Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Sami Callihan vs. Tom Lawlor in a Chicago Street Fight, Joey Ryan and Swoggle vs. Dirty Blondes, Ricky Martinez vs. Dr. Rex Bacchus

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

Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 31)
Taped in November 8 in Chicago, Illinois at Cicero Stadium
Aired November 16, 2018 on MLW’s Youtube Page

A video recap focused on Low Ki beating Daga to retain the MLW Championship last week… Konnan was shown arriving at the building and being greeted by a gloating Low Ki, Salina de la Renta, and Ricky Martinez. Low Ki said he tried to warn Konnan not to interfere in his business. He said they are not the same men they once were, they are more sophisticated. He said he would give Konnan a chance to redeem himself by offering him a match. Konnan said Low Ki knows full well that he doesn’t train or wrestle anymore. Salina called him a bitch. Konnan said he saw three bitches and told Low Ki to keep yapping and he might get what he wants… The MLW opening aired…

Footage aired from “earlier in the day” of a Tom Lawlor promo. Lawlor said he saw fear in the eyes of Low Ki when Sami Callihan was holding him from behind during their attack. Lawlor said his match with Callihan would be the last time anyone sees him in MLW. He threatened to shove Callihan’s baseball bat up Callihan’s ass… Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini were on commentary…

1. Ricky Martinez (w/Salina de la Renta) vs. Dr. Rex Bacchus. Ray Flores was the ring announcer. Martinez wore a face shield due to a broken nose he suffered in his last MLW television match. He immediately used the shield as a weapon by headbutting Bacchus. Martinez performed a nice German suplex early. Martinez picked up Bacchus in an inverted body vice position and then dropped him down into a piledriver before pinning him…

Ricky Martinez defeated Dr. Rex Bacchus.

Bocchini hyped the upcoming matches before the show cut to break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The best Martinez showcase match to date. It was fine in terms of quality, but the major positive was that Martinez had more of a swagger than usual. Hopefully this is a sign of him developing more confidence.

Coming out of a break, Simon Gotch warmed up Lawlor and apologized for not being there for him when Callihan attacked him. Gotch said he had Lawlor’s back…

2. “Size Matters” Joey Ryan and Swoggle vs. “The Dirty Blondes” Leo Brian and Mike Patrick. Colonel Robert Parker was not with the Blondes. Ryan came to the ring with his left arm in a sling. Ryan took the mic and gave a fan his blowpop. Swoggle pulled out a bigger version and gave it to a fan. Ryan said he was wrestling in Austin, Texas the night before and he tore his pec muscle. “I hear that’s going around a little bit,” Ryan said. He added that he didn’t know the extent of it, but it looked bad and he was in a little paid and he would see the doctor the next day. Ryan said he wouldn’t miss a Chicago show for anything and he’d face the Dirty Blondes with one arm.

The Blondes attacked Size Matters from behind. They were very gentle with Ryan while one of the Blondes threw phantom kicks at him, then Swoggle started the match. Swoggle came back with a German suplex on Brien. Ryan tagged in and used his good arm and a superkick before he was softly hit from behind by Patrick. Ryan did his usual blowpop bit with Patrick and then superkicked him before Swoggle performed the tadpole splash for the win…

Size Matters defeated The Dirty Blondes.

After the match, Ryan removed his sling and showed off the nasty bruising and swelling on his left arm. “At least I still have my dick,” Ryan said. He said he would probably need surgery and said at least he got to wrestle one more time in Chicago. He said he wasn’t saying that for a cheap pop, he really loves Chicago…

Powell’s POV: The Blondes really took care of Ryan, who clearly was unable to do much. I cringed seeing him in there, but he was very safe in terms of not doing anything with his bad arm or taking any bumps. MLW’s quick turnaround time in production also made the speech feel timely. This show was taped just eight days ago. If this were an ROH taping, this footage would not have aired for a couple more weeks for reasons that continue to baffle me. Here’s wishing Ryan the best in his recovery.

