Onto my Youtube reservoir or wrestling shows again, and time to give Major League Wrestling some love. It’s St Patrick’s Day 2019 (filmed 02/03) and we’re in the Cicero Stadium of Cicero, Illinois for episode #49 of MLW Fusion! The main event tonight: the Hart Dynasty defends the MLW Tag Team Titles against MJF and Richard Holliday.
While familiar with MLW I’ve never been crazy into it either, so looking forward to giving it a proper go here. After MLW’s version of “Now, Then, Forever”, we get a video package playing up the recently debuted Contra Unit, which included a top-of-the-cage splash spot and beating people up with railway spikes in the ring. Bloody stuff. Are the Contra Unit some kind of Nicaragua reference? They include Simon Gotch, whom I loved in his all-too-brief NXT/WWE run.
Main titles and here we are. Your commentators tonight are Rich Bocchini, “Southern Psycopath” Mance Warner for the first match and wrestling’s answer to Joe Brolly Jim Cornette, still a bit aways from being fired from MLW for blatantly racist announcing (not to mention the accusations of sexual abuse that surfaced more recently). Cornette welcomes Warner to the desk as a guest for the first match.
Puma King vs El Hijo de LA Park w/Salina de la Renta
As a brief video package outlines, Warner and LA Park Sr had an altercation backstage recently after he spilled beer on Salina, so I’m guessing he gets involved. I’ve seen a bit of Puma King in Lucha Underground, so looking forward to this, even if his outfit looks more like Cats than lucha. Lengthy entrances while Cornette blathers on about things from 30 years ago. Cornette says something crazy/stupid every 20 seconds, so it’ll be hard to try and keep up.
Super fast-paced knockdown/kip-up chains to start. King nails a rana that sends Park to the outside, and King follows up with a plancha. Cornette talking about some Mexican restaurant, gives directions. Off to a great start. Back in, Salina distracts Puma to break up his momentum, and Park with his own rana to the outside, then a big tope. Park with a chair, and a shot to the back. I guess this is NO-DQ, because no bell, referee just jaws at him a little. Back in Park sets King up in the corner with a chair between the legs, and slams it with another to a big pop. Warner faces Park Sr next week in a Death Match, and looks nervous seeing the brutality.
Back outside Park starts whipping King with a camera cable, and Cornette wonders if the ref would do anything if Park whipped out an AK-47. Awkward rope-assisted enziguri counter from Puma King switches things up. Spinning backbreaker becomes a spinning slam, so King just does the spot again. Weird feel to this now with the botches. King gets some more chairs, and repeats the “between-the-legs” spot on Park. “What’s good for the goose, is bad for the wiener” says Cornette, and good lord he is annoying.
Park hits a Destroyer – “Code Red” variation – but only for two. King counters the next move into a falling powerbomb for two. King to the second rope, but Park nails him in the back with a chair. King in the Tree of Woe, Park to the top, but King counters into a rana to the mat. King back to the top, “Puma” chants, but Park intercepts. Big Spanish Fly off the top, but only two. Always a cool spot. Puma going for something, Salina trips him, Park in to hit an inverted tombstone. Hijo to the outside to spit at Warner, who spits back. Warner nails him with Cornette’s tennis racket. Back in, King with a facebreaker from the top, into a crucifix pin for the win in around nine.
Winner: Puma King, and this is a bit of an upset.
Verdict: Had some janky moments, but nothing dangerous. Perfectly acceptable lucha/garbage wrestling.
Backstage MJF and Holliday impersonate the Hart Dynasty, with Friedman advising Holliday to “look way more dead inside and less charismatic” as Smith. The Hart Dynasty, in a rapid series of promos filmed in random places warn “the Dynasty” of incoming Canadian Destroyers while going for a swim at the local pool. This whole bit was so weirdly edited, it’s hard to know what to make of it.
Another recap of Contra Unit’s opening weeks in MLW as we saw at the top of the show leads into the next match of this event. An ad for Battle Riot, MLW’s Royal Rumble rip-off, and we’re with Tom Lawlor, the MLW Champ who got beat down by Contra Unit two weeks ago. He considers himself cleared to wrestle, and he’s coming after whatever member of the Contra Unit he can find after they tried to end his career. They’re a worldwide organisation, so they should get ready “to watch the world burn”. I’d watch it.
Contra Unit (Jacob Fatu and Josef Samael) vs Chico Adams and Vertigo Rivera
The Unit rush the ring to beatdown the enhancement talent. Samael throwing Adams around, Fatu in for a huge Samoan Drop, Samael back-in with the railroad spike, starts cutting up Adams and the ref has seen enough in less than a minute and a half.
Winners (by DQ): The Jobbers, and they should savour a W.
