By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 133)
Taped January 21, 2022 in Dallas, Texas at Gilley’s
Streamed February 10, 2022 on the MLW’s YouTube Page and FITE TV
The show opened with Cesar Duran speaking while clips were shown of Pagano and his henchmen roughing up Alexander Hammerstone on past shows… Duran sat in a chair while wearing a cowboy hat and spoke about the show being in Dallas. He said Pagano would win the MLW Championship and take it back to Mexico… A new Fusion opening aired… The broadcast team of Rich Bocchini and Joe Dombrowski checked in from ringside…
Richard Holliday made his entrance for the opening match and played to the crowd. Footage aired from last week’s show of him shopping and blowing off a fan by telling him that Alexander Hammerstone was right up the road. The show-ending clip of Duran’s henchmen dumping Holliday in front of Alicia Atout and Emilio Sparks was also shown… King Muertes made his entrance and brought his skull to the ring with him…
1. IWA Caribbean Champion King Muertes vs. Richard Holliday in a non-title match. Muertes ducked a top rope clothesline attempt and then speared Holliday. Muertes remained in offensive control heading into a break. [C] Holliday came back with a rollup that resulted in a two count. Holliday followed with a draping DDT and covered Muertes, who kicked out at one.
Muertes came back with a powerslam for a two count. Muertes shoved Holliday into the corner and then gave him a Backstabber, which led to another two count. Holliday blocked a move and then put Muertes down with his 2008 neckbreaker.
Duran’s henchmen ran out. Meanwhile, footage aired of Alexander Hammerstone fighting off henchmen backstage. In the ring, one of the henchmen entered the ring with a chair while the referee was distracted by two other henchmen. Holliday dropkicked the henchmen and knocked the chair out of his hands. Muertes took advantage of the distraction and hit Straight To Hell on the chair and then scored the pin…
King Muertes defeated Richard Holliday.
Powell’s POV: The body of the match was fine, but it concluded with one of those ridiculously lazy finishes where the referee was focused on clearing outsiders, only to miraculously turn around just in time for the pinfall.
The third part of the all access look at Jacob Fatu was shown. He wore a medical mask as he entered a neighborhood store. They cut to him speaking from the usual spot while smoking a cigarette with a bottle of booze next to him. He spoke about how he was near a drive-by shooting, and how he watched a friend bleed out. Fatu credited pro wrestling with saving his life. He said he’s not a gimmick. He switched into character mode and said it hurts to not have his Contra brothers with him, but sometimes shit doesn’t work out the way it’s supposed to work out. Fatu said he’s coming back for the MLW Heavyweight Championship. Fatu said it might not be today or tomorrow, but it will be soon… [C]
Powell’s POV: These Fatu videos have been terrific. He went from being the monster heel to becoming the most real man on the roster.
What appeared to be a Killer Kross teaser video aired…
Mister Saint Laurent spoke from his family library (which had many leather-bound books!). He said he found the greatest pound for pound fighter in the world. MSL said he had a meeting scheduled with Cesar Duran to negotiate the MLW debut of his new wrestler…
Backstage, Alexander Hammerstone blew off an interview request from Emilio Sparks to check on Richard Holliday, who was sitting with Alicia Atout. Holliday said it would be a Dynastic night…
2. EJ Nduka vs. Ikuro Kwon. The broadcast team noted that this was Kwon’s first appearance since War Chamber. The broadcast team touted this as a homecoming for Nduka, who dominated Kwon with power moves while also playing to the cheering crowd. Nduka put Kwon over his shoulders and ran him into three corners of the ring and then put him down with a powerslam. Nduka followed up a short time later with a spinebuster slam and then put a foot on him while the referee made the three count.
EJ Nduka defeated Ikuro Kwon.
After the match, Nduka headed to the back and then Kwon grabbed the microphone. Kwon claimed he didn’t lose and said he wasn’t leaving. Kwon called for another fight, then called out Jacob Fatu after calling him a traitor.
Jacob Fatu made his entrance. Kwon met him on the entrance ramp and brawled with him. Fatu quickly took control and then dominated Kwon. Fatu set up a table inside the ring and placed Kwon on top of it. Fatu performed a top rope splash that put Kwon through the table…
Powell’s POV: A dominant squash win for Nduka over the former Contra member. Or is there still a Contra? Is there still a Kwon after he took beatings from Nduka and the returning Jacob Fatu? I’m surprised they didn’t save Fatu’s return and build a future show around it rather than having it happen without hyping it in advance.
