SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MLW FUSION EPISODE 74
SEPTEMBER 7, 2019
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
AIRED ON BEIN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY JASON STOVALL, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Tony Schiavone
-The show opened with Konnan walking through the parking lot to the arena where he was approached by male holding a camera. The cameraman asked Konnan what information he had on Salina de la Renta. He compared the information he had on her cell phone to a live hand grenade that had just five seconds until he started releasing information. Suddenly, Konnan was attacked by LA Park, El Hijo de LA Park and Bestia 666. They jumped and stomped him in the parking lot. Salina approached Konnan as he laid injured on the concrete. She bent over and grabbed the phone from his pocket and remarked, “It looks like you have no power now.” She walked off with Promociones Dorado following behind her.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: If Salina de la Renta has her phone back, is that the ending to that storyline? Will we ever know what “information” Konnan had on her? Will we ever hear what his other two demands for her was going to be? If not, that was a colossal waste of time with no pay off whatsoever.)
(1) JORDAN OLIVER vs. GRINGO LOCO
No show intro was played this week as we were sent straight to the ring where Tim Barr made the introduction for Jordan Oliver. He walked to the crowd followed by Myron Reed. They had the taped “Justice” sign over their mouth and Myron was holding a picket sign that read “Justice! Justice!” this week. A banner showed up in the top right screen of the corner that read “Chicago,” meaning this match wasn’t taped at the last set of tapings in New York, but rather a month before that back when MLW held their tapings in Chicago. Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette was clearly shown sitting at ringside. I mention all that because Rich and Tony Schiavone are the voices heard on commentary and they are speaking to issues that happened just last week on the latest Fusion episode. A split screen popped up for an interview with Jordan Oliver. Oliver said that last week Gringo Loco unprovokingly used brass knuckles to break three of Myron Reed’s ribs. He said Gringo was just like all the cops out there in that he felt he could get away with whatever he wants. But he said it was him and Gringo this week and he “rides for his boys.” He finished by saying he was young, he was dumb and he was out for blood. Gringo Loco followed to the ring after his promo finished.
Rich noted that Myron Reed was at ringside with what Oliver described as three broken ribs. He said he was surprised Myron was at ringside for this match. (Okay, I am starting to feel like my intelligence is being a little insulted here.) Oliver immediately rushed Gringo Loco at the bell and began stomping away on him. Gringo exited to the arena floor and Oliver tried to follow but the referee held him back. When the referee had his back turned, Myron Reed hit a big boot to Gringo’s face and threw him back inside the ring. Rich noted that it seemed like Myron Reed’s ribs were fine. (Maybe because this match happened over two months ago!) Oliver continued to stomp on Loco with Reed giving outside interference every time the ref pulled Oliver away. Rich told a charming story about Jordan Oliver getting stabbed in the eye with a pencil by a classmate but only because Oliver hit him with a baseball bat first. Loco took control of the match and hit Oliver with a standing moonsault in the center of the ring.
Oliver tried to whip Gringo into the ropes but Gringo countered with a hand spring back elbow. Oliver hit a big boot that sent Gringo out of the ring through the ropes and Oliver connected with a suicide dive to the outside. Oliver got a few near falls on Loco but Loco kicked out each time which made Oliver grow with frustration. Oliver attempted to dive at Loco from the top turnbuckle but Loco countered it into a powerbomb for a two count. Loco hit a split legged moonsault from the turnbuckle and still only got a two count. Myron threw the picket sign to Oliver and Oliver attempted to hit Gringo with it but the ref caught the sign and took it away from him. While the ref was throwing the sign outside the ring, Oliver got Loco with a thumb to the eye and hit Loco with a jumping stunner in the corner. It was still only good for a two count. Loco nailed a leaping enziguri that sent Oliver to the outside. Reed went to check on Oliver and then Loco dove over the top rope and landed on them both. Loco threw Oliver back in the ring and Oliver began screaming to the ref that his shoulder was injured. The ref had Loco back up so he could check on Oliver in the corner and when Loco got close to the ropes, Reed reached over and hit in the lower leg with his brass knuckles. When Loco turned his attention to Reed, Reed hit him across the head with a chair. Oliver quickly recovered from his shoulder injury and jumped on Loco to score the pinfall.
