I like MLW. I like their roster of talent. I like the way the company handles itself. I like the fact that they try to put out a more rounded product that includes all forms of wrestling. I like the way the show is written, usually. Hell, I even like their logo. Overall you can call me a fan of Major League Wrestling which makes the hatchet job I’m about to do on this week’s episode of Fusion kind of difficult for me.
Over the previous 83 episodes, there hasn’t been a bad one among them. Sure, there have been matches that didn’t work and promos and skits I could’ve lived without but I’ve never walked away from MLW Fusion thinking “Well, there’s an hour of my life I’m never getting back”. That is, until this week.
It just didn’t work for me. If you’ve only got three matches on your show then to all of them have dodgy finishes is always going to go down badly. Throw in a Main Event that never got out of reverse, and then you’ve got a problem.
So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at MLW Fusion #84 and everything that was wrong with it. Time to lace up our boots and head to the ring.
Ikuro Kwon vs Marshall Von Erich
For months now, Marshall Von Erich has been begging for a one on one match with Ikuro Kwon and on this week’s episode of Fusion, he finally got it. It was a mouth-watering prospect. Kwon is pure money and Von Erich is obviously being groomed for the spotlight role in the company and the fact that it went on first left me believing we were about to see a barn-burner for the ages.
It started out in that fashion as well. Before Von Erich could even enter the ring, Kwon met him on the outside by flipping over the top rope and taking both Marshall and his brother Ross, who had accompanied him to the ring, out in a breathtaking move.
From there it was a back and forth rollercoaster as Von Erich got the upper-hand until interference by Josef Samael saw the tide turn in Kwon’s favor. It was here that the bout hit a speed bump. Marshall had taken a beating at Kwon’s hands but seemed to shrug it off as if it was nothing. This annoyed me — a lot. At first, I thought this was Von Erich’s fault and that he just didn’t know how to sell Kwon’s offense but in hindsight, I realize it was because of the time constraints that had been placed on the two wrestlers. After all, with the Main Event being allocated nearly 20 minutes, the rest of the show had to run short. This was one of many mistakes that littered this week’s Fusion.
It was all over in a flash as well. Von Erich locked in The Iron Claw, a move synonymous with the Von Erich name and was on the verge of victory until Josef Samael jumped into the ring and lay a beating on him, resulting in a DQ.
For months now we’d been waiting for this confrontation between the two and it ended with a bloody DQ win for Von Erich. Why? Why give this away on free programming? This was the kind of fight that should’ve been saved for a PPV but to just use it as a throwaway bout on Fusion was just dumb and that finish? Ugh.
Marshall is moving on to bigger things as well as he’s now in line for a shot at the MLW World Heavyweight Champion, Jacob Fatu, which means this whole exercise was just pointless.
Winner By DQ: Marshall Von Erich
The Dynasty vs Douglas James and Dominic Garrini
After a funny as hell skit between Richard Holliday and MJF, regarding a botched botox operation the latter had just gotten, Holliday and Hammerstone headed to the ring to face Douglas James and Dominic Garrini.
I’m a huge mark for all the competitors involved here, but I have to give out a special mention to Dominic Garrini. The guy is a legitimate badass and could quite easily crush you with just a thought, so everything that he does in the wrestling ring looks pure brutal and this bout was no different.
A great heel promo from Holliday, including him having to take a phone call from his lawyer/father, would then see him get in the face of Garrini. Bad call, brother. Garrini dropped him into an arm-breaker and a frenzied panic would see him get free and tag in Hammerstone. Making the same mistake as Holliday and getting up in Garrini’s grill would see him suffer the same treatment and from here on out the match was strong style at its best.
Some of the moves and strikes on offer here made me wince but my favorite had to be when Hammerstone just pancaked the hell out of James by slamming him face-first into the canvas from above head height.
There was an attempted Tornado DDT from James onto Hammerstone from the apron to the outside that was…well…a tad off if I’m trying to be kind but I think this was more to do with the limited space that was available to perform the move than it was a genuine botch on either wrestler’s behalf.
And then the ending happened and your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer almost shut off his TV and went and did something else instead.
With all four men fighting on the outside, it would take James crawling back into the ring on nine to bring the win. Yup, that’s right folks, after a DQ finish in the first match, the second match of the night ended in a count-out victory.
Winners By Count-Out: Douglas James and Dominic Garrini
Filthy Tom Lawlor vs Davey Boy Smith Jr.
It’s Main Event time folks, and I have no idea what in the blue Hell happened here. On paper, any match between Filthy Tom Lawlor and Davey Boy Smith Jr. should be a home-run. Both are skilled in technical wrestling, both can hit like an out of control freight train, and when the intensity is ramped up, then there really aren’t that many better.
But for whatever reason, this just didn’t work.
It could be because Filthy Tom is actually leaving MLW and the whole “Will he, won’t he?” storyline isn’t a work, meaning that his mind might’ve been on other things when this episode was recorded, or it might just have been a case of the two styles not gelling in the way that we’d expect them too, but whatever it was, this match never got going.
It was full of rest holds and not a lot more, and it got so bad that you could actually hear the audience talking among themselves. And as for that ending, jeez.
A stray finger to the eye left Davey Boy Smith Jr. unable to fight off Filthy Tom Lawlor, which in turn allowed the dirty one to pick up the win but what was the point? If Lawlor is actually staying with MLW then it makes sense to a degree as they can pick up the feud down the line, with Davey Boy being the wronged party but if he does leave the promotion it seems like a weak sauce way to go out.
It was a very strange way to end the show and one I hope never happens again.
Winner: Filthy Tom Lawlor
Look, I get it. MLW wanted to keep everyone involved in this week’s episode of Fusion, looking strong. I don’t blame them for that. It makes sense. But what would’ve made even more sense would’ve been to keep half of the players involved off of the show and replace them with jobbers.
It’s just logical.
At least that way you can keep your stars looking strong and be done with the crappy finishes that we had to endure. I don’t mind the occasional one happening but three out of three? That’s just lazy booking and I expect more from MLW.
Thankfully next week is looking a lot stronger, with the first-ever match in the newly formed Women’s Division as well as a Falls Count Anywhere match between Jimmy Havoc and Mance Warner that promises to be a blood-bath.
As for MLW Fusion #84? It won’t live long in the memory and as for me, I’m going to move to Peru now, just on the off chance that anyone involved in this snooze-fest of a show actually reads this review and decides to pay me a visit.