The MLW SuperFight control center segment aired for the February 26 event in Charlotte, North Carolina. Bocchini hyped the advertised matches, and Killer Kross appeared in a brief video to promote his appearance at the show… [C]
The upcoming fight schedule listed 5150 vs. Los Parks for next week’s Fusion, the SuperFight show in Charlotte, MLW Intimidation Games for March 31 in Dallas, and MLW Azteca for April 1 in Dallas… A brief 5150 video aired with Slice Boogie and Rivera talking about defending the MLW Tag Titles against Los Parks. They said Konnan was hospitalized and they would defend the titles for him… [C]
Dombrowski announced that next week’s 5150 vs. Los Parks match will be a ladder match for the MLW Tag Titles… The MLW Heavyweight Champion roll call video aired followed by a tale of the tape or the main event… Entrances for the main event took place…
3. Alexander Hammerstone vs. Pagano in a Falls Count Anywhere match for the MLW Heavyweight Championship. The wrestlers fought into the crowd briefly before taking the fight back to the ring. Pagano held a trashcan while going for a top rope moonsault that Hammerstone avoided. Hammerstone powerbombed Pagano onto the trashcan. They went back to ringside where Hammerstone slammed a pizza tray over Pagano’s head. He also ran Pagano into a car hood that was leaning against the barricade. [C]
Powell’s POV: The brawling at ringside and into the crowd gave viewers their first look at the big crowd that MLW had in attendance for this show. MLW is taking the same approach as ROH and Impact Wrestling by having their stage on the opposite side of the hard camera. As is the case with those other companies, I wonder if there’s a better way to shoot this so that viewers see fans rather than the stage in the primary hard camera shot.
The brawl continued and Pagano was getting the better of it as they fought onto the stage heading into another break. [C] Hammerstone and Pagano fought backstage for a few seconds and then fought their way back into the crowd. Hammerstone slammed Pagano on the floor and covered him for a two count. Pagano came right back by using his legs to drive Hammerstone’s face onto the ground, then covered him for a near fall.
Hammerstone and Pagano fought their way back inside the ring where Hammerstone jabbed a batch of skewers into the forehead of Pagano and then covered him for a near fall. Later, Hammerstone hoisted up Pagano on his shoulders and then slammed him down in Burning Hammer style and picked up a near fall. Hammerstone set up a door board in the corner of the ring.
Hammerstone went after Pagano at ringside. There was a terrible spot when they returned to the ring, as Hammerstone stuck his head between the ropes and held it there until Pagano hit him with a legdrop from the top rope. Pagano followed up with a piledriver through the ropes and onto a chair, then covered Hammerstone for a near fall. Pagano hit a Codebreaker while Hammerstone was holding a chair and got another near fall.
Pagano seated Hammerstone on a chair at ringside. Pagano went for a flip through the ropes, but Hammerstone moved, causing Pagano to crash and burn. Ouch. Hammerstone covered him for a two count on the floor. Hammerstone rolled Pagaono back inside the ring and then hit him with a missile dropkick that caused Pagano to crash through the door board.
A pair of masked henchmen ran out and were quickly fought off by Hammerstone. Pagano used the distraction to hit Hammerstone with a broken piece of the door board. Richard Holliday came out and worked over some henchmen with a bat on the stage. In the ring, Pagano hoisted up Hammerstone for a move, but Hammerstone slipped away, kicked him, and hit the Nightmare Pendulum for the win.
Alexander Hammerstone defeated Pagano in a Falls Count Anywhere match to retain the MLW Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Hammerstone celebrated while Holliday joined him in the ring. Alicia Atout came out to interview both men. She indicated that she was having issues with the microphone, then hit Hammerstone with a low blow. Holliday smiled and then hit Hammerstone from behind. Holliday worked over Hammerstone with punches and kicks. Holliday yelled that it’s only him. Holliday hit Hammerstone with the baseball bat and then choked him with it.
Holliday held Hammerstone while Atout slapped him and said he was nothing. Atout handed Holliday the MLW Heavyweight Championship belt and then they made out obnoxiously in the ring. Holliday put one foot on Hammerstone while he and Atout raised their arms. “It was always me,” Holliday yelled to close the show…
Powell’s POV: It finally happened. You had to know the Holliday turn was coming sooner or later once Hammerstone captured the MLW Heavyweight Championship. I wish they wouldn’t have foreshadowed it as much as they did last week, and I’ll miss the fun chemistry between Hammerstone and Holliday as Dynasty, but it sets up what should be a big title feud.
I’m legitimately surprised by the Atout turn. Maybe I shouldn’t be given how much focus they’ve placed on her and Holliday denying that they were a couple. Emilio Sparks coming off as the heel of the two backstage interviewers was a good distraction, and I assumed that Holliday would eventually turn and Atout’s broadcast journalist character would be outraged rather than turn with him.
MLW can’t really play this up as Duran being the puppet master given that Holliday worked against King Muertes in the opening match and then attacked Duran’s henchmen right before the turn. I wonder if the story will be that Holliday and Atout struck a deal with Karlee Perez, who will make peace between them and Duran or if they’ll simply be heels with no connection to Duran. Overall, a newsworthy “season premiere” of Fusion that sets the table for some big things going forward.