Fatu nails a few huge-air moonsaults on Adams in the aftermath, very impressive. Beatdown, and Samael sends a fireball at Rivera, haven’t seen that spot in years. Cornette is outraged: “Contra, and they are contrary”. OK then. The heels stare down the crowd while medics see to the jobbers. As Adams is taken off in a stretcher, Fatu nails another moonsault for a comical level of brutality. Samael throws a water bottle into the crowd, which is the signal for the crowd to start raining rubbish into the ring. Cornette calls this ” the stupidest thing I’ve seen someone in a wrestling ring do” and hard to tell if a shoot or not. Crowd a bit too hyped-up alright, taunting an audience in this manner is always a dicey affair.
We get thrown to another ad for Battle Riot, this one narrated by Matt Striker. LA Park (Sr) will be there, as will Sami Callihan, Ray Fenix, Ken Kerbis (“Israel’s top ranked wrestler!”), Low Ki and more. Think a Royal Rumble with more weapons and worse pacing.
LA Park and Salina backstage. LA Park is going to win the Battle Riot, and he’s going to give you all a lot to talk about. Meanwhile the crowd has calmed down a tad, and the main event is coming up.
A Jimmy Havoc promo next, as “England’s most dangerous man” is coming back to MLW. Jimmy sure does get around. Back in the arena, replayed footage of Contra Unit’s beatdown, and they will be back to speak out next week, along with the Warner/Park death match.
Onto the main event. MJF has been feuding with Teddy Hart for a bit, and this match is a continuation of that.
The Hart Foundation (Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr) (c) w/Brian Pillman Jr vs the Dynasty (Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Richard Holliday) (MLW Tag Team Championship)
The Dynasty’s music is so ridiculously good, this Game Boy-synth villainy tune. MJF on the mike to start because of course he is. Running down the non-English speakers in the crowd. Talks to the ground and addresses Stu Hart, nice. Says Stu has left his legacy in the hands of an idiot, and it now means jack squat. The Dynasty is better than you, and you know it. MJF has always been great on the mike, but I often find his in-ring work doesn’t match up. Teddy Hart is also the MLW Middleweight Champion here, and has his ribs bandaged up from a previous MJF assault.
Some pre-bell pushing and shoving, like this is a boxing match or something. MJF out to shove Pillman a bit, and the match still hasn’t started, seems to be taking a very long time. MJF taking a powder some more, back in and out again, and repeat, and this is just tiresome now. Eventually Hart just brains MJF and sends him out, and it’s really Holliday and Hart to start.
Smith in with a sweet double-underhook suplex for two, then a delayed vertical suplex for two. Holliday getting messed around, Smith adding a body slam, then a springboard moonsault from Hart, good spot. MJF gets a blind tag and ambushes Hart. Working over the ribs, ref distraction for a beatdown in the ring and outside, Smith and Pillman getting involved, and now people are getting spit at. Some face work there, but gets the crowd more into it at least.
Holliday working Hart over back in the ring. Holliday locks in a Sharpshooter, but Davey Boy in to break it up. While the ref is distracted by that MJF hits the “Super Piledriver” or “Heat Seeking Piledriver” depending on which commentator you trust more, but only two after a delayed count. Abdominal Stretch from Friedman with some assistance from Holliday. Hart eventually fighting back, enziguri to Holliday, then a Canadian Destroyer to MJF, and both men down.
Hot tag to Smith, after Hart “throws up” (according to Cornette), who cleans house. German Suplex to Holliday, who is then cannonballed into MJF. Double Chickenwing Suplex on Friedman for two. Smith with a sit-out powerbomb, but Holliday breaks it up just in time, nearly a botched spot for sure. Holliday dumped out, Smith and Hart setting up for the Canadian Destroyer off the top, but suddenly Alex Hammerstone is in the ring, and nails Smith with a chair shot to the back. The ref calls it around ten minutes.
Winners (by DQ) (and still MLW Tag Team Champions): The Hart Dynasty (Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr)
Verdict: Mostly fine tag ruined by the non-finish.
Chair shots to Pillman too, and now the heels are beating down the faces. “Bullshit” chants from an unhappy crowd. Cornette declares that MJF “is like a dyslexic masseuse, he rubs you the wrong way”. Amazing that this guy lasted as long as he did. The heels pose in the ring as that brilliant theme music plays again, and there’s that at least.
Best Match: The Park/King opener was the only one of the three with a finish, so I’ll go with that.
Best Wrestler: Slim pickings here with no one standing out hugely, but I guess Smith pulled off some sweet suplexes.
Worst Match: The tag squash was all well and good, but you only have 53 minutes to play around with guys.
Worst Wrestler: As I said, MJF is dynamite (ha!) on the mike, but in the ring he is really nothing special.
Overall Verdict: It was fine. This show over-did things with the heel beatdowns and dedicated a bit too much time in a limited hour to non-wrestling. Other than that it was fine, with the actual wrestling on display decent enough. But it has that one key Achilles heel at that time, and that’s the moron on commentary, grabbing the spotlight with his stupidity even five seconds. MLW is better off without him. Pass.
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