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MLW FUSION – EPISODE 77
SEPTEMBER 28, 2019
AIRED ON BEIN SPORTS NETWORK
REPORT BY JASON STOVALL, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Rich Bocchini, Tony Schiavone
-The show opened recapping the ending to last week’s episode highlighting Austin Aries’ interference that costed The Hart Foundation the chance to regain the MLW Tag Team Championships. The highlighted segment also focused on Austin Aries delivering a brainbuster to Teddy Hart on the ring apron. Rich Bocchini stated that Austin Aries was due to be fined and maybe even suspended by legal officials. Rich also noted that Teddy Hart was not medically cleared by MLW staff doctor Dr. Swegler and that he had been transported to Parkland Hospital for further evaluation
-The MLW intro then aired to officially start to the show.
-An overview of the Dallas skyline was shown as Rich ran down the card for tonight’s show. In the main event, we would see Mance Warner against Jimmy Havoc in an old school Bunkhouse Brawl as well as the debut of the undefeated kickboxer Douglas James going one on one with Timothy Thatcher.
(1) INJUSTICE (Myron Reed & Kotto Brazil w/Jordan Oliver) vs. GRINGO LOCO & AIR WOLF
As Injustice made their way to the ring, a brief segment was shown from “earlier today” of the trio picketing outside of the arena. Injustice came to the ring with the typical picket signs in tow and Myron Reed sported his chest protector again. Rich acknowledged that Reed was stating he needed his chest protector due to Gringo Loco breaking his ribs with brass knuckles, although it was Myron Reed who introduced the brass knuckles into the match. Another “earlier today” segment ran where Injustice cut a promo about the biased referees in MLW. Kotto asked if the refs checked Salina de la Renta for pepper spray before she used it against him a match from a few months ago. Reed asked if the refs checked Gringo Loco before he used brass knuckles to break his ribs. He said now all the refs want to be angry at him for the chest protector, although he now needed it for support. Jordan Oliver chimed in and asked if they knew that the cops killed Tupac Shakur. Kotto affirmed his assessment and Myron Reed said Tupac would still be alive if he had wore his vest that day. Jordan followed up by saying if Tupac had his “strap” that day he would also still be alive. Jordan Oliver finished by saying that they were all coming to get their justice.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: I am not only a long time wrestling fan, but I like to think of myself as a long time hip hop enthusiast as well. Though there are many conspiracies as to who did kill Tupac Shakur, the idea of of it being the cops is not among the most popular of opinions. It is a widely popular opinion that a retired LAPD officer did execute the hit on rapper Notorious B.I.G., though that also was never proved. Maybe young Jordan Oliver was confused as naturally the death of both artists happened before he was even born. Despite that, I like this promo if for no other reason it finally gave us a solid reason as to why Kotto Brazil turned heel and joined Injustice.)
Air Wolf and Gringo Loco came to the ring slapping hands with the fans as MLW ran recaps of Gringo Loco breaking Myron Reed’s ribs and Injustice interfering in last week’s match helping Jordan Oliver defeat Zenshi. The referee gave a heavy pat down to both members of Injustice and found a chain in Brazil’s jumpsuit. As the referee turned to remove the chain, Brazil removed a pair of brass knuckles and handed them to Oliver. Oliver attempted to give the knuckles back to Brazil but the ref caught the hand off and confiscated the brass knuckles as well. After the ref had cleared Injustice of all their weapons, he called for the bell. Reed fired the first shot to Gringo with a slap to the face which caused Gringo to charge in to Reed’s corner as Reed retreated back. Brazil made a fast tag and nailed Loco with a high kick to the head. Brazil slid under the ropes and rolled up Gringo for a two count. Gringo took control over Brazil and nailed him with a standing moonsault earning himself a two count. Brazil raked the eyes of Gringo and both retreated to their corners to tag in their partners. Reed and Air Wolf exchanged a fast paced combination of ground and aerial moves that ended with Air Wolf giving a knife chop to the chest of Reed. Reed just walked off the chop with a smirk and a shrug not feeling the impact due to his chest protector. Air Wolf answered his arrogance with a boot to the face and a flying headscissors.
