MLW Fusion Episode 71
On commentary this week are Rich Bocchini and Tony Schiavone.
Mance Warner Speaks
‘The Southern Psycho’ Mance Warner cut a backstage promo, talking about his chainsaw sponsorship. He threatened to use it on Salina De La Renta’s cohort Ricky Martinez. Mance is great at keeping in character, so no issues there. I’m not sure whether I’d class myself a fan or not yet though.
‘Sicario’ Ricky Martinez [w/Salina De La Renta] vs. ‘The Southern Psycho’ Mance Warner
Salina got on the mic before the match started and referred to Ricky as the greatest wrestler in Cuban history, which was a shot at Konnan. Ricky is actually on the outs with Salina, having failed to win his last few matches. The crowd was more than happy to boo Ricky and Salina throughout this and were plenty behind Mance. A running knee and a big clothesline got the win for Warner.
After the match, Mance cracked open a beer and Salina slapped the can and spat in his face. She ducked out before he could retaliate, leaving poor Ricky Martinez to take a face full of beer and a can to the head.
The match itself was short but enjoyable. My only real complaint is that, after it being all Ricky, Mance got the win with only two moves. Sure, it makes Mance look tough, but it devalues Ricky somewhat. And that’s a shame because he’s pretty good. The commentary team reminding the fans that this rivalry all started over a spilled beer was a nice touch though.
Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dynastic
Richard Holliday cut a promo about how great the stable is, then left to enjoy the company of a beautiful woman. Short and to the point. That was followed by a replay of the finish to last week’s Alexander Hammerstone vs. Savio Vega match. Rich Bocchini played it up as Hammerstone intentionally injuring Vega. That’s a great way to make use of an unfortunate incident. The MLW officials will now be making a ruling on the legality of the maneuver too. Just imagine if they ban it. That would leave plenty of scope for Hammerstone to use it as a legitimate killer going forward, much like the piledriver used to be.
Marshall Von Erich Speaks
After a video replay of Marshall’s blinding by CONTRA Unit, we cut to satellite feed with the man himself. He thanked the fans for the support, and let us know he will be at the War Chamber match. He also said that he’ll be bringing Kevin Von Erich with him. Good stuff.
Salina De La Renta And Konnan Clash
Salina De La Renta was pissed after Ricky’s loss. Konnan came in and waved her phone in front of her, and said he might use her credit cards. When she threatened to call the cops, he said he could do so himself, confirming that there are some dodgy dealings on the phone. He told her that he’ll get his three demands, and they’re non-negotiable. The first of those is tonight’s main event match pitting two of her minions against each other.
The New Era Hart Foundation were hanging out, with Brian Pillman Jr. still wearing the jacket that he stole from Alexander Hammerstone last week. Teddy insulted The Dynasty a little, then Pillman urinated on the jacket. I get that The Dynasty are heels, but that felt kinda heelish to me too. I’m not one hundred percent certain whether we’re supposed to be cheering Pillman and Hart or not.
Ace Austin vs. Austin Aries
I really like Ace’s gimmick with the pop-out metal bar. Meanwhile, Aries has been a consistent performer for as long as I can remember. This was 8 minutes of smooth exchanges with a side of roughhousing. Ace’s tricks served him well too, with a card distraction and low blow landing. The crowd was at their loudest while Aries was in control though, and gave him a nice response when he hit the match-winning brainbuster.
Post-match, Aries got on the mic and made it clear that he was coming for Teddy Hart’s Middleweight Championship.
This was a good match, with plenty of authentic-looking strikes littering the action. The commentators did a great job again too, mentioning little statistics like Ace Austin having a higher win ration when matches go over ten minutes. The promo after the match was also good.
The Dynasty Address The Jacket
Alexander Hammerstone cares about a lot of things, all of them superficial. He pointed out that the actions of The New Era Hart Foundation just confirms that they are the criminals The Dynasty say they are. That was a good point. He got the jacket back but ended up throwing it away after realizing that it smelled like cat wee. I really enjoyed this one. It was slightly silly, sure, but it felt natural.
The War Chamber Control Center
It was confirmed that Kevin Von Erich is not the fourth man on the face team, but will instead be ringside. We ran through the rules again; basically, it’s a War Games match, but with one ring and barbed wire on top of the chamber.
NYC Street Fight: ‘The Destroyer’ LA Park vs. ‘England’s Most Dangerous Man’ Jimmy Havoc
I like that Jimmy’s weight is announced in stone rather than pounds. LA Park’s was in kilos too. Salina was watching backstage and wasn’t particularly happy about having been forced into booking this one. This one started hot with some nice arm drags from Jimmy and an assortment of plunder, but soon cooled off. Both guys spent some time walking around ringside, taking their time between weapon shots, until finally returning to the ring. More weapon-based offense was followed by another trip to the outside, then another bout of violence back inside. LA Park – who is technically due a Heavyweight Title match whenever he wants it – won with a spear onto a bunch of chairs.
After the match, there was some stalling from LA Park when he was asked to shake Jimmy’s hand, but he eventually relented. Salina then cut a promo about how nobody can stop her. That brought out Mance Warner, who chased the heels off with his chainsaw.
If you’re into plunder brawls, you may get a bit more out of this than I did. I felt like both guys were at their best when the action was inside the ring, but that outside felt very disjointed. They took so long between moves, largely due to trying to set up the next weapon shot, that you just wondered why the other guy didn’t go on the attack again. Watchable but far from the best match I’ve seen on MLW Fusion.
That was a decent show. I love how invested the MLW crowd is when it comes to the main storylines, and you can really see which workers they’ve got a connection with. I feel like everyone really puts the effort in to reward that too, which is awesome.
Let’s pick some highlights:
MVP: I’m giving this to Salina De La Renta again. She’s involved in some way with almost everything that’s going on. The Konnan feud is great, the Mance Warner stuff brings the violence, and she even has a guaranteed Heavyweight Title shot for LA Park. She’s also excellent on the mic, combining believable performances with some great facial expressions. Salina is definitely one of my favourite members of the roster so far.
Best Match: This goes to Ace Austin vs. Austin Aries. Featuring a good mix of chain work, strikes, and well-placed high flying moments, this was an awesome showcase for both guys. Neither came out of it looking weak, and it got over Austin Aries’ run towards the Middleweight Title. Currently, that’s held by Teddy Hart, but given that Aries is a crowd favourite, I could see the title changing hands in next week’s Hart vs. MJF match. We shall see though.
Best Angle/Promo: I’ll give this to The Dynasty Addressed The Jacket. Very short, very simple, but it got the characters over. Everyone involved felt very natural in their role, which made it all the better.
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.