MLW Fusion results (7/5): Powell’s review of Juicy Finau and Lance Anoa’i vs. 1 Called Manders and Matthews Justice for the MLW Tag Titles, Akira vs. Lince Dorado for the MLW Middleweight Title, Mandy Leon vs Billie Starkz


By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 172)
Taped April 6, 2023 in New York, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Streamed July 5, 2023 on the MLW YouTube Page and FITE.TV

Mister Saint Laurent sang while Microman made his entrance. MSL claimed that it was Microman Day in Philadelphia. MSL tried to lead the crowd in singing Microman’s song. The broadcast team team of Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker checked in on commentary.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. entered the ring and shook Microman’s hand. Suddenly, Smith kicked Microman over. Smith hoisted up Microman and put him down with a Bulldog Powerslam. MSL begged off. Smith teased hitting and then smiled.

Smith and MSL both laughed and then hugged one another. MSL labeled Microman an insult to the sport. Smith pressed Microman over his head and tossed him onto the Mane Event and some referees who had gathered at ringside. Willie Mack was there and he carried Microman to the back…

Powell’s POV: I’m happy that MSL’s run as Microman’s skimming manager is over. And I really like the idea of MSL joining Smith, who could use someone with the gift of gab to talk for him, especially now that he’s a heel.

The Fusion opening aired and then the broadcast team hyped the upcoming matches… Entrances for the MLW Middleweight Championship match took place with Lince Dorado heading to the ring first. Akira came out with Raven and a henchmen. Akira left his title belt with Raven, who placed on a table that was set up in the entrance aisle.

1. Akira (w/Raven, henchmen) vs. Lince Dorado for the MLW Middleweight Championship. Dorado was on the offensive to start and he did a baseball slide kick to send Akira to the floor. Dorado performed a dive over the top rope onto Akira.

Dorado threw punches at Akira at ringside before tossing him back inside the ring. Dorado performed a corkscrew dive on Akira and then covered him for a two count heading into a commercial break. [C]

Akira came back and made a play for Dorado’s mask before tying him up in the tree of woe. Akira dropkicked Akira to knock him loose. Akira toyed with Dorado and then worked him over in front of a smirking Raven.

Akira performed a backbreaker. He went for a suplex, but Dorado landed on his feet and then flipped into a neckbreaker. Dorado performed a pair of moonsaults from the middle rope. Dorado went up top and went for another, but Akira put his boot up.

Akira put Dorado down with a deadlift German suplex and got a near fall. Akira waited for Dorado to stand up and then hit him with a couple of Helluva style kicks. Dorado blocked a third kick and performed a handscpring into a Stunner. Dorado put Akira down with a brainbuster and played to the crowd.

Dorado went for another handspring Stunner, but this time Akira yanked his mask off. Dorado covered his face. Akira threw a running knee at Dorado, which led to a two count. Dorado continued to cover his face while countering a move into a pin. Dorado reached for the mask, but Akira hit him from behind and then finished him off with the Death Penalty…

Akira defeated Lince Dorado to retain the MLW Middleweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: A pretty good match, especially by Fusion standards, as MLW doesn’t place as much emphasis on work rate as some other companies do. I cringed when Akira did the mask removal spot that’s been done too many times. But I like that the match kept going and Dorado even picked up a near fall while covering his face and then even tried to get the mask back.

The broadcast team said Alex Hammerstone was scheduled to be at the media podium, but he had not arrived yet…

The second part of the expose on the Bomaye Fight Club aired. Dombrowski narrated the video and listed Conrad Thompson, Jim Cornette, Queen Latifah, and Dixie Carter as candidates to be revealed as the mystery benefactor behind Bomaye Fight Club. Dombrowski said the investigation revealed that none of four are the benefactor. He hyped that the mystery person would be revealed at Never Say Never…

Powell’s POV: Queen Latifah?!? Hey, why the hell not? I enjoyed last week’s expose. This one felt repetitive with more suspects being ruled out, but it was still an effective way to build interest in Saturday’s reveal.

Mance Warner tried to give 1 Called Manders and Matthews Justice white board instructions on how he and Manders would win the MLW Tag Team Titles. His plan consisted of putting Juicy Finau through a table… [C]

Dombrowski announced that Taya Valkyrie was fined $2,500 and suspended one week for attacking Delmi Exo…

The cameras cut back to the press room where no one was at the podium. Dombrowski questioned what was happening with Alex Hammerstone, who was scheduled to meet with the media…

Billie Starkz made her entrance. A Calling video aired with Rickey Shane Page talking while Akira and Mandy Leon stood on opposite sides of him. Page spoke of taking Jacob Fatu’s MLW National Openweight Championship. Clips of Raven sound bytes were included. Leon made her entrance along with masked henchmen and Raven. The henchmen brought a blood table with weapons to the entrance aisle…

2. Mandy Leon (w/Raven, henchmen) vs Billie Starkz. Leon took offensive control and brought Starkz to the floor. Leon set up for a suplex, but Starkz reversed it. They cut to another shot of the backstage podium while Dombrowski spoke about the possibility of Hammerstone being fined for not addressing the media.

