MLW Fusion 74 & War ChamberSeptember 20, 2019
MLW Fusion 74
On commentary this week are Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini. No opening credits this week as we cut straight to Konnan arriving at he arena and getting attacked by LA Park, El Hijo De LA Park and Bestia 666. Salina De La Renta then walked in and took her phone back.
Jordan Oliver vs. Gringo Loco
This one was a follow-on from last week’s trios action. The crowd loves to hate Injustice and loves to honk at Gringo Loco. While not as full-on as the trios match, this was an enjoyable showcase for both guys, and featured a few nice acrobatic spots. In the end, Jordan feigned injury to grab the referees attention, allowing Myron Reed to smack Gringo Loco with a chair. That was enough to give Oliver the win. Good opener.
Low-Ki cut a video promo about whether Tom Lawlor and the Von Erichs can trust him. He asked whether they can afford not to at this time. He confirmed that he’s in the War Chamber match too. That was fine; it did what it needed to.
Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Richard Holliday
This was another of those matches where it was the first time seeing both guys in action for me. Richard Holliday got a pre-match promo that got the crowd well and truly against him. There were some really nice spots in this one, including a beautiful visual of Pillman missing an arm drag when Holliday held the ropes. After a back and forth match, we hit an Eddie Guerrero style finish sequence. Holliday went for a chair, and while the referee was getting it out of the ring, Pillman threw Holliday his rookie of the year trophy and bumped. That distracted the ref long enough for Pillman hit a low blow and a Straight Jacket Neck Breaker for the win. That was an enjoyable match. Both guys looked really good throughout, and it really flew by.
War Chamber Hype / Mance Warner Speaks / Tom Lawlor Update
We had a video package recapping last week’s action, followed by the Von Erichs talking about trust and how they want to put an end to CONTRA in the War Chamber next week. That was a really good package. After that, we cut to Mance Warner cutting a promo that looks like it was filmed on his phone. He said he’s come up with a plan to mess up Jimmy Havoc. It was a good promo. Next, we cut to Tom Lawlor, who explained that CONTRA injuring his ribs will not keep him out of the War Chamber. He also made the point that he isn’t sure if he can trust Low-Ki, but he believes that he’ll be a professional. Short, simple, and effective.
Alexander Hammerstone vs. GO Shiozaki
This one was filmed during Hammerstone’s tour with Pro Wrestling NOAH. The difference in the way crowds react in Japan always was, and still remains, really striking. What was interesting here is that Shiozaki ahs been around since 2004, while Hmmerstone only debuted in 2013. Despite this difference in experience, the Dynasty member absolutely kept up with his foe. He ahs a good mix of mat fundamentals and power moves to rely on, and that fit well with Shiozaki’s style. Meanwhile, his facial expressions are also great, and remind me a little of a young Shane Douglas at times.
The stiff action came to an end when hammerstone nailed the three-time GHC champion with a second Nightmare Pendulum to score the upset. This was a really good, authentic looking match.
CONTRA Unit Are Ready For War
The show ended with a short video package featuring CONTRA Unit’s thoughts on the War Chamber match. Much as with the face team videos, this was a good piece of final build.
MLW War Chamber 2019
On commentary this week are Rich Bocchini and Tony Schiavone. The show opened with a video package about the CONTRA Unit vs. Von Erichs/Lawlor/Low-Ki. This was really well done. Plenty of footage to remind us of the twists and turns on the way to the match, and some suitably ominous music. It makes the match feel like a really big deal.
Leo Brien vs. Brandon Banks
Leo, we are told, stepped back from wrestling to become a bounty hunter. He cut a short character promo in a video insert before the match then proceeded to tear Banks apart in quick order, finishing things with the Oklahoma Stampede. This was designed purely to get Leo over, and it seemed to work. Leo reminds me of an old school heel bully, and that’s no bad thing. He didn’t do anything too fancy, but got the boos he was going for with ease.
Salina De La Renta Speaks
Salina came out with LA Park to a thunderous boovation, and proceeded to lay out the referee and throw Banks out of the ring. Salina then insulted the crowd then introduced LA Park, demanding that they stand up and applaud him. The crowd actually did. Salina said that people have been asking – for five months no less – when they’d be cashing in their golden ticket. Salina confirmed that LA Park will be fighting for the title on November 2nd at MLW Super Fight. That’s interesting because Jacob Fatu is part of CONTRA Unit, and LA Park is normally a heel too. I expect the match to be brutal.
Teddy Hart Promo
We got a recap of the Dynasty vs. Hart Foundation feud, then cut to Teddy Hart at an ice rink. He cut a promo that was…okay. He basically ran through a bunch of insults, and it felt like he messed up a few times, losing his way a little. It did set up Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Richard Holliday and MJF for the MLW Tag Titles in a 2 out of 3 Falls match next week though. I’m looking forward to that.
The Von Erichs: The Final Build
We got to see a video of Ross and Marshall Von Erich with their dad Kevin Von Erich. They talked about the history of the family I the area, and why Kevin didn’t wear boots.
