SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MLW FUSION REPORT
JANUARY 12, 2023 (RECORDED)
TAPED IN PHILADELPHIA, PA
AIRED ON YOUTUBE
REPORT BY MARCUS ARIAS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
MLW Fusion Commentators: Rich Bocchini and Joe Dombrowski
-Cesar Duran opened the show. Duran said that MLW came to him in order to stop Contra and he accomplished that using his wits and guile. He said that it was time for Azteca to rise again with strength and blood, before dropping the microphone.
(1) Shun Skywalker vs. Lince Dorado – MLW World Middleweight Championship
Shun Skywalker went straight for Lince Dorado as soon as the bell rang with a pump-kick that sent Lince into the corner. After a quick beatdown, Shun kicked Dorado out to the floor and they brawled for a moment. Skywalker rolled Lince back into the ring and continued to press the offense. The champ slowed the pace with some limb work, focusing on Lince’s arm. Dorado fought through a hammer-lock and hit a Shun with a springboard arm drag, followed by a tijeras, that took Skywalker to the outside. Lince positioned himself for a dive but Shun grabbed Lince’s leg. Dorado managed to kick Shun away and went for a diving crossbody. Skywalker simply moved aside and hit Lince with a back suplex onto the ring apron. Dorado tried to recover but Shun was ready with another pump kick that forced Lince back into the ring.
Shun kept up the pressure and sent Dorado into the corner. After a brief chop battle, Skywalker shot Lince into the opposite corner and connected with another pump-kick. With Lince on the mat, Shun signaled for a standing moonsault but this was a feint. As Dorado got his feet up, Shun was ready with a Texas cloverleaf. Skywalker kept the hold on and muscled Lince up, turning the submission into a facebuster. Shun went for a cover and got a two-count. Dorado showed some fire and began to fight off Shun. This didn’t last long as Shun locked in a Gory special. Lince rolled through with an arm drag and followed up with a flurry of strikes. Shun ran towards Lince but Dorado tossed him to the ring apron. Lince connected with a basement dropkick, knocking Skywalker to the floor. Dorado was ready with a crossbody from the top rope.
After a break, Dorado got a very close near fall after another crossbody. Both men traded off in a chain sequence until Skywalker hit a modified cutter out of nowhere, getting another near fall. Lince fought off a double-underhook attempt, hitting a hurricanrana but missed a tiger-feint kick. Skywalker hit Lince with the SSW but Lince kicked out at the absolute last possible second. Shun climbed to the top rope but slipped momentarily. Lince used this to knock Shun into a tree-of-woe and hit Shun in the face with a baseball slide dropkick. Dorado drove down Shun hard with a brainbuster. After a two count, Lince went right to a cross-arm breaker. Skywalker outmuscled Lince and hit a modified Michinoku driver. Both men were slow to get up and began to brawl on their knees. Shun used his size advantage to force Lince down, hitting a standing moonsault knee drop, getting another very close near fall. Skywalker tried for a blue-thunder bomb but Lince managed to roll through, getting a two count. Shun went for the SSW but Lince was ready and hit the handspring stunner. Dorado connected with the shooting-star press, getting the win. Lince Dorado is the new champ!
WINNER: Lince Dorado in 13:02
After the match, Sam Laterna asked Lince what winning the title meant to him. Lince talked about an accident in 2007 in this very building that left him clinically dead for a moment. The new champ said that having his friends and family here for this moment was in fact, “Lucha-lit”. Cesar Duran was ready with a bottle of champagne and offered Lince a drink. Dorado accepted and walked back with Cesar after Duran said that they have some business to discuss.
(Analysis: I have really enjoyed the MLW/Dragon Gate partnership and this match was a great example of why this relationship works. Seeing Shun Skywalker get mainstream attention, makes my day. I had a feeling that he would have a relatively short run with the title but it did what it needed to do. Having Matt Striker on commentary was a nice touch since he’s such a wrestling nerd. Hearing him call a Dragon Gate style match was a lot of fun. Lince Dorado has put in a lot of work since leaving WWE and it’s wonderful to see it pay off. I will say that I am genuinely curious to see how he moves forward after he seemed to align himself with Cesar Duran.)
-The Bomaye Fight Club was backstage, showing the Opera Cup prominently. Alex Kane began listing countries that have shown interest in the cup. Mr. Thomas mentioned Canada and the U.K. to which Kane scoffed at the idea. Cesar Duran appeared and suggested Mexico. Myron Reed presented Duran with a BFC jacket as they all chanted along. As Kane and company left the area, Duran gave a wink to the camera.
