MLW “Intimidation Games” results (2/29): Vetter’s review of Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki for the MLW Championship, Matt Riddle vs. Bad Dude Tito for the NJPW TV Title, Alex Kane vs. Bobby Fish


By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

Major League Wrestling “Intimidation Games”
February 29, 2024 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Streamed on TrillerTV+

Joe Dombrowski and Christian Cole provided commentary. The lighting is really good. Dombrowski said this is a sellout, but it doesn’t appear to be more than maybe 500 or so fans.

*The show opened with a highlight package from the prior two shows from Philadelphia, Penn. Then, Cesar Duran came to the stage and asked the fans if we were ready for some Lucha! He introduced Mistico!

1. Mistico (w/Cesar Duran) defeated Rocky Romero (w/Salina De La Renta, Jesus Rodriguez) to win the MLW Middleweight Title at 17:57. We got a “this is awesome!” chant before they locked up. They worked each other’s left arms early, and Mistico tied him in a surfboard. Rocky hit a dive to the floor at 4:30 and he did his hip swivel moves, drawing boos. He hit a dropkick as Mistico was seated in a chair at ringside. Back in the ring, Rocky tugged and ripped at the mask, which quickly earned some boos. He kept Mistico grounded. Mistico hit a head-scissors takedown, a 619, and a top-rope missile dropkick that sent Rocky to the floor at 9:30.

Mistico immediately hit a dive over the top rope onto Rocky. However, Romero suplexed Mistico onto the ring apron, and they both tumbled to the floor. Back in the ring, Rocky hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread for a nearfall at 11:00. Mistico hit a Frankensteiner for a nearfall. Rocky hit his Forever Clotheslines. They traded forearm strikes on the mat. Mistico hit a springboard crossbody block. Rocky hit a Trash Compactor piledriver along his back for a nearfall at 14:00, and he was shocked he didn’t get a win with it. Mistico nailed a top-rope Spanish Fly for a believable nearfall.

Mistico went for a moonsault but Rocky got his legs up to block it. Mistico hit a powerslam and they were both down at 16:00. Rocky hit a top-rope Sliced Bread for a believable nearfall. Mistico hit a dropkick and a Superkick, then a Canadian Destroyer for a believable nearfall. Mistico spun Rocky to the mat, applied a Fujiwara Armbar, and Rocky immediately tapped out! New champion! A really good match.

2. “The Calling” Sami Callihan and Rickey Shane Page (w/Cannonball) defeated Akira and Jake Crist in a street fight at 11:07. The Calling came out first. Crist and Akira ran to the ring and they all brawled. Akira and Crist hit dives to the floor. Crist hit a Coffin Drop-style dive to the floor, and they all brawled at ringside. Dombrowski said this is no rules, no disqualification. Callihan gave Crist a paper cut between his fingers. Dombrowski said Sami has been “banished or fired from every job he’s ever had.” RSP hit a top-rope Swanton Bomb on Akira for a nearfall at 3:30. Dombrowski said Raven is “in the bowels of the building, watching closely.” Sami jabbed a chair into Crist’s gut. Sami hit a T-Bone Suplex on Crist onto an open chair for a nearfall at 5:00.

Crist hit a flying forearm, then a baseball slide dropkick to the floor on Sami. He leapt off the apron but Sami caught him with a forearm. Meanwhile, RSP slammed Akira onto the ring apron. Sami pulled out wood boards from under the ring. The heels hit a hip-toss on Akira, sending him through a board at 8:00. They hit a back body drop and mid-air kick on Crist, then they slammed Akira through another board for a nearfall. The heels beat  up Akira with shards from the boards. Crist hit a second-rope flying stunner. Akira applied a Triangle Choke on RSP; Crist hit a Shadows Over Hell splash on RSP’s back. Akira twisted Page’s arm but Sami made the save. Blue Meanie popped out from under the ring and he brawled with Cannonball. RSP hit a rolling punch on Akira. Sami hit a low blow kick on Crist, and Page immediately got a backslide to pin Jake. Okay brawl; not my style but that certainly never dragged.

* The heels continued to beat up the babyfaces until Jimmy Lloyd ran to the ring to make the save. Callihan got on the mic and he wanted to keep fighting. On the screen, Raven appeared! “Yuu think you can play while daddy’s away? Well, daddy’s come home.” He referred to his faction as “The Response.”

