MLW Fusion was back from Cicero Stadium in Chicago for Episode 32. It featured a tiny briefcase full of cash, Kotto Brazil vs Trey Miguel, Marko Stunt vs Gringo Loco, a Heavyweight Championship clash between Low Ki and Shane Strickland, and a worked shoot post-match blowup.
On to a recap and review of the show…
Salina de la Renta & Simon Gotch backstage scene
Salina de la Renta placed a tiny lunchbox-sized sliver briefcase on the ground and kicked it across the floor to someone off camera. Simon Gotch! He was squatting in the corner. The briefcase was full of cash. It looked like funny money, if you ask me.
The moolah was payment for last week’s treachery. Gotch offered his services for the future, but de la Renta does not trust him. To give him an opportunity, de la Renta offered to double the pay if Gotch ‘takes out’ Tom Lawlor in Miami at Never Say Never. Gotch declined the dinero and said he would do it for free to earn her trust. De la Renta did not seem impressed as she walked away.
Kotto Brazil defeated Trey Miguel
Kotto Brazil must shave his thighs. He had single rings of black tape around them. That would rip out hair upon removal. No, thank you.
This was an evenly matched bout. One cool move was an on-the-shoulders twist into a head spike maneuver by Brazil.
Other top moments were two consecutive suicide dives followed with a tope con hilo by Brazil, a unique take on the 619 by Trey Miguel, a flying double knee by Miguel, and a butt-bounce off the bottom rope by Miguel for a springboard cutter.
For the finish, Brazil shed off a cutter from the middle rope, then missed a flying attack but landed on his feet. Brazil ran at Miguel for a set up to a successful Sliced Bread. 1, 2, 3. Miguel was toast.
The real highlight of the fight was MJF (Maxwell J. Friedman) on commentary. My favorite exchanges were:
- Tony Schiavone asked about Aria Blake. “We got a place for her. She can sit right between Rich and…” MJF called him a creeper. Tony continued, “I just had a chair for her.” MJF replied, “Is that right? I got a chair for you, bud. It’s going to go right across your dome.” Tony made an ohh noise of disbelief at such a statement.
- Kotto Brazil got punched in the head. MJF blurted, “What a nerd.” Rich protested. MJF continued, “I mean he looks like a nerd. If it walks like a duck, if it talks like a duck, it’s a duck. Quack, quack. Rich, you idiot. Learn your animals.”
- MJF referred to Rich Bocchini as Rich Binaca and Rich Broccoli.
- MJF messed his own name up, Maxwell J. Freedom, and Rich called him out on it. “Look, I’m not going to lie you. I’m getting a little bit concerned, because you keep touching my knee, Rich. I’m getting a little bit frazzled here.”
- MJF’s analysis of, “Kotto Brazil’s offense is literally like getting bit by a mosquito over and over again. It’s just annoying. It’s not effective.”
Cut to an attempt at a Shane Strickland interview. Chumps with camera phones failed to get any comments. Strickland put in his earphones to walk on by.
News: They went over the cards for Never Say Never and Zero Hour. Tom Lawlor vs LA Park on the second show was the only new announcement.
*Note: This wasn’t addressed on Episode 31, but it is important nonetheless. The injury bug will be taking a toll on the Miami cards. Tom Lawlor (MMAing) and MJF (wrestling) were injured in the past few days. Add those two names to the list of Marko Stunt, Joey Ryan, and Rey Fenix. I’d expect all five to miss the shows, but don’t fret. When you give MLW CEO Court Bauer lemons, he turns them into leemonade.
Back to the show, Kotto Brazil was ambushed by MJF during a backstage interview. The final blow was a running kick to the ribs.
Teddy Hart and Brian Pillman Jr. cut a promo on Tommy Dreamer. Teddy pulled out the rhymes, “Tommy Dreamer is one of the guys, less is more. So, guess what? Brian Pillman Jr.’s gonna treat you like a whore, and we’re gonna use you like a door.” Please, I implore. Not another pour. Put the wine glass on the floor.
Next week will feature Brian Pillman Jr. vs Tommy Dreamer and the Lucha Bros (Fenix & Pentagon) vs LA Park and Hijo de LA Park.
Marko Stunt defeated Gringo Loco
Whoa. I’ve never seen Marko Stunt before. I was not expecting a mini. He stands tall at 5 feet 2 inches. I’d like to see him wrestle Lucha Underground’s El Bunny. I wonder what Stunt keeps in his fanny pack?
The finish came about after Gringo Loco missed a flying corkscrew attack. Stunt countered a powerbomb into a hurricanrana pin for a two count. Some rope running and body whirling led to a facebreaker by Stunt for the win.
