Powell’s MLW One-Shot review: Ricochet vs. Shane Strickland, MVP vs. Sami Callihan, Mia Yim vs. Santana Garrett, Jeff Cobb vs. Tom Lawlor

By Jason Powell

Before you read the review, know that you can watch the show for just $4.99 at MLW.com. If you’ve avoided the spoilers thus far, then I recommend going that route and then checking back for my thoughts on the show.

MLW One-Shot
Taped October 5 Orlando, Florida at GILT Nightclub
Available via MLW.com

The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and Tony Schiavone checked in from backstage and hyped the Ricochet vs. Shane Strickland main event. Bocchini noted that the relationship between the two is fractured. Schiavone said it’s due to the attitude that Ricochet has developed…

Powell’s POV: I’m surprised by the simple introduction and lack of fanfare for MLW returning after all these years. I thought we might hear more of a mission statement or something about the history of the promotion. Of course, that could occur within the course of the show and it’s hard to complain about them getting right to the in-ring action.

1. Martin Stone vs. Tama Tonga. Schiavone noted that Tonga is the son of Haku, whom he described as one of the toughest men he’s ever known in his life. Tonga hit the Tonga Twist, but Stone kicked out . Stone came back with a nice powerbomb for a near fall of his own. A short time later, Tonga performed a Cutter and got the clean pin…

Tama Tonga defeated Martin Stone.

Powell’s POV: A nice opening match that didn’t overstay its welcome at just over six minutes in length. The venue looks good on television with a nice entrance set and the crowd very close to the ring. The ring looks professional with the MLW logo on the canvas and on the turnbuckle pads. It’s not the most enthusiastic crowd thus far, but hopefully that will change as the show moves forward.

Aria Blake was shown standing in the crowd and was identified as the MLW social media director…

2. Mike Parrow and Saieve Al Sabah vs. Rhett Giddins and Seth Petruzelli. The broadcast team spoke about Parrow and Al Sabah being an odd pairing. They played this up early with Al Sabah tagging himself in after the big man Parrow performed a German suplex on Giddins into their corner. The broadcast team also acknowledged the MMA background of Petruzelli and noted that he once submitted Kimbo Slice. He ended up putting Al Sabah in a cross arm breaker and got the submission win. Parrow powerbombed Al Sabah after the match…

Rhett Giddins and Seth Petruzelli beat Mike Parrow and Saieve Al Sabah.

Powell’s POV: This was just a match. Al Sabah’s gear looked very indie-riffic and he seemed out of place, but at least he took the loss for his team and he also took quite the bump off the powerbomb from Parrow.

The broadcast team spoke about MLW Radio and plugged their respective podcasts…

3. Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Jimmy Yuta. The ring announcer introduced MJF as being “better than you and you know it.” He worked the mic and drew some heat before his opponent was introduced. Schiavone noted that MJF was only 21 and two years in “and already as cocky as they come.” Schiavone compared Yuta to Ricky Steamboat for heart and never being out of a match. Late in the match, MJF complained to the referee that he suffered a jaw injury. When the ref was checking on him, MJF low blowed Yuta with a kick and then rolled him up for the win…

Powell’s POV: The best match of the show thus far. MJF plays the cocky heel role well, Yuta was a likable babyface, and they worked well together. The low blow finish was nothing special, but it helped establish the MJF heel persona.

Backstage, Jamie Iovine interviewed Tom Lawlor about his match with Jeff Cobb. Lawlor said he would not reveal his game plan for the match. He said Cobb will find out what it’s like to face a real professional fighter…

4. Barrington Hughes vs. Markos Espada. Hughes is a super heavyweight billed as “The Carmel Colossus.” He brought back memories of Cheex from TNA. Hughes has “76” tattooed on his bicep. Bocchini questioned if that is his belt size. Funny. The bell rang and Hughes splashed Espada in the corner with “The Purple Crush” and then put his foot on his chest while the referee counted the pin just eight seconds into the match…

Barrington Hughes defeated Markos Espada.

Powell’s POV: Hughes is a massive man, but it was hard to get a sense of what he can do based on this brief squash. Espada’s entrance was not televised. The undercard has not been anything special, but at least we’re only 35 minutes into the show so they kept these matches brief. Plus, I’m all for a show that builds to the main event rather than having every match on the show attempt to compete for match of the night. I know some folks will disagree on that, but to each his own.

