MLW Fusion results (7/13): Powell’s review of Delmi Exo vs. Taya Valkyrie for the MLW Featherweight Title, John Hennigan vs. Lio Rush vs. Willie Mack in a three-way to become No. 1 contender to the MLW Title, Ken Broadway vs. TJ Crawford

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Major League Wrestling Fusion (Episode 173)
Taped April 8, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Streamed July 13, 2023 on the MLW YouTube Page and FITE.TV

Footage aired from an Never Say Never press conference with new MLW Heavyweight Champion Alex Kane and Mr. Thomas. Kane looked into the camera and spoke about how the league tried to stack the deck against him. He recalled entering Battle Riot first and still winning.

Kane spoke about Alex Hammerstone talking about how younger wrestlers are disrespectful. Kane said Hammerstone still hasn’t earned his respect. Kane said he made Hammerstone his bitch by forcing him to tap out.

Kane said Hammerstone may come back and challenge him again, but he will beat him again and again. Kane said Bomaye is for the people and this is his empire. Kane and his entourage changed “Bomaye”…

Powell’s POV: I am surprised that they didn’t work in something regarding Don King’s involvement. It was strange that this was supposed to be a press conference and yet Kane basically looked at the camera and delivered a promo rather than acting as if he was talking to a roomful of media members. That said, I like that they didn’t waste any time in spotlighting the new champion on the Never Say Never fallout show.

The Fusion opening aired… Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker were on commentary. Dombrowski ran through the lineup and said they would reveal the brackets for the Opera Cup tournament, and the open draft would continue…

A Taya Valkyrie promo aired. She said she’s created her own path for the last twelve years. She said she left bodies everywhere she went and said Delmi Exo would be no different. Valkyrie said there’s a reason she’s called Wera Loca. “I’m the craziest bitch you’ll ever meet and I’ll prove it tonight,” Valkyrie said…

Ring announcer Mike Falvo stood in the ring and introduced Taya Valkyrie, who was accompanied by John Hennigan. They cut backstage where Sam Laterna interviewed Delmi Exo, who said she would send Valkyrie packing back to Jacksonville. Exo made her entrance…

1. Delmi Exo vs. Taya Valkyrie for the MLW Featherweight Championship. John Hennigan joined the broadcast team on commentary and said Exo beating Valkyrie to win the title was a fluke. Valkyrie was in offensive control head into a break. [C]

Exo drilled a seated Valkyrie with a dropkick in the corner and then covered her for a two count. Valkyrie rallied and pulled Exo’s arms behind her back and then stomped her face on the mat. She performed a similar move in the corner by driving Exo’s face into a turnbuckle and then covered her for a two count.

Valkyrie set up for her Road to Valhalla finisher, but Exo countered into a rollup for a two count. Valkyrie threw a forearm and set up for the move again, but Exo escaped and set up for her own finisher. Hennigan left the broadcast table, which distracted Exo, who was backdropped by Valkyrie.

Hennigan stood on the apron. Exo reverse whipped Valkyrie toward Hennigan, but she stopped short of bumping into her husband. Moments later, Exo caught Valkyrie in a Fujiwara armbar. Exo wrenched on the arm and then Valkyrie tapped out. There were some streamers thrown in the ring while Exo celebrated her win…

Delmi Exo defeated Taya Valkyrie to retain the MLW Featherweight Championship.

Powell’s POV: Oddly, the live crowd seemed into the match, but they didn’t really pop when Exo won. It was good for Exo to not only beat Valkyrie for the championship, but also to beat her clean in a rematch. It’s comical that Valkyrie footage is still airing on MLW long after she signed with AEW. But I really like the way that she did business by putting over Exo twice on her way out.

Dombrowski recapped Mister Saint Laurent and Davey Boy Smith Jr. turning on Microman. Dombrowski also noted that MSL is aligned with Matt Cardona, who is coming to MLW via the open draft, as announced on the Never Say Never premium live event. Dombrowski hyped the episode’s main event heading into a break… [C]

Dombrowski recapped Alex Kane beating Alexander Hammerstone while still shots from the Never Say Never main event were shown. Dombrowski set up footage from Never Say Never of Don King revealing himself to be the benefactor of the Bomaye Fight Club…

Sam Laterna stood outside of Court Bauer’s office and said she wasn’t sure if they would get to talk to him. Bauer emerged from the office and said never do business with the “crook” Don King…

Dombrowski recapped the first two picks in MLW’s open draft – Kevin Blackwood and Matt Cardona. O’Shay Edwards was named the third pick in the open draft. He is aligned with the Bomaye Fight Club… Entrances for the next match took place…

2. Ken Broadway vs. TJ Crawford. Dombrowski noted that Broadway was trained by Amazing Red. Broadway performed an early tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He made a money sign with his hands before going for a cover that led to a two count.

