MLW Fusion episode 74 spanned across the world from Chicago to New York City to Nagoya, Japan. Gringo Loco wrestled Jordan Oliver, Brian Pillman Jr. battled Richard Holliday, and we were treated to a slug-fest main event of Alexander Hammerstone versus Go Shiozaki.
On to a recap and review of the show...
A cameraman caught up with Konnan entering the building. Konnan was talking about disseminating information from Salina de la Renta’s iPhone like a hand grenade. Out of nowhere, LA Park, Hijo de LA Park, and Bestia 666 ambushed Konnan. Like a true jabroni, the cameraman yelled for help as Konnan was being pummeled but still kept filming without doing anything to help. Salina walked up and took her phone out of Konnan’s pocket.
Jordan Oliver vs Gringo Loco
Jordan Oliver was accompanied by his Injustice cohort, Myron Reed. Oliver cut a picture-in-picture promo. He wants to get payback for Gringo Loco breaking Reed’s ribs with brass knuckles last week. Oliver rides with his boys. He is young, dumb, and out for blood. Rich Bocchini relayed a story about how Oliver was stabbed in the eye with a pencil during high school, because he hit the other kid with a baseball bat.
Oliver took control early, with interfering assistance from Reed. Loco got the first heavy move with a standing moonsault onto Oliver’s back. The match was back and forth after that. Highlights include a handspring back elbow by Gringo, a suicide dive by Oliver, Gringo catching a springboarding Oliver for a powerbomb, a split-legged moonsault by Gringo, and a tope con hilo by Gringo.
After that tope, Oliver showed shoulder pain, so the referee checked him out. That allowed Reed an opportunity to punch Gringo in the leg with brass knuckles then hit him with a chair. Oliver immediately sprang into action to roll up Gringo for the win.
Low Ki is the best option against the Contra Unit
The War Chamber match between Tom Lawlor, the Von Erichs, and Low Ki against the Contra Unit will air on beIN SPORTS on Saturday, September 14 and on YouTube on Monday, September 16.
Low Ki addressed his new teammates. Can they trust him? Low Ki and Lawlor are far removed from their initial World Championship conflict. The Von Erich’s lineage would have ceased to exist in MLW without Low Ki’s work. “Whatever the outcome may be, gentlemen, I’m the best option.”
Richard Holliday vs Brian Pillman Jr.
Holliday cut a pre-match promo in the ring. He talked about the conspiracy that the Hart Foundation runs things in MLW. It is no coincide that Dynasty sounds so much like destiny. They are the only true thing in MLW. Brian Pillman Jr. brought his Rookie of the Year trophy to the ring.
The bout began with an exchange of chops. It was a slower paced affair. Holliday was often one step ahead of Pillman’s attacks. Highlights include a twisting neckbreaker by Holliday and a rolling senton by Holliday.
For the finish, Holliday brought a chair into the ring. The referee intervened before damage could be done. That opened an opportunity for Pillman to try the old trick of faking being hit by a foreign object. He tossed his trophy in Holliday’s hands then took a loud bump on the mat to get the ref’s attention. The referee looked confused but didn’t disqualify Holliday. While the ref was placing the trophy in the corner with care, Pillman kicked Holliday in the balls from behind. That led to a straitjacket neckbreaker as Pillman was victorious.
Rich Bocchini recapped a video package of the ending to last week’s show when Low Ki assisted Tom Lawlor and the Von Erich brothers in their fight with the Contra Unit. Marshall hopes Low Ki honors his word. Ross doesn’t fully trust Low Ki, but they do have a common enemy. In Dallas, they will put an end to Contra.
Mance Warner had a warning for Jimmy Havoc. Havoc’s plan to lock him up in jail didn’t screw with Ole Mancer’s mind, because he’s already not right in the head. Mancer couldn’t drink and think in that cage, so he was clear-minded when coming up with a game plan to mess Havoc up piece by piece. To sum up his blueprint of pain, “The Southern Psycho, Ole Mancer, is coming to f*ck you up, Jimmy Havoc.”
