By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
Major League Wrestling Fightland
November 18, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 2300 Arena
Streamed on FITE+
Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker provided commentary… The show opened with a video package highlighting Alex Kane vs. Jacob Fatu…
1. “Second Gear Crew” 1 Called Manders and Matthew Justice defeated “The Calling” Akira and Rickey Shane Page (w/Talon, Cannonball) in a ladder match to win the MLW Tag Team Titles at 12:20. Manders competed in Seattle less than 24 hours ago for Game Changer Wrestling. Akira dove through the ropes onto the SGC as they walked to ringside. In the ring, the SGC pushed Akira into a corner and slammed a ladder onto him. Akira was quickly bleeding from his forehead. The SGC beat up RSP on the floor and Page is bleeding from the forehead, too. Akira hit a second-rope moonsault to the floor on the SGC at 6:00.
In the ring, Page hit Manders across the back with a chair, then he tossed Manders onto a ladder in the corner at 7:30. RSP climbed the ladder but Justice hit him in the back with a chairshot. Justice climbed the ladder; Akira moved the ladder and Justice was hanging from the rope, and he eventually fell to the mat. Talon interfered and attacked Manders. All four fought on the ladder. Akira accidentally hit Page! Page fell backward with his legs still caught in the ladder. The ladder with Akira and Justice tipped over, with both men going through tables at ringside. That left just Manders on the ladder, and he pulled down the belts to win the match.
* The SGC left the ring. Page got in Akira’s face and yelled at him, then he ‘pie-faced’ him. They began brawling. Talon and Cannonball jumped in the ring and attacked Akira. RSP hit a DDT onto a steel chair that was lying on its side. RSP shoved a calling card in Akira’s mouth, and the heels left him lying.
* Dombrowski and Striker talked about the match, then they ran a commercial for “One Shot” in New York City in the Melrose Ballroom on Thursday, Dec. 7.
* A highlight package aired of Miyu Yamashita. Very nice. She will face Delmi Exo on Dec. 7.
2. Matt Cardona (w/Mister Saint Laurent) defeated Mance Warner in a Loser Leaves MLW match at 8:07. Like Manders, these two were in Seattle less than 24 hours ago. Cardona wore his Macho King outfight. They immediately brawled at ringside. In the ring, Cardona hit a Death Valley Driver across several open chairs for a nearfall at 2:30, and he hit Mance across the back with a chair. Mance hit a second-rope superplex. Both men placed boards in opposite corners, then they traded punches at 5:30. Mance hit a Dusty Elbow to the forehead. Mance accidentally hit the referee with a chairshot! Cardona hit the Radio Silence flying legdrop. Mance hit a kneeshot onto a trash can in front of Cardona’s head for a visual pin but we had no referee. Cardona hit a low blow.
Steph De Lander ran to ringside and she stopped Cardona from hitting Mance with a chair. She kissed Mance on the mouth! “Tell me what is going on???” Striker asked. However, Steph turned and speared Mance through a board in the corner! Matt jumped on Mance and pinned him. Mance and Steph celebrated in the ring. With the loss, Mance Warner is out of MLW. No one, anywhere, thought that Steph had aligned with Mance. Dumb angle.
Cardona got on the mic and laughed at Warner and told him he’s out of MLW forever. They played the “Na na na, hey hey, goodbye” tune. Mance punched Saint Laurent, but then he was escorted to the back by security…
* Cardona got on the mic and called Mance a moron. He said “this isn’t the wrestling romance, this is the wrestling business.”
3. Ichiban and Mascara Dorada 2.0 defeated Rocky Romero and Barbaro Cavernario (w/Selina De La Renta) at 11:56. Barbaro is dressed like a bizarre Fred Flinstone; I’ve seen him just once or twice before. This Mascara is NOT Metalik; his physique is different and I double-checked online. Ichiban and Romero opened with standing switches. Ichiban hit some deep armdrags. He hit a series of punches in the corner with the fans counting “one!” Dorada and Barbaro entered at 2:00, with Dorada hitting a head-scissors takedown. Barbaro hit a Lungblower move on Ichiban at 5:00. Romero grounded Ichiban.
Dorada got a hot tag and hit a top-rope crossbody block at 7:00. He hit an impressive corkscrew plancha to the floor. Striker said we are “seeing a star born before our eyes.” He hit a missile dropkick, then a Death Valley Driver on Romero for a nearfall. Barbara entered and hit a suplex on Dorada for a nearfall. Ichiban hit a Code Red on Barbaro for a nearfall. Romero hit his own Death Valley Driver. Romero hit a top-rope Sliced Bread on Ichiban at 10:00, but Dorada made the save. Dorada hit a superkick on Romero. Dorada hit a sit-out powerbomb on Barbaro. Romero hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread on Dorada. Ichiban hit a Canadian Destroyer on Romero, then a flip dive to the floor on Rocky. In the ring, Dorada hit a sit-out powerbomb, then a top-rope Shooting Star Press to Barbaro. That was really good.
