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MLW FUSION EPISODE 72
AUGUST 24, 2019
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y.
AIRED ON BEIN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY JASON STOVALL, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Tony Schiavone
-Rich Bocchini opened the show by welcoming us to MLW Fusion and then proceeded to announce that he had breaking news. A pair of mugshots of Mance Warner were shown across the screen as Rich detailed that Mance Warner had been taken into custody earlier in the day by New York City police. He said league officials were trying to get more details on why he was arrested and hoped to have an update for us later in the show.
-The MLW intro then aired to officially start to the show.
-A shot of the NYC skyline was shown as Rich detailed the events for the upcoming hour. He hyped the World Middleweight Championship bout between Teddy Hart and MJF as one of the hottest title matches of the summer. He also said we would hear from Tom Lawlor and the Von Erichs later in the show to get an update on who their fourth man would be inside the War Chamber. He lastly said we would hear from Salina de la Renta along with Jimmy Havoc to discuss their involvement with the incarceration of Mance Warner. He then threw to ring announcer Tim Barr for our opening contest.
(1) EL HIJO de LA PARK vs ZENSHI
Hijo del LA Park walked to the ring as Rich stated that news had came in that Mance Warner was arrested for aggravated assault with a chainsaw stemming from last week’s episode. He said Salina de la Renta was not ringside with Park because she was en route to the arena after just giving her statement to detectives. Zenshi followed to the ring and Rich noted that Zenshi was a double champion in South America, saying he was the Chilean Lucha Libre All Star title holder in Santiago, and the LWA International champion in Peru.
The bell sounded and Park and Zenshi began to trash talk and showboat to each other. Park strutted a hip swivel to mock Zenshi. Zenshi told Park to bring it on and Park answered with a kick to the mid-section and the action began. Zenshi hit Park with a flying headscissors but Park rebounded out of it with a cartwheel. Park countered with a hurricanrana and Zenshi landed on his feet. Super fast paced exchanges and one counts, which ended when Zenshi hopped outside of the ring and was immediately met with a suicide dive by Hijo de LA Park into the guardrail. Tony noted how much Hijo’s father LA Park had changed from his days in WCW to today but said his son’s style reminded him much of his father’s style in WCW. Zenshi tried to hit Park with a hurricanrana from the ring apron to the floor, but Park caught him in mid air, slung him head first into the guardrail and then powerbombed him on the ring apron. Park threw Zenshi back into the ring and went for the cover but only got a two count.
Park and Zenshi reset and started exchanging strikes and kicks went one another. Park caught Zenshi with a backbreaker and followed up with a release German suplex for another near fall. Park sat Zenshi on the top turnbuckle looking for some high flying offense but Zenshi caught him by surprise with a hurricanrana off the top rope. The spot was botched as Zenshi’s foot barely caught the rope, causing Zenshi to crash down hard on his head, and looked to take more damage from the move than Hijo de LA Park did. Zenshi got up and recovered quickly by executing a running shooting star press perfectly for a two count. Hijo de LA Park tried to catch his breath by resting in upon the lower turnbuckle. Zenshi than climbed to the top of the turnbuckle which sat diagonally across from Park and launched himself 15 feet across the ring for a crazy impressive Coast 2 Coast. The entire crowd bursted into a HOLY SH*T chant. It truly was an awesome sight to see. Zenshi went for the cover but Park grabbed the bottom rope. Zenshi went for an Alabama slam on Park but Park reversed by using his weight and smashed Zenshi with a Mexican Destroyer for a two count. Zenshi tried to launch himself off the ropes but got planted with another power bomb mid-ring. Park bent down to cover him, but Zenshi pushed himself off the mat into a handstand and hit a rana into a roll up pin for a two count. Park then went for a side slam on Zenshi but Zenshi reversed it and hit him with a spinning cutter that was good for the win.
Post match: Zenshi jumped on the turnbuckles to celebrate with the fans and Hijo de LA Park hit him in the back with a chair. Park then stood on the chair and struck a number of poses to showboat to the crowd.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: Zenshi’s arsenal of high flying offense is extremely impressive. After an impressive debut against Gringo Loco that ended in a loss, Zenshi needed the win to become a credible threat in the Middleweight division so this was the right call. Hijo de LA Park got his heat back with the chair shot, and if this becomes an ongoing rivalry between the two, I am all for it because I am sure these two can get even better matches out of each other. Zenshi could be a main player in the Middleweight division within six to eight months if booked correctly, maybe even sooner with the upcoming arrival of the Crash Lucha Libre promotion.)
