SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MLW FUSION – EPISODE 58
MAY 18, 2019
NEW YORK, N.Y.
AIRED ON BEIN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORTS BY MATT CASTLEBERRY, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
NOTE: I continue marching forward through the recent shows to catch up PWTorch.com’s MLW TV Review section. I’ll be caught up soon, and be here for it…
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Jim Cornette
The show opened up with a rundown of tonight’s card lineup.
Next they aired the MLW Fusion intro, before cutting straight to the ring.
(1) PROMOCIONES DORADO vs. MANCE WARNER and SAMI CALLIHAN
Rich welcomed us in to the show as the representatives from Promociones Dorado made their way out. Hijo de LA Park and Ricky Martinez would be representing the group tonight, along with the ever lovely Salina de la Renta. Rich introduced something that happened earlier this week, and they cut to Mance Warner and Sami Callihan. Sami was sitting in a Bobcat (small piece of heavy equipment), and Mance asked what he was doing. Sami said he was frustrated by Salina de la Renta and all the idiots, so he was about to do some yard work. Mance said that he got it, he liked to hurt people when he gets frustrated. Mance offered him a beer to help him calm down, but then took it back saying it was half empty. Mance then said they should hop on and ride down to the liquor store, but asked if Sami really knew how to operate the Bobcat. Sami said yes and told him to hop on, which Mance did, and as they were about to leave we cut back to the ring.
Ricky Martinez and Hijo de LA Park stood in the ring waiting for their opponents as the introductions were finished. Mance would be the first of the two out, and as he was on his way out a video aired of Salina answering questions regarding some problems in Promociones. The cameraman asked Salina what Low Ki’s contract status, which she responded to completely in Spanish. What I could catch was not very nice. The cameraman followed that up asking about when LA Park would cash in, to which she said whenever the opportunity presents itself. Finally he asked her if they would be at next week’s title match, to which she just smiled and walked away.
The last man making his way to the ring was Sami Callihan, which caused a big brawl to start before the bell even rang. Mance brawled with Hijo inside the ring, as Sami and Ricky brawled outside the ring. Hijo and Mance made their way outside of the ring also, and the brawl continued. Hijo and Ricky swapped men, and Hijo hit Callihan with a Redbull can. Hijo followed that with several chops, and then stomped on him with both feet after Sami fell to the ground. Meanwhile, Ricky Martinez had found an umbrella and was destroying Mance with it.
Mance and Sami grabbed so momentum with a belt, which Sami used on both Ricky and Hijo. Mance even asked for a belt shot once. The duo ran into stereo superkicks from Promociones, and then Sami took a face first whip into the ring post. Hijo dragged Sami around the ring to the ramp, and then climbed up on the ramp leaving Sami on the floor. Hijo made a running start and hit a body press on Sami. Mance and Martinez had made their way in to the ring, and Hijo joined them to make it a two on one.
Both laid in kicks on Mance, and Ricky hit a basement shotgun dropkick. Ricky hit a running european uppercut, followed by a Hijo superkick for a two count. Hijo stood over him dancing, and Mance literally punched him in the balls. Suddenly we had a legit tag team match again, as Mance crawled his way to his corner where Sami was waiting for the tag. Mance didn’t make it before Hijo recovered, and pulled him back towards the Promociones corner. Hijo tagged in Martinez, who came in to double team. Martinez got a two count after the two had tried to wishbone Mance on the ring post. Hijo tagged back in and came off the top with a splash for a two count.
Hijo shimmied for Mance who answered with a big chop. Hijo tried to fight it off but took a headbutt for his troubles. Mance finally made the tag, and Sami Callihan came in and cleaned house. Sami tossed Hijo out of the ring, and went for a piledriver on Ricky Martinez. Martinez blocked it, then hit Sami with a chop to the throat, and a punch to the gut. Martinez tried for a sunset flip into a pin, but Sami rolled through to his feet. Sami then rolled Martinez over to his feet, and grabbed him for a piledriver to get the three count!
WINNERS: Sami Callihan and Mance Warner
Hijo attacked Sami after the bell, but Mance came in and took out Hijo. All four men brawled as refs came to try and break things up. The men brawled to the back continuing the fight down a hallway. LA Park joined in the brawl, making it three on two, and giving Promociones the “win”.
