Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Shane Strickland vs. Sami Callihan, Jimmy Havoc vs. Brody King, Jake Hager vs. Simon Gotch

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

Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 16)
Taped in New York, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired August 4, 2018 on beIN Sports

A video package recapped Sami Callihan attacking Shane Strickland and Callihan’s admission to doing so… The MLW opening aired… The broadcast team of Tony Schiavone and Matt Striker checked in and set the table for the show… The ring announcer was Stephen DeAngelis…

1. Brody King vs. Jimmy Havoc. Striker said it would be “a godless battle”. Schiavone noted that Havoc was not 100 percent because he was hospitalized after facing Tom Lawlor. Late in the match, King connected with a clothesline and followed up with a piledriver for a two count. King hit a sit-out powerbomb for another tow count. King powered up Havoc for the Go Home Driver for another two count. King set up for a fallaway slam, but Havoc countered into a huracanrana. Havoc performed a double stomp from the corner. Havoc stuffed a chokeslam set up and countered into a rollup for the win…

Jimmy Havoc defeated Brody King.

Powell’s POV: A good match with a more traditional finish than I expected from these two.

Backstage, Kaci Lennox interviewed Brian Pillman Jr. and welcomed him to MLW. Kevin Sullivan crashed the interview set and said he doesn’t know if people watching on television know how great Pillman is. Sullivan spoke about Pillman’s father and then said he’s seen him wrestle all across the country while remaining unbeaten. Sullivan said there are pitfalls and he will be there for him if he needs him. Pillman said he appreciates the praise, but he has a lot of work to do and he can’t just get by on his father’s accolades. Pillman said his father respected Sullivan and that respect runs in the family. Pillman called Sullivan “booker man” and they had a laugh and shook hands… [C]

Powell’s POV: For those who don’t remember, Pillman’s father called Sullivan “booker man” in a worked shoot verbal exchange on WCW Nitro back in the day, so this was a fun play on that for longtime fans.

Sami Callihan, Low Ki, and Salina de la Renta had a meeting in a stairwell. Striker spoke about how dangerous it could be if Black Friday management, Salina, and Callihan’s Death Machines work together…

Footage aired from last week of Tom Lawlor eliminating Jake Hager to win the 40-man Battle Riot… New footage aired of Lawlor delivering a promo to state that he was celebrating his Battle Riot win at a Major League Baseball park…

2. Jake Hager (w/Col. Rob Parker, Dirty Blondes) vs. Simon Gotch (w/Tom Lawlor, Fred Yehi). Hager attacked Gotch before the bell. The referee called for the bell to start. Striker said it was a young referee and said he should have checked on Gotch and asked if he was ready. Later, Hager slapped Gotch, who responded by spitting at Hager. The crowd gasped. Hager kicked Gotch in the face and pinned him…

Jake Hager defeated Simon Gotch.

Powell’s POV: It’s annoying when pro wrestling heels are rewarded for attacking their opponents prior to the match by having the referee inexplicably call for the bell. So while I would normally appreciate what Striker said, the referee actually did check on Gotch in the corner and talk to him before starting the match. Meanwhile, I continue to be baffled by the Stud Stable vs. Team Filthy feud in that I see both stables as heels and I have no clue who fans are supposed to be cheering for.

Striker hyped Maxwell J Friedman vs. Joey Janela for the MLW Middleweight Championship…

Backstage, Lennox interviewed Aria Blake about Janela getting the title shot. They were quickly interrupted by MJW, who boasted about becoming the first MLW Middleweight Champion. Janela propositioned Ariah by asking if she was interested in a better life. She told him hell no and shoved him away. “She wants it,” MJF told Lennox…

Schiavone unveiled the new MLW Top 10 rankings for August: 10. ACH. 9. Rey Fenix. 8. Teddy Hart. 7. John Hennigan. 6. Jake Hager. 5. Sami Callihan. 4. Pentagon Jr. 3. Jimmy Havoc. 2. Shane Strickland. 1. Tom Lawlor…

Powell’s POV: Schiavone noted the wins of certain wrestlers to explain their spots in the rankings. It’s a nice start, but they still aren’t getting enough out of these rankings. Why not talk specifically about the rankings when there’s matches involving the ranked wrestlers? Plus, it’s hard to feel like the rankings are important when Lawlor has been ranked number one for months and still hasn’t had a title shot…

Backstage, Konnan greeted Rey Fenix and asked him if he checked out the contract. He was about to tell him something important to tell his brother when Saline de la Renta and Pentagon Jr. walked around the corner. Pentagon Jr. was happy to see Konnan. Salina was not…

A teaser video aired for LA Park coming soon…

Backstage, Lennox interviewed Jason Cade and Jimmy Yuta and asked about their issues. They ended up pushing and shoving until someone stepped between them. Yuta apologized and turned to walk away. Cade hit him from behind and was ushered away by others who emerged from off-camera… [C]

Striker hyped MJF vs. Janela, and John Hennigan vs. Teddy Hart for the first time ever on next week’s show…

Teddy Hart was shown walking backstage. He approached Rich Swann and ACH and wasn’t happy that they were laughing and smiling. He said they had the same stupid look on their face after his last match. He said they should let him in on the joke if they are laughing at him. They denied laughing at him. He said he’s been in the business for 20 years and deserves better…

Striker ran through the tale of the tape for the Strickland vs. Callihan match… Ring entrances took place for the main event. For some reason, they held the camera on Callihan jawing at a fan at ringside who smiled and then gave him the double birds…

3. Shane Strickland vs. Sami Callihan (w/Leon Scott, Sawyer Fulton). Callihan targeted the knee of Strickland early on and applied a figure four. Strickland rolled it over and Callihan grabbed the bottom rope to break it. Strickland performed a cutter and then played to the crowd. Strickland suplexed Callihan for a two count. Callihan came back and got a near fall of his own.

The wrestlers traded strikes in the middle of the ring and hit simultaneous kicks that resulted in both men going down. A short time later, Strickland caught Callihan with a kick through the ropes. Callihan caught Strickland’s leg and pulled him groin first into the ropes. Strickland came back with a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Strickland went up top and performed a double stomp for a two count.

Callihan spat on Strickland and then smiled while Strickland seethed. Callihan blocked a knee strike and powerbombed Strickland, then turned him over into a half crap. Callihan turned that hold into a crossface. Strickland caught Callihan in an inside cradle. Strickland applied a submission hold. Scott and Fulton climbed onto the apron. Strickland released the hold due to the distraction. A short time later, Callihan performed a piledriver and pinned Strickland…

Sami Callihan defeated Shane Strickland.

Striker hyped MJF vs. Janela for the MLW Middleweight Title and Hennigan vs. Hart for next week… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good main event. They started slow, but it was a good back and forth style match. I like the idea of Strickland losing again coming off his title reign. He was protected to some extent via the Death Machines providing the distraction that led to him releasing the submission hold, but I’d like to see him fall down the ratings a bit before he works his way back up the ladder, which will give the audience who didn’t see the MLW shows prior to Fusion a chance to embrace him. Speaking of which, it feels like we should be hearing from Strickland about his disappointment over losing the title and his mission statement about regaining it. Overall, though, a quality week with some nice in-ring work and a good build to next week’s show. The more episodic a pro wrestling show is the more I tend to like it, so the extra effort to set up next week’s episode is a major positive.




The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...


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