SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MLW FUSION – EPISODE 73
AUGUST 31, 2019
TAPED IN NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
AIRED ON BEIN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY JASON STOVALL, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Tony Schiavone
-The episode began with a highlight video hyping the main event of tonight’s show which is Tom Lawlor versus Jacob Fatu for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. Simon Gotch said Tom Lawlor would find himself blinded, bloodied and broken at the hands of Contra Unit. He said he would look to the heavens and scream out “save me.” Fatu said he would finish what he started in Chicago and bust Lawlor’s dome to the white meat for the third straight week in a row. Fatu said Lawlor’s time was up as they showed highlights of Lawlor being manhandled by Contra Unit over the past few months. “All hail Contra,” they all proclaimed.
-The MLW intro then aired to officially start to the show.
(1) INJUSTICE (Kotto Brazil & Myron Reed & Jordan Oliver) vs. ZENSHI & AIR WOLF & GRINGO LOCO
The trio of Kotto Brazil, Myron Reed and Jordan Oliver came out christened under the new name, Injustice. Rich Bocchini stated that he couldn’t believe Kotto Brazil had taken up the cause of Injustice and joined their ranks. All three had a piece of tape over their mouth that read “Justice” and Oliver held a picket sign that read #Injustice. Zenshi, Air Wolf and Gringo Loco made their way to the ring with Rich noting recent single wins for everyone on the team.
The bell sounded and Oliver began pacing the ring with his picket sign, hollering at the crowd. His picketing was interrupted when he was struck with a kick to the mid section by Gringo Loco. Loco did his patented cartwheels across the ring and did a dance in the corner. Fast exchanges between Loco and Oliver which ended with Oliver on the shoulders of Loco in a fireman’s carry. Loco transitioned to a standing senton followed by a moonsault for a quick two count. Air Wolf tagged in and began to hit a flurry of chops to the chest of Oliver. Zenshi followed in after a quick tag and Zenshi nailed a corkscrew elbow drop for the top rope. The rest of Injustice ran into the ring and were quickly hit with a triple drop kick from the opposing trios. Zenshi propped Reed on his shoulders in a fireman’s carry as Air Wolf body slammed Brazil to the mat behind Zenshi. Loco climbed to the top rope, propelled himself off the back of Reed and hit a high angle senton on Brazil. Nice triple team move! Zenshi hit a spinning cutter on Reed immediately after. Injustice hightailed it out of the ring and Team Loco teased a triple suicide dive but Injustice moved out of the way at the last second. Team Loco held their positioning on the ropes and played to the crowd instead.
Injustice were able to pull Loco and Zenshi to the floor and all out brawling began around the ring between the two teams. Brazil climbed back in the ring and hit a suicide dive on Air Wolf into the guardrail. Air Wolf was superkicked on both sides of his head simultaneously by Reed and Brazil. Triple team tactics began on Air Wolf until Loco broke it up with a dive over the top rope. Members of Injustice laid on the ground and Zenshi hit a standing shooting star press from the apron on them below. Air Wolf followed up with an asai moonsault from the top rope turnbuckle onto all five competitors on the floor.
Zenshi threw Oliver back in the ring and held him place for Loco to hit a split-legged moonsault from the top rope for the pin. Reed and Brazil reentered the ring to break up the count. The match began to break down with all six competitors jumping in and out the ring with no tags being made. Reed and Brazil hit a double superkick on Zenshi who was posted on the apron to send him crashing to the floor. Reed landed an enziguri on Loco and Brazil followed the move with a codebreaker on Loco. The match moved back to a standard tag formation with Oliver being tagged in against Air Wolf. Reed propelled Oliver from the turnbuckles into an Irish Whip Dropkick on Air Wolf. Air Wolf retook control of the match when he hit Oliver with a back elbow and then literally ran up the turnbuckles to nail Oliver with a Pele kick. Air Wolf tagged in Zenshi and Zenshi cartwheeled over Oliver and hit a crazy double Pele kick to both Reed and Brazil standing in the corner. Zenshi clipped Oliver’s knees sending him into the ropes and then hit him with a top rope 619. Zenshi tried for follow up offense but was cut off by Reed and Brazil. Zenshi pushed Brazil into Reed who caught Brazil in a headlock position, then Zenshi dove over the rope on to Reed making him hit a standing DDT on Brazil. Loco tagged in and hit Oliver with a flying cutter from the turnbuckles. Air Wolf then followed by hitting Oliver with a bridge German suplex for the pin though neither of them were the legal man. It still got a two count from referee Doug Markum but the pin was broken when Brazil hit a frog splash on Air Wolf. Brazil went for the pin on Air Wolf but Zenshi broke it up. Zenshi threw Brazil to the outside with Oliver and stood on the apron in a handstand and hit a spinning kick from under the bottom rope and nailed Oliver in the head. (That sentence doesn’t do the move justice, you have to see it to appreciate how awesome it looked.) Zenshi stood up again on the apron but was caught by Reed with a flying cutter from over the top rope in the ring down to the apron floor. Wow! The fans went nuts for that move.
