I was excited because I didn’t have anything to do this past Friday night, so I could watch MLW Fusion live instead of recording it like I usually do. Imagine my surprise when I turned on beIN Sports at 8:00 and saw a bunch of studio analysts talking about that most un-American of games, soccer. How dare they preempt my favorite fake sport with my least favorite fake sport?!
Luckily, it was only a 15-minute delay. All is right with the world.
We open up with a video package hyping the show’s main event, Jimmy Havoc vs. Joey Janela. They play clips of hardcore wrestling by the two competitors and just like last week, I’m subjected to watching Havoc lick his lips at the thought of licking Janela’s blood. I’m uncomfortable again and there’s still 59 minutes left.
Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini welcome us to the show. They recap the events that took place between MVP and Sami Callihan and between Tom Lawlor and ACH from last week’s show. The cameras follow Shane Strickland as he enters the arena.
“Filthy” Tom Lawlor vs. ACH
As Lawlor makes his way to the ring, we get an ACH promo where he calls Team Filthy “Mixed Martial Asshats.” Sick burn, bro.
ACH makes his way to the ring next. He’s announced as originally being from Planet Vegeta, which Schiavone informs us is a reference to Dragonball Z. I thought ring announcer Tim Barr said Planet Fajita. Now I’m hungry.
Tom Lawlor takes his mouthguard out of his trunks and puts it in his mouth. I have no words.
Lawlor starts with a double leg takedown into the corner. He’s trying to keep ACH grounded and prevent his aerial attack. He gives ACH a kick to the back and then decides to give him a free shot. Lawlor sits down awaiting a kick in the back. ACH strikes and somehow hurts himself.
ACH ends up on his butt. Lawlor goes to kick ACH in the back again but it’s a psych out and goes for a choke instead. ACH quickly makes it to the ropes.
Lawlor ends up on his back and challenges ACH to come after him. ACH charges but gets tripped up. However, Lawlor ends up in a pinning combination but kicks out. A few more pin attempts by ACH follows. He realizes they aren’t working and hits a double front leg dropkick instead. They head to the outside and we go to commercial.
When the show returns, Schiavone is mid-sentence, saying “And that enabled Lawlor to open up this offense.” What did?! We have absolutely no context for this statement, which MLW keeps doing over and over again. It really bothers me. I understand the show is not live and the announcers are not calling the match in some studio during post-production, but it just sounds stupid to have the broadcasters talking about something that happened during commercial without any explanation for those of us not in the arena.
Anyway, Lawlor is in charge now and hits a jumping back elbow. He mounts ACH and rains down punches like it’s the octagon and he’s trying to get the ref to stop the fight. A cross armbreaker attempt is blocked by ACH. He gets to his feet and hits a hip toss but Lawlor comes back with a kick to the chest. Lawlor tries another submission with a front facelock. The ref checks for a choke. After another submission is applied, ACH goes for a pin. Lawlor kicks out and executes a vertical suplex followed by a wrist lock submission into what looks to be a Million Dollar Dream.
ACH makes it to his feet and gets backdropped but he lands on his feet. After some leapfrogs, ACH sweeps Lawlor’s leg and hits a basement dropkick. Lawlor is thrown into the ropes but holds on to them. ACH charges and is backdropped to the apron. ACH lands on his feet. He gets a shoulder into Lawlor’s gut, lands an enzuigiri, springboards off the middle rope, and crushes Lawlor with a reverse STO. The fans start an “ACH” chant.
ACH chops Lawlor in the corner and Irish whips him. He hits a running forearm smash and comes off the ropes, only to be met by a jumping forearm smash from Lawlor. Lawlor tries the same move again but is caught and pays with a backbreaker/bridging suplex combo, which only gets a two count. ACH lifts his opponent up in an electric chair position, but Lawlor escapes and kicks ACH’s leg out from under him. Lawlor tries some rolling Germans but ACH elbows out after the first one.
Lawlor stops ACH’s momentum with a chinlock, which the announcers call a choke and treat it like a serious submission maneuver. I guess it is because ACH looks like he’s going to pass out. The ref raises ACH’s hand twice. On the third lift, ACH’s hand stays up. He gets up and pushes off the corner with his feet, falling backwards and pinning Lawlor the same way that Bret Hart pinned Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII. I love that pin. This time, though, it only gets two.
Lawlor keeps the choke locked on but ACH manages to victory roll Lawlor and land on him with a standing frogsplash. Again, the pin only gets two. Simon Gotch stands on the apron to distract the ref. Lawlor takes off the protective padding from his left arm that covers the steel rod and bolts that were used repair his injury. He channels his inner Lex Luger and knocks ACH out with the unprotected limb. The Filthy One immediately gets the choke on ACH, who the ref sees is on dream street and calls for the bell.
