MLW Fusion Results (4/20): Series Premiere

MLW: Fusion
MLW: Fusion - Friday nights on beIN SPORTS

This week marked the series premiere for Major League Wrestling’s new weekly television series, FUSION. We’ll be featuring MLW Fusion results here each week at SEScoops, so be on the lookout for plenty more MLW news and results moving forward.

MLW Fusion Results (4/20/18)

Before April 20, 2018, the acronym MLW made me think of Conrad Thompson telling me to throw something into my Google machine and Bruce Prichard foaming at the mouth at the mere mention of Dave Meltzer. Now, however, that’s all changed with the premier of MLW Fusion on beIN Sports.

MLW (Major League Wrestling) is new to me, but it has a history that dates back to 2002, when it was founded by former WWE writer Court Bauer. The original promotion ran until 2004. After that, MLW was strictly a radio and podcast network, with shows including the wildly popular “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard” hosted by the aforementioned Prichard and Thompson. In 2017, MLW brought its wrestling promotion back and now it has found a home on cable.

Before episode 1 begins, MLW lets us know that some of wrestling’s biggest stars have come through the promotion in the past, as we’re treated to an intro video showing Daniel Bryan, Steve Corino, CM Punk, Dusty Rhodes, and Sabu. We also hear the voice of Joey Styles, who provided commentary in MLW’s first run. Then, the show’s opening video package begins, showing off the different fighting styles that are employed by the wrestlers of MLW (brawling, hybrid, technical, strong style, and lucha libre), hence the name of the show, Fusion. Whoever produced these first two videos is very smart. The first match hasn’t even started yet and I’ve already gotten an idea of what MLW’s all about. It’s a place that’s featured some of the best talent in the industry and will give me a variety of wrestling. MLW, you have my attention.

We’re welcomed by none other than the voice of WCW, Tony Schiavone, who’s accompanied by Rich Bocchini, who went by Rich Brennan during his time as a broadcaster in NXT. They announce our main event of the evening (Pentagon Jr. vs. Rey Fenix) before sending it to the ring for our first match, or “fights” as MLW is calling them, between ACH and Austin Aries.

ACH vs. Austin Aries

Well, if you’re going to premiere a new wrestling show on TV, you might as well feature one of the biggest names in the business today in Austin Aries. That’s why it’s so odd when ACH gets a televised entrance while Aries just magically appears in the ring after a quick commercial break. I’m getting mixed messages on the importance of one Mr. Aries.

The match starts off with some chain wrestling and some friendly taunting. The pace is slow at first but picks up. At one point, ACH hits a springboard dropkick to the outside and attempts a running kick, but his foot is swept by Aries and he lands face first on the apron.

Aries takes control of the match, working on ACH’s ribs and right leg, which are both bandaged. He locks in an interesting version of a Stump Puller and turns it into a pinning combination. ACH gets back in the game when Aries misses a top rope dropkick. ACH takes advantage with a leg sweep takedown, a dropkick, and a discus corner clothesline, but misses a splash off the top rope. He blocks a corner charge by Aries and sends him to the mat with a slingshot cutter. Aries takes control again with a clothesline and a pendulum elbow. He attempts a suplex, but ACH escapes it and hits an enziguri followed by a “back leg front kick” as Tony Schiavone puts it. ACH goes to the top rope and hits a frogsplash but Aries kicks out of the pinning attempt. Aries ends up in an electric chair position, but he twists ACH’s ears to get out of the move. He comes off the rope and eats a lariat. They go the outside again where Aries drops ACH with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Ouch.

Back in the ring, Aries Irish whips ACH into the corner but ACH avoids contact with the corner with a baseball slide. Aries charges but ACH trips Aries, rolls him onto his stomach, and double stomps him. ACH climbs to the top and tries to hit his patented 450 splash, but Aries blocks the move with his knees and seamlessly traps ACH in a small package, which only gets a two count. Aries locks in the Last Chancery, but ACH makes it to the ropes.

ACH gets to the apron and hits a springboard reverse STO on his opponent. Aries recovers and puts the match away, though, with a five-arm, a corner dropkick, and finally the brainbuster for the 1-2-3. Both men shake hands after the match.

Following a commercial break, we got shots of some beautiful Florida sights, only to be interrupted by the demented gaze of Englishman Jimmy Havoc, who tells the people of Florida that they sure do love to see blood. They loved it when Abdullah the Butcher cut Dusty Rhodes open and they loved it when Steve Corino wore the “crimson mask.” Now, he’s promising to give Floridians what they want, which I assume is more blood.

Barrington Hughes vs. Chico Adams

Back in the arena, Chico Adams is waiting for his opponent, who turns out to be Barrington Hughes, a guy who makes Mark Henry look like Kofi Kingston. And whereas Mark Henry was “Sexual Chocolate”, Mr. Hughes (wait, wrong guy) calls himself the “Caramel Colossus.” Chocolate? Caramel? I suddenly have a hankering for Snickers.

My poor food choices aside, this encounter is a literal squash match, as Adams runs at Hughes and is squashed with a sidewalk slam for the three count. Before the match started, Schiavone said Hughes held the record for the fastest match in MLW history at 8.8 seconds. I timed this match and clocked it at 7.7 seconds, so it seems that we have a new record. Hughes leaves the ring, yelling into the camera that he wants more competition. As for Adams, didn’t anybody ever show him what happened to S.D. Jones when HE ran towards the big fat guy at WrestleMania I? Study more tape, sir.