We reset with Reed and Loco back in the ring. Loco got Reed up on his shoulders for a death valley driver but Reed’s feet took the ref out. Loco tried to hit the driver but Reed countered by landing on his feet. Reed pulled a pair of brass knuckles out of his trunks. Reed tried to attack Loco with the knuckles but Loco hit a standing kick to fend off Reed and caused Reed to drop the brass knuckles. Loco retrieved the knuckles and hit a series of rib shots on Reed with them. Brazil resurrected from the apron to the turnbuckles and tried to dive at Loco but Loco countered it into a powerbomb. Loco rolled out to catch his breath and Air Wolf popped back in to take control for his team. He sent Brazil face first into the turnbuckles and then hit him with a 619 around the middle turnbuckle. Air Wolf tried to go to the top rope for an aerial move but was cut off by Oliver. Air Wolf leaped over Oliver and ran to the other turnbuckle but Oliver followed him with a cutter. Brazil then hit Air Wolf with a variation of Sliced Bread #2 for the pin.
Post-match: Referee Doug Markum found Myron Reed’s brass knuckles and tried to confront Reed about them. Reed acted as if he had no idea where they came from. Kotto Brazil then hit the ref from behind and all three members of Injustice took turns stomping the referee as he laid on the mat.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: A nice showcase for the lower card of the Middleweight Division with Zenshi proving to be the clear standout. What started as a standard spotfest turned into an impressive spotfest in the closing minutes of the match. I really like the idea of pairing Injustice together as it gives each member a role to play within the confines of MLW. This is especially true for Kotto Brazil who went back and forth to being lost in the shuffle for almost a year. Also, remember when a wrestler refused to release a submission hold or attacked a referee or his opponent after the bell, the ref would reverse the decision and award the victory to the loser via disqualification? It’s odd we don’t see that anymore, as this would have been a more than obvious time to make use of that judgment.)
-Rich hyped tonight’s main event as the camera showed Tom Lawlor warming up in the back with the Von Erichs.
-A video package aired hyping the co-promoted event from MLW and Crash Lucha Libra taking place on October 5th from Tijuana, Mexico. Tickets go on sale in September.
-MLW aired a video segment promoting the Saturday Night Superfight pay per view airing November 2nd live from Chicago, Illinois. Rich followed the segment by announcing that the pay per view would be powered by Fite TV. Pre-orders for the event starts on September 20th for the reasonable price of $19.95.
-Rich gave a quick update of the incarceration of Mance Warner at the hands of Promociones Dorado stating that Mance had been bailed out of his jail by his uncle. Rich hyped the main event once again this time noting that that Lawlor was getting the rematch by invoking his rematch clause and this would be the one chance that Lawlor got to reclaim the title. 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, with Kevin Von Erich in their corner 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 explained that the match would be four on four with a chamber surrounding the ring. A coin toss would determine which team would enter the chamber first and the first two combatants would face off for a total of five minutes. The winner of the coin toss would come out after that for two on one advantage, with both teams alternating a new entrant to the match every two minutes. Once all combatants are in the ring, victory can only be won by submission, surrender or pinfall. Rich noted the top of the chamber would be surrounded by barbwire. He announced that the War Chamber match would air on Bein Sports on September 14th, so it will not air live on September 7th. He also said MLW would be celebrating the career of the late Gary Hart that night as well.
