Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Shane Strickland vs. Low Ki for the MLW Championship, Jimmy Havoc vs. Tom Lawlor in a No DQ grudge match, the Kodokushi Death Squad Su Yung and Zeda Zhang strike again


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

Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 14)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at GILT Nightclub
Aired July 20, 2018 on beIN Sports

A video package focussed on the Shane Strickland vs. Low Ki main event for the MLW Championship… The MLW opening aired and then the broadcast team of Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini checked in and set up the show… The ring announcer was Tim Barr…

Kiki Roberts vs. Kahuna Khan was supposed to take place. Khan wore a shirt that read, “I’m Fat, Let’s Party.” Schiavone loved it and said he needs one. The wrestlers shook hands. The lighting changed and The Kodokushi Death Squad duo of Su Yung and Zeda Zhang showed up and attacked Roberts and Khan. They left both wrestlers lying. Schiavone noted that “Kodokushi” means lonely death in Japanese…

Schiavone hyped the MLW Title match… Mike Parrow and the Dirty Blondes were shown walking backstage. They approached Fred Yehi and mocked his mask. They asked if he was looking for trouble. Tom Lawlor and Simon Gotch showed up and stood by Yehi. Parrow and the Blondes walked away. Lawlor told Yehi they have his back. They presented him with a Team Filthy jacket and shook hands. Gotch asked for Yehi’s mask. Yehi laughed and gave it to him while Lawlor said it was a fair trade… [C]

Powell’s POV: First off, MLW debuted a light blue ring apron with their logo in the middle. The new look stood out in a good way. I enjoy Yung in Impact and I’m open to her act with Zhang in MLW, but it’s hard to get a feel for where this might be going. I hope they have something in mind beyond having the duo beat up male independent wrestlers.

Footage aired of Rich Swann holding hands with a woman as he arrived at the building “earlier”…

Powell’s POV: Is this Strickland’s wife? His girlfriend? Some random woman he met on his way to the building? It may seem like a little thing, but it’s something that they should have the broadcast team explain in a second so that fans aren’t left in the dark.

A video package set up the Jimmy Havoc vs. Tom Lawlor match, and then ring entrances took place…

1. Tom Lawlor (w/Simon Gotch, Fred Yehi, other guy) vs. Jimmy Havoc in a No DQ grudge match. Schiavone noted that it looked like Lawlor was trying to apologize to Havoc after the bell rang to start the match. Havoc rejected it with a punch to the face and then took the fight to ringside. Havoc sat Lawlor on a chair and teased doing a big move before simply gouging his eye. Havoc disappeared behind a curtain and Lawlor followed. A large board was tossed through the curtain, then Havoc brought Lawlor back and threw the flimsy board at him.

Havoc pulled a cheese grater out from underneath the ring. Lawlor hit Havoc and took the weapon from him and used it on Havoc’s forehead. Havoc bled and the referee put gloves on his hands. Lawlor wiped some of the blood on his own head. Lawlor also used a staple gun on Havoc’s head. Lawlor sat Havoc on a chair and stapled a piece of paper to his head. “I hate to say this, but I’m really digging this,” Schiavone said. Bocchini said he’s sick.

Back in the ring, Havoc ended up with the grater and used it on Lawlor’s groin area. Havoc stacked up some chairs in the ring, then put two together on their sides. Lawlor recovered and performed a German suplex that dropped Havoc on the pile of chairs. Lawlor set up a board in the corner. Havoc used a piece of paper to give Lawlor paper cuts between his fingers. Havoc then grabbed a bag of lemons and squeezed the juice onto the paper cuts. The fans responded with an uncensored “you sick f—” chant.

Lawlor used a pizza cutter as a weapon. “Mama Mia,” one of the broadcast team members comically yelled in a Mauro Ranallo spoof. Lawlor ended up dropping Havoc’s back onto the two chairs that were set up on their sides. “That broke his back,” Schiavone said a few times. Havoc looked concerned by a cut on his left arm. Havoc stood up and hit Lawlor with a forearm and a short clothesline before pinning him… [C]

Jimmy Havoc defeated Tom Lawlor in a No DQ grudge match.

