Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Rush vs. Rich Swann, Dragon Lee vs. DJZ, new MLW Middleweight Champion crowned in a ladder match

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

Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 35)
From Miami, Florida at Scottish Rite Temple
Aired live on December 14, 2018 on beIN Sports

The show opened with LA Park and Ricky Martinez attacking members of Team Filthy outside the venue while Low Ki and Salina de la Renta watched. Salina asked if Tom Lawlor is ready. “Because we are live,” she said…. The MLW opening aired…

Powell’s POV: It was a fun ode to WCW Nitro moment with Martinez throwing the random Team Filthy member into the side of a trailer, recreating Kevin Nash turning Rey Mysterio into a human lawn dart years ago.

Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini checked in from ringside and noted that the show was live. Schiavone said Lawlor was getting his hand checked out by a member of the Miami Dolphins medical team, but added that he was on his way to the building. Schiavone hyped matches in the opposite order of how they were displayed in onscreen graphics.

Ring entrances for the ladder match took place. Schiavone said they had a late wildcard entrant in the match. Loco was already in the ring and the entrances of Park and Xavier were shown. Suddenly, Teddy Hart appeared at ringside and attacked Xavier. Schiavone assumed Hart was the wildcard. Fans chanted for Hart, who was apparently added to the match…

1. El Hijo de LA Park vs. Kotto Brazil vs. Gringo Loco vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. Teddy Hart in a ladder match for the vacant MLW Middleweight Championship. Brazil fought Hart at ringside. Park hit Brazil with a chair, then placed his leg between a ladder and slammed a chair down on it several times. Schiavone assumed there was not way Brazil could continue.

Park fought Xavier in the ring and eventually at ringside, where Park performed a powerbomb. Bocchini noted that there were no mats on the floor at ringside. Hart and Park squared off inside the ring. Hart performed a sunset flip from the ropes and ended up in a pin position. The referee was at ringside and fans booed. Bocchini assumed they were booing because no pins were allowed in the match, but it may have been because they thought the referee should have been there to make the pin. [C]

Hart performed a springboard mooonsault from the middle of the top rope and took out Gringo, Xavier, and Park. Bocchini reminded viewers that “the man we thought was the favorite” Brazil was taken out early on. Hart worked over Gringo and Xavier and then set up a ladder. Park returned and knocked Hart from the ladder in an extremely tame spot.

Xavier climbed the ladder and got his hand on the belt before Gringo cut him off. Park set a ladder on the middle rope and on the standing ladder. Park placed Xavier won the ladder and then performed a splash from the ropes. Brazil limped his way back to the ring and apparently cameras missed Hart performing a moonsalt onto Xavier on the ladder. Brazil entered the ring with a chair and worked over Park with it while Schiavone noted that he was looking for revenge.

Brazil made a play for the belt and was knocked off the ladder with a chair shot from Hart. Teddy performed a lung blower on Brazil and then climbed the ladder and took the belt down to win the match…

Teddy Hart defeated Kotto Brazil, El Hijo de LA Park, and Gringo Loco to win the vacant MLW Middleweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: Andrew Everett was advertised for the match, but his absence was not addressed. For that matter, the broadcast team never explained why the title was vacated. For anyone who missed it, Maxwell J Friedman was supposed to defend the championship in this match, but he had to pull out due to injury. Jason Cade was also pulled from the match. It felt like this match was cursed due to all of the changes. The end result was the hardcore spot fest one would expect, but it was clunky at times and the finish didn’t pack much of a punch. The addition of Hart was strange in that it wasn’t really explained why he was added. If nothing else, Hart was the most popular guy in the match so the live crowd was happy to see him go over.

Backstage, Kaci Lennox tried to get a word with Tom Lawlor, who said it wasn’t time for talking, it was time for action…

Schiavone set up a video package from a press conference in New York City where Rush vs. LA Park was announced as the main event for the April 4 show. Park delivered a promo while Salina stood by and said he was going to break Rush in America. Rush showed up and said they should go fight hard like they do in Mexico. Park said there is no one there to protect him in MLW. Rush took his eyes off Park and looked into the camera briefly while responding…

Schiavone and Bocchini spoke about the Park vs. Rush match and said they have the hottest feud in Mexico and now it’s coming to MLW. Schiavone hyped the next match going into a break… A video package hyped the April 4-5 show in New York (as part of WrestleMania weekend)…

2. Dragon Lee vs. DJZ. DJZ still comes out to entrance music that includes the BroMans sounder that was used in Impact. One fan mimicked the sound, which made it even more annoying. After some back and forth action, there was a nice sequence with the men exchanging a forearm, high knees, and a superkick before Lee performed a nice German suplex only for DJZ to get right up to perform a DDT. Both men remained down for a stretch after the DDT.

The wrestlers fought on the ropes and it resulted in DJZ being caught outside in a tree of woe, leading to Lee performing a double stomp. Lee sold knee pain when he got up, then threw DJZ into the barricade before rolling him back inside the ring for a two count. DJZ came back with a Canadian Destroyer and went for the cover. Lee grabbed the bottom rope to break the pin. Lee performed a Dragon Driver for a near fall. Lee blasted DJZ with a knee to the head and performed a second Dragon Driver for the win…

Dragon Lee defeated DJZ.

