MLW Holiday Rush results: Vetter’s review of Jacob Fatu vs. Alex Hammerstone, Matt Riddle’s appearance, Second Gear Crew vs. Alex Kane and Mr. Thomas for the MLW Tag Titles

By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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MLW “Holiday Rush”
Taped December 7, 2023 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Streamed on December 23, 2023 on the MLW’s YouTube Page

Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker provided commentary.

1. Akira defeated Alec Price, Brett Ryan Gosselin, J Bouji, Nolo Kitano, Love Doug in a six-way scramble at 7:56. Footage aired of Akira being shaved bald. Doug attacked BRG as he walked to ringside. Price hit a springboard crossbody block on Akira. Bouji hit a German Suplex on Nolo. BRG applied a sleeper on Doug. Nolo hit a missile dropkick on all five. Price hit a half-nelson suplex at 3:00. Akira hit a German Suplex on Nolo for a nearfall. BRG hit a superkick on Doug.

Doug hit a spear on BRG. Doug and Akira hit stereo superkicks on BRG at 6:00. Doug hit a Sliced Bread. Bouji hit a springboard stunner. Kitano hit a nice swinging neckbreaker. Price hit a tornado DDT on Nolo, then a dive to the floor on everyone else at 7:30. In the ring, Akira hit some kicks on Price, then a Death Penalty modified brainbuster on Price for the pin. That was fun.

* Akira got on the mic and talked about being part of Raven’s faction, but then Raven just disappeared. Akira said Rickey Shane Page is “a leach” who sucks the life out of everyone. He vowed he will bring an end to The Calling. This brought out Page, Cannonball and the rest of The Calling. Akira slammed a cahir across Cannonball’s back. However, several of the masked goons attacked Akira. Page hit a DDT and Dombrowski called it “The Raven Effect.”

* Backstage, Rocky Romero, Jesus Rodriguez, Salina De La Renta and Janai Kai talked about her match later in the show against Ichiban. Salina freaked out because she found a bag/brown napsack. Everyone was perplexed by her over-reaction.

* Acommercial noted that Sami Callihan is returning at Kings of Coliseum in January.

2. Zayda Steel (w/Saint Laurent) defeated Notorious Mimi and Tiara James in a three-way at 3:43. Again, Mimi was in NXT as Sloane Jacobs and was featured in the Apple+ series on the Monster Factory, and she’s a heel here. Tiara chopped both heels to open. Mimi tossed Zayda onto Tiara. Zayda hit a running knee in the corner on Tiara at 2:00. Tiara hit a double missile dropkick. Tiara slammed Zayda onto Mimi and got a nearfall. She hit a running neckbreaker on Zayda for a nearfall, but Laurent grabbed Tiara’s leg. Zayda immediately hit an Unprettier faceplant on Tiara for the pin. Good non-stop action; this felt much longer than it was because they got so much offense in.

* A video package showing that Hyper Misao is headed to MLW to fight Janai Kai. Another video package showed that MLW is headed back to Chicago.

3. Josh Bishop (w/Saint Laurent) defeated Matthew Justice at 6:03. They immediately brawled, and Bishop hit a Blackhole Slam just 30 seconds in. Justice hit a top-rope flying shoulder tackle. Justice hit a spear against the ropes, sending them both to the floor. Bishop slammed Justice back-first against the guardrail at 2:30. In the ring, Justice went to the top rope, but Laurent distracted him. Bishop hit Justice with a table. Justice speared Bishop for a nearfall at 5:30. Laurent grabbed Justice’s ankle. It allowed Bishop to hit a Razor’s Edge through the table set up in the corner for the pin. Good brawl; it’s a bit too dark at ringside when the brawled there but the ring is well-lit.

* Salina De La Renta showed off her gear and she has ideas for how she is going to beat up Ichiban later.

4. Tony Deppen (w/TJ Crawford, Griffin McCoy) defeated Kevin Blackwood at 1:55. Kevin immediately hit some chops and forearm strikes. He hit a German Suplex for a nearfall, and he switched to an anklelock. The heels tried to interfere. Kevin hit a Helluva Kick on Deppen, and he went right back to the anklelock. The heels interfered again! Deppen got a rollup, a handful of tights, and scored the pin. Far too short; both of these guys are really talented and deserve more ring-time.

Zayda Steel spoke backstage, and she interviewed Richard Holliday. He said he’s “been away quite some time” and has met with the top companies in the world, but this business is about making money. Zayda asked him his thoughts on the smelly crowd. He switched to talking about how much he dislikes Alex Kane.

* A Matt Riddle video package aired. He is taking on Jacob Fatu on Jan. 6. The hilarious WTF hotline commercial aired. Just $99.99 a minute, folks!