* We flipped to the commentators, and Joe Dombrowski said “War Chamber” will be in St. Petersburg on March 29 on Triller+.

* To the bathroom, where Saint Laurent and Tom Lawlor weere talking, while Davey Boy Smith was standing at a urinal. That is just dumb. Who decided to show that scene? Smith came up and wiped his hands on them for good measure.

3. Alex Kane (w/Mr. Thomas) defeated Bobby Fish at 10:11. I haven’t seen Fish in a while and he’s completely bald; he looks like NWA’s Sal “The Pal” Rinauro right now. He’s always been in such great shape so I’m surprised to write that he’s looking a little thick around the middle. A feeling-out process and standing switches to open. Kane applied a sleeper; Fish hit a cheap shot to the ribs as the ref separated them in the corner, and it allowed Fish to take control of the offense. He hit a Dragonscrew Legwhip at 3:30, then a sliding dropkick; Kane went to the floor to regroup and talk to Thomas.

Back in the ring, Fish hit a low blow mule kick with the ref out of position at 5:30. Kane hit a release suplex and they were both down. On the floor, Fish hit some hard spin kicks. In the ring, Fish was back in charge. Kane fired back with a Saito Suplex, then a half-nelson suplex at 8:30. Kane hit a shoulder tackle and they were both down. He hit a spear for a nearfall. He applied a sleeper in the center of the ring; the ref checked on Fish and called for the bell. Okay match.

* Kane got on the mic and did his “Bomaye is for the people” line. AJ Francis walked onto the stage and he belittled Kane. The crowd chanted “Bottom Dollar!” at Francis. Kane got the crowd to chant “Bomaye!” Francis said this will come down to “ritual combat” and he said some people “in his ranks aren’t as loyal as you think they are.” The crowd “ohhhh”ed at that line as the camera focused on Mr. Thomas, who shook his head in disagreement.

4. Tom Lawlor and Davey Boy Smith Jr. (w/Saint Laurent) defeated 1 Called Manders and Matthew Justice to win the MLW Tag Team Titles at 11:17. Laurent wore a motorcycle helmet. Justice flipped from the apron onto the heels. The crowd chanted “wash your hands!” at Smith. They all brawled on the floor. Manders hit some loud chops on Lawlor. In the ring, Smith bodyslammed Manders at 3:00. Lawlor hit a series of spin kicks on Manders for a nearfall, as the heels kept him grounded. Smith hit a snap suplex for a nearfall at 6:00. Manders finally hit a spinebuster on Lawlor. Justice got the hot tag and he hit a top rope double shoulder tackle. He clotheslined Lawlor to the floor.

Smith powerslammed Manders, and the heels were right back to working Manders over. Lawlor set up for a Hart Attack clothesline but Justice tripped Tom. Justice and Manders hit a spear-and-clothesline combo on Smith at 9:00, but Lawlor pulled the ref to the floor to stop the count. Manders slid a table in the ring. Justice hit a tornado DDT on Lawlor through the table for a believable nearfall, as the ref wasn’t initially in the ring. Laurent swung his helmet at Manders, so Manders punched him. Brett Ryan Gosselin ran to ringside to provide a distraction. Smith hit Manders in the head with the helmet! Lawlor rolled up Manders for the cheap pin! New champions! The crowd booed this outcome.

* The cameras focused on Vladamir in the crowd, the WWE superfan.

5. Matt Riddle defeated Bad Dude Tito to retain the NJPW TV Title at 5:03. Riddle hit a running knee and a German Suplex but Tito popped up and hit his own German Suplex. They traded forearm strikes as Dombrowski told viewers there is a 15-minute time limit in title matches. Tito hit a Death Valley Driver, then a short-arm clothesline at 1:00. Riddle hit a brainbuster for a nearfall; this has to end quickly, right? Riddle hit a top-rope corkscrew moonsault for a nearfall, then some Yes Kicks to the chest. Tito hit a chokeslam and a top-rope frogsplash for a nearfall at 2:30.  Riddle hit a (grazing) Pele Kick, then some flying forearms in the corner, then an Exploder Suplex.

Riddle went for another corkscrew moonsault, but Tito caught him and turned it into a powerbomb. Riddle hit a kneestrike to the jaw, then another German Suplex. Tito hit  rolling elbow and a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall at 4:30. Riddle caught Tito and hit a Gotch-style Tombstone piledriver for the pin. That was a LOT of action for a match that was that short bell-to-bell. (I noted that right away; there was just no way they were going close to 15 minutes with the pace they set from the bell.)