Crawford came back and put Broadway down with a big boot. Crawford threw various chops and then slammed Broadway to the mat before covering him for a two count. Crawford threw a couple of kicks at Broadway, who then put him down with a big clothesline.

Later, Crawford performed a double-armed driver for a near fall. He acted shocked that he was unable to get the pin. Broadway stood up and slapped Crawford, who fired up and threw a spin kick. Crawford leaped from the middle rope and hit a Stunner on the way down for another near fall.

Broadway stuffed a brainbuster attempt and ended up kicking the middle rope into the throat of Crawford. Broadway performed a Dragon Plex and scored the pin…

Ken Broadway defeated TJ Crawford.

Powell’s POV: A nice match and a cool finisher. These guys are not regulars in MLW

A checklist for Alex Kane was shown briefly. It listed Kojima, tapping out a UFC hoe, Fatu, Shingo, and random things about money… Dombrowski narrated still shots of Rickey Shane Page and Akira winning the MLW Tag Team Titles at Never Say Never… [C]

Dombrowski set the brackets for the Opera Cup tournament, which said will start next week. A graphic listed Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Calvin Tankman on one side of the bracket and Tracy Williams vs. Tony Deppen on the other…

Powell’s POV: A four-man tournament? The matches and the potential finals look good, but I’m surprised they didn’t go with eight wrestlers.

Mance Warner joined the broadcast team on commentary. Warner said he got his commentary license for $4.99 and then cracked open a beer…

Powell’s POV: Hey, wasn’t that a can of the beer that Kid Rock hates so much, yet still sells at his own bar in Nashville?

Entrances for the main event took place…

3. John Hennigan (w/Sam Adonis) vs. Lio Rush vs. Willie Mack in a three-way to become No. 1 contender to the MLW Heavyweight Championship. Hennigan and Rush played rock, paper, scissors at ringside to stall while Adonis tried to go after Mack. Once Mack was distracted, Hennigan and Rush returned to the ring and worked him over.

Once the heel sent Mack to the floor, Rush rolled up Hennigan for a two count. A graphic listed details on “B3cca: The Incident” for next week’s show. Hennigan and Rush fought for a bit and then Mack returned and took out Rush briefly. Hennigan put Mack down and signaled for his finisher, but Mack rolled him up instead. Mack put Hennigan down with a Samoan Drop. [C] A video aired for MLW Fury Road.

Mack hoisted up Rush for a move, but Rush countered into a Poison Rana that led to a near fall. Later, Rush hit suicide dives on both opponents, who were on opposite sides of the ring. Rush threw Mack back in the ring and then went up top and went for a frog splash that Mack avoided.

Mack kicked Rush and put him down with a Stunner. Hennigan returned to the ring and avoided a Stunner. Adonis grabbed Mack’s foot and then climbed onto the apron. Hennigan went for a cheap shot on Mack, who moved, causing Hennigan to knock Adonis off the apron. Mack rolled up Hennigan and pinned him.

Willie Mack defeated Lio Rush and John Hennigan in a three-way to become No. 1 contender to the MLW Heavyweight Championship.

Warner dismissed himself from the broadcast table. Mack celebrated his win to end the show…

Powell’s POV: A good main event. I don’t believe this was billed as a No. 1 contenders match when it was filmed back in April, so I guess the company decided to add that stipulation because they intend to have Mack challenge Alex Kane at some point.

A graphic listed Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Calvin Tankman in an Opera Cup tournament match for next week’s show. That match was taped back in April, so apparently MLW has an endless supply of matches from the two sets of tapings they did over three days in early April. I hope they get more timely with their matches soon. That said, they did a nice job with this Frankenstein episode in that while the matches were from the second of those April tapings, they had enough clips from Never Say Never and overdubs from Dombrowski to make it feel like a timely show. If they can continue to pull that off, it won’t really matter to most fans when the matches were taped. I will have more to say about Fusion in my weekly audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).


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