By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Major League Wrestling Underground
Taped April 8, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Aired April 25, 2023 on Reelz
Ring announcer Mike Falvo stood inside the ring and introduced Alex Kane as the first entrant in the 40-man Battle Riot match. Kane slapped hands on his way to the ring and a small “Boomaye” chant broke out.
The broadcast team of Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker checked in. Striker said the movement with Kane started in the same venue. The second entrant was Willie Mack, who made his entrance…
1. The 40-Man Battle Riot match. First entrant Kane ate two dropkicks from second entrant Mack to start the match. There was a countdown clock on the big screen on the stage that started counting down when there were ten seconds left.
The third entrant was Jesus Rodriguez (f/k/a Ricardo Rodriguez), who walked out with a mic in hand and introduced himself before entering the ring. Rodriguez wrestled in a tuxedo and helped Kane double team Mack.
The fourth entrant was Lince Dorado. Dorado worked over Rodriguez with a series of moves. Rodriguez reversed a Dorado whip and sent him over the top rope, but Dorado skinned the cat and stayed alive.
The fifth entrant was Calvin Tankman. The broadcast team noted that it was Tankman’s third Battle Riot and added that he lasted 25 minutes in the third Battle Riot match.
The sixth entrant was Lance Anoa’i of the Samoan Swat Team. Dombrowski said Anoa’i was the only athlete to compete in all five Battle Riot matches (really?).
The seventh entrant was Microman. The fans popped for his entrance. Dorado led chants for Microman, who headbutted the balls of Rodriguez, who was seated in a corner of the ring.
The eighth entrant was Los Azteca 33. This was one of Cesar Duran’s masked henchmen. Microman ended up pinning Los Azteca 33 to eliminate him from the match.
The ninth entrant was Juicy Finau, who brought out a shopping cart filled with weapons and tossed a bunch of them inside the ring. A “Juicy” chant broke out. Finau and Tankman picked up cookie sheets and took turns hitting one another with them. Finau picked up a white board and dazed Mack, who fired back with a kendo stick. Finau headbutted Mack.
The tenth entrant was Beastman. After crushing Rodriguez, Beastman knocked Tankman down with a running crossbody block.
The 11th entrant was Little Guido. Microman was stuck on the top turnbuckle and Guido went after him. Tankman pulled Guido into electric chair position. Dorado pulled Microman off the ropes and helped him dropkick Guido in a failed spot.
The 12th entrant was Sam Adonis. After performing a rope walk move, Adonis covered Tankman, but Beastman pulled him off. Beastman, who looks like Phil Margera, squared off with Finau, and then Tankman and Microman walked over. Microman bit Beastman and then worked him over with a kendo stick to the groin. Microman, Tankman, and Finau eliminated Beastman.
The 13th entrant was Mance Warner, who brought a two-by-four to the ring with him and used it as a weapon. Warner pinned Rodriguez to eliminate him from the match. The show cut to its first commercial break. [C]
Coming out of the break, footage aired of Warner and Adonis eliminating one another and brawling to the back, and of Kane choking out Microman to eliminate him.
The 14th entrant was Jimmy Loyd. The 15th entrant was Mr. Thomas. The 16th entrant was TJ Crawford. The 17th entrant was Ken Broadway. They all entered the match during the commercial break and were still alive coming out of it.
The 18th entrant was the entire Calling faction of Raven, Akira, Rickey Shane Page, Delirious, Dr. Cornwallis, and a couple of gas mask wearing henchmen. Broadway was eliminated by someone, and then Tankman was eliminated by Page. Akira and a couple of gas mask guys forced Crawford for submit. Raven pinned Lloyd to eliminate him and then Raven sat down in the corner again. Delirious eliminated Mr. Thomas. [C]
Footage aired from during the break of Los Azteca 9 (another masked henchman) setting a new match record for fastest elimination when Page sent him over the top rope. Finau was tied to the ropes by The Calling and they brought a gasoline can into the ring.
Powell’s POV: I have no idea how many of The Calling wrestlers are actually in the match legally, so I’m giving up on the numbering the entrants. It’s not like the graphics or the broadcast team have offered any indication either.
The next entrant was Jacob Fatu. The Calling went after Fatu, who quickly eliminated Dr. Cornwallis, Delirious, and both of the gas mask henchmen. Fatu untied Finau from the ropes. Akira ran the ropes and dove at Finau, which sent both men over the top rope to eliminate them. Striker said Akira sacrificed himself to eliminate Finau.
Page suplexed Fatu over the top rope, but Fatu held on and pulled Page to the floor with him, eliminating both men. Raven took cheap shots at Fatu and Finau on the floor.
