SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MLW FUSION – EPISODE 48
MARCH 9, 2019
AIRED ON BEIN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY MATT CASTLEBERRY, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Jim Cornette
We opened with a video package showing highlights from the Tom Lawlor vs Low Ki Steel Cage match from “Intimidation Games”. It also showed the attack by CONTRA on Tam Lawlor after the match, including the incredible splash from the top of the cage.
The Fusion intro aired.
Rich Bocchini welcomed us to Chicago, Il. He said there are a ton of questions after Intimidation Games, but at least we know that Lawlor DID defend his title in the cage match. He told us next that Simon Gotch, of CONTRA Unit, has asked for a rematch with Ace Romero in tonight’s main event. Next he ran down the rest of the card, before sending it to the ring for the opening match.
(1) DJZ vs. ACE AUSTIN – Qualifying Match for Battle Riot
Austin cut a promo during his entrance, mentioning that it was his opportunity. He said he had an “ace” up his sleeve. Jim Cornette mentioned that an “ace up your sleeve” could get you killed in a poker game. DJZ would come out next, with so many lights flashing you might mistake it for a Griswald Christmas display. The match started out with your typical headlock, wristlock, reversal combos from both men, ending with Ace trying for a quick pin. No man could gain a real upper hand, as both countered one another until Ace hit a basement dropkick and a pendulum dropkick after DJZ rolled outside. Ace tried to fire up the crowd, and attempted a suicide dive, but it was met with a superkick. DJZ then whipped Ace toward the guardrail. Ace jumped OVER it, thinking he had gotten out of trouble, just to be hit with a dive by DJZ over the rail. Nice move, which got the crowd on their feet.
The crowd chanted DJZ’s name, as he dumped Ace Austin back over the rail and into the ring. DJZ kept control with his speed, using several dropkicks. Ace tried to sway momentum, but every time DJZ seemed to be one step ahead. Austin finally turned things in his favor, hitting a lung blower while DJZ had a front facelock. Austin hit a sweet springboard leg drop for a two count. Very impressive from the 22 year old. DJZ quickly reversed momentum, and hit a nasty facebreaker where he flipped Ace over into his knee. That garnered a near fall, but Austin got his shoulder up just in time. DJZ missed a springboard back elbow, and Ace Austin tried to capitalize, but DJZ just ended up hitting a powerbomb to keep things in his favor. DJZ looked like he was going for a rolling DDT, but Ace caught him out of the roll in an almost half ace cutter half swinging neckbreaker (it landed somewhere in between, and is supposed to be a blockbuster I think) for the 1-2-3, and a spot in Battle Riot.
WINNER: Ace Austin.
(Matt’s take: This was a good opening match between two young and talented guys. Often these matches can just be super fast, high spot after high spot, but this felt very well paced. The crowd was firmly behind DJZ to start, but I think Ace Austin gained their respect throughout the match. At 22, the kid has a ton of potential and a very bright future. Next up for him is a spot in Battle Riot, and for DJZ it is speculated he is finishing out all his indie dates before heading to the WWE.)
Next up Kaci Lennox did an interview with Salina de la Renta as they walked down a hallway. Kaci tried to get an update on Promociones Dorado. Salina said they always have a plan A, B, and C, before walking around the corner into Mance Warner. Mance spilled a beer on her and TRIED to help clean it up, but she marched off angrily.
We had another Jimmy Havoc vignette air, coming soon to MLW.
Next up is more aired footage of CONTRA beating up Tom Lawlor, which lead to an interview by Rich Bocchini with MLW doctor, Dr. Nelson Sweglar. Rich asked for an update on Tom Lawlor, but Dr. Sweglar asked him if he knew what HIPPA was. Dr. Sweglar said that HIPPA wouldn’t allow him to talk about Lawlor. Rich asked when Lawlor could be expected back, and Sweglar said Tom Lawlor had fractured ribs, blood in his lungs, swelling of the spinal cord, and a possible subdural hematoma. The Dr. told us all of that was bad, in case we didn’t know, and that there was no timetable on if or when Lawlor would return.
A promo from Simon Gotch of CONTRA aired next. Gotch told us he was still mad for losing $20,000 dollars to Ace Romero a few weeks back, and said he wasn’t a man fighting for money he was a man fighting for a cause.
A Battle Riot package airs, showing highlights from last year’s show to promote this year’s event.
We get a quick interview with a bothered Alexander Hammerstone next, where he confirmed he would be in Battle Riot before pushing cameras out of his private area. Next we got a recap of Rich Swann attacking MLW personnel, with no decision on punishment yet.
(2) ALEX HAMMERSTONE vs. ISAIAS VELAZQUEZ
Velazquez charged Hammerstone right away, but did little damage as he is SEVERELY undersized. His speed gave him an early advantage, but it ran out as Hammerstone caught him and powerbombed him on the ring apron. Cornette put over Hammerstone as not only athletic, but smart, as he isn’t your college jock or meat head. Hammerstone hit a huge exploder, and then stalked his victim. Alex waited for Velazquez to get up, but missed a running splash in the corner. Velazquez tried to take advantage with an enziguri to the back of the head, and followed it up going to the top rope. Hammerstone stopped the top rope attempt, and then lifted Velazquez up into a stalling suplex from the second rope. Hammerstone then picked him up and hit the “Nightmare Pendulum” for the easy three count.
