Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Mance Warner vs. Sami Callihan, Josef Samael vs. Ace Romero, Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. Rey Horus and Air Wolf, Gringo Loco vs. Puma King

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 54)
Taped April 5, 2019 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired April 20, 2019 on beIN Sports

The crowd chanted “MLW” to open the show. The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette checked in on commentary as introductions for the opening match took place…

1. Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. Rey Horus and Air Wolf. In perhaps the greatest moment in the history of broadcasting, Cornette explained that most American wrestlers target the left arm because it’s typically the weaker arm of most wrestlers. Anyway, Horus performed a standing Spanish Fly on Pentagon for a two count. Fenix may have been late with a top rope move, as he landed on Horus after Pentagon kicked out of the move. Fenix performed a tiger thunder driver on Horus for a two count. Air Wolf checked in and leapt into two superkicks. Pentagon and Fenix teamed up with a double stomp into a piledriver, and Pentagon pinned Air Wolf…

Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix defated Rey Horus and Air Wolf.

Powell’s POV: A nice Lucha Brothers style match. There wasn’t a dull moment and the live crowd was hot for Penta and Fenix.

A Contra Unit video aired with footage of their attacks along with comments from all three members. Well, Josef Samael basically yelled once and lit fireballs, but the other two spoke…

Salina de la Renta held a “press conference” until she was interrupted by Sami Callihan. Security quickly intervened…

2. Josef Samael vs. Ace Romero. Romero waited for Samael and fought him on the entrance ramp. They entered the ring and the match started. Samael caught Romero on the top rope and slammed him to the mat. Cornette said Samael has wrestled all over the world, but he’s never had the national spotlight because he’s too violent. Samael loaded his foot a short time later, kicked Romero, and pinned him.

Josef Samael defeated Ace Romero.

After the match, Simon Gotch and Jacob Fatu came out and joined Samael in putting the boots to Romero. Fatu performed a top rope splash on Romero. Several referees tried to talk down the Contra Unit trio…

Powell’s POV: I love the return of the loaded boot. It’s one of those things that was common in the territory days and even with Iron Sheik in the early WrestleMania years that just sort of faded away. It’s so simple and effective. I like that Samael took care of Romero without help from the other members of Contra Unit. There are too many factions that cheat to win, whereas these guys come off like wrestlers who can handle their business in the ring, yet are even more dangerous because of their alliance. I still have Gotch’s quick loss to Lawlor in my mind, so hopefully he will be booked to look as dominant as his fellow faction members.

After a break, Tom Lawlor delivered a promo “from his training camp” about Contra Unit. Lawlor called for a straight up match against the faction whether it be singles, tag team, or a six-man tag. Lawlor said they would find out soon enough who his friends are…

Footage aired of LA Park eliminating Sami Callihan to win the Battle Riot match, and of Sami interrupting Salina’s press conference… Ricky Martinez was confronted by Sami Callihan in a stairwell. Callihan wanted to know where Salina was. Martinez said Callihan had a lot of balls going after his boss. They ended up fighting…

The Hart Foundation stealing Maxwell J Friedman’s car at the end of last week’s show was recapped…

The Hart Foundation members Teddy Hart, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Brian Pillman Jr. spoke from inside MJF’s card. Teddy said he didn’t steal the car, he borrowed it because MJF left the keys in it. Hart said his cat just pissed in the back of the car. The trio mocked the members of the Dynasty… Bocchini hyped the main event…

Powell’s POV: I don’t think you can “borrow” a car just because someone left the keys in the ignition, but at least they tried to explain it.

3. Gringo Loco vs. Puma King. Cornette noted that Loco has competed in AAA on and off for the last several years but is based in Chicago. Puma dominated the early offense while Cornette spoke about how lucha libre is similar to a particular fighting style where fighters use the momentum of their opponents against them. Loco came back, but Puma avoided a corkscrew dive and then performed a nice powerbomb.

Puma went to the ropes, but Gringo cut him off and performed a top rope Spanish Fly for a two count. Cornette questioned if there would be an upset if either man won. Bocchini was right on as he said that Loco winning would be a minor upset because of King’s experience and history working all over the world. Gringo caught Puma going for a top rope move and powerbombed him. Gringo picked up Puma and hit a sit-out powerbomb for the win…

Gringo Loco defeated Puma King.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. It was nice to see Gringo get a win as he has been a wrestler that MLW fans have rallied behind, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a storyline direction.

Backstage, Salina told Mance Warner that she had a proposition for him. Warner said his granddaddy Mad Dog taught him years ago that if you lay down with women like Salina then you wake up with fleas. Warner told her no and walked away…

After a break, Dynasty members Maxwell J Friedman, Richard Holliday, and Alex Hammerstone delivered a promo from an outdoor and very windy location…

Powell’s POV: Congrats(?) to MLW for finding a windier location than WWE had for the initial selfie style promos delivered by Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega.

4. Mance Warner vs. Sami Callihan. Cornette called Callihan a sideshow freak and an attention whore. As the wrestlers fought at ringside, Cornette said he can understand trying to win a match or trying to physically dominate an opponent, Callihan takes it too far. He said that if you’re around Callihan you’re probably going to be hurt. He doesn’t think it’s right to deprive another man of making a living in his chosen sport.

Callihan suplexed Warner onto a chair at ringside. Warner and Callhan exchanged chops. Bocchini noted that there’s normally a 20-count in MLW, but the referee was giving them leeway because it was a grudge match. The wrestlers finally rolled inside the ring. Callihan hit Warner with a chair. The referee rang the bell. Cornette said it was a mistake because the referee never called for the bell. Callihan placed Warner’s head through a chair and tied his arms behind him by using his suspenders and worked him over. Warner stood up and fought back.

Later, Callihan performed a tombstone piledriver onto a chair for a near fall. Good lord. Callihan pulled a large board out from underneath the ring (MLW must have gotten a hell of a deal on those things because they’ve been all over the shows from these tapings). Callihan set the board up in the corner only to be speared through it and covered for just a one count. Callihan spat in the face of Warner, who came back with a couple of strikes and a lariat for a two count. Suddenly, Ricky Martinez and Hijo de LA Park hit the ring and attacked both men to end the match.

Mance Warner fought Sami Callihan to an apparent no-contest.

Warner and Callihan cleared the ring. Bocchini hyped Hart Foundation vs. The Dynasty in a six-man tables match. In the ring, Warner and Callihan shook hands, then went after the heels again. The four men fought at ringside to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A fun hardcore main event. I questioned the idea of booking Warner and Callihan against one another last week, but they told the right story with both men fighting hard and developing mutual respect. And it was the right call to send in the heels so that the match would end in a no-contest. There was no reason to have a clean winner of this match, and the finish added Warner and Callihan’s issues with Promociones Dorado. This was all very well done.

Cornette criticizing Callihan on commentary is absolutely the right call. MLW probably isn’t attracting a bunch of casual viewers like WWE does. Most of their viewers are presumably very aware of Cornette’s podcast and social media rants about Callihan regarding the Eddie Edwards baseball bat incident, so it would be ridiculous for Cornette to throw his credibility with those viewers out the window by suddenly endorsing Callihan or just calling his matches straight. And while Cornette is critical of Callihan’s style and recklessness, he’s also questioning why Callihan has such a David Koresh-like hold over his followers, so it’s not like he’s just going into business for himself and not putting over Callihan’s character. Cornette is not distracting from the match, he’s putting over Callihan in a clever way while staying true to what he’s said about him in the past.

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Jake Barnett discussing WWE Superstar Shakeup and all the news of the week.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...


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