By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 22)
Taped in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the War Memorial Auditorium
Aired on September 14, 2018 on beIN Sports
The show opened with a War Games themed video package that included comments from various participants… Kaci Lennox interviewed John Hennigan, Shane Strickland, Barrington Hughes, Kotto Brazil, and Tommy Dreamer on the interview set. Strickland stood front and center and spoke first.
Hennigan said their opponents were more like douchebags than the Legion of Doom. He said douchebags can’t trust other douchebags. The other wrestlers also chimed in with brief comments. Well, except Tommy Dreamer, who took the mic and referenced Dusty Rhodes and Martin Luther King and his love of professional wrestling… The MLW opening video aired…
The broadcast team of Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini checked in. A shot aired of the War Games cage being constructed…
Low Ki and Salina de la Renta arrived and were approached by media members. They were asked about Rey Fenix by a Spanish speaking media member and responded to him in Spanish. They headed into a room just as Tommy Dreamer came out. Dreamer and Low Ki had a moment. Bocchini noted that they had never wrestled one another…
Bocchini noted that suspensions were being considered for the New Hart Foundation’s attack on Kevin Sullivan. Kaci Lennox interviewed Teddy Hart and Brian Pillman Jr., who both had glasses of wine. Hart said they won’t suspend anyone and calling the cops is for cowards. He said the Hart family took and took it and swallowed a lot of crap over the years. He said his own career was put on hold. He said he doesn’t mind paying a fine or taking a slap in the face. He said if he’s touched then he’ll touch back and people won’t like it. Pillman said the American people are lied to every day. He said they are the cash cow and thus there will be haters, whiners, and critics. He said the new Hart Foundation will take over MLW. Hart said Pillman Jr. is like his dad in that he always had something to say and a smile to boot…
Bocchini hosted a Fury Road control center segment. Marko Stunt was revealed as the mystery partner for ACH and Rich Swann in their match against the new Hart Foundation for the October 4 event in New York City. He also hyped PCO vs. LA Park, and noted that the MLW Champion will defend the title at Fury Road. Sami Callihan, Tom Lawlor, MJF, Jimmy Havoc, and Tommy Dreamer were all announced for the event…
The War Games cage was still being assembled… After a break, Bocchini hyped PCO vs. Brody King for next week… A brief PCO promo aired…
Tim Barr stood inside the ring and read the rules of the War Games match and then introduced the first participants…
1. Sami Callihan, Jimmy Havoc, Leon Scott, Sawyer Fulton, and Abyss vs. John Hennigan, Shane Strickland, Barrington Hughes, Kotto Brazil, and Tommy Dreamer in a War Games match. The first entrants in the match were Brazil and Fulton. Schiavone noted that they were competing in a battleground and they wouldn’t call it a ring since there wouldn’t be much wrestling taking place. Brazil dove through the doorway and sent Fulton through a table. Fulton recovered and entered the ring to start the match.
Powell’s POV: The MLW version of War Games has two rings and a cage without a roof on top.
There were two tables and a stop sign inside the cage. Fulton threw Brail into the cage and then tossed him from one ring to the other for a pop. The broadcast team noted that the carnage of the first 25 minutes was essentially a warmup since the match could not end until all ten entrants were in the cage. Fulton continued to dominate the smaller Brazil.
In a shocking twist (no, really), the babyfaces won the coin toss to have the numbers advantage. The second entrant for the babyface team was Hennigan. Hennigan did some parkour inspired leaps on the ropes and other moves to toy with Fulton.
The clock counted down and the second entrant for the heel team was Havoc, who came out wearing face paint. Havoc pulled Hennigan’s fingers apart and used a piece of paper to give him paper cuts. Schiavone assumed Havoc’s face paint was a tip of the cap to Road Warrior Hawk. Fulton threw Brazil from one cage to the other where Havoc hit him with the stop sign in mid air.
The third entrant for the babyface team was Strickland. Sami Callihan came out and hit Strickland from behind on the stage. Callihan tossed Strickland off the stage and through a table, then powerbombed him. Callihan entered the ring as the third entrant for the heel team as Strickland was helped to the back.