Heavyweight Championship: Low Ki retained against Shane Strickland
Prior to the main event, Low Ki walked by Stokely Hathaway. Head nod by Hathaway. Return nod by Ki. Hathaway eyed Salina de la Renta as she passed. Another shared nod between the two men. Hathaway would later be present ringside in the fan crowd. Low Ki was accompanied to the ring by Salina de la Renta and Ricky Martinez.
Did you know Shane Strickland is also a rapper? He does his own theme song; over the speakers, not a live performance. Strickland goes by the moniker Swerve.
The story was that Ki won the belt off Strickland over four months ago. This bout in Chicago was Strickland’s rematch.
The main event took up about 30 minutes, including entrances. It began with some mat wrestling stalemates. The majority of the bout was methodical with flurries of punches, kicks, knees, and suplexes. The highlight of the first half was Ki kneeing Strickland in the head while in a vertical suplex position, then Ki reversing into a suplex onto the top rope to hang Strickland out to dry. The closest call of the second half came on a modified Falcon Arrow by Killshot. Oops, I mean Strickland.
The ending was where it got wacky. Low Ki attempted a flying move (maybe a clothesline or shoulder block), Strickland dodged, and the referee felt the blow to knock him unconscious. Strickland took charge by battering Ki outside the ring.
Strickland rolled Ki back into the ring and capitalized with a flying double stomp.
However, the ref was still out cold. Strickland tried to revive him but to no avail. Strickland pinned Ki anyway. The crowd chanted to 11 by the time a backup referee could make a two count. Kick out by Ki.
At that moment, Ricky Martinez hopped up onto the apron to consume all attention from the referee. Martinez ignored the ref’s requests to get down. In the background, Ki ripped out strands of Strickland’s hairdo. That pain was enough for Ki to roll up Strickland to get the win.
After the match, an irate Strickland grabbed a microphone. “This is the kind of crap I’m talking about. I am sick of the hypocrisy going on in MLW. (Move!) Night in and night out for this f*cking company, I put my body on the f*cking line. I sacrificed everything. I sacrificed my family to be the franchise of Major League Wrestling, and they treat me like this by letting Low Ki walk around here with my title.”
”Everybody shut up, because you’re part of the problem too. All of you. You go on Twitter, you go on your computers and you parade (?) this crap.” Something bullshit. The crowd replied by chanting, “Culero.”
Back to Strickland, “And no, I’m not talking to MLW management. I’m not talking to you MSL, no. This is you, Court Bauer. The one that books this whole creep show. You are the problem with this company.” He told MLW cronies to shut up. “I’m going to say what I need to say, because they people need to freaking hear it. As of right now, I am terminating my contract and I’m…” His mic was cut.
Strickland threw trash at the MLW jabrones yelling at him. He flipped off a bald-headed large fellow, then hopped the rail to exit.
This is my second time watching MLW Fusion and it was another solid outing. Kotto Brazil vs Trey Miguel had some unique twists on flashy maneuvers. MJF was a hoot on commentary. Marko Stunt vs Gringo Loco was good enough to make me want to see both of them again. The appearance from Stokely Hathaway intrigued me. I don’t know who Hathaway is (I do know Haddaway), but the way the scene was shot made me curious to find out why he is there. Best of all, MLW nails little details, such as the small silver briefcase, to add a sense of silliness that I enjoy.
The main event match between Low Ki and Shane Strickland was alright. I was entertained while watching, but I don’t think it has a high replay value. After seeing so many Killshot matches in Lucha Underground, that Heavyweight Championship fight doesn’t compare to his best.
I thought the finish was kind of iffy. I wasn’t buying that Killshot could be pinned just from losing some hair. Sure, it would be unpleasant, but that isn’t an incapacitating type of pain.
The disgruntled promo by Strickland after his loss went over my head. I haven’t seen enough episodes yet to understand the nuances of his character. It didn’t seem like a face-to-heel turn, since the fans were somewhat booing him prior. I have no clue why MLW could be considered hypocrites. I also don’t know who the stooges were at the end nor what kind of on-screen persona Court Bauer puts forth. I’m unclear if referring to Bauer as the booker was supposed to be edgy shoot material or just a simple reference to the fact that he is matchmaker. Strickland’s promo might have been cool as heck for MLW followers, but I’m lacking the information to digest it properly.
One last note, Super Fight tickets are currently on sale. I believe that is MLW’s version of Wrestlemania. The event will take place February 2, 2019 in Philadelphia. It has been announced that Tom Lawlor is, “Vowing to cash in his Battle Riot contract for a shot at the World Title.”
Which was your favorite match from Episode 32? What did you think of the main event? Was Shane Strickland’s promo awesome or a dud?