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Winfree’s MLW Fusion: ALPHA (Ep. 1) Review 9.22.21

September 22, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s MLW Fusion: ALPHA (Ep. 1) Review 9.22.21  

Hey everyone, MLW is releasing content again so here I am. You might be wondering what the deal is with the Fusion ALPHA bit, well MLW will be debuting on Vice TV on October 7th and to count down to that event we’re getting the limited series Fusion ALPHA. The big story going on is of course Cesar Duran, the former Dario Cueto, having debuted and basically declaring war between his Azteca Underground faction and the rest of MLW. Seeing as the whole promotion is transitioning to that arc we’re cleaning up some old feuds and trying to lay new ground work, specifically tonight a Bunkhouse Brawl between Team Filthy and the Von Erichs while the main event between Davey Richards and TJP could turn out to be a hardcore fans delight. Well with that out of the way, let’s get to the action.

Duran welcomes us to a new era in MLW, the era of violence and Azteca. He then runs down the card tonight. We’re still using material that was recorded during the Battle Riot event so if you saw that match you’ll see the crowd is the same.

Team Filthy comes out for the first match, but Lawlor has a mic and is going to talk for a bit. Lawlor plays with the crowd for a bit, and reminds us it’s been 16 months since he was in front of a real crowd, but then again he might still be waiting given the quality of people in attendance. Some cheap insults follow, then some references to Philadelphia sports eventually bring out the Von Erichs.

Match #1 – Bunkhouse Brawl: Team Filthy (Kevin Ku and Kit Osbourne) w/ Tom Lawlor vs. the Von Erichs (Ross and Marshall)

The brawl starts right away and eventually the Von Erich boys toss Ku and Osbourne. The brawl spills to the ringside area where Ross and Ku pair off while Marshall abuses Osbourne. Marshall dumps Osbourne into a wheelbarrow then slams him into the ring post. Ross with a scoop slam then they send Ku into the ring and commence the double team. Standing moonsault from Marshall, but here’s Osbourne in to try and get on offense but he’s caught in a tossing version of the 3D and Ku has to save the match. Ku ejects Ross and starts laying into Marshall. Marshall gets caught with a kneebreaker. Back on the floor now Ku and Marshall keep trading chops as Ross back drops Osbourne on the apron. Ku gets a pipe and smacks Marshall with it while Osbourne and Ross fight in the ring. Osbourne and Ross fight out of the ring, but it’s time to swap partners I guess as Marshall starts working over Osbourne. Ku lays in kicks to the leg of Ross while Marshall drop kicks Osbourne in the ring. Marshall drop kicks Ku in the ring but gets distracted by Lawlor and chop blocked by Osbourne. Ku slams Ross into a ring post as Osbourne with a Dragon Screw leg whip to Marshall. Ku starts using a shovel on Ross while Osbourne continues attacking the leg of Marshall. Marshall starts fighting back, Ku kicks him down but here’s Ross with the shovel to layout Ku. Osbourne DDT’s Ross on the floor and Marshall gets attacked in the ring by Ku and Osbourne. Ku bashes the knee of Marshall with the shovel. That leg of Marshall is hurting and Team Filthy is happy to go after it. Ross and Ku are in the ring, Ku lays in chops but Ross fires up and they start trading rights. Ross avoids a Buzzsaw kick and hits an enziguri. Falcon Arrow from Ross, and Osbourne has to break that up. Osbourne sends chairs into the ring which Ross sets up, but that backfires in a bit way when Ku hits him with a Fisherman’s Buster onto the chairs but only a 2 count as Ross kicks out. Lawlor gets involved again, he’s got a 2×4 but winds up clocking Ku. Marshall takes out Lawlor while Ross then brains Osbourne with the wood but that only gets a 2 count on the cover. Marhsall sets up the chairs again, and places a wooden board across them for a makeshift table. They lay Osbourne on the board, Ku is under it, and Marshall then moonsaults onto Lawlor and break the board leading to a pin for the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: The Von Erics won in 11:26

Rating: 2.5 stars

Sadly a bit boring, both teams at least attacked each other like this was a blood feud but the repetitive action was a bit of a problem given the length of the match. I’m also not a huge fan of some of the stuff the Von Erichs survive in matches, they’re ridiculously protected to the point that it takes most of the drama out of their matches.

We get a minor hype package for Hammerstone vs. Fatu set to main event the Vice TV debut.

A video package for TJP, he says Davey Richards used to be a globe trotter but TJP is one now and calls himself the hardest working wrestler in the world. He insults social media, and TJP compares Richards wrestling style to falling pots while his is like classical music. Richards is an expert on quitting, and it happens that TJP is a submission technician so tonight Richards will be tapping out. Decent promo from TJP.

So MLW is starting up a women’s featherweight division and we get some roster announcements. The Sea Stars (Ashley Vox and Delmi Exo), Brittany Blake, Holidead, Zoey Skye, Willow Nightingale, and Nicole Savoy. Nightingale has made some appearances on AEW Dark and Elevation while Savoy was the longest reigning Shimmer champion.

Cesar Duran is in the back, and acknowledges he used to be Dario Cueto but is interrupted by Matt Cross who wants a title shot and references their history together. Cross was Son of Havoc in Lucha Underground for those unaware, and Duran promises to give the matter some thought.

Apparently Team Filthy and the Von Erics are still brawling in the back.

5150 promo, Konnan introduces his totally not LAX knockoff stable of Slice Boogie, Julius Smokes, and Danny Rivera.

