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MLW FUSION – EPISODE 42 (“SuperFight”)
FEBRUARY 2, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON BE-IN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY KRIS KARCHER, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
Announcers: Matt Striker, Rich Bocchini
The show opened with a video package highlighting the feud between Low Ki and Tom Lawler which culminates in the main event title fight tonight.
Then they played a nice looking video package of the card for the night.
Matt Striker introduces the show, and with Rich Bocchini, they run down the matches tonight including The MLW Heavyweight Championship on the line when the champion Low Ki takes on Tom Lawler. Kotto Brazil goes one on one with Rickey Martinez, and up first, The MLW Tag Team Championship match, featuring The Heart Foundation (Davey Boy Smith & Teddy Hart) going after the belts, taking on The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix)
(1) The Lucha Brothers (c) (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix) vs. The Heart Foundation (Davey Boy Smith & Teddy Hart) (w/ Brian Pillman Jr.) (MLW Tag Team Championship)
There was a Go-Daddy Logo on the mat tonight. The 2300 Arena looked great and the crowd was hot. The crowd was chanting “Zero Fear” and “Teddy Hart” then “All These Guys”. Fenix and Smith start the match. They lock up and Smith throws Fenix down. Smith and Fenix grapple and bit but come to a standoff. Smith overpowers Fenix and throws him into the turnbuckle. The two exchange chops and elbows in the center of the ring. Pentagon kicks Smith in the back, and then jumps in and chops Smith before double teaming Smith in the ring culminating in a superkick from Fenix. Hart runs in to help Smith but is double teamed and hit with splashes in the corner, a codebreaker, a senton. Hart took a powder. The Lucha Bros then hit Smith with a superkick leg sweep combo and followed that up with body scissors into a victory roll splash, and a pin that was broken up at two by Hart. (You could clearly see Hart outside the ring leaning on the apron, watching Smith get double-teamed waiting to break up the pin. He didn’t look like he was recovering or anything, just patiently waiting for the moment he had to return to the match. Kind of bugged me.)
Pentagon and Hart left the ring and we are back to one on one. Then Fenix quickly tagged in Pentagon, and the double teaming resumed. Hart tried to enter the ring and the ref stopped the five count to admonish him. The Lucha Bros tangled Smith’s arms with the ropes leaving him stuck, then Pentagon went over and slapped Hart in the chest. Pentagon tossed Hart to the outside. In the center of the ring, Smith was laying on top of Fenix, and it was a bit awkward. Pentagon lifted Smith and the Brothers took turns slapping Smith’s chest. Smith fired back with strikes and knees. The Lucha Brothers both tried grappling Smith, but Smith was able to overpower them and shook them off. (The Lucha Bros were just ridiculous with the double teaming here. You would think it was a tornado tag match. And Hart kept standing on the apron like a dummy.) Pentagon leaves the ring, for two seconds and returns once Fenix is in trouble. Smith ends up hitting a double northern lights suplex into a pinning combination for a two. Smith tagged in Hart and all four wrestlers are now in the ring. Teddy Hart hits a double DDT off the middle rope.
Back from break, the action has spilled to the outside. The Hart Foundation is manhandling the Lucha Bros out on the arena floor. The announcers took a bit long to start talking again. The first 25 seconds it was as if they didn’t realize they were back. They came back right in time to call the springboard Moonsault that Teddy Hart hit on both Lucha Bros from the top rope to the floor. Striker pointed out the “fickle fans” from Philadelphia. Back inside the ring, Smith hits a top rope powerslam on Fenix, and Hart hit a modified corkscrew moonsault to follow up. Hart went for the pin, but Pentagon broke up the pin at tow. Pentagon kicks Smith off the Apron and he and Hart have a stare off in the center of the ring. The two men exchange chops and Hart hits a European uppercut. Pentagon comes back with a sling blade. Pentagon puts Hart on the top rope and sets up a super-plex, but Hart fights off Pentagon and hits a flipping piledriver on Pentagon, getting Hart a two count. Hart seemed to injure his knee on the previous move. Pentagon tagged in Fenix and not long after Fenix hits a rolling cutter as Pentagon tagged back in. Pentagon went to the top rope and hit a Canadian destroyer on Hart, before following that up with a double team move in which Pentagon hit a pump handle driver, but Fenix added a superkick in the middle of the move. This got Pentagon a two count. Fenix jumps out of the ring and kicks Smith, then runs around the ring and hit Pillman with a kick. Pentagon hit a Canadian Destroyer on the ring apron. Back inside the ring, Pentagon hits a package piledriver on Hart, then went for a pin, but Pillman pulled the ref out of the ring. While the ref was admonishing Pillman, the Lucha Bros were setting up a double team superplex on Hart. Smith sprang up out of nowhere and grabbed Pentagon’s mask. Pentagon covered his face as is custom in the Lucha community to hide your identity at all costs. This left Fenix open to a low Blow by Hart. Smith rolled back into the ring and the Hart Foundation hit a doomsday destroyer for the win.
