Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Havoc in a barbed wire match, Puma King and Drago vs. Taurus and Low Rider vs. Jordan Oliver and Kotto Brazil, Low Ki vs. Chandler Hopkins

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 94)
Taped January 11, 2020 in Dallas, Texas at NYTEX Sports Centre
Aired January 25, 2020 on beIN Sports and MLW’s YouTube Page

AJ Kirsch welcomed viewers to the show and fired them up. Contra Unit’s music interrupted Kirsch. Kirsch’s broadcast partner Rich Bocchini checked in and noted that Davey Boy Smith Jr. spent time in Canada working with NHL players on grappling skills during the NHL All-Star break. A photo aired of Smith at an ice rink while faces around him were digitized.

Contra Unit’s Jacob Fatu, Josef Samael, and Simon Gotch entered the ring. Samael called it the land of lost idols and asked if this is where Camelot fell. He spoke briefly about the Hart Foundation.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. made his entrance. Meanwhile, a “fan” entered the ring and attacked the Contra Unit members. The fan unmasked as Brian Pillman Jr. and he was joined by Smith. The Hart Foundation duo cleared the Contra Unit trio from the ring… The MLW Fusion opening aired…

During ring entrances for the opening match, footage aired of Alicia Fox interviewing Konnan, who spoke favorably about the bright future of the MLW and AAA working agreement. The Injustice trio showed up. Myron Reed said no one gives a damn about AAA and asked Konnan who he had for them. Konnan asked if they had a beef or something and told the trio not to disrespect him. Konnan said he had Drago for Reed…

Bocchini said the Reed vs. Drago match for the MLW Middleweight Championship will air on next week’s Fusion…

1. Jordan Oliver and Kotto Brazil (w/Myron Reed) vs. Taurus and Low Rider vs. Drago and Puma King in a Triple Threat tag match. There was fast action from the start. Oliver set up Low Rider for a Brazil powerbomb that led to a near fall. The broadcast team played up the potential violence of the barbed wire main event.

Later, Reed grabbed the legs of Drago to prevent him from performing a move. Drago turned and dove onto Reed at ringside. Drago returned to the ring and performed a DDT on Taurus that led to a cover that was broken up by Oliver. A short time later, Brazil splashed Drago and went for a cover that Low Rider broke up.

Later, Puma King took out Taurus with a somersault plancha. In the ring, Drago used a cool rollup into a unique pin to get the win over Low Rider…

Drago and Puma King beat Low Rider & Taurus and Jordan Oliver and Kotto Brazil in a three-way tag team match.

Powell’s POV: Bocchini summed up the match perfectly at one point by saying it had video game action. It was nonstop and had tag rules being in play (technically there are no rules in Triple Threat matches). This style isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed it and felt it got the show off to an energetic start. Plus, Drago scoring the pin for his team was logical given that he will be challenging Reed for the MLW Middleweight Championship next week in what should be a fun match.

A Mance Warner promo aired while footage of his feud with Jimmy Havoc was shown. Warner said he would leave Havoc covered in blood and would drink light beer and go to the pay window…

Ads aired for upcoming MLW live events and merchandise…

Footage aired of Davey Boy Smith Jr. winning the Opera Cup tournament. New footage aired of Smith delivering a promo backstage about winning a trophy that was last won by his grandfather Stu Hart. He said it was the first accomplishment on his way to the MLW Championship…

Josef Samael delivered a promo while standing in front of the Contra Unit flag. He said he didn’t think the Hart Foundation had it in them (referring to the top of the show). He said he saw fear in the eyes of Davey Boy Smith Jr. when he looked into the eyes of Simon Gotch. Samael said Smith likes to pretend he’s mister catch wrestling like his grandfather. Samael called for a no holds barred, no rules match with the winner being determined only by knockout or submission…

2. Low Ki vs. Chandler Hopkins. Hopkins entered to what sounded like “A Country Boy Can Survive” and was billed as being from Arlington. Low Ki had his right elbow and forearm wrapped or in a sleeve. Low Ki applied an early armbar over the ropes before releasing the hold per the referee’s orders.

Later, Hopkins went for a head scissors, but Low Ki simply threw him off. A short time later, Hopkins performed a head scissors driver on Low Ki. He followed up with a rolling Flatliner for a two count. Hopkins went up top and attempted a shooting star press, but Low Ki moved. Low Ki dropkicked Hopkins in the corner and then applied a submission hold for the win.

Low Ki defeated Chandler Hopkins.

After the match, Low Ki approached Hopkins, who was still down, and shook his hands. Kirsch said it’s very hard to earn Low Ki’s respect and Hopkins was able to do it on his first night in MLW…

Powell’s POV: A nice match. Low Ki was showcased in the end,, but he gave Hopkins a good stretch of offense. Hopkins has a good look and had some impressive moments in his MLW debut. This was definitely a case of a wrestler gaining something in defeat.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. delivered a backstage promo in front of the MLW backdrop. Smith accepted the challenge to the match with Simon Gotch. Smith questioned whether Samael really saw fear in his eyes. He said Gotch’s only two choices are to be knocked out or to tap out…

Powell’s POV: Smith has never been a great talker, but he’s done a nice job with both of his promos on this episode. Hopefully he’s turned the corner on the mic because he has so many other good qualities.

