Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: The 40-man Battle Riot match for a future shot at the MLW Championship, Tom Lawlor vs. Jimmy Havoc in a New York Street Fight, Teddy Hart vs. Ace Austin, Minoru Tanaka vs. Myron Reed

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 52)
Taped April 5, 2019 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired live on beIN Sports

The show opened with graphics for some of the Battle Riot entrants… The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette checked in on commentary while standing in front of an MLW backdrop. They hyped the Battle Riot match and the two title matches. Timothy Barr was the ring announcer…

1. Teddy Hart vs. Ace Austin for the MLW Middleweight Championship. There was already some blood in the ring from God knows what happened earlier in the taping. The Dynasty trio of Alex Hammerstone, Maxwell J Friedman, and Richard Holliday were shown seated at ringside. Hart bumped fists with fans at ringside and walked past the trio, who were drinking champagne in the front row. Cornette comedically vented about New York City traffic.

Hart performed an early lung blower. Austin rolled to ringside. Hart followed and worked him over before suplexing him on the cement floor. Hart performed a springboard moonsault onto Austin. Hart picked up Austin and crotched him on the ring post. Hart walked over to the Dynasty area, grabbed a champagne glass, and swigged it. “I thought Teddy was on the wagon,” Cornette said. Hart threw some champagne at a security guard.

Austin caught Hart with a couple of kicks from the apron. Austin performed a second rope legdrop and picked up a two count. Hart came back with a Canadian Destroyer from the top rope, then hit a second one in the ring and scored the pin…

Teddy Hart defeated Ace Austin to retain the MLW Middleweight Championship.

After the match, Hart picked up the small pad at ringside and brought it over to the Dynasty area where he was interviewed by Kaci Lennox. Hart said he had his eye on Alex Hammerstone. Hart said Holliday was the only one in the group with any balls, then said something about MJF’s balls being in Hammerstone’s mouth. Hart and Holliday started pushing and shoving one another, then MJF smashed the champagne bottle over the head of Hart… [C]

Powell’s POV: A solid opener with the outcome never really being in doubt. I like Austin’s upside, but they just never convinced me that he had a chance to win. I hope one of the companies that Austin works for with develop a character for him. He’s fairly new in both MLW and Impact Wrestling and so far the only thing I know about him from either group is that he likes to show off an ace card. Hart continues to be entertaining in the ring and you never know what the hell he’ll say on the mic, and the company is doing a good job of establishing the Hart Foundation vs. Dynasty feud. The building is well lit and everything looks professional. By the way, I’m obviously viewing this on delay via Youtube, which may be different than what aired live on beIN Sports.

2. Myron Reed (w/Rich Swann) vs. Minoru Tanaka. Reed and Swann came out with tape over their mouths. Cornette said it signifies that they are not allowed to speak out about the injustices against them. Reed rolled to ringside and hugged Swann once the bell rang to start the match. Reed picked up a two count going into a break. [C]

Reed caught Tanaka with a nice stunner for a two count. Reed followed up with a cutter for a near fall. Tanaka came back with a kick. Reed blocked a second kick, but Tanaka rolled him into a cross armbreaker, then hooked Reed’s leg and pinned him…

Minoru Tanaka defeated Myron Reed.

A graphic hyped the MLW Title match… [C]

Powell’s POV: A brief match in terms of what we saw on television. Tanaka didn’t do much, but I like that he didn’t plow through Reed, who is the MLW regular of the two. Reed also complained about the ref’s count, so his referee issues continue. I like Reed and Swann as heels, but I’m not really sure where it’s going given that their beef seems to be with referees and and the company rather than other wrestlers.

