MLW “Once Upon a Time in New York” results: Vetter’s review of Matt Riddle vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr., Satoshi Kojima, Alex Kane, and Okumura vs. Tom Lawlor, Richard Holliday and Josh Bishop

By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

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MLW “Once Upon a Time in New York”
Taped February 29, 2024 in Queens, New York at Melrose Ballroom
Streamed March 16, 2024 on the MLW’s YouTube Page

Joe Dombrowski and Christian Cole provided commentary.

Cesar Duran came out of the back and cut a promo, ripping on Selina De La Renta. He talked about the lucha show planned for May 11 in Chicago, and he challenged Selina to bring her best luchadors to the event. Zayda Steel and Brett Ryan Gosselin interrupted him, and Zayda said she’s next in line for the Featherweight Title. Zayda and BRG then walked to the ring and Brett said Boston is a superior city to New York, earning some boos.

1. Brett Ryan Gosselin defeated Love Doug, Dyln McKay, Marcus Mathers, Ichiban and Cannonball in a scramble at 6:16. McKay and Mathers are tag partners but this is an every-man-for-himself scramble so let’s see if they fight. Cannonball came to the ring last, but Akira and Jake Crist attacked him before he made it to the ring. The bell rang, and the four babyfaces in the ring stomped on BRG. Dombrowski wondered if Cannonball will make it into the match. Ichiban hit a series of punches in the corner on Mathers. Mathers hit a top-rope crossbody block on Ichiban. BRG came off the ropes but Dyln caught him with a kick.

The massive Cannonball got in the ring at 3:30 and he beat up BRG. Cannonball hit a double chokeslam. Cannonball hit a sit-out piledriver on Mathers, dropping their collective weight onto McKay! BRG hit a low blow. Three guys hit superkicks on BRG. The video (intentionally) got fuzzy and we saw Mads Krugger. BRG got a rollup on Doug for a nearfall, then an Unprettier for a nearfall. Gosselin got a forward roll to pin McKay. Solid scramble.

* A video package aired showing Timothy Thatcher in action. This was REALLY LOUD and I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY CAN’T CONTROL VOLUME ON A PRE-TAPED SHOW. It just feels really bush league.

2. Bad Dude Tito defeated Azteca 66 at 1:24. Selina De La Renta and Jesus Rodriguez introduced Tito, as Tito has signed on with her. Azteca 66 is short, scrawny, with the red mask and black outfit. Tito tossed him around, then he hit a sit-out piledriver for the pin. Pointless but I’m a big fan of Tito.

Saint Laurent walked onto the stage. He introduced AJ Francis, who was loudly booed. Alex Kane and Mr. Thomas came out. Francis chastised Kane for “losing the MLW title during Black History Month.”

3. AJ Francis defeated Mr. Thomas at 2:22. They traded punches. Francis nailed a standing powerbomb and was booed. Thomas hit a huracanrana. AJ Francis hit a Death Valley Driver for the pin. Acceptable.

* A video package recap of the feud between Cesar Duran and Selina De La Renta. I just haven’t been interested in this. Selina joined commentary.

4. Delmi Exo (w/Cesar Duran) defeated Zayda Steel (w/BRG) at 4:17. Dombrowski went nuts at seeing Duran lead Exo to ringside. Basic reversals early and Zayda mounted Delmi and punched her repeatedly. She hit a Code Red for a nearfall. Delmi’s package piledriver attempt was blocked; Zayda’s Unprettier attempt was blocked. Zayda hit a Lungblower to the chest. An Azteca henchman hopped on the apron and distracted Zayda. It allowed Delmi to hit the package piledriver for the pin. Okay.

* Zayda threw a fit.. She got on the mic and shouted “I didn’t lose! You people are blind. I got screwed. You didn’t see what I saw.” She said she could beat Janai Kai. Immediately, Kai came out of the back and she slapped Zayda, knocking her off her feet. Duran jawed at Selina and called her a “two-dollar whore.” Janai got in the ring and beat up security guards.

5. Matt Riddle defeated Davey Boy Smith Jr. (w/Joshua Bishop) at 11:55. An intense lockup and Riddle locked in a crossarm breaker. Smith was distracted by the “Bro!” chants and he covered his ears. Smith tied a leglock around Riddle’s head. Smith and Bishop talked on the floor. Smith hit some kneelifts to the gut. Bishop grabbed Riddle’s bare foot and pulled him to the mat at 3:30, allowing Smith to stomp Riddle and take control. Smith hit a suplex and fans chanted “USA!” at Smith. Riddle hit some roundhouse kicks to the chest. Smith hit a guillotine legdrop at 6:00. Riddle hit a jumping knee to the chin.

