Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Aerostar vs. Rey Horus, Rich Swann vs. Lance Anoa’i, Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Yuta, final hype for next week’s MLW Intimidation Games live broadcast

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 46)
Taped February 2, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired February 23, 2019 on beIN Sports

Fusion opened with a recap of last week’s main event that saw Teddy Hart defeat Maxwell J Friedman to retain the MLW Middleweight Championship, and the backstage attack by MJF and Rich Holliday on Hart… The MLW opening video aired… The broadcast team of Matt Striker and Rich Bocchini checked in and hyped MJF and Rich Holliday would appear, Tom Lawlor would discuss his cage match title defense against Low Ki, and they also hyped the advertised matches…

Ring entrances for the opening match aired. Footage aired of Rich Swann’s recent meltdown. Striker noted that Swann was fined and suspended, but he appealed the suspension and thus would be allowed to compete in the meantime. A Swann promo aired and he thanked the MLW faithful for staying on his side…

1. Rich Swann vs. Lance Anoa’i. Bocchini said he understands Swann taking shortcuts (why?!?), but he doesn’t know why he had to get physical with him and the referee. Anoa’i performed a nice flip dive onto Swann at ringside early on. The Contra logo flashed on the screen for a second and was not acknowledged by the broadcast team. Anoa’i caught Swann on the ropes with a nice kick. Anoa’i went up top and performed a flip splash, but Swann moved and scored the pin while using the ropes for leverage.

Rich Swann defeated Lance Anoa’i.

After the match, Bocchini questioned whether Swann even needed to use the ropes for leverage. Striker said he gets that it’s not following the rules, but then he acted dismissive because the referee didn’t see it… MJF and Richard Holliday were hyped as coming up later in the show. Striker hyped next Saturday’s MLW Intimidation Games and noted that the Tom Lawlor vs. Low Ki cage match for the MLW Championship would air live on beIN Sports… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid match with Swann continuing to show heel tendencies. Lance is the son of Samu and the grandson of Afa, and there’s plenty of upside with him. I must vent again. I’m never a fan of neutral broadcast team members endorsing any heel antics. It would be different if Striker or Bocchini were playing heel characters. I could see the logic being that they neutral enough that they will tolerate some cheating by the heels, but it really takes away from the heat. I like their work in general, but I disagree with this approach whether it’s their choice or they are being produced to take this approach.

Tom Lawlor delivered a promo for the cage match. He said Low Ki was stepping into his world when they meet in a cage fight…

Maxwell J Friedman delivered a promo in from the MLW backdrop. MJF said he is the real MLW Middleweight Champion because he never lost the title. MJF called in Rich Holliday and noted that he choked out Hart with a chair. MJF said Stu Hart was spinning in his grave because he knows that MJF is better than Teddy…

Kaci Lennox interviewed Mance Warner in front of the MLW backdrop. He had her hold his beer bottle, then had her hold a white board. Warner drew his plans on the board. Number one was light beer. He said he had 15 already. Number two was eye pokes. Number three was knee pad jabs. Number four was lariat. He said it would only take one lariat for him to get the win…

Powell’s POV: Good mic work across the board starting with Lawlor expressing confidence about his cage match. MJF cut a good promo, but someone really needed to yell “quiet on the set” because there was a bunch of background noise. Warner is really good on the mic and I’m looking forward to his debut.

Striker set up a video package on Aerostar that featured footage of him in AAA…

2. Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Yuta. The broadcast team compared Warner to LA Park. He wrestled in jeans, a red shirt, and suspenders. Warner no-sold a couple of punches from Yuta and called for more. Warner caught Yuta with a DDT style move on the apron. Warner poked the eyes of Yuta a couple of times, which got a rise out of the crowd. Yuta came back with a suicide dive. Yuta fired up in the ring and didn’t really have the crowd with him. Warner caught Yuta coming off the ropes with a headbutt and got a two count. Warner moved his knee pad and caught Yuta with a knee, then followed up with a lariat for the win…

Mance Warner defeated Jimmy Yuta.

Powell’s POV: Warner is a fun brawler and a good talker. MLW officials seem very high on him and I could definitely see him clicking as a unique act in MLW. Yuta was a given an early push stemming from the breakup of his partnership with Jason Cade. Their feud didn’t really click and neither guy has been showcased much lately. I like Yuta as an old school babyface and would like to see him given another chance in a real program.