Tom Lawlor introduced Dominic Garrini as a member of Team Filthy. Alicia Atout welcomed Garrini, who reminded her that he was introduced in videos and it’s not a debut. Garrini said people forget about him because of the luchadors and people such as the Von Erichs getting all the hype. Lawlor announced that Team Filthy brought a sponsor back into the fold. He said that all the “hard” hitting action and “stiff” fighting you see from Team Filthy will be brought to you by Condom Depot…

Powell’s POV: Funny. Anyone who watched early UFC has to remember Condom Depot being an early sponsor of the fighters.

A video aired for Erick Stevens, who is coming soon to MLW…

Bocchini hosted the MLW Control Center for the MLW Fightland event on February 1 and ran through the lineup… Bocchini recapped The Von Erichs defeating Dynasty to win the MLW Tag Titles…

Alicia Atout interviewed MJF in the backstage area. MJF, who was accompanied by Grogan, looked into the camera and said he’s never had a sexual encounter with Atout. MJF said there’s a reason he has two contracts and is All Elite and Major League. He said he will prove to the world that Marshall Von Erich is “less than.” MJF also ripped Mance Warner by calling him a redneck, a low life, and a piece of shit. MJF said that when the time comes, he will give Warner a lesson on how to be a real pro wrestler…

Bocchini narrated footage of the last no ropes, barbed wire match held in MLW between Terry Funk and Steve Corino from 2003…

Jimmy Havoc and Priscilla Kelly were interviewed in front of the MLW backdrop and asked if they are scared. They both said no and Havoc spoke about how he looks forward to bleeding. Havoc looked into the camera and told Mance Warner that he would drink his blood and enjoy it…

The crew was shown replacing the ring ropes with barbed wire. Bocchini hyped Jacob Fatu vs. Brian Pillman Jr. for the MLW Championship in two weeks…

Backstage, Ross Von Erich and Marshall Von Erich were interviewed by Atout. They held up pieces of fruit and said, “MJF, this is your head, and this is what happens?” After they finished squeezing the fruit, one of them asked, “Any questions?”…

Powell’s POV: A nice play on the old anti-drug PSA with the egg in the frying pan. I like the way MLW showed the ring being prepared for the main event rather than simply cutting to ring introductions. We all know the show is taped, but I enjoy pro wrestling shows more when they are presented as if they are all happening within the hour that you are watching rather than just edited heavily to fit an hour of television (see ROH). It was a nice touch to show the classic Funk vs. Corino footage. In fact, they probably should have aired it in the weeks leading up to this match to give viewers a feel for what the barbed wire match is all about.

Bocchini and Kirsch were shown at ringside. They held up their hands to show they were wearing gloves. They said they were ordered to wear them just in case the barbed wire ended up on or near their desk…

3. Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Havoc (w/Priscilla Kelly) in a no ropes, barbed wire match. Havoc used the staple gun as a weapon early on. Havoc stapled a shirt to the back of Warner, then ripped the shirt off his back. Havoc pulled out wire cutters and snipped a piece of barbed wire and then placed it on the face of Warner and pulled back on it from behind. Warner came up a bloody mess. Warner did his best Ricky Morton by calling out “help me” to fans in the crowd (I love it).

Havoc also used a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire as a weapon. Havoc stood over a kneeling Warner and gave him the double middle fingers. Warner returned the favor, then picked up the bat and slammed it into Havoc’s balls. Havoc came back by using the stapler on Warner’s junk. Warner performed a spinebuster on pair of chairs that were lying on their sides.

Warner pulled a door board into the ring and leaned it against the corner of the ring. Havoc cut off Warner and and performed a Death Valley Driver through the board. Havoc covered Warner for a near fall. Havoc placed a door board over two chairs in the ring, but Warner ended up chokeslamming Havoc through the board and covered him for a near fall.

Warner grabbed a piece of barbed wire and wrapped it around his arm. Meanwhile, Kelly handed powder to Havoc, who low blowed Warner. Havoc was set to throw the powder, but Warner knocked it into his face and then performed a lariat with barbed wire wrapped around his arm. Havoc performed a piledriver onto a chair that was on top of a broken door board and scored the pin. Warner was named the winner and celebrated to close the show…

Mance Warner defeated Jimmy Havoc in a no ropes, barbed wire match.

Powell’s POV: The usual hardcore style match from Warner and Havoc. While they incorporated the barbed wire, they also brought in a lot of the weaponry they’ve used in other matches. I’m not sure if this was meant to be the blowoff match or if we’ll be seeing more from these two. Overall, this was a good episode of Fusion with the usual variety of match styles, plus good hype for matches on the next two episodes. John Moore will be by with his weekly MLW Fusion audio review for members.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...


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