Winner- “Filthy” Tom Lawlor
Bocchini informs us of an incident that happened backstage. The cameras show Shane Strickland confronting Pentagon’s manager, Salina de la Renta. He takes issue with the morbid shrine that was put in his dressing room “a little bit ago,” which makes it sound like it happened an hour ago ago, not last week. Pentagon comes from behind Swerve. They stare at each other for a few seconds before Pentagon spits red mist into the champ’s eyes. Pentagon definitely telegraphed that mist spot. In reality, Swerve could have avoided the mist easily, but this isn’t reality, so he gets blinded. Renta and Penta (that’s my cute name for these two) walk away and Swerve writhes around on the ground in pain.
After a commercial, we see Strickland being aided by two officials in the back as he stands over a sink, throwing water in his eyes to try and regain his sight.
Maxwell J. Friedman vs. Fred Yehi
EC3 makes his way to the ring. Wait. Nope. That’s Maxwell J. Friedman, who I find out is from Plainview, NY, not too far from me. Not that you, the reader, should care. A fan gives him the finger and he could care less. The camera focuses on some bald guy standing and giving Freidman a glove clap. I thought he was his manager but I think it’s just a big Maxwell J. Friedman fan.
Fred Yehi comes out next. I don’t think anybody knows how to say this guy’s last name. Throughout the course of this match, his name will be pronounced “yeah-high,” “yee-haw,” and “yah-ha.” Why don’t we just replace the “h” with a “t” and call him a Yeti?
Friedman runs his mouth to start the match. We get some chain wrestling before Friedman escapes to the outside. He comes back in and wants to shake hands. Schiavone calls him a “punk.” I adore Schiavone insults.
Yehi doesn’t take the handshake. After some back and forth, Friedman falls to his stomach and expects Yehi to hop over him, but gets his hand stomped instead. Friedman wants another handshake but Yehi slaps it away. Freidman kicks him in the gut but Yehi returns with a flurry of offense.
Friedman ends up lying on the apron and calls for a time out. Yehi reaches over and grabs Friedman, but the spoiled rich kid clotheslines Yehi’s left arm over the top rope. He hits a springboard codebreaker on the arm and works it over further with some armbars. Yehi escapes the last armbar with chops and headbutts. Friedman tries to grab the armbar again, but Yehi uses more chops followed by a double stomp and a basement dropkick. Friedman falls victim to some quick knee lifts. Then, in a pretty cool spot, Yehi grabs Friedman’s arms, falls to his back, and lays in some rapid-fire boots to his opponent’s chest. A dragon suplex only gets two.
Friedman begs off in the corner but Yehi stomps on him relentlessly. Yehi goes to charge at Friedman but Friedman pulls the ref in front of him. Yehi pulls the ref out of the way. Friedman takes advantage of the ref’s temporary inattentiveness and pokes Yehi in the eye. He hops to the second rope and double stomps the worn down left arm, giving him the opportunity to roll up Yehi with a handful of trunks for the three count.
Winner- EC-damn it!-Maxwell J. Friedman
Andrea Ocampo meets Friedman at the top of the aisle. Friedman demands that a fan he calls “tubby” give him his chair. He has a seat after a hard-fought victory and starts insulting the crowd, telling them they probably don’t know who he is because they don’t have internet. He introduces himself and says he feels bad for Fred because he won’t be able to use the winner’s purse for his next three trips to Golden Corral. Fred seems pretty thin to me. I don’t think he’s going to Golden Corral. Friedman continues by lamenting that he’s jealous of the fans because they don’t know what it’s like to be him. He goes home to a perfect 10 that’s hard to deal with (Tye Dillenger?) and has a subpar limo driver, but it’s his cross to bear. He ends by saying he’s better than everyone and thanks Ocampo, noting that it’s hard to find good help these days.
One more commercial break airs before we get a video package showing what happened between Sami Callihan and MVP, followed by a backstage interview with Callihan. He proclaims that he talks when he wants to and calls himself a machine gun of an enigma. What? That weird description aside, he said he’s creating an army of like minded individuals. The mystery man that helped him beat MVP last week appears. Callihan says his army won’t just take over wrestling but will also take over everything. That’s vague. He and mystery man give the “thumbs up, thumbs down” gesture. I wonder if he was inspired by Batista.
We get footage of a press conference held by Court Bauer announcing that MLW will be in NYC on July 19. Hmm, maybe yours truly will have to go.