(Matt’s Thoughts: Mance and Sami won the battle, but Promociones is winning the war right now. Promociones seemingly set the two up, and despite the match lured them to the back to take a beating. The match itself was pretty short, but considering this wasn’t the blow off I understand. We are not done with this feud yet, and I imagine the matches will get more crazy and more out of hand as we go. That’s something I look forward to.)
They aired the short video promoting Austin Aries coming to MLW, which should be interesting. Then there is a replay of what happened moments ago, as Sami and Mance where ambushed by LA Park during their brawl backstage with the rest of Promociones Dorado.
(2) DAGA vs. Minoru Tanaka
Back in the ring, and Daga was out first. Rich mentioned this should be a great matchup, as Daga calls his style Mexican Strong-Style which should match well against Tanaka. Tanaka would be out next, and he is apparently the GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion still (that would be pro wrestling NOAH). Jim Cornette mentioned how Tanaka is the only man to hold all five major junior titles in Japan (NJPW single and tag, AJPW single and tag, NOAH single). Cornette said he’s a shoot boxer, and a great striker, and Daga would have his work cut out for him.
Daga and Tanaka squared up in the ring. Tanaka hit a quick kick to the quad, which sent Daga limping to the corner to start. The two locked up, and Tanaka took early control using a waist lock to neutralize Daga. Daga worked out of the waistlock, but Tanaka countered with a dropkick. Tanaka began targeting the left arm, using shoulder strikes to wear Daga down. Tanaka whipped Daga to the corner, but Daga reversed it but still ate a kick to the face. Tanaka then hit a dropkick off the second rope for a two count. Daga kicked out, and Tanaka transitioned the kickout into an armbar!
Daga finally got a break, as he rolled through the armbar and took Tanaka’s back, trying to cinch in a rear naked choke. Tanaka made his way to the ropes and broke the choke, but Daga didn’t let up on his attack. Daga hit a leaping enziguri, and went for a gutwrench powerbomb, but Tanaka escaped. Tanaka tried to grab momentum back, but Daga hit a flying headscissor sending Tanaka to the floor. Daga followed with a tope suicida, and then hit a springboard corkscrew plancha taking out Tanaka.
Daga rolled Tanaka back in, and then went to the top. Daga missed the double stomp from the top, and then he missed a front kick on Tanaka. Tanaka answered by rolling Daga into a heel hook, but Daga slowly made it to the ropes. Daga reversed a whip into the ropes, but Tanaka hit a dropkick to the knee. Tanaka tossed Daga to the outside, and then hit a moonsault from the top to the outside on Daga. Tanaka rolled Daga in, and both men made their feet. Tanaka signaled he was going to try and end things, but as he charged Daga he ate a big elbow.
Daga grabbed Tanaka from behind like he was going for a deadlift german suplex. Tanaka fought out of it, and made a standing switch. Daga peppered Tanaka with back elbows, making Tanaka break the hold. Daga used a couple of quick leg kicks, a double stomp to the back, and then a superkick to the back of the neck but Tanaka kicked out at two! Daga tried to end it, but Tanaka fought him off with kicks. Daga reversed one into the ankle lock, but Tanaka rolled out of it and kicked Daga in the face. Tanaka used a jumping front kick, but only got a two count.
Both men finally stood toe to toe in the middle of the ring and traded forearms. Daga won the exchange, but got a huge boot to the face after he bounced off the ropes. Tanaka came off the ropes next, but Daga was waiting with a hurricanrana which he rolled into a pin for a VERY close two count. Daga hit a deadlift german, which he bridged for another two count. Daga came off the ropes again, but Tanaka hit a front roundhouse kick which had Daga stunned. Tanaka threw a body kick, but Daga caught it. Daga threw a left hook at Tanaka, but Tanaka caught it and rolled him into a armbar cradle (it was combo armbar and small package) for the three!
WINNER: Minoru Tanaka
(Matt’s Thoughts: What. A. Match. These are two world class WRESTLERS going head to head on MLW television. There was no backstory, there was no setup, just two great athletes going at it, and it was great. Minoru Tanaka is 46 years old, and still moves like he did 10 plus years ago. He is one of the top juniors in the world, and man he can still flat out go. Daga…Daga is going to be a superstar in the US. He has the entire package, and I love to watch him work. When you can throw two guys in the ring with no story, and they keep you captivated, that’s success. I would love to see these guys in a rematch with one another.)
