Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Simon Gotch vs. Ace Romero, DJZ vs. Ace Austin in a Battle Riot qualifying match, Alex Hammerstone vs. Isaias Velasquez

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 48)
Taped March 2, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois at Cicero Stadium
Aired March 9, 2019 on beIN Sports

A recap aired of Tom Lawlor defeating Low Ki in a cage match to retain the MLW Title on last week’s show, and the post match attack by the new Contra faction… The MLW opening aired… Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette were at ringside on commentary, and Tim Barr was the ring announcer…

Ring entrances for the opening match took place. A pre-tape promo aired with Ace Austin saying DJZ has been wrestling half as long as he’s been alive. Austin said there’s nothing but respect, but he’s going to Battle Riot. Jim Cornette recalled seeing DJZ work a tryout camp for another promotion years ago. He said the only thing he has to worry about now is whether the store is out of batteries for his outfit because he has it together otherwise. Funny…

1. DJZ vs. Ace Austin in a Battle Riot qualifying match. The wrestlers fought to ringside where DJZ ran Austin toward the barricade only to have Austin leap over it. DJZ followed up by diving over the barricade onto Austin. Back inside the ring, DJZ performed a nice leap off the middle rope and into a stunner. Austin came back with a modified Codebreaker. Austin seated DJZ on the top rope and then performed a headscissors takedown. Austin followed up with a top rope leg drop for a two count. A short time later, Austin performed a running Blockbuster and scored the clean pin…

Ace Austin defeated DJZ to qualify for the Battle Riot.

Powell’s POV: A good opening match and a nice win for Austin. I don’t know if this match was taped before or after the live show, but the back and forth between Bocchini and Cornette was better in this match than it was on the live broadcast. Bocchini had a tough time getting a word in during the live show, but they had some good comedic exchanges here and played nicely off one another. They should be a very nice team once they have time to develop chemistry.

Kaci Lennox tried to interview Salina de la Renta, but Salina was distracted by noise coming from another room. She entered the room where Mance Warner accidentally spilled a beer on her. He tried to give her a hanky from his pocket, but she threw it down and stormed away… A Jimmy Havoc teaser aired for his upcoming return during WrestleMania weekend…

Bocchni spoke with Dr. Nelson Sweglar by phone and asked him for an update on Tom Lawlor’s condition. Sweglar cited HIPAA laws for not giving an answer. He followed up by saying he has suffered chest injuries, has blood in his lungs, swelling of the spinal cord, and is being monitored for for a possible hematoma. He said Lawlor could be day to day or never return…

Powell’s POV: It better be revealed that this was Simon Gotch or someone else playing the role of the doctor because that was super corny if the idea was that this was an actual doctor. In reality, Nelson Sweglar is part of MLW’s production team and also worked in that area for WWE, so using his name would seem to be an inside joke.

Kaci Lennox interviewed Mance Warner on the interview set. He spoke about kneepad up, kneepad down. He asked her who was in MLW. She mentioned Tom Lawlor, LA Park, and Teddy Hart. Warner was willing to face any of them. He claimed he was locked up with Teddy in Canada because he had something in his fanny pack. Funny. He wrapped up the interview by saying he was going to get drunk, then told Lennox that he missed her and asked if she was married yet. She said not yet…

Powell’s POV: Warner definitely has the gift of gab. He’s doing fun and playful promos now, but I’m anxious to see if he can deliver money promos once he gets into real programs. I really like what I’ve heard from him so far.

The Contra logo flashed and then Simon Gotch delivered a promo about how Ace Romero took $20,000 from him. He said Romero would see the difference between a man fighting for money and a cause. He held up some change and said he had two more for Romero and they would take him across the river… A Battle Riot ad aired for the April 5 event in New York…

Alex Hammerstone was talking on the phone backstage when a cameraman came up from behind. He said something about loving it being called Dynasty and to count him in. Hammerstone noticed the camera and questioned how let the cameraman back there…

Ace Austin delivered a brief promo on the interview set about Battle Riot. He said some may feel his win over DJZ was a surprise, but he punched his ticket to Battle Riot and all he needs is a chance…

Footage aired of Rich Swann’s meltdown on Bocchini, a referee, and the ring announcer…

2. Alex Hammerstone vs. Isaias Velasquez. Velasquez’s entrance was not televised. Bocchini said Velasquez is from Chicago and added that Konnan is high on him. Velasquez held the top rope down as Hammerstone charged, causing Hammerstone to tumble to ringside. Hammerstone caught Velasquez going for a move, then powerbombed him onto the apron. Hammerstone dominated once they returned to the ring and performed a nice superplex. Hammerstone followed up with a Nightmare Pendulum slam and scored the pin…

Alex Hammerstone defeated Isaias Velasquez.

