By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Major League Wrestling Underground
Taped October 30, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired February 7, 2023 on Reelz
The show opened with a video package that showcased various MLW wrestlers and concluded with a narrator saying “we are MLW”… A slick opening montage aired… Joe Dombrowski checked in on commentary and hyped the main event. Dombrowski noted that his broadcast partner Matt Striker was in the ring…
Striker stood in the ring and introduced Jacob Fatu, who made his entrance while Dombrowski wondered when Fatu would claim his title shot prize for winning the Battle Riot match. Striker said he’s been around them all and Fatu has something special. Striker asked Fatu when he will have his championship match.
Fatu was censored as he cussed while saying it was good to be back in Philadelphia. Fatu announced that he will challenge for the MLW Heavyweight Championship at the MLW SuperFight event in Philly (which was held over the weekend) and told Alex Hammerstone that he will be taking his title back.
Real1 made his entrance and spoke from the stage. “I’m a Certified G so I don’t need no ID,” Real1 said. Real1 was also censored as he spoke about Fatu’s family history in the business. Real1 said Fatu is a poor man’s Rikishi.
Fatu was censored as he said that if Real1 said one more word, he was about to beat the f— out of him. Security ran out of the back. Real1 yelled “a word” repeatedly while security held Fatu back.
Real1 entered the ring and said he came for a fight and questioned where Fatu went after Fatu was taken backstage by security. Real1 claimed he was the real winner of Battle Riot.
Mance Warner made his entrance. Real1 exited the ring. Warner entered the ring while the broadcast team said Real1 left the ring the moment someone came out who wasn’t being held back by security. Real1 spoke to a woman at ringside and asked if she liked Warner. She said not really. Real1 said he assumed that Warner would be her type.
Real1 asked the fans if they wanted to see him fight Warner. “You couldn’t hit me in a telephone booth,” Real1 said while standing on the apron. He said he would beat the dixie out of Warner’s ass (censored) if he got in the ring. Real1 said they could throw hands and called for no cheap shots. Real1 said he has the gift of gab and the gift of jab…
1. Real1 vs. Mance Warner. Real1 shadow boxed once the bell rang. Warner dropped Real1 with one punch. Warner climbed onto the ropes and played to the crowd while ring announcer Tim Barr announced Warner as the winner… [C]
Mance Warner defeated Real1 by knockout.
Powell’s POV: I liked the idea of Real1 getting under the skin of Fatu to build up a future match, but that was kind of deflated when Warner knocked out Real1 with one punch. It will be interesting to see if MLW pulls back on the cussing during future promos that are taped for Reelz, especially with the network apparently going overboard and even censoring the word ass. Keep in mind that this footage was taped prior to MLW striking its deal with Reelz. I should also note that I am watching a screener rather than the actual Reelz broadcast just in case the actual broadcast is less censored than what I’m seeing.
The broadcast team recapped the previous fight and then hyped the show’s main event. A video package aired on the Hammerstone vs. Nduka match…
Powell’s POV: It was a good idea to recap the feud between Hammerstone and Nduka since there are probably a lot of people watching MLW for the first time tonight.
Alex Kane stood in the ring with an entourage. Kane took issue with a fan saying he sucks. Kane left the ring and pie-faced the “fan” and told him that he runs things. Kane returned to the ring, then went back to ringside and hit the fan a couple of times.
Kane returned to the ring and boasted that the Bomaye Fight Club has the Opera Cup, which was held up behind him. A fan yelled that Kane sucks. Kane told the fan to “shut your ho ass up” and added that his mom sucks and swallowed him. Kane pulled out an envelope filled with cash and said he would double it.
Powell’s POV: Well, maybe the network isn’t going to go overboard in censoring the word “ass” since it made air on my screener during the Kane promo.
The Marvelous Jafar made his entrance for the prize fight and didn’t get much of a reaction…
2. Alex Kane (w/an entourage) vs. The Marvelous Jafar. Jafar went to the ropes and played to the crowd and was attacked from behind. Kane suplexed Jafar repeatedly. Kane used his foot to shove Jafar out of the ring. The broadcast team said the referee made the call to stop the fight.
Alex Kane defeated The Marvelous Jafar via ref stoppage.
Kane got the mic and said he was just getting warmed up. He asked who in the back wanted what his opponent just got.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. made his entrance and took out the various members of Kane’s entourage. Myron Reed and Mr. Thomas ran out and attacked Smith. The Billington Bulldogs ran out and helped Smith, who then had a pull apart brawl with Kane. Smith’s entrance theme played to end the segment… [C]
Powell’s POV: This was more effective in terms of setting up a future match or two. Obviously, they could go with Kane vs. Smith, but they could also go with Smith and the Billington Bulldogs vs. Kane, Reed, and Thomas.