* Jesus Rodriguez explained this is a “$5,000, five-minute challenge.” So, you only need to last five minutes? Salina held a bag with a large “$” symbol on the side, like a 1970s cartoon.

6. MLW Featherweight Champion Janai Kai (w/Salina De La Renta) defeated Zoey Cannon at 00:16. I don’t know Cannon; she wore a blue top and bottom with gold trim. Kai hit a hard kick to the face in the corner; the back of Zoey’s head hit the turnbuckle, and she collapsed to the ring. The ref checked on Zoey and called for the bell. “I don’t know if that was five seconds!” Dombrowski shouted. Yes, the whole watch was just one blow.

* In a backstage segment, Cesar Duran said he was looking forward to their return to Florida. He said he wants a top challenger for Mistico.

* A commercial aired for the March 16 special (which is being taped presumably as soon as this live episode ends.) I’m not so sure now, as they didn’t announce any matches, and Dombrowski’s wording made me wonder if it’s going to be a “best-of” show.

* We went to the tail of the tape! Satoshi Kojima has been sidelined with a leg injury for a month; he didn’t compete at all on the recent “Fantastica Mania” tour with CMLL stars. Of course, their combined age is somewhere around 110.

7. Satoshi Kojima (w/Okumura) defeated Minoru Suzuki to retain the MLW Heavyweight Championship at 16:23. Suzuki came out first and got a nice pop. Standing switches to open. Donbrowski said Suzuki won the last singles match between them a few years ago, but he added they have been in the ring against each other 137 times! Mostly in multi-man matches. Standing switches to open but then they traded LOUD chops. Kojima knocked him down with a shoulder tackle at 2:30. Suzuki applied a crossarm breaker in the ropes, then he pulled Satoshi to the floor, and they brawled at ringside. Dombrowski said this is indeed Satoshi’s first match since he won the MLW title.

Suzuki grapevined Kojima’s leg on the ring apron. He twisted the right leg around the ring post. He kicked Okumura for no reason! Minoru grabbed a heavy, padded chair (not a metal folding chair!) and he jabbed it into the damaged knee. In the ring, Suzuki stomped on Kojima and was in charge. He again grapevined Kojima’s leg, but Satoshi reached the ropes at 7:30. He playfully slapped Kojima in the face. Satoshi fired up and hit some forearms. Suzuki went right back to a leglock on the mat. Kojima hit his rapid-fire chops at 9:30 and Minoru’s chest was really turning red! Suzuki began hitting some stiff forearm strikes. Suzuki hit a running penalty kick to the chest for a nearfall at 11:00.

They got up and traded more forearm strikes, and Kojima collapsed. He got back up and the forearms continued. He went down a second time! Suzuki got a nearfall at 12:30. Kojima hit a stunner out of nowhere! However, he missed a clothesline. Suzuki hit some kicks to the thighs and he twisted and rotated the right ankle! He applied a sleeper on the mat, and the crowd rallied for Kojima. Minoru got another nearfall at 14:30. He set up for a Gotch-style piledriver, but Satoshi powered free. Kojima hit a clothesline! Kojima hit a suplex for a nearfall. He hit another clothesline for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. He hit another clothesline for the pin. That match had no business being that good.

* Kojima waved at the fans as he walked to the back. That was it… no post-match segment, no setting the table for a new challenger. We had a commercial for the War Chamber show on March 29.

Final Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed that main event. To a casual viewer, they probably never thought about how few back-bumps there were. It was so hard-hitting, and of course, Minoru’s facial expressions are priceless. The show-opener Mistico made takes second place and that was really good, too. And for just over five minutes, that Riddle-Tito match was a blast and a sprint for third.

I have very few complaints. I’m not a fan of the hardcore action, but it didn’t get gross at all, other than Sami slobbering his spit on everyone. I could do without watching Davey Boy Smith using a urinal; seriously, who thought that was a good idea? I guess I don’t mind the quick win for Janai. At least it wasn’t against an established name. I have seen Bobby Fish for so many years… and I’m not 50 too and I know how hard it is to hold onto that physique… but I was surprised that he looked so much more out-of-shape than the last time I saw him.

I am really unclear if we have matches on the next show or just a highlight reel. But no matches were announced.


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