Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Brian Pillman Jr. in the Opera Cup tournament finals, Myron Reed vs. El Lindaman for the MLW Middleweight Championship, Savio Vega vs. Gino Medina in a NYC Street Fight

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 93)
Taped December 5, 2019 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Aired January 18, 2020 on beIN Sports and MLW’s YouTube Page

An Opera Cup video package aired. The video chronicled the history of the cup and recapped the tournament to set up the finals that will air as this show’s main event… The Fusion opening aired… The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and AJ Kirsch checked in and hyped the show…

1. Myron Reed (w/Kotto Brazil, Jordan Oliver) vs. El Lindaman for the MLW Middleweight Championship. An Injustice pre-tape aired. He said people are comparing him to Cassius Clay, but it’s more like Muhammad Ali because he’s at war with the system.

Lindaman performed an early dive onto Brazil and Oliver. Reed went for a dive onto Lindaman, who moved, causing Reed to land on his partners. Lindaman followed up with a flip dive. Lindaman’s foot hit the barricade and one of the bars broke. “One of those fans in the front row nearly got impaled,” Kirsch said.

Reed came back with a springboard cutter and followed up with a split-legged driver that led to a two count. Reed looked to his guys at ringside and showed frustration over not getting the pin. Lindaman came back with a scoop slam driver for a near fall. Reed clotheslined Lindaman using the top rope, then went to the stage. Reed ran and leapt over the top rope and hit Lindaman with a cutter on the way down. Reed performed a 450 splash and scored the pin…

Myron Reed defeated El Lindaman to retain the MLW Middleweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: This was really good use of El Lindaman in that it put him in a meaningful match and gave the champion and the championship some credibility. Reed a good in-ring experience. Meanwhile, MLW can get more out of the obnoxious Jordan Oliver. He has a Sammy Guevara-like quality in that you want to see someone punch him in the face, which is actually high praise in pro wrestling.

Alicia Atout conducted a sit-down interview with Brian Pillman Jr., who said he had a grade three shoulder separation. He said he opted to decline surgery because it would have kept him out of the Opera Cup tournament. He said Injustice wanted to be in the tournament (they were alternates), but they failed to take him out. Pillman said he likes Injustice because they remind him of when he was young in that they are hungry and get in trouble.

Pillman tugged at his bad shoulder. He spoke about facing Davey Boy Smith Jr. in the finals and said he always felt safe and secure in the Hart Foundation because of him. Pillman said it’s no longer about the Hart Foundation. He said he would leave it all on the line and prove to Davey and the Hart family that he deserves to win the Opera Cup…

Kirsch hyped the finals of the Opera Cup tournament… A video package hyped Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Havoc in a no ropes, barbed wire match while some footage of the match was shown. The match was advertised for next week’s Fusion…

King Mo delivered a promo in front of the MLW backdrop. He said he wants to face the winner of the Opera Cup. He also called out Jacob Fatu and said he was coming for the MLW belt that Fatu uses to cover his stretch marks…

Footage aired from last week of Gino Medina attacking Konnan and opting to join The Dynasty faction…

The latest episode of The Rich & Dynastic aired. Alex Hammerstone, Richard Holliday, MJF, and Gino Medina all did a shot together. MJF wondered where Grogan was. Holliday said Grogan was kicking people out of the VIP area. Holliday presented Medina with a Dynasty card. Medina noted that Konnan was the Hulk Hogan of Mexico. Hammerstone that Konnan is a fat, washed up, senile has-been in MLW. The group all did a fist bump and locked pinkies…

The MLW Fightland control center segment aired and the broadcast team hyped Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Jimmy Havoc in a first ever meeting, Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Erick Stevens, and LA Park’s return… Kirsch hyped the street fight as coming up next…

2. Savio Vega vs. Gino Medina in a NYC Street Fight. Alexander Hammerstone, MJF, Richard Holliday came out with Medina, but they didn’t stick around for the match. A Savio pre-tape aired and he spoke about how Konnan was good friends with Medina’s father. Savio said that since Medina was hanging with Dynasty it was time for him to pay the price. Vega worked over Medina with a kendo stick to start the match. Media shoved Vega into the ring post, took the kendo stick, and hit him with it a few times.

Vega returned the favor by whipping Medina into the ring post. Vega hit Medina with a trashcan lid and then threw a trashcan into the ring. Vega jabbed a chair at Medina and then rolled him back inside the ring. Vega tried to bring a chair into the ring, but Media kicked him and took it away, then slammed it over the back of Vega.

Later, Vega worked over Medina with a kendo stick at ringside. He picked up a hockey stick and used it as a weapon. Medina came back and slammed the hockey stick over the back of Vega. Medina wrapped a chair around the head of Vega and then shoved him into the ring post. Back inside the ring, Medina covered Vega for a two count.

Vega caught Medina with a spinning elbow and covered him for a near fall. Medina ducked a spinning kick and covered Vega for two. Vega ducked a chair swing and then connected with his spinning heel kick. The other Dynasty members returned to ringside and distracted Vega, who was low blowed by Medina. Vega took a leaping kick from Medina, who covered him for the pin…

Gino Medina defeated Savio Vega in an NYC Street Fight.

