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Winfree’s MLW Fusion on Thanksgiving Review 11.25.21

November 25, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Winfree’s MLW Fusion on Thanksgiving Review 11.25.21  

Hello everyone, it’s time for that most famous of Thanksgiving traditions, MLW Fusion! I kid, I kid, but in all seriousness MLW has been giving us pretty good content lately and tonight should continue that trend. The other half of the 2021 Opera Cup semifinals will take place with the winner of TJP and Calvin Tankman advancing to meet Davey Richards, the debut of Gnarls Garvin, and a ladder match for the National Openweight title when Alex Shelley, Myron Reed, Zenshi, Alex Kane, and a mystery guest try to claim that particular belt.

We open with a video about the War Chamber event from last week and the implosion of CONTRA Unit.

Match #1 – 2021 Opera Cup Semifinal Match: TJP vs. Calvin Tankman

Tankman has his head bandaged up, selling the attack from Alex Kane and King Mo a couple of weeks back. They circle then tie up, Tankman pretty easily out muscles the smaller TJP and shoves him around a bit. TJP lands a drop kick and starts laying in some strikes but Tankman sends him into the corner hard enough to make him faceplant. Tankman lays in chops then tosses TJP across the ring with one arm. TJP with an up and over out of the corner and lays in strikes to Tankman. Side headlock from TJP, he uses the ropes to get the takeover from it. Tankman fights back up and TJP bounces off of him trying a shoulder block. TJP tries a few more shoulder blocks, Tankman is unmoved then they trade slaps. TJP heads out of the ring and takes a powder to reset things. Tankman mocks TJP from inside the ring, TJP gets his water bottle and takes a swig then puts it under the ring before returning to the squared circle.

They tie back up and again Tankman backs him into the corner and lays in chops before tossing TJP across the ring again. TJP avoids a charge in the ropes, Tankman falls out of the ring then pulls TJP out with him. Tankman tosses TJP into the barricade then heads back in, he teases a dive but TJP slips under the ring to avoid him and Tankman pulls up short. We now see Alex Kane and a goon walking down. Tankman pays them little mind, he reaches down to fish under the ring for TJP who shows up and spits water in Tankman’s face. TJP up top and hits a cross body then lays in punches from the mount. Stomps from TJP, then some knee strikes before he starts going after the arm. TJP with a modified Tequila Sunrise to tweak the knee of Tankman. Tankman struggles to his feet and TJP starts laying in strikes. Tankman avoids a Sunset Flip, but as he brings TJP up for a powerbomb TJP slips around and locks in the Octopus Stretch. Tankman falls to a knee and TJP drop kicks him out of the ring then starts jawing with the ref. Kane and his goon attack Tankman, hitting a clothesline assisted German suplex to leave him laying on the floor. TJP relaxes on top of the ropes in the corner for a bit, but Tankman does get into the ring to beat the count. Some facewashes from TJP but he runs into a Pounce from Tankman. Tankman starts to fire up as Alex Kane looks like he’s seen a ghost. TJP flies into a backbreaker and a lariat from Tankman but that only gets a near fall. Tankman calls for the end, TJP avoids a Tankman Driver and lands a roundhouse kick. TJP avoids a back fist but gets caught in a pop up spinning back fist. Tankman misses the elbow to the back of the head and TJP school boys him for 2. TJP hits the tornado DDT, climbs the ropes but takes too long and Tankman intercepts him with a palm strike. Tankman climbs up with TJP, he’s looking for a superplex but TJP rakes the eyes and lands a headbutt. TJP tries a crossbody, Tankman catches him then TJP pulls off the second turnbuckle pad while fighting from Tankman’s shoulders. The ref and TJP argue about the bad as Kane and his goon grab Tankman and toss him into the exposed buckle. This ref is the worst, there’s no way he didn’t see or hear that. TJP climbs the ropes, hits the Mamba Splash and wins.


Rating: 2.5 stars

TJP bumped a lot for Tankman, unfortunately the outside interference hindered this more than added anything. I get that they wanted to keep Tankman looking strong, but there were execution issues here. I feel bad for the ref, having to play dumb to protect the finish. Tankman is still a little green in places, but he’s got a lot of potential. TJP and Davey Richards will be a good final though.

Post match Alicia Atout interviews TJP, she feels he should be ashamed of that. TJP thinks the people of Philadelphia appreciate someone doing work all by themselves, and delegating work like he does is hard work.

Some news, MLW is opening their doors to foreign talent to come in and show what they can do.

In the back Alicia interviews Warhorse about becoming Parts Unknown’s most interesting person of 2021. He says it feels damn good when he walks into town and gets an award, but objects to his name on the plaque not being in all caps. KC Navarro comes up with a chair and wants to know who Warhorse is. Warhorse and Navarro yell at each other, then Warhorse headbutts him down. A brawl breaks out after that.