Rich reminded us of some of the bigger MLW news next, as the Von Erich brothers are making their debut for the company at Fury Road. This came along with footage of some of their time in Pro Wrestling NOAH being shown. Not everyone would be happy about that, as Rich pointed out that if the spotlight wasn’t on MJF, we would hear about it. MJF said he was an international star, unlike the misfit toys people were hyped up about. He played it off that he could barely remember their name, and said there was only one dynasty in MLW, THE Dynasty.
Rich told us a few of the matches that would be taking place at Fury Road, as the Fury Road control center aired. Teddy Hart defending hist MLW Middleweight Title against Jimmy Havoc was announced, along with Gringo Loco one on one with Myron Reed, and of course the finals of the National Openweight Title tournament.
Rich told us that for two years Barrington Hughes was undefeated, as footage is shown from last week where Jacob Fatu ended the streak. That led into a message from CONTRA Unit. Simon Gotch, speaking to Barrington Hughes, said he had been the immovable object of MLW. He said after last week, though, that he was just another sacrifice to the cause like Tom Lawlor. Jacob Fatu finished the vignette off speaking samoan, which I could not begin to translate.
Back to Rich who said he thought CONTRA might attack Tom Lawlor again next week, when the champ would be taking on Robert Dreissker. Tom Lawlor had something to say as well. He said sa the champ in MLW he knew there were always going to be like guys like CONTRA looking to jump him from behind, or guys with automatic title shots like that fat skeleton. He said when he won the championship from Low Ki he came in prepared, because he had been fighting around the world. He said his passport had been stamped in some of the finest countries on earth, but it had also been stamped by absolute war zones. He said he had dispatched of England’s Most Dangerous Man, and now he was faced with another challenger from Europe “Avalanche” Robert Dreissker. Tom said he was sitting there right now, not in his element, but in an office so he could do some research. He said the thing he found about an avalanche is that as it reaches the top of a mountain it falls apart and starts to crumble, just like Robert Dreissker would next week.
Rich introduced us to the #BigAppleMiracle from last week, as Air Wolf got the biggest upset in MLW history over Rey Fenix. Rich asked if we might see a rematch between the two, which Air Wold said he would love to have, but no response had been given from Fenix as of yet.
Rich told us of the latest Twitter poll from MLW, which asked who Tom Lawlor should defend his title against. The options were a member of CONTRA Unit, LA Park, Teddy Hart, or Davey Boy Smith. With thirty-four percent of the poll, Davey Boy Smith would win, which Rich said had MLW officials discussing dates.
(3) RICH SWANN vs. BRIAN PILLMAN JR. – National Championship Tournament SemiFinal
Rich Swann would be first one out to the ring, with Myron Reed in tow. Rich reminded us of all the issues the duo had seemed to have with officials, as Myron Reed told us in a picture-in-picture he was there to watch Swann’s back and see him beat who he’s going to beat. Pillman was out next, without the Hart Foundation, which Cornette said put him at a disadvantage.
Swann and Reed wasted no time in getting into an argument with the referee, as he wanted to check Swann for any foreign objects. The two of them, Swann and Reed, objected and both argued against him being checked because it was biased. Swann and Reed threatened to leave, and walked out onto the ramp, but the referee raised Pillman’s hand and said he’d declare him the winner if Swann left. Swann decided against leaving and jumped back into the ring, where he and Pillman immediately went at it.
Pillman started out giving Swann several nice chops. He then sent Swann into the ropes, and hit a Rhodesesque powerslam. He went for a quick cover, but only got a two as Myron Reed broke it up without the referee seeing. Swann gave the distracted Pillman a rake to the eyes, and then a spin kick to the gut. Swann came off the rope, but Pillman gave him a huge 450 backdrop. Myron Reed jumped on the apron again to distract so Pillman’s pin was delayed, and only got a one.
Pillman rammed Swann’s head into the turnbuckle, then hit a few more chops. He sent Swann into the ropes, and ducked a clothesline, but Swann got off a crescent kick to the stomach which almost sent Pillman out of the ring. Swann wrapped Pillman’s arms over the ropes, and laid in some heavy chops next. Swann sent Pillman into the ropes, and missed a clothesline. Pillman grabbed the ropes, slid through, and gave Myron Reed a wrecking ball dropkick on the outside. Pillman climbed back on the apron and grabbed Swann for a guillotine cutter on the top.
