Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Contra Unit vs. The Strong Hearts, Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Alex Hammerstone in an Opera Cup tournament semifinal match, Tom Lawlor faces “the greatest Von Erich”

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 91)
Taped December 5, 2019 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired January 4, 2020 on beIN Sports

Mance Warner delivered a backstage promo about his feud with Jimmy Havoc and facing him in a no ropes, barbed wire match. Warner recalled Priscilla Kelly low blowing him, then closed the promo by referring to Havoc as a “piece of shit”… The MLW Fusion opening aired…

The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and AJ Kirsch checked in on commentary. The Opera Cup tournament brackets appeared on the screen while Bocchini hyped tonight’s main event…

Tom Lawlor headed to the ring for an exhibition match. He was accompanied by an unnamed Team Filthy member. Footage aired of Lawlor brawling with Ross Von Erich on the streets of New York until Lawlor entered a subway car and the door closed.

Lawlor entered the ring and took a mic. He said all anyone wants to talk about is the Von Erich family. He called the Von Erichs dumbasses and heeled on the fans. Lawlor questioned whether Ross and Marshall are actually Von Erichs. “I don’t think so,” Lawlor said. He boasted that he would be facing the greatest Von Erich. He introduced Rip Von Erich, claiming he was from the loins of Lance Von Erich.

1. Tom Lawlor vs. Rip Von Erich. Bocchini was outraged and reminded viewers that Lance Von Erich wasn’t really a member of the Von Erich family. Kirsch hilariously said Rip looked like what would happen if you put a Von Erich in a dryer. Funny. Lawlor toyed with Rip, then put a bad version of the Iron Claw on him and got the win.

Tom Lawlor defeated Rip Von Erich.

After the match, Lawlor boasted that he was unbeaten against the Von Erichs. Lawlor got good heat as he heeled on the fans and referred to Marshall and Ross as Hawaiian hillbillies. Ross and Marshall made their entrance, but they were attacked by the Spirit Squad duo of Ken Doane and Mike Mondo, as well as the man who accompanied Lawlor to the ring. Lawlor put Marshall’s hat on his own head while the beatdown continued.

Powell’s POV: Rip Von Erich! I love the idea of Lawlor claiming that Rip is the son of Lance, who was billed as a cousin of the Von Erichs in World Class Championship Wrestling until he decided to jump to a rival promotion. Fritz Von Erich actually went on television and made sure everyone knew that Lance wasn’t a real Von Erich. Good times. Bocchini was great in expressing his outrage over Lawlor’s heel antics. The post match attack was well done. I realize the Spirit Squad duo get heat because of the gimmick, but I’d love to see them get a gimmick overhaul in MLW by getting new gear while being billed as Team Filthy members.

An ad aired for MLW Zero Hour in Dallas for January 11. The ad hyped Gino Medina and The Von Erichs making their Texas returns, plus AAA talent, Alex Hammerstone vs. Aero Star for the MLW National Openweight Championship, and the Havoc vs. Warner barbed wire match…

Powell’s POV: As always, we’re looking for reports from the Dallas taping. If you are going and want to help us out, email me at dotnetjason@gmail.com.

Footage aired from two weeks ago of The Strong Hearts trio being attacked by Contra Unit…

Richard Holliday and Alex Hammerstone were shown talking at an outdoor setting “earlier today” about how Gino Medina would help Dynasty penetrate the Latino market. Salina de la Renta showed up and said there was nothing they could offer to Medina that she could not. Holliday and Hammerstone shooed her away…

Davey Boy Smith Jr. was interviewed by Alicia Atout on the backstage interview set. Smith said Hammerstone is probably the most powerful and hardest hitting wrestler in MLW. Smith said he specializes in submission wrestling. He said that as their match goes longer and Hammerstone gets fatigued and starts to slow down, then he’ll lock in a submission hold that will leave Hammerstone with a trickle streaming down his leg. “That means you’re going to be tapping out like the bitch that you are,” Smith said…

MJF joined the broadcast team on commentary and introduced himself because he felt they were taking too long. MJF said he would be rooting for Alex Hammerstone, who beat him to advance in the tournament…

2. Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Alex Hammerstone (w/Richard Holliday) in an Opera Cup tournament semifinal match. The ring announcer noted that the match had a 30-minute time limit. MJF boasted that he’s the only person in MLW with two contracts (I guess that means Jimmy Havoc no longer has an AEW deal). He also said brothers fight sometimes, but he fully supported Hammerstone in the tournament. MJF also said that Dynasty thinks that Gino Medina has some “dynastic” qualities.

