler wasn’t ready to talk about yet. He said they need to focus on Strickland tonight. 

They went backstage to Jimmy Havoc standing on a staircase. Havoc asked what match he was going to have? He ran through some of the options it could be. He said it doesn’t matter however because it will always be in his favor because it’s going to be Havoc and Callihan one on one. He said he is going to make New York run red with Callihan’s blood. 

They showed the tale of the tape for the Strickland and Lawler. 

(3) Shane Strickland vs. Tom Lawler 

Strickland got new music. I enjoyed his last song. Strickland wasn’t shaking any fans hands and seemed to give off a very heelish vibe. Did he turn heel? Low Ki popped in on commentary and said Strickland is mistaken if he thinks it’s his house because he’s not the champ. Both men spent some time feeling each other out to start and exchanged a bit of trash talking. They went back and forth with some chain wrestling neither man really gaining an advantage. Lawler went to the apron and in the middle of a sequence Lawler lost his footing and fell down. Strickland jumped onto the apron and kicked Lawler’s arm hard and then slammed that arm into the railing, the apron and then the turnbuckle. Lawler strikes back with some chops but then Strickland ducked a clothesline and Lawler hit the post again. Strickland rolled Lawler back into the ring and began to work over his arm in the ring. Strickland stopped on Lawler’s elbow. Strickland tried to lock in an armor but Lawler was able to prevent the submission attempt. Low Ki was actually doing a great job on commentary. He was very insightful as to the strategy and the way both wrestlers could improve the moves they were doing by adding leverage or something. Strickland had both Lawler’s arms pinned behind his back but Lawler stood up and carried Strickland over to the ropes and used his teeth to grab the ropes for the break. Strickland hit a kick to the chest of a prone Lawler. Strickland was going heavy on the trash talk telling Lawler he’s not ready to be the franchise player. Lawler countered by grabbing Strickland’s foot but Strickland up-kicked Lawler’s bad arm regaining the upper hand. Strickland hit a cutter for a two count. Strickland looked to be getting frustrated. Strickland climbed to the top rope and Lawler had enough time to recoup and start attacking Strickland on the top. Lawler hit an odd-looking spinning kick move where he ended up almost tangled up in the roped. Lawler then superplexed Strickland and rolled through to a front chancery. Lawler cranked down on the submission and Strickland started to fade but then powered out of the move by deadlifting Lawler into a modified brainbuster suplex. Both men were down in the center of the ring. The ref made it to the count of 7. Both men exchanged some chops from their knees then stood and continued to chop each other. Strickland grabbed and torqued Lawler’s injured arm. Lawler fought back with some rough knee lifts and followed that up with a nice cross body slam into a pin for the two. Strickland hit two big jumping knees. While Strickland was busy mouthing off to the fans Lawler recovered enough to deliver a one-handed german suplex, and then followed that up with a spinning fireman’s carry drop. Lawler applied a rear naked choke onto Strickland but the ref was distracted by Salina de La Renta coming to ringside. With the ref still distracted Low Ki ran into the ring and took out Lawler. Strickland hit a sliding dropkick on Lawler on the outside. Strickland then dropped Lawler up on the guardrail and hit a stomp to the back. Strickland rolled Lawler into the ring and went to the top rope. Strickland hit a double stomp to the chest for a very near fall. Strickland then snapped Lawler’s arm back. Low Ki was flipping out ringside that Strickland hadn’t won yet. Strickland lifted Lawler onto his back, but Lawler slipped down and tried to apply a rear naked choke. Lawler’s injured arm prevented him from applying the move properly but he was able to trap one of Strickland’s arms and locked in a modified one arm version of the choke, going to far as to fight his wrist tape for leverage. Strickland tapped out. 

WINNER: Tom Lawler 

(Karcher’s Analysis: Wow that was a really good match. They told some really compelling stories inside the ring with Strickland having a bit of an attitude having his position in MLW doubted. Then you had Lawler’s arm injury throughout the match which was one of the best injury angles I’ve seen in a match in a while. I loved how Lawler was able to figure out a way to apply his submission even with the injury to the arm. Lawler is really coming along as a babyface and the crowd was eating him up. The Low Ki interference could have come off as cheesy but it really worked well and got the crowd super engaged in the finish of the match. No one wanted to see Strickland pick up the win like that. This was, as usual, another good main event on Fusion.) 

Lennox interviewed Lawler on the ramp after the match. She asked when he was planning on cashing in his title shot. Lawler said Low Ki was very good at running away from him. Lawler then said he is going to cash in in February at MLW’s Super Fight. 

FINAL THOUGHTS: Good episode. We got two decent matches to fill TV time and another outstanding main event. I feel like Fusion is really starting to book in a rhythm now. It might be nice to change it up every now and then and give us a longer match with great in-ring work to open the show but hey this is working for me so I can’t complain too hard. I’m not sure why they going with the Strickland title fight next month when Lawler won this match this week and is due a title shot from way back at Battle Riot. I’m not saying Low Ki vs. Strickland isn’t going to be a good match, but Lawler is hot right now and with the dynamic just drastically changing during that match I’m not sure how many people are even going to be rooting for Strickland in that match. It’s a good thing Low Ki is such a natural heat magnet and will probably be able to pull something off but I think the money match right now is Low Ki vs. Lawler. Perhaps they are dragging that out so Low Ki’s reign can be longer. I’m calling it right now, though: Lawler is going to be the next champ. That’s it for this week folks. Next week is Jimmy Havoc vs. Sami Callihan in a spin the wheel match with all kind of crazy possibilities. Should be fun. I’m Kris Karcher signing off, be sure to check back here for my MLW Fusion report, exclusively on PWTorch.com.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 10/12 MLW Fusion Report: Teddy Hart vs. Rich Swann, plus Brian Pillman Jr., Jimmy Yuta, Davey Boy Smith Jr., ACH, El Hijo De La Park




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