-An Instagram video aired of Kevin Von Erich and his sons Ross and Marshall from Hawaii. Ross said if Contra Unit wanted to go to war, they would find out what war is all about, Von Erich style. Kevin Von Erich said that the Von Erichs won’t back down and will give everything they got in the ring. He noted the fans in Texas are different as they understand brotherhood and giving it all you got. He said September 7th in Dallas will be a great night for the Von Erichs. Marshall said that Contra Unit has attempted to blind him twice. He said the Von Erichs fight for what’s right, defend the defenseless and defeat the undefeated. He said in Dallas the Contra Unit will be dethroned.
-A commercial spot aired of the various T-shirts being sold by MLW which can be purchased at mlwshop.com
-A video segment aired announcing that “The Canton Crippler” Dominic Garrini would be debuting in MLW this fall. The segment noted that Garrini was a gold medalist who competed in over 200 Jiu Jitsu matches.
-A highlight reel of Alex Hammerstone’s matches from the N-1 Victory tournament in Pro Wrestling Noah aired. Though it did not give any update to his standings or match wins, it did note he was making waves in Japan. Rich said before Hammerstone made his way overseas, he was able to get a workout in for the newest edition of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Dynastic.”
-Hammerstone was shown working out and said he doesn’t get why everyone got so worked up when MJF said they are better than everyone. He said though he was handsome and stunning when he came out the womb, he wasn’t built like he is now. He said he wasn’t just training for the tournament in Japan, that he trained like this year around. He referred to people on Twitter asking if he was going to have a rematch with Davey Boy Smith Jr. He said Davey should be more concerned about getting back in the gym. He started to say he proved he was the alpha male but his attention was caught off screen and Hammerstone asked “What?” The camera panned over to Georgia Smith on a treadmill. She said it was funny to her that he was saying all this when “Harry and I used to lift that much weight when we were little.” He sold frustration over her comment and added more weight to his machine and began straining to prove he could lift more.
-A video flashed across the screen of former MLW World champions which included the likes of Mike Awesome, Steve Corino, Shane Strickland, Low Ki, and most recently Tom Lawlor and Jacob Fatu. Rich said the World Heavyweight Championship match was next.
(2) JACOB FATU vs. “FILTHY” TOM LAWLOR – MLW World Hvt. Title match
Josef Samael stood mid ring and said Contra Unit were starting a revolution. He said Contra Unit had single handily hi-jacked MLW. He said Contra Unit were the global dealers in violence. He began to chant Hail Contra! as the fans booed. He said he didn’t need the fans approval because everyone knows that every league has a world championship and whoever owns the championship controls the league. From there he gave a hyped ring entrance for MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu. Tim Barr handled the ring introduction for Tom Lawlor, Lawlor didn’t even make it into the ring before the two began brawling between the ropes.
Lawlor got the the best of the exchange and hit Fatu with a crossbody from the top rope. Lawlor nailed Fatu with a running forearm smash into the turnbuckles. Lawlor connected on Fatu with a series of clotheslines. Samael jumped on the ring apron and got decked by Lawlor for his trouble. An amped up Lawlor hit Fatu with an enziguri and an over the head release suplex for a two count. Lawlor came off the top rope and was caught by Fatu into a Samoan drop. Fatu began working over Lawlor’s ribs in the corner for an extended period of time. Back and forth action where Fatu mainly stayed in control.
Lawlor made a small comeback with a ground and pound approach in the turnbuckles but the ref made him separate from Fatu and Fatu quickly answered with a superkick to Lawlor. Fatu then hit a handspring moonsault on Lawlor. Lawlor dodged an attempt by Fatu to splash him in the turnbuckles. Lawlor made his way on the apron and placed Fatu in a choke hold on the ropes that the ref made him break up. Hard right hand from Fatu left Lawlor wobbly on the apron. Fatu went to charge off the opposite side of the ring but Lawlor avoided him again and caught Fatu’s leg in the ropes. Lawlor began hitting a trapped Fatu with chops and strikes as Tony noted that their statistics team said that Tom Lawlor was only in control of the first title match with Fatu eleven percent of the time. Tony said he will need more than that if he wanted to beat Fatu.