WINNER: Alex Hammerstone.
After the match we got more replays of the finish. Cornette sold Hammerstone’s strength, as he hit the “Nightmare Pendulum” out of a deadlift on the much smaller Velazquez.
(Matt’s take: Hammerstone looked impressive against the much smaller Velazquez, showing of his strength. He reminds me a lot of a “rich” version of Dean Ambrose, character wise, and what little he’s done so far has been decently impressive. We’ll see if he can find the personality to back up his size and strength, and how he fairs against larger opponents down the road.)
Rich told us of the upcoming tag title defense of the Hart Foundation vs The Dynasty. We then cut to MJF talking about the after party they will throw after winning the titles. They almost got into a fight with workers (I assume, though it wasn’t really clear) from whatever establishment they were at because what they had ordered had not arrived. It escalated over one of the workers pronouncing Beluga (as in caviar) as bell-eww-sha. MJF calmed Richard Holiday down by showing him that they had a new car to cruise in.
We cut again to Mance Warner as he drank beer. This time, however, Hijo de LAPark confronted him for spilling beer on Salina. Warner tried to walk away, but it ended in a fight. Brian Pilman Jr. walked up and took Mance’s beer, and drank it as he walked off.
Matt Stryker joined us from the Battle Riot control center to fill us in on the rules for Battle Riot, and ran down some of the participants in the 40 man Battle Royal, including the former champion Low Ki.
Cameras found the Hart Foundation next, as Teddy was not happy with being bugged. They all sat down, and Teddy told us how MJF and Holiday tried to injure him and no one from MLW stepped in which he called another MLW conspiracy. Daveyboy Smith Jr. said they are lucky he wasn’t there, and that they would make an example out of them this time.
Again we found Salina de la Renta walking down a random hallway. She was asked what was up with Mance and Hijo de LAPark, and before she answered Hijo came limping around the corner. She yelled at him in Spanish, and then beat her purse against the wall.
We cut to a replay from a few weeks ago where Ace Romero beat Simon Gotch for $20,000 before heading to the ring for our main event.
(3) SIMON FOTCH VS. ACE ROMERO
Simon Gotch entered first to his new CONTRA Unit theme. Rich Bocchini, I believe, tried to put him over but the mic levels were off and he was drowned out by the intro music. Ace Romero was out next, and with the audio problem solved Jim Cornette said unless he flapped his arms you couldn’t tell whether Ace was walking or rolling. Ace was WAY over with the crowd. Jim Cornette wouldn’t let up the jokes, as he said Romero had his own gravitational pull and that they’d just got the first shots of the dark side of his waistline. The bell rang, and Gotch started quickly with a big boot to the face. Romero just shook it off, though, and took Gotch out sending him to the outside. Ace then dove out of the ring, yes you heard right, with a suicide dive onto Simon Gotch. The action moved back into the ring, and Gotch used a missed splash in the corner to take over with repeated kicks. Chops and headbutts from Gotch kept him in charge, as Romero was laid out into the corner. Gotch used kicks to the chest on Romero, but Romero absorbed them and asked for more. Ace made it to his feet and grabbed Gotch in what looked like a setup for a samoan drop, but CONTRA Unit hit the ring causing the disqualification.
WINNER: Ace Romero by DQ.
(Matt’s take: This was a slow match, cut short by the CONTRA Unit interference. Not much to say really. Ace Romero is over with the MLW crowd, as mentioned before. Simon Gotch plays a good heel. Hopefully CONTRA Unit is his avenue to something bigger.)
CONTRA Unit attacked Romero, laying him out. The other two members were identified as Jacob Fatu and Josef Samael. Samael pulls out a spike of some sort and nails Ace Romero with it. Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette call for help to come out, as the continue to attack a bloodied Ace Romero. Samael continued hammering Romero with the spike, as MLW officials are scared to get in the ring to stop things. The announce team did a great job of selling the brevity of the situation, as CONTRA Unit continue to beat on Ace Romero. Simon Gotch finished things off by placing coins over Ace’s eyes, as the three challenged the crowd to do something about it. Gotch then laid the CONTRA flag over Romero, before they finally exit. These guys garnered BIG heat. Cornette apologized to the fans for the graphic scene, and sold how crazy things got to end the show.
FINAL ANALYSIS: This was a great show tonight. The DJZ vs. Ace Austin match was a good opener, showcasing both guys abilities. It really put over Austin, who looks to be someone MLW has real stock in for the middleweight division. Alex Hammerstone looked like a million bucks. If he can show the personality to match his look, he could be a cornerstone for MLW (if someone doesn’t scoop him up). The main event was cut short, but for good reason. CONTRA Unit has been booked to look dangerous, and they are carrying that banner. These guys garnered old school nuclear heat tonight, which is something that rarely happens in wrestling anymore. Whoever came up with this idea gets an A+ on early returns, because these guys are doing an amazing job of not just being a Heel…but being a Heel people actually hate. I can’t wait to see what else unfolds in our march towards Battle Riot. Until next time, Matt out!