War Chamber Match: Ross & Marshall Von Erich, ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor, and Low-Ki [w/Kevin Von Erich] vs. CONTRA Unit [Josef Samael, Simon Gotch,’The Samoan Werewolf’ Jacob Fatu, Ikuro Kwan]
So, the rules of the match are pretty much the same as War Games. So, if you don’t know, that means we get a one-on-one match for five minutes, then alternating members of each team come in every two minutes, starting with the side that won the coin toss. Once everyone is in, the match ends by pinfall, submission, or surrender. Rather than a roofed cage, MLW are using a regular mesh cage with barbed wire wrapped around the top.
Before they even started the wrestler introductions, the crowd were chanting for the match. It’s hard to do it justice, but the atmosphere was electric, even on video. When the introductions did start, the fans exploded.
Simon Gotch and Marshall Von Erich started things out, and did so in style. They kept the pace up for the full five minutes, primarily switching between strikes and holds as they went, but avoiding slowing things too long. Gotch took the brunt of the punishment here, which left it no surprise when Josef Samael joined the match next. I mean, if it had been one of the face team, they’d have been bullying the heel, right?
Josef slowed things down a little and looked to take advantage of the numbers game, but Marshall was in no mood to just lay down and take it. Even so, he was unable to get back on top until the former MLW Heavyweight Champion ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor made his appearance.
From here, the two sides paired off with Tom taking down Josef and Marshall continuing to work over Gotch until the countdown started. The current MLW Heavyweight Champion ‘The Samaoan Werewolf’ Jacob Fatu was out next. The faces put over how dangerous he is by immediately trying to team up on him. Even with his stablemates down though, Fatu was able to regain control for CONTRA Unit.
Low-Ki was out next, and immediately busted Josef Samael open with the cage door, then took Simon Gotch down with a springboard kick. The cycle of the numbers game vs. the never-say-die attitude of the faces was broken here, with both sides doing damage rather than trading the advantage with each entrant.
Ikuro Kwan was the final man in for CONTRA Unit, and instigated a strike battle with Low-Ki. At this point, things were pretty chaotic, with everyone just going for anyone they could get their hands on. With the crowd chanting for him all match so far, it was wise to leave Ross Von Erich until last, I think. Bookending the entrances with the local heroes kept them hot throughout.
Ross entered, and the match officially began. This initially rallied the faces, giving Marshall a burst of energy, and soon enough, Ross was the only man standing. This didn’t last long though, and the match quickly descended into a chaotic brawl, with both factions taking every shot they could until CONTRA Unit were back on top again.
Once they were in control again, CONTRA unit were reluctant to give it up too. The Von Erichs and co. had moments where they seemed to clawing ahead, but the established heels were always able to find a way to sway things their way again.
Late on, while Low-Ki was raking Josef Samael’s face across the barbed wire, a rogue CONTRA Unit soldier appeared and tried to interfere. To the delight of the crowd, the aging Kevin Von Erich stepped in and slapped on The Iron Claw to keep him at bay. The seemed to strengthen the faces, ant Tom Lawlor managed to lock in a rear naked choke on Samael. Before he could get the tap though, Kwan broke it up and he the home stretch.
Pinfalls and submissions were broken up, big moves here hit, and then the Von Erichs hit a combination Iron Claw/Electric Chair Drop on Simon Gotch for the popular win. Afer the match Kevin Von rich entered the ring and the faces celebrated with the fans while the show faded out. That was hard hitting, heated, and exactly what it needed to be.
This was fun. One thing that struck me was that there was a lot of build for the War Chamber on the first episode, yet it didn’t take up too much time on the show. When we did finally reach the match, it was everything you could want from it too. The action was good and we have a few new matches to look forward to, so what more could you really ask for?
Let’s pick some highlights:
MVP: I’m giving this to Ross Von Erich. The crowd were beyond excited to see Ross hit the ring during the War Chamber Match, and when he did enter? He was superb. Ross looks good, can nail some beautiful looking moves, and had the crowd solidly behind him. He could well be a huge star for MLW for a while to come.
Best Match: On the first show, this goes to Alexander Hammerstone vs. GO Shiozaki. Hammerstone was made to look like a star here, and all without damaging Shiozaki. The match saw plenty of stiff strikes and a really cool spot where Hammerstone called – but failed to hit – the Burning Hammer, a move innovated by Shiozaki’s mentor Kenta Kobashi. Great showing from both guys, and realistic looking action. Overall though, it has to be The War Chamber Match. It told a good story that changed itself up as things went on, it was brutal, and the crowd loved it. The result was the right one, not only in making stars of the faces, but in giving CONTRA Unit a few cracks that can drive them as they go forward. Kevin Von Erich’s Iron Claw spot was a nice bonus for the fans too, the family that made the area famous in the wrestling world, stood tall. Great stuff.
Best Angle/Promo: I’ll give this to The War Chamber Build (as a whole). Four separate promo videos ran to hype the match on the first show, and each one was kept short enough to not interfere with the flow of the show but long enough to get the point across. Then, the packages we got on show two did nothing but leave everyone even more hyped for the match. Excellent work.
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.
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