Welcome to the MLW Fusion ALPHA #5 review. That’s right folks, I’m back! For those of you who don’t know me – which might be a few of you – allow me to introduce myself. And for those of you who remember my wrestling rants from day one, let’s get reacquainted. I’m the guy who loves Haku, thinks the WWE is a joke, and worships at the Church of Bruiser Brody. I’m opinionated as hell and even though I respect every single performer who steps into the squared circle – as they can do things I couldn’t have done when I was in my 20s, let alone now when I’m pushing 50 – I’ll call a spade a spade when I feel it’s necessary. I’m the guy who’s going to be bringing you as much wrestling content as you can handle and we’re kicking it off with the first in our weekly reviews of MLW Fusion ALPHA. So let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring.
IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Championship Match: Richard Holliday vs. King Muertes
Straight out of the blocks we were due to have the IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Championship match between Richard Holliday and King Muertes. I mean, if you’re going to start an episode of MLW Fusion ALPHA and grab my attention from the get-go, that was how you do it. Holliday’s music played and the crowd – and myself – got pumped for this. You would’ve thought that by now that we wrestling fans would’ve known better. Holliday didn’t show. So they played his theme again and, once again, we got nada. After the third play-through, we were whisked backstage to find him on the ass end of an ass-whupping from CONTRA Unit. It seemed that the dastardly Cesar Duran – formerly Lucha Underground‘s Dario Cueto for those of you who haven’t been keeping up – might have had a hand in this beat down and after Alexander Hammerstone made the save, it looked as if Holliday wouldn’t be able to complete and needed to be checked out by the MLW doctors. Dun-dun-dun!!! This whole segment got roundly booed by those in attendance and I don’t mean just when we went backstage. It was jeered from the first moment Holliday’s music cut out and the fans realized that we were getting screwed over. To a degree, I agreed. Hell, I even found myself booing at my TV, but at the same time, it made sense. This match was the money-shot of the night and having it opening the card made little to no sense whatsoever. As we will see, it did go ahead but in its rightful spot at the end of the show.
Nicole Savoy vs. Holidead (w/Dr. Dax)
I love me a good suplex. Whether that’s from Kurt Angle dropping the Angle Slam or Brock Lesnar throwing people around like ragdolls, there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching a very talented wrestler dropping someone else on their head. Nicole Savoy is a very talented wrestler who does this with the best of them. Her match with Holidead was a very good and a very technical one, which – I’ve got to admit – surprised me. Not the good part, you understand, as Holidead is always entertaining no matter who she faces in the ring, but more because I never really had her down as the kind of performer who could be part of this kind of bout. Can she kick the crap out of you? For sure, but putting on a mat clinic? Well, I didn’t think it was possible. Proves what I know, eh? Both wrestlers involved understood what the other brought to the table and both Savoy and Holidead played to these strengths rather brilliantly. The former was allowed to pull out her MMA-style offense and the latter quite happily laid in the hard hits when the opportunities arose. Savoy picked up the win when she locked in a single-arm crossface, but both competitors walked away looking strong.
Winner: Nicole Savoy
After the dust had settled there was concern around Nicole Savoy who hadn’t moved. You could tell right away that something was wrong and you prayed to God it wasn’t serious. Luckily, it wasn’t and she “only” suffered a bruised sternum, but your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer was as concerned as everyone else watching the show that it could’ve been something serious. I also think that there was supposed to be some sort of beatdown after the bell as Holidead seemed to be loitering around – though this could’ve been out of genuine concern – before finally walking up the ramp and attacking Willow Nightingale. Which just struck me as random. But need is the Mother of Invention, so we shall see where this all goes.
We then found out that Richard Holliday – though carrying an injured arm – would be competing, against the doctor’s wishes, later on in the evening after the shoeing he took from CONTRA Unit. This puzzled me. Not the whole fighting champion deal, but whether or not we’re supposed to cheer Holliday or boo him. The thing is, he seems to be leaning towards the face spectrum, but when he says crap about breathing rarified air, you’re just reminded what a horrible douchebag heel he can be and instantly take a dislike to his character. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I didn’t seem to be the only one as we shall see.
Opera Cup Opening Round: Matt Cross vs. Calvin Tankman
I had no idea how these two men would gel in the ring as their styles are completely different. Matt Cross is fast-paced and acrobatic and Calvin Tankman is… well… a goddam tank who will just run you over and smack you around like a government mule. Yet it is a testament to how good both these wrestlers are that this match managed to be both high flying and hard-hitting. The beauty behind MLW is that they’re not afraid to throw opposing styles into the ring together and – as we saw in the bout before – let the wrestlers involved play to each other’s strengths. That’s what happened here. Cross buzzed around the squared circle, leaping off of ropes and springboarding into cutters as if his life depended on it, while Tankman hit his opponent with so much force – and surprising pace of his own – that I thought he was genuinely trying to decapitate the man. Cross hit suicide dives, crossbody’s, and bicycle kicks but it wasn’t enough. Eventually, Tankman’s strength won out and after a brutal inside-out lariat followed by a back elbow to the skull that should’ve caved it in, Tankman picked up the pin.
