By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 15)
Taped in New York, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired July 27, 2018 on beIN Sports
Tony Schiavone touted the Battle Riot to open the show and explained the No DQ rules of the Battle Riot. He noted weapons were permitted and the wrestlers could be eliminated by pin, submission, or being thrown over the top rope. Schiavone ran through some of the Battle Riot entrants… Graphics focussed on the Battle Riot and covered some of what Schiavone said while showing more of the wrestlers who would be in the match…
Schiavone welcomed viewers to the show and introduced Matt Striker as his “brand new broadcast partner” while noting that he was an MLW original (there was no mention of Rich Bocchini). They also hyped the two matches in addition to the Battle Riott. Former ECW ring announcer Stephen DeAngelis was the ring announcer for the event (rather than the usual Tim Barr)…
Powell’s POV: I’m guessing they simply didn’t fly Tim Barr in for the event. Meanwhile, the fact that Striker was introduced as Schiavone’s brand new partner left me wondering if Bocchini is out as the color commentator. The venue looks solid with five rows of fans opposite the hard camera, plus deeper areas of fans on other sides of the venue, and more fans in the balcony of the venue. It looks fine compared to the GILT Nightclub that MLW usually runs, but it’s smaller than the venues we’re used to seeing Impact Wrestling run. I mentioned that because Impact will be running Slammiversary in the same venue in October and it will be interesting to see if they use the same setup or having a different production strategy in mind.
1. Kotto Brazil vs. Myron Reed. This was billed as a middleweight match. Brazil performed two suicide dives. The fans called for another, but Reed returned to the ring and ducked a clothesline before catching Brazil with a dropkick. Reed performed a big dive over the top rope and landed on Brazil at ringside. Later, Brazil applied a leg lock submission hold, but Reed reached the ropes to break it. Reed performed a cutter for a two count. Reed went up top and went for a 450 splash, but Brazil put his knees up. Brazil delivered a knee to the back of Reed’s head and set up for another move, but Reed caught him with another cutter. Brazil came back with his own version of the cutter and scored the clean pin…
Kotto Brazil defeated Myron Reed.
Powell’s POV: A good opening match. Brazil has been impressive during his MLW run. This was my first time seeing Reed and he did a nice job and had some fans in the live crowd rallying behind him.
Kaci Lennox interviewed Maxwell J Friedman about his match with Joey Ryan for to become the first MLW Middleweight Champion. He was cocky and acted like he would the match easily… [C]
Lennox interviewed Konnan about coming out of retirement for the Battle Riot. He said he’d been contemplating coming out of retirement and spoke about winning the Battle Riot…
A video package aired on LA Park, who was listed as “coming soon” to MLW…
Lennox interviewed Joey Ryan, who spoke about losing five pounds to make weight. He said MJF is rich, but he’s rich too and he earned his money in a wrestling ring. Ryan said he had rock star charisma, movie star good looks, and noted that he is bringing sleazy back… Schiavone said the MLW Middleweight Championship was up next… [C]
Lennox interviewed Team Filthy members Tom Lawlor, Simon Gotch, and Fred Yehi, who drew their numbers from the Battle Riot hopper. Lawlor acted bothered by his number…
2. Maxwell J Friedman vs. Joey Ryan for the MLW Middleweight Championship. Schiavone said he’s happy his children didn’t end up like MJF. The referee held the new title belt in the ring during the introductions. Ryan received a good reaction from the crowd during the entrances. Ryan took the lollipop out of his mouth and put it into the mouth of a willing fan at ringside.
Late in the match, MJF and Ryan’s heads collided. Ryan fell on his back with his legs spread. MJF stumbled and eventually fell head first onto Ryan’s, um, weapon. MJF sold it as if he was knocked silly by it. The broadcast team played up the posssibility of Ryan having a weapon his pants. Ryan pulled a lollipop out of his trunks. Striker said there might be a hair on it. Ryan placed the lollipop in the mouth of MJF, who then hid behind the referee and poked Ryan’s eyes. MJF followed up with a package shoulder break and scored the pin…
Maxwell J Friedman defeated Joey Ryan to become the first MLW Middleweight Champion.
