11/25 MLW Fusion Results: Powell’s review of Tom Lawlor vs. Rocky Romero and TJP vs. Richard Holliday in Opera Cup tournament opening round matches, Calvin Tankman debuts, Alexander Hammerstone update

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

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 111)
Taped in Orlando, Florida at GILT Nightclub
Aired November 25, 2020 on Fubo Sports, Pluto TV, and MLW’s YouTube Page

Fusion opened with the Opera Cup tournament graphic while Rich Bocchini spoke about the two tournament matches that would air on this episode. Bocchini was joined on commentary by Jared St. Laurent… The MLW Fusion opening aired…

Bocchini and St. Laurent spoke while standing in front of the MLW backdrop. St. Laurent noted that AAA and New Japan Pro Wrestling both have entrants in the Opera Cup tournament. St. Laurent also hyped “Heavyweight Hustle” Calvin Tankman’s debut, and Bocchini recapped the big man who attacked Alex Hammerstone on behalf of Contra Unit last week…

A tale of the tape graphic aired for the Richard Holliday vs. TJP match…

Holliday made his entrance for the opening match. A pre-taped video was shown of Holiday arriving at the building and stating that Hammerstone was recovering. Holliday spotted Gino Medina talking on the phone and took issue with him not having Dynastic qualities. Medina said Holliday didn’t kick him out of Dynasty, he left on his own. Holliday claimed that he fired Medina, and they went back and forth about it. Medina told Holliday it would be a shame if he got hurt and someone had to take his place in the tournament… TJP made his entrance…

1. Richard Holliday vs. TJP (w/Bu Ku Dao) in an Opera Cup opening round tournament match. The referee held up Holliday’s Caribbean Championship belt before the match. St. Laurent said MLW worked with the same people who work on the NHL’s Stanley Cup trophy to restore the Opera Cup trophy.

Holliday put TJP in a head-scissors on the mat. TJP did a handstand and broke free, then dropkicked a seated Holliday. Later, TJP threw a dropkick to the back of Holliday’s head. The Contra logo flashed on the screen. TJP sent Holliday to ringside, then dropkicked him from the apron. TJP rolled Holliday back inside the ring and went up top. Holliday backed into the ropes to knock TJP down.

A short time later, TJP applied a Sharpshooter, then bridged back and hooked the chin of Holliday, who countered into a chinlock. TJP slipped out and performed a stump puller. Holliday came right back with a knee to the gut. TJP ended up on the apron and was hit with a clothesline from inside the ring.

TJP came right back with a head-scissors takedown. Holliday caught TJP going for a cross body block and then slammed him down for a near fall. TJP rallied with a tornado DDT, then performed the Three Amigos. TJP for a top rope senton, but Holliday moved. Holliday performed a spinebuster and then followed up with his Market Crash finisher and got the three count.

Richard Holliday defeated TJP in 10:25 to advance to the semifinals of the Opera Cup tournament.

The updated brackets showed that Holliday will face the winner of next week’s Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Low Ki match. Bocchini said Smith vs. Ki will headline next week’s show…

Powell’s POV: A good opening match. The presentation left something to be desired since we didn’t actually hear from TJP beforehand, but the actual match was solid.

The Von Erich family checked in from Kauai, Hawaii. Kevin, Ross, and Marshall were surrounded by various family members and issued a Happy Thanksgiving greeting… An MLW Radio ad aired… A Stephen P New attorney ad aired… [C]

Highlights aired of Myron Reed beating Brian Pillman Jr. to retain the MLW Middleweight Championship on last week’s show. Footage also aired from last week of Reed saying he wants to face Lio Rush…

Lio Rush was shown exiting a recording studio when he was approached by an MLW reporter, who asked him about Reed’s challenge. Rush said MLW was busting out the big boy check for him, so why not have a big title fight. Rush told the reporter that it was a closed session and closed the door…

Highlights aired of King Mo punching out Low Ki in a previous match. Footage aired of Mo delivering a backyard promo. He said the various commissions should not allow Low Ki to wrestle anymore. He said if they don’t stop him, he would beat Low Ki’s ass to get his head right…

Dan Lambert delivered a promo from inside his car. He said he had to pull over to avoid running someone over in a fit of rage after he saw the brackets for the Opera Cup tournament. Lambert said his attorney has filed an appeal and hoped that Low Ki would not be allowed to wrestle in the first round of the tournament…

Bocchini and St. Laurent were going to talk about Holliday’s win while standing in front of the MLW backdrop when they were interrupted by Salina de la Renta. Salina said she would sue MLW if they tried to take away the Fusion episode she is scheduled to produce in January. The Contra logo interrupted her…

Powell’s POV: Every pro wrestling company needs it’s own version of the Contra logo flash on pre-taped shows. Bad spot? Flash the Contra logo. Bad line in a promo? Flash the Contra logo. I don’t know if that’s why they used it here, but it really does give MLW an easy way to cover up any warts that emerge.

