1/18 MLW Fusion TV Report: Shane Strickland vs. Rush, Hart Foundation vs. Dirty Blondes (Brian Pillman Jr. & Davey Boy Smith Jr.), Gringo Loco vs. Martinez

By Kris Karcher, PWTorch contributor



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MLW FUSION – EPISODE 40
JANUARY 18, 2019
TAPED IN MIAMI, FLA
AIRED ON BE-IN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY KRIS KARCHER, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT

Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Ruch Boccini 

The show opened cold with Shane Strickland in the ring with a microphone. Schiavone said he had no idea what was going on. Strickland said he hates Miami almost as much as he hates all the fans. He said he is only there because MLW Paid him a lot of money. He began to say he was the gold standard of wrestling but was interrupted by Rush’s entrance music. 

Rush came down to the ring, grabbed the mic from Strickland and said how about him, then said something in Spanish I can’t translate. When Rush addressed the crowd Strickland jumped him from behind. and the bell rang. 

(1) Shane Strickland vs. Rush 

Strickland pounded away at Rush then tossed him out of the ring to the floor. Strickland continued to punch and kick Rush around the outside of the ring. Strickland tossed Rush into the barricade and then slammed Rush spine first into the ring post. The announcers claimed Strickland felt unappreciated by MLW management. Stickland tossed Rush back into the ring and went for a cover, getting a one. Strickland continued his offensive flurry. Strickland hit a running elbow to the face of a seated Rush. Schiavone lamented once thinking Strickland was the future of wrestling back when Strickland fought Riccochet. Strickland covered Rush for a one count. Rush started to fight back, but Strickland was able to keep the advantage, dropkicking Rush’s knee which was caught in the middle rope. Rush sold the knee hard. The crowd chanted “Swerve Sucks”. Strickland applied a kneebar on Rush for a long extended hold. Rush eventually turned out of the move but Strickland quickly applied a rear naked choke. Rush powered up but Strickland kicked Rush in the chest repeatedly. Rush was able to hit Strickland with a running elbow and Strickland took to the outside. Rush followed Strickland out of the rind and tossed Strickland into the barricade. Rush then drug Strickland through the crowd and tossed him through a set of large doors. Rush then picked up a trash can and hit Strickland in the head. This was not your typical trash can that crumbles when it hits something either. This was a steel can with little give.

Rush tossed Strickland back into the ring. Rush faked a running dropkick on Strickland seated in the corner, but Rush stopped short and super kicked Strickland instead. Rush then rolled backward and posed Tranquilo style laying in the ring. Rush hit Strickland with a kick to the chest and followed that up with two slaps to the chest. Rush had Strickland’s arms hooked and looked to be going for a powerbomb but Strickland countered. The two exchanged slaps to the chest. Strickland spit in his right hand then faked a slap but instead snuck in a left jab. Rush hit a belly to belly suplex on Strickland and followed that up with a dropkick to the back of the head for a two count. Rush grabbed the ref by the shirt and argued allowing Strickland to roll up the distracted Rush for a two count. Strickland hit a German suplex, which Rush rolled through, then Rush hit a German suplex of his own, which Strickland rolled through before hitting a cutter on Rush to end the sequence. Good series of moves here. Strickland got a two count for his efforts. Strickland went to the top rope but Rush knocked his legs out from underneath Strickland before hitting a superplex and getting a two count. Rush hit a fisherman suplex for another two. Rush showed his frustration with not being able to put Strickland away. Rush awkwardly pointed directly at a few people in the stands. Rush then climbed to the top rope and attempted a top rope senton but Strickland was able to avoid the move by rolling out of the way. Strickland then sprang to the top rope and hit a jumping knee strike for a two. Strickland then hit a brainbuster for another two count. the crowd chanted for Rush. Strickland hit a running reverse kick to Rush’s head for another two count. Strickland pummeled away at Rush in the corner before Rush reversed the offense. Rush hit a leverage leg drop on a seated Strickland in the corner. Rush then hit a running leg drop for a two count. Rush then got the double underhook on Strickland and hit his Rush Driver for the win. 

WINNER: Rush

Karcher’s Analysis: Decent match. It struggled a bit to really enter that next gear that would have turned this from a decent match to a good one. There was potential here for Rush to do some impressive things here on MLW but if you have been keeping up with the wrestling world as of late you will know that ROH has signed Rush and as of right now ROH is not willing to let Rush also wrestle for MLW. So unless that changes this will always be looked at as a missed opportunity for MLW. As far as the match here goes, I thought Rush was a bit awkward in his attempts to garner crowd support. That spot late in the match where Rush pointed at members of the crowd in an effort to get them to cheer seemed odd. Perhaps those fans where wearing Rush merch, or in some way stood out so Rush thought he could get those people to get loud and rally the rest of the crowd but it didn’t really translate well on TV. I thought Strickland was good as a heel, I’d like to see a little more intensity and ruthlessness and a little less showoff pander to the crowd type stuff. 

