MLW FUSION HITS & MISSES 4/14: Lots of Good Promos, Sami Callihan’s pop, Brian Pillman Jr., disappointing main event

By Kris Karcher, PWTorch contributor

Brian Pillman Jr. (photo courtesy of MLW)

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APRIL 14, 2019

Hello everyone. MLW is back with their first taped episode since last week’s two hour Battle Riot special. Fusion is heading into their second year, and this was a really good start to the new year. It was a great night for mic work and featured some decent ring work as we are accustomed to seeing on Fusion. Let’s get right into the Hits & Misses from episode 53.

  • Brian Pillman Jr. defeated MJF
  • Rich Swann & Myron Reed defeated Lance Anoa’i & Jimmy Yuta
  • LA Park defeated Sami Callihan


Brian Pillman Jr.: Pillman is a real blue chip talent for MLW. In today’s wrestling landscape, where so many promotions are sharing talent, Pillman has pretty much only been seen on MLW. Now that might change soon, as Pillman was announced as a participant in AEW’s over the budget battle royal at Double or Nothing May 25th. Right now if I were MLW I would be trying to get all I could out of Pillman because I think this kid is destined to get swooped up and signed by one of the bigger guys eventually. When he first premiered less than a year ago, I was intrigued but hesitant to go all in. He has grown as a performer over the last year and is a natural in the ring. He connects with the audience, so much so that MLW was basically forced to turn him and the rest of the Hart Dynasty face even though they were pretty good as heels too. They could wrestle matches as heels, but their backstage promos and ringside shenanigans are so amusing you just can’t help but be entertained.

All the Promos: They were really firing on all cylinders with the promos tonight. Sami Callihan had a fantastic promo explaining why he had been absent for so long and stated his purpose upon returning. He told MLW to book Sami Callihan vs. Mance Warner because that equals ratings and Callihan wants to make a statement. A very effective promo.

Later, Holliday and Hammerstone of the Dynasty were shown irate over the referees’ decision to throw them out of the match. Well, Hammerstone was raging, and Holliday had to calm him down and convinced him to blow off the loss to MJF. I’m liking the dynamic they are building with different personalities. I was worried when they formed this faction that the three of them might blend too well, and therefore no one would stand out. They are doing a good job of establishing all three as distinct characters. Hammerstone is the hot he’d party boy, Holliday is the carefree, suave but dense rich snob. MJF is clearly the vindictive ring leader that is probably using both of them more for protection then camaraderie. If they could do a cool evolution style storyline and have Hammerstone break off eventually. Not anytime soon though as I’m enjoying the Dynasty.

Mance Warner even had a great promo. Ol Mancer was talking to his buddy backstage about how much he has seen over his career when he was approached for comment on Callihan’s challenge. Warner cut a great promo telling Callihan it isn’t about thumbs up thumbs down, it’s all about knee pad up… knee pad down. I’m looking forward to this match, mostly because both men cut simple effective promos.

And finally the last “promo” of the night saw Teddy Hart stealing MJF’s car and mooning The Dynasty as they drove off. Good use of Hart Foundation shenanigans.


Sami Callihan’s Pop: Wow, what a dud that surprise was. I love Callihan, and watching at home I was intrigued by the idea of another LA Park Sami Callihan match, but the crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom was not excited when it turned out Callihan was going to be the replacement. I don’t blame them necessarily, as it sucks to have the main event changed due to injuries. Havoc is a babyface and was replaced by Callihan who is a heel. LA Park is also a heel, so that probably played into the tepid response. The match itself wasn’t anything to write about either, and I’m wondering how much time they had to plan out this match due to Havoc’s injury.

Show-Ending Brawl: After the bad main event, or more accurately during the finish, a bunch of wrestlers all interfered. As the ref was out, and Callihan was being beaten down by the members of Promociones Dorado, Warner and Daga came out to make the save. The problem is Warner and Callihan have a match next week! Why was Warner helping Callihan? I can see why Daga might have run in, as his feud with Low Ki is still ongoing. Warner, on the other hand, had no reason to be out there muddying up the great promo work from earlier in the show. I’m going to go ahead and cut MLW some slack on the main event and post-match brawl not making much sense as it seems like it might have been a last minute plan after Havoc’s injury. If that is the case then I can’t be too critical of them, but this wasn’t very good. I’m sure we will get some more talking from Callihan and Warner tomorrow before their match so maybe this confusion will be long forgotten by the time they actually wrestle.

That’s it for this week folks. Check back next week for my thoughts on episode 54, which has Callihan vs. Warner advertised. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in next week for MLW Fusion’s Hits & Misses exclusively here on

RECOMMENDED: MLW FUSION HITS & MISSES 4/10: The Dynasty, Cornette on commentary, Contra Faction, Salina de La Renta

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