5. “Wasted Youth” Marcus Mathers & Dyln McKay defeated “The Mane Event” Jay Lyon & Midas Black and Griffin McCoy & TJ Crawford in a three-way tag. Dombrowski noted that Mathers is just 20 years old, and may be the first wrestler to compete here who is younger than when MLW debuted. Griffin and TJ hit some kicks on Midas. Midas hit a DDT for a nearfall at 2:00. Mathers hit a top-rope twisting crossbody block. Dyln hit a Lionsault. TME hit stereo superkicks on Dyln. McKay hit a Shooting Star Press on Midas, then a dive to the floor on everyone else. Mathers immediately hit a 450 Splash on Midas for the pin. By winning, Wasted Youth has earned a future tag team title shot.

* Josh Bishop and Matthew Justice have fought onto the roof of the building! Justice climbed a ladder attached to the outside wall and he splashed onto Bishop, who was lying on a table.

6. Ichiban defeated Salina De La Renta (w/Rocky Romero, Janai Kai) via DQ in an intergender match at 1:10. Rodriguez did the ring intro, just like he did for Alberto Del Rio. The bell rang, but immediately Romero and Kai tried to interfere, but he tossed them to the floor. She sprayed a canister into his eyes, and the ref called for the bell. The heels all beat down Ichiban. I didn’t expect a lot here, but they somehow didn’t meet my expectations. Romero ripped off Ichiban’s mask and held it high above his head and was booed. Mascara Dorada ran to the ring for the save.

7. Masked Good Brother No. 3 (a/k/a Mance Warner) and 1 Called Manders vs. Alex Kane and Mr. Thomas for the MLW Tag Titles ended in a no contest at 7:32. Mance and Kane opened. Of course, they are making no effort whatsoever to conceal that it is Mance under that mask, and they traded forearm strikes. The crowd is quiet. Manders and Thomas entered at 3:00 and they traded LOUD chops. Kane hit a splash on Manders on the ring apron and he got a nearfall at 6:00. Kane applied an anklelock. Richard Holliday was in the crowd; Kane walked up to him, so Richard tossed his champagne in Kane’s face. Kane hit Holliday and the ref called for the bell. Meanwhile, Tom Lawlor and Josh Bishop hit the ring and beat up the Second Gear Crew while using chairs.

8. Jacob Fatu defeated Alexander Hammerstone (w/Saint Laurent) at 15:45. This match has been “years in the making” and I believe it is Hammerstone’s final MLW match, and Dombrowski did a “Tale of the Tape” on height/weight, etc. They traded punches early. Fatu hit a dive to the floor at 2:30; the lighting is really poor from one ringside camera. In the ring, Fatu hit a Swanton Bomb for a nearfall. Hammerstone hit a Pump Kick and some punches to the face. He did some push-ups and was booed. He hit a blow to the kidney at 6:30 and was in charge. He hit a back suplex for a nearfall. Fatu fired back with a superkick and they were both down. He hit a Vader Bomb for a nearfall at 8:00.

Hammerstone nailed a powerslam and a double-underhook suplex for a nearfall. Fatu hit a top-rope Frankensteiner at 10:30, earning a “holy shit!” chant. Hammerstone hit a top-rope belly-to-belly suplex for a believable nearfall at 12:00. He hit a series of punches and a headbutt that hurt him more than Fatu. Fatu immediately hit a series of headbutts. Hammerstone hit another Pump Kick, a German Suplex, and a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall at 14:00. Hammerstone nailed the Nightmare Pendulum swingining sideslam. Fatu hit a Samoan Drop and a double-jump moonsault. Fatu hit a Buzzsaw Kick, then a second one, then the Samoan Spike, then a second double-jump moonsault for the pin. A really good match both men can be proud of.

* Hammerstone got on the mic and said he’s risking getting in trouble, but he has good intentions. He said he was grateful to MLW because “they took a kid no one else wanted.” He said he had tryouts elsewhere and “nobody else wanted me.” He thanked Court Bauer. He admitted this might be his last MLW match “for the foreseeable future.” He said it’s not about him anymore, it’s about the hungry boys and girls in the back who will keep pushing MLW to have success. He said thanks one last time and left.

* In a video clip, Matthew Riddle cut a promo, saying he is in Las Vegas taking care of business, and he can’t wait to get back to MLW. “I’ll be seeing you soon, Fatu.”

Final Thoughts: A very good big-man main event. Fatu and Hammerstone were on the same page and had a strong match. The scramble was fun, the Justice-Bishop brawl went across a few segments, and the women’s match was good for being so short. I did feel the show looked better on paper, only because so many of these matches were kept too short (especially Deppen-Blackwood, which could have been a show-stealer). And of course, they didn’t even pretend to try to have Salina fight. I don’t pretend to know how much money MLW got in their settlement with WWE, but it feels like they have stabilized after months of turnover in the roster. They are bringing in Sami Callihan and Matt Riddle, and they are using a lot of the top Northeast young talent (Kai, Zayda, McCoy, Mathers). I’m more optimistic about this promotion right now than I have been throughout most of 2023.


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