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Winfree’s MLW Fusion (Ep. 164) Review 2.01.23

February 2, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s MLW Fusion (Ep. 164) Review 2.01.23  

Hey there people, it’s MLW time again. So, the week this one aired live I wasn’t able to catch it and wound up having to wait for the release on Youtube. MLW still releases their Fusion episodes there, just about a week after originally airing. Anyway tonight we’ve got Taya Valkyrie defending her MLW title against Trish Adora as well as what I think is some Dragon Gate footage being shown here. Well let’s get to it.

We open with Cesar Duran, he’s got a mic and reminds us that he’s usually ahead of the curve, the Tom Brady of lucha libre if you will. Or for these idiots the Bryce Harper of wrestling. Even though the crowd doesn’t deserve it he’s got a gift for them, he’s signed the most violent fighter in Mexico, a main eventer from AAA, and if MLW wants to use this man they’ll have to pay him a lot of money. Tonight we get a glimpse of this champion, Sam Adonis. Adonis is in fact here and heads to the ring.

Match #1: Sam Adonis vs. Johnny Patch

Adonis with a quick snapmare then a modified crucifix for a 2 count. Side headlock from Adonis, Patch counters into one but can’t knock of Adonis with a shoulder block. Jackknife from Adonis, Patch bridges up but Adonis cuts him off with a knee strike. Rope walk into a flipping neckbreaker from Adonis. Clothesline from Adonis, then another one, and an Emerald Flowsion ends it. Apparently Adonis calls his version (there’s no difference) the Orange Flowsion Thunder Driver.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Sam Adonis won in 2:15

Rating: Cushaw squash

Nice little squash, and a decent enough introduction to Adonis in terms of general presentation to those of us who haven’t seen him before.

Post match Adonis gets an interview, he speaks some Spanish to annoy the crowd before saying he’s spent 5 years in Mexico beating up luchadors, no mask, he just beats people up. It doesn’t matter why he’s with Duran, questions are a burden for others while answers are a prison for yourself. Not the best line to close on.

In the back Alex Kane and Mr. Thomas talk, Kane says 2023 is a big year for him, he’s going to put down the Bulldogs then they’ll rebrand the Opera Cup into the Oprah Cup. Kane plans to end the year as MLW World title, then he predictably yells “Bomaye”.

Davey Boy Smith Jr and the Billington Bulldogs arrive, Smith laughs at the Bomaye Fight Club and reminds them talk is cheap. Smith reminds Kane that he’ll do damage to him when they finally get in the ring together. Not the best promo from Smith, but when he turns on the intensity towards the end you can feel it.

We head to Dragon Gate for a match now.

Match #2 – Open the Dream Gate Title Match: (c) Shun Skywalker vs. YAMATO

This match originally took place on January 8, 2021. Shun with a pretty quick top wrist lock, YAMATO counters into an arm wringer into a hammerlock. Side headlock counter from Shun, then YAMATO drops him with a shoulder block. Into the ropes now and Shun catches YAMATO with a backbreaker then heads up top only for YAMATO to land a punch then a kick that sends him to the apron. YAMATO kicks Shun to the floor, then follows him out there. They head up the entrance ramp and YAMATO vows to slam Shun through the ramp with a brainbuster but Shun counters into one of his own and both men are down. Shun misses a clothesline and YAMATO hits an exploder on the ramp to send Shun back down towards the ring. YAMATO and Shun head to the apron, YAMATO wants a brainbuster on the apron, can’t hit it though and Shun with a pump kick then tries a Blaster on the apron and hits it. That looked unpleasant as we get a commercial break.