We’re informed that next week, World Heavyweight Champion Shane Strickland is going up against Jimmy Havoc in the main event.

Pentagon Jr. vs. Rey Fenix

Our main event pits two brothers against each other as Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix fight it out for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship.

Whoever typed Rey Fenix’s name into the chyron spelt the first half of his name “R-A-Y.” I gave the production folks props in the beginning, so now I have to be fair and point out this boneheaded mistake. Note to MLW chyron guy: Fenix is a king, not one of the guys from Ghostbusters.

Pentagon Jr. comes out next. He is probably the scariest looking wrestling in the business today. He’s accompanied by his manager, Salina de la Renta, who does not look scary.

Pentagon refuses a handshake from his brother and instead offers a “Cero Miedo” taunt. He tries the taunt for a second time but Fenix stops it. They deliver a quick series of kicks and pinning attempts before booting each other in the face.

The action spills to the outside, where Fenix hits a tope suicida that knocks Pentagon to the ground but sends HIM flying into the crowd. That was nuts.

Back in the ring, Fenix hits a back elbow and attempts a springboard move, only to be dropkicked by Pentagon. The match goes to the outside again, where Pentagon grabs a fan’s beer. I couldn’t tell if he drank it or just held on to it for a second. Then, he quiets the fans down before delivering a sick chop to Fenix’s chest. The fans scream “Uno mas” and Pentagon loudly chops his brother again. More “uno mas” chants break out. This time, Pentagon decides to put a fan’s hat on before attempting to deliver a flesh breaking smack to Fenix’s chest.

Between antics like this and leading the crowd in a “Cero Miedo” chant, I’m really surprised by the amount of interaction Pentagon has with the fans. I’ve only seen a little bit of his work on Lucha Underground (I’m on Season 1, Episode 7) and thought he was just a sadist who broke people’s arms. I mean, he is, but he’s an arm-breaking sadist with some flair for show business, too!

Pentagon goes for the third chop and hits the ring post instead. Fenix goes for a chop of his own and HE hits the post. Pentagon kicks Fenix in the knee and sends him to the mat. Fenix recovers, however, and hurricanranas Pentagon into some fans!

They head back into the ring. Pentagon superkicks Fenix but Fenix comes back with a bicycle kick, a corner springboard kick, and a springboard dropkick. Fenix jumps onto the top turnbuckle but is crotched. He shoots right back up to his feet and moonsaults. Pentagon moves and Fenix lands on his feet. He sends Pentagon into the corner and charges, but Pentagon jumps and drives his knees into Fenix’s back with a double knee lungblower.

We come back from commercial and Pentagon Sling Blades Fenix twice. He hits a basement superkick but Fenix comes back with one of his own followed by a Pele kick. Pentagon superkicks Fenix again but Fenix responds with a somersault into a jumping cutter! Fenix climbs to the top rope but Pentagon knocks him down to the apron with a corner enzuigiri. Pentagon climbs to the top rope but Fenix meets him up there and brings him down to the canvas with a Spanish Fly but only get a two count.

Fenix runs at Pentagon, who lifts his brother up with a powerbomb and brings him down over his knee. He follows up with a Canadian Destroyer. “This is Awesome” chants break out. Both men trade dueling slaps. A piece of gum seems to fall out of Pentagon’s mouth. He just picks it right back up and puts it in his mouth. Cero Miedo, indeed.

The finishing sequence sees Pentagon flip Fenix into the air and catch him with a devastating powerbomb. He “breaks” Fenix’s arm, and then executes the Pentagon Driver. Schiavone calls it the Fear Factor, but it’s a pumphandle half nelson driver, not a package piledriver. Nevertheless, the move gets Pentagon the victory and a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship, which will take place at the next set of MLW TV tapings on May 3. De la Renta brings out a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue to celebrate. I have bought a bottle of Johnnie Blue before. That is not something I would bring into a room full of rowdy wrestling fans. The two brothers hug and the fans applaud. We get a replay of the action before Schiavone signs off.

Final Thoughts

I liked this show. MLW hooked me from the opening videos with its history and display of the many styles it promotes. It is definitely trying to set itself apart from other wrestling promotions by calling their matches “fights.” I think any attempt to differentiate yourself from WWE or any other big name company is a good idea. Aries vs. ACH was slow in the beginning but the last few minutes met my expectations of what I thought I’d see from those two guys. The Jimmy Havoc promo got across the message that he’s a bloodthirsty savage while the squash match established Barrington Hughes as a huge wrecking machine. Pentagon and Fenix tore it up with a fun, hard hitting, and fast-paced lucha libre battle. Pentagon really surprised me with his showmanship. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does in the future. The commentating wasn’t bad. Tony reminded me that I was watching MLW Fusion every two minutes but on a new show like this, that’s what he’s supposed to do. I was just happy to hear his voice on a wrestling show again after all these years. Bocchini was serviceable in his role as the color guy.

Overall, great first episode! If you missed it, I definitely recommend you watch episode two next week. I know I will.