2/21 MLW Underground results: Powell’s review of Alex Hammerstone vs. Yamato for the MLW Heavyweight Championship, The Billington Bulldogs vs. The FBI, and Sam Adonis vs. Calvin Tankman

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

Major League Wrestling Underground
Taped January 7, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired February 21, 2023 on Reelz

Underground opened with footage from the parking lot where Real1 (f/k/a Enzo Amore) was struck by a car. Mance Warner got out of the car and told Real1 not to ever steal from a redneck. Warner called Real1 a “yankee piece of shit” (censored). Warner told “Charlie” (MLW production crew member) not to tell anyone he was drinking and driving…

Powell’s POV: I can’t imagine that last line from Warner is going to play well with the masses. Anyway, there were issues with the screener this week, so my apologies for this review being later than usual.

The Underground opening aired… The broadcast team was Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker, and Tim Barr was the ring announcer…

Sam Adonis and Cesar Duran headed to the ring with two of Duran’s masked henchmen. Once in the ring, Duran held up a briefcase and said it contained one million pesos. He assumed the fans weren’t very good at math and couldn’t make the conversion, but he said it was enough money to satisfy all of their drinking habits. Duran said he would give the money to anyone who could beat Adonis. Duran passed the mic to Adonis, who delivered a rhyming promo about himself and then heeled on the crowd. Calvin Tankman made his entrance and was accompanied by his tag team partner EJ Nduka…

1. Sam Adonis (w/Cesar Duran, masked henchmen) vs. Calvin Tankman. EJ Nduka sat in on commentary for the match. Dombrowski noted that it didn’t seem like Tankman was cool with some of the things that Nduka had done lately. In the ring, Adonis walked the ropes and performed a Blockbuster. Adonis distracted the referee while Duran choked Tankman over one of the ropes. Nduka stood up at the broadcast table.

Adonis walked the ropes again, but Tankman knocked him down. Tankman followed up with a shoulder block that knocked Adonis off the apron. Tankman knock Adonis down with a back fist and covered him, but Adonis grabbed the rope to break the pin. Adonis came back with a low blow while shielding the referee. Adonis hit a 450 splash and scored the pin.

Sam Adonis defeated Calvin Tankman.

Nduka stood up at the broadcast table and complained about the referee. Adonis got the house mic and talked down about wrestling in the United States compared to Mexico. He asked for a title shot and called out Davey Richards.

MLW National Openweight Champion Davey Richards made his entrance and joined Adonis inside the ring. Adonis pointed out the height advantage he had over Richards, who quickly cleared him from the ring. The masked henchmen attacked Richards and then Adonis returned to the ring to join in on the beatdown.

John Hennigan made his entrance with a chair in hand. His video wall listed Azteca Lucha. Hennigan entered the ring and the heels all fled to ringside. Hennigan turned and jabbed Richards with the chair. The other heels returned to the ring and joined Hennigan in attacking Richards. Duran took the mic and boasted about bringing the best luchadores to MLW and said all of the champions will be with him…

Powell’s POV: As if Hennigan’s wife Taya Valkyrie being aligned with Duran wasn’t enough, the fact that his video wall listed the name of Duran’s group made the heel turn downright obvious. It still got good heat from the crowd, who started out cheering the arrival of Hennigan. I’m not sure what happened to Tankman and Nduka. They just disappeared after Richards confronted Adonis. The actual match was brief. It made for pretty good television just in terms of pacing, though it was also disappointing that we didn’t get to see more from those two.

A brief Yamato video package aired and he spoke about becoming the MLW Heavyweight Champion and then the show cut to a break.. [C] Dombrowski played up the question of whether Hennigan was staying in MLW and said they would have more details later in the show. He also hyped the main event…

The Billington Bulldogs made their entrance. Dombrowski ran through the duo’s connection to the original British Bulldogs and their relationship with Davey Boy Smith Jr. The FBI made their entrance…

2. “The Billington Bulldogs” Tom Billington and Mark Billington vs. “The FBI” Little Guido and Ray Jaz. Jaz performed a running crossbody block that took him and Tom out of the ring. There was a picture-in-picture shot of an ambulance and the broadcast team said they’d have updates on the Warner and Real1 situation.

Late in the match, Tom clotheslined Guido, who rolled to his corner. Jaz fought off both Bulldogs for a moment, but Mark caught him when he leapt from the ropes. Tom performed a missile dropkick on Jaz while he was still being held up by Mark, who then scored the pin…

“The Billington Bulldogs” Tom Billington and Mark Billington defeated “The FBI” Little Guido and Ray Jaz.

Dombrowski hyped an All Access segment on Jacob Fatu for later in the show, as well as the main event… A brief calling card attacker video aired. It featured some strange imagery along with shots of some of the past victims… [C]

Powell’s POV: As a fan of the British Bulldogs back in the day, I get a kick out out of the Billington Bulldogs. The crowd was fairly flat during the match. I get that they are emulating the early days of the Bulldogs, but it might help if the Bulldogs played to the crowd a little more rather than trying to play it as stone faced as they do.