After a recap of Pentagon hocking a big, red, blindness causing loogy in Shane Strickland’s eyes, the announcers inform us that Pentagon is being forced to put his #1 contender spot on the line against Rey Fenix next week. Yes! If spitting mist into someone’s eyes means we get another Pentagon/Fenix match, then I hope the whole roster goes blind.
Jimmy Havoc vs. Joey Janela w/ Aria Blake in a Bogus Adventure Match.
It’s main event time. Schiavone says that a Bogus Adventure Match is the “ultimate mystery match.” We don’t know what kind of weapons will be used.
Both men try to bicycle kick each other twice. Havoc is sent to the outside, where Janela connects with a suicide dive through the ropes. Havoc gets control of the match and tries a suicide dive of his own but Janela throws a chair at him. He continues the punishment with a suplex onto another chair!
Back in the ring, Janela gets a two count. He hits a basement dropkick. Havoc answers back with some elbows. They go at each other with dueling chops. Janela goes to the top rope and misses a moonsault. Havoc throws him with a half nelson driver and a sit-out scoop slam. He goes to the outside and pulls…a door out from under the ring. I guess this is one of the mystery weapons. Bocchini is perplexed by the presence of the door and Schiavone responds by asking “Isn’t there always a door under the ring?” Tony, you should remember. Back in the WCW days, [Ultimate] Warrior demanded that a door be installed IN the ring so that he could disappear and mess with Hollywood Hogan’s head. The only thing it really messed with was the British Bulldog’s back when he got slammed into it.
Havoc sets up the door in the door. Janela attacks him and wraps a chair around his neck. He puts Havoc into position and jumps off the second rope with a back elbow, causing Havoc to fall into another chair. It’s not enough to keep Havoc down as he answers back with a discus clothesline and a pump handle slam on a chair for a two count.
Havoc smacks a chair over Janela’s back. My wife, who was watching this with me, saw the way Janela sold the chair shot and just said “bad acting.” My wife, everybody.
Havoc jabs Janela in the stomach with the chair and hits some elbows. He sits Janela in a chair in the corner and goes for a monkey flip, which fails. It looked like a botch but Janela wisely gets up quickly and sends Havoc to the mat with a vertical suplex. He lays a chair on top of Havoc, goes to the top rope, and Swanton Bombs Havoc. I don’t know who that hurt more.
Janela slides some chairs into the ring, causing them to hit Havoc. He also pulls out a table. Back in the ring, Janela hits Havoc over the back with a chair, but Havoc comes back by smashing a chair over Janela’s head. He gets the Bad Boy up in a fireman’s carry but he escapes and drives Havoc’s head into a pile of chairs with a package piledriver. He lays Havoc on the table and attempts to send him through it with a senton, but Havoc moves. Janela crashes through the table, gets up, and is sent through the door by Havoc with a running double front leg dropkick. Havoc continues the onslaught with a Death Valley Driver on the chairs and finally the Acid Rainmaker for the 1-2-3.
Winner: Jimmy Havoc
The cameras follow Havoc up the aisle and into the back. Oh, you know something bad’s about to happen here. Havoc exits the arena holding his head and bumps into Tom Lawlor. This is too much for Lawlor to bear. Team Filthy beats up Havoc and leaves him lying on the ground in agony. Lawlor whines that Havoc got blood on his outfit. The last shot shows Havoc on the ground with a look on his face that says “I’m in pain and pissed off.” If there were a crowd of wrestling fans outside, they’d be chanting that Lawlor just “f—ed up!”
On an episode “Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard” that I recently listened to, Conrad Thompson and Prichard commented that there really are no more original ideas in wrestling because everything’s been done. That’s not a bad thing. Go with what works- just don’t do it all the time. I mention this because I liked the way the Lawlor/ACH match ended. Using an injury as a secret weapon has been an effective wrestling trope and I’m glad that a scumbag heel like Lawlor is using it.
Maxwell J. Friedman was good in the ring but he really shined on the mic. Yeah, he has a similar look and gimmick to EC3, but he was still entertaining.
Here’s what I know about Sami Callihan: he had a cup of coffee in NXT, he almost took out Eddie Edward’s eye, and his promos annoy me. I don’t like this man.
The Bogus Adventure Match was fun. I thought there’d be more surprise weapons but whatever. There was constant back and forth action and little to no stalling- and nobody licked anybody else’s blood! That’s an automatic five-star rating from me!
I suppose Lawlor’s attack on Havoc means that Havoc is a face now. It makes sense. He seems like the kind of heel that fans want to cheer.
Did I mention that I was excited by another Pentagon/Fenix main event? Well, I am.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully, that game that the United States is really bad at doesn’t interrupt my sports-entertainment next Friday.
Have a good week!