Brazil and Loco tagged back into the match and Jordan Oliver tried to trip the leg of Loco causing Loco to become distracted. Brazil slid between the legs of Loco to the outside of the ring and tripped him to his back. He held his feet in place as Reed delivered a flying leg drop to Loco off the top rope. Air Wolf tried to run into the ring to act on his partner’s behalf but was caught by the ref. Reed got behind the ref and began berating Air Wolf as Kotto used the advantage of a distracted ref to began a ground and pound approach on Gringo with a flurry of fists. Brazil exited the ring and Reed went for a pinfall but only got a two count. Reed tagged in Brazil and helped whip him into Loco who was in the turnbuckles for an Irish Whip European Uppercut. Brazil nailed Loco with a low drop kick and got another two count. A ticker scroll ran along of the bottom of the screen during the match proclaiming to have breaking news. It announced MLW will be heading to Philadelphia at the famous 2300 Arena on February 1st in 2020.
Back to the match, Brazil tagged in Reed and then Brazil hit a top rope powerbomb on Loco from the turnbuckles. Brazil tried to go for the cover but the ref refused to make the count because Brazil wasn’t the legal man. Reed dragged Brazil off of Loco and went for the cover himself and only got a two count. Loco whipped Reed into the opposite corner housing Air Wolf who met Reed with an enziguri. Loco planted Reed with a huge back body drop. Loco tried to go for the tag to Air Wolf but Brazil entered the ring and knocked Air Wolf off the apron before the tag could be made. Brazil tried to attack Loco but Loco hit him with his own enziguri and whipped him into the ropes. Loco sent Reed into the same turnbuckles following Brazil and then positioned Reed under Brazil and picked them both up and executed a double electric chair. (That was a crazy stunt move that could of ended very badly for Brazil, but it looked excellent in delivery.) Loco made the slow crawl across the ring and finally tagged in Air Wolf and Air Wolf immediately covered Kotto Brazil for the win.
WINNERS: Gringo Loco & Air Wolf
-After the match, Tony Schiavone quickly began to protest that Kotto Brazil was not actually the legal man and Myron Reed was. Rich threw to a replay from the match that showed Kotto enter the ring but never officially tagged in. All three members of Injustice began to protest the referee’s decision and then attacked the referee. Gringo Loco and Air Wolf watched the beat down for a moment and then left the ring without trying to offer help to the referee at all.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: And so the story continues The plot of the storyline does get it a bit more intriguing with the referee actually making a mistake that unfairly awarded Injustice’s opponents the win when they show not have received it. I appreciate the foreshadowing as well with the ref refusing to make the count when Kotto went for the pin earlier in the match but he was not the legal man. I am actually all for the continued story of Injustice vs the MLW refs, I just wish they could get a new set of opponents because the pairing of matches with Zenshi/Gringo Loco/Air Wolf is getting a bit stale. Also, Gringo Loco and Air Wolf did not come off as the greatest set of babyfaces by idly standing by and watching a poor defenseless referee get beat down in the center of the ring and offered no help to him whatsoever.)
-Another segment taped “earlier today” aired of Mance Warner accompanied by his uncle “Moon Man.” Mance said he wouldn’t use his uncle’s legal name because that might interfere with a business he ran on the side. He said his uncle came all the way down from West Virginia to watch him beat Jimmy Havoc bloody. He said that tonight “ole’ Mance Warner is gonna put Jimmy Havoc down and that’s just the way it’s gotta be.”
-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. [c]
-Back from break, and Rich informed us that during the commercials, Injustice returned to ringside and attacked a number of referees who were helping the referee they attacked back to the locker room. Rich then threw to another replay of the attack from Austin Aries on Teddy Hart. Rich further elaborated that Teddy Hart spent a night in Parkland Hospital in Dallas and then was driven back to Calgary because doctor’s advised that it was not safe for him to fly home. Rich then threw to Brian Pillman Jr was standing by via satellite from his home in Cincinnati who wanted to offer his thoughts on the attack Aries made.
-Pillman thanked Rich for giving him the floor to explain to the whole entire “Major League Wrestling Universe” what he just heard after getting off the phone with Bret Hart and the rest of the Hart family. He said he was told that Teddy Hart had been assaulted and permanently injured. He said it wasn’t easy being at his home in Cincinnati and being away from his extended family. He said when he signed the dotted line to join the Hart Foundation, he signed away his soul to be a member of the Hart Family. He tried to do a few sniffles and show emotion. He said next week he would show Austin Aries why he should of been there to protect his family.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: Pillman shows a lot of upside as an up and coming wrestler in the ring, but boy he’s gotta work on those promo skills. This was kind of hard to watch at points. Also, let’s leave the “Universe” speak to the WWE. It sounds lame when they do it, and doesn’t benefit any promotion to try to copy that format.)