A video package aired on the Contra Unit of Simon Gotch, Jacob Fatu, and Josef Samael…

Lennox was backstage with Salina de la Renta’s faction and the Battle Riot hopper. Salina pulled numbers for her men. Sami Callihan showed up and barked that Salina owes him money. Low Ki, LA Park, Ricky Martinez, and El Hijo de LA Park walked toward Callihan. Mance Warner showed up behind them, picked up one of the containers that held their Battle Riot numbers, and walked away without anyone knowing he was there. Bocchini said Warner pulled of a sleight of hand…

The broadcast team hyped the upcoming matches… A video package aired on the Lawlor and Havoc match… Bocchini hyped LA Park vs. Sami Callihan for next week’s show…

Lennox spoke with Brian Pillman Jr. about his Battle Riot number. Salina showed up and said she heard that he had a good number and asked how much money he wanted for it. No deal was made…

3. Tom Lawlor vs. Jimmy Havoc in a street fight for the MLW Championship. Havoc jumped Lawlor during Barr’s in-ring introductions for the title match. They fought to ringside and Lawlor came back by slamming a long board over Havoc’s head. Lawlor set the bar over the apron and the guardrail, then went back to working over Havoc. Lawlor pulled a chair out from underneath the ring, but Havoc ended up with it and slammed it over his back. Havoc pulled out another chair and then flipped off a fan in the crowd, then walked over and barked at him. Lawlor grabbed Havoc and slammed him through the board he set up earlier. A mid-match graphic for sponsor GoDaddy was shown and Cornette read a quick plug.

Havoc got a two count off a DDT in the middle of the ring. Havoc tossed several chairs into the ring. Havoc set up another board on two chairs in the ring and then placed Lawlor on the top rope. Havoc set up two more chairs on top of the board. Havoc went for a huracanrana, but Lawlor stuffed it and powerbombed Havoc onto the tables and chairs for a near fall. Lawlor suplexed Havoc onto a chair and got another two count. A short time later, Lawlor applied a figure four on the floor, but Havoc used a staple gun on Lawlor to break it. Lawlor came up a bloody mess moments later. Bocchini said Lawlor was bleeding so heavily that it could result in an athletic commission stoppage. Havoc licked the head of Lawlor, which led to some “you sick f—” chants.

Havoc grabbed the referee and gave him an Acid Rainmaker clothesline. REF BUMP!!! Lawlor came back with a drop toe hold onto a chair, then performed a Death Valley Driver style move that put Havoc through a board in the corner. Lawlor got two visual pinfalls, but the referee was still down. A second referee ran out and counted Lawlor’s second pin attempt, but Havoc kicked out at the last moment. Lawlor put a chair in front of Havoc and grabbed his arms. Havoc flipped him off and said “f— you.” Lawlor delivered a knee to the chair, then repeated the spot and pinned Havoc clean… [C]

Tom Lawlor defeated Jimmy Havoc in a street fight for the MLW Championship.

Powell’s POV: Lawlor avenges his loss to Havoc in a good street fight. I actually enjoyed this more than Havoc’s Monster’s Ball with Sami Callihan on the Impact Wrestling United We Stand show that was held the night before this event. This was a little rougher around the edges, whereas Havoc and Callihan seemed to run through all of the garbage match greatest hits, which I felt like I’d seen many times before.

An MLW on tour video aired and hyped upcoming events for Milwaukee on June 1, Chicago on July 6, and New York on July 25…

Backstage, Salina approached a wrestler and tried to get him to give up his Battle Riot number. He declined. She snapped her fingers and then the Parks manhandled the guy while Ricky Martinez stole his number… A recap of Tom Lawlor eliminating Jake Hager to win last year’s Battle Riot was shown…

Bocchini and Cornette spoke about the Battle Riot. Cornette said he had some favorites, but it was a hard match to pick because the numbers had so much to do with it. He said he’d love to see Mance Warner win and he added that Jacob Fatu seems unstoppable. Bocchini noted that GoDaddy was presenting the match commercial-free. Cornette said they don’t break up the big main event matches unlike so many other promotions…

4. The 40-man Battle Riot. The first entrant was MJF, who took the mic from the ring announcer. MJF delivered an in-ring promo and drew good heat from the crowd. He said he would win the match and prove that he is the ultimate fighter in MLW. The second entrant was Dan Severn. A man carried out one of Severn’s UFC title belts and held it up before Severn made his entrance to Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. Cornette recalled UFC fighter Tank Abbott stating that fighting Severn is like being prison raped by Freddie Mercury.