Powell’s POV: The jury is still out on how Medina will fit in with the Dynasty. He looks the part, but it remains to be seen whether he has the mic skills and quick wit to keep up with the other members. The broadcast team did a nice job of putting over the arrogance of Medina, but it’s up to him to show it as well as convey it during his promos. On a side note, I liked the Vega promo that aired prior to the match, as it established that he was bothered by what Medina did to Konnan, which gave this match a purpose. It still felt premature to have a street fight, but I’m guessing that has more to do with playing to Vega’s strengths at this point in his career.

Footage aired of Tom Lawlor attacking the Von Erichs. Kirsch noted that Lawlor used nunchucks and could be fined or suspended by the New York State Athletic Commission for doing so…

Davey Boy Smith Jr. was interviewed by Atout backstage. Smith spoke about his grandfather Stu Hart being the last winner of the Opera Cup. Smith spoke about his family training Pillman’s father. He admitted that he was surprised to see Pillman make it to the finals, then put over his passion. Smith said Pillman is family, but tonight was all about business…

The broadcast team hyped the barbed wire match for next week… An ad aired for the February 1 MLW Fightland in Philadelphia at 2300 Arena…

Coming out of a break, Kirsch noted that MLW management kicked the Injustice trio out of the building due to concerns that they were going to ruin the Opera Cup tournament finals. Bocchini announced that the Opera Cup tournament will become an annual event in MLW. Bocchini and Kirsch previewed the main event while a tale of the tape style graphic was shown…

3. Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Brian Pillman Jr. in the Opera Cup tournament finals. The Opera Cup was shown on on its podium on the stage. The wrestlers were polite with one another and shook hands. Pillman teased chopping Smith rather than breaking clean, then smiled, and they slapped hands again. Kirsch noted that there was an “odd hush” that had fallen over the crowd. Bocchini said it reminded him of being in Japan. Kirsch said he believed the crowd knew they were witnessing history.

Smith performed an early shoulder tackle. The broadcast team played up Pillman’s shoulder injury even though he wasn’t selling it at this point despite doing so in his backstage interview. The wrestlers worked a slow pace to start with Smith controlling the bulk of the offense. Smith went up top and went for a leg drop, but Pillman rolled out of the way. Pillman suplexed Smith and covered him for a two count. Smith picked up Pillman, who countered into another pin for a two count. Pillman used a backslide to get yet another two count. The wrestlers reversed inside cradles.

A short time later, Pillman performed a springboard clothesline for the best of the near falls thus far. Bocchini pointed out that Pillman hit Smith with his wrist more than his arm due to the shoulder injury, which may have been why Smith was able to kick out. Pillman picked up another near fall while Bocchini compared the match to the Stanley Cup playoffs in that every shot counted.

Smith rallied and performed a running powerslam for a near fall. Smith stood over Pillman, who was on his knees. Pillman slapped Smith, who returned the favor and then performed a tombstone piledriver. Bocchini said Pillman told Smith to give him his best shot. Smith went up top and performed a top rope headbutt. Smith covered Pillman for another near fall. Smith powerbombed Pillman for another near fall. Smith applied the crossface. Pillman rolled Smith into a pin, but Smith rolled him back into the crossface. Pillman tapped out to give Smith the tournament win.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Brian Pillman Jr. to win the Opera Cup tournament.

After the match, Smith celebrated and held up the Opera Cup trophy while the crowd gave him a polite round of applause. Kirsch said Stu Hart was looking down. Smith stood over Pillman and applauded. Smith knelt down and spoke to Pillman, who nodded along. Smith shook the hand of Pillman and then pulled him up to his feet and raised his arm. Smith and Pillman hugged. Smith went back to celebrating with the Opera Cup. He looked into the camera and said the Opera Cup is over 100 years old and is about pride, passion, and determination. Smith took the cup to the stage and put it back on its pedestal and then played to the crowd to close the show…

Powell’s POV: The match was slow paced early and the crowd was quiet, so the broadcast team did their best to explain the crowd’s reaction while also doing a nice job of putting over the near falls as the match went on. It got better as the match went on with some entertaining near falls late in the match. With hindsight being 20/20, I would have had Timothy Thatcher beat Smith in their Fusion match, and then Smith had overcome that loss to beat Thatcher in the finals to win the tournament. Instead, they opted for an all Hart Foundation finals with the winner defeating a wounded and less experienced fellow babyface.

It’s still a nice win for Smith and Pillman gained something from going deep in the tournament. I wish Pillman would have been more consistent in selling the shoulder injury, as the broadcast team did more to make that seem like a factor than he did. The overall tournament was entertaining and I’m happy that it will become an annual event in MLW.

Overall, this was a quality show with a good title match to open, Medina beating a legend in the second match, and the tournament finals at the end. MLW has done a nice job of building up a number of wrestlers so they can get away with not having top talents Contra Unit, the Von Erichs, Tom Lawlor, Low Ki, and Salina de la Renta on every show, which means those talents won’t flame out due to be overexposed. Dot Net Members will hear John Moore’s audio review of this episode.



The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...


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