MLW Fusion Review: April 4th

“The most violent, hard-hitting action mixed with cutting edge storylines.”

Court Bauer, MLW CEO


It was Saturday 4th April, which meant it was here at least, the big show had arrived…this week’s MLW Fusion!

What, was there another show you were supposed to be watching?

This week’s slice of top-class ‘Hybrid Wrestling’ comes once again from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. As always, the crowd is hot and so is the action, so let’s head to the ring!

Douglas James vs. Septimo Dragon

We’re straight into the ring to start tonight’s show. I wasn’t familiar with either gentleman before this match, but now that I’ve seen them, I’ll look forward to seeing some more from both in the near future!

This was a really fun little math. Dragon has a little bit of Ray Fenix about him, which is never a bad thing. Douglas James looked good as a resilient, serious-minded grappler trying to overcome Dragon’s flash and charisma.

There was some really good spots, with a double-kick double-knockout, a death valley driver into the corner and an over-the-shoulder drop into a pile driver being the craziest.

In the end, Douglas James took the win with a guillotine choke to end a contest were both men came out looking like winners. A really good opening.

Douglas James vs Septimo Dragon title card

The Dynasty and The Psychopath

Down in the parking lot, the MLW crew try to get an interview with Richard Halliday, is less than impressed. A phone call suggests someone has done something stupid that he needs to fix, and he dismisses us all with the disdain he thinks we deserve.

Meanwhile, we get a flashback to Mance Warner’s MLW debut in February 2019 – it feels longer for some reason, he’s a real major part of the team.

Backstage, Alicia Atout is with the ‘Southern Psychopath’ now. Mance is on fire, saying that the things he’s going to do to MJF, he doesn’t even want his momma to see! But The Dynasty have brought it on themselves. Alicia asks how he’ll deal with the Dynasty if they try to interview. “F**k ‘em”, comes the blunt and surprising response that had me in stitches. ‘Ol Mancer will lay ‘em all out one-by-one.” Mance also alluded to having some friends of his own. The plot thickens!

The Pillman Report

We get a flashback to last week when Pillman got jumped in the parking lot by Injustice. Commentators Rich Boccini and AJ tell us that in turn Injustice has been fined $10,000 and suspended. Pillman has fractured his mandible and got a broken jaw for his trouble. The police are reviewing footage but it’s uncertain if Pillman will press charges. No mention of when Pillman will be back, which was interesting. He’s really selling it.

LA Park Wants the Psycho Clown!

We get a little preview of the MLW/AAA super series with a look at some of the names who will be there. AAA favourite Psycho Clown will be appearing, which takes us backstage to LA Park and his two sons who issue a challenge to Psycho Clown to find two partners of his own and face them 3-on-3.

One of the sons utters the phrase “for you to even find someone who can even touch a hair on our masculine and powerful bodies will be difficult,” which is possibly the campest and greatest thing I’ve heard in a long time. I’m looking forward to this one!

The Rarefied Air of the Dynasty

Alicia Atout tries to get a word with The Dynasty outside their dressing room, but Halliday and Hammerstone are having none of it, as MJF is having a “pre-match ritual rub down” and besides, they don’t want to lose the rarefied air of the dressing room.

We then get clips of MJF’s MLW debut in October 2017 and him winning the Middleweight belt in 2018. I concur with MJF’s comments after winning said title: he really was always a star. Best heel in the business, bar none.

Backstage, Savio Vega tells Alicia Atout that Mance is his boy and that MJF is going down.

A little later Hammerstone and Halliday, equipped with tire irons, confront Mance Warner down in the parking lot. Shame they didn’t count on Savio being down there, as he jumps on the Dynasty and a brawl kicks off.

We cut to a clip of Mance’s recent, brutal barbed wire match with Jimmy Havoc. When we come back, Mance and Savio have the Dynasty on the floor looking sheepish. Mance is off to “kick MJF’s ass” while Savio stays on guard, tire iron in hand, over the Dynasty. Brilliant.

Meanwhile, MJF cuts a promo of a lifetime. He outlines how he got revenge for being bullied at School for being a Jew. Then, screaming, he tells Mance he’s not the only one who can get crazy! More of this in AEW, please, Maxwell!

I must say, MLW has done a good job of making this match seem like a really big deal, even with the foregone conclusion. I’m impressed and was certainly hyped up to get to the action.

“Grab Your Mops, Boys, We’re Coming!”

We see a clip of King Mo’s screwy win over Low Ki last week and it’s announced that Team Filthy and American Top Team will be holding a press conference in two weeks’ time.

In response we’re taken to a video clip of the Von Erich’s in their yard. They tell us to stay strong during these tough times, which was a nice touch, and then advised Team Filthy to get their mops. I’m not sure what the mops are for, maybe we need to ask Perry Saturn? In any case, the Von Erich boys are no mood to play. Game on.

Empty Arena, Loser Leaves Town Match: Mance Warner vs. MJF

MJF vs. Mance Warner title card

This was an excellent match.


I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting MJF to give as well as he got. MJF was vicious and wild, trying to throw Mance off the balcony, throwing Mance into rows of chairs and knocking them everywhere, and even punching a cameraman out for getting too close.

He even brought out a pair of bolt cutters, which Mance got a hold off and nearly brought tears to Maxwell’s eyes, if you get my drift.

Mance, for his part, lived up to his psychopath moniker, throwing chairs at MJF’s head and throwing MJF down the bleacher steps at one point in a wince-inducing spot.

Maxwell borrowed a member of the crew’s phone at one point to order a taxi, which made me chuckle. Mance then proceeded to throw a chair into Maxwell’s head, a nasty shot, and then tell the taxi company “this is Mance…nah, he’s good now.” Brilliant.

This reminded me of an old school Memphis-style arena brawl, or an old TWA style scrap, which really suited the empty arena and the intensity of the conflict between the two men. In the end, though, Mance picked Maxwell up and dropped him into a headbutt, finishing him with a lariat for the 1-2-3.

So long, Maxwell. I’ll see you on Wednesdays instead.

Mance Warner drinking a cold one

Final Thoughts

This was a really good edition this week. I’d argue the balance between talk and grappling was perhaps a little too skewed towards the mic, but then the majority really did aid the build to the MJF-Mance battle. The opening match was really fun and the empty arena closer was sublime. That’ll do me.

So, join me next week grapple fans for some more of the best ‘hybrid wrestling’ going – on MLW Fusion!

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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