The third entrant was El Hijo de LA Park. Severn, who fought in his t-shirt, performed a suplex on Park.

The fourth entrant was Air Wolf. Bocchini noted that pinfalls and submissions are allowed along with over the top rope eliminations.

The fifth entrant was Minoru Tanaka. Severn has already lasted longer than his Bloodsport fight with Frank Mir did.

The sixth entrant was Jordan Oliver. Cornette noted that Oliver made a spectacular entrance and hit no one because they all moved out of the way.

The seventh entrant was Rey Fenix. Fenix and Wolf squared off and Fenix performed a cool spot where he leapt from rope to rope before doing an armdrag takedown.

The eighth entrant was Pentagon Jr. Rather than work together, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix opted to fight one another for a moment.

The ninth entrant was “Avalanche” Robert Dreissker from the WXW promotion. The first man eliminated was Fenix, who was pushed off the apron by MJF.

The 10th entrant was Ace Romero. Cornette said the super heavyweight was so big that he could be entrants ten, eleven, and twelve. Romero eliminated Oliver. Pentagon Jr. was eliminated by Park with an enzuigiri.

The 11th entrant was Ken Kerbis. I believe he was the wrestler that Salina and her crew confronted backstage earlier in the show.

The 12th entrant was Leo Brien of the Dirty Blondes. Brien brought a cowbell on a rope to the ring with him and used it as a weapon, as all weapons are legal in Battle Riot. Tanaka eliminated Severn. Poor Tanaka held up his arms in celebration and the fans booed the elimination of the UFC legend.

The 13th entrant was Michael Patrick. So the Dirty Blondes entered the match back to back. It didn’t last long, as Tanaka eliminated Brien.

The 14th entrant was Gringo Loco. MJF eliminated Hijo de LA Park. Tanaka forced Patrick to submit to eliminate him.

The 15th entrant was Kotto Brazil. Brazil is still wearing the eye patch to sell his angle with Ricky Martinez. Brazil performed a top rope splash on Loco. Bocchini said Teddy Hart was been treated at a hospital for a possible concussion and may not be able to compete in Battle Riot.

The 16th entrant was Rey Horus. Loco popped up Horus, who performed a DDT on the way down in a cool spot. Romero eliminated Kervis.

The 17th entrant was Rich Swann. Swann once again came out with his mouth taped and worked over several wrestlers with kicks. Horus approached Swann from behind and ripped the tape off.

The 18th entrant was Myron Reed. So allies Reed and Swann entered back to back. Reed hit a move and ripped off his own tape. Reed and Swann double dropkicked Tanaka off the apron. Bocchini said Cornette saw a lot of double dropkicks in his day. Cornette said he used to see the bottom of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson’s boots in his sleep.Loco was eliminated when he was punched off the apron by Dreissker.

The 19th entrant was Barrington Hughes. Reed dove at big men Hughes and Romero and bounced off of them. The big men teamed up to eliminate Reed.

The 20th entrant was Ace Austin. Austin went after Hughes. He eventually got help from several wrestlers and they all teamed up to dump Hughes over the top rope to eliminate him. Romero splashed Swann and pinned him.

The 21st entrant was Jimmy Yuta. Austin and Yuta squared off. Yuta got the better of it and superkicked Austin off the apron to eliminate him.

The 22nd entrant was Jacob Fatu. Yuta, Horus, and Brazil lined up to face him, but Simon Gotch and Josef Samael entered the ring illegally. The Contra Unit members worked over everyone. They stacked up Yuta and Swann on top of Horus. Fatu went up top and overshot them badly with a moonsault. Fatu got up and performed a senton. Gotch brought a gas can into the ring with him and poured gas onto the three babyfaces. Samael pulled out a lighter. Referees and security entered the ring before they could torch the babyfaces. Fatu performed a better moonsault onto the trio. Security cleared Contra Unit from the ring.

MJF rushed back into the ring and pinned Horus, Yuta, and Brazil to eliminate each man from the match. Funny. MJF tried to pin Romero, but he kicked out.

The 23rd entrant was Brian Pillman Jr. MJF and Pillman squared off. Pillman eliminated MJF with a superkick.

