Low Ki: MLW Anthology

“For nearly twenty years, Major League Wrestling has showcased some of the greatest athletes, legends and classic title fights in our sport. Now MLW looks back at some of those great moments…”

Rich Bocinni

This week’s edition of MLW’s excellent Anthology series focused on a star who has been a major driving force in the company since their revival, and is perhaps one of the greatest wrestlers in the post-millennium period. It’s ‘The Professional’ himself, Low Ki.

This week, we will get to see two defining moments from his career; his showdown with Homicide that ended with one of the company’s greatest angles; and his MLW World Heavyweight Championship win in 2018, a reign that is still the longest MLW Heavyweight title reign to date.

So, with all that said, let’s go to the ring!

Low Ki vs. Homicide (Orlando, Florida, January 2004)

This match was based on the premise of student vs. Teacher, with Low Ki taking on his mentor, the dangerous, badass Homicide to prove who is the better man.

This was an excellent match, with both men looking crisp in their execution and throwing some hard strikes and kicks at each other. Low Ki in particular hits two killer kicks; the first almost being like a soccer bicycle kick to the head when Homicide attempted a dive through the ropes; the second when Low Ki managed to flip out of Homicide’s ‘Cop Killer’ attempt and spun round with a vicious crack to the skull.

Homicide proved why he was the teacher in the first place, hammering Low Ki with tough power moves and strikes, and locking in brutal submissions like the STF.

In the end, it proved to be the teacher who would come out victorious, rolling into a different position whilst in Low Ki’s dragon sleeper and pinning Ki’s shoulders down for the three in a clever move.

After the match, Jerry Lynn ran down to attack Homicide (not sure what the feud was about there – can anyone help me out, grapple fans?) but Low Ki gave Lynn a kicking, which brought out the legendary Gary Hart to claim the responsibility for the management of Homicide and Ki. Some fans at ringside (not sure whether they were plants or not) started to get rowdy and beer was thrown, quickly followed by the furious fists of Low Ki who looked to be giving the guy a pounding, Homicide joining him. The whole thing was wild, the tension physical.

Court Bauer came out to calm things down but Gary Hart gave him a telling off and Homicide shockingly smacked him in the face, knocking him down! The way Ki and Hart stood over Bauer, intimidating him into staying down was intense. Bauer tried to get up and speak on the mic, but was swiftly cut off by Homicide cracking him in the head with a broom, of all things, from out of nowhere! Homicide then used the broom to brush empty plastic drink cups onto Court’s prone body.

The whole package was awesome, but that angle will stick in my head for a while. Getting heat from something so simple proves wrestling doesn’t have to be over-complicated. It does raise the question, though; if an authority figure got beaten down now, would anyone care? The authority gimmick has been run into the ground thanks to the likes of TNA and WWE, but it was exciting to see it work here.

Low Ki vs. MLW World Heavyweight Champion Shane Strickland (Orlando, Florida, July 2018)

Low Ki and Salina de la Renta celebrates winning the MLW Heavyweight Title
Low Ki and Salina de la Renta celebrate Ki winning the MLW Heavyweight Title

A video package gets us up to speed as to what brought the match about; Salina de la Renta was determined to take the title away from Shane Strickland and offered a bounty for anyone who could take it from him and bring it to her. Enter ‘The Professional’, dressed in an outfit that was designed to make him look like he meant business, and also like the main character from Hitman. It sort of works, and Ki looks good, but with the red tie he also looked a little like IRS. Not necessarily the coolest look to take out of the wrestling dressing cupboard.

The match itself was ok. Ki looked strong and as crisp as ever and in the 14 years since the previous match, you can see he hadn’t lost a single ounce of skill, passion or intensity. And yet, the chemistry with Strickland wasn’t there. Ki dominated for most of the match, Strickland getting the odd moment to shine, like hitting a hurricanrana over the top rope to the floor, but Ki otherwise being relentless. The match, though, just didn’t seem to get out of second gear, being of a very methodical pace that did nothing to accentuate the match’s strengths and hide its weaknesses.

The finish came almost out of nowhere, with Ki hitting a switchblade kick on a prone Strickland for the win and the Heavyweight title. Salina took the title and Ki took a briefcase full of dollars and everyone left happy apart from Strickland.

Whilst it was the most exciting match for Ki to take the title in, I will say that Low Ki was a brilliant champion for MLW and his reign saw him make some killer title defences. There’s a reason he has had the longest Heavyweight title reign for the company to date, and I would happily see him have another run with the belt in the future.

Pulp Fusion

This week’s show concludes with Pulp Fusion, the renamed Roll Call, which gets released as its own entity on a Saturday night a way to keep the current feuds and storylines running in a cool and creative way during the pandemic lockdown.

Whether Pulp Fusion will continue to appear at the end of each week’s Anthology, or whether it will eventually just be its own weekly entity on a Saturday, remains to be seen. But whichever way we receive it, it continues to be entertaining.

This week we get Jordon Oliver teasing a cameraman with the identity of the new member of Injustice, only to take a swipe at him. We get both Mance Warner and Konnan warning CONTRA unit off, with Konnan going as far as saying that if he has to get a squad together from across MLW and AAA to run them off, he will do.

We get Dominic Garrini freaking Filthy Tom out by telling him that, as there are no girls around in lockdown to give them medals or hand them the titles when they beat the Von Erichs, he’s thinking of setting up a Tinder profile (who’s the filthy one now?) Alexander Hammerstone says he wants the MLW Heavyweight title, but Richard Holliday trumps that by saying he wants to buy MLW, sell it at a profit and then buy it again. Savio Vega says Holliday’s moustache looks stupid and swears revenge.

And last of all, LA Park is in the gym, making a challenge to CONTRA when an assailant, their face obscured, takes Park’s legs out and the camera topples. CONTRA run their propaganda video and we’re outta here!

Who took Park out? We can guess CONTRA, obviously, but which member? Is it someone we know or someone new? And what will Park do when he gets his hands on them?

Final Thoughts

Mance Warner drinking a cold one

Again, MLW smashed it out of the park with this edition of Anthology. Yes, I didn’t think too much of the Ki-Strickland match, but it was an important match to show for historical reasons, and as I didn’t see it as it aired (I only came to MLW a couple of months after this), I appreciated being able to see this. Otherwise, the match with Homicide was killer and the Pulp Fusion element is perhaps the most entertaining and successful of all shows attempting to keep their storylines going outside of the ring whilst in lockdown.

A great show, MLW is celebrating its past while keeping its present on the boil for a hot future. That’s something I can certainly get behind.

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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