-Rich plugged the main event again for the show tonight and then threw to another Hart Foundation segment from the Hart Motel Room. Teddy Hart mocked MJF for calling himself a vet and trying to give Brian Pillman Jr advice on how to wrestle. He said MJF offered them cash if they took it easy on him and didn’t hit him with any Canadian Destroyers from the top rope. Teddy Hart quoted MJF as saying “I don’t want to hurt my neck, I got a big show coming up at the end of the month.” Pillman sarcastically said for MJF to let him know if his bag felt heavy and he would have his back as long as he said good things about him to all his “cool friends” because he knows MJF is the man and no one is better than him.
-A commercial spot aired of the various T-shirts being sold by MLW which can be purchased at mlwshop.com
-Rich announced that MLW cameras would be rolling for the first time ever in Mexico as MLW will be teaming up Crash Lucha Libre in Tijuana, Mexico on October 5th. Tickets go on sale in September. A promo video aired of Ricky Martinez and Rich informed us that Ricky would be the first talent from MLW to head to Crash Lucha Libre as he would start competing with the promotion sometime in the month of September.
-Another video highlight segment aired of the dominance of Low Ki over the last month. All of his quick knockout victories were highlighted.
-Kaci Lenox was standing by backstage to interview Low Ki. She asked Low Ki about transitioning from the heavyweight division to the middleweight division and if it was hard to cut weight to be able to compete with the middleweights. He said it wasn’t hard to cut the weight because this weight is his natural size. He noted that fighting the Middleweight division would be more challenging due to the speed of his competitors, but he would continue to take them down one by one until it led him to Teddy Hart and the Middleweight championship. She then asked if he had any unfinished business with the Contra Unit. Low Ki laughed and said the last time they were in New York, Contra Unit made it very personal and now they were going to be introduced to his “exceptional professional presence.”
(Stovall’s Thoughts: So with that interview Low Ki has officially stepped into the Middleweight Division, making the dream match of him and Jacob Fatu for the World Title inapplicable. Without question he will have stand-out matches with Teddy Hart and Austin Aries at the top of that division, but neither match-up feels as fresh as him and Fatu would. However with the Contra Unit issue still being pressed, I wouldn’t rule him out as being Lawlor’s fourth man for War Chamber just yet.)
-A propaganda Contra Unit segment aired where Simon Gotch and Jacob Fatu discussed the upcoming fate of Tom Lawlor. Simon Gotch said that the tears of Lawlor’s children will be on Lawlor when Fatu has his hand wrapped around his throat. Fatu said “this ain’t no figure four podcast and this sure the hell ain’t no MMA” and that he was going to finish what they started in Chicago by “busting his head to the white meat.”
-Rich made a HUGE announcement that next week on MLW Fusion, the main event would be Tom Lawlor versus Jacob Fatu in a rematch for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. He then recapped the events of Mance Warner’s arrest and showed Salina de la Renta and Jimmy Havoc standing by backstage. He said he was going to talk to them after the commercial break. [c]
-Back from break, MLW aired a video segment promoting the Saturday Night Superfight pay per view airing November 2nd live from Chicago, Illinois.
-Rich announced that Pro Wrestling Noah’s GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion Minoru Tanaka would make his return to MLW on October 5th for the supercard taking place with Crash Lucha Libre.
-A recap was shown from last week of Mance Warner chasing off Promociones Dorado with a chainsaw and Rich again informed everyone that Mance had been arrested for these actions. He then cut backstage to Salina de la Renta along with her advisor Jimmy Havoc. Rich asked Salina if she was behind Mance Warner being arrested to which she responded with “of course, I had everything to do with it.” Jimmy Havoc said he knew Mance Warner would enjoy being in jail, but also knew he would be getting out soon. He wanted Mance to remember that when he gets out, Promociones Dorado will still be in his face and ruining his life. Salina said she loved that and said having Jimmy was so helpful and finally she had someone who could get the job done.
-Rich once again welcomed us back inside the War Chamber Command Center. He ran down the main event of “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Ross and Marshall Von Erich, and a yet to be disclosed fourth member against Contra Unit’s Jacob Fatu, Josef Samael, Simon Gotch and Ikuro Kwon inside the War Chamber. He went through the rules of the match again. He also said MLW would be celebrating the career of Gary Hart that night as well.