-Hugo Savinovich was backstage to present Cesar Duran with a “Booker of the Year” award. Duran said that was not the booker of the year, he was the booker of the decade and of the century. He said that he has achieved this on his own. He didn’t have a trust fund or family to get where he is. He used his brain and love of violence. Duran threw the award away, saying that he’s a promoter…not a booker and that he only brings in champions. Duran called for Taya Valkyrie. Valkyrie mentioned their past in Lucha Underground and said that she knew that if she wanted to make a name in MLW, she needed to be with the best.
-It was announced that Taya Valkyrie will defend the Featherweight Championship against Trish Adora next week.
-EJ Nduka has postponed his match against Alex Hammerstone again.
-A video package aired with Hammerstone. The MLW champ talked about how much holding the title means to him and how much it means to represent MLW. Hammerstone wants to show that he is the definitive MLW champion and that 2023 will a year of great matches.
-The British Bulldogs were shown in their locker room, prepping for their match later tonight.
-It was announced that Cesar Duran has another new signee that will be revealed next week. Also, Jacob Fatu will be taking on Ben-K.
(2) The Bomaye Fight Club vs. The British Bulldogs
Mark Billington and Myron Reed started the match. After a quick lock-up, Billington muscled Reed into the corner but broke away clean as the ref started his count. Reed turned the tables though, trying to outclass Billington. After another lock-up, Tom started to use his technical background, targeting Reed’s arm with a hammerlock. Reed broke the hold and began to work over Mark’s arm. Reed shot Mark into the ropes. Billington ducked a clothesline and hit Reed with a springboard arm drag. Mark brought Reed to the Bulldog corner, tagging in Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Davey Boy easily dropped Myron with a big scoop slam. This was followed up with a powerslam which resulted in a one-count. DBS kept the pressure up with a high-angle back suplex. Reed kicked out a pin attempt at one. Davey tagged in Thomas Billington. Billington planted Myron with a snap suplex and hit a falling headbutt. Thomas followed up with a gut wrench suplex, getting another one-count. Commentary mentioned that Thomas had a more explosive style compared to Mark. This was shown when Thomas rocked Myron with a tackle. Reed rolled to the outside, trying to catch his breath as members of the Bomaye Fight Club cheered on.
Myron reentered the ring and moved to the far corner, trying to create as much distance as he can. Thomas was ready with a coast-to-coast dropkick. After a two-count, Mark Billington came in and tried to help Thomas get some tandem offense in. Reed ducked a double clothesline and took out Mark with an enziguri. Thomas had another clothesline loaded though and folded Myron inside-out. Thomas climbed to the top turnbuckle and readied for a high-risk maneuver. The BFC’s Mr. Thomas snuck in and shoved Thomas Billington away.
On the outside, Alex Kane began to brawl with Davey Boy Smith Jr. Mr. Thomas tagged in and destroyed Billington with a series of power moves. Kane called for the tag and Mr. Thomas obliged. After a quick break, Alex got a two-count after a modified backbreaker. The Bomaye Fight Club made a series of quick tags, keeping the pressure on, and keeping Billington from tagging in his partners. Reed tagged in and tried for a double suplex with Kane. Billington escaped and landed a double dropkick, finally making the tag to Davey Boy. DBS single handily took out all three of his opponents. Mr. Thomas made a blind tag and cheap-shotted Davey Boy. Mark tagged in and tried to chop Mr. Thomas down. After getting Mr. Thomas to a knee, Mark readied for a moonsault that wiped out everyone waiting on the outside.
In the ring, Davey and Mr. Thomas squared off and traded blows until the Bulldogs swarmed in and helped Davey set up Mr. Thomas for an assisted second rope powerslam. Davey made the pin and got the three count.
WINNERS: The British Bulldogs in 8:54
(Analysis: This was a great showcase for the new generation of British Bulldogs. Mark and Thomas play off of each other’s strengths well. Much like the Von Erichs though, I want to see these two work a standard tag match in order to establish more of a baseline. Myron Reed stood out to me in this one. He wrestled like he had something to prove and it showed. As for Davey, I am glad to see him back in MLW and it looks like he’s going to move up the card quickly)
CATCH-UP: John Morrison set for MLW return in 2023