A teaser video hyped Lio Rush as returning soon to MLW… Dombrowski announced Real1 vs. Mance Warner in a Street Fight for next week…
Powell’s POV: Warner knocking out heel Real1 with one punch was a strange way to set up a match between them.
EJ Nduka delivered a promo in front of the MLW backdrop. Nduka made reference to February 4 (night of the SuperFight tapings). Nduka said Fatu calls himself part of The Bloodline whereas he claimed to be top line. Nduka said fans should bet on him twice and said he was off to beat on Hammerstone…
A video package aired for Mads Krugger, who was then shown laid out on the floor backstage with a calling card on his chest…
Powell’s POV: For those new to MLW, there have been a series of calling card attacks. The mystery feels like it’s been stretched out, presumably because the company struck the television deal and wants to pay it off on Reelz.
Alex Hammerstone delivered a promo in front of the backdrop. He said guys would be watching the match closely to see if the pecking order still matters in MLW or if calling your shot and cutting in line was in play. Hammerstone said he was taking care of Nduka for the fans, himself, and for the boys in the locker room. Hammerstone said he would show why he leads the locker room and why Nduka is just another guy in it…
The MLW Championship role call video aired and featured shots of all of the past heavyweight champions. A tale of the tape graphic was shown for the main event…
Nduka made his entrance for the match carrying one of the MLW Tag Team Title belts (which he holds with Calvin Tankman). Hammerstone made his entrance to a favorable reaction… Tim Barr delivered in-ring introductions for the championship match and explained the rules of the match…
3. Alex Hammerstone vs. EJ Nduka in a Last Man Stand match for the MLW Heavyweight Championship. The bell rang to start the match and Nduka immediately hit Hammerstone with one of the title belts. Hammerstone came right back by driving Nduka into the corner. Hammerstone brought Nduka to the other corner and hit him with an elbow.
Hammerstone performed a pair of fallaway slams. Hammerstone waited for Nduka to get up and then clotheslined him over the top rope. [C] Highlights aired from during the commercial break of Nduka taking control and hitting Hammerstone with a kendo stick at ringside.
The broadcast team announced that Willie Mack will face Calvin Tankman on next week’s show. Meanwhile, Nduka continued to dominate Hammerstone at ringside. Nduka rolled Hammerstone back inside the ring. Hammerstone caught him with a shoulder block and then followed up with a missile dropkick.
Both men rolled to the floor where Hammerstone got the kendo stick and beat Nduka with it. They went to the stage where Hammerstone set up for a suplex that Nduka stuffed. Nduka powered up Hammerstone and slammed him onto the entrance ramp. The referee counted while Hammerstone was down, but Hammerstone was up at six to beat the ten count. [C]
Coming out of the break, Nudka was in offensive control inside the ring, which had chairs and door boards in it. Nduka placed a door board over two chairs and then leaned another door board in the corner of the ring. Nduka whipped Hammerstone toward the board in the corner, but Hammerstone stopped.
Nduka grabbed Hammerstone and gave him a spinebuster through the board that was lying over two chairs. Hammerstone beat the referee’s count. Nduka put the boots to him in the corner. Nduka went to the floor and pulled a steel chain out from underneath the ring. Nduka used the chain to tie Hammerstone’s hands around the ring post and then hit him several times before also wrapping the chain around one of his legs.
Hammerstone eventually broke free of the chains and beat the referee’s count. Hammerstone did his version of the Hulk Up routine and worked over Nduka with strikes. Hammerstone put Nduka down with a running clothesline. Hammerstone grabbed a chair and used it to work over Nduka once he got back to his feet. Hammerstone speared Nduka through the door board in the corner. The referee counted to nine and then Nduka shot up to his feet.
Hammerstone hit Nduka with a pump kick and then followed up with his Nightmare Pendulum finisher. Hammerstone threw chairs and pieces of the broken door boards onto Nduka while the referee counted to ten to end the match…
Alex Hammerstone defeated EJ Nduka in a Last Man Stand match to retain the MLW Heavyweight Championship.
Hammerstone celebrated his win. Jacob Fatu walked onto the stage. Hammerstone went to ringside and held up his title belt while looking at Fatu…
A brief video hyped Real1 vs. Mance Warner in a Street Fight for next week’s MLW Underground…
Powell’s POV: A decent brawl with Hammerstone going over strong in the end. I’m not sure why MLW and Reelz didn’t wait to launch the show with an episode taped at the SuperFight tapings so that it could have been done with the Reelz launch in mind. The stage still had the MLW Fusion graphic and there was no fuss made over the show now airing on Reelz. My best guess is that they wanted to establish Hammerstone and Fatu before they eventually air their title match from the SuperFight taping, but that’s just speculation.
Overall, this quickly felt like an episode of Fusion once we got past the initial video package and the opening video. How could it not since it was all intended to run on Fusion at one time? I’m anxious to see how the show will change once they start airing footage that was recorded after the Reelz deal was made. I will have more to say about MLW Underground in my audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
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