-Rich then rhetorically asked who would be the fourth man for Team Lawlor. He asked “What do you guys have lined up?” The camera then cut backstage to Tom Lawlor and the Von Erichs. Marshall asked what Contra Unit was going to do when the Iron Claw was applied. Ross said Contra was going to crumble “just like your skulls.” Lawlor said Contra was not ready for this, and this….means….war. Rich said Tom Lawlor was keeping his cards close to the vest and plugged next week’s main event again.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: This was meant to come off as a backstage interview but obviously was a just a generic promo edited around Rich’s question. Usually I wouldn’t even make mention of it, but at the top of the hour, we were promised an update on the fourth man and Team Lawlor didn’t so much as even mention a fourth man during their promo. Poor form there MLW.)
-A video segment aired highlighting the ongoing feud between Tom Lawlor and Jacob Fatu and hyping the main event for next week’s episode.
-Rich then hyped that tonight’s main event was upcoming. He made mention that MJF never lost the World Middleweight Championship having to vacant the title due to injury. He also noted that Alex Hammerstone had made his way to Japan to compete in Pro Wrestling Noah’s N-1 Victory tournament. He said that Hammerstone was successful in his first block match defeating Go Shiozaki. He said before Hammerstone went to Japan, he sat down with Richard Holiday and MJF for another addition of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Dynamic.”
-Richard Holiday opened the segment sitting with Hammerstone, MJF and Aria Blake. He said he loved hanging out with The Dynasty, and hanging with them could only be described in one way. He held up a couch pillow that had the words embroidered on them reading “Life Is Beauty Full.” Holiday said he made the pillow himself. Holiday said he would tell them what’s not beautiful. He said everyone knew he hated being associated with the scum of the earth. MJF asked, “Fat people?” Holiday said yes. “Poor people?” “Of course.” “Ugly people?” Holiday said yes and that if you morphed all those things into one person you get Brian Pillman Jr. He said Pillman was the ultimate loser and he had a match with him next week. He said he was going to wipe the floor with him using his “stupid mullet.” “Speaking of stupid…” MJF interjected, he said he had a match tonight with Teddy Hart for the MLW World Middleweight Championship. He said he never lost the belt, that he was the first Middleweight champion and after the match, the title would come back to its rightful owner. MJF then threw to Hammestone and told him that he should tell people where he was going. Hammerstone ignored him, seeming to be enamored with his gold Rolex watch. Hammerstone asked if he ever told them that he never owned a watch before. MJF said he has mentioned it twelve times. Hammerstone said that he was going to have to adjust the time on his watch, since he was going to Japan to represent MLW in the N-1 Victory tournament. He said since he had the Openweight Championship title, Holiday and MJF were the World Tag Team Champions and that MJF was going to reclaim the Middleweight title, it would seem the Dynasty has plucked all the gold out of the states. He said he was going to go to Japan to see what belts he could bring back home for the Dynasty. He said on that note, he felt they needed a “Dynasty Bros.” The three then fist bumped each other and chanted “Dynasty Bros.”
(Stovall’s Thoughts: These guys are just super-villainous heels and these segments just get better each and every week. Of course, MJF is the standout but Alex Hammerstone is really coming into his own with his character development.)
-A promo video aired of MLW’s upcoming live events which included the War Chamber TV tapings from Dallas, TX on September 7th; the live pay per view Saturday Night Superfight from Chicago on November 2nd, and the 2019 Opera Cup on December 5th from New York City.
-Rich said the Middleweight Championship main event was still to come, but MJF isn’t the only person with their aim set on Teddy Hart. MLW replayed last week’s in-ring promo from Austin Aries saying he was coming for Teddy Hart and the championship.
