MLW Fusion Episode 68
On commentary for this, my first foray into MLW, are Rich Bocchini and the legendary Jim Cornette.
Let’s Hear From Salina De La Renta
Salina tore into Mance Warner, and said he has idiot’s luck. She has summoned Bestia 666 to deal with him. Really good promo. Cornette was also excellent here, putting over Bestia’s heritage as the son of Damien 666.
Mexican Death Match With The Battle Riot Ticket On The Line: ‘The Southern Psychopath’ Mance Warner vs. Bestia 666 [w/Salina De La Renta]
This was as authentic-looking a weapons brawl as you could hope to see. From start to finish, everything looked nasty. If hardcore wrestling is to your taste, then you’ll find plenty to enjoy. Including a spot where Mance Warner is rammed face-first into a pile of thumbtacks. In the end, the mysterious white wrestling powder gave Bestia 666 an opening to hit a Muscle Buster through two chairs for the win. The crowd applauded the effort too. For me, not having seen how the storyline has built so far, it’s hard to tell if this was a natural escalation of violence or not. With so many nasty weapon spots, it’s also hard to build to any particular spot being more important than the rest. In that respect, it was really just a collection of violent moments. I will say this though: Mance Warner has some great facial expressions.
Commentary Run Down
Post-match, the commentary team updated us on the card and the current storylines. We learn that the Von Erichs are facing the CONTRA Unit tonight and that they’re the only team to defeat them so far. Filthy Tom Lawlor will also be speaking for the first time since losing the Heavyweight Title. Meanwhile, Ricky Martinez is looking to redeem himself in the eyes of Salina De La Renta by defeating Low-Ki, who we learn he lost to last time they faced off. This was a good, quick-fire segment, and an excellent way to get new viewers up to speed a little.
Checking In With Dynasty
After seeing some footage of Georgie Smith and Alexander Hammerstone kissing, Kaci Lennox headed out to talk to Alexander. She got told off by his stablemates for reporting on fake news, and was informed that the stable is essentially the entire company from a marketing standpoint.
CONTRA Unit Promo Video
We got a video package from CONTRA Unit, showing the fans throwing things at them in the ring. That’s some real heat, there. Josef Samael pointed out that they’re just there for the violence and built up the main event. Good, simple stuff.
Ricky Martinez [w/Salina De la Renta] vs. Low-Ki
Konnan, who has his own issues with Salina, was out as a guest commentator for this one. The main story was that Salina is threatening to reveal a secret that will ruin Konnan, and he has some leverage because he stole her phone. The match was a hard-hitting affair, built around stiff looking strikes. Konnan and Salina got into a scuffle, which distracted Martinez long enough for Low-Ki to lock on a Dragon Sleeper. Martinez passed out, giving Low-Ki the win. After the match, Salina tried to get Low-Ki onside, but having been burned by her before, Low-Ki snubbed her. The match was a perfectly watchable TV showing, and further pushed Salina’s current angles.
The Von Erichs Promo Video
Marshall and Ross (the sons of Kevin and grandsons of Fritz), got a short video package, hyping their feud with CONTRA Unit. They come across as very old school, which is to be expected given their heritage.
Kotto Brazil Is Upset
Kotto is frustrated with what he views as an epidemic of biased referees. He, Myron Reed, and Jordan Oliver need, and will get, justice. This was a short backstage affair. I’m not familiar with the guys involved, so I’ll look forward to seeing where this goes.
Catching Up With Filthy Tom Lawlor
Tom hasn’t been heard from since losing the Heavyweight Title to Jacob Fatu of CONTRA Unit. Here, he spoke about how he loves the beatings but hates that Fatu stole the title. He said that Fatu can’t steal his warrior’s heart, and he intends to take the title back in New York City. He also set up a War Chamber match with CONTRA Unit for the show in Dallas. The promo was pretty intense and did a good job of setting Lawlor vs. Fatu up as a fight more than a match.
Kaci Lennox Follows Her Lead
After being snubbed for comment by Dynasty, Kaci found Georgie Smith’s brother, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and asked him about what his sister was doing with Alexander Hammerstone. He didn’t know what she was talking about, so she showed him the video. Davey got mad and stormed out. I guess we’ll be getting Davey vs. Alexander with Georgia stuck in the middle. Sounds good to me.
Unsanctioned Match: Marshall & Ross Von Erich vs. CONTRA Unit [Josef Samael & Simon Gotch]
The Von Erichs jump-started the match during their entrance. This was exactly what I hoped it would be: an old school fight. Everything looked like it had some intent behind it, and the action was accompanied by some excellent selling from Ross Von Erich. The finish was great too, with Josef Samael trying to throw a fireball at Marshall, only to have Ross block it with a chair. Ross then KO’d Samael with the chair and Marshall scored the popular win. Great work from all involved.
The crowd was initially ecstatic, then exploded into a chorus of boos as the heels started laying into the faces again after the bell. The referees and security were unable to separate them, and it took a literal riot squad to break it up. The Von Erichs celebrated in the ring, and we cut backstage to see Jacob Fatu taking out the security team. He then attacked the Von Erichs on their way to the back, but soon found himself facing off with Filthy Tom Lawlor. Excellent, wild brawl to end the episode, that I’m assuming will lead to CONTRA Unit vs. Lawlor and The Von Erichs.
I have to say, that was excellent overall. The show featured some great production values and the commentary team excelled at giving just enough information to keep me in the loop, even as a new viewer. The three matches certainly would have appealed to different types of fan, but all were executed well. Best of all, the crowd was into it all night.
Let’s pick some highlights:
MVP: I’m giving this to Salina De La Renta. She seems to be ingrained in quite a big storyline, and one that’s drawing in multiple workers. One thing that’s clear is that she fits the role well though; her promo was really good, her facial work was superb, and she got the reactions she needed from the crowd. Great work.
Best Match: This goes to The Von Erichs vs. CONTRA Unit. In some ways, this was the most simple of the three matches. There wasn’t anything fancy in there, it was just a heated fight. The way it built was great though. The four men presented things like there was some real animosity between them, and the crowd repaid them in kind with their reactions. And the finish? That was excellent. That it was the only weapon shot to take place in the ring made the chair shot mean a lot more than the mass of carnage in the opener too, which really added to the overall effect. Well done to all involved.
Best Angle/Promo: Okay, so this I think I’ll give to the Main Event Aftermath. It was a wild brawl, and brought CONTRA Unit and their foes together to further the build to the eventual match. When it’s pulled off that effectively, simplicity is all you need.
Favourite Music Reference: There were enough musical references littered throughout the show that I felt the need to add this category, just for fun. I’m giving this one to Jim’s quoting of Cher’s ‘Dark Lady’ though. I have some fond childhood memories of listening to Cher, and that was one of my favourites so that one gave me a nostalgic smile.
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Did you watch the show? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.