wrestling / TV Reports

Winfree’s MLW: Fusion (Ep. 183) Review 9.21.23

September 22, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
MLW: Fusion Image Credit: MLW
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Winfree’s MLW: Fusion (Ep. 183) Review 9.21.23  

Hey everyone, it’s MLW time. We’ll have Don King, who still isn’t dead, do something pertaining to Alex Kane’s ongoing MLW world title reign. Mister Saint-Laurent will be talking, Ichiban will be inaction, the growing rivalry between The Calling and the Second Gear Crew continues, and Matt Cardona will be on hand. We’re still drawing mostly from the Fury Road tapings but I’ll try to keep you updated if that changes.

First, Jimmy Lloyd is with the Second Gear Crew. Lloyd showed up last week to help the brawl with The Calling, Matthew Justice is not here tonight but Lloyd is glad to be in MLW and plans to take the MLW Middleweight title from Akira. Mance Warner is fired up, the SGC will get gold but right now they want cold beers.

OK, commentary runs down the card and I have to call all kinds of BS on them referring to Don King as “the guiding light of Ali and Tyson.” That’s just ahistorical nonsense, the man financially abused every fighter under contract to him and it galls me to no end hearing this kind of crap.

We head to the ring for our first match.

Match #1: Ichiban vs. Nolo Katana

They tie up, then trade arm wringers and escapes before Ichiban hits a mat return then Nolo scrambles up, Ichiban grabs another side headlock then they hit the ropes, trade counters and eventually we get a stand off. Test of strength spot now, Ichiban trips Nolo down and goes for pins then he flips out of a monkey flip and hits arm drags then a springboard crossbody. Ichiban with a 10 punch in the corner, but the crowd counts “1” each time before Nolo shoves him off and then lands a striking flurry. Nolo with an arm drag then a dropkick to send Ichiban out of the ring. Corkscrew plancha from Nolo connects, then they head back into the ring. Ichiban with a shot then a crossbody but Nolo rolls through, they hit the ropes and we get a double crossbody spot and both men are down. They slowly fight up to their feet and Ichiban lands a flurry of strikes then a spinning Northern Lights Bomb gets 2. Nolo counters a running move, then he hits the ropes for a backflip DDT off the ropes and a 2 count. Nolo up top, but Ichiban avoids a double stomp and they trade kicks with Nolo getting the best of that. Ichiban catches a jumping Nolo with Ichibankai, sort of, and that gets the 3.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Ichiban won in 6:10

Rating: 3 stars
Thoughts: I’ll call that good enough, the smoothness of that backflip/moonsault into a DDT was really nice. This was a tad on the indy-riffic side of things but was also a decent showcase for both men.

In the back Matt Cardona gets an interview, he takes the mic and says he’s a superstar not a fighter. The indy god and he beat Mance Warner, he’s here for everything but mostly money and gold.

In the back Sam Adonis walks around, he seems to know where Cesar Duran is but is immediately jumped by masked Azteca goons. Look man, those big TV NDA’s aren’t anything to mess with and Cesar is filming for Mayans at the moment.

Video from The Calling. Rickey Shane Page says everything he said came true, he’s the golden king, and they’re hunting for “you”.

Sessions by Saint Laurent up now, and MSL brings out B3cca to talk after promising that the World Titan Federation will take the MLW world title. B3cca is holding a silent vigil for Delmi Exo since Exo isn’t able to stand toe to toe with her and is out. Well that was pointless and kind of painful.

Don King awkwardly talks into a camera, he uses incredibly vague language that they plaster over a graphic for Alex Kane vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. for the MLW world title. King guarantees we’ll like what we see, a guarantee which I assume is not legally binding.

In the back Court Bauer is advised briefly to stop avoiding Salina de la Renta’s calls. Then Mance Warner comes up with a pile of blue prints and wants a Chamber of Horrors match, blood, violence, beer, and more. OK then.

Apparently Microman is missing.

B3cca joins commentary as we have tech issues related to commentary for the next match.