-Yet another segment shot “earlier today” shown a cameraman confront Salina de la Renta in the parking lot of the arena and the cameraman asked what kind of strategy she gave Jimmy Havoc for his bunkhouse brawl match against Mance Warner. Salina refused to give him any information.
-MLW recapped Salina’s announcement that LA Park will cash in his Battle Riot ticket against Jacob Fatu for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. Rich then plugged the upcoming Saturday Night Superfight PPV airing November 2nd.
-MLW ran a video package announcing they would be returning to Orlando for a TV taping on November 9th. The tapings would have a special bell time of 4pm and would take place in the GILT nightclub. The tapings were being referred to under the moniker Blood & Thunder.
-MLW reran the interview from last week with the Von Erichs stating they wanted the winners of Hart Foundation/Dynasty match to get a shot at the MLW Tag Team Championship. Rich then threw to a video segment showing the Von Erichs visiting Texas Children’s Hospital.
-A cameraman approached Marshall, Ross, and Keven Von Erich exiting the Texas Children’s Hospital. The cameraman asked them what they were up to and Kevin explained that Texas Children’s Hospital was one of the best hospitals in the country and that they were visiting some friends. Marshall expounded on his father’s comment by saying they were saying hello to children. Suddenly, MJF and Richard Holiday walked up with MJF pitching Holiday on the idea of replacing all the doctors with poker tables and they could make some money. Richard agreed with his idea. MJF then noticed the Von Erichs and seemed surprised exclaiming “Oh man, it’s the Von Erichs! And they got shoes on!” MJF shook everyone’s hand and after shaking Ross’s hand, proclaimed it was wet and disgusting and proceeded to wipe his hand on his pants leg. Kevin offered his hand to Richard Holiday, who was holding a Starbucks cup, and Holiday refused to shake his hand, stating that was his coffee hand. Marshall asked MJF and Holiday what they were doing at the hospital and Holiday explained they were in negotiations to buy the hospital and turn it into a hotel or a casino. An upset Kevin Von Erich asked “What about the kids?” Both MJF and Holiday burst out laughing. “You slay me, sir,” MJF quipped and said that was a cute response. He told Holiday to give them the math. Holiday began explaining they were in the business of making the economy boom and what would make it boom more, a hotel or a casino, or a children’s hospital? Kevin heard enough and slapped the Starbucks coffee out of Holiday’s hand. Holiday began having a panic attack. MFJ said “This isn’t the 1980s, you can’t just do that, we have laws!” Holiday began to manically exclaim “get me to Starbucks, get me to Starbucks!” and MJF complied and walked him away from the hospital. The Von Erichs looked on dumbfounded, confused and in disbelief.
(Stovall’s Thoughts: I have been waiting for this inevitable feud between these two teams. Great work from MJF and Holiday here. The whole bit had me genuinely laughing.)
(2) TIMOTHY THATCHER vs. DOUGLAS JAMES
A video package aired before Douglas James came to the ring describing him as the ultimate hybrid wrestler and a NO GI World Champion. Rich noted that he was an undefeated kickboxer, MMA fighter turned pro wrestler. He came out weighing at 170 pounds. Rich wondered if Douglas James style would prevail with Thatcher being one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. Thatcher followed to the ring and his height totally dwarfed that of Douglas James giving Thatcher a total height advantage.
The ref called for the bell and James tried for a few quick kicks to the legs of Thatcher but Thatcher quickly got him to the mat and attempted to pull off a go behind. James used his speed to counter out of being placed in the hold and the two separated and reset. Both men would lock up again which would lead to James being taken down to the mat and Thatcher applying a single leg Boston Crab on James. James reversed out of the move and tried to go for a counter maneuver, but Thatcher’s height easily let him break the hold with a slap across the face. The action continued as both men got their feet and traded a barge of kicks, slaps, chops and uppercuts. James finally took Thatcher off his feet with a big flying clothesline. James began an assault of kicks to the chest but Thatcher caught James’s leg and placed James in ankle lock. James escaped the ankle lock and Thatcher hit James with a belly to belly suplex for a two count. Thatcher followed with a powerslam and an elbow drop for another two count. James fell between the ropes and Thatcher placed him in another half crab in the ropes but the referee made him break the hold by administering the five count.