After the match, Lennox entered the ring for an interview. MJF said he told the fans he wouldn’t touch “it”. He called Lennox and Dollar Store Oprah and boasted about winning the championship…
Powell’s POV: A tame version of the Ryan dick gimmick, which is the right approach to take for the television show. MJF is the regular and it’s logical that he went over. I can’t say I understand the need for a second weight division when the heavyweight division has had Shane Strickland and Low Ki as champions, but I also feel the same way about Impact Wrestling’s X Division not really serving a purpose when the majority of the wrestlers fighting over the Impact World Championship are also cruiserweights. There are actually more big men in MLW than in Impact these days, so I’m sure it will be fine.
Sami Callihan and his crew scared off the backstage interviewer. Callihan drew numbers from the hopper and gave them to Leon Scott and Fulton… Schiavone hyped an interview with new MLW Champion Low Ki… [C]
Backstage, Swoggle emerged from underneath the hopper table and drew his number for the Battle Riot. He let out a big sigh after seeing his number… A video package aired on Low Ki beating Shane Strickand to win the MLW Championship…
Vanessa Craft attempted to interview Low Ki and Salina de la Renta backstage, but Salina took the mic. Low Ki spoke about winning the MLW Title and being part of the original Black Friday Management under Gary Hart. Low Ki said Hart was respected and feared because he brought the streets to the ring. Low Ki said he had to fight to survive, and he added that Black Friday Management was working in partnership with Salina. “Which pretty much means you work for us,” Salina said.. [C]
3. The 40-Man Battle Riot for an MLW Championship match anytime, anywhere. The first two entrants were Pentagon Jr. and Fenix. The third entrant was Brody King. The fourth entrant was Kenny Doane (of Spirt Squad). The fifth entrant was Tom Lawlor, who put King in a rear naked choke and eliminated him when the ref ruled that King was out.
The sixth entrant was Lance Anoai. The seventh entrant was Rey Horus. The eighth entrant was Kevin Sullivan, who worked in a Boston Red Sox t-shirt and shorts. Sullivan brought a golden spike to the ring and used it as a weapon until Lawlor choked him out to eliminate him. Striker gushed over what it meant for Lawlor to eliminate Sullivan. The ninth entrant was Fallah Bahh.
The tenth entrant was Swoggle. Striker said he didn’t expect this (even though we saw Swoggle earlier in the show). Swoggle dished out German suplexes to several opponents until Anoai kicked him from behind. The 11th entrant was Samu, who delivered some headbutts. He posed on the ropes only to be eliminated by his own son Anoai. The 12th entrant was ACH, who took glee in chopping Swoggle, who returned the favor.
The 13th entrant was Konnan, who received a strong reaction from the live crowd. Horus fce-palmed Konnan, who tied him up. Konnan took Lawlor down. The 14th entrant was Barrington Hughes, who immediately had a staredown with Bahh, which led to belly bumps. Lawlor put Swoggle in a submission hold and choked him out to eliminate him. The 15th entrant was Jimmy Yuta.
Hughes splashed Anoia and Doane in the corner and then covered them both with his hands. The referee counted the pins (even though Anoai’s shoulder was on Doane) to eliminate both men. There were rapid fire eliminations with the Pentagon and Fenix eliminating Bahh and then both men tumbling over the top to be eliminated in the process.
The 16th entrant was Kotto Brazil. The 17th entrant was Richard Holiday. Fred Yehi was the 18th entrant. The 19th entrant wwas Jason Cade, who immediately fought with Yuta. Several wrestlers made a play to eliminate Hughes, but he threw him off and eliminated Horus. Several wrestlers made a second play to eliminate Hughes. It worked, but everyone other than Lawlor was eliminated in the process.
The 20th entrant was Teddy Hart, who decided to do a flip onto the wrestlers at ringside to eliminate himself rather than go after Lawlor. The 21st entrant was Vandal Ortagun, who was quickly submitted and eliminated by Lawlor. The 22nd entrant was Mikey Mondo of Spirit Squad. He played to the crowd and Lawlor played along. Mikey kicked Lawlor and turned back to the crowd only to be choked out and eliminated.
