By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Major League Wrestling Fightland special
Taped October 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired October 7, 2021 on Vice TV
A brief video package focusing on Jacob Fatu and Alexander Hammerstone opened the show… The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and Saint Laurent checked in while standing in front of a Fightland backdrop and hyped the main event. They sent things to the ring for the opening match…
1. Myron Reed vs. Aramis vs. Arez vs. Tajiri in a four-way for the MLW Middleweight Championship. None of the entrances were televised. Graphics appeared to identify each wrestler. Tajiri shook hands with Aramis and Reed. Arez shook Tajiri’s hand and then pulled him in to start the match.
Reed and Tajiri were sent to ringside, giving Aramis and Arez a chance to work together inside the ring. Reed returned and dropped a leg on the neck of Aramis on the apron. Reed performed a guillotine leg drop on Arez. Reed followed up with a springboard trust dive, but both opponents caught him and shot him into a kick from Tajiri.
Laurent said Tajiri was fighting to take the title back to All Japan, while the luchadores were fighting to take it back to Mexico, making it a true world championship. There was a series of big dives from the wrestlers onto opponents at ringside heading into the first commercial break. [C]
Reed performed a leaping cutter over the top tope on Aramis and both men landed on Arez and Tajiri at ringside. Back int he ring, Tajiri broke up Reed’s attempt to pin Aramis with a kick. Tajiri performed a brainbuster on Reed, but Arez stopped him from getting the pin.
Tajiri caught Aramis in the Tarantula. Meanwhile, Arez threw kick at Aramis while he was in the hold. Moments later, Arez sat on the top rope and held Reed upside down while Tajiri threw kicks at him.
Later, Aramis performed a standing Spanish Fly on Arez at ringside. Back in the ring, they traded kicks. Arez performed a wicked falcon arrow style move for a two count. Arez went up top and performed a splash onto Aramis, but Reed caught him with a cutter on the way down. Reed hit Captain Crunch, but Tajiri broke up the pin.
Tajiri went for a brainbuster, but Reed countered into a cutter. Tajiri shot Reed into the referee. While the referee was selling, Tajiri sprayed mist into the face of Reed. Tajiri followed up with a buzzsaw kick and then pinned Reed…
Tajiri defeated Myron Reed, Aramis, and Arez to win the MLW Middleweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: Tajiri was the fan favorite at the old ECW Arena, so his title win was well received. I was surprised to see MLW go right to the match rather than showcasing the wrestlers in some fashion before the match. It was well worked and entertaining, and Tajiri going over legitimately surprised me when the spoilers came out.
The broadcast team hyped MLW Embedded segment and then the feed was interrupted by Contra. Mads Krugger delivered a promo and said the black flag of Contra would be draped over the body of Alex Hammerstone… [C]
Backstage, Krugger, Ikuro Kwon, and two Sentai Death Squad members roughed up backstage personnel and forced one man to tell them where Hammerstone’s locker room was located…
The upcoming MLW Fight Schedule listed Tom Lawlor vs. Davey Richards in the first Opera Cup tournament match for Wednesday’s edition of MLW Fusion Alpha, MLW in Philadelphia on November 6, and an MLW Fusion show on Thanksgiving…
The MLW Embedded segment was hosted by Alicia Atout, who was joined by Raj Giri, Andreas Hale, Emilio Sparks in studio, and Dave Meltzer checked in via Skype. They spoke about WWE releasing talent and whether it means the company will be sold, potential AEW free agent signings, and Atout announced that Will Ospreay will debut in MLW in the fall…
Powell’s POV: With all due respect to my peers in the pro wrestling media, I would have preferred to have seen this time dedicated to establishing some of the MLW characters or at least giving some wrestlers a little face time. Everyone involved did a good job with the format and there may be a market for a pro wrestling news show. But this is MLW’s biggest show in many ways and they dedicated time to the pro wrestling media members discussing other promotions when they could have putting more of their own talent on the show. If this is essentially a pilot and it’s something the network wanted, then by all means give them what they want. If not, then I would argue that the time should have been given to the actual MLW talent. All of that said, I’d be curious to know how this segment performs in the minute-by-minute numbers, as I can’t rule out that this kept the audience engaged more than a more traditional segment would have. On a side note, Ospreay coming to MLW is very cool news and I’m looking forward to seeing who he works with.