Pillman climbed back up top and hit a crossbody from the top on Swann, but only got a two count. Pillman set Swann up in the corner and ran at him like he was join to do a shotgun dropkick, but stopped just short and gave him a stiff right hook. Pillman then climbed to the second rope for the tried but true “10 punches” in the corner, but Myron Reed pulled his leg off the ropes before he could finish. Pillman fell to the canvas and landed on his bad shoulder.
Swann made a pin attempt, but Pillman kicked out at one. Swann choked Pillman on the mat right up until the five count, and as he let go he gave him a rabbit punch to the back of the head. Swann stood and kicked Pillman in the bad shoulder, and then tossed him into the corner where he choked him with his boot. Swann choked Pillman over the second rope, and after the ref broke it up and was reprimanding Swann, Reed choked Pillman.
Swann put Pillman in a modified type of dragon sleeper, but Pillman countered with a snapmare takeover. Pillman couldn’t take advantage though, as he came off the ropes and ran right into a spinning back kick. Swann then planted Pillman with a DDT. Swann argued with the referee about counting correctly before making the cover, and so as he did make the cover he only got a two count. Swann was furious, and grabbed the referee by the shirt, but the ref was done putting up with the antics and pushed Swann off and into the corner. He was obviously telling Swann that another outburst would get him disqualified. Myron Reed got up on the apron to argue with the official, which left his back turned to Swann and Pillman. Swann attempted to pick Pillman up, but Pillman basically did a standing switch. Pillman pushed himself and Swann into the ropes, hitting Myron Reed in the process, and rolled Swann up for a possibly quick three count!
WINNER: Brian Pillman Jr.
(Matt’s Thoughts – Pretty good match between the two men. Swann can literally work with anyone in the ring, which helps to make Pillman look even better. That’s not to say Pillman isn’t good, but he is very young and has a lot to learn. That being said, Pillman is a future superduper megastar I believe. He has the charisma, the looks, the ability is there, and he is good in the ring psychology wise. He knows how to sell, when to sell, and how to make himself look like a believable underdog in matches. I’m still enjoying this heel Swann and Reed combo too, but looking further down the road how long until one costs the other a match and things between them begin to go sour?)
Swann was at a loss in the middle of the ring, and he couldn’t believe what had just happened. Rich reminded us that in two weeks at Fury Road we would be seeing Pillman taking on Alexander Hammerstone for the inaugural National Openweight Championship. Hammerstone was standing by with Kaci Lennox to give his thoughts on the match at Fury Road. Kaci asked Alex how he felt having to take on Brian Pillman Jr. Alex said despite how anyone felt, facts were facts, and everyone could see he was bigger than Pillman, and he weighed more than Pillman. He said genetics were on his side, because just because your dad was a great wrestler doesn’t mean you are. Alex said it’s almost like god himself created himself to win this championship. Alex then said he can assure Pillman that on that day, he would not make his father proud.
Rich finished things up telling us next week we’d see CONTRA Unit taking on Ace Romero and Barrington Hughes, and of course we’d have a title defense as Tom Lawlor was defending against Robert Dreissker.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Another great week of MLW programming. I know I sound like a broken record with that, but everything just makes sense on their shows. There isn’t wasted time, no stupid comedic gimmicks to try and get cheap pops, no week-in week-out 50/50 booking to make everyone look the same. What Court Bauer has done with MLW this time around is phenomenal, and I look forward each week to watch the show. Mance and Callihan have formed and unholy alliance to destroy Promociones Dorado, and I am hoping this is leading to some real brutality between the two groups. CONTRA Unit is still speaking of their dominance, which no one has been able to slow down yet, and I frankly don’t see it happening any time soon. The next chapter in the Hart Foundation feud with the Dynasty is a HUGE one, as Brian Pillman Jr. and Alexander Hammerstone collide at Fury Road for the brand new National Openweight Championship. You know that MJF and Richard Holliday will stick their noses in, and you know that Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith will be ready to retaliate. Next week is our last stop before Fury Road, and it will be a big one too. Until then… Matt out!