Starkz suplexed Leon onto her knee for a two count. Starkz sold knee pain and then went up top. One of the gas mask henchmen grabbed her leg in front of the referee, who scolded the henchman while another threw her to the mat. Leon performed a Raven Effect DDT and then pinned Starkz…

Mandy Leon defeated Billie Starkz.

Powell’s POV: The shoving of The Calling down the throats of Fusion viewers continues with back to back matches.

MLW Heavyweight Champion Alex Hammerstone delivered a promo in front of the MLW backdrop. Hammerstone spoke of setting records for title defenses and took issue with Alex Kane referring to him as a placeholder. Hammerstone said that he and Kane followed similar paths.

Hammerstone said they both won the MLW National Openweight Championship. Hammerstone pointed out that he held the title for over six months. He said the both won Battle Riot and then added that he did it without help every step of the way. Hammerstone said Kane won’t take his spot…

The MLW Never Say Never control center segment aired. Dombrowski hyped the previously advertised matches for Saturday’s FITE+ event. They replayed Ava Everett’s promo challenging Delmi Exo to a title vs. title match (it was a good promo, but did we need to hear it again?)… [C]

Alex Kane and Mr. Thomas delivered a promo in front of the MLW backdrop. Kane referred to Hammerstone as “Roid Boy.” Thomas said it’s Major League Wrestling, not Major League Bodybuilding. Kane said Hammerstone isn’t a king, whereas he has always been the truth…

Ring announcer Mike Falvo delivered the introductions for the main event with challengers out first followed by the MLW Tag Team Champions…

3. “Samoan Swat Team” Juicy Finau and Lance Anoa’i vs. “Second Gear Crew” 1 Called Manders and Mance Warner for the MLW Tag Titles. Both teams grabbed chairs. Warner threw his chair at the head of Finau, who didn’t put his hands up. The other wrestlers threw their chairs at the heads of their opponents, but each of them wisely put their hands up.

All four men quickly went to ringside. Finau slammed a chair over the back of Warner, and then Manders slammed a chair over the back of Anoa’i. Warner poked Finau in the eyes. Manders worked over Anoa’i with chops. Warner grabbed a chair and slammed it over the back of Finau. [C]

The ringside brawling continued coming out of the break. A couple of wrestlers grabbed beers from the fans at threw them at one another. Manders threw another chair that Finau took to the head without putting his hands up.

Anoa’i pulled a ladder out from underneath the ring and slid it inside the ring where a smaller ladder and a table were set up. Anoa’i climbed the tall ladder while Finau placed Warner on the table.

Warner blasted Finau over the head with unprotected chair shots (disgusting) and then hit him over the back with additional shots. Warner threw a chair at Anoa’i, then climbed the other side of the ladder and shoved Anoa’i off and into the smaller ladder that was propped up in the corner.

Manders blasted Finau with two more shots to the head. Striker said God bless Balls (Mahoney) and said he should be proud (really?). Finau battled back and placed Manders on top of a table. Finau went to the ropes, but Warner cut him off with chair shots to his arm.

Warner climbed up behind Finau and then rode his back while he splashed Manders through the table. Finau landed on top of Manders and got the three count.

“Samoan Swat Team” Juicy Finau and Lance Anoa’i defeated “Second Gear Crew” 1 Called Manders and Mance Warner to retain the MLW Tag Titles.

After the match, The Calling’s theme played. Rickey Shane Page, Akira, Delirious, and masked henchmen ran in and attacked the Finau, Anoa’i, Warner, and Manders. Finau cleared The Calling members from the ring and threw a chair and a ladder at them while Dombrowski delivered a final push for Never Say Never…

A Never Say Never video aired to close the show…

Powell’s POV: Why are wrestlers take unprotected chair shots to the head in 2023? This is disgusting and it’s ridiculous that Court Bauer and his crew allow this to happen. And while he may have meant well, Striker shouting out the late Balls Mahoney after watching the unprotected chair shots to the head is also sad given that it was revealed that Mahoney suffered from CTE.

Overall, the show pissed me off. People who should know better just don’t seem to give a shit despite everything we’ve learned about head trauma. Putting it aside as best I can, The Calling continue to feel overly pushed with two match wins and the post main event angle. If it ends up working, great, but I’m just not feeling it.

From a go-home show standpoint, they really needed a big angle involving Hammerstone and Kane. But to be fair, I suspect that they didn’t know the storyline direction when this show was filmed back in April. I will have a lot more to say about MLW Fusion in my audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).


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