WINNER: Jordan Oliver
Post-match: Jordan Oliver and Myron Reed gave Gringo Loco a post match beat down in the center of the ring.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: Ugh. What a mess. Let’s start with the commentary first. Rich Bocchini’s vocals came in sounding studio crystal clear while Tony’s sounded like he added his commentary over his home computer set up. The unbalance in the audio between the two immediately took me out of the match. It was obvious the two were not together as they were calling the match. Rich would throw to Tony and Tony would add his color commentary and Rich would never respond to what Tony was saying directly. There was even a point where Tony was talking over Rich’s prelaid vocals. The idea of using a two month old match directly hindered the story that was being told from last week. Gringo Loco did use brass knuckles to injure Myron Reed’s ribs so it plays to logic that Myron should be somewhat injured just a week later. That was all thrown out the window as Reed did nothing to show that his ribs were hurt because HOW COULD HE WHEN MLW USED A MATCH FROM TWO MONTHS AGO TO FURTHER A STORYLINE JUST TOLD LAST WEEK. Then there was the issue of Rich and Jim Cornette clearly shown at ringside a few times throughout the match. There was dead silence on the commentary and I could see Cornette ranting and raving about something. The match itself was just okay. Nothing standout but nothing atrocious either. It was easy to see why this match was left off the initial Chicago episodes that aired. In closing on this segment, I will just point out that the last two episodes were very segment heavy wrapped around two matches at the beginning and end. This episode has three matches and less segments. This whole segment should have just been scrapped and the same formula of the last two shows should of been followed. If MLW insisted on airing the match, I would have much rather Rich just recap us on what happened last week and explain that the tension between Injustice and Loco had been brewing for some time and he could have invited us to watch an unreleased match from the Chicago tapings. And it could have aired with Cornette’s original commentary intact. It worked just fine when Marshall Von Erich was blinded a few weeks ago and they threw to a Chicago taped match between Gringo Loco and Zenshi. This seriously felt like amateur hour and though MLW would be considered by most to be the “minor leagues” of professional wrestling, one of the quirks of MLW is it never felt like the minor leagues. At least, it didn’t until now.)
-Rich hyped the remaining matches for tonight’s episode. Up next would be The Dynasty’s Richard Holiday going one on one against Brian Pillman Jr. Our main event would be a special presentation of Alex Hammerstone’s N-1 Victory tournament match from Japan for Pro Wrestling Noah against Go Shiozaki.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: The main event would have been a cool watch if they hadn’t spoiled the outcome in the Hammerstone segment they aired two weeks ago.)
-MLW aired a video segment promoting the Saturday Night Superfight pay per view airing November 2nd live from Chicago, Illinois.
-Rich hyped that next week’s presentation would bring us the War Chamber match in its entirety. He confirmed that Low Ki would be the fourth man for Team Lawlor. The main event will be “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Ross and Marshall Von Erich, and Low Ki, with Kevin Von Erich in their corner against Contra Unit’s Jacob Fatu, Josef Samael, Simon Gotch and Ikuro Kwon inside the War Chamber. Rich said the question on everyone’s mind is “can Team Lawlor trust Low Ki?”
-A backstage promo began to air with Low Ki accompanied by a split screen that showed the ending of last week’s episode when Low Ki ran out to assist Tom Lawlor and the Von Erichs against Contra Unit. Low Ki said everyone is asking if Lawlor and the Von Erichs could trust him, he posed the question could they afford not to. He said him and Tom Lawlor’s conflict over the world championship was long behind them. He said the Von Erichs came from a historical wrestling lineage that would cease to exist without his. He said they all were about to enter the War Chamber and whatever outcome may be, he was their best option.
(2) RICHARD HOLIDAY vs. BRIAN PILLMAN JR.
This match took place in the New York arena from where the last set of tapings took place from. It should be noted that Tony’s audio sounds fine and on par with Rich’s levels so nice to see that was just a one match segment issue. Tim Barr introduced Richard Holiday to the ring and Holiday grabbed the mic to address the crowd. He said typically he wore blue and grey but he has to admit that he looks good in gold, making reference to his tag team championship. He said there are a lot of conspiracies in MLW and the top conspiracy is that the Hart Foundation runs the show in MLW. He said Dynasty sounds so much like destiny because they are the only true thing in Major League Wrestling. Tony made reference to Richard Holiday being from Connecticut and said there were a lot of terrible people from Connecticut. I don’t know if that was meant as a WWE jab or not. Tim Barr introduced Brian Pillman Jr to the ring and he came out carrying a trophy he won for being the 2018 MLW Rookie Of The Year.