Bocchini hyped Tankman’s debut… [C] An MLW merchandise ad aired… Another Stephen P New ad aired… An ad aired for MLW on DAZN… Bocchini spoke about the Opera Cup and touted the main event…

2. Calvin Tankman vs. Robert Martyr. Tankman destroyed Martyr and no-sold his limited offense. Tankman performed a Tankman Driver and scored the pin.

Calvin Tankman defeated Robert Martyr in 1:14.

Afterward, Tankman delivered a promo in front of the MLW backdrop. He said he was “super excited” to make his MLW debut. He dedicated the match to his family, including his young child. Tankman said his goal was to beat everyone in his path until he gets to the champ…

Powell’s POV: Robert Martyr is a tremendous name for a jobber. Tankman was obviously dominant in his MLW debut. His promo didn’t provide much of a glimpse into his personality, but the line about his young child seems to suggest that he’s a babyface. I look forward to learning more about his character as we move forward.

Bocchini provided an update on Hammerstone’s injuries and listed a rib contusion, hyperextension of the neck, and transverse myelitis. Hammerstone checked in via phone. He questioned whether the MLW doctor was on the Contra payroll. He said the injuries wouldn’t even keep him out of the gym. Hammerstone said he had no idea who the Black Hand of Contra is, but he would return the favor via the Nightmare Pendulum.

The Contra logo flashed and they cut to a Joseph Samael promo. He said Hammerstone has been dealt the death card… [C] Ads aired for Dynastic coffee mugs and MLW merch…

3. Rocky Romero vs. Tom Lawlor (w/Dominic Garrini) in an Opera Cup opening round tournament match. St. Laurent pointed out Lawlor’s cutoff shorts and said he likes to toy with his opponents by making them think he’s not taking things seriously even though he is deadly serious about his matches. St. Laurent pointed out that Lawlor’s back was cut and said he wasn’t sure what happened. Lawlor headed to ringside. Romero went to the apron and threw a flying knee, then danced for the camera.

Back inside the ring, Romero applied a octopus hold. Lawlor eventually broke free and held onto the legs of Romero, who took him down head-scissors style. Lawlor came right back with a leg lock and fell back to the mat to wrench in the pressure. Lawlor applied a reverse surfboard. Romero grabbed the ropes to break the hold.

Romero targeted Lawlor’s shoulder as the wrestlers traded offense for the next few minutes. Romero went for an armbar, but Lawlor avoided it and then rolled into a rear naked choke attempt. Romero rolled over Lawlor to avoid it, then delivered a series of strikes and a running sliced break for a close near fall.

Romero performed several running clotheslines. Lawlor caught Romero charging and slammed him down with a uranage. Both men got to their feet and exchanged strikes. Romero got the better of it and went for sliced bread, but Lawlor countered into a backslide for a near fall. Lawlor went for a rear naked choke. Romero scrambled to avoid the hold, and Lawlor rolled him into a pin for the win.

Tom Lawlor defeated Rocky Romero in 17:43 to advance to the semifinals of the Opera Cup tournament.

Bocchini noted that Lawlor will face the winner of the ACH vs. Laredo Kid match in the semifinals. Lawlor took the mic and Alicia Atout didn’t want to come out so he would do it himself. Garrini took the mic and said he would handle her part. Garrini asked Lawlor what’s next for him. Lawlor complained about being left out of the Opera Cup last year. He said the names of George Hackenschmidt and Stu Hart would be joined by his name when he wins the Opera Cup…

Bocchini hyped Low Ki vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. and ACH vs. Laredo Kid in tournament matches for next week’s show. Bocchini started to say that the black hand of Contra would compete next week, but he was cut off by the Contra logo and some footage of the giant man, which ended up closing the show…

Powell’s POV: A good main event. It was a nice get for MLW to have Romero on the show and to be able to state that he was representing NJPW. It’s a nice tradeoff for Lawlor working NJPW Strong shows and hopefully that relationship will lead to more talent crossover. On a more trivial note, the image of Garrini sporting a mullet and shades while dressed in the top half of his karate gi at ringside was outstanding. I enjoy the quirkiness of Karate Elvis far more than Lawlor wearing cutoff shorts, but that’s just me.

Overall, a good episode with a couple of entertaining tournament matches and the debut of Tankman. Bocchini and St. Laurent are going to be a good team. St. Laurent is involved in the creative process, so he knows exactly what they are going for and he does a nice job of getting over character details as well as providing insight into what’s happening in the ring. MLW made a bigger fuss over Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Low Ki for next week’s show, but I’m really looking forward to ACH vs. Laredo Kid. My weekly MLW Fusion audio review will be available for Dot Net Members immediately following tonight’s AEW Dynamite and NXT television shows.


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