Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Rush vs. Shane Strickland, Hart Foundation vs. Dirty Blondes, Gringo Loco vs. Ricky Martinez, Ace Romero vs. Ariel Dominguez

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

Major League Wrestling TV (Episode 40)
Taped December 14, 2018 in Miami, Florida at Scottish Rite Temple
Aired January 18, 2019 on beIN Sports

Shane Strickland stood in the ring while the broadcast team of Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini quickly checked in. Strickland said he was paid an “ass load of money” to fly to the event. He said no one in the locker room measures up to his talent, ability, or worth in pro wrestling. Strickland said he’s the gold standard of pro wrestling.

Rush made his entrance, got in Strickland’s face, and barked at him in Spanish. Rush turned and spoke to the crowd, only to have Strickland attack him from behind. The referee apparently felt like it warranted a reward, as he called for the bell to start the match…

1. Shane Strickland vs. Rush. Strickland controlled the early offense after the pre-match attack. Rush eventually fought back and took Strickland to ringside and into the crowd. Rush rammed Strickland through a doorway and then threw a metal trashcan at him. Back inside the ring, Rush kicked Strickland in the face and then laid down in the ring and posed for a moment.

Rush bickered with the referee and was rolled up by Strickland for a two count. Both men hit German suplexes, then Strickland performed a cutter for a near fall. Strickland went up top and was cut off by Rush, who ended up performing a superplex for a near fall. Later, performed the Rush Driver (double underhook piledriver) and scored the pin…

Rush defeated Shane Strickland.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining “winner and loser leave MLW” match. I borrowed that line from someone in MLW who had a good sense of humor about the departures of both men from the company. I actually enjoyed Strickland more in his short MLW spurt as a heel than I did throughout his babyface run. It will be interesting to see how he is used on NXT television. Rush has signed with ROH, so unless MLW has another match of his in the can, then this was his final appearance on Fusion. By the way, I liked Schiavone’s call on a Rush near fall of matter of factly counting to three and then apologizing while saying he was sure the match was over. It’s much better than play-by-play voices who telegraph kickouts by telling the audience “that will do it” or “we have a new champion” before the referee counts in bigger matches, as fans have heard it so many times they know it won’t result in the three count.

The MLW opening aired 17 minutes into the show, which has to be a record for the latest an opening has aired during a promo wrestling show… Schiavone noted that the Rush vs. Strickland match was impromptu, then he and Bocchini hyped upcoming matches and segments…

After a break, a vignette aired for the debuting Mance Warner, who was listed as coming soon… Footage aired of the Tom Lawlor and Sami Callihan segments from last week…

Kaci Lennox interviewed Salina de la Renta backstage and announced LA Park vs. Sami Callihan for next week’s show. Salina said Callihan had one job to do and he failed, which is shy she booked Park against him…

2. Ace Romero vs. Ariel Dominguez. Barrington Hughes sat in on commentary and said Romero is very big and very talented, but he’s no Hughes. Dominguez got a little offense before Romero exploded on him and put him away with a splash to win the brief match. Afterward, Romero looked down at Hughes, who removed his headset, stood up, and glared at Romero. Hughes pointed at Romero, who left the ring…

Ace Romero defeated Ariel Dominguez.

Powell’s POV: Obviously, they are building up to Romero vs. Hughes in a battle of the super heavyweights. I wouldn’t expect a five star classic, but the idea of the two big men working against one another is a lot of fun.

Brian Pillman Jr. checked in from a playground on a rooftop and spoke into a handheld camera. He said he’s losing sleep over beating Tommy Dreamer at his own game in a Singapore cane match. Pillman questioned what their next match will be like. Pillman said the world is his playground, and said he would follow Dreamer wherever he wants to go and Dreamer will be left begging for mercy…

The broadcast team hyped upcoming matches heading into a break… An ad aired for MLW Battle Riot on April 5 in New York…

Lennox interviewed Low Ki about his undefeated streak in MLW. Low Ki said he solidified himself as the greatest MLW Champion of all-time. Low Ki said Tom Lawlor will join the list of people who have failed to defeat him in MLW. Low Ki said the honor will be Lawlor’s while the pleasure will be his…

3. Ricky Martinez (w/Salina de la Renta) vs. Gringo Loco. Martinez came out wearing a patch over his right eye to mock Kotto Brazil. He removed the patch prior to the match. Loco received a nice reaction from the live crowd. Logo performed a falcon arrow from the top rope for a near fall. Loco followed up with a springboard stunner for another. Martinez came back and performed his finisher for the win…

Ricky Martinez defeated Gringo Loco.

Powell’s POV: Good followup to Loco’s strong showing in the match with LA Park. Gringo was over with the Miami crowd and I’m looking forward to seeing what the company does with him going forward now that fans have taken a liking to him.

Backstage, Colonel Robert Parker barked at The Dirty Blondes about how they need to act like something other than farm boys. He said he opened up his wallet to them and they need to make sure they own it…

After a break, a Tom Lawlor promo aired “from his training camp” at an outdoor setting. Lawlor said it took him seven months and going through 39 other men in Battle Riot to earn the No. 1 contender status. Lawlor said Low Ki boasts that he’s undefeated in MLW, but he accused him of outsourcing the hard work by paying people off to do his dirty work…

Matt Striker checked in and hyped the live MLW Fusion special for Saturday, February 5 at 7CT/8ET on beIN Sports… Striker hosted the MLW SuperFight control center segment and hyped Gringo Loco vs. Puma King, MJF returning to the ring, Tommy Dreamer and a mystery partner vs. Brian Pillman Jr. and a mystery partner, Simon Gotch vs. Ace Romero, the debut of Mance Warner, Rey Hurus vs. Aerostar, Low Ki vs. Tom Lawlor for the MLW Championship, and Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. The Hart Foundation for the MLW Tag Titles…

4. “Hart Foundation” Brian Pillman Jr. and Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. “The Dirty Blondes” Leo Brien and Mike Patrick (w/Col. Robert Parker). Schiavone said that if the Blondes beat the Harts then the Blondes would be added to the tag title match at SuperFight.

Late in the match, Smith performed powerslam on one of the Blondes. The other Blonde broke up the pin, then Pillman performed a springboard clothesline to take out the other Blonde. Smith followed up with a top rope superplex on one of the Blondes and pinned him. Bocchini said the move was a tribute to the late Dynamite Kid…

The Hart Foundation defeated The Dirty Blondes.

Schiavone announced that Kotto Brazil had signed a medical waver and would return to the ring next week, and Bocchini hyped Sami Callihan vs. LA Park as next week’s main event…

Powell’s POV: I like the Blondes, but I don’t think anyone wanted to see them added to the hot tag title match in Philadelphia. That said, I like the idea of making this match mean more by using that as a stipulation. The match was fairly lopsided and Parker was barking at the Blondes afterward. The real main event of the show as actually the opening match. Overall, the hour moved by quickly and there was some solid build to various programs. Here’s hoping next week’s show delivers strong final hype for the MLW Title match and MLW Tag Title match for SuperFight.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and WOW head writer and lead voice Stephen Dickey discussing his career and the launch of the weekly WOW television series that airs Fridays at 8CT/9ET on AXS TV.



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