Rich Bocchini had a Q & A with Tom Lawlor. Will Lawlor be ready for War Chamber after the beating his ribs took last week? There is nowhere Lawlor would rather be than inside a steel cage with the Contra Unit. It is his destiny to make sure Contra doesn’t walk out on their own. About Low Ki, Lawlor is not sure he can trust him. One thing for sure is that Low Ki is a warrior, a professional, and will get the job done. Whatever happens after that, Lawlor will be ready to take care of business.
Alexander Hammerstone vs Go Shiozaki
This bout took place in Nagoya, Japan as part of NOAH’s N-1 Victory tournament. It was a different type of atmosphere with the hushed Japanese crowd. The venue was unusual for what I’m used to. There were empty walkways on the upper floors. It kind of reminded me of fighting prison movies where all the inmates surround around on all levels to watch the feature attraction.
The bout began by working tie-ups. Hammerstone was a little disrespectful on the breakups, but it was Shiozaki who took the first cheap shot. The emotion picked up as Shiozaki ran the ropes clashing into the meat castle to no effect. Highlights include a horizontally-delayed vertical suplex by Shiozaki, Hammerstone with a bicycle kick followed by a German suplex, and a bridging German suplex by Hammerman.
The two squared off in the center of the ring. The golden gaijan muttered, “Come on, motherf*cker,” and an exchange of forearm blows ensued. Hammerstone got the better of Shiozaki with a swinging uranage.
Shiozaki kicked out at two. Tony Schiavone accused the referee of bias in favor of Shiozaki.
Hammerstone attempted to dishonor Shiozaki by trying to end the fight with the Burning Hammer maneuver. That move was used Shiozaki’s mentor, Kenta Kobashi. Shiozaki escaped and the battle continued.
In one awesome sequence, Shiozaki was powering up to end the match with a running lariat, but Hammer clobbered him with a jumping high knee. The sound of the impact was brutal. Hammer followed up with a powerbomb, but Shiozaki kicked out at two. They sucked me in on that one. I thought for sure it was the end.
Hammerstone didn’t let up. He did a throat slash taunt and let out a loud, “Aaaahhhhh!” The Nightmare Pendulum came next as Hammerstone won.
The episode closed with a promo package from the Contra Unit. Their black flag will rise high in the War Chamber.
Episode 74 of MLW Fusion was decent. It couldn’t help but be overshadowed by the excitement of the upcoming War Chamber bout, but it did the job of moving stories forward and providing interesting action in the ring.
Both matches in the USA had cheating climaxes, and they worked well in their own way. Injustice cheated in a heel manner to show they are hypocrites complaining about justice when they have no honor themselves. Brian Pillman Jr. used silly shenanigans that were fitting for the tone of the feud between the Hart Foundation and the Dynasty.
The main event from Japan was unique. I don’t often watch wrestling from Japan, so this was a different experience for me. The atmosphere felt like an artistic display where the big moments were truly appreciated. The fans were quiet enough that we could hear the heavy breathing and grunting from the two wrestlers. It made me wonder how they call moves if everything can be heard. The match itself was a riveting slug-fest. They started slow, built up the heat, and pulled me in completely for the finish. Well done. I recommend checking this match out if you haven’t watched yet.
Is Tony Schiavone sliding into an old man, out of touch gimmick? I enjoyed his confusion about sauce gods and flexing; partly because I don’t know what those terms mean either.
So, I guess the story about Konnan having Salina de la Renta’s phone is over? It did make sense for Salina’s goons to bum-rush Konnan to get the phone back, but it feels like maybe something happened behind the scenes and MLW couldn’t or decided not to progress with the story as previously planned.
As I mentioned above, this episode was overshadowed by the excitement for the War Chamber match between Tom Lawlor, the Von Erichs, Low Ki and the Contra Unit. I’ve already planned to block out time Monday night so I can watch right when it hits YouTube. This episode did a good job addressing loose ends about the trust in Low Ki from his teammates. I don’t expect it to play a factor in the War Chamber, but it shows attention to detail that MLW didn’t leave that drama hanging.
What was your favorite moment from episode 74 of MLW Fusion? What did you think about the atmosphere in Japan? Do you think Alexander Hammerstone has the chops to become an international superstar?
MLW Fusion airs on beIN SPORTS and PlayStation Vue Saturday nights at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT. New episodes are posted on YouTube Mondays at 7 pm ET. Fusion is also broadcast in the UK, Ireland, Israel, and Africa.