Dombrowski recapped the feud between Real1 and Warner…

Sam Laterna interviewed MLW Heavyweight Champion Alex Hammerstone. The calling card attacker’s image flashed on the screen once while Hammerstone spoke. Hammerstone said he’s looking forward to facing Jacob Fatu at MLW SuperFight, but Fatu is teasing the possibility of cashing in his Battle Riot winner’s contract before then. Hammerstone dared him to do it. Hammerstone said he’d be ready regardless of whether Fatu waited until SuperFight or cashed in tonight…

Powell’s POV: I remember Fatu toying with the idea of cashing in his contract once when Hammerstone had been laid out a while back, but I don’t remember him really holding it over Hammerstone’s head on a regular basis.

Davey Richards was interviewed by Sam Laterna on the stage. Richards mocked all of the names that Hennigan has had and came up with some of his own. Richards said some people have called him Dr. Richards (who?), but fans in Philadelphia call him the American Wolf. Richards said it’s a fighting city and he’s a fighting champion. Duran appeared on the big screen asked Richards if he was serious about it. Duran said he had the right man. Hennigan walked into the picture and said he’d see Richards next week. Richards said he’d kick Hennigan’s ass next week…

The main event was hyped heading into a break… [C] Dombrowski touted Richards vs. Hennigan for next week and then said authorities were on the scene where Warner ran over Real1 with his car…

A Jacob Fatu video package aired… Fatu delivered a promo in front of a high voltage power area. He spoke about how he could cash in on Hammerstone at the grocery store or while he was walking his dog down the street or while Hammerstone was at the gym. Fatu said it’s a wrap that the golden ticket would be cashed in at MLW SuperFight…

Entrances for the main event took place. Striker gushed about how special it was to have Yamato in the building. The calling card logo flashed on the screen and then Hammerstone made his entrance. Tim Barr delivered in-ring introductions for the main event…

3. Alex Hammerstone vs. Yamato for the MLW Heavyweight Championship. Striker said Hammerstone had a 70-pound weight advantage. Hammerstone suplexed Yamato early on. He went for another, but Yamato slipped out of it and ended up on the apron. Hammerstone clotheslined Yamato off the apron. [C]

Footage aired of Yamato going on the offensive during the break. Yamato had Hammerstone seated on the top rope. Yamato headbutted Hammerstone a few times and then superplexed him. When they stood up, Hammerstone put Yamato down with a suplex.

Once both men got to their feet, they traded forearm strikes. Yamato dazed Hammerstone with a forearm and then turned his back to him. Hammerstone suplexed Yamato and then powerbombed him for a near fall. Yamato came back with a flurry of offense, but Hammerstone cut it off with a clothesline. Hammerstone hit the Nightmare Pendulum and scored the clean pin…

Alex Hammerstone defeated Yamato to retain the MLW Heavyweight Championship.

A man wearing a gas mask walked out and offered a box to Hammerstone, who ended up taking it. Hammerstone opened the box and there was a dead octopus inside. The broadcast team wondered what it could possibly mean. They also spoke about the men in the gas masks and wondered what their message is.

Hammerstone left the box at ringside and headed toward the back. Once he made it to the stage, Jacob Fatu’s image appeared on the big screen, which stopped Hammerstone in his tracks. Fatu walked out with a mic in his hand and played to the crowd. Fatu said the crowd knows he’s the winner. Fatu said the belt belongs to him and he knows he wasn’t the only one in Philly who felt that way. A “Fatu” chant broke out.

Fatu said he would face Hammerstone at SuperFight, then told the crowd to chant with him if they wanted it to happen now. Hammerstone put Fatu down with a big boot. Fatu to up and they traded punches. Security intervened. Fatu broke free and dove off the the apron onto Hammerstone. They were quickly pulled apart again…

A teaser video hyped Davey Richards vs. John Hennigan for the MLW National Openweight Championship for next week…

Powell’s POV: A good main event. The action after the commercial break was really good. I wish they could have brought in Yamato for the prior taping to build him up ahead of time rather than just putting him right in a main event. I know there’s an American audience for Dragon Gate, but I doubt that they make up the majority of the people who are watching MLW programming. The post main event angle with the octopus was strange. Apparently, there are multiple gas mask wearing men based on what the broadcast team said. I have no idea where that’s going. The build to Hammerstone vs. Fatu is very good. The SuperFight event was held earlier this month, so hopefully they’ll list a date for when their match will air on Reelz.

It was a fun hour overall and they once again crammed a lot in without overstuffing the show. The Warner and Real1 angle started interestingly enough and served as a nice hook to start the show. But then it just didn’t go anywhere. Also, I could have sworn they advertised Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Alex Kane for this episode during last week’s episode, but perhaps I’m mistaken. I will have a lot more to say about this episode later today in my weekly audio review of MLW Underground for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).

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