WINNERS: New MLW Tag Team Champions The Heart Foundation
(Karcher’s Analysis: Good match. It felt a bit short, and I was annoyed with the amount of double teaming going on by The Lucha Bros. It would be different if they were trying to be heels or get heat. I like Teddy Hart and both the Lucha Bros, but there really does need to be a cool-off period for the Canadian Destroyer. That move is just way too overdone and it’s lost any cool factor it once had. Now people are doing them off the top rope as if it’s no big deal. I’d like to see a little more innovation instead of just hey what else can we do with a Canadian Destroyer. Other than that the match was good but not great. Some cool spots in there but pretty devoid of any storytelling.)
Striker and Bocchini previewed the upcoming title fight. They showed Lawler backstage warming up. They showed Low Ki talking to the camera backstage. Low Ki said they were in a historic building with a ton of history. He said he plans on adding to that legacy tonight at Lawler’s expense. He said he conquered every one placed before him in MLW and claiming trophy after trophy. He referenced all the opponents he’s beaten over the past year, including Strickland, Fenix, Daga, and even Konnan. Low Ki said Lawler doesn’t realize what he’s gotten himself into. He said he is the trophy hunter and tonight live, he will walk away with not only with the MLW world championship, but the lion’s mane. He said if you thought he was violent before, you haven’t seen anything yet.
(2) Kotto Brazil vs. Ricky Martinez (w/ Salina de La Renta)
Brazil was still wearing an eyepatch. La Renta was up on the apron mouthing off to Brazil who jumped overtop of La Renta and hit a suicide dive on Martinez on the outside. Brazil began pounding away on Martinez around the outside of the ring. Brazil choked Martinez with some sort of headband and threw Martine into the ring post. Back inside the ring, Brazil went to the top rope and hit a dropkick. Brazil continued on offense pounding away at Martinez in the corner. La Renta grabbed Brazil’s leg and allowed Martinez to take advantage of the distraction, hitting Brazil with a running boot. Brazil fell to the outside and Martinez followed, hitting a running dropkick on the floor. Martinez was gloating to the crowd while sitting on the apron. Brazil was able to dropkick a distracted Martinez in the back sending him to the floor. Brazil then attempted a springboard crossbody but was caught and thrown on the apron by Martinez. Martinez then wheelbarrowed Brazil into the guardrail. Martinez then tossed Brazil back into the ring and got a two count. Martinez hit a Skull Shine on Brazil (The move where Martinez repeatedly slams Brazil’s head into the mat with his knees.) Martinez went for the cover and got two.
Martinez continued his offensive assault on Brazil, hitting a few chops on Brazil’s chest in the corner. Brazil countered a charging Martinez with a boot to the face. Brazil jumped to the top rope but was hit with an enzeguri followed up by a nice looking backbreaker from Martinez. Martinez went for the cover and got another two. Martinez went to the top rope, but pandered to the crowd, allowing Brazil to spring up, leap to the top rope and hit a belly to belly off the top rope. Both men were down. Brazil hit a pair of clotheslines then a nice combination ending in a standing dropkick. Brazil then hit a nice backbreaker off the middle rope. Brazil flipped up to the top rope and hit a nasty looking frog splash for a near fall. Brazil charged at Martinez in the corner, Martinez avoided a charging Brazil and managed to sweep Brazil’s legs out from under Brazil, as Brazil was on the middle rope. Martinez put Brazil on his shoulders and hit an electric chair drop and followed that up with a wheelbarrow German Suplex. That got Brazil a two count. Striker started to discuss the leverage advantages to different pinning styles (I really enjoy Strikers commentary. I know I’m a minority in this group but he’s always so insightful.) Martinez went to the middle rope and attempted to hit a codebreaker but Brazil caught him and was able to apply a sharpshooter style submission. Martinez was able to break the hold. Brazil hit a low angle German Suplex. Martinez tried to leave, but Brazil chased after him and tossed him back into the ring. As Brazil got back into the ring, La Renta distracted Brazil. Back inside the ring, Martinez used the distraction to grab Brazil’s eyepatch. Martinez hit a got to sleep style knee and Martinez got a near fall. Brazil hit a Canadian Destroyer for a two count, then transitioned that into a can opener submission hold. La Renta jumped onto the apron to distract the ref. Brazil broke the hold and got in La Renta’s face. Brazil put his hands around her neck, but Martinez recovered and saved her. As the ref was distracted, La Renta pepper-sprayed Brazil, and Martinez was able to pin Brazil.
WINNER: Ricky Martinez
(Karcher’s Analysis: Decent match. Definitely had more of a story than the previous match. I like how Brazil was in control for much of the match. Typically babyfaces don’t and shouldn’t get that much offense, but the way the feud has built over the past few months led to a situation where it worked when a fired up Brazil was taking it to Martinez. I think this was a good showing by Martinez as well, as he showed some good range with his selling. MLW make good use of La Renta and are constantly trying to keep her interference interesting and unique. They definitely run the risk of La Renta and her interefence wearing out its welcome, but so far they have used her effectively. I would like to see Brazil eventually go over in this feud and maybe move up into title contention for the Middleweight title. This feud really only need one more match and hopefully, Brazil can come out of this strong with a clean win.)
