“The most violent, hard-hitting action mixed with cutting edge storylines.”
Court Bauer, MLW CEO
Welcome grapple fans to my first review of MLW Fusion for Sports Obsessive. I will be your MLW guy moving forward and I’m looking forward to bringing you the lowdown on all the best and most brutal action from the kings and queens of ‘Hybrid Wrestling.’
This week’s edition comes from the famous (or is that infamous?) 2300 Arena in Philadelphia and it looks to be a lot better lit than when Impact was taping at the same arena not so long ago. In fact, the MLW presentation is looking a little sharper than it was, say, 12 months ago. This is the sign of a company that is slowly but surely improving all the time and its cult audience deserves to grow.
In any case, the crowd is hot and so is the action, so let’s head to the ring!
A Recap of a Treacherous Attack
We open with a quick look back at the previous two week’s skirmishes between Team Filthy and the team of Low Ki, Killer Kross, Davey Boy Smith Jr and the Von Erich’s.
At the end of last week’s match, King Mo made his presence felt by snapping a baseball bat over Killer Kross’ back. Has Mo joined Team Filthy? A pre-taped interview does indeed suggest there is an alliance between Lawlor’s boys and America’s Top Team.
So, what’s on their mind? First of all, MLW has suspended Mo, which Dan Lambert is not happy about. AT ALL. He has instructed his lawyers to lodge an appeal, meaning Mo will still be able to wrestle until the appeal is either accepted or rejected.
It’s a cool move, in that it gives MLW a pre-established ‘out’ if they need to take Mo off TV for whatever reason. It also helps to anchor the idea that Mo’s actions went too far and that he is dangerous, simply by having the company treat like a genuine sports athlete who’s stepped out of line. Little details that larger companies forget to use that really help fans suspend their sense of disbelief.
It’s also revealed that Dominic Garrini will be holding ‘Team Filthy Open Prize Fight Challenges’ – $1000 for any man or woman who can last 5 minutes with him in the ring – starting tonight!
Dominic Garrini vs. Dr Dax
Dr Dax is a masked man with a big build, giving him the weight advantage. But he was no match for Garrini’s shoot skills, who managed to ground his opponent and tap him out in the space of a single minute. Whoever’s next to step to Garrinni, they need to bring their A-game.
MJF Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is
As great as MJF’s feud with Cody was in AEW (and it’s hard to believe it ended as it did with just the one match), I wish MJF had shown just a little bit of the fore he showed in this single promo. Having been challenged by ‘The Southern Psychopath’ Mance Warner to a Loser Leaves Town match, MJF cut an excellent promo, feigning humility that he didn’t want to be born with a silver spoon in his mouth and denouncing Warner as an “outlaw, mud wrestler, shitty little indie wrestler.” Ouch. Unfortunately for MJF, his temper got the better of him, shouting to Warner that he will “f**k you up” and accepting the challenge, much to the discomfort of his Dynasty stablemates. Masterful work.
It’s just a shame that MJF’s signing of an exclusive contract with AEW was so widely publicised, meaning the result is a foregone conclusion.
The match is announced for next week’s edition of Fusion. Should be a barnstormer.
MLW National Heavyweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone vs. T-Hawk
Let’s be clear: Hammerstone is a star in the making. Not only has he got the look, but he’s also a big strong brute of a man without falling into the trap of being pushed as a lumbering beast like a Braun Strowman or an Otis. I really do predict things for the guy, and I’m not the only one.
I was intrigued to see T-Hawk here, what with the AEW connection. I know OWE’s hit a difficult patch but surely guys like T-Hawk would show up there on TV first? In any case, Mr Hawk (as is his name) is a talented gentleman and a strong challenge for the champion.
The match was a little slow to get off the ground, with both feeling each other out, but soon picked up the pace with both men hitting each other with big strikes and power moves, countering as best they could but just coming up short of taking the win.
In the end, a massive kick to the head of T-Hawk whilst he perched on the top turnbuckle, a big superplex and the Nightmare Pendulum got the job done. A really enjoyable little encounter.
Konnan Brings the Hype
Backstage, Konnan is asked about the MLW/AAA ‘Super Series’ due to take place in two weeks’ time. But he’s got his ‘booker’s hat’ on (looks like a baseball cap to me) and is saying nothing. He does say, however, inter-promotional shows benefit everyone – the fans, the wrestlers, the promotions.
Try going back in time and telling that to the UWFi…
King Mo vs. Low Ki
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your main event and is a contest to decide who truly is the ‘King of Knockouts.’ Ask JBL; he knows it’s Joey Styles…
I actually quite enjoyed this. Shoot-style matches, in American pro wrestling anyway, can be a bit of a mixed bag. Thankfully, Low Ki was game here and I was surprised how much offense he let King Mo get in, which was needed to build Mo up as a real machine in the eyes of the fans.
Mo had some juicy takedowns, throwing Ki out of the ring a couple of times. Ki nearly stole the fight with a seething rolling Liger kick. Mo was lucky to have teeth after that.
Alas, that old chestnut the run-in had to occur. Whilst Garrini and Erik Stevens distracted the ref and the Von Erich brothers, Lawlor came out and hit Ki across the back of the neck with Mo’s umbrella, giving the King the victory. It took the sheen off what had been an otherwise quite enjoyable encounter.
Afterwards, the group took a mic to the stage. Filthy Tom proved why he is one of the most underrated men in the business today. Mo, on the other hand, in his attempt to get the crowd to kneel before the King, was less successful. Hopefully, with Filthy Tom as a mentor, King Mo will be able to step up his mic game.
The Mystery of Missing Pillman Jr.
Originally, Bryan Pillman Jr was supposed to take on Myron Reed to settle the bad blood between Pillman and the Injustice stable. Throughout the show, however, backstage interviewer Alicia Atout updated us on Pillman’s unexplained absence from the arena, leading to the eventual cancellation of his match. Luckily, somebody knew Pillman’s whereabouts. Unfortunately for Pillman, those persons were Injustice.
Handing Alicia a phone and telling her to make the production truck play the footage thereon, Injustice ended the show with their video, which showed them sneaking up on an unsuspecting Pillman in a car parking lot.
The inevitable beat down was good, but then the scales were tipped further into ‘Oh. My. God.’ territory. Placing Pillman’s prone head on a breeze block, Myron blasted him with a vicious curb stomp, like an inverted American History X. The block breaking took away a little from the realism but the overall effect was brutal, a group going too far to disable their rival. And it was on this shocking image we faded to black.
This was a strong, well-paced and, most importantly, entertaining hour of wrestling that forwarded feuds, developed future stars and ended on a jaw-dropping moment of violence. I’m looking forward to seeing how Pillman responds to Injustice and what kind of shape he’ll be in. I also want to see how many shades Mance Warner can kick out of MJF, or does MJF have any tricks up his sleeve?
Join me next week grapple fans for some more of the best ‘hybrid wrestling’ going – on MLW Fusion!