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Winfree’s MLW Fusion (Ep. 184) Review 9.28.23

September 28, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
MLW Fusion Image Credit: MLW
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Winfree’s MLW Fusion (Ep. 184) Review 9.28.23  

Well everyone, it’s back to the land of MLW again. Slaughterhouse is coming up fairly soon so there’s that to build, Akira will be in action tonight to further the ongoing war between The Calling and the Second Gear Crew. Mostly we’re continuing the reintroduction of Salina de la Renta who returned to MLW recently, man MLW has a heel overload right now and a serious lack of top flight babyface talent. I’m pretty sure Matt Cardona will do something as well. We’re starting to draw from the Fury Road set of tapings unless otherwise noted.

First, here comes Salina de la Renta. She introduces herself and wants us to stay tuned in. That felt a little awkward, the way they cut the crowd footage in and kept the camera work tight makes me think this was filmed and edited in in post.

To the ring now for our first match.

Match #1: Tiara James vs. Zayda Steel

They tie up, then trade arm wringers and escapes, James generally getting the better of things then hitting a shoulder block. Steel slaps James then powders, but James hits a dropkick through the ropes. Back in the ring James avoids an elbow drop, but Steel trips her into the ropes and takes over with elbows. Corner chop from Steel then some stomps and a rest hold. James fights back to her feet but Steel slams her down by the hair and follows up with a basement dropkick. James avoids a corner attack and hits shoulder blocks then a spinebuster. Slap from James, then a double underhook facebuster sort of like the Kobashi DDT which gets the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Tiara James won in 3:12

Rating: 2 stars
Thoughts: Steel has decent presence but still looks green, not surprising considering how junior she is in her career, while James was capable. Not a whole lot to see here.

We get a quick recap of the big brawl that closed Fusion last week. Apparently there was a thumb drive left by The Calling, so here’s a Calling video. Rickey Shane Page mocks 1 Called Manders saying he’s not a cowboy, he’s just from Iowa. Ouch. More are joining The Calling on the road to Carcosa. Cannonball is specifically mentioned, everyone else is prey and they’re on the hunt. The Calling without Raven to lend gravitas is just missing something, RSP isn’t a bad talker but he’s just generic.

In the back Mance Warner fires up Jimmy Lloyd as Jimmy mentions he’s been working hard to cut weight for his title match because he has to make weight. Mance promises to help him make weight, then goes to get him a beer.

Salina talks in the back, she has a new match to announce, CMLL vs. MLW, Rocky Romero vs. Akira at Slaughterhouse. OK then, I dig Rocky in general.

Back to the ring now.

Match #2 – Triple Threat Match: TJ Crawford vs. Kevin Blackwood vs. Alec Prince

TJ talks trash early, then Price kicks him as does Blackwood. More kicks to TJ before he takes a powder. Blackwood hits a shoulder block to Price, then some rope running and roll ups are traded. Price misses a kick and walks into a backfist. Blackwood hits TJ but the distraction allows Price to hit a springboard crossbody to Blackwood. TJ avoids a diving Stunner from Price and then slams Price into the corner and hits a running kick. More kicks from TJ then a jumping knee drop for a 2 count. TJ with a chop in the corner then Blackwood re-enters the frame only for TJ to boot him off the apron. Price lands a kick then a striking flurry and a half nelson suplex then a springboard DDT for 2 as we get a cut.

I don’t think we missed much as we come back to Blackwood shoving TJ into Price then Blackwood and Price hit an assisted German suplex on TJ. Blackwood with strikes to Price, then hits a single leg and a double stomp. German suplex from Blackwood then running attacks in the corner. TJ back in and gets tossed into Price in the corner. Blackwood with a Death Valley Driver to TJ for a 2 count. Blackwood up top but misses a flying nothing, then he and TJ trade strikes before TJ lands a modified Michinoku Driver for 2. TJ rolls into a triangle choke, Blackwood hoists him up though and Price comes flying in with a diving blockbuster to TJ off the shoulders of Blackwood. Price runs wild for a bit, but here’s the masked man in a hoodie to jump him. The masked man tosses Price into the barricade. Back in the ring Blackwood heads up top but jumps right into a wheel kick, the Silver Bullet, from TJ and that’ll get the pin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: TJ Crawford won in 6:32

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: Decent little cruiserweight match, all three men can go and it’s nice to see TJ pick up a win after being a solid hand in his previous MLW outings. I’m a little surprised to see Blackwood eat the pin as they’ve been touting Blackwood recently but the intrigue is with the masked man and TJ so I can live with it. Price still looked darn good too, would be very interested to see what else MLW might do with him.