The 24th entrant was Davey Boy Smith Jr. So two of the three Hart Foundation entered back to back. Will we get the trifecta? Smith and Pillman shook hands as if they were going to fight, but Romero went after both of them and they ended up working together. Smith eliminated Romero.

The 25th, 26th, and 27th entrants were LAX and Konnan. The trio entered the ring together and went after Smith and Pillman. Pillman caught Konnan with a low blow. Smith eliminated Santana and Ortiz, then Konnan was also eliminated. A very cool surprise that didn’t amount to anything.

The 28th entrant was Low Ki. Pillman and Ki fought.

The 29th entrant was LA Park. Park brought a chair out and used it as a weapon, then stood on it. Cornette said he just received word that Contra Unit ended up fighting police in the street and were tased.

The 30th entrant was Emil Sitochi. He had a generic video wall. Cornette said it was his first time seeing him.

The 31st entrant was Daga. Low Ki and Daga continued their rivalry with Daga going right after the former MLW Champion.

The 32nd entrant was Blue Meanie. Meanie wore his BWO t-shirt and did his dance. Smith suplexed Meanie.

The 33rd entrant was Alex Hammerstone. Cornette said Hammerstone is a future superstar and a blue chipper. Hammerstone eliminated Pillman Jr.

The 34th entrant was Sami Callihan. Callihan brought a baseball bat to the ring. Meanie tried to make peace with him by dancing, so Callihan jabbed the bat into his head and pinned him. Daga eliminated Low Ki. Smith eliminated Sitochi.

The 35th entrant was Ariel Dominguez. Bocchini noted that Dominguez is the smallest member of the roster. Hammerstone pressed Dominguez several times and tossed him over the top rope onto Sitochi to eliminate him.

The 36th entrant was Ricky Martinez. Low Ki pulled Daga and LA Park helped from inside the ring to eliminate Daga.

The 37th entrant was Lance Anoa’i.

The 38th entrant was Mance Warner. Warner brought a two-by-four to the ring with him.

The 39th entrant was Richard Holliday. Bocchini said Holliday was the final entrant (Teddy Hart would have made it 40?). Warner eliminated Martinez. Holliday and Hammerstone teamed up to pin Anoa’i. Smith booted Holliday off the apron to eliminate him, then Hammerstone eliminated Smith. Holliday and Smith traded punches at ringside and fought to the back.

The final four were Warner, Hammerstone, Callihan, and LA Park. Warner and Hammerstone ended up trading punches on the apron. Warner got the better of it and knocked Hammerstone to ringside, then Callihan knocked Warner off the apron to eliminate him. The final two were Callihan and Park. Park speared Callihan and then tossed him of the top rope onto the ramp. The broadcast team was unsure whether the ramp counts. Park knocked Callihan off the ramp moments later to win the match.

LA Park won the 40-man Battle Riot to earn a future MLW Championship match.

After the match, Park was given a “golden ticket” that listed him as the 2019 Battle Riot winner. Salina came out to celebrate her man winning the match… [C]

The broadcast team spoke from their perch. Cornette said Lawlor is in the hands of Salina. They cut to Lawlor, who was answering “media” questions in front of an MLW backdrop. Lawlor said he wants to take on fighters from anywhere. He was asked about LA Park winning the Battle Riot. Lawlor said the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Lawlor was asked about Contra Unit. He called them slime and then the trio attacked him and placed their flag over him to close the show with Bocchini asking, “Who is going to stop these maniacs”…

Powell’s POV: I would have been much more excited about Callihan or even Jacob Fatu winning this match getting the MLW Title shot anytime, anywhere. LA Park just doesn’t do much for me, but I know MLW likes to play to their Hispanic audience and he’s certainly a legend. Battle Riot feels bloated at 40 entrants, but they went with a pace similar to the Honor Rumble with quick entries rather than long gaps in between. It was way too convenient that so many tag teams and allies ended up having back to back numbers so many times, but it did help in terms of letting them continue rivalries between some of those teams and their opponents. Overall, it was a good two-hour special with over 53,900 views on Youtube in addition to however many viewers caught the show on beIN Sports.

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