MLW Fusion returned from Miami with episode 40. Featured bouts include Shane Strickland vs Rush, Ariel Dominguez vs Ace Romero, Ricky Martinez vs Gringo Loco, and Hart Foundation vs Dirty Blondes.
On to a recap and review of the show…
Shane Strickland vs Rush
Shane Strickland had a mic in the ring. He hates Miami just as much as the fans in attendance. Strickland is there because MLW paid him an, “Ass load of money.” He claimed that not one single person in the locker room can measure up to his abilities. “Swerve, quite frankly, is the gold standard of professional wrestling.” Hit Rush’s music.
I think Rush questioned, “How about me, perro?” Strickland attacked while Rush was working the crowd.
Strickland was in complete control for the first third of the match. Rush turned the tide with a Superman punch, a little brawling in the crowd, and a trash can toss.
Tony Schiavone informed us, “Solid steel trash can. No give in that at all.”
Rush controlled the second third of the match. There was a funny chop exchange that finished with Strickland chicanery. He held his right hand high, spit on it to mimic Rush, then delivered a speedy surprise strike with his left hand as all the focus was on his right.
The finish began with corner action as the two traded off striking flurries. Rush got the upper hand with a running missile dropkick to a downed Strickland. Two count. Rush finished Strickland off with a Rush driver. 1, 2, 3.
Kotto Brazil case dropped
During the match lineup graphic for the rest of the evening, Tony Schiavone informed us that, “Promociones Dorado has cut the checks, paid the fines. Evidence in the Kotto Brazil nightclub case has been compromised, and the case has been dropped. That means Ricky Martinez is a free man.” I guess that settles that outside the ring. I assume Brazil and Martinez will get it on inside the ring one day soon.
Salina de la Renta interview
Kaci Lennox had questions for Salina de la Renta about Sami Callihan failing to take out Tom Lawlor. Lennox informed us that a match has been signed for LA Park vs Callihan. De la Renta told us why. “Sami, you had one job. And instead of solving my problem, you became the problem.” She is going to make sure LA Park doesn’t stop until Callihan is either fired or dead.
Tony Schiavone added, “I hope you’re ready for total, and we mean total, devastation next week.” I’m sold.
Barrington Hughes joined the commentary team ringside for the next bout to hype up a super heavyweight clash. I had a hard time hearing him. Either the mic sound level was low or he wasn’t speaking into the headset.
Ariel Dominguez vs Ace Romero
David vs Goliath. 140 pounds vs 400 pounds. There would be no shocking upset on this night. Romero often ragdolled Dominguez. Dominguez had a moment with three consecutive running clotheslines, but he failed to knock the big man down. On the fourth attempt, Romero scoop slammed the little man and followed with a huge running elbow drop. Match over.
Brian Pillman Jr. promo
Brian Pillman Jr. was at a rooftop playground to trash talk Tommy Dreamer. Pillman is excited about defeating Dreamer in his own game with Singapore canes. Where will they fight next? The world is Pillman’s playground. “Take it to the stars. Take it to the moon. Take it to your own backyard, New York City. Wherever you go, I will follow you, old man.” Dreamer will be begging for mercy.
Low Ki interview
Kaci Lennox was back. This time with Low Ki. She touted his fifteen year undefeated streak in MLW. Low Ki feels that his has solidified himself as the greatest world heavyweight champ of all-time in MLW. Tom Lawlor will get to join a luxurious list of people who have failed against him. Low Ki closed with, “The honor will be yours, but the pleasure will be mine.”
Ricky Martinez vs Gringo Loco
Ricky Martinez entered wearing an eyepatch to mock Kotto Brazil’s eye injury.
This was an even contest. Highlights include Martinez using his legs to smash Gringo Loco’s head against the mat, a sitdown powerbomb by Gringo Loco, and a super sitdown slam by Gringo Loco.
For the finish, Gringo Loco went high-risk. As he leaped, Salina de la Renta pulled Martinez out of the way. Big miss by Gringo Loco. That led to a fireman’s carry knee to the ribs by Martinez to win.
Colonel Parker & the Dirty Blondes backstage
Prior to the main event, Colonel Parker informed his team that his grandpa invented the tag match. He warned the Dirty Blondes that if he doesn’t see winning then, “I’m going to have somebody’s rear end for it.” Parker wants them to earn their money.
Tom Lawlor promo
Tom Lawlor hyped his SuperFight championship match against Low Ki. Lawlor did his job and earned the title shot. He continued with a funny Low Ki impersonation. Lawlor claimed that Low Ki outsources and pays people to do dirty jobs. “Simon Gotch, that treasure troll Sami Callihan, little Ricky, the fat skeleton, the skinny skeleton, Salina the teenage witch.” All of them will be out of the way and Low Ki will be out of a job when Lawlor puts him to sleep at SuperFight.
Dirty Blondes vs Hart Foundation
Davey Smith Jr. and Brian Pillman Jr. represented the Hart Foundation trio. Teddy Hart was not present.
It was mentioned on commentary that if the Dirty Blondes can win, then they could be included in the tag team championship match between the Lucha Bros and the Hart Foundation at SuperFight. That was a simple way to provide importance to the main event match of this episode.
Standard tag team action commenced. It was a classic style with double teams on Pillman, while Smith provided the power. For the finish, Pillman connected on a springboard flying clothesline to send one member of the Dirty Blondes out of the ring. Smith executed a tremendous superplex for victory.
Tony Schiavone reported, “Despite losing vision in one eye, Kotto Brazil has signed a medical waiver. He’ll return to action in one week.”
Episode 40 of MLW Fusion was heavy on wrestling. The action was pleasing, but the promos stole the show. Tom Lawlor and Low Ki consistently get me pumped for their eventual clash at SuperFight. Lawlor cracked me up by referring to LA Park and son as fat skeleton and skinny skeleton. It is as if Lawlor doesn’t know who they are, just weird dudes trying to attack him.
Rush vs Shane Strickland was a cool treat. That was one of those dream matchups I never considered until they were put together. I felt it started a little too slow and took too long for the action to hit a fever pace. When they did go full speed ahead, the fight was a dandy.
I wonder if Rush vs Shane Strickland was originally supposed to be the main event of the episode before Rush signed with Ring of Honor. They got plenty of time to wrestle for about fifteen minutes. It would have been a nice stepping stone win for Rush against a possibly departing Strickland as those WWE rumors persist.
One negative for the episode was the microphone sound levels. Rush’s promo had major static. I could barely hear Barrington Hughes. In the main event, Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini were drowned out by the floor mic and extremely loud crash noises for every impact on the mat.
Which match was your favorite from episode 40? Who was the star of the show?
MLW Fusion airs on beIN SPORTS Friday nights 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT with replays at 11 pm ET. New episodes are posted on YouTube Saturday nights at 6:05 pm ET.