The two reset again and Thatcher charged at James and James hit Thatcher with a hip toss that transitioned into a cross arm breaker. Thatcher used his height advantage to break out of the hold and picked James up in a deadlift and hit him with a suplex in the center of the ring. Thatcher hit James with a gut wretch suplex for a two count cover. Thatcher attempted to get a double underhook on James but James broke free and Thatcher nailed him with a vicious stiff uppercut. James bounced back and quickly nailed him with a snug high knee. James went for a superkick and Thatcher swatted him away, but James nailed a superkick on his second attempt for a nearfall. James smashed Thatcher with a spinning back fist to the face and began to beat him a with a series of strikes and uppercuts. Thatcher flattened James with a open palm strike to the face. James leapt on Thatcher for the guillotine choke hold but Thatcher powered out. Thatcher charged at James but James leapt off the turnbuckles and nailed another high knee to the face of Thatcher. James went to the top rope and hit a spinning splash but Thatcher got his knees up and thwarted James’s plans. Thatcher quickly got James into the Fujiwara armbar and James quickly tapped out.
WINNER: Timothy Thatcher
(Stovall’s Thoughts: Incredible technical match. An unique and interesting style for MLW Fusion that I would love to see more of. James had a great showing here but Thatcher really needed the win after taking a loss to Davey Boy Smith Jr in his debut match. Thatcher is definitely a guy you can build around for the long haul. I don’t know what the overall plans for Douglas James will be, but he would be a great addition to the Middleweight division.)
-After the match, Kaci Lenox entered the ring to conduct an interview with Timothy Thatcher. Thatcher said that Douglas James was an iron heart and he did a great job. The crowd politely applauded the efforts of Douglas James. Thatcher said that Douglas earned his respect and told the crowd to keep an eye on him in the future. James got on the mic and said he had nothing but respect for Timothy Thatcher, that he came to MLW to fight the best and that he would fight Thatcher again any day of the week. Thatcher said they were both from California and if Doulgas ever wanted to train with him he should hit him up. Rich sold that as a pretty big compliment noting that Thatcher was known to be a a bit of a reclusive. Thatcher said coming to MLW, there was one man he wanted to face and that was “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. “That sounds like a Superfight, doesn’t it?” Thatcher finished and then exited the ring.
-A backstage video aired of Jimmy Havoc walking into his dressing room. He found a sign that read “I am coming,” with a half torso scarecrow hanging from the ceiling by a rope and another full scarecrow impaled to the wall with a pitchfork. Jimmy said Mance probably thought this would scare him, but he loved it. He pulled out the pitchfork and licked the spikes. He said he would see Mance at the bunkhouse brawl and Mance was screwed. The main event is next. [c]
-Back from commercials, Kaci Lenox was backstage with Mance Warner in front of a white board. Mance had her grab a marker and draw the items he was bringing to the bunkhouse brawl which included: a bale of hay, a pitchfork, a pumpkin, a chair, and a door. Kaci was not great drawer.
-Before the main event, Rich hyped that next week’s main event would be Austin Aries versus Brian Pillman Jr.
(3) MANCE WARNER vs JIMMY HAVOC – Bunkhouse Brawl
Tim Barr introduced both competitors with Jimmy Havoc coming to the ring first. Rich wondered if the match would be too violent to air in its entirety. Jimmy Havoc picked up a shovel and waited on Mance’s arrival. Other items shown at ringside included a wheelbarrel and a whiskey barrel (not to be confused with a a Cracker Barrel.) Mance came out drinking a beer and waving an American flag. (I mean, Jimmy Havoc is from Great Britain, so I guess that works?) Mance stood on the apron, playing to the crowd as Havoc attacked him from behind, knocking him to the floor. Havoc followed Mance to the outside and grabbed the American flag and choked Mance with it. Havoc whipped Mance into the guard rail and then hit Mance over the hit with a bale of hay. Havoc retrieved the pitchfork but Mance wrestled it out of hands, and hit Havoc with the handle of the pitchfork across the back. Mance gave Havoc an Irish whip into the whiskey barrel. Havoc gained control with a poke to the eyes and then grabbed a cowbell that Rich said was borrowed from Leo Brien. Havoc swung the cowbell at Mance but missed, and then Mance got possession of the cowbell and smashed it across Havoc’s head. The fans began to chant “More cowbell!” as Mance choked Havoc with the rope from the cowbell and then threw him into the timekeeper’s table. Havoc grabbed the the timekeeper’s bell and hit Mance in the head with it. Mance fell to the floor and Havoc propped the time bell over his crotch and then slammed the cowbell into the time bell. The ref asked Jimmy Havoc what was wrong with him to which Havoc humorously shouted out “Everything’s wrong with me!”