The Contra members entered what they thought was Hammerstone’s locker room. They found a group of wrestlers who brawled with them. Cesar Duran’s masked man closed the door and locked it behind him. Duran looked into the camera and asked if viewers really thought he was going to let Contra destroy his big title vs. title match…
Powell’s POV: Here’s an example of the talk segment taking away from character development. First-time MLW viewers haven’t been introduced to Cesar Duran, so I wonder what they are thinking about that clip. As a regular MLW viewer though, the clip was effective in terms of establishing that at least some of the Contra members are unable to get involved in the main event.
The MLW World Championship roll call video (which I continue to love) aired and then entrances for the main event took place…
2. MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu (w/Josef Samael) vs. MLW National Openweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone in a No DQ, title vs. title match. After some back and forth action, Fatu performed a piledriver on the apron. [C]
Fatu ran Hammerstone head-first into a chair that was wedged between the ropes in one corner of the ring. Fatu grabbed the chair and climbed to the top rope and performed a coast to coast missile dropkick with the chair in front of his feet. A loud “Fatu” chant broke out. A replay showed that the chair hit Hammerstone’s shoulder, which Bocchini acknowledged while saying that Hammerstone was lucky that it didn’t hit his head. There were dueling chants for the wrestlers. Hammerstone rallied and performed a German suplex and a sit-out powerbomb for a two count. [C]
Fatu performed a popup Samoan Drop coming out of the break. Fatu went up top and overshot a Swanton. Hammerstone rolled to ringside to avoid being pinned. Bocchini praised him for realizing that he was in trouble. Fatu performed a suicide dive at Hammerstone on the floor. Fatu rolled Hammerstone back inside the ring. Hammerstone dumped Fatu to the floor and then performed a pescado. Hammerstone limped on a bad knee or ankle that he injured at some point during the match.
Hammerstone rolled Fatu back inside the ring and then hit him with a missile dropkick. Both men got to their feet and went face to face in the middle of the ring. Fatu and Hammerstone traded strikes. Fatu fell to one knee. Hammerstone picked him up and headbutted him, but then sold being weary from doing so. Fatu fired away with multiple headbutts. Hammerstone fired back with clubs to his back. Hammerstone ran the ropes and had his foot grabbed by Samael from the floor. Fatu clotheslined Hammerstone to ringside.
Samael pulled out a spike and jabbed Hammerstone’s throat with it. Fatu pulled a table out from underneath the ring. Another “Fatu” chant started as he set up the table inside the ring. Fatu placed Hammerstone on the table. Samael passed him the Contra flag, which Fatu draped over Hammerstone. Fatu performed his rope to rope moonsault through the table and covered Hammerstone for a good near fall. Hammerstone, um, Hammered up and tossed the flag into the crowd.
Hammerstone turned Fatu inside out with a clothesline. Fatu kipped up. Fatu ran the ropes and was powerslammed by Hammerstone, who followed up with a TKO style neckbreaker and scored the pin. Hammerstone immediately grabbed the back of his leg and then laid on the mat.
Alexander Hammerstone defeated Jacob Fatu to win the MLW World Championship and retain the MLW National Openweight Championship.
After the match, the referee presented both title belts to Hammerstone. Bocchini questioned at what cost the win came for Hammerstone and played up the possibility that he may have blown out his knee. Confetti fell from the ceiling while Hammerstone dropped to his knees and emotionally celebrated his double title win to close the show…
Powell’s POV: A good main event, especially considering that Hammerstone was working on a bum wheel. I wonder if that was the planned finish or if they had to call an audible due the injury, as Hammerstone typically wins with the Nightmare Pendulum. Either way, it came off well and new viewers had to be impressed by both men.
Overall, MLW hyped Fatu vs. Hammerstone as the biggest match in MLW history and the company did a great job of making it feel that way both throughout the build and during this episode. I am very curious to see how this show performs in the ratings tomorrow with Dark Side of the Ring as its lead-in. I saw a screener of this episode, so my audio review is now available for Dot Net Members.