The bell sounded and Pillman began laying chops into Holiday. Holiday took control and tried for a forearm smash that clearly missed Pillman by a mile but Pillman still sold for the move. Pillman whipped Holiday into the ropes and nailed him with a missle dropkick. Pillman knocked Holiday over the top rope with a running clothesline. Pillman went for a mule kick from the apron but Holiday caught his foot and sent him crashing down to the apron instead. Back inside the ring with an exchange of strikes and clotheslines between the two that came off a bit sloppy. Holiday hit Pillman with a nice looking twisting neckbreaker for a two count. Slow prodding match where Holiday hit numerous rest holds in the ring. Holiday went for a standing elbow drop in the ring but missed. A fired up Pillman took charge of the match and hit numerous chops and an European uppercut that barely connected. Pillman whipped Holiday into the turnbuckles and nailed him with a splash. Pillman tried to do a running drop kick as Holiday sat in the turnbuckles. Holiday rebounded quickly from the ring mat and caught him in mid air and tried to reverse Pillman into the Sharpshooter. Pillman fought off the submission hold so Holiday tried to go into a Boston Crab instead but Pillman fought out of that and cradled Holiday into a two count. Pillman nailed a clunky looking powerslam in the center of the ring. Holiday regained control and hit a rolling senton on Pillman for a two count. Holiday started arguing with the ref over the count, feeling it should have been three. Holiday exited the ring and grabbed a chair and brought the chair in the ring. He went to hit Pillman with the chair but the ref was able to take the chair before it could be used. As the ref was removing the chair, Pillman grabbed his trophy, tossed it to Holiday and fell to the mat to sell like he had been injured with it. The ref saw the trophy in Holiday’s hands and began to threaten to disqualify him. The crowd chanted “Eddie! Eddie!” The ref again turned his back to remove the trophy and Pillman hit a low blow on Holiday with a kick between the legs. Pillman followed up by hitting Holiday with a straitjacket neckbreaker for the three count.
WINNER: Brian Pillman Jr.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: I never like to use the word “green” to describe an inexperienced wrestler but it was clear these two guys aren’t at the level where they can carry a quality match by themselves yet. The match was sloppy and slow paced at times, which came off as a boring and botched affair. I am very high on both Pillman and Holiday’s characters, but the timing was off and this was just wasn’t one of either men’s best performances.)
-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 commercial spot aired of the various T-shirts being sold by MLW which can be purchased at mlwshop.com
-Highlights from last week’s main event where Jacob Fatu defeated Tom Lawlor in World Heavyweight Championship rematch was shown. It also included the carnage between the Von Erichs and Contra Unit and the introduction of Low Ki on Team Lawlor for War Chamber. Rich continued to pose the question of could the Von Erichs trust Low Ki.
-A promo from both Von Erichs brothers aired with highlights from past matches woven in between their interviews. Marshall said he can trust his brother, they have Tom Lawlor’s back and they hope that Low Ki will honor his word to fight with them. Ross said though he doesn’t trust Low Ki, they do have a common enemy. Marshall said that the Contra Unit is not ready for their hometown advantage and Ross concluded that in Dallas they would put an end to the Contra Unit.
-Rich reminded everyone that Mance Warner was arrested for aggravated assault after Jimmy Havoc pressed charges against him for chasing Promociones Dorado with a chainsaw. He noted that Mance’s uncle bailed him out of jail. He then threw to a prerecorded message from Mance Warner taken earlier in the week.
-A segment aired of Mance Warner which looked like it was filmed on his cell phone from his home. Mance said he had nothing to say to Salina de la Renta right now, that this video would be all about Jimmy Havoc. He acknowledged that Jimmy Havoc was the one who came up with the plan to get him thrown in jail. He said when he sitting in “that cage”, all he had time to do was sit in there and think of ways to get revenge of Jimmy Havoc. He said he’s coming and that’s exactly what “Ole’ Mancer is going to do. Mancer approved, baby, Mancer approved.”