Match #2: Little Guido vs. Love Doug

Doug brings a cake to B3cca, she seems very uninterested. Doug wants a test of love, Guido obliges into the test of strength spot, then Doug gets him to dance before proposing to Guido and Guido just kicks him in the face. Kick to the knee from Doug then an arm wringer but Guido counters into a fireman’s carry then some body blows. Arm drag from Doug, then Guido lands a back elbow and a running attack that we miss due to some awkward camera decisions. Guido with chops in the corner but Doug lands a drop toe hold then a roll up for 2. Clothesline from Guido and he plays around with the crowd. Doug avoids a corner attack then lands some rights and a running bulldog, then a Michinoku Driver for a 2 count. Guido rakes the eyes then gets a guitar but misses a guitar shot which bounces off the ropes and into his own head, then Doug with a guitar assisted clothesline to get the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Love Doug won in 4:26

Rating: 1.5 stars
Thoughts: Doug’s schtick doesn’t do it for me, and commentary pulled this down half a star or so. No one they’ve brought out recently to be in the booth has added anything worthwhile to the broadcast experience and a few of them have actively hurt it.

Post match Doug offers the cake again to B3cca, she takes it then slams his face into the cake. Somehow that wasn’t messy or satisfying.

In the back the Second Gear Crew fire up Matthew Justice for his match with Akira. Mance still wants more violence.

Slaughterhouse update, our main focus is DBS and Alex Kane for the world title being the new announcement.

In the back Salina de la Renta has a video, she smacks a moving bag that’s allegedly Microman and she promises to send him back to Mexico for all of us.

To the ring for our main event.

Match #3: Akira vs. Matthew Justice

As a brief reminder, this is non-title and Akira’s back is a mess. Probably because they taped this after his match with Jimmy Lloyd which has yet to air. Quick Spear from Justice gets 2 then he abuses Akira around the ringside area. Some chair stuff from Justice as he hits Akira with them before tossing them into the ring. Back into the ring Justice wedges a chair in the corner then he kicks Akira and tosses him into that chair. Justice sets up another chair and sits Akira in it then chops him a few times but Akira pops up and unloads with chops of his own before landing an enziguri. Akira runs at Justice, and he’s caught in a Death Valley Driver into the set up chair for a sick looking spot but naturally that only gets a 2 count. Brief cut but I don’t think we missed much. Justice still has a chair set up and he sets Akira on the top rope and chops him before climbing up with him. Akira counters something with a top rope Sunset Powerbomb into the chair which crushes flat but Akira only gets a 2 count. Rolling Thunder kick from Akira sends Justice to the apron then Justice catches Akira with a shoulder block. A few masked goons from the Calling show up and Justice fights them off but Akira climbs the ropes with the chair and launches himself with the chair into all three men on the floor. Jimmy Lloyd runs down and launches a chair into Akira and the ref now tosses the match out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: No Contest in 5:16

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Some gnarly looking bumps, but I really dislike pulling those out for no good reason and it didn’t seem to do much here for a match that was more angle than anything else.

Post match, The Calling and the SCG brawl. RSP and some very rotund masked man stomp on Justice then here comes Mance Warner and Manders to increase the brawl with more chair shots. Everyone brawls into the back where RSP bounces Manders into a wall then gets a ladder and sets it up. RSP puts Manders on the table, climbs the ladder and Splashes Manders through the table. That ends the episode.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Fairly standard Fusion, we got a bit of momentum going with The Calling and Second Gear Crew continuing to bring violence, Cesar should be back in the near-ish future, and Matthew Justice and Akira brought some violence. Unfortunately MLW has a bit of a manager overload on the heel side with Salina and MSL occupying similar roles and Duran's return will only complicate that further. There's also a real lack of top babyface talent at the moment, Kane is occupying more of a tweener role leaning heel or face more depending on his opponent than anything else right now and The Calling holding every other title on the men's side creates kind of a logjam. But Slaughterhouse is still shaping up and that's their current hard sell, and to that end they did a decent job of hinting at why you should buy it.

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MLW: Fusion, Robert Winfree