Footage aired from the MLW 360 videos on Ricochet and Shane Strickland…

5. Darby Allin vs. Jason Cade. Schiavone spoke about Allin’s skateboarding background and mentioned that he weighs 170 pounds. Bocchini noted that Ricochet took Cade under his wing. Late in the match, Cade performed a nice double stomp in the corner and then picked up Allin in a fireman’s carry and drove him into the corner. Cade went for a frogsplash, but Allin put his knees up. A short time later, Allin applied a leg log and leaned over Cade while holding the leglock for the win…

Darby Allin defeated Jason Cade.

Powell’s POV: The most entertaining match of the show thus far. Allin has a good look with half of his face pained white with black around the eyes (think half a Misfit). It’s nice to see a cruiserweight wrestler come up with a gimmick that makes him stand out from all of the smaller guys in the business who work a similar style.

Another 360 piece aired on Strickland…

6. Mia Yim vs. Santana Garrett. Larry Zbyszko was shown sitting in the crowd as the broadcast team spoke about how he and Scott Hall trained Garrett. Yim got a two count off a nice suplex and spat the referee when she didn’t get the three count. She got another two count and glared at the ref. Garrett came back with her Shining Star Press and scored the pin…

Santana Garrett defeated Mia Yim.

Powell’s POV: Hey, my new favorite match of the night even though Garrett’s finisher was really light to the point that she landed on her knees and didn’t even make contact with Yim. This is one one of the matches I was looking forward to because I enjoyed Yim’s work as Jade in TNA, and I still don’t understand why Garrett hasn’t been signed by one of the bigger companies.

The broadcast team recapped the Barrington Hughes win, then announced that MLW will return on December 7 in Orlando with tickets going on sale on October 20…

7. Tom Lawlor vs. Jeff Cobb. Lawlor came out with a pair of cornermen who were dressed like him and also had hoods pulled over their heads. Lawlor removed his UFC jacket and had tuxedo under armor on underneath. Fortunately, he removed it before the bell. Schiavone noted that Cobb was an Olympic wrestler and said he’s added 70 pounds since turning pro. They worked on the mat to start.

Cobb caught Lawlor going for a kick. Lawlor fell down and got back to his feet before taking a nice suplex from Cobb. Lawlor ended up on the top rope and took a dropkick from Cobb, who followed up with a superplex. Cobb went for a standing shooting star press, and Lawlor applied a submission hold, which Cobb ended up breaking. Later, Cobb powered out of an armbar and slammed Cobb into the corner and then performed a powerslam. Cobb came up bleeding from the nose. Lawler performed a German suplex. When they got up, Cobb headbutted Lawlor.

In the end, Lawlor performed a sunset flip and got the pin. Bocchini pointed out that Lawlor appeared to take something from his cornermen and then rubbed it in the face of Cobb. Schiavone pointed out that Lawlor was putting something back in his shorts afterward. Lawlor was interviewed briefly. He took the mic and said he won the match, not the fans. He told the fans to keep their cheers to themselves. He said the fans weren’t there to support him when he was in UFC. Lawlor called out Matt Riddle. The fans popped and chanted “Bro” for Riddle…

Tom Lawlor defeated Jeff Cobb.

Powell’s POV: The finish didn’t come off well on television upon first viewing in that I never would have picked up on Lawlor cheating had it not been for the broadcast team. You could see him reach his hand over to his corner at one point, but you couldn’t actually see his hand, which may have been by design. Even so, this was an entertaining match between the former MMA fighter and Cobb, who works as Matanza in Lucha Underground. Lawlor is green, but he has upside.

Backstage, Jamie Iovine tried to interview Sami Callihan, who shoved the camera to end the segment…

9. MVP vs. Sami Callihan. Callihan sat down in the crowd while MVP made his entrance. Callihan took a cup from a fan and threw it at MVP, who then dominated to start the match. Schiavone said it wasn’t a pro wrestling match, it was a fight. Callihan performed a suicide dive that sent MVP into the chairs at ringside (fans were moved out of the way beforehand). Callihan and MVP sat on chairs across from one another. Callihan asked if this is what MVP wanted to do. MVP slapped him. Callihan responded with an “f— you” and MVP hit him repeatedly. Callihan barked that he would “pay one hundred dollars for you, bitch,” and then held up his middle finger. Schiavone spoke about how crazy Callihan is.

Later, MVP performed his Ballin’ elbow inside the ring and performed a fisherman’s suplex for a two count. MVP went for the Playmaker, but Callihan avoided it and yelled “Ballin'” before dropping MVP onto his knee. Callihan applied a stretch muffler, but MVP fought free. MVP hit his Playmaker move and went for a cover, but Callihan kicked out. MVP acted surprised. MVP followed up with a big boot and Callihan again kicked out. MVP threw another kick and performed another fisherman’s suplex for the win. In a cool touch, Schiavone noted that the prison guard who got MVP interested in pro wresting while he was in prison was in attendance at the show.

