Powell’s MLW Fusion TV Review: Jacob Fatu vs. Brian Pillman Jr. for the MLW Heavyweight Title, Savio Vega vs. Richard Holliday, Zenshi vs. Dominic Garrini

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 96)
Taped January 11, 2020 in Dallas, Texas at NYTEX Sports Centre
Aired February 8, 2020 on beIN Sports and MLW’s YouTube Page

The show opened with a video package that focused on the issues between Contra Unit and the Hart Foundation, including last week’s developments… The MLW Fusion opening video aired…

Josef Samael and Jacob Fatu were shown standing with “Death Squad” members. Samael spoke briefly about Brian Pillman Jr. getting his first title shot, and Fatu yelled, “Hail Contra” at the end…

The broadcast team was Rich Bocchini and AJ Kirsch, and graphics were shown for the matches on this episode…

Tom Lawlor headed to the ring with an unnamed man and delivered a promo. Lawlor noted that he was wearing a Von Erichs t-shirt and labeled Ross and Marshall as “discount store Von Erichs” and said they weren’t like the Von Erichs we remember from back in the day.

Lawlor removed the t-shirt and rubbed it on his crotch, then shoved it down his pants before tossing it into the crowd. A fan threw it back toward the ring. Lawlor mocked the throw and said it was just like the Von Erichs in that it failed. Lawlor said he wasn’t associating with the “Con Erichs” anymore.

Lawlor introduced Dominic Garrini and said they were there to show the fans what it’s like to be a real fighter. He said Zenshi is a flip-flop luchador who belongs on botch-a-mania. Lawlor called for the “sacrificial lamb” to come to the ring. Zenshi was introduced by the ring announcer…

1. Zenshi vs. Dominic Garrini (w/Tom Lawlor). Zenshi laid down and encouraged Garrini to come at him. When Garrini approached him, Zenshi used his legs to hook him into a pin for an early near fall. Bocchini said that fighters like Lawlor and Garrini look down their noses at guys who work Zenshi’s style.

Zenshi performed a standing shooting star press, but Garrini caught him in a submission hold on the way down in a nice spot. Kirsch defended the luchadors by saying that if there was any substance to how Lawlor and Garrini feel about the luchadors then the match would be over already.

Zenshi fought back and went for a move off the ropes, but Garrini once again caught caught him and wrenched on the arm he targeted earlier. Zenshi sold the arm and a trainer rushed in to check on him. Garrini pulled Zenshi away and stomped him, then performed a judo toss and applied an armbar. The referee called for the bell.

Dominic Garrini defeated Zenshi.

Powell’s POV: The broadcast team enhanced the match by telling the easy to follow story of the heel fighters looking down on the high flying style of the babyface. The match was also booked in a way that let the heel go over strong and yet it felt like Zenshi was able to save face by having the referee call for the bell due to the injury.

After the match, Alicia Atout entered the ring and asked if Lawlor took it too far with the Von Erichs. Lawlor said Team Filthy will show no mercy…

Brian Pillman Jr. was shown arriving at the building. Pillman walked through a doorway and was attacked by the masked death squad members of Contra. Davey Boy Smith Jr. was right behind Pillman and joined him in the fight…

An ad aired for MLW Intimidation games on April 18 in Chicago… A replay of Samael’s comments were shown… Footage aired of Marshall Von Erich defeating MJF on last week’s episode…

Footage aired from “earlier today” of Atout attempting to interview MJF, Alex Hammerstone, and Gino Medina. MJF took issue with the noise that Medina made while he was talking about Holliday’s “lawyer/father.” Funny. Hammerstone said MLW would finally get an episode of Fusion produced by The Dynasty. He said they would be involved in every match and it would be the highest rated match of all time.

Medina said he would face Septimo Dragon and spoke briefly. MJF said he didn’t understand a word of what Medina said. Hammerstone announced he would face Aero Star, and MJF and Richard Holliday would challenge The Von Erichs for the MLW Tag Titles…

The broadcast team grumbled about the Dynasty faction being allowed to produce an episode of Fusion and blamed Holliday’s lawyer/father…

2. Richard Holliday vs. Caribbean Championship Savio Vega. MJF sat in on commentary for the match. He got up and hugged Dynasty prior to the match. Holliday handed him his AirPods to hold, which led to another hug. Footage aired of Atout interviewing Savio Vega, who spoke about holding the Caribbean Championship. He said he would beat Holliday and then take Atout out salsa dancing. Vega brought the title belt to the ring with him.

