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El Jeffe? You Might Know Him As Dario Cueto!

MLW Fusion Review—May 5th

MLW Fusion finally hits its season finale before it relaunches once again, this time with fans in attendance, at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on July 10th.

Closing out this season then is a big rematch between Lio Rush and Myron Reed for the Middleweight title. Plus, the identity of Azteca Underground’s mysterious El Jeffe will finally be revealed. Has Salina de la Renta been taken to El Jeffe? What will El Jeffe do to her for all Salina’s disobedience?

For the last time until July 10th, let’s get into the ring and get into it!

Gringo Loco vs. Larado Kid

This was a match between two talented performers but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t know that I can even tell you why, either. There’s was nothing really wrong that either man did; there was just some spark missing there somehow. Maybe the issue was more with me than them.

What I will say is that there were some nice spots, such as Laredo Kid nailing a hurricarana while Gringo was on the second rope outside of the ring, before nailing a somersault belly-to-belly superplex to get the win.

More interesting to me was the announcement that AAA had given Laredo Kid a new Cruiserweight title and did not recognise the loss to Lio Rush weeks ago as Lio appeared to tap out (he didn’t, but it made a nice story—Lio as double champion and now Laredo can continue his reign).

IWA Caribbean Champion Richard Holliday vs. Ariel Dominguez

One thing I did not have on my scorecard this year was Richard Holliday turning face. But that appears to be what’s going down, if this was anything to go by.

After beating Ariel Dominguez easily in under two minutes using the ‘2008’ twisting suplex, Holliday was in the middle of giving Alicia Atout an interview on the stage when Gino Medina interrupted, clearly not over the defeat Holliday dished out to him three weeks back. Alicia told Gino it wasn’t his time and Holliday asked him to leave, at least out of respect for Alicia.

It looked like Gino was going to do just that. Instead, he cracked Holliday from behind, launching a flurry of fists down onto the prone body of the Dynastic one before dropping him with a DDT on the hard wood as officials tried desperately to separate the two.

Gino might still be insisting that he wasn’t fired from The Dynasty, rather he quit, but he should be more concerned about Holliday’s going to respond to this instead…

Pulp Fusion

  • Alexander Hammerstone questioned why Josef Samuel is blocking his match with World Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu. Hammerstone suspects that, while Fatu may think himself invincible, Samuel might not think the same about the world champ…
  • Marshall Von Erich apologised to his brother, Ross, for losing to Tom Lawlor last week and promised there would a reckoning in Philadelphia on July 10th.

MLW Middleweight Champion Lio Rush vs. Myron Reed

MLW had done a nice job all night of promoting Reed/Rush II, showing several clips throughout the show of the pair’s first match.

Rush started things off by s**t-talking Reed before the InJustice man responded with a wrist lock, Rush flipping out of it before hitting Reed in the gut with a cheap shot and beckoning him to come get some more. An incredible sequence of hectic counters and reversals followed, with Reed proving that he knows Rush better than Lio thinks he does, ending things with a dropkick to take the champion down.

Reed seemed to have the measure of the champ, turning a cutter attempt into a slam but another series of counters saw Rush come out on top with an enziguri. Rush began to focus on that previously injured back of Reed with splashes, slams and kicks. The champ mixed it up a little with different submissions, moving from chin lock to an armbar, leaning all his body weight down onto the back of Reed. With Reed on the outside, Rush went for a springboard moonsault off the bottom rope and missed his target. Reed retaliated by slipping back in the ring and hitting a crazy suicide crossbody over the top rope, but therein lay the proof that Rush had done damage; Reed instantly staggered around after clasping that hurt back of his.

Back in the ring, Rush evaded a Reed attack and tapped his head to indicate his smarts. Unfortunately for Rush, Reed swung over the ropes and dropped with a lovely jawbreaker. This only seemed to give Lio Rush a second wind as he attacked Reed hard with a bonkers reverse hurricarana and a Spanish fly for a near-fall. Some big strikes and boots followed between the two before Rush showed off his aerial skills, knocking Reed down on the outside with a suicide dive over the middle rope followed by a stunning springboard somersault dive which nearly defied description.

Smelling victory, Rush went once again for a springboard cutter, only for Reed to spin Rush over and drop him face first, following up with a springboard cutter of his own and a brainbuster for a near-fall. An exchange of strikes saw Rush sent to the outside where Reed attempted an absolutely sick looking leaping cutter, jumping straight over the top rope. Rush, however, caught the challenger and sent him into the post, following up with a reverse hurricarana onto the floor. Wow. Back in the ring, Rush hit the Final Hour frog splash but only got two. He hoisted Reed up into a fireman’s carry but Reed escaped and hit the Cap’n Crunch Death Valley Driver before finally landing the 450 splash for the 1-2-3! New champion!!! Rush walked away in a kind of furious daze while Tankman and Jordan Oliver hit the ring to celebrate with an ecstatic Reed.

That was a really good main event, plain and simple. Most of the focus of the night will be on AEW’s Blood and Guts and I get that, but don’t let this match be overshadowed. This was a great athletic contest that didn’t overdo the high spots, meaning that the big moments had more impact. Both men looked great but the right man won, assuming Rush isn’t hanging around. I’d be quite happy to see him stay in MLW.

Just great work from both men.

Meet The New Boss…Same As The Old Boss

To cap off a great night, MLW finally revealed who the mysterious El Jeffe, leader of Azteca Underground, actually is. And if you guessed it or were secretly hoping for it as I was, then you’ll be happy to know that it is indeed Dario Cueto of Lucha Underground! YES!!!

If you’ll remember from last week, Salina de la Renta was bundled into the back of a car with a hood over her head and was driven off, presumably to be taken to El Jeffe. Tonight, the same hulking masked man who kidnapped her shoved Salina into an office and to a chair, where Dario Cueto spun round in his chair and revealed himself as the mysterious owner of Azteca Underground. Claiming that Salina had not only disappointed him but his followers also, he reminded Salina that all he had asked of her was “blood and violence” with which to build his new temple. Now he had the perfect opportunity to give a necessary sacrifice…

As the masked henchman dragged Salina away screaming, Dario took a call from an unknown person, to whom he confirmed he would see whoever it was at Philadelphia on July 10th.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am at how this is all paying off. Cueto hasn’t lost that charisma in his performance; he still absolutely has it. Plus, now we have a cliffhanger for when MLW returns on July 10th. Awesome.

Final Thoughts

While I wasn’t necessarily enthralled by the opening encounter, the rest of this week’s MLW Fusion was an excellent exercise in great wrestling and setting up big storylines. The Medina attack on Richard Holliday nicely set up a Holliday face turn without forcing Holliday to lose his essential smugness. Myron Reed and Lio Rush killed it in a great rematch that trumped their first match and gave Reed a much-deserved second run with the middleweight belt. And MLW finally made good on all the hints around Azteca Underground by revealing Dario Cueto to be El Jeffe, the mysterious leader, someone who still seems to have some tricks up his sleeve.

If you look back at some of my previous Fusion reviews since the restart, I hadn’t been impressed for a while, feeling a lot of it was falling flat. However, since Filthy Island, MLW seems to have really pulled its socks up and got its act together and consequentially it feels exciting once again. I’m looking forward to July 10th now to see what the future brings.

MLW returns with a new season on July 10th from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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