Powell’s POV: I was legitimately surprised to see the babyface team get the numbers advantage. It’s been done before, but it’s typically easier to give the heels the advantage to make the babyfaces sympathetic. In this case, they are doing a very good job of keeping the babyfaces in peril. Brazil was dominated in the singles portion and thus it was one-on-one between Hennigan and Fulton, and then the babyfaces were about to get the advantage again when Callihan took out Strickland. This is a very nice, well booked twist on the usual formula.
Dreamer was the fourth entrant for the babyface team. Dreamer came out carrying a trash can filled with weapons and threw them inside the ring while an ECW chant broke out. The babyfaces had offensive control for a bit.
The fourth entrant for the heel team was Leon Scott, who also wore face paint. Callihan placed the stop sign over Dreamer’s groin and slammed it with a kendo stick. Havoc had a crimson mask. Scott and Fulton put a trash can over Hennigan, then Callihan hit it with the kendo stick and then a chair.
The final entrant for the babyface team was Barrington Hughes, who drew a big pop. The big man struggled go get between the ropes and into the ring and went on the offensive. He also no sold Havoc hitting him repeatedly with a wet floor sign. Bocchini said Strickland was done for the night and would not be returning for the match, meaning the babyfaces would be shorthanded.
Abyss was the final entrant for the heel team. With everyone introduced, pinfalls and submissions were in play. Dreamer did his tribute to Dusty Rhodes bionic elbow. There was a Dusty chant. Dreamer removed his shirt to reveal another one with polka dots. Abyss put him down with a Blackhole Slam. Hughes entered Abyss’s ring for a showdown of the big men that didn’t get much of a reaction. It wasn’t showcased either, as everyone converged in one ring and then Brazil went up top and dove onto everyone in a really contrived looking spot. Fulton was also a bloody mess.
Hughes performed a splash on Abyss in the corner. Abyss came right back with a clothesline on Hughes. There was a table set up in the corner. Scott tried to drive Hennigan through it, but Hennigan moved and Scott put himself through the table. Havoc held Hennigan while Callihan worked him over. Abyss poured thumbtacks in one of the rings. Abyss tried to chokeslam Brazil onto the tacks, but Brazil avoided it it twice and eventually Abyss took the bump onto the tacks (as usual).
Brazil pulled out barbwire from lord knows where and he and Dreamer wrapped it around Hughes, who performed a slow and light splash on Fulton in the corner. Hughes followed up with a splash on Fulton in the middle of the ring. Hughes and Brazil used the barbwire while wrenching back on Fulton in the middle of the ring…
John Hennigan, Shane Strickland, Barrington Hughes, Kotto Brazil, and Tommy Dreamer defeated Sami Callihan, Jimmy Havoc, Leon Scott, Sawyer Fulton, and Abyss in a War Games match.
Schiavone and Riccaboni hyped MJF and Aria Blake vs. Joey Ryan and Taya Valkyrie in a mixed tag match, and PCO vs. Brodie King for next week. Meanwhile, the babyfaces celebrated the win while the heels sold the loss. Replays were shown of Dreamer hitting a cutter on Havoc, who sold the loss in one of the rings. Callihan and Havoc shoved one another and then traded slaps. Callihan kicked Havoc below the belt and then Fulton and Scott put the boots to him before the show concluded…
Powell’s POV: An entertaining War Games match. Again, I like the way they gave the babyfaces the man advantage and found creative ways to keep them looking like underdogs. MLW creative may be going a bit overboard in terms of the attempts to make Strickland look like a sympathetic figure. At some point, you stop feeling bad for the guy and just roll your eyes. I can’t rule out the possibility that an injury kept him from doing more in the match. I just know that I assumed he would make the triumphant return and it actually made him look a little soft when he never returned given the abuse that everyone else was taking in this type of match.
I’ve noted before that I enjoy how MLW has wrestlers come in all shapes and sizes. I have enjoyed the Barrington Hughes squash matches and I’m genuinely pulling for the guy. Unfortunately, he was really exposed in this match. He looked like he was moving in slow motion as he went deeper into the match even though he was the last man to enter. Hughes needs to improve his conditioning.
I enjoyed the War Games edition of MLW Fusion and recommend going out of your way to see it once it’s available on Youtube if you didn’t catch the beIN Sports broadcast. It will be available tonight on the MLW Youtube page. Check below for my new interview with MLW wrestler Tom Lawlor on the latest Pro Wrestling Boom podcast.