MJF acted like he had no idea who Vega was, then said his body type reminded him of Kwang. He said that if Kwang removed his mask, was really ugly, and got old then he would look like Vega. Hilarious. Bocchini recalled Vega nearly breaking his leg during a match against Hammerstone, but MJF continued to act like he had no clue who he was. Kirsch noted that the backstage was on lockdown due to the brawl and they hoped to get an update from Atout.

Holliday caught Vega with a rough dropkick to the chest. MJF said it was the most dynastic dropkick he’s ever seen. Vega came back with clotheslines, including one that sent Holliday to ringside. MJF said he Googled Stu Hart and nothing came up. He asked if there was a silent “U” in his name. Kirsch announced via Atout that Pillman was okay and the main event would take place as advertised. He said it was clear that Contra didn’t want the match to take place.

In the ring, Vega got a near fall off a kick. Vega went for a spinning heel kick, but Holliday grabbed the ropes and avoided it. Holliday came back with a neckbreaker and scored the pin.

Richard Holliday defeated Savio Vega.

MJF jumped up and took a lap around the ring with Holliday. The broadcast team noted that MJF forgot the AirPods. Holliday grabbed the Caribbean Championship belt while the broadcast team noted that it was a non-title match…

Backstage, Davey Boy Smith Jr. gave Brian Pillman Jr. a pep talk. The Von Erichs entered the room and joined in on it. Pillman said he didn’t know if he was ready and said he could use their help. Smith told him to be confident…

A teaser video aired for Killer Kross… The broadcast team played up Philadelphia “winning the bid” to host Battle Riot III. They also set up a video that touted the MLW and Dragon Gate working agreement…

Powell’s POV: The Holliday vs. Vega match was nothing to write home about, but MJF sitting in on commentary made it completely worth the time investment. I’m happy that last week’s MJF match wasn’t the end of his MLW run.

Highlights aired of Gino Medina attacking Konnan and then joining The Dynasty instead while also spurning Salina de la Renta. Kirsch hyped Medina vs. Septimo Dragon for next week and noted that Konnan would be in Dragon’s corner…

A LA Park video package aired and listed him as returning soon… Footage aired of Injustice’s issues with referees. Bocchini said MLW officials reviewed the footage and felt there was an issue, so the officials will be graded and the highest graded referees will work the title matches. He said the potential MLW referees will also undergo more thorough background screenings…

Bocchini hyped MLW and AAA teaming up for a show in Mexico…

The Dynasty themed edition of MLW Fusion was advertised for next week with Alex Hammerstone vs. Aero Star for the MLW National Openweight Championship, The Von Erichs vs. MJF and Richard Holliday for the MLW Tag Titles, and Gino Medina vs. Septimo Dragon…

Backstage, Alicia Atout asked Mance Warner for his opinion of The Dynasty members. After a pause, Warner simply said, “assholes.” Warner handed Atout a can of beer before leaving…

Zenshi delivered a backstage promo about wanting revenge on Dominic Garrini for injuring his shoulder in the opening match…

The MLW Championship roll call video played (love it) and then Bocchini narrated a tale of the tape graphic…

3. Jacob Fatu (w/Josef Samael) vs. Brian Pillman Jr. for the MLW World Championship. Ring announcer Mark Adam Haggerty delivered introductions for the title match. Kirsch said there was a big fight feel in Dallas for this match. As the camera was focused on the referee holding up the title belt, Fatu attacked Pillman from behind to start the match.

Pillman came back and struggled to knock Fatu off his feet, but he finally pulled it off with a springboard cross body block. A pop-box showed The Von Erichs and Davey Boy Smith Jr. fighting off members of Contra’s Death Squad in the backstage area. Pillman performed a springboard clothesline on Fatu.

Pillman went up top. Samael distracted the referee while Jordan Oliver and Kotto Brazil showed up at ringside. Pillman opted to dive onto Oliver and Brazil. when he stood up, Myron Reed showed up and hit him with his “loaded” chest protector and then rolled him back inside the ring. Fatu performed a handspring into the ropes and followed with a standing moonsault that only led to a two count. Fatu performed his springboard moonsault. Samael made a throat slash gesture and had Fatu hit the move a second time. Fatu covered Pillman for the three count…

Jacob Fatu defeated Brian Pillman Jr. to retain the MLW World Championship.

Powell’s POV: The broadcast team did a good job of putting over Pillman’s heart by noting that he fought the death squad earlier, was attacked by Reed, and it still took two moonsaults for Fatu to put him away. This wasn’t a long match, but it was solid in terms of giving Fatu another title defense while continuing the build to Reed and Pillman feuding over the MLW Middleweight Championship. Overall, a good episode and I’m looking forward to the Dynasty themed episode next week. John Moore will be by with his weekly MLW Fusion audio review, which is available exclusively to Dot Net Members.



Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...


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