KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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MLW FUSION TV – “INTIMIDATION GAMES”
MARCH 2, 2019
REPORT BY MATT CASTLEBERRY, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Jim Cornette
The MLW intro aired, straight into the Intimidation Games intro, sponsored by Go Daddy.
Rich Bocchini introduced Jim Cornette for the first time. Cornette made sure to call him Rich Zucchini before introducing the main event for the evening, Tom Lawlor vs Low Ki in a steel cage. Rich introduced the first match of the evening, Team AAA vs the Lucha Bros, and welcomed us again to Intimidation Games, sponsored by Go Daddy.
(1) LUCHA BROS. (Fenix & Pentagon) TEAM AAA (Taurus & Laredo Kid)
Team AAA entered the ring first, as Jim Cornette ran down the info on Taurus and Laredo Kid in typical Cornette fashion. The Lucha Bros came out next to the well known “ciero miedo” chants. Just in case you forgot, they once again let you know that tonight we are sponsored by Go Daddy. Taurus and Pentagon started off the match together, with Pentagon disrespectfully giving him a ciero miedo right in his. The “two bulls”, as Cornette called them, pushed each other back and forth before Pentagon tried another ciero miedo. Taurus grabbed Pentagon’s arm, and in came Fenix with a superkick to the bull. This brought in Laredo Kid who hit a quick enziguri on Pentagon. Fenix hit a dropkcik on Laredo Kid, but then took a rough clothesline from Taurus. Pentagon answered that with a slingblade on Taurus, but then got hit with a missle dropkick from Laredo Kid. Laredo missed a clothesline on Fenix, and then charged him. Fenix countered, sending the Kid over the top rope to the apron. Laredo ducked uner the second rope with a shoulder to Fenix, and then hit a mule kick on Pentagon. The Kid followed that up with an asai moonsault off the apron onto Pentagon landing on his feet.
That gave us the first break in action in the match. Back in the ring, Fenix tried a clothesline on Taurus who ducked it and then hit a corkscrew plancha on the awaiting Pentagon and Laredo Kid. Fenix then hit a moonsault off the top onto the other three men. Cornette said we might need to watch this is slow motion, and I agree. The action has been fast and furious. Cornette and Bocchini discuss The Hart Foundation’s rivalry with the Lucha Bros, and whether there is another match in the future. Action finally got back in the ring, as Taurus and LAredo Kid double teamed Pentagon in the corner. Fenix came in for the save, and hit a stereo superkick on Laredo Kid. Taurus tried attacking the Bros, but it was unsuccesful. Fenix whipped Pentagon (yes, you are reading correctly) into the ropes and picked him up to hit a variant of a Canadian destroyer except stomach first onto Taurus for a near fall. (If this move has a name, I don’t know it, but it was pretty fun to watch. The Bros did some crazy double submission rings of saturn/boston crab combo on both Laredo Kid and Taurus. Cornette pumped up the AAA team, and as soon as he did they took back over the match. Taurus tossed out Fenix, then hit a plancha. Laredo Kid and Pentagon trade chops, as we went to break.
Coming back from break, the AAA team had isolated Pentagon. Taurus hit a spear on Pentagon, but Fenix came in to make the save. Fenix used his speed, which Cornette mentioned, to take control away fro the Bull and eventually sent him out of the ring. Laredo Kid came in, and Fenix spit on him. They then started trading chops, as Cornette talked about hos disrespectful that was from Fenix. Laredo tried to go up top, but Fenix crotched him on the ropes. Laredo still managed to kick him off of the ropes, but in came Pentagon to try and finish the top rope maneuver. Taurus made the save, powerbombing Pentagon off the ropes onto Fenix. Taurus held both of the Bros down, as Laredo Kid hit a 450 splash. Both Lucha Bros were pinned, and both kicked out. The Lucha Bros managed to turn the tables again with a couple of super kicks, eventually sending both the AAA team into the corner. They then hit a tandem canonball into the corner on the AAA pair. Cornette called it a car crash, and I agree. The Lucha Bros hit a doubleteam package piledriver on to Laredo Kid, and then Fenix launched himself over the ropes, and into the crowd, hitting Taurus in the process. Pentagon got the cover in the ring, but you couldn’t see how as everyone was still hyped from Fenix crazy dive into the audience.
WINNERS: Fenix & Pentagon.