Powell’s POV: A good match. It wasn’t the gem that I believe these two are capable of putting together, but they obviously had limited time due to it being a live broadcast. It was fun for what it was.

A cameraman caught up with Low Ki, Salina, Martinez, and the Parks by a limo and asked why they were leaving. Salina asked if he’d ever heard of spoiled children. She said they were going off to party on a boat. Tom Lawlor showed up and hit Martinez with a board. The Parks fought with Lawlor while Martinez motioned for the limo to leave given that Low Ki and Salina were inside…

A video package hyped the Low Ki vs. Lawlor match for February 2 in Philadelphia at 2300 Arena at MLW SuperFight…

Powell’s POV: So the idea is that Low Ki and Salina are avoiding Lawlor, while the rest of the heel faction is protecting them. The video package was really well done.

An H2 video aired from the new Hart Foundation digital series. Brian Pillman Jr. was playing a video game and an overweight character with his back turned was shown on the screen. Teddy Hart comically said it looked like Tommy Dreamer. They cut to Pillman lifting a weight and calling the front desk for champagne. He asked them to send “that redhead” and noted that he would not tip. They cut to Pillman accepting the MLW Rookie of the Year award. Pillman thanked the MLW roster. Hart called them lazy pussies (censored). Pillman thanked the roster for laying down and refusing to stay in shape. He said it made it easy for him because he doesn’t have to work hard to look good because of his genetics. Pillman jokingly acted like he was crying while hugging Hart. “Let it out, my friend,” Hart said. “Okay, get off me”…

Backstage, Lennox provided an update on the parking lot situation. She said Lawlor wand one of the Parks were brawling up and down the streets of Miami… Schiavone hyped Lawlor vs. Simon Gotch in a no ropes. no holds barred match as next week’s main event…

Schiavone set up a “live” promo from Gotch in California. Gotch stood outdoor next to a body of water and said he’d been training hard, but the match is about Lawlor. He said Lawlor would be out for revenge and is thinking this is where it ends. Gotch said Lawlor would find out the hard way that his nightmares were just beginning…

Powell’s POV: Don’t tell viewers something is live when it seemed obviously pre-taped. It’s not like there was even an effort made to make it seem like the broadcast team was communicating with Gotch. It may seem like I’m nitpicking, but why lie to the audience and create even a small level of mistrust when there was no reason to? On the plus side, Gotch delivered the promo well and came off like a guy who had sinister long term plans for Lawlor. I’ve been impressed by Gotch in MLW and it’s nice to see him doing good things following his disappointing WWE main roster run.

Ring entrances for the main event took place. A graphic and the broadcast team plugged an MLW marathon for December 31 beginning at 6 a.m. ET…

3. Rush vs. Rich Swann. They fought to ringside early and Rush hit Swann with.a steel trash can. Rush tossed Swann onto the stage. The broadcast team noted that the referee was giving them a lot of leeway. Schiavone compared it to a referee not wanting to call a penalty in overtime. Rush slammed Swann’s head on the broadcast table.

Back inside the ring, Rush continued to work over Swann, who fired back with chops, but Rush put Swann back down with a hard chop. Rush teased hitting the referee before backing off. Swann came back and caught Rush with a kick and then a flip off the apron followed by a flip dive onto Rush, who may have hit his head on the stairs. Swann rolled Rush back inside the ring and performed a nice frogsplash for a two count.

Swann caught Rush with a kick, but Rush fired back with a headbutt that both men sold. Rush went for a dropkick in the corner onto a seated Swann, who moved out of the way. Swann went for a Phoenix Splash from the middle rope, but Rush put his knees up. Rush performed the Rush Driver (double underhook piledriver) and scored the clean pin.

Rush defeated Rich Swann.

After the match, LA Park walked onto the stage and eventually brawled with Rush at ringside. Security and referees ran out to pull them apart. Fans chanted “let them fight.”

Low Ki ran out and wearing street clothes entered the ring. Low Ki took the mic and said the great thing about live TV is that anything can happen. He boasted that he stayed one step ahead of Lawlor throughout the night. Lawlor showed up and and attacked Low Ki from behind. They fought at ringside with Lawlor getting the better of it and ripping Low Ki’s vest off. Low Ki fought back and whipped Lawlor into the barricade as the show concluded…

Powell’s POV: A good main event. There wasn’t any real suspense in terms of the outcome given the big hype for Rush vs. LA Park earlier in the show combined with Swann not receiving any hype or promo time. Even so, it was an entertaining match and Rush is off to a strong start in MLW. I hope they take the time to explain the Rush vs. Park feud. As someone who doesn’t follow lucha closely, it would be nice to hear the backstory on this rather than be made to feel late to the party.

Overall, it was a solid show with some good in-ring action along with some strong hype for Low Ki vs. Lawlor, as well as next week’s Lawlor vs. Gotch match. This was MLW’s first live broadcast and it showed during the opening match in multiple ways. I didn’t actually see the live broadcast so I don’t know if they cleaned anything up or aired it on Youtube without any edits, but it seemed like everything came together and improved as the show went on.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Konnan, who discusses his return to the ring for MLW and shares the crazy story of how he started in pro wrestling.



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