Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Episode Two featuring MLW Champion Shane Strickland vs. Jimmy Havoc, Ultimo Ninja vs. Garza Jr., The Dirty Blondes vs. Jason Cade and Jimmy Yuta

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Major League Wrestling TV
Taped in Orlando, Florida at GILT Nightclub
Aired April 27, 2018 on beIN Sports

The show is titled “Danger in Swerve City”… The video package on Shane Strickland and Jimmy Havoc that closed the previous week’s show kicked off the second episode… The MLW opening aired… Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini checked in from the studio and set up the show…

Powell’s POV: As previously noted, I’m in the process of catching up on the MLW Fusion television series. I hope to be caught up on episodes three and four before next week’s fifth episode airs.

1. “The Dirty Blondes” Mike Patrick and Leo Brien (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Jason Cade and Jimmy Yuta. Parker introduced his team before the match and then the ring announcer introduced their opponents. Footage aired from “last week” of one of the Blondes striking Cade with his cowboy boot. Schiavone noted that the Blondes also put Cade in the hospital previously. In the end, Parker tripped Yuta from ringside and then Patrick dropped an elbow on him and pinned him…

The Dirty Blondes defeated Jason Cade and Jimmy Yuta.

Schiavone hyped the main event… [C]

Powell’s POV: The Blondes and Parker are a fun throwback act. After seeing Barrington Hughes on last week’s show and now the Blondes this week, it’s good to see MLW is using talent that come in different shapes and sizes. This approach will not appeal to work rate junkie fans, but it’s actually better for the type of wrestlers that those fans fancy. After all, the best way to make a big spot guy stand out is to put him on a show where what he does actually stands out as being special. Too many independent promotions use too many big spot wrestlers and it leads to a lot of viewers becoming numb to what should make those wrestlers stand out as special. It’s too soon to tell where MLW fits in that regard since we’re only on the second show, but I’m encouraged based on the acts I mentioned and knowing booker Court Bauer’s tastes.

2. Ultimo Ninja vs. Garza Jr. (w/Salina de La Renta). Salina had her own security guards who escorted her to the ring. Garza worked the match with a brace on his right shoulder. Schiavone noted that he had suction cup marks on his back below the brace and he stated that those were from his physical therapy. Garza’s brace started falling off. He ended up ditching it around the time he did his usual spot of ripping off his tearaway pants. He had the suction marks all over his back and shoulder. Late in the match, Salina reached in from the floor and pulled the mask off of Ultimo Ninja, who was rolled up and pinned by Garza…

Garza Jr. defeated Ultimo Ninja.

Powell’s POV: Schiavone portrayed Salina as the heel for removing the mask when she knows how sacred they are to the luchadores. That said, I can’t say I really understand the role of Salina just yet. Perhaps I missed something the broadcast team said last week? She had accompanied some of the lucha talent to the ring over the last two weeks, but we haven’t actually heard from her to get a feel for what she’s about or what her motivations are. The match was solid considering that Garza was working the match with one arm. I just came away wishing that I knew something about these guys. Sure, I’ve seen them work for other promotions, but I don’t feel like MLW is really introducing us to the characters before they get in the ring.

Highlights aired from last week’s main event with Pentagon Jr. defeating Rey Fenix to earn an MLW Title shot…

A video package aired on “Filthy” Tom Lawlor. They showed him training in an MMA gym as he spoke about all the people who look up to him. He said there are plenty of people who test themselves in the street or the cage or in the ring, but only he does it all by starring in MMA and pro wrestling…

A backstage interview aired with Col. Rob Parker, who spoke about his past relationships with Steve Austin and Harlem Heat…

MVP delivered a promo in front of an MLW backdrop. He said wins and losses actually matter in MLW and there is a ranking system in place. He spoke about trying to be the best role model for his son and the best way to do that is to become the MLW Champion. He said it would help show his son that no matter where you come from or what you’ve done there is always redemption…

A video aired on the Strickland vs. Havoc main event. Strickland spoke about Havoc beating him in the past and footage of their past matches were shown. Strickland said he would come back stronger and smarter than ever. Havoc said he never gives up…

Powell’s POV: Ask and ye shall receive? It was good to get the Lawlor video package and the promos by Parker and the Blondes along with MVP. There is so much pro wrestling on television these days and you can see a lot of these wrestlers work elsewhere, so the key to standing out is the storytelling.

The broadcast team discussed the tale of the tape for the wrestlers in the main event… Ring entrances for the main event took place. Schiavone said Havoc looked like he walked off the set of a horror movie, yet Strickland didn’t seem to be intimidated…

3. MLW Champion Shane Strickland vs. Jimmy Havoc. The bell rang and Strickland hit Havoc with a big boot. Havoc came right back with a forearm and a clothesline for a two count. Havoc was in control early on, but Strickland came back with a kick heading into a commercial break.

Havoc regained offensive control and worked the neck. Schiavone did a nice job of explaining that his strategy was to target the neck and connect with his Acid Rainmaker finisher. Havoc shoved Strickland toward the referee. Strickland stopped short of hitting the referee. Havoc tried to punch Strickland, who moved out of the way and Havoc stopped short of hitting the referee. Moments later, Strickland threw a kick that Havoc ducked and the referee took the kick. REF BUMP!!!

Strickland got a visual pinfall while the referee was down. Strickland checked on the referee and was low blowed by Havoc, who rolled him up. Havoc waited for the referee to get in the right position and then held the tights, but Strickland kicked out at two. Strickland hit Havoc with a lariat clothesline. Havoc ended up hanging by his feet from the bottom rope. Strickland performed a running double stomp on him to knock him to ringside. Strickland sent Havoc back in the ring and then performed a top rope double stomp for the win…

Shane Strickland defeated Jimmy Havoc.

An ad aired for the May 3 MLW TV tapings…

Strickland was interviewed by a female interviewer in front of the crowd. Strickland played to the crowd and then spoke about how he was winless in two tries against Havoc. He said he got the hump off his back. He said he welcomes talent because he is confident. He played to the crowd again and then headed to the back…

Powell’s POV: A decent main event, though not the hottest introduction to the MLW Champion on Fusion. The ref bump spot felt unnecessary and a little formula. The post match interview was decent until Strickland seemed a little lost while delivering the line about being confident. I like what I’ve seen from Strickland, but he’s capable of more than we saw in this match and promo. He was definitely over with the live crowd, which is encouraging.

Overall, a solid episode with quality introductions to not just the wrestlers in the ring but also to some of the characters. I hope to have episodes three and four reviewed before the fifth show airs on Friday night. I won’t be doing live coverage of the series on Friday nights (it’s Friday night, people!), though I hope to have the reviews available in a more timely manner once I get caught up.

Check out my interview below with MLW promoter Court Bauer on the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast that was recorded days before the series premiere of the MLW Fusion television series.



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