MLW Fusion 76
On commentary tonight are Rich Bocchini and Tony Schiavone.
The War Rages On
We got a pre-taped from Josef Samael, filmed after the War Chamber main event. He was still very bloody and was extra intense here. He basically declared the CONTRA Unit vs. Von Erich feud to be far from over and swore to take out Kevin Von Erich. This was really good.
Jordan Oliver [w/Myron Reed & Kotto Brazil] vs. Zenshi
Injustice has been getting some good heat from the MLW crowd, and this match was no exception to that. In terms of the actual action, this one started at a high speed and never really let up until Injustice got desperate and interfered to cut Zenshi down. From there, Oliver slowly chipped away at the highflyer, wearing him down in short bursts. In the end, Zenshi made a comeback but fell prey to a springboard 450 splash from an interfering Myron Reed. After the match, Injustice beat down Zenshi and the referee until Gringo Loco ran in with a chair to make the save.
This was a good match for the most part. The heels were cheap, but Jordan Oliver showed that he can be flashy too. Zenshi looked good on the attack, but I felt like his selling was inconsistent. There were times he was fine, but others he seemed to just stop selling at all so that he could get the next dive in. It’s a shame. I do like the idea of the feud continuing though, so I’m happy enough.
Savio Vega Is Alive / Mance Warner Is Ready To Kill
We got confirmation that Savio Vega is now okay after his injury by Alexander Hammerstone. We then cut to a truck stop where Mance Warner talked about how he’s a free man again. He told Jimmy Havoc that they’re going to tangle in a Bunkhouse Brawl and that he’s going to bust him up.
That’s good news about Savio. Meanwhile, Mance’s promo was decent, and his match with Jimmy should be a suitably brutal affair.
The Dynasty vs. The New Era Hart Foundation Retrospective
Next, we were treated an awesome video package covering the seven-month-long feud between the two stables. That segued into Richard Holliday hanging out at the gym, where he cut a promo on the face team. Later tonight, the MLW World Tag Team Titles are on the line in a 2 out of 3 falls match, which should be great. The video package was short but really good, and the promo was fine. What more could you want, really?
Von Erich’s Chasing The Gold
The Von Erich’s, including Kevin, were backstage. They cut a promo about how they’re coming for the winners of the main event tag match. Good stuff to set up what should be a fan favourite match, no matter the result.
Salina De La Renta
Salina was outside and said that LA Park is going to take care of Jacob Fatu. Jimmy Havoc then cut in and told Mance Warner that he’d be drinking his blood before the night was over. Salina finished things up by saying that Jimmy is her favourite because he’s so useful.
This was fine. Honestly, I think that Salina is one of the most consistent performers on the roster, so the more we see of her the better really. To that end, her being thrust into the MLW Heavyweight Title picture is a definite positive. Meanwhile, like I said, Jimmy and Mance I expect to tear each other apart.
MLW Tag Team Titles 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match: The Dynasty [Richard Holliday & MJF – Champions] vs. The New Era Hart Foundation [Teddy Hart & Davey Boy Smith Jr.]
With the episode not even half-way over, it was main event time. You know what that means, right? This one went long! With Alexander Hammerstone on international duty, there was no Brian Pillman Jr. at ringside, which makes sense, because the faces shouldn’t need to use the numbers advantage. The ring introductions were drawn out here, which made the whole thing feel like a big deal. Given the history involved, it was, so good work there.
After some stalling from the heels by way of a long game of rock-paper-scissors, Teddy Hart tried to get things moving. Everything broke down very quickly, turning into a brawl outside the ring. The referee was counting, but it wasn’t clear who the legal men were. With all four men outside, it made little difference though. Teddy Hart and MJF eventually returned to the ring to get the match started.
The first fall started off as a story of the dominant faces stretching the arrogant heels and throwing them around the ring. The Dynasty tried to flee at one point, leading to The Hart Foundation having to give chase and risk a double count-out. From there, all four guys ended up in the ring again, which the referee just let happen. Thing settled down a bit once The Dynasty took over. The heels took the first fall after Richard Holliday managed a jawbreaker and shoulder tackler on Davey Boy.
The thirty-second rest period between falls was certainly needed as everyone but Teddy appeared to be entirely knackered. The second fall started with Davey Boy hulking up on MJF and making the comeback. That led to the hot tag to Teddy Hart, who nailed a Canadian Destroyer on MJF and a Lumbar Check on Richard Holliday, then scored the equalizing fall with a Top-Rope Canadian Destroyer and springboard twisting senton on MJF.
The third fall saw Teddy Hart refusing to make the cover on the unconscious MJF, and instead insisting on going for a Hammerlock DDT. Richard Holliday made the save, only to be chased out of the ring by Davey Boy, which distracted the referee long enough for Austin Aries to make an appearance and attack Teddy Hart. One Apron Brainbuster later, and Teddy was out cold. The referee counted and Teddy was unable to make it back into the ring in time. And so, The Hart Foundation failed in their attempt to become the first-ever two-time MLW Tag Team Champions.
So, there’s a lot to talk about here. The match was one where it’s important to look at the bigger picture. First up, both teams got their characters across well. That’s important in any wrestling company; you need to know who is who and what they represent as a character.
In terms of the storyline, Austin Aries costing Teddy the match made sense. He had already stated his intent to take the MLW Middleweight Title from Teddy, so stepping in here puts him right on the champs radar. That he cost him such an important match makes it far more likely that he’ll relent and agree to a title match too.
The Dynasty also managed to sneak another win over The Hart Foundation. While this was billed as an end to the feud, I really don’t think it was ever planned to be. Davey Boy Smith Jr. stated ages ago that he was gunning for Alexander Hammerstone and the MLW National Openweight Title. That story also had the wrinkle to it that Hammerstone appears to be dating Davey’s sister. So, this outcome gives MLW a good reason to push ahead with that story and have Davey and Alexander square off. And honestly? I would love to see that match!
On top of that, the Von Erichs want a shot at the belts. Who better to set the popular faces against than the hated heel team of The Dynasty? Put the belts on the latest generation of the famous family, and hey presto, that gives them something to potentially lose during the continued war with CONTRA Unit.
This was a really good show from a storyline standpoint. The matches were good, but the thing that stood out to me was how everything set up something else. There wasn’t a moment of air-time wasted, and even the segments that weren’t setting up or announcing matches not only had a point but were kept short. This was an excellent watch.
Let’s pick some highlights:
MVP: I’m giving this to the booking team. I don’t know who’s writing for MLW right now, but they were on excellent form here. The show was, top to bottom, an excellent piece of build towards future events. It’s the sort of TV that makes you want to tune again next week to see what happens.
Best Match: I’ll give this to the 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match. I said all I could in my write-up above, but it set up so many potentials that it’s hard not to appreciate it.
Best Angle/Promo: I’ll give this to Josef Samael. He turned the intensity up to eleven and the threat to the aging Kevin Von Erich was quite chilling when you see how bloody Josef was. Short, to the point, and generally excellent.
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.