(Matt’s thoughts: Great hot opener with lots of stuff thrown in to the match, i.e. typical lucha style. You could tell Cornette wasn’t used to this, but he sold both teams very well and seems like a pretty good fit on commentary. This leaves me wondering where Tony Schiavone fits in when he gets time to work tapings. Pentagon and Fenix were as over as ever, and proved why. The Fenix dive into the crowd was a cool spot, and Pentagon was as hard hitting as ever. I was really impressed with Taurus and Laredo Kid, and expect to see them back on the show in the future. MLW boasts having a multitude of styles on its programming, and they definitely delivered tonight.)
After the match they replay Fenix going in to the crowd, and the announcers are STILL wondering what happened in the ring. The crowd started throwing money into the ring, which if you didn’t know is actually a custom after a good match in Mexico. They finally show the replay of the ending. Pentagon had hit a canadian destroyer on Laredo Kid which led to the three count. Jim Cornette explained to everyone the tradition of throwing money into the ring, as Fenix took the mic to speak. Fenix thanked Chicago for being amazing. He thanked the AAA team, MLW, and everyone here saying that this was his life. Pentagon began to speak, but the announcers previewed the next match and cut it off. Next we get a quick vignette for the returning Jimmy Havok, before cutting to everyone’s favorite H2tv.
Teddy Hart and Brian Pillman JR are lounging by an indoor pool. Teddy said that they would be using Freebird Rules with their titles, leaving everyone on their toes. He said they were the big dogs, and didn’t need to call anyone out. Brian warned everyone not to swim if you have diarrhea.
We go back to the announcers giving info on the upcoming events, as we see the cage being put in place. Battle Riot is upcoming, and Matt Striker told us about it from the control center. He then ran down some of the many names planning on participating in the event.
MJF was next, along with Richard Holiday, running down the Hart Foundation saying they hadn’t been given a tag title shot. He talked about fow the Harts prided themselves in family, but they never had happy endings. He said the Dynasty were role models and that their families were actually important. He then reminded everyone that they were better than you, and you know it.
(Matt’s thoughts: H2tv was as entertaining as always, but I know it an’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Teddy Hart on a mic can be very different, but he stayed focused and on track this week. MJF kept the feud going between the two factions, making it personal by calling out the Hart family as not really being special. That kid is a wizard on the mic, and he absolutely knows it.)
Cornette called them the “Trust Fund Express,” as Rich Bochini introduced our next segment. Salena De La Renta would be standing by with Kaci Lennox. Kaci called Low Ki the most dominant champion in MLW history, before Salena cut her off saying there was a media blackout. Salena says she looked in her crystal ball, and Low Ki would be getting back her title.
We went back to our announcers, where Rich Bocchini was setting the scene for the upcoming title match. Jim Cornette joined in by telling us about all the great title matches in Chicago’s past, including Gotch vs Hackenschmidt, Strangler Lewis vs Londos, and Buddy Rogers vs Pat O’conner from Comiskey Park. Cornette said Lawlor was the favorite because of his UFC background, and his comfort in a cage. Rich Bocchini pitched it to our ring announcer, and we’re off to the main event.
(2) LOW KI vs. “FILTHY” TOM LAWLOR – MLW Title match in a cage
Salena Da La Renta lead out Low Ki, as Cornette called her “Tiffany twisted with a mercedes benz” giving us a nice Eagle reference. He also let us know that Tom Lawlor was the perfect opponent for Low Ki, thanks to his knowledge of so many styles. Next out is “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. Cornette gave us all of Lawlor’s accomplishments in the UFC, really putting him over. He told us a story of Lawlor fighting, and winning, a match with a torn ACL. Both competitors finally get in the cage, and we get our title match announcements, running down the rules. A win can only be achieved by pin, submission, or escape from the cage with both feet hitting the floor.
Low Ki made the first strike, blind siding Lawlor before the cage door was even closed. Low Ki started with lots of strikes, kicks, and headbutts. Low Ki managed a take down on Lawlor, locking in a front face lock. Lawlor, the much bigger of the two, lifted Low Ki while in the facelock, and rammed him into the cage making him drop the hold. Lawlor then grounded Low Ki, beginning to work on his arm. Both announcers put over that Lawlor had a size advantage, but Low Ki has the edge in speed. Filthy tried to lock in a rear naked chocke, but Low Ki used his momentum to run Lawlor head first into the cage. Cornette mentioned how LAwlor had lost a UFC match by going head first into the cage. Salena handed Low Ki her shoe, which he then used to strike Lawlor in the stomach and then the head with. Low Ki tossed the shoe away, but continued with sone pretty stiff kicks to the chest. Lawlor, after one or two, egged on Low Ki to kick him again…to which Low Ki obliged. Lawlor caught the final kick, but Low Ki ran him into the cage headfirst again. Cornette mentioned that with what we know about concussions now, that could be very detrimental to Lawlor.