They played the fusion intro. 

Schiavone introduced the show, and he and Rich Bocinni ran down what was coming up. The Hart Foundation will take on the Dirty Blondes, Ricky Martinez will face Gringo Loco, and Ace Romero will go one on one with Ariel Dominguez. Also, Bocchini said they have big news tonight. 

They aired a graphic for Mance Warner coming soon to MLW.

They showed footage from last weeks show-long story that saw Callihan hunting down Tom Lawler only to be taken out by Lawler at the close of last weeks show. That was a fun angle if you didn’t get a chance to watch the show last week, I suggest you go back and at least watch the backstage segments where Callihan is walking around asking random employees if they know where Lawler is. Some really funny stuff there. 

Salina de La Renta was backstage with Kassey Lennox. Lennox began to ask her a question about why she signed Samu Callihan vs. LA Park. La Renta interrupted and said she signed them to a match because Sami Callihan was hired to take care of a problem and now he is a problem. She said LA Park would not stop until Callihan was either fired or Dead. 

(Karcher’s Analysis: La Renta is really great with these backstage segments. I’m not sure if I’ve sung her praise on these reviews much but I really think she is an incredible talent that is just oozing with confidence and believability. She really pulls you into any segment she is involved in and MLW was smart to place her in such a prominent position on their show every week.)

(2). Ariel Dominguez vs. Ace Romero 

Barrington Hughes was on commentary. Ariel was hesitant to square up with Romero. Romero tossed Ariel across the ring. Ariel hit Romero with a kick to the head. Romero grabbed Ariel by the waist while Ariel was on the apron and Romero pulled Ariel through the ropes back inside. Ariel avoided a corner splash by Romero but was hit with a running dropkick seconds later. Romero picked up Ariel for the powerbomb but Ariel was able to escape. Ariel attempted to sunset flip Romero, who blocked and attempted a leg drop. Ariel then hit three shoulder blocks that did nothing to Romer who just picked up Ariel and scoop slammed him, then Romero hit a running splash for a three. After the match, Romero and Hughes had a staredown. 

WINNER: Ace Romero

(Karcher’s Analysis: I’m not a huge fan (no pun intended) of the whole superheavyweight act. I can see why some people would be, and I’m not even opposed to a little TV time being spent on guys like Romero and Hughes because I do see that they have value with some fans and are special attraction type guys. It doesn’t really do anything for me though so I have little to say about this match. I think it was fine for what it was and probably would interest anyone who likes Romero or Hughes and would especially appeal to anyone who is intrigued by the idea of the two Super heavyweights facing off.)

They aired a self show video from Brian Pillman Jr. Pillman was in a rooftop playground. Pillman said he was so excited about beating Dreamer at his own game he was losing sleep. He said he beat Dreamer in Dreamer’s signature match and buried him in the graveyard. He wondered where they would go next, what type of match they would have and what weapons would be available to them. He said the world is his playground and he said wherever they go, Pillman will follow dreamer and he will have Dreamer begging for mercy.

(Karcher’s Analysis: Good promo from Pillman. Pillman is one of the more intriguing talents at MLW and one of the few wrestlers on the roster that you can’t really see anywhere else yet. Which is a rarity these days in any promotion outside of the WWE. Good stuff here and I’m glad the Dreamer feud is being extended as I think there is still some mileage in these two.) 

A video package aired advertising MLW’s Battle Riot II coming to New York City on April 5th. Tickets are available at mlwtickets.com

Kassey Lennox was backstage with Low Ki. She asked him how it feels to be undefeated after 15 years in MLW. Low Ki said he was the greatest MLW World Heavyweight Champion of all time. He said come super fight, Lawler will be able to add his name to the ultra-prestigious list of competitors that have failed. He named John Morrison, Rey Pheniox, Daga, and Shane Strickland. He said the honor will be Lawler, but the pleasure will be his.

(3) Rickey Martinez (w/Salina de La Renta) vs. Gringo Loco 

During Loco’s entrance, they showed some replay footage from Loco’s match against LA Park which was a very fun match that I suggest anyone who hasn’t seen Loco work, should go watch. Loco started the match athletically reversing and countering any of MArtninex’s attempted offense. Loco went for a standing shooting star press but missed. The two went back and forth reversing and countering each other, neither man getting the advantage. Martinez faked a handshake but kicked Loco instead. Martinez then placed Loco’s head between his legs and smashed Loco’s head into the ring over and over. Loco hit a big sitdown powerbomb. Martinex knocked Loco off his feet with a shoulder tackle. Bocchini teased the big news later would be SuperFight related. Loco powerbombed Martinez off the top rope and got a two count. The crowd started to chant for Loco. Loco hit a top rope cutter for another two counts. Loco went to the top rope again but Salina pulled Martinez out of the way of Loco’s corkscrew Poncha. Martinez raked Loco’s eyes then hit an awkward looking lungblower type move for the win.