They showed a video promo for Jimmy Havoc who will be returning to MLW soon.
They showed The Hart Foundation celebrating in the showers spraying champaign everywhere. MJF appeared and said Hart stole the Middleweight title from him. MJF told Hart to keep the cheap champaign off his title. Hart said MJF can have a shot at the title anytime he wants. Hart said they own this promotion and MJF was just another guy too scared to stick around. Hart told MJF to go join the elite and The Hart Foundation sprayed him with champaign as they left.
They announced SuperFight II will take place on February 1st, 2020 in Los Angeles.
(3) Low Ki (c) vs. Tom Lawler – MLW World Heavyweight Championship
Both men start the match with heavy brawling, and Lawler lands a heavy right hand on Low Ki, sending Low Ki to the mat. For some reason I’m not entirely sure of, the ref started a ten count. Almost like boxing rules, giving Low Ki a ten count to recover from a knockdown. Just seemed odd and even La Renta could be heard yelling (what are you doing?) Once the ref stopped his count the brawling began once again. There was some intense but awkward grappling between the two, then Low Ki hit a nice kick to the chest from the corner. Lawler hit a bit suplex on Low Ki for one count. Lawler started to pound away at Low Ki. Lawler hit a big flying elbow then attempted to apply a rear-naked choke but Low Ki was able to fight out of it. Low Ki hyperextended Lawler’s arm using the top rope for leverage. Low Ki grabbed a door from under the ring. He placed the table in the corner and placed Lawler in front of the table. Low Ki then attempted to hit a running elbow on Lawler but Lawler moved and Low Ki went through the door. Lawler attempted to body slam Low Ki but Low Ki was able to escape, and tangle Lawler up in the ropes in the process. Low Ki goes to the top rope, but Lawler meets Low Ki on the top and Lawler attempts an avalanche superplex but Low Ki counters and hits the Tree of Woe. Low Ki goes for a cover but only gets a two. Low Ki applied the dragon sleeper, but Lawler was able to counter into a rear-naked choke. Low Ki ended up passing out.
WINNER: New MLW Heavyweight Champion Tom Lawler
(Karcher’s Analysis: Not a great match. Felt way too short and was never really able to get into second gear. Perhaps the live show aspect affected how much time they had, and this was an audible. Perhaps they just wanted to have a short match to protect the shortcomings of Tom Lawler. The crows didn’t really seem into this match, and I think the lackluster length played a role in that. I don’t think the crowd was prepared for the match to end that soon. They made zero use of La Renta as a mechanism for Low Ki to get heat. I don’t understand that. I would have tried to book this match in a way where it seemed like Lawler was getting all these close calls, and either La Renta or Low Ki was just barely saving their title by hook or by crook. Then at the last minute, I would have Lawler overcome both foes and outsmart them somehow. Still could have done the same finish, just way later after a few more chapters of the story are written. This felt very flat for what should have felt like a culmination moment. Fans should have been jumping out of their seat to see Lawler finally get the belt, and Low finally lose. The match started hot, with both men showing great intensity and some intense brawling. But really just started to lose steam from that point on. Some wonky refereeing as well. Not sure if that was supposed to be built into the storyline of the match or not, but some of the ref’s decisions seemed odd and out of place like the standing ten count in the beggining.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was MLW’s second live episode. I think overall this went well. With the exception of the last match possibly being cut short due to the TV time running out, I didn’t see any major issues with the broadcast. We got some decent wrestling on the show as we tend to get from MLW. And we saw two titles change hands, so we certainly saw some history being made. It will be interesting to see where MLW moves forward from here. Crowning Lawler as your top guy is a risk in my opinion. He’s not really a proven commodity, and while his freshness could end up being a benefit, he is still relatively green in the ring and as tonight’s crowd serves as proof, may not be as over with all crowds as MLW hopes. He shows great intensity and I think his promos, and character work has been stellar, his in-ring style leaves room for improvement. I’m most excited to see who MLW moves up into that main event picture in order to challenge Lawler for the title. Low Ki’s reign seemed to be a series of unworthy competition not worthy of the top spot. Fenix, Daga, and Konnan all seemed like filler opponents just set up for Low Ki to knock down. MLW has a fairly thin roster, especially when it comes to credible main event talent. So If we take a quick peek at the heel side of the roster, Sami Callihan is really the only matchup that excites me. I wouldn’t mind seeing Lawler and Strickland in a program but it doesn’t look as if Strickland is going to be a part of MLW going forward. I haven’t heard anything official on that front, but Strickland is no longer on the roster page, and wasn’t booked for the Phillidelphia tapings, not is he announced for the upcoming Chicago tapings. So we’ll have to wait and see I guess on whether or not he comes back. That’s it for me folks.