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Winfree’s MLW Fusion Alpha (Ep. 4) Review 10.13.21

October 13, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s MLW Fusion Alpha (Ep. 4) Review 10.13.21  

Hello everyone, time for more MLW action. Tonight the 2021 Opera Cup kicks off as Davey Richards battles Tom Lawlor. Lawlor won the 2020 Opera Cup and is trying for a repeat this year. We’ll also get an update on the the new MLW World Heavyweight champion Alexander Hammerstone. Hammerstone currently has two belts, so I imagine we’ll get a bit of clarity around the National openweight title and what that will be going forward. Given the two announced matches I think we could be in for a solid episode this week.

We get a quick recap of the Fightland event, which saw Tajiri capture the MLW middleweight title in a Fatal Four Way that also included Myron Reed, Aramis, and Arez, as well as Alexander Hammerstone finally unseating Jacob Fatu as MLW World champion. Hammerstone legitimately messed up his left ankle pretty early in that match, the last update we had from him was nothing broken but the swelling was still too heavy to determine what kind of soft tissue damage there is.

Commentary runs down the card for us tonight, then we head to the ring for our first match.

Match #1: Lee Moriarty vs. Calvin Tankman

Both Tankman and Moriarty are in the Opera Cup but against different first round opponents, this is just a fun preview. The crowd support is pretty even. Moriarty tries to out wrestle Tankman but the power differential is making that difficult. Tankman blocks a punch, then Moriarty tries to quicken the pace but just runs into Tankman and can’t budge him. Eventually Moriarty hits a drop toe hold and drop kick, but Tankman pops up and just clocks him with a right hand. Tankman pulls Moriarty up, Moriarty fights back with a leg kick then a springboard armdrag to take Tankman down. Tankman quickens the pace now and hits a Pounce to launch Moriarty into the ropes. That put Tankman fully in control and he keeps trash talking Moriarty while abusing him with strikes. Tankman absorbs a few back elbows but drills Moriarty with a scoop slam. Moriarty takes objection to some of Tankman’s trash talk and fires up, laying in elbows but he’s just out gunned by Tankman. Headbutt from Tankman, but Moriarty fights back with an enziguri then a running kick in the corner. Moriarty tries a pump kick, Tankman catches it so Moriarty drills him with a knee strike then a running punt kick to a seated Tankman for a 2 count. Stomps from Moriarty then he switches towards an armbar. Tankman fights out but Moriarty kicks the arm then locks in an Octopus armbar. Moriarty keeps cranking on the arm, but Tankman gets into the ropes to force a break. Tankman winds up draped over the middle rope hanging out of the ring, but he’s able to avoid an apron stomp and then hits a snap powerslam onto the apron while still being hung up in the ropes. A bit too contrived for my taste but a cool looking spot. Both men fight up in the ring, Moriarty back to the arm then lays in strikes but eats a pop up powerbomb for a 2 count. Moriarty avoids a backfist and hits an ax kick then a twisting European uppercut for another 2 count. Moriarty sets in the corner, hits a running Sick Kick but that is just another near fall. Now Moriarty heads up top but flies into a back elbow from Tankman. Tankman calls for the end, but Moriarty avoids a Tankman Driver and kicks the leg. Tankman catches Moriarty in a tornado DDT attempt, stalls him out then hoists him up and drills him with a Tankman Driver to pin and win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Calvin Tankman won in 11:00

Rating: 3 stars

Tankman works so much better doing the slower big man stuff than when he’s trying to do the cruiserweight style, and Moriarty was an excellent fiery underdog. Post match Tankman offers his hand and the two men share a moment of mutual celebration.

King Mo and Alex Kane are on the entrance ramp with Alicia Atout, they put over Tankman but Mo offers him a chance to join American Top Team where they can make him a real killer. Tankman considers as he approaches the duo, Alicia asks him for an answer as the crowd chants “No”, but he says he’ll think about it.

We get a Contra video, Samael asks Hammerstone how it feels to have two belts but only one leg. Contra took their trophy at Fightland, the mangled ankle of Hammersone. Fightland wasn’t the end, you cut off one head and two more replace it. They plan on taking Hammerstone to the War Chamber for the final battle. A War Chamber match to finally end the Contra chapter of MLW is entirely fitting.