Backstage, Callihan delivered a message behind a cell door. He said people say he’s a puppet or a mercenary for Low Ki and Salina de la Renta. He said that’s okay because they keep paying him. He spoke about ridding MLW of MVP, injuring Shane Strickland, and sending Jimmy Havoc back to England. Callihan said Tom Lawlor intimidates people because he fought in UFC. Callihan said that doesn’t scare him, he’s more afraid of himself. Callihan said he would send Lawlor back to UFC…

Powell’s POV: A terrific promo by Callihan. He’s absolutely killing it in MLW and Impact Wrestling with his mic and in-ring work. You can always count on something good when he’s involved.

Footage aired of a Konnan press conference. Konnan said he didn’t like the way Low Ki spoke to him and it’s time to whoop his ass. Konnan said he would be the underdog, but he said he would win in his hometown and questioned what Low Ki would say then… Bocchini announced Low Ki vs. Konnan for the MLW Zero Hour event on December 14… Matt Striker hosted the MLW Never Say Never and Zero Hour control center for the December 13-14 shows that will both be held in Miami…

Powell’s POV: Wow, I’m genuinely surprised that Konnan is coming out of retirement for this match. I know he’s been talking about doing a retirement tour, but I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to swing it given some of his health issues over the years. It’s great that it will happen in his hometown.

Kaci Lennox tried to interview Shane Strickland backstage, but he blew her off…

3. Tom Lawlor vs. Sami Callihan in a Chicago Street Fight. Callihan made his entrance minus Leon Scott and Sawyer Fulton and tossed some weapons into the ring before Lawlor made his entrance. Callihan raced to the entrance aisle with a kendo stick and swung at Lawlor, who ducked it, ended up with the stick, and worked over Callihan. Callihan hit Lawlor with a trashcan, then dumped trash onto Lawlor. The brawl continued in and around the ring.

Callihan hoisted up Lawlor on his shoulders and then drove him through a table that was leaning up against the barricade. Callihan pulled out a railroad spike and VHS tape from under the ring. Callihan fish-hooked Lawlor with the spike. Callihan took a fan sign and used it to give Lawlor a paper cut on his mouth. Callihan slammed the VHS tape against the barricade and unreeled the tape, which he used to choke Lawlor with inside the ring.

Lawlor pulled a table out from underneath the ring and set it up in a corner of the ring. Lawlor mocked Callihan’s catchphrase, allowing Callihan to low blow him and piledrove him for a near fall. Lawlor came back with a rear naked choke. Callihan fell back and drove Lawlor into the table in the corner. Lawlor recovered and reapplied the hold. Callihan tried to force his arm away, but he ended up tapping out…

Tom Lawlor defeated Sami Callihan in a Chicago Street Fight.

After the match, Simon Gotch helped Lawlor backstage and fired him up about winning the MLW Championship. Gotch led Lawlor through a door that had a “Do Not Open” sign on it. Low Ki, LA Park, Salina, and others were waiting for Lawlor. “Tom, please, why don’t you join us,” Low Ki said. Gotch closed the door and smiled as sounds of an attack could be heard…

Powell’s POV: A good brawl with a bit of an odd finish in that Lawlor just kinda popped up after being put through the table and reapplied the submission hold. The crowd was hot for the match, but the finish didn’t get as much of a reaction as the brawling did. The post match angle was really well done. It’s an example of how leaving something to the imagination of the viewer works nicely. I kinda had a feeling that Gotch was up to something when he was so apologetic earlier, but they didn’t beat viewers over the head with foreshadowing the way WWE often does.

Overall, this was a strong edition of Fusion and I really enjoy the way Low Ki has been positioned as an evil mastermind. Given Gotch’s sinister smile, I don’t think we’ll hear him offer an “I had no choice” explanation like Lando Calrissian gave for walking Han Solo and his crew into the room where Darth Vader was waiting on Cloud City. I’m not a collector, but even I would pay good money for a special edition Tom Lawlor in Carbonite collectable.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and John Moore discussing WWE Survivor Series and NXT Takeover: War Games.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Mister Saint Laurent, who offers passionate words about what MLW delivers that pro wrestling has been missing, addresses criticism of MLW's contracts, straying from the path that his family paved for him, discusses the MLW Saturday Night SuperFight pay-per-view event that will be held on November 2 in Chicago, and more (62:44)...


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