Powell’s POV: Another good squash win for Hammerstone. Cornette put him over on commentary for being an educated man rather than just a meathead.

Maxwell J Friedman delivered a backstage promo as his tag partner Richard Holliday walked along with him. MJF said they were bringing cameras to an afterparty so fans could see what it looks like for The Dynasty. MJF encountered a couple of crew members and threw a fit that the spread for his afterparty wasn’t there. MJF told Holliday that Jamie Iovine’s father bought them a new vehicle…

Powell’s POV: I assume this is the Dynasty that Hammerstone was referring to.

Bocchini hyped the Hart Foundation vs. MJF and Holliday for the MLW Tag Titles for next week’s edition of Fusion…

Warner was shown toasting with a guy backstage. A luchador (Hijo de LA Park?) showed up and bickered with Warner, which led to a brief brawl. Brian Pillman Jr. popped up and took a swig of the beer that Warner left behind…

Matt Striker hosted a Battle Riot control center segment and explained the rules of the Royal Rumble style match and discussed some of the entrants…

Footage aired of a cameraman asking Teddy Hart, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Brian Pillman Jr. about the challenge issued by MJF and Holliday. Smith noted that he was on a flight to Tokyo when MJF and Holliday attacked Hart. Smith said they would make an example out of MJF and Holliday…

Salina de la Renta was shown throwing a fit in a hotel hallway. She made a call and told “hurricane” (Ricky Martinez?) that she has a job for him…

Footage aired of Ace Romero beating Simon Gotch to win the prize fight challenge… Ring entrances for the main event took place. Gotch entered to new entrance music that includes sirens blaring…

3. Ace Romero vs. Simon Gotch. Romero used his super heavyweight size to bounce Gotch to ringside. Romero played to the crowd and then performed a suicide dive. Cornette noted that Gotch’s sidekicks in Contra are Jacob Fatu and Josef Salaem. Cornette said Gotch had been training in Thailand and there’s where he met up with Fatu and Salaem. Gotch went on the offensive and the fans taunted him with chants of “Where’s your mustache?”

Romero no-sold some of Gotch’s strikes and then fired back with some of his own. Romero picked up Gotch for a move. Jacob Fatu and Josef Salaem hit the ring and attacked Romero for the DQ.

Ace Romero defeated Simon Gotch by DQ.

After the match, the Contra trio worked over Romero while Bocchini called for help. Salaem pulled out a spike and jabbed Romero with it multiple times. Romero bleed from the forehead. Bocchini said Contra needs to be suspended. Referees and security came out, but the Contra members prevented them from entering the ring. Salaem continued to work over Romero with the spike. They eventually put quarters over the eyes of Romero. Contra jawed at the fans and the broadcast team said there was a fan in the front row who was trying to get over the barricade. Gotch placed the Contra flag over Romero and then Contra left the ring. Trainers entered the ring to tend to Romero while the Contra members mugged at ringside. Cornette apologized if there were children in the room or anyone was “disturbed by this ridiculous display”…

Powell’s POV: Now that’s how you sell an attack by the heels. I was critical of Bocchini and Matt Striker for being too nonchalant or even endorsing some heel antics in recent weeks, but Bocchini and Cornette did a great job of expressing outrage over the actions of Contra. And it was a good beatdown angle that showcased the new faction well. My only real complaint is that Gotch looked a little weak for potentially being on the verge of losing before his men interfered. Gotch seems to be the leader of the faction and hopefully he will be positioned as an elite wrestler who is even more dangerous because he has Fatu and Salaem doing his bidding. That’s much more appealing than a faction led by a mid-card guy who would lose if it wasn’t for his sidekicks.

Overall, this was a showcase week for MLW newcomers. We saw Austin in the opening match, Hammerstone in the second match, Warner in backstage segments, and the Contra faction in the main event. It was entertaining and made the show feel fresh rather than overly reliant on a handful of regulars.

Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Ian Riccaboni discussing his decision to re-sign with Ring of Honor, getting emotionally invested in matches, the March 15 ROH 17th Anniversary show, the G1 Supercard at MSG, and much more.



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