Cesar Duran is on the phone in his office, telling whoever’s on the other end of the line that they’re out of time and now the consequences are due. That’s interrupted by Hammerstone coming in. Duran congratulates him on winning the title, but Hammerstone is here to drop off the National openweight title, calling letting it go the right thing to do. He always hated the assholes who pulled up the ladder once they climbed it, so he’s letting this opportunity be here for someone else. Duran appreciates that and says whoever carries that belt next will have enormous shoes to fill before inviting Hammerstone to sit. Hammerstone declines to sit, and Duran asks him about the War Chamber match with Contra. Hammerstone is ready for them in any match at any time. Duran gives him the War Chamber match and tells him to assemble his team. Duran looks at the camera and mimes a throat slash as Hammerstone heads out.

Next is a special video from Alicia Atout. She’s looking at Cesar Duran and acknowledges his past in Boyle Heights (Lucha Underground) but we still don’t have the full story about why that went under. She’s got footage of Druan’s last night in Boyle Heights. We see him taking stuff from a rough approximation of Dario Cueto’s old office space. He leaves the red bull statue behind before getting into a car. Apparently Duran is on the run from someone, and he’s been something of a mysterious figure globe trotting since Lucha underground went under. He’s been expanding his control if MLW during the last year and now has control over most of the league. Some video footage of Duran on the phone, calling himself the wolf in a hen house but promising to take his time and be more cautious this time. A grainy video that’s supposed to be the end of Lucha Underground shows an unidentified woman rifling through Cueto’s office but not finding what she’s looking for. I’m not sure if that was supposed to be Catrina from Lucha Underground or Salina de la Renta, though I’d be willing to bet the model/actress was Salina.

Tom Lawlor gives a video promo, calling himself the defending champion before mocking Davey Richards. The Opera Cup is the best tournament in professional wrestler and he vows to win it all again.

Match #2: Brittany Blake vs. Delmi Exo w/ Ashley Vox

Blake and Delmi circle each other, then tie up and jockey for position. Delmi gets a rear waist lock but Blake kicks free then runs into a shoulder block. Blake tells Delmi to hit the ropes, she does so then blocks an arm drag and locks up a pinning position for a 1 count. Knee from Delmi then she sets for an exploder but Blake fights free. Northern Lights suplex from Delmi gets a 2 count. Blake avoids a corner attack then hits a backbreaker through the ropes for a 1 count. Some choking from Blake on the mat before she locks in a submission but Delmi gets free quickly. More control for Blake, including a snapmare and kick to the back. Headscissors from Blake then she hits a 619 through the bottom ropes then a stunner hanging up Delmi on the second rope. That all got a 2 count, so Blake hits a cross body in the corner then a rising knee but Delmi tosses her off when she tries a bulldog. Hard slap from Blake, but Delmi fires up and drops her with a series of clotheslines. Blake avoids an exploder suplex but eats a Cutter for a 2 count. Delmi hoists Blake onto her shoulders, but Blake slips off and lands an enziguri then a tornado DDT for an incredibly close near fall. Blake is pissed, she heads up top but misses a double stomp and gets hit with a Pedigree from Delmi and Delmi pins her for the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Delmi Exo won in 6:40

Rating: 2.5 stars

A little awkward in places, but overall a good match. It’s rather sad that those two just got more time than any two of the Queen’s Crown tournament opening rounds.

Willow Nightingale is with Alicia in the back, she’s very excited about the women’s division gaining momentum in MLW. She puts over the other roster members but has no plans on stopping her momentum.

We get a reminder that Will Ospreay is making his MLW debut in New York City in December.

Hammerstone gets jumped in the back but EJ Nduka intercepts the flying Contra goon and tosses him aside. Hammerstone is impressed, and asks EJ to be on his team in War Chamber. EJ is very down for that.

Davey Richards video now, he says there’s not much to say about Tom Lawlor that Lawlor hasn’t already proven. He says this isn’t about titles or money, it’s about fighting what you fear. Maybe your past, maybe a doomed future, maybe a drab present, but you stand and fight against it. Once you get through that personal battle, anything else will follow. This match comes down to things you can’t see, they both know each other very well, it’ll come down to who can hold off the pain just a little bit longer.

Cesar Duran is here, and he will neither confirm nor deny any of the various charges against him. But really, does it matter if he keeps giving us the best wrestling? He’s the best promoter ever and he’ll prove it tonight. Well he’s certainly the best authority figure.