Back in the ring Shun hits a pump kick, scoop slam, and a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Shun drops YAMATO with an elbow strike, YAMATO is trying to strike with him but Shun is just in a better place at the moment. YAMATO with a dropkick to the knee then a Dragon Screw. Running dropkick from YAMATO then one to the back of the head. YAMATO heads up top, and hits a dropkick for a 2 count. Shun avoids a suplex and unloads with a kick then a DDT. YAMATO blocks a Blaster only to get hoisted up, and YAMATO grabs a Sleeper. Shun has to get to the ropes, which he climbs then falls backwards to slam his way out of the Sleeper. Standing moonsault double knees, then another one from Shun before he heads up top and hits a moonsault for a near fall. Shun with some more elbows, just a bevy of them to YAMATO then a pump kick but YAMATO hits one of his own and hits a Gallaria for only a 1 count. Now YAMATO wants the Ragnarok but Shun counters into his own Gallaria. They trade pump kicks then start trading elbows and headbutts before YAMATO lands an enziguri. Shun blocks a Frankensteiner of the Almighty into a sit out powerbomb for a 2 count. YAMATO is able to grab another Sleeper, Shun is fading and YAMATO hits a sleeper suplex then a German suplex but Shun powers up with a spinning uranage. Again YAMATO is able to grab the Sleeper to counter a Shun move, but Shun counters the Gallaria follow up with an SSW but only a near fall. They start headbutting each other on their knees, YAMATO switches to elbows and that seems to get the better of things as they fight to their feet. Elbows go back and forth then Shun with a lariat but YAMATO fires up and they go back to trading strikes with YAMATO landing the better lariat. Gallaria again from YAMATO but again only a near fall. YAMATO has had enough, Ragnarok follows and that finally puts down Shun for the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: YAMATO won the title in 17:14

Rating: 3.5 stars

Good match, a touch slow between the big flurries but this was well executed and we got some nasty sounding strikes and headbutts out of these two. My gripe would be with production decisions, this match is over 2 years old but nothing indicates that on the broadcast and I had to double check it via my own research to confirm the date.

We get a video from Richard Holliday, he looks more than a little drawn out and deflated which is only to be expected considering he’s fighting cancer. He wanted to address all of us here and fully inform anyone who didn’t see the social media postings. The diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma was devastating, and he never thought this would ever happen to him. But it’s not the news that defines you, it’s how you react to it. He’s been training while going through chemotherapy and feels he’s getting better every day. There’s no timetable for his return right now, professional wrestling is his life’s work and he wants to get back soon. This isn’t a goodbye, it’s not even a see you later, it’s a see you soon because he feels good and can’t wait for the day he gets back in the ring. To close he says that when you breathe rarified air, you fight. Nice to hear from Holliday, and I sincerely hope he kicks cancer’s ass. He looked like someone ill, but he didn’t look nearly as bad as others I’ve seen in similar positions.

Microman is in the back, and Duran and Adonis walk by, Adonis dumps a trash can onto Microman and puts it on him but here comes Lince Dorado to defend Microman. Duran offers Dorado a spot in his group because Dorado is the MLW middleweight champion.

Video from the Samoan Swat Team, they’re arguing about missing flights. Jacob Fatu brings up his schedule, Juicy Finau and Lance Anoa’i bring up being undefeated in MLW. Some mutual hyping up goes on before Lance settles things down and says they’re about to be dripped in all the gold, and Fatu points a one finger to the sky mimicking the pose of the Bloodline.

Main event time.

Match #3 – MLW Women’s Featherweight Title Match: (c) Taya Valkyrie w/ Cesar Duran vs. Trish Adora

They tie up, Adora gets an arm wringer but Taya counters into a single leg takedown. Front headlock from Taya, Adora counters into a hammerlock and Taya escapes into a standoff. School boy from Adora gets a 2 count then a hip toss and Taya takes a powder to regain herself. We get a minor cut and come back to Taya slamming Adora into the corner. Adora avoids a corner attack and lands a couple of avalanche’s then a hip attack. Double leg from Taya, then a Super Dragon style Curb Stomp for a 2 count. Adora fights back with some corner offense again then a German suplex. Taya avoids a pump kick then lands a back kick, front kick, then a clothesline for a 2 count. Adora avoids a Road to Valhalla and lands a uranage backbreaker. Bridging suplex from Adora gets a 2 count. Taya with a headbutt and they start trading elbows, then Taya distracts the ref so Duran can trip up Adora. That doesn’t stop Adora though, who catches a jumping Taya only for Duran to trip her again and Taya lands on top in a cover that gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Taya retained the title in 5:26

Rating: 2 stars

This just didn’t click, I’m not sure why but something didn’t really connect here. Adora was able to match Taya’s power, which was a nice little story but some of the execution felt off and there wasn’t much connective tissue here. Doubling up on the Duran interference so close to the finish also might have hurt the impact of his influence. The editing hurt this too as we might have lost stuff that would have helped.

Taya poses with the belt to end the episode.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Kind of an odd one to figure out this week, the bulk of the episode was a Dragon Gate match from a little over two years ago. Sam Adonis showing up was kind of cool and he'll be a solid addition to the roster, the Holliday update was kind of touching, but the main event didn't really work and ultimately this kind of felt like a lot of filler.

article topics :

MLW: Fusion, Robert Winfree