Post match Sam Laterna talks with TJ and asks him about the masked man, but Blackwood interrupts this to say he didn’t like that but he kind of respects TJ. The masked man jumps Blackwood and he and TJ stomp down Blackwood for a bit. Eventually enough officials come down to pull TJ away, but the masked man sort of half Pillmanizes the leg of Blackwood, then unmasks to reveal Tony Deppen. OK then.

In the back Ichiban and his translator get an interview, his translator says Ichiban has dedicated his life to the fight. His goal is to dominate the division and get the belt. Ichiban said nothing during that.

Next a video package on the new World Titan Federation. It’s pretty short and doesn’t actually do much but remind us that they exist.

Matt Cardona is live streaming from the back, he’s here to take a couple of questions. He’s going to win at Slaughterhouse and calls himself the Death Match king. Maki Itoh shows up to trash talk him in Japanese, then here’s Mance Warner from behind to attack Cardona and steal his phone. Cardona and Maki have had some fun interactions before so that’s kind of fun.

Slaughterhouse update, RSP and Manders will have a Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal match so who knows what’s that. We will have a Chamber of Horrors match because Mance wants it, and they confirm Delmi Exo vs. B3cca.

Alright, main event time.

Jimmy brought a ladder to the ring then dove onto the pile of Calling bodies to start things off. Akira’s back is all kinds of messed up, not sure what he did before this set of tapings but it left a mark, and he kicks Jimmy down. They brawl on the floor for a bit and Jimmy gets a pizza tray and lands shots to the head of Akira. Back under the ring Jimmy eventually finds a spike which he drives into the back of Akira’s back a few times.

Match #3 – MLW Middleweight Title Match: (c) Akira w/ masked goons vs. Jimmy Lloyd

Into the ring now and the bell rings, that above stuff lasted about two minutes. Jimmy grabs his ladder and hits Akira with it then does a Terry Funk spin, though that ladder is quite small and it looks a little sad. Akira lands a back elbow, then suplexes Jimmy into the ladder which collapses immediately under the force. Pizza tray work from Akira now then some kicks and a tray shot to the head. Jimmy avoids a suplex but Akira lands a rolling thunder kick to send Jimmy out of the ring, then a Tiger Feint Kick to the back of the head. They head out of the ring now and Akira has a butter knife which he puts between the fingers of Jimmy and rakes it through, then he poses Jimmy. Akira tosses chairs into the ring but still has the knife and starts slamming it into the head of Jimmy to open him up, then he tastes the blood off the blade to earn a “you sick fuck” chant. They head back into the ring and Akira starts using the knife in a fishhook style. Akira with a fishhook assisted Russian leg sweep but only a 2 count on the cover. Jimmy avoids a chair shot and lands a kick then a running neckbreaker. Jimmy sets up a chair, and a Falcon Arrow onto the upright chair connects for 2 and we get a break.

Don’t think we missed anything during the cut there. Jimmy gets a small bag of thumbtacks, but Akira lands a flurry of strikes then drops Jimmy into the tacks with a Saito suplex. Running elbow from Akira connects, but only a 2 count. Akira sets up four chairs, seats together, but Jimmy picks him up into an Electric Chair only for Akira to hit a Poisoned Rana which Jimmy no sells to land a kick. Then Akira counters a move into an armbar, Jimmy picks him up and hits a side slam into the tacks. RSP walks down but here’s Matthew Justice to prevent the interference. Jimmy with another superkick, then a package piledriver gets a near fall. Now Jimmy stands on the chairs but Akira hits him, climbs up there with him and hits a Kobashi DDT partially onto the chairs and that gets the 3 count.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Akira retained the title in 8:57

Rating: 2.5 stars
Thoughts: I’m not at all squeamish so the violence here didn’t bother me on that level, it just felt kind of pointless. I like violence, I just need it to have a purpose beyond shock value or masking in ring deficiencies. Akira is growing on me just a bit as a performer, while this was my first exposure to Jimmy Lloyd and I leave rather nonplussed by him.

Post match Akira poses with both of his belts.

We get a video from Saint Laurent, he says everyone should be talking about the World Titan Federation. He reminds us about Davey Boy Smith Jr taking on Alex Kane for the title at Slaughterhouse, but next week Alex Kane has a mystery opponent courtesy of MSL. Spoiler, it’s Snitsky. Anyway that ends the episode.

The final score: review Average
The 411
We got a couple of passable matches here, a few match announcements, and a bit of general momentum heading forward. Not bad for Fusion, which still has problems but that's kind of a whole MLW issue at the moment that they're trying to work through. But for this week at least, not awful stuff.

article topics :

MLW: Fusion, Robert Winfree