SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MLW FUSION (#140)
APRIL 7, 2022 (RECORDED)
TAPED IN CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA
AIRED ON YOUTUBE
REPORT BY MARCUS ARIAS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
MLW Commentators: Rich Bocchini and Joe Dombrowski
-Cesar Duran made his way to the ring with a mic in his hand. He welcomed the fans to the show and quickly turned on them, saying that the arena is haunted by the ghosts of Charlotte wrestling history and that wanted to end Charlotte, NC once and for all. The lights dimmed and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat made his entrance. Duran tried to run down Steamboat but Ricky cut off Duran and let him know that he is the interim matchmaker since Duran is being investigated by MLW officials. Ricky said that until the investigation is over, Duran is out of MLW. Duran was escorted out of the ring by MLW security. One of Duran’s masked henchmen tried to attack Steamboat from behind but was caught and chopped the masked man down.
Ricky was set to make an announcement but was interrupted by Richard Holliday and Alicia Atout. Holliday and Steamboat traded verbal jabs back and forth for a while Holliday suggests that Ricky take this opportunity to shake things up a bit and asked to put at the top of the line for the MLW Heavyweight title. Atout jumped and said that Holliday deserved a big match. Ricky agreed and booked Holliday to face Matt Cross later tonight.
-New MLW tag team champions, EJ Nduka and Calvin Tankman spoke with Emilio Sparks. The champs dedicated their win to their families and talked about how much these titles mean to them. Myron Reed celebrated with his friends and said that he hoped to retain his title tonight so that they can keep the celebration going.
(1) TJP vs. MYRON REED – MLW Middleweight Championship
As soon as the bell rang, both men tried to gain whatever advantage they could as they traded holds. TJP was able to the better of the exchange with a head-scissors takeover. TJP went for a quick cover, barely getting a two-count. TJP maintained his grip on Reed. Reed tried to bridge his way out but TJP shut Reed down. TJP tried to go for another cover but Reed was able to push TJP away and shift momentum with a deep arm drag. TJP wanted to take things down to the mat and tried to lock in the cross-arm breaker. Reed slithered through the hold. Both men flipped to their feet as the crowd cheered. TJP went to shake Reed’s hand but Reed hesitated. Myron decided to offer a fist bump. TJP took this chance to sucker-punch Reed. TJP missed with a clothesline after shooting Reed into the ropes. Reed followed up with a sunset flip and connected with a dropkick after TJP rolled through. Myron went for his springboard cutter but TJP was able to kick Reed into the ropes. TJP tossed Reed into the ring post shoulder first. TJP went to the outside and wrapped Reed’s arm around the post.
The challenger got back into the ring and continued to attack Reed’s back and shoulder, connecting with a slingshot-senton and got a near fall.TJP went for a back suplex but Myron rolled away. Reed managed to get TJP in a fireman’s carry but TJP fought through it. Reed followed up with a jawbreaker. Reed went for the cutter again but got in the arm breaker. Myron tried to roll through but TJP kept the hold, wrenching the arm from the other side. TJP slowed things down, keeping pressure on Reed’s shoulder. Every time Reed would break free, TJP would find another hold to lock in, moving from an octopus hold to a surfboard
After a quick break, TJP kept the momentum, scraping his boot against Reed’s face. TJP landed a duo of Yakuza kicks, sliding to the outside after the second one. TJP took a moment to celebrate but was interrupted after Reed landed a huge tope. Reed tossed TJP back into the ring and connected with a flurry of offense. Reed went for the fireman’s carry, again and again, TJP fought through it. TJP missed with a clothesline as Reed dropped back Matrix style and drilled TJP with an enziguri. Reed fired up and went for the cutter for the third time. TJP was able to counter again, turning the cutter into a neck breaker onto the ring apron. TJP connected with the Mamba splash and almost got the three count. Reed went for springboard 450 but missed. TJP went straight for the Fujiwara armbar but quickly transitioned to the STF. Reed was barely able to reach the bottom rope. A frustrated TJP got some strikes in and connected with an octopus driver for another near fall. TJP went for the Mamba splash again. Reed caught TJP with the cutter in mid-air and got the big win.
WINNER: Myron Reed in 13:37
(Analysis: This was a great opening match. You can make the argument that this should have been the main event. Reed did a great job of selling the damage to his leg, going so far as to try a different move due to not being able to use the cutter. I love details like this. I was surprised that Reed retained since I thought they were building TJP to be the final boss of the middleweight division.)
– A video package aired that showed the Von Erichs in Dallas, Texas, where they donated the World Class championship to the University of Northern Texas museum.
-Commentary announced that Holidead will take on Shazza McKenzie next week.