Match #2: Gino Hernandez vs. KC Navarro

They trade arm wringers and escapes then the usual indy spot of sweeps and 1 count covers before a stand off. Medina shoves Navarro, leading to them running the ropes before Navarro hits an arm drag. Some corner strikes from Navarro but he misses a double stomp then hits a drop kick that sends Medina out of the ring. Medina wants a time out, Navarro follows him out and they trade blows before Navarro hits a suicide dive. Back in the ring Medina is able to take over with a shot to the gut then a tornado kick for a 2 count. Medina starts working a rest hold, but Navarro fights out with an awkward sunset flip for a near fall. They trade rights then Navarro with a clothesline and drop kick. Satellite DDT from Navarro gets a 2 count. Medina with a modified Go To Sleep, then an ax kick to the head and a torture rack face buster for the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Gino Medina won in 4:16

Rating: 2 stars

Medina doesn’t do a whole lot for me, but he was a decent base for Navarro here. Navarro made the most of his singles debut in MLW showing off his speed and aerial style.

Contra interrupts the broadcast with a video. Josef Samael addresses Hammerstone, and brings up Hammerstone trying to take the belt from Fatu who’s been the champion for over 2 years. This wont be a title fight, it will be a war zone and Hammerstone will be going home in a body bag. Per usual, Samael is really good in these spots.

Video for Davey Richards, he says his goal is to be the best professional wrestler in the world no matter where he goes. He references being partially trained by TJP back in the day, and notes the flash of TJP relative to his gritty style. He promises intensity in the blandest way possible and predicts that he’ll tap out TJP.

Duran is on the phone in the back, he’s counting on someone’s success when Lawlor barges in. Lawlor says he’s dealt with the biggest scumbag promoters on the planet and name drops Dana White, he wont allow Duran to change how things are running here. Duran has been looking forward to meeting Lawlor and gives him a hug while giving the camera a look that indicates he’s exaggerating. But he knows Lawlor understands violence and spectacle. Lawlor reminds us that he’s the only grand slam winner in MLW history, then says he beat three men in a row to win the Opera Cup and got nothing for it. Duran agrees this is an injustice, and says next week Lawlor gets a title shot against Alexander Hammerstone for the National title. Lawlor was thinking more of Fatu but Duran ushers him out of the office. Some unseen but very large goon shows up and Duran tells him he’s late.

Match #3: TJP vs. Davey Richards

They just stare at each other for a bit, then slowly circle. Eventually they tie up, hit the ropes and Davey gets a double leg but TJP spins out, they trade arm drags and submission threats then stand off. Davey goes for a kimura, TJP avoids it and looks for an abdominal stretch but Davey counters into an arm wringer. TJP escapes and gets a head scissors hold and is able to start working that. Davey counters into his own head scissors. TJP is able to use a headstand escape and starts working a hammer lock. Davey tries a few headlock counters but TJP counters him right back and lands a back elbow. They run the ropes, and Davey misses a drop kick. TJP baits Davey into diving out of the ring and hits a pescado onto him. Back into the ring now and TJP tries the face washes but Davey powers up and starts laying in strikes but runs into a kitchen sink knee strike and rolls out of the ring. TJP hits a tope con hilo back into the ring but Davey is in the ropes to break up the pin attempt. Davey fights out of an anchor hold and gets one on TJP but TJP immediately counters into the Octopus hold. TJP bails on that near the ropes and hits a suplex, then a back suplex and heads up top. TJP takes his sweet time and that lets Davey intercept him and they both head up top now. Davey is able to headbutt TJP into compliance then hits a top rope superplex and both men are down. Slowly they fight up to their feet and start trading strikes, eventually TJP runs into a round house kick and Davey with a bridging German suplex but that only gets a 2 count. TJP avoids a suplex, and tries a Tiger suplex but Davey counters into an ankle lock, then hits a punt kick after TJP escaped and that still only gets 2. Davey heads up top, but TJP avoids a double stomp and is able to land a round house kick of his own. TJP with some face washes in the corner then the running kick. He tries it again but runs into an attempted Alarm Clock, and they trade armbar counters before Davey gets the ankle lock, then they trade roll ups before TJP grabs a knee bar. TJP switches into a Regal Stretch but Davey gets to the ropes to break the hold. They head to the apron, where Davey starts laying in kicks, and TJP starts returning them before Davey hits an exploder suplex onto the apron. Back in the ring Davey hits the top rope double stomp but only gets 2. Davey has snapped, he hits a brainbuster, then turns TJP’s kick out into an ankle lock and TJP taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Davey Richards won in 14:02

Rating: 3 stars

They told a good story here, TJP starting out in control but Davey Richards picking up steam as the bout wore on and his ring rust got knocked off. Some really good counter sequences in here as well, which was also a big theme of the match.

We’re told the participants in his years Opera Cup and they are as follows:
Bobby Fish
Davey Richards
Alex Shelley
Matt Cross
Tom Lawlor
Lee Moriarty
Calvin Tankman

I’m not sure how Moriarty’s new AEW contract will impact his participation but we’ll just have to wait and see on that.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Not the greatest episode, but it was largely saved by the main event. Richards and TJP work together very well. The opening match was just a brawl with very little in the way of story to hold it together. The other highlight was seeing Luis Fernandez-Gil back on TV, he remains the best on screen authority figure professional wrestling has had in the last 15 years or so.

article topics :

MLW Fusion Alpha, Robert Winfree