Lawlor was distracted by Josef Samael who stood outside the ring and Fatu speared Lawlor from between the ropes into the guardrail. Fatu attempted to launch Lawlor head first into the ring post but Lawlor broke free at the last second and sent Fatu into it instead. Lawlor set up a chair on the floor and used it to launch himself and nailed a splash on Fatu on the ring post. Lawlor went for a bulldog on the chair but Fatu overpowered him and sent him into the guardrail and then back into the ring. Fatu went for a pop up Samoan drop but Lawlor countered out of it and locked in a rear naked choke. Fatu broke up the hold by crashing into the buckles to get free. Fatu charged at Lawlor in the turnbuckles twice but Lawlor avoided both attempts and Fatu crashed into the ring post. Lawlor hoisted Fatu on his shoulders and hit an airplane spin and then a Death Valley Driver. Lawlor took too long to cover him and only got a two count. Lawlor hit Fatu with a front kick and then a series of kicks. Lawlor continued with a variety of chops, slaps, strikes and finally a mule kick brought Fatu to his knees. Lawlor nailed a lariat from behind to the back of Fatu’s head. Lawlor hit Fatu with a running knee and then smashed his knee into Fatu’s head while holding both Fatu’s arms a la Kota Ibushi. Lawlor made the cover and still only got a two count.
Lawlor nailed a big German suplex on Fatu in the center of the ring. Lawlor hit an exploder suplex into the turbuckles. Samael jumped on the apron to distract the ref before Lawlor could attempt the pin. Lawlor went over to confront Samael but Fatu charged in and Lawlor quickly hit a front kick to the face of Fatu. The referee turned to check on Fatu and Samael hit Lawlor in the back of the head with a railroad spike. Fatu took advantage of the interference and hit a moonsault from the top rope to Lawlor and got a three count.
WINNER: Jacob Fatu
Post-match: Josef Samael began to stomp on Lawlor with his pointed boots. The referee tried to pull him off but the ref got flattened by Fatu. Simon Gotch charged into the ring and placed Lawlor in an armbreaker while the rest of Contra Unit began stomping on him. The Von Erichs ran out to attempt to make the save. The numbers game were too much for the Von Erichs and Contra Unit took control over the Von Erichs and Lawlor. Ikuro Kwon ran out and began hitting superkicks on the Von Erichs. The carnage continued as league officials and referees ran out to stop Contra Unit but Contra Unit beat them up as well. Finally after a minute of destruction, Low Ki’s music hit and he came out to a big pop! Low Ki chants from the crowd! Low Ki charged to the ring and nailed Fatu with a big clotheline. The numbers evened up and the show ended with all eight men brawling in the center of the ring.
FINAL THOUGHTS: As predicted, Low Ki seems to be all but officially announced as the fourth man of Team Lawlor. He is a great addition and will bring a different element to the War Chamber. I know that Low Ki has declared himself for the Middleweight Division, but I am still holding out hope for a feud between him and Fatu for the World Title. As for the main event itself, it was an incredibly hard fought match with excitement back and forth from start to finish. Rich Bocchini made a big deal about this being Lawlor’s only shot, and though he did lose via interference, he still lost by pinfall so who knows where the World Title division will move on from here. Likely, the Fatu-Lawlor feud will continue and be drawn out until November to headline MLW’s first pay-per-view. The War Chamber match should be heavily violent but probably a lot of fun and now there’s a new level of interest with Low Ki added to the mix. Unfortunately, we will have to wait two weeks for that match to air. No clue at all about what will air next Saturday as no matches were announced. The likely reason for not airing the show live like past special events is probably due to not having the announce team present. Tony Schiavone has other sport commitments which makes him unavailable to be at the weekend events in person. It was largely noticed that neither him nor Rich was shown on camera during any of these tapings from New York. So that leaves next week’s episode with a huge question mark.
Feel free to contact and follow Jason Stovall on Twitter @JaySnovall