Bishop distracted Riddle. Riddle hit a modified Pele Kick and an Exploder Suplex, then a senton and a running Penalty Kick. Riddle hit a German Suplex for a nearfall, then another senton. Bishop again distracted Riddle. Smith hit a top-rope superplex for a believable nearfall. Smith hit some European Uppercuts. Riddle got a backslide for a nearfall at 10:00, and they traded rollups. Riddle got on Smith’s shoulders and got a Victory Roll for a nearfall. He went to a Triangle Choke, but Smith escaped and turned it into a Sharpshooter and the crowd popped. He applied a crossface. Riddle rolled him up for the pin out of nowhere. That turned out to be a really good match.

* Bishop got in the ring but Riddle knocked him out with a spin kick.

Court Bauer came out of the back. Before he could say anything of value, we saw Mads Krugger and his masked goons attack wrestlers and referees.

6. Star Jr. (w/Salina De La Renta) defeated Magnus at 8:34. Star Jr. wore black and silver and has long, dark hair coming out of his mask. Magnus wore a gold mask and has short (or no!) hair. Both have great physiques. Standing switches to open. They traded overhand chops. Star Jr. hit a dive over a corner post onto Magnus on the floor. Magnus slammed Star into a guardrail. In the ring, Star hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 3:00. Star hit a flip dive to the floor on Magnus and actually landed over the guardrail and on fans in the front row, earning a “holy shit!” chant.

Magnus dropped Star Jr throat-first on the guardrail. In the ring, Magnus hit a stunner for a nearfall, then an Angels Wings faceplant for a nearfall at 6:00. Star hit a springboard dropkick for a nearfall, then a Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall. They traded more chops and slaps to the face. They hit simultaneous Mafia Kicks and were both down. Star Jr hit a top-rope superplex, then a top-rope doublestomp to the chest for the pin. That was really good. I’m not sure if I’ve seen Star Jr., and I have only seen Magnus a handful of times (mostly in the recent tour in Japan.) Dombrowski said that Star Jr. has sent a message to Mistico with the win.

* Backstage, we see Rocky Romero has been knocked out. Duran placed coins over Romero’s eyes. We see an ambulance has arrived to treat people hurt by the Contra assault of Court Bauer and others.

7. Satoshi Kojima, Alex Kane, and Okumura defeated “WTF” Richard Holliday, Tom Lawlor, and Josh Bishop at 9:49. The commentators talked about Kojima’s injured knee. The heels attacked at the bell and all six brawled. The babyfaces all hit stunners, and Okumura got a nearfall. Okumura and Holliday traded punches; Okumura removed the mask over his nose and mouth. Lawlor and Kane entered at 3:00 and traded mat reversals, and Tom hit some kicks to the thighs. Kane hit a belly-to-belly suplex and a splash for a nearfall. Kane and Okumura hit a team suplex on Lawlor for a nearfall. The heels began working over Okumura.

Okumura finally hit a suplex and he tagged in Kane at 7:30. Kane hit a release suplex on Lawlor for a nearfall. Lawlor hit a spinebuster. Holliday hit a sit-out powerbomb on Kane for a nearfall. Okumura hit some Exploder Suplexes, then a rolling summersault from the apron to the floor. Kojima made the blind tag to enter for the first time, and he clotheslined Bishop for the pin. That was ridiculous as Kojima was literally in the ring for about six seconds; I guess they felt the need to protect his legit sore knee. Davey Boy Smith hit the ring to help the WTF faction beat up the babyfaces.

* Matthew Justice and 1 Called Manders hit the ring to make the save. Outside, we see The Calling brawl with Akira and Jake Crist. Back to ringside, AJ Francis hit the ring to attack Kane. That was a really busy final three minutes.

Final Thoughts: It is worth noting how small the roster was on this night, as many of the wrestlers who competed on the Feb. 29 live event did double-duty and again wrestled on this taped episode later that night. I question the timing of releasing this show on Saturday night. Diehard wrestling fans are watching AEW Collision. So, why not wait and release this on Sunday night, when there isn’t any competition?

Smith-Riddle really picked up nicely in the second half and earns best match. The lucha match takes second, ahead of the main event. The undercard matches were too short to be memorable. They did a decent job of promoting the War Chamber match on March 29.


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