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Winfree’s MLW Fusion (Ep. 163) Review 1.19.23

January 19, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s MLW Fusion (Ep. 163) Review 1.19.23  

Alright people, back to the land of MLW for another episode of Fusion. We’re still on the Fightland series of tapings. Tonight we’ve got Jacob Fatu taking on Ben-K, an update on Alex Hammerstone vs. EJ Nudka, and Taya Valkyrie making a title defense.

We open with commentary running down the card, then get right into the action.

Match #1: Gia Scott vs. Trish Adora

Scott comes out aggressive, she takes down Adora and lands some strikes. Adora fights back with chops, then a roll up for 2. Adora locks up FUBAR to attack the arm, but Scott fights free with an elbow. Scott with a Samoan drop that gets a 2 count. Some corner offense from Scott then a neckbreaker. Adopra fights back with a running cross body, then an avalanche in the corner and a follow up hip attack. Pull back powerbomb from Adora gets a near fall. German suplex from Adora with a bridge gets a 2 count. Scott with a rip cord elbow, then a slap but Adora cuts her off with Lariat Tubman and gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Trish Adora won in 4:00

Rating: 2 stars

This lacked some connective tissue, which hurts it a bit, but both women got to show what they can do and this should set up Adora for a title shot against Taya in the near future.

Sam Adonis is coming to MLW in the near future.

Back to the ring for another match.

Match #2: TJ Crawford vs. Alec Price

Price with a quick side headlock then he flips away from Crawford a few times and dances. Rope walk hurricanrana from Price, then Crawford avoids a corner attack and lands a kick to the body then a springboard Stunner. Crawford with a chop, then a running chop in the corner. Uppercut from Crawford, then Price fights back only to get caught in a wheelbarrow suplex. Price looks to fire up and lands a stiff elbow then flips out of a back suplex. Kick from Price and he climbs the ropes but Crawford meets him with a kick then climbs up with him. Price with some strikes to stop Crawford, then tries a sunset powerbomb but Crawford stops that momentum leading to Price landing a kick to the leg. Running double stomp to Crawford in the tree of woe position, nice spot. Another elbow from Price, and another, then an enziguri. Knee from Price then a pump kick in the corner, then a seated senton off of the ropes when Crawford avoided a kick. Crawford with a pop up knee then a back elbow and the Warning Shot (Sister Abigail but with a DDT grip instead of an STO) but only a near fall. Price knees out of a suplex and gets a small package for 2. Crawford eats a back kick, then a head kick from Price. Price runs the ropes and hits a diving blockbuster then follows up with a Shining Wizard style ax kick he calls the Surprise Kick and gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Alec Price won in 5:50

Rating: 2.5 stars

Solid little match, if a bit spotty at times. These two clearly have worked together before and that helped, there were a few less than stellar looking moments but on the whole this was pretty good from both guys.

Commentary runs down some upcoming stuff for MLW.

We get a video from Alicia Atout, she’ll be updating us on Alex Hammerstone vs. EJ Nduka among other things. First is an update on an upcoming trip to Mexico from MLW. EJ Nduka wants more money for a Last Man Standing match with Alex Hammerstone, but it seems he’ll be getting it. That match took place on this taping event so it’ll be up at some point in the near future. No real update on the Calling Card attacks, but we’ll get something on it in the near future. To close, we’ll be getting MLW action figures from Boss Fight Shop if you want to pre-order.

Alex Hammerstone heads to join commentary for our main event.

Match #3: Jacob Fatu vs. Ben-K

Some stalling at first as Fatu and Hammerstone jaw at each other and we get a commercial break. We come back to Fatu landing strikes on Ben-K. Ben-K fights back with some shoulder blocks but he can’t knock Fatu over. Fatu lands a right hand to drop Ben-K. Ben-K finally lands a shoulder block to drop Fatu as they run into each other. Some corner work from Ben-K then punches as Fatu staggers around the ring. Fatu blocks a scoop slam but takes a knee to the body, but Ben-K charges at Fatu in the corner and Fatu dodges so Ben-K posts himself. Triple jump Arabian moonsault from Fatu, very nice body control and balance from him, and Ben-K rolls out of the ring to try and recover. Some ringside brawling from Fatu as he plays with the crowd. Back in the ring Fatu sets up a chair for a Sabu style dive, but he slips on the top rope and drops to the mat holding his leg. Fatu moves to the floor still selling the leg, Ben-K goes after him but gets slapped and sent into the barricade again. More strikes from Fatu, then they head back into the leg as Fatu is no longer selling the potential leg issue. Nerve hold from Fatu. Ben-K tries to fire up, and hits a Spear to drop Fatu as Fatu spent a bit too much time yelling at Hammerstone. More body work from Ben-K, he tries to lift Fatu but can’t get him up. A second effort sees Ben-K get Fatu up on his shoulders but Fatu fights off, drops him with a punch and hits a handspring moonsault for a near fall. Fatu tries a powerbomb, but Ben-K fights him off. Right hand from Fatu, then a super kick. Ben-K grabs the leg of Fatu to slow down Fatu’s moonsault attempt, Fatu just heads up top and yells at Hammerstone but that delay allows Ben-K to attack him on the ropes. Ben-K looks for a second rope move, and hits a Jackhammer, the Masakani, with the rope assistance but he’s slow on the cover and that leads to Fatu getting the shoulder up just before the 3 count. They start trading strikes, both men a little loopy then Ben-K lands some headbutts to drop Fatu. Fatu lands a super kick, then the pop up Samoan drop. Double springboard moonsault from Fatu, he almost clears Ben-K on the landing, but it still gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Jacob Fatu won in 13:41

Rating: 3 stars

A little slow in places, Fatu’s mishap on the double jump dive might have caused that so I’ll be a little charitable in some respects, but the reliance on brawling and slower pace has me wondering in general if Fatu isn’t nursing some kind of injury during these tapings. Ben-K looked pretty good here, and this certainly wasn’t a bad match at all, just a slower one that seemed stuck in first gear for a long time.

Post match Fatu gets a mic, he puts over Ben-K and thanks him for the match. Ben-K gets the mic briefly and thanks Fatu in English before handing it back. Fatu thanks the fans for showing up, brings up the history of MLW and his family’s history with the promotion, then says it’s only right for him and the SST to stick around and get every bit of gold they can. He says he’s taking on Hammerstone for the MLW title in February. Again they taped this back in October so he’s referencing the currently scheduled taping of SuperFight on February 4th set for the same venue they’re currently in. If the reporting of the taping was accurate, this was also the final bit of the taping to send the fans home excited for the promotion returning in February. Hammerstone holds the belt up high on the floor as the episode ends.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Close to Good this week, but two of the three matches were just kind of there and designed to introduce newer talent. I don't object to that mind you, but it does detract from the investment in the show. Fatu and Ben-K put forth a decent effort but it was slower. There wasn't a ton of advancement narratively here, beyond confirming a date for Hammerstone vs. Fatu 2 at the end. Overall this felt a little like a place holder, but with a decent overall run time and enough solid ring work to avoid dropping below Average.

article topics :

MLW: Fusion, Robert Winfree