It’s finally here. After five weeks of anticipation, Pentagon, Jr. is challenging Shane “Swerve” Strickland for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. It’s the first MLW title defense and I hope both men deliver.
The show opens with Swerve and Barrington Hughes rolling up to the arena in an expensive red convertible. Strickland gets out and is flanked by reporters and photographers. Salina de la Renta approaches him and says that his car and his title are both rentals. She walks as Hughes calls her a “broomstick,” which he explains means she’s a “witch.” Swerve is about to say that she’s more like a “bitch,” but he gets cut off by the opening title card. That was pretty funny.
Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini welcome us and hype the big title match.
Santana Garrett vs. Chelsea Green
Winner: Santana Garrett with a jumping DDT
Thoughts and Highlights
- I believe this is the first women’s match on Fusion.
- These two started off as friends and then Green slapped Garrett, which turned the match into more of a stiffer brawl.
- After the slap, Green went into crazy woman mode, smearing her lipstick all over her mouth.
- One interesting move by Green was when she had Garrett on her knees and held her arms back. Then, she pushed Garrett into the middle turnbuckle with her foot a few times. Garrett hit the turnbuckle like someone hitting their face into a car dashboard during a sudden stop because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt.
- One awkward spot in the match was towards the end where Garrett went for a kick. Green dodged it. Garrett just turned her back on Green like she was just waiting for the next move to happen, which ended up being a lungblower. I guess Green should have gotten the move off quicker but it made Garrett look like a dope for just standing there.
- The two hugged after the match. I thought Green was going to turn but she turned off the crazy once the bell rang. Not a bad match.
We get a recap of Team Filthy’s beatdown on Jimmy Havoc followed by a promo from Lawlor. He apologizes for the beating and for the fact that Havoc can’t take a “vicious punch.” He mocks Havoc for being in British, saying that he’s probably in “London town” drinking tea and eating crumpets. After listening to some of Havoc’s promos, I think he likes to drink blood with his crumpets instead. Lawlor finishes by saying that Havoc can’t take him in the ring and he apologizes for that, too. Lawlor wasn’t the smoothest in this promo but he came across as an arrogant d—, which he’s pretty good at.
Simon Gotch Prize Fight Challenge
Winner: Simon Gotch (Duh- it’s his open challenge)
Thoughts and Highlights
- The “prize” in this open challenge is $250. What a cheap bastard.
- The first man to accept the open challenge was Danny Santiago. I was wondering if this guy was a jobber and he was. Three things confirmed this:
- He didn’t even get his name displayed on the chyron.
- He was wearing a white belt, which is the lowest level in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (I have to credit Bing with helping me on that one).
- When he took off his jacket, his physique was…well…let’s just say unimpressive.
- Gotch won after a T-bone suplex and a Gotch piledriver.
- Gotch reached into the bag holding the money and pulled out an even smaller bag containing the $250. He waved it in Santiago’s face.
Kaci Lennox is outside Martin J. Friedman’s dressing room door, where she’s waiting for him to arrive. All of a sudden, Aria Blake and Joey Janela walk out of Friedman’s room. Janela is smoking a cigarette and drinking a Corona. Lennox asks why they were in there and Janela just says they weren’t doing anything bad.
After a commercial, Friedman arrives at his dressing room. Lennox is about to interview him when he smells smoke. He walks into his dressing room and it’s trashed. Cigarette ashes are all over his $3,000 shirt, there’s domestic beer cans all over the place, and there’s a condom on the floor (which was blurred out). Friedman is incensed and storms out of the room.
MLW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Shane “Swerve” Strickland (champion) vs. Pentagon, Jr. w/Salina de la Renta
We’re less than thirty minutes in and it’s time for the main event. A video package plays showing the events leading up to this match, including Pentagon’s mind games and the red mist attack from two weeks ago. We get a tale of the tape before heading out to the arena for the entrances. Pentagon is out first and spits his red mist at the top of the aisle. I hope he has enough left over to use for the match.
A mariachi band comes into the ring and plays the Mexican national anthem. The crowd was respectful for the most part. Nobody booed and nobody chanted “U.S.A.” while it was going on. In fact, they applauded after it was over. The whole crowd reaction was very 2018. If this were 1988, garbage would have been thrown in the ring and Jesse Ventura would have been talking about “Chico” Santana’s tacos.
Pentagon had the “Cero Miedo” hand sign over his heart during the anthem. Nice touch.
Swerve comes out next and I think there’s definitely some crowd sweetening. Some of the cheering just didn’t sound like it was live.
Winner: Shane “Swerve” Strickland after the Swerve Stomp
Thoughts and Highlights
- This was a slower paced match but it wasn’t boring.
- At one point, Pentagon tied Swerve’s hands to the middle rope using audio cables and began chopping him. The ref was admonishing Pentagon for this but then just kind of let Pentagon do his thing.
- Bocchini compared Swerve to a “young Jon Jones.” Let’s just hope Swerve’s career doesn’t take a left turn at cocaine use and hit and run accidents.
- The pace started picking up when both men booted each other in the face. The ref began a double 20 count as they lay on the mat and the show went to commercial. That was kind of a weird spot to give Blue Moon their ad time.
- Pentagon hit a Canadian Destroyer on the apron. I thought for a second that we were going to get a countout finish but thankfully Pentagon got Swerve back in the ring.
- Towards the end of the match, Pentagon brought a chair into the ring. I don’t like when heels bring foreign objects like chairs or title belts into the ring right in front of the ref’s eyes, especially if they’re the ones challenging for the title. Why would you get yourself intentionally disqualified? It makes “cero” sense.
- Before the Swerve Stomp, Pentagon attempted to spit red mist into Swerve’s face, but Swerve ducked and de la Renta ended up getting the spicy spit in her face instead. Now, whereas Swerve reacted like he was going blind when the mist ended up in his face two weeks back, de la Renta just looked annoyed and acted like someone had spilt cranberry juice on her nice white clothes. She didn’t even look like her sight was affected in any way. It made Swerve look like an overreacting wuss.
After the show goes off the air, we get a commercial for next week’s episode, where former WWE superstars Rich Swann and Jake Hager (Jack Swagger) will make their MLW debuts. We’ll also see Jeff Cobb (Matanza Cueto) on Fusion for the first time as he takes on Hager.
- I really dug this week’s episode. The comedy on the show was just the right amount and it didn’t feel forced. When I watch Raw or Smackdown, I think to myself that the comedy on those shows feels contrived, like Vince McMahon has a comedy quota that needs to be filled in each episode. The funny spots on this show were quick and didn’t overstay their welcome.
- I’m happy to see Simon Gotch featured in MLW. Not every guy’s career works out in WWE but he’s talented and I’m glad to see him spotlighted. His membership in Team Filthy and the open challenge gimmick are going to help him get over.
- I loved the segment with Friedman in the dressing room and can’t wait to see a Friedman/Janela feud play out. It seems natural- the refined one percenter vs. the sloppy degenerate.
- I was more impressed with Swerve this week than in his match with Jimmy Havoc.
- Rich Bocchini is irritating and comes off as a dunce to me. When Schiavone questioned why Pentagon would bring a chair into the ring, Bocchini’s response was “You have to use that chair to make it illegal.” DUH. That’s the whole reason why Schiavone was questioning it.
That’s it for this week. Follow me on Twitter (@CliffofDoom). If you live in the States, enjoy your long weekend and please remember all of the men and women who died to protect America. Have a good week!