Powell’s POV: So much for the new powder blue ring apron. When did hardcore make its comeback? I watched three hardcore matches on Slammiversary last night and now this bloodbath. It looked like they had to call an audible for the finish due to the cut on Havoc’s arm. The two strikes he hit Lawlor with felt completely out of place considering the move he had just taken on the chairs. They were having a good hardcore match and it’s unfortunate the injury appeared to derail whatever they had in mind.

Bocchini set up a Sami Callihan promo that was posted on social media. Callihan said he’s responsible for Shane Strickland because he took him from a garbage company in Pennsylvania, took him under his wing, and made him who he is today. He asked why he would stab him in the back. “For the money,” he said. He said he was done being Strickland’s friend, he wants money now. Callihan said Strickland started listening to the fans and now he’s not the same guy. He said Strickland will never be on his level. Callihan said he loved Strickland like a little brother, but it’s now about more than family and is all about ending Strickland…

One of the backstage interviewers tried to talk with Barrington Hughes and Kotto Brazil, who were yelling about Callihan’s Death Squad. Shane Strickland showed up and said he knew exactly how to handle them…

Bocchini hyped the two-hour Battle Riot special for next week and then hyped the Fusion main event… Backstage, Salina de la Renta said she had $60,000 ways of reminding him of his goal. Low Ki said they call him the professional because he gets the job done ten out of ten times… Bocchini noted that Jimmy Havoc was being taken to the emergency room. He hyped the Battle Riot special again… [C]

2. Shane Strickland vs. Low Ki for the MLW Championship. Schiavone noted that the Callihan promo revealed that he was Strickland’s attacker last week. Barr delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Salina was seated at ringside. The woman who was with Strickland earlier was also shown seated in the top row by the stage and he stopped and acknowledged her. Schiavone noted that the woman is Strickland’s girlfriend. Low Ki dominated the early portion of the match. Schiavone said Low Ki seemed frustrated because Strickland would not stay down. Strickland flung Low Ki to ringside and then performed a handspring over the top rope into a slow huracanrana on the floor.

Back inside the ring, Strickland tore Low Ki’s dress shirt and threw his tie aside. Strickland suplexed Low Ki for a two count. A short time later, Strickland catapulted Low Ki to the ropes. Low Ki landed on the second rope and double stomped Strickland for a two count. Strickland, who was selling a right knee injury, came back with some kicks and then clutched at the knee. With Low Ki down, Strickland went up top and went for a double stomp, but Low Ki moved. Strickland sold the knee again. Low Ki hit him from behind. Low Ki threw a kick to the back of Strickland’s head and pinned him…

Low Ki defeated Shane Strickland to win the MLW Championship.

Afterward, Salina entered the ring and celebrated with Low Ki, who had the MLW Championship over his shoulder. Strickland’s girlfriend was at ringside to check on him. Salina presented Low Ki with the briefcase of cash to pay off the $60,000 bounty. Bocchini hyped next week’s two-hour Battle Riot special to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A decent match but it fell below expectations considering the talent of the men involved. Low Ki dominated the majority of the match and it seemed like they were building to a Strickland comeback that never really came. The kick to the back of the head from Low Ki didn’t seem like the finish and surprised the live crowd.

I’m not sure of the reasons behind the title change, but I like it. Fusion viewers were dropped into the MLW Universe in episode one and Strickland had already risen to the top. They didn’t get to take that ride with him. So while he’s a talented guy, his reign as champion always left me feeling like I was late to the party. Assuming Strickland is sticking around, it should be fun to see him attempt to work his way back into title contention. Furthermore, Low Ki is a recognizable name and a talented performer, so he’s a good fit as champion.

Check below for my interview with Jeff Jarrett below. Jarrett discusses his one-man show on FITE TV, Starrcast, his most recent run with Impact Wrestling and whether he has a relationship with Ed Nordholm today, entering the WWE Hall of Fame, and more.


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