-Finally Rich threw to Tim Barr who announced it was now time for our main event. MJF came to the ring accompanied by Aria Blake. MJF made Aria hold the ropes for him so he could enter the ring. MJF took the mic from Tim Barr and asked for his music to be cut. MJF stood there quietly looking at the crowd. The camera shot to numerous members of the audience and each one was shouting obscenities at MJF without MJF saying one word. Monster heel heat for MJF and MJF just stood there milking it all up. MJF said he knew the only person these people want to hear talk is him. He said the audience was looking at the youngest and fastest rising star in the history of professional wrestling. He said he never lost the MLW Middleweight Championship. Tonight he said he will get back what is rightful his when he beats Teddy Hart because Teddy Hart is a bum “just like Bret Hart!” MJF then finished by saying “And just like Bret Hart Teddy, I am better than you and you know it”
(2) TEDDY HART vs MJF – MLW World Middleweight Title match
Teddy Hart made his way to the ring holding his cat Mr. Velvet. Tony said he thought that was Grumpy Cat and Rich informed him that Grumpy Cat died. Rich noted Teddy Hart captured the Middleweight Championship in Miami in a ladder match after MJF vacated it due to injury. The referee called for the bell and the crowd began to chant “Let’s go Teddy!” MJF offered Teddy Hart a handshake and Hart obliged and shook his hand. Hart then pulled MJF in for a hug and patted him on his rear. MJF raised Hart’s arm and pointed towards him but then quickly tried to kick Hart in the stomach. Hart caught MJF’s foot and gave him a stiff European uppercut followed by a devastating lung blower. Teddy Hart attempted to scoop MJF in his arms for a hammerlock DDT but MJF made it to the ropes and yelled at the ref to make Hart release him. Hart complied with a slingshot to MJF into the upper rope. Hart went for the hammerlock DDT again and was successful on his second attempt. Rich noted that this was Teddy Hart’s record fifth title defense of the Middleweight Championship. Teddy Hart went for a cover but Aria Blake jumped on the apron to distract the ref and break up the count.
MJF made his way to the outside of the ring and Teddy attempted to follow with a moonsault to the floor but MJF pulled Aria Blake in front of him. Teddy opted not to go for the moonsault and dropped down to the floor and forcibly removed and sat Blake in a chair placed in the corner. When Hart turned his attention back to MJF, MJF nailed him with a superkick. He then picked Teddy up and dropped him throat first on the guardrail. MJF then lawn darted Hart into the ring post. Hart laid on the floor outside the ring and MJF made his way back into the ring as the referee began to count Teddy out. Both Rich and Tony made note that MJF could not win the title by count out but Tony said MJF was arrogant and wanted the attention to be on the point that he injured Teddy Hart. Hart found his way back inside the ring and MJF began stomping on him immediately.
MJF whipped Hart into the turnbuckle and then nailed him with a release belly to back suplex for a near fall. MJF whipped Teddy into the opposite corner but Hart launched himself in the air and hit a Code Red on MJF. Hart hit MJF with a running Canadian Destroyer. MJF rolled out the ring to avoid being pinned but Hart hit him with a springboard moonsault from the top rope to the outside. Hart rolled MJF back inside the ring and then climbed to the top rope and launched himself on MJF for a DDT. Hart hit a shooting star elbow drop from the top rope for a two count. Tony noted that Teddy Hart made his MLW debut back in 2004 in a match against Daniel Bryan. Hart went for the same elbow drop again but MJF got his knees up and blocked Teddy’s attempt. MJF placed Hart in the sharpshooter but Hart made it to the ropes to break the move. MJF hit Hart with a Heat Seeking Driver between the top and middle rope for a two count. MJF showed major frustration that he was unable to get the win over Hart. Aria gave MJF her pink stiletto and MJF went to hit Teddy with it but the ref stopped him and took the shoe from him. When the ref’s back was turned, Aria got in the ring and hit Teddy with a low blow. MJF went for quick cover but only got a two count. The referee told Aria to take her shoe and he ejected her from being at ring side. MJF began arguing with the ref over his decision and Teddy Hart climbed the ropes in the meantime. MJF turned around just in time to get nailed by a top rope Canadian Destroyer. Teddy scored the pinfall to retain the title and end the show.
WINNER: Teddy Hart.
FINAL THOUGHTS:A segment-heavy episode sandwiched between two quality matches. Teddy Hart really is one of the most underrated wrestlers in pro wrestling. He performs with an outstanding veteran instinct and his matches are always top quality. I don’t know if there is anyone else in any promotion able to get the amount of heel heat that MJF is capable of. I have his enjoyed his run with MLW and the Dynasty and it will be a sad day when the inevitable comes and he goes to AEW exclusively. I recommend watching both matches from this show. If you fast forward through alllll the segments, it would be only be about twenty minutes or so over your day.
Feel free to contact and follow Jason Stovall on Twitter @JaySnovall