Late in the match, Smith performed a pair of German suplexes. Hammerstone fought free, but Smith grabbed him and hit the third German for a two count. Hammerstone came back momentarily, but Smith applied the crossface. Holliday barked at Smith, who released the hold. Holiday ended up grabbing Smith. Hammerstone threw a kick at Smith, who broke free, causing the kick to hit Holliday. Smith performed a headbutt from the ropes and scored the pin.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Alex Hammerstone to advance to the finals of the Opera Cup tournament.

Afterward, Smith offered Hammerstone a handshake. Hammerstone was about to accept, but Holliday stopped him and barked at him. Hammerstone and Holliday headed backstage while Smith celebrated his win…

The updated graphics showed that Smith will face the winner of the Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Timothy Thatcher semifinal match that will air on next week’s show.

Powell’s POV: The match was a little slow to start, so it was a good idea to have MJF on commentary, as he more than kept things interesting. The build to a potential Hammerstone turn seems to have continued. He beat MJF in the tournament, accidentally kicked Holliday off the apron in this match, and then had to be stopped from shaking hands with Smith afterward. I would definitely miss the Dynasty trio if the plan really is to turn Hammerstone.

Brian Pillman Jr. was interviewed Alicia Atout on the backstage interview set. The Contra Unit logo flashed. Pillman spoke about being an underdog like his father was. Pillman said he entered the pro wrestling business and MLW on his own terms. Kotto Brazil showed up and said he was sorry to interrupt, but Atout should be talking to him. He warned Pillman to watch how he talks to him or he might not make it to his next tournament match…

A Contra Unit video aired. Josef Samael did the bulk of the talking while Jacob Fatu stood by… An MLW merch video aired…

A video package touted Erick Stevens as coming soon to MLW…

Powell’s POV: Stevens was an ROH regular before he opted to quit the business in 2010. He’s in the midst of a comeback and I’m looking forward to seeing him again after all these years.

A Low Ki video package aired… Ring entrances for the main event six-man tag match took place. Bocchini announced “breaking news” that Cima will challenge Jacob Fatu for the MLW Championship at the MLW Fightland event on February 1…

3. “Contra Unit” Jacob Fatu, Josef Samael, and Simon Gotch vs. “The Strong Hearts” Cima, El Lindaman and Shigehiro Irie. The Contra Unit trio isolated Lindaman early on until he tagged in Irie. Bocchni noted that Irie competed in MMA. Irie got the better of Gotch. Samael ran in only to take a piledriver from Irie onto Gotch.

Fatu and Irie went for simultaneous cross body blocks. Fatu got the better of it and worked over Irie before hitting a standing moonsault. Fatu went for the pin, but Cima broke it up. The teams fought at ringside. The broadcast team worked in another plug for Pillman vs. Thatcher in an Opera Cup tournament semifinal match for next week’s show.

Irie performed a suicide dive on Fatu and then rolled him back in the ring. Fatu ran the ropes and hit Irie with a suicide dive of his own. The Strong Hearts got Fatu in the ring and took turns hitting him with chops to the chest. Fatu came back with strikes of his own on the trio. The Strong Hearts hit a series of moves on Fatu. Lindaman performed a bridging German suplex on Fatu and had him pinned, but Gotch returned to break up the pin.

Lindaman performed a somersault plancha on Samael at ringside. In the ring, Fatu performed an elevated Samoan drop on Cima, then followed up with his moonsault finisher and scored the pin…

Jacob Fatu, Josef Samael, and Simon Gotch defeated Cima, El Lindaman, and Shigehiro Irie.

Tom Lawlor delivered a promo while seated in a stairwell. Lawlor said he finally saw a glimmer of fight out of the Von Erich boys. Lawlor said the Team Filthy dojo is open and business is booming. He wondered if they would like a lesson. Lawlor challenged the Von Erichs to put their MLW Tag Titles on the line next week

Powell’s POV: Irie looked rough with some weak punches and clotheslines at times, but the match was still fun. It was very surprising to see Fatu pin Cima just moments after it was announced that Cima will challenge Fatu for the MLW Championship at the Philadelphia event. I’m not sure if the match will change or what will happen on television between them leading up to the title match, but they really need to do something to make Cima seem like a threat to win the championship.

Overall, a good edition of Fusion despite the strange main event finish. The matches were entertaining in their own way (MJF gets an assist for the Opera Cup match) and all the promos felt like they served a purpose and weren’t just filling time. I am looking forward to seeing how the Opera Cup tournament semifinal match plays out next week in terms of whether we’ll get a Smith vs. Thatcher rematch or an all Hart Foundation final with Smith and Pillman. John Moore will be by with his weekly MLW Fusion audio review for Dot Net Members.



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...


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