Some injury updates, Richard Holliday was cut open when he was jumped by Gino Medina a few weeks ago and is recovering. Hammerstone’s ankle injury is addressed, they’re calling it a hairline fracture that should be healed in 8 weeks or so. Apparently Holliday is going to be part of Hammerstone’s team for War Chamber, leaving only one spot open.

Alright, main event time.

Match #4 – Opera Cup Opening Round: Tom Lawlor w/ Kevin Ku vs. Davey Richards

Both men take their time to start, they take turns playing with the crowd and taunting each other. Lawlor tries a single leg, they scramble up and neither man gets an advantage. Kimura roll from Lawlor and he’s looking to switch to an armbar but Richards regains his feet. Lawlor into a drop toe hold, Richards dives on a straight ankle lock and Lawlor grabs the ropes to break the hold. Richards goes for the arm now, Lawlor trips him out of an arm wringer and starts back on the arm of Richards. Lawlor keeps trying to extend the armbar but Richards rolls free and locks up a grounded surfboard and Lawlor again gets the ropes to break the hold. Richards escapes an arm wringer by moving through the ropes and tying up Lawlor then kicking his arm. Lawlor heads out of the ring but Richards is out after him, but Lawlor sends Richards into the barricade. More brawling around the ringside area before they head back into the ring only for Richards to drag Lawlor back out and kick him. Lawlor battles back by wrapping the arm of Richards around the ring post. That gives Lawlor a real target to work over and he starts slamming the arm of Richards into the ring steps and barricades. Back into the ring now, Richards tries to fight back but that left arm is hurting. Lawlor stomps on Richards in the corner before hitting a bulldog on the arm, kind of a reverse Divorce Court. Richards fights back up to his feet and lays in kicks but Lawlor catches one and knees him in the body. Richards to the apron and hits a Dragon Screw leg whip between the ropes, now giving him a target as well. Lawlor writhes on the ground, Richards heads up top but misses a double stomp. They tie up and Richards gets a Trailer Hitch, Lawlor has to fight to the ropes and forces the break. Lawlor jumps for a guillotine to counter a suplex attempt, Richards is able to move his head to the safe side and start cranking on Lawlor’s leg with an ankle lock. Full Ankle Lock now for Richards, Lawlor again struggles but is able to roll free. Lawlor gets behind and tries a rear naked choke, he can’t secure the body though and eats a Back Drop Driver from Richards. Richards with a running elbow then hits the top rope double stomp but only gets 2 on the cover, but he turns the kick out into an Ankle Lock. Lawlor tries to fight out again, he’s able to counter into a triangle choke. Into an omoplata, then a Rings of Saturn variation but Richards counters into the Ankle Lock again. Richards keeps going leg to leg, grapevines the leg as he sinks in the Ankle Lock and Lawlor struggles to the ropes and eventually flips off the ropes for being too far away before passing out from the pain.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Davey Richards won in 11:40

Rating: 3 stars

Not as high paced as the opener tonight, but the solid limb work and counters that both men brought helped this a lot. It did feel a little stuck in 3rd gear, but given that they taped everything except the finals of the Opera Cup at the same Fightland tapings I wont begrudge anyone saving themselves with that many matches being required in one night.

Richard Holliday is in Cesar Duran’s office now. Holliday mispronounces his name, but takes the correction. Holliday notes the lack of chairs in the room, and tries to sell himself to Duran. Duran brings up that Alica Atout, who he calls Holliday’s girlfriend, has started to dig into his business. Azteca Underground has acquired a lot of properties, including IWA from Puerto Rico. Duran is going to make sure Holliday defends his Caribbean title, and hopes Holliday will take this chance to cement his legacy and tells him to show himself out. Holliday tells him to get ready to deal with lawyer slash father, then punches the heavy bag Duran has on his way out. Duran seems unimpressed. Next week Holliday will defend his title against King Muertes.

We get video of Injustice, they’re sick being attacked from behind. They demand respect, but 5150 is here to jump them again. Slice Boogie, Danny Rivera, and Julius Smokes are here to beat them down. They leave Jordan Oliver and Myron Reed lying and drive off to end the show.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Quite a good episode this week, if the women's match had been a bit crisper and the main event able to hit just another gear of intensity this would have been pretty great. As it stands there's quality ring work, some good angle advancement, and more time for Cesar Duran to be his awesome and slimy self. MLW seems to have really found their groove with this product right now.

article topics :

MLW Fusion Alpha, Robert Winfree