The latest H2 segment aired with Davey Boy Smith Jr. talking about his enjoyment of animals. Teddy Hart smoked a cigar and spoke about how he and Smith are shooters. Hart said Harry Smith (Davey Jr.) would choke out Brock Lesnar. Hart thanked CM Punk having the balls to do something. Hart also said he made enough money on the street to live in a million dollar house. He went back to praising his all natural cigars. He said he has smoked them for 20 years except for when he was locked up because you can’t smoke them in jail…

Powell’s POV: The H2 segment is heavily edited so I’m not sure how complimentary Hart was overall when it came to Punk, but it was actually nice to hear him say something positive about a guy he once had a legit fight with while both men were in TNA.

Matt Striker hosted the MLW Intimidation Games control center segment and hyped the following matches. He hyped Tom Lawlor vs. Low Ki in a cage match for the MLW Title, LA Park, the Hart Foundation, Rey Fenix and Pentagon Jr. Mance Warner, MJF and Richard Holliday, Ace Romero, Daga, Alexander Hammerstone, and Puma King for Saturday’s show in Chicago at Cicero Stadium… Bocchini hyped the main event… A Rey Horus video package aired…

Powell’s POV: Horus wins the video package battle. They showed him some cool moves, whereas Aerostar was mostly shown doing dropkicks and posing on the ropes. The video packages were brief. I’d actually like to see MLW slow down a bit and tell us more about the lucha talent rather than just show them performing moves, but I do like that the video packages attempted to make the main event feel significant.

3. Aerostar vs. Rey Horus. Aerostar performed a lung blower, then Horus came back with an armdrag that sent Aerostar to ringside. Horus performed a flip dive onto Aerostar, which drew an “Oh My God!” from Bocchini.

Powell’s POV: I interviewed Rich for the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast just days before this match was taped. He told me that calling a show at 2300 Arena was a bucket list moment for him due to the ECW history in the venue, so I assume that Joey Styles callback was fully intentional. Fun stuff.

Aerostar performed a cool springboard move from the apron into a Codebreaker. Aerostar performed a nice trust fall dive onto Horus and got a two count. Aerostar got the crowd to chant “lucha” briefly. Horus performed a nice overhead belly to belly suplex into the corner. Aerostar performed a step-up flip dive and some fans chanted his name. Aerostar performed a cutter. Horus came right back with a standing C4. Horus caught Aerostar with a wild powerbomb style move from the ropes for the win. After the match, Horus and Aerostar shook hands and hugged…

Rey Horus defeated Aerostar.

The broadcast team hyped the Lucha Brothers vs. Taurus and Laredo Kid, and the MLW Title cage match between Lawlor and Low Ki for next week’s live broadcast…

Salina de la Renta delivered a promo “from her compound in Puerto Rico”. The cameraman asked her questions in Spanish. She claimed she didn’t speak Spanish. She spoke about how Low Ki has trained harder than he ever has in his life. She said she would show Lawlor next week that she messed with the wrong bitch. She was asked about LA Park. She said she had selective memory loss and doesn’t speak English anymore. She spoke in Spanish to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A well worked main event. The wrestlers don’t have a storyline feud and based on the post match scene it was a friendly and yet competitive match between two babyfaces. I like most of the lucha talent in MLW and I hope we get to the point where we’re getting more storylines between these wrestlers. The company was good about using subtitles for Rush, so hopefully they will take that approach for promos and angles to set up real programs for the luchadores.

The hype for next week’s live broadcast left something to be desired. They focused on the main event cage match and didn’t say much about the other matches, instead opting to run through the list of talent that will be in Chicago. MLW did a tremendous job of hyping the SuperFight event earlier this month, but Saturday’s live special hasn’t been made to feel as significant. And perhaps SuperFight will be MLW’s premier show each year and thus it should be promoted as such, but even if you put the comparisons aside they just didn’t do a great job of selling viewers on Intimidation Games.

That said, this week’s Fusion didn’t really grab me in a big way on paper, but it turned out to be a quality show with a good main event, the further evolution of Swann’s heel persona, the debut of Mance Warner, and some good talking segments.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and former WWE Smackdown lead writer and current MLW producer Alex Greenfield discussing the NXT call-ups, Stephanie McMahon’s past contributions to WWE creative, the growth of MLW, and much more.



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