(2) RICHARD HOLLIDAY VS. MATT CROSS
A quick lockup led to Holliday getting a brief advantage, sending Cross into the corner. Richard landed a series of elbows and kicks. Holliday shot Cross into the opposite corner and tried for a clothesline but Cross was able to leap over and follow up with a head-scissors takeover. With Holliday now in the corner, Cross landed a handspring back elbow. Cross sent Holliday to the outside and immediately caught him with a suicide dive.
Matt rolled Holliday back into the ring and went for a cover, getting a one-count. Cross was about to try for a move off of the second rope but was cut off by Richard, who yanked Cross down with authority. Richard followed up with a big clothesline. Holliday began to stomp away at Cross, ignoring the ref’s instructions. Holliday drove Cross down to the mat with a neck breaker and got a two-count. Holliday stomped on Cross again and began to work Matt’s shoulder. Holliday got Cross in a butterfly position but Cross broke free. Matt tried to whip Richard into the ropes but Holliday elbowed Cross right in the jaw, causing Matt to fall to the bottom rope. Richard started to stomp on Matt’s shoulder again as Alicia Atout looked on approvingly. Alicia took a moment to choke Matt as Richard distracted the ref. Holliday connected with the butterfly-backbreaker for a two-count. After trying to fishhook Cross, Holliday went for a backdrop but Cross flipped through. Cross landed with two pump-kicks and a springboard-crossbody, getting a two-count. Cross caught Holliday with the Cross Cutter for a convincing near fall. Cross went to the top and came down with a shooting star press. Holliday rolled out of the way but Cross was able to change course and roll in the opposite direction. Holliday went right for 2008 and got the three-count
WINNER: Richard Holliday in 6:45
(Analysis: This was fine for what it was. Anytime Matt Cross is on my screen, I’m going to pay attention. He hasn’t slowed down at all and is still incredibly innovative. Holliday continues to impress me. There are not many wrestlers these days that just “get” their characters but Richard is one of them. The heel paring with Alicia Atout is perfect, as they are so unlikeable as a couple. At some point, Holliday and Hammerstone will meet and it will be awesome.)
After the match, Rich Bocchini tried to interview Holliday. Alicia took the microphone away and said that she was going to do the interview herself since she is the “Interview Queen”. Richard said that he was the focal point of the Dynasty and that the Dynasty and MLW are both his now.
-A vignette aired for EJ Nduka. EJ talked about his family history, his workout routine, what brought him to wrestling, and his time in NXT. He closed the segment by talking about what brought him to MLW and what the future holds for the Judge.
-Backstage, Emilio Sparks tried to get a few words with Alex Kane. Kane quickly shut Sparks down. Kane said that he was on his way to Ricky Steamboat’s office to try and find some new challengers.
(3) THE VON ERICHS VS. THE MORTONS
– Kerry Morton and Ross Von Erich started the match. After a quick feeling-out process, Kerry gained the advantage after a back elbow. Kerry landed with a flying crossbody from the second rope for a two-count. Kerry whipped Ross into the ropes. Ross took Kerry down with a shoulder tackle but Kerry kipped up. Kerry leapfrogged over Ross but missed a dropkick. Morton went right into a side headlock and made the tag into his father. The Mortons landed a series of double-team moves on Ross. Ricky made the quick tag back to Kerry. After a big boot, Ross made the tag to Marshall and the Von Erichs got a chance for some tandem offense. Once Ross went back to the corner, Kerry caught Marshall with a pinning combination for a two-count. Marshall followed up with a sliding lariat and tagged in Ross. Ross and Marshall hit the double dropkick. Marshall tagged in and Kerry tried to fight his way through the two-on-one brawl. It was too much for Kerry. Marshall landed a standing moonsault but Ricky came in and made the save. Ross tried to take out Ricky but Ricky caught him with a Destroyer. Marshall came right back in and got Ricky in the Claw. Kerry tried to break the hold but was cut off by Ross.
The Von Erichs got Ricky with the Claw/suplex combo for the win.
WINNERS: The Von Erichs in 5:25
(Analysis: There wasn’t a whole lot to this one. If anything, this was a showcase for Kerry Morton, who has potential. It was interesting to see the Von Erichs in a traditional tag match since they have worked in tornado-tags for most of their MLW tenure. It was pretty neat to see three generations of wrestling in a match.)
-After the match, Marshall did not want to release the hold. Kerry and Ross had to force Marshall away. Kerry and Marshall squared up for a fight but things calmed down. This pace didn’t last long though as 5150 came through and crashed the scene. Slice Boogie and Rivera tried to take out the Von Erichs. Kerry Morton fired up. Kerry and Ross hit the double dropkick on Rivera, sending him to the floor. Marshall took out Boogie with a big clothesline. The Mortons and the Von Erichs celebrated together as the show went off the air.