4. Alex Kane defeated Jacob Fatu to retain the MLW Heavyweight Championship at 48:00. A feeling-out process to open and this felt intense. Fatu hit a shoulder tackle at 4:00 that sent Kane to the floor to regroup. In the ring, Kane hit some basic stomps and choked Fatu in the ropes, then hit a German Suplex at 7:00. Fatu hit a top-rope twisting crossbody block at 9:30. They brawled on the floor, and Fatu whipped Kane into the guardrail. They brawled at ringside for several minutes, and Fatu hit a chairshot to the back at 13:30.
Mr. Thomas, who had joined commentary for this match, left the booth and went to ringside. Kane pushed Fatu into the ring post and was in charge; they hadn’t been in the ring for several minutes. Fatu splashed Kane against the guardrail at 17:00. They finally got back into the ring and Fatu trapped Kane between a folded ladder. Fatu hit a handspring-back-moonsault onto the ladder at 19:30. Kane hit a T-Bone Suplex onto the ladder as it was in the corner, and they were both down. Kane hit a splash onto Fatu on the ring apron; he rolled Fatu into the ring and got a nearfall at 22:30.
They hit simultaneous clotheslines and both were down at 25:00. Fatu shoved Kane head-first into a chair wedged in the corner. Fatu charged at Kane but Kane moved, and Fatu crashed into a chair wedged in the corner. Fatu dove through the ropes onto Kane at 27:00. Fatu hit a dive onto both Kane and Mr. Thomas. In the ring, Fatu hit a running buttsplash in the corner for a nearfall at 29:30. (They announced 30 minutes dead-on with my stopwatch.) Fatu charged at Kane but flew out of the ring and splashed onto a table set up on the floor.
Kane hit a Tiger Suplex for a nearfall at 33:00. He mounted Fatu and hit a series of punches. Kane hit a Samoan Drop! He hit a spear for a nearfall. They went back to the floor, and Fatu placed Kane on a table. Fatu hit a top-rope frogsplash onto the table at 36:00, going several feet from the ring, and the fans chanted “holy shit!” Back in the ring, Fatu shouted that Kane “never should have won the belt.” Kane speared Fatu through a table set up in the corner at 38:30 and they were both down. Kane hit a release suplex for a nearfall at 41:00. Kane picked up Fatu and drove him backward through another table, and they were both down again.
Fatu hit a Samoan Drop, then a double-jump moonsault at 43:30, but he was slow to make a cover. Mr. Thomas pulled the referee from the ring when he started counting a pinfall. (Again, 45 minute call is dead-on with my clock. I had no idea this would go this long.) The crowd chanted “Bomaye!” and it distracted Fatu. Fatu went to the top rope, but Kane flipped him stomach-first onto two open chairs! Kane applied a sleeper, fell back to the mat, and Fatu passed out; he didn’t tap out. The commentator called it at 48 minutes even, right on with my time.
* Matt Cardona and Tom Lawlor ran into the ring and beat up Alex Kane and members of the Bomaye Fight Club. Joshua Bishop (the tall Sid Vicious clone!) debuted and hit some uranages. “Who the hell is that?” Dombrowski said. (I guarantee Dombrowski has called a Bishop match before.) The lights went out and came back on.
Alexander Hammerstone was in the ring and wore a “WTF” T-shirt, and he brawled with Fatu. Saint Laurent, Steph De Lander, Cardona, Lawlor, Hammerstone, and Bishop posed together in the ring, most wearing the “WTF” T-shirts. (Neither Striker nor Dombrowski ever said Bishop’s name.)
Final Thoughts: Ugh, they really did stretch a decent 20-25 minute match over 48 minutes. If there ever was a “long for the sake of being long” match, it was this one. It was an acceptable match and it was good in stretches, but you won’t be able to convince me they couldn’t have told the same story with more action in half the length.
The other three matches were fine. This new Mascara Dorada has a great physique and he’s clearly young; with that mask on, he made me think of Preston Vance when he wore a mask in AEW. I was surprised Mance lost, as I really doubt we’ve seen the end of him in MLW. Bringing in Bishop is the right call. He looks ‘TV ready’ for a major promotion and he towers over most of his opponents. Akira brawling with RSP was obviously coming for weeks. I want RSP and the Calling faction to now just go away.