The 23rd entrant was PCO (Pierre Carl Ouellet). LA Smooth was the 24th entrant. PCO clotheslined Smooth and pinned him quickly. The 25th entrant was Simon Gotch, who went after PCO. Striker said Gotch is not liked in the locker room and is the type of guy that if someone is telling a story then he always has a better story. The two Team Filthy members worked over PCO. The 26th entrant was Homicide, who went after PCO.
The 27th entrant was Davey Boy Smith Jr. He fought with the Team Filthy duo. The 28th entrant was Blue Meanie, whose pop rivaled that of Konnan. The fans chanted BWO. Schiavone said he’s never called a match involving Blue Meanie. Meanie tried to get Homicide to do his dance. Homicide teased it before kicking Meanie and eliminating him. Lawlor and Gotch eliminated PCO. The 29th entrant was Michael Patrick of the Dirty Blondes.
The 30th entrant was Sami Callihan, who immediately eliminated Homicide. The 31st entrant was Sawyer Fulton. Schiavone said you won’t see anything like this in “our sport or any other sport.” What’s that thing WWE has in January? Anyway, the 32nd entrant was Shane Strickland, who went right after Callihan. Fulton grabbed Strickland from behind and then Callihan kicked him and choked him.
The 33rd entrant was Leon Scott, who along with Fulton are Callihan’s Death Machines. Smith Jr. was eliminated by the Death Machines. The 34th entrant was Drago, who wore a shoulder brace. The 35th entrant was Leo Brien of the Dirty Blondes. The 36th entrant was Joey Ryan. The 37th entrant was MJF. He didn’t last long, as he and Ryan were eliminated simultaneously by Lawlor and Gotch.
The 38th entrant was Jake Hager (f/k/a Jack Swagger). Striker said Hager is a favorite with Lawlor a close second. Hager eliminated Leon Scott. The 39th entrant was John Hennigan, who ran down the ramp and dove onto Callihan to enter the match. Hennigan eliminated Mike Patrick. The 40th entrant was Jimmy Havoc, who eliminated Drago. Strickland eliminated Leo Brien, then Hennigan pinned Fulton.
The remaining six entrants were Strickland, Lawlor, Havoc, Hager, Hennigan, and Callihan. Havoc was the first to go when he was tossed over the top rope by Strickland. Callihan gave Strickland a low blow and a piledriver on the apron and he fell to the floor. Lawlor put Callihan in a choke from behind and let him fall to the floor. Hager eliminated Hennigan over the top rope.
The match came down to Hager and Lawlor. Hager eventually applied an ankle lock. Lawlor reached the ropes, but there were no breaks due to the no disqualification element. There was a “please don’t tap” chant. He reached the ropes again and climbed onto the top rope until Hager released the hold. Hager applied the hold again as Lawlor was lying on the top turnbuckle. Lawlor was able to use fling Hager over the top rope to the floor to win the match…
Tom Lawlor won the 40-Man Battle Riot.
Striker said he had to go to the ring to be the first to pick the brain of Lawlor after his big win. Striker entered the ring and said he thinks what Lawlor did deserves a standing ovation. Lawlor boasted that he has a shot at the best whenever he wants it. A “Filthy Tom” chant broke out. Striker said Lawlor is a major league fighter and added that he does it all “for each and every one of you.” Lawlor said he wants to change the L in MLW to Lawlor…
Powell’s POV: Does Tom Lawlor secretly own the company? The guy is all over every television show, he has feuds with babyfaces and heels, and now he wins the Battle Riot. He’s a good talent and all. I’m just surprised that MLW has featured him so prominently so quickly. That said, it’s nice that they are showcasing someone who didn’t become a star in another pro wrestling promotion. Was this a babyface turn? it was weird to hear Striker gushing over a guy who has been positioned as a heel, especially when he said that Lawlor does it all for the fans.
The Battle Riot was fun. Going with 40 men had its pros and cons. On the plus side, there were quick entrances so there were lengthy down times. On the negative side, those quick entrances also got in the way of better storytelling at times. There were also too many forgettable eliminations. On a positive note, it was cool that MLW was able to have their show ready to air just eight days after it was taped. It makes it even more baffling that the bigger Ring of Honor takes an eternity to air the television shows taped the day after their pay-per-view events.