Low Ki scored a near fall, and after pulls Lawlor up and put him in an abdominal stretch to slow things down. Lawlor finally broke out, throwing some tough kicks at Low Ki, but Low Ki quickly countered with his own kicks keeping control. Low Ki went for a suplex, but it was blocked by Filthy and then reversed. Low Ki tried to start climbing the cage, but Lawlor stopped him. Lawlor went for a powerbomb, but some timely Low Ki elbows broke it up. Low Ki then hit a double stomp on Lawlor, and tried to follow it with a suplex but again it was blocked. Both men traded kicks, until Low Ki tried a springboard body press, but missed. Lawlor picked him up, hitting a spinning face buster and then tried the rear naked chocke again. Lawlor couldn’t get the choke, but as Low Ki tried to escape Lawlor caught him in an ankle lock. Low Ki made it to the ropes, but as said by Jim Cornette that doesn’t break the hold in a cage match.
Low Ki is handed something by Salena De La Renta, and then uses the ropes as leverage to kick out of the ankle lock. Cornette let everyone who didn’t catch it know that Low Ki has some object in his hand. Lawlor ducked under the shot from Low Ki, hitting him in the midsection and then taking whatever Low Ki had away from him. Lawlor smacked Low Ki in the head, and then unrolled a roll of nickels onto the fallen Low Ki showing us what the foreign object was. Lawlor went for the door, but Salena slammed it back shut. Instead of just pushing it open again, LAwlor goes to the far side of the cage to start trying to climb out. Low Ki got up, climbed the cage, and attached himself to Lawlor before climbing over him. Low Ki made his way to the top of the cage, and kicked Lawlor in the face knowcking him backwards into a tree of woe.
Low Ki wasted time on top of the cage, before deciding to climb over and out. Before he could do that, Lawlor had pulled himself back up wand was shaking the cage causing Low Ki to crotch himself on the top. Lawlor climbed up and on top of the cage with Low Ki, where the two began to trade blows back and forth. Lawlor finally climbed over the cage, but Low Ki grabbed him and held on. Low Ki then joined him on the outside of the cage, as Lawlor’s foot slipped through and was caught. Low Ki, at any point, could have dropped to the floor while Lawlor was stuck but he wanted to do more damage. Cornette told us that the fatigue had set in, but the hearts were still beating, as both men barely hung to the cage. Both men continued to throw strikes at one another on the cage, while neither really tried climbing down. Low Ki rammed Lawlor’s head into the cage several times, until he fell…and won.
WINNER: “Filthy” Tom Lawlor
(Matt’s thoughts: This was a good, hard-hitting, main event that used some great psychology. Low Ki tried to take advantage of what he thought to be Lawlor’s weakness – his head – by trying to run it into the cage as many times as possible. Lawlor showed his superior combat skills by reversing most of Low Ki’s offense into his own. The part that was disconnected was once they got outside of the cage. The last five minutes were spent on top or hanging on the outside of the cage and came off as VERY unrealistic. There were several opportunities where both men could have just dropped, as their opponent was more worried about attacking them than keeping them from escaping. The ending, where Low Ki basically made Lawlor win, just didn’t come off well. I know you want to protect Low Ki a bit after how the first match went, but it just didn’t work for me.)
Low Ki fell off the cage right after Lawlor, but the champ hit first and thus won. Bocchini mentioned how it was much like Real Madrid’s win in El Clasico earlier in the day. Lawlor had begun to celebrate, before being attacked from behind by Simon Gotch and two unknown assailants. They dragged Lawlor back around, putting him back in the cage and really worked over the champ. They pulled Lawlor into the center of the cage, and one of the men (the large samoan fellow) leaped off the TOP of the cage onto Lawlor which caused the crowd to break into a “holy shit” chant. They then draped a flag over Lawlor that said “Contra”, which Jim Cornette pointed out he was not a thesaurus and couldn’t tell you what it meant. Simon Gotch then laid coins over Lawlor’s eyes, and we cut to the MLW logo ending the show.
FINAL ANALYSIS:Wow! What an end to the show! Contra attacking Tom Lawlor INSTANTLY has me hooked for what’s next, even after the lackluster finish to the title match. The splash off the cage, especially being in a small arena which made it look even more epic, was a great way to end the show and help get Contra over. Overall it was a good night of action for MLW, and we get to start our stretch towards Battle Riot which is one of my favorite events! Until next week, Matt out!