Jimmy threw Mance into the crowd and began choking him by placing the shovel over Mance’s throat. A fan asked Havoc where his staple gun was so Havoc walked away and grabbed the gun. When he returned, Mance was on his feet and threw a chair into Havoc’s head. The match finally made it inside the ring with Havoc hitting Mance across the back several times with a chair. Havoc used an actual rake to rake the eyes and the forehead of Mance Warner. Mance took the handle of the rake and used it to hit a low blow to Havoc. He nailed Havoc with the butt end of the rake for a two count. Mance began pulling out what the announce team called “ring boards” and brought them into the ring. Mance propped the ring board into the corner and nailed Havoc with a “flip, flop and fly” elbow strike as an ode to Dusty Rhodes and the Bunkhouse Stampede match that Dusty created. Mance picked up the pumpkin and threw it at Havoc but Havoc ducked as the pumpkin went flying into the crowd. Mance turned his back on Havoc to check on the members of the audience, and when he turned around, Havoc used to the staple gun and stapled Mance in the crotch. Havoc went to the outside and brought in another pumpkin, this one carved to resemble a jack-o-lantern. Havoc pulled out Mance’s tongue and stapled it to the top of the pumpkin. Warner removed the top of the pumpkin and pulled his tongue free and then gave Havoc a headbutt and then DDTed him into the pumpkin which perfectly placed the jack-o-lantern around the head of Havoc. Mance did the “knee pad up, knee pad down” routine, and gave Havoc a running knee to the head but it only got a two count.
Mance exited the ring and retrieved another ring board and two chairs and brought them into the ring. He propped the ring board between the two chairs and tried to get Jimmy to his feet but Jimmy fought out of Mance’s grip and hit him with a German suplex into the bale of hay. Havoc then propped Mance up into a fireman’s carry and hit a Death Valley Driver on the ring board that was propped into the turnbuckles and went for the pin. The referee was out of place and took forever to get down to the make the count, but by the time he did, he was only able to get a two count. Havoc then brought Mance Warner to the ring board propped between the two chairs and stapled Mance’s tongue to the ring board. Havoc put what was left of the jack-o-lantern over the head of Mance Warner and climb to the top turnbuckle but Mance yanked his tongue off the board and chunked the pumpkin at Jimmy Havoc. Mance hit a superplex on Havoc from the top turnbuckle through the ring board between the two chairs. Mance Warner was shown bleeding from his mouth from where his tongue was stapled. Both men got back to their feet but Mance quickly hit Havoc with a big lariat and scored a three count.
WINNER: Mance Warner
-After the match, Mance stood and began celebrating with the crowd as Havoc slowly crawled to the bale of hay and pulled out a strand of barbwire. He attacked Mance from behind with the barbwire and began stabbing him repeatedly in the forehead with the wire. He put the barbwire across the forehead and then the mouth of Mance Warner and began pulling back on the wire. Mance was shown bleeding profusely as Jimmy Havoc began to bite his bloody forehead. Officials were able to get Havoc off of Mance as Rich noted this rivalry was far from over as the show went off the air.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, what a contrast in difference between the Thatcher/James match and the main event. As far as the Bunkhouse Brawl is concerned, it was pretty much what you would expect and actually probably have grown accustom to seeing in MLW street fights. There was some cool spots with the pumpkins and the rake but mostly it was the same match Havoc had with LA Park or even Warner had with Sami Callahan not too long enough. The post match ending was pretty brutal though, and was really sick and unsettling to watch. But I think that was exactly what was needed for this match to feel different than the rest. I love the character of Mance Warner, but often wonder if he has an upside to pulling off a match without the street fight rules. If he could, it would make the street fights seem more special, than just being the norm for whenever a match of his is advertised. Not much has been promoted for next week show besides the Aries and Pillman Jr main event, but Aries has been top notch in the ring since coming to MLW so I look forward to it.
Feel free to contact and follow Jason Stovall on Twitter @JaySnovall