The next entrant was Kimchee (a guy dressed like Kamala’s old handler). Kane caught Kimchee in a submission hold and tapped him out to eliminate him. Kane stood alone in the ring.
Midas Black was the next entrant. Black went up top and leapt at Kane, who caught him and suplexed him. Kane pinned Black to eliminate him. The broadcast team said Kane was approaching 30 minutes in the match.
Taya Valkyrie was the next entrant. Kane performed a fisherman’s buster suplex and pinned Valkyrie to eliminate her from the match. Kane once again stood alone in the ring.
Jay Lyon was the next entrant. Lyon went right after Kane with strikes, but Kane performed a wicked suplex and then choked him out. Footage aired from outside the building of Matthew Justice fighting The Calling in the parking lot area. Dombrowski wondered if Justice would even make it to the Battle Riot match.
The next entrant was Raz Jay, who put Kane down with a nice suplex. Jaz went to the ropes and dove at Kane, who caught him, suplexed him, and then tapped him out with a dragon sleeper.
Lio Rush was the next entrant. Dombrowski said Kane looked exhausted “and there’s so much yet to come.” Rush performed a springboard cutter and got a near fall on Kane. Rush tried to toss Kane over the top rope, but Kane blocked it and came back with a clothesline.
Tracy Williams was the next entrant. Williams DDT’d Rush on the top turnbuckle and tried to toss him over the top rope, but Rush held on. Rush speared Williams. Kane covered Rush for a two count.
O’Shay Edwards was the next entrant. Edwards performed a spinebuster on Williams and then fought with Rush.
Duke “The Dumpster” Droese was the next entrant. Droese received a nice reaction as he headed to the ring with a trashcan. Droese smashed the trashcan over the head of Edwards. Kane took Droese down and put him in an ankle lock.
Rickey Shane Page made his entrance. Jacob Fatu ran out and brawled with Page and tossed him into the shopping cart at ringside. [C]
Footage aired from during the break of 1 Called Manders entering the match and using a bull rope as a weapon. A graphic noted that Matthew Justice missed his entrant number and was therefore eliminated from the match.
John Hennigan was the next entrant. He threw kicks at multiple opponents and then survived when multiple opponents tried to force him over the top rope.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. was the next entrant. Manders survived a knee strike from Hennigan by hooking his feet under the bottom rope. Hennigan went through the ropes and then double stomped Manders to eliminate him.
Shigehiro Irie was the next entrant. Irie went right after Smith.
Gene Snisky (Gene Snitsky) was the next entrant. Snisky looked good and was able to work in black trunks and boots. Snisky chokeslammed Rush and then worked over Hennigan. [C]
Footage aired from during the break of a group of wrestlers eliminating Skisky, Smith eliminating Rush, and then Smith eliminating Edwards.
The final four were Kane, Smith, Hennigan, and Irie. Kane and Hennigan paired off and fought while Smith and Irie didn’t do much. Kane caught Hennigan in a choke on the apron. Once Hennigan passed out, Kane released the hold and then kicked him off the apron to eliminate him.
Smith and Irie battled. Smith caught Irie with a clothesline and then eliminated him from the match by tossing him over the top rope.
The match came down to Alex Kane and Davey Boy Smith Jr. Some fans chanted “Bomaye.” Smith and Kane traded forearm strikes in the middle of the ring. Smith suplexed Kane, who came back with two of his own.
Smith rolled Kane into a pin and held the tights for a two count. Kane immediately caught Smith in a rear naked choke and Smith eventually tapped out…
Alex Kane won the 40-man Battle Riot match to earn a Golden Ticket for a shot at the MLW Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Mr. Thomas, O’Shay Edwards, and random entourage members ran out and celebrated with Kane. Thomas and Edwards put Kane on their shoulders while a “Bomaye” chant continued in the building to close the show…
Powell’s POV: I enjoyed the Battle Riot match until The Calling nonsense and then it took me some time to get back into it once that concluded. MLW is really shoving The Calling faction down the throats of viewers and I’m still not convinced that it’s working.
I have more confidence in Kane catching fire in what seems to be a new babyface role. The chants for Kane grew a little louder than they were last time he was at 2300 Arena, so it’s worth seeing how far the company can go with him.
The surprises of Rodriguez, Droese, and Snisky were fun. Ultimately, I’d really like to see MLW cut back to thirty or even fewer entrants. Less is more. The match started to drag even though we saw the edited version for television. Sending out all of The Calling members at once clearly shaved some time, but an easy way to avoid the need for things like that in the future is just to cut back on the number of entrants. I will have more to say about Battle Riot in my weekly MLW Underground audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).