MVP defeated Sami Callihan.

Powell’s POV: A fun hardcore brawl. It stood out nicely on a show filled with mostly straight forward wrestling and was well received by the live crowd. Oddly, the the fans were into the match, yet they were pretty quiet when it came time for MVP’s post match celebration.

The broadcast team spoke from their balcony position and recapped the match and then hyped the Never Say Never event… Jamie Iovine interviewed MVP, who spoke about being “a lot gray in the chin” yet saying he felt good out there. A woman entered the picture and handed MVP what appeared to be a business card. She said something to him before walking away, but the audio was rough for this segment…

Another 360 video aired on the main event with comments from Ricochet, Shane Strickland, and Dave Meltzer. Ricochet spoke about how he would beat Strickland and said he pushes his buttons to make him better. He said they will be friends after the match. Strickland said he wasn’t sure if they would be or not…

10. Ricochet vs. Shane Strickland. The referee gave instructions, but the wrestlers didn’t shake hands or talk trash. Schiavone compared it to Wahoo McDaniel waiting for the bell and letting his actions do the talking. The match was slow paced early, which is understandable considering they were going long. There was a cool spot with Strickland going for a leapfrog only to eat a dropkick that sent him flying backwards.

Later, Ricochet performed a great standing moonsault for a two count. Ricochet slapped the back of Strickland’s head to taunt him. Strickland returned the favor, but Ricochet continued to taunt him with mocking kicks to the head. Some fans booed Ricochet’s antics, and Strickland got up and caught him with a shot to the face. Ricochet put him right back down with a DDT. A short time later, Strickland rolled out of the corner and performed a big cutter.

Late in the match, Ricochet played up an arm injury. Strickland blasted him with a knee to the head. Strickland stomped the head of Ricochet and then went for a cross arm breaker, but Ricochet blocked it and ended up powering Strickland up and slamming him down. Strickland blocked a Ricochet kick and reapplied the submission hold on the arm. Ricochet tried to reach the ropes, but he couldn’t reach and tapped instead. The fans stood and applauded as Strickland was named the winner. Ricochet rolled to ringside and simply nodded at Strickland.

Shane Strickland defeated Ricochet.

The broadcast team hyped the Never Say Never event and then Strickland went to the ropes to celebrate his win…

After the MLW logo flashed, a video package aired with Jimmy Havoc talking about Florida being the sunshine state. He said fans have wanted is to see red turn to green for the last half a century. He brought up Dusty Rhodes being busted open by Abdullah the Butcher, and Steve Corino wearing a crimson mask. He said the Florida fans haven’t seen that the last couple of years, but that’s about to change. “As a voyeur of your scene, you are going to get exactly what you want,” Havoc said…

A graphic hyped the Never Say Never event’s tickets going on sale on October 20…

Powell’s POV: A great main event and a strong close to the show. I didn’t do it justice in terms of hitting on all of the high points of the match because it went over 30 minutes and it was fun to just sit back and enjoy it. I assume we’ll be seeing more from these two, perhaps even on the next event. Also, a great teaser for Havoc at the end of the show with a good promo and some eerie sounds in the background. The best thing about the Havoc video was that it was effective regardless of whether viewers are familiar with his work.

It was good to hear Schiavone back on the call after all these years. Bocchini, who worked as Rich Brennan in WWE, seemed more up to speed on things, but Schiavone’s down home charm still gets him by and makes for an easy listen. Bocchini was at his best during the main event when he seemed to get genuinely caught up in the action. The Jamie Iovine backstage segments were brief and didn’t add much to the show.

One shortcoming of the broadcast was that we didn’t learn as much about the non main event personalities. For instance, I wanted to know more about Darby Allin. I didn’t expect MLW to spend as much time on the other matches as they did on the 360 pieces they did to set up the main event, but some basic personality profiles or even just more mic time from the wrestlers would have helped provide viewers a sense of the babyface and heel dynamic or just a better understanding of what the characters are about.

Overall, thought, it was a fun show and you can’t beat the $4.99 price for the iPPV for the two and a half hour event. This was definitely a case of the card slowly building to the main event. The first half of the night felt missable for the most part, but that half of the show was brief and they did introduce some personalities who may play bigger roles going forward. I couldn’t get the show to pop up on my television via Chromecast (stupid human error on my part?), but the production values were slick and the main event alone is worth the price tag. I am looking forward to seeing how MLW evolves going forward.


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