Winner and Advancing To The Next Round: Calvin Tankman.
Afterward, Cross was stopped by Alicia Atout and he was not a happy bunny. He claimed that Tankman had deliberately poked him in the eye, blinding him and allowing himself to pick up the victory. Now, I’ve watched it back and I don’t know if he has a point or if this is the start of a turn for Mr. Cross, but there was definitely some pokeage of eyeballs, though I couldn’t tell you if Mr. Tankman meant it.
This wouldn’t be the last we saw of Alicia Atout either as before our Main Event she was called into Cesar Duran’s office. Here the Evil Duran – like Bond Villain levels of evil – informed her that he was very impressed by the investigative journalism she’d been doing on him lately and how he was very grateful that she’d managed to expose him as the corrupted bastard that he is. So grateful in fact, that he invited her to be his guest ringside when Holliday – who Duran is convinced is the man in her life – took on King Muertes. Now, if you’ve any love for Lucha Underground – and I do – then you’re going to absolutely love what MLW has been doing with Duran. If instead, you’d rather watch a bunch of part-timers fly off to Saudi Arabia to earn some blood money, then this sin;t going to be for you. Personally, I say “Long may it reign!”
IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Championship: Richard Holliday (c) vs. King Muertes
And so it was that the IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Championship Match kicked off with a very concerned Alicia Atout sitting next to Dr. No…er…sorry…Cesar Duran. I mean, I guess she was concerned. About as concerned as you could be while wolfing down glass after glass of champagne, I suppose. But I digress. In fact, I used to be a professional digresser. Where was I? Yes, right. the IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Championship. I am a huge mark for King Muertes. The guy is a fricking monster and I challenge anyone to watch him make his entrance, in full ceremonial gear, and not be a tad awestruck. But it would be all smoke and mirrors if he didn’t have the skills between the ropes to back it up and he has those in spades. Richard Holliday impresses me as well. He’s got the look and the ability to go a long way in the business and this match with The King did him no harm. There was one problem, however – and it was the one I talked about earlier – nobody seemed to know whether Holliday is a face or a heel at the moment. In fact, the MLW crowd started chanting “Muertes gonna kill you” at him the second he stepped in the ring, to which he reacted by yelling about being the champion and doing very hellish things. It was very, very strange. Outside of that, however, this was a great fight. Holliday was obviously at a disadvantage after the beat down he’d taken at the start of the night, so Muertes controlled a vast majority of the action, but that didn’t stop the former from putting in a gutsy display that even had me thinking he might retain the title on a few occasions. Especially in the final stretch when he hit Muertes with a spinebuster for a very, very close two count. But in the end, a clipped wing and the outside interference from CONTRA Unit saw King Muertes nail Holliday with a Straight to Hell on the floor outside to become our new IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Champion.
Winner and New IWA Caribbean Heavyweight Champion: King Muertes
After the match, Blofeld…dammit!…sorry…Cesar Duran offered Alicia Atout another glass of champagne, which she knocked flying out of his hand before storming off. As she did, we were warned that Duran would not take too kindly to that sort of behavior, so next week, I fully expect Alicia to be strapped to a table while a laser tries to cut her in half.
I enjoyed this week’s MLW Fusion ALPHA for a few reasons. First off, there wasn’t a bad match on the card. Now that might seem a weird thing to say when there were only three in total, but with two of those being between competitors with mismatched styles, it could’ve gone horribly wrong. Yet talent prevailed and each bout was as entertaining as the next. Secondly, I’m a huge fan of this whole Lucha Underground feel/idea/rip-off/whateveryouwanttocallit that MLW Fusion ALPHA has currently. What set Lucha Underground apart was the fact that it was shot like a movie, and even though I don’t expect MLW to go headfirst down that path if it’s used correctly and sparingly – only for the big stories and not all points in between – this will never get old. Besides, Lucha Underground is deader than Velveteen Dream’s credibility, so it doesn’t need it anymore. And the third and final reason I enjoyed it was because MLW Fusion ALPHA allowed me to do something I haven’t in a long time, which is to write about wrestling. It’s been a while since I dusted down the old keyboard to look at the grappling arts, but I needed to start somewhere and this show helped me shake off the cobwebs. So, thanks for that MLW.
If you want to take umbrage with anything I’ve said or just fancy saying hello, then you can find me on the Twitter’s @NeilOnWrestling. and I’ll be back on Saturday with my AEW: Rampage Review. Until then, it’s time for me to kick out.