WINNER: Rickey Martinez

(Karcher’s Analysis: La Renta attempted to make the save a bit too early and gave away the spot before Loco was ready to jump.)

Colonel Parker was backstage giving a pep talk to The Dirty Blondes. Parker said his family invented tag team wrestling and said he better see some results tonight because he is paying them a lot of money.

They showed a video of Tom Lawler “checking in” from training camp. Lawler said he has been thinking about how long it took him to get what he deserves. Lawler made fun of Low Ki’s voice and said lately Low Ki hasn’t been getting the job done himself, instead, he has been outsourcing his dirty work. He named all the people Low Ki and La Renta have used to try and take him out. He said none of them will be able to help him at SuperFight and asked Low Ki how he is going to feel after he gets put to sleep and is out of a job.

Matt Striker announced that MLW’s next live special would be on Saturday 2nd at 8 pm on BeIn Sports.

They aired a video package advertising The Super Fight Card

Here is the card so far.

  • Low Ki (c) vs. Tom Lawler (MLW Heavyweight Championship)
  • Rey Horus vs. Aerostar
  • Hart Foundation vs. Lucha Brothers (MLW Tag Team Championships)
  • Gringo Loco vs. Puma King
  • Pillman and ? vs. Dreamer and ?
  • Ace Romero vs. Simon Gotch
  • Mance Warner debut
  • MJF in Action

(3) The Dirty Blondes (Leo Brien & Mike Patrick) vs. The Hart Foundation (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Brian Pillman Jr.) 

Schiavone said if The Blondes win tonight, they would be possibly added to the tag title match at SuperFight. That’s good as it adds some stakes to the match that needed some. Smith and Brien start the match. They two grapple and then throw each other off. Smith hit a snap suplex on Brien, then smashed his head into Pillman’s boot over the top rope. Smith tug in Pillman. Pillman took over on offense, chopping Brein’s chest. Pillman hit a running dropkick on Brien in the corner. Pillman nailed Brien with a stiff European Uppercut. When Pillman whipped Brian into the ropes, he went for a dropkick, but Brien held the ropes and Patrick tug in, causing Pillman to hit the mat. Patrick whipped Pillman into the corner and bit Pillman. The Dirty Blondes double teamed as Brien tug back in. Brien went for the cover and got a two. Brien applies a chokehold. Brien hit Pillman with a back elbow. Smith attempted to enter the ring and the ref was distracted by Smith, allowing The Dirty Blondes to double team, Pillman. Patrick tug in and applied another chokehold on Pillman. Pillman fought back and hit a crossbody on Brien. Pillman tug in Smith and Patrick tug in Brien. Smith smashed both Blondes heads together and gave Patrick a big back body drop. Smith pounded away at Brien in the corner and then hit Brien with a running power slam and went for the cover that was broken up by Patrick. Pillman then springboarded off the ropes and took out Patrick. Smith put Brien on the top rope and then hit a top rope superplex for the win. After the match, Colonel Parker seemed upset with the Dirty Blondes and berated them as they left up the entrance ramp.

WINNER: The Hart Foundation (Davey Boy Smith Jr, and Brian Pillman Jr.)

(Karcher’s Analysis: Below average match that really wasn’t worth the main event spot tonight. I’m really not a fan at all of The Dirty Blondes and the less of them we see on Fusion the better in my opinion. They just don’t really interest me in any way whatsoever whether that be from a character standpoint or in-ring ability. I think that if MLW has a weak spot it’s the tag team division. The Lucha Brothers are a fine team, but they are better used in singles pushes. The Hart Foundation is a decent team but after them, you really don’t have any solid tag teams waiting to take on whoever wins this match on February 2nd. I hope MLW can maybe start bringing in some more established Tag Team talent. I wonder if The Rascals would be able to work MLW dates as I think they would fit perfectly into this MLW programming.) 

Kotto Brazil will be in action next week and Sami Callihan will take on LA Park.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Another good show from MLW this week. While not as good as last week’s show, this show still had enough going on to keep my attention and provide some decent action. I thought the main event was a bit lackluster considering how good Fusion main events generally are. I liked the start of the Rush vs. Strickland program although we now know that might not be able to be taken to it’s planned conclusion. Looking forward to Callihan vs. Park next week as that should be a great match. That does it for me this week, be sure to download Wrestling Night in America this week to hear me join host Greg Parks in talking all things topical in the world of Wrestling including plenty of MLW talk. So be sure to download that when you can and have a listen. See you all right back here next week for another Fusion TV report, exclusively here at PWTorch.com.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 1/11 MLW Fusion TV Report: Rich Swann vs. Dragon Lee, Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Tommy Dreamer, Low Ki vs. Fred Lehi, plus Sami Callihan

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