-A promo video aired of MLW’s upcoming live events which included the co-promoted MLW and Crash Lucha Libra event from Tijuana, Mexico on October 5th, the live pay per view event Saturday Night Superfight from Chicago on November 2nd, , the 2019 Opera Cup on December 5th from New York City and the newly announced Zero Hour TV Tapings from Dallas, TX on January 11th.
-Rich conducted an interview with Tom Lawlor sitting by via satellite from his home. Rich asked Tom if he would be ready for the Contra Unit after the number they did on his ribs last week. He said there was no place he would rather be than in the War Chamber, and his ribs won’t keep him from getting there. He said it is his destiny that Contra Unit doesn’t make out the War Chamber. Rich asked him if he could trust Low Ki. Tom replied that after the last few months, he doesn’t know if he can trust anyone. But he knows that Low Ki will be a warrior and a professional and he will get the job done.
(3) Alex Hammerstone vs. Go Shiozaki from Pro Wrestling Noah’s N-1 Victory Tournament
Both competitors came to the ring as Tony Schiavone wondered if the travel and jet lag would impact the success that Hammerstone would have in this match. The two would be competing in a small auditorium with a sparse crowd of spectators. Rich noted that Shiozaki was thought of as one of the aces of Pro Wrestling Noah and his mentor was the great Kenta Kobashi. He noted Shiozaki has been competing for Noah since 2003. Tony’s voice is back to be being piped in at a different quality sound. Formal ring introductions for the Japanese crowd. Both Rich and Tony went over the different ways that the Japanese crowd differs from the standard American audience that Hammerstone is used to.
The bell sounded and we start with a simple lock-up and a clean break. Shiozaki has his left shoulder heavily taped up. Shiozaki took control with a headlock as Rich noted that he was a former three time GHC Heavyweight Champion for a combined total of 434 days. Rich also stated he has held the tag team titles on seven occasions and he was currently one half of the current tag team champions. Shiozaki tried to run full speed at Hammerstone, using his shoulder to try to knock Hammerstone to the ground. After three failed attempts, he gave up and hit him with a thunderous chop to the chest. Shiozaki tried to run him down again, but Hammerstone used his own power to knock Shiozaki to the mat. Shiozaki rolled to the outside as Rich threw to a commercial. (c)
We returned to action with both competitors back in the ring. Shiozaki nailed a suplex in the center of the ring for a two count. A series of strikes and forearms exchanged between the two. Hammerstone hit Shiozaki with a big boot and a German suplex. Shiozaki didn’t sell the move and charged back at Hammerstone but Hammerstone hit him with a a bridge German suplex for a two count. Hammerstone went for a powerbomb but Shiozaki reversed into a back bodydrop and hit a huge lariat that flattened Hammerstone to the mat. Hammestone caught Shiozaki with his finisher the Nightmare Pendulum but it only got a two count. Hammerstone called for the Burning Hammer, a move that was innovated by Shiozaki’s mentor Kenta Kobashi but Shiozaki powered out and countered into a rip cord lariat for a two count. Hammerstone used the ropes as leverage and hit an enziguri on Shiozaki and tried to go for an exploder suplex into the turnbuckles but Shiozaki rejected his attempt. Hammerstone hit Shiozaki with a high knee smash to the face and then hit his Nightmare Pendulum for a second time to score a three count.
WINNER: Alex Hammestone
(Stovall’s Thoughts: I thought this was an odd choice of a match to air with MLW already giving away the result two weeks ago. Out of curiosity, I decided to Google Hammerstone’s progression in the tournament and saw that as of this writing, this is the only match in the tournament he has won. So it made sense to air this particular match to the MLW audience. As for the match itself, it was actually a really solid performance by Hammerstone. He showed real promise and with a few more years of experience, he could be a major player in whatever promotion he ends up in. This match was really reminiscent of the G1 Climax, just on a much smaller scale. A nice change of pace for an MLW Fusion episode and I really liked it.)
To close the show, another Contra Unit propaganda video aired hyping the War Chamber match airing next week using the same soundbites they have over the last few weeks.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I will keep it very short and simple. Skip this episode and wait for War Chamber to air next week.
Feel free to contact and follow Jason Stovall on Twitter @JaySnovall