In the back Tankman is pissed and then gets pissed at Emilio, the interviewer. He says Alex Kane is a dead man, Tankman calls this his opportunity to prove himself, to show he’s one of the best in the locker room and Kane got involved. Kane took food away from his daughter, Myron Reed shows up and talks Tankman down. Reed promises retribution, but not right now and not on camera.

We get a reminder that nZo will debut in a few weeks, then the Von Erich boys wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and then they tell Cesar Duran to get out of their way. They say the Von Erichs haven’t had a title shot in Dallas in 40 years and if Duran wants to be big time he’ll give them a shot in Dallas and end that drought.

An update on newly crowned MLW Middleweight champion Tajiri, he’ll be defending that title in All Japan but that will be shown in Alpha in a few weeks.

To the ring, here’s Budd Heavy to take on the debuting Gnarls Garvin.

Match #2: Gnarls Garvin vs. Budd Heavy

Garvin jumps Heavy at the bell and beats him down in the corner. Headbutts from Garvin, then he hits a drop kick. A crossbody into the ropes follows from Garvin, then a Back Drop Driver gets the win.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Gnarls Garvin won in :50

Rating: Roter Zentner. . . SQUASH

Expected squash is expected, there wasn’t enough here to get a real feel for what Garvin is capable of but he’s got the general presentation for his character down. Alicia interviews Garvin, he takes the mic from her and tells her to get him a beer. Garvin reminds us of his name, and says he’s here chew ’em up and spit ’em out. A good personal friend from Nashville sent him here tonight, and he says he’s here. OK, not a great promo in terms of content but his delivery remained intense at least.

Alicia is in the back interviewing Richard Holliday and MLW World champion Alexander Hammerstone. Hammerstone says this was the end of CONTRA, Holliday has to interrupt and once again Holliday and Hammerstone about whether they’re baby faces then Holliday reminds us that Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in August, Alicia corrects him that it’s October. Some more good natured bickering between Holliday and Hammerstone follows as they debate plans for the holidays, then Cesar Duran’s masked goon shows up with a box full of Rolex watches and a note. Hammerstone says these are bait, and shoves the goon away, Holliday is a bit sad about not getting a fancy watch. If they’re actually going to break up Hammerstone and Holliday then this might be a good way to do it, Hammerstone being understandably suspicious of Duran while Holliday can be swayed by the shiny baubles.

Apparently Cesar Duran is giving the Von Erics their tag team title shot in Dallas for January.

In the back Emilio walks up on Alex Kane and his goon, so Kane can introduce Mr. Thomas to the Bomaye Fight Club. Calvin Tankman battles through a horde of security to get to Kane and Thomas on their couch. Security prevails while Tankman yells about how dangerous he is, then Kane mocks him and says Tankman wasn’t serious about that attempt.

Cesar Duran is in his office talking to Alicia and Emilio, and asks why he needs two reporters. They mention they do different things, then switch to arguing when Duran makes it clear there’s only room for one of them. Alicia has been doing this for nearly a decade and loves discovering things about people. Emilio prefers to be in the trenches doing war time style reporting, and frames this as cute vs. real. They bicker more but Karlee Perez shows up. Perez likes Alicia despite her ambition, while Emilio is either foolish or brave and notes CONTRA nearly killed him. Ultimately they want more of what both of them do, encouraging them to be more aggressive in their jobs. The goon returns with the Rolex box, Duran seems a bit ambivalent about the gift being turned down.

Main event time, our surprise entrant is ACH coming back to action.

Match #3 – Ladder Match for the MLW National Openweight Title: Zenshi vs. Myron Reed vs. Alex Shelley vs. Alex Kane w/ Mr. Thomas vs. ACH

Everyone jumps Kane at the start and beat him down in a corner. Kane fights back with a double clothesline to ACH and Shelley, then he hits a double suplex on Reed and Zenshi. Mr. Thomas gets a ladder and tosses it to Kane, who starts setting it up and looking to climb. ACH cuts that off with chops and starts trading strikes with Kane. Shelley trips up Kane and ACH drills Kane with a drop kick, then ACH dives onto Shelley and Kane tosses him into the barricade. Zenshi heads into the ring as Kane gets another ladder, then Zenzhi and Reed drop kick the ladder into Kane. Reed eats a 619, then Zenshi tries to springboard off the ropes to grab the belt but falls just a hair short. Reed then takes out Zenshi with an enziguri. Now Reed tries to climb the ladder but Zenshi cuts him off and climbs. Reed moves the ladder, Zenshi walks the ropes then Reed eats a ladder shot from ACH and Shelley. ACH and Shelley drill Zenshi with the ladder as well, then ACH shoves Shelley into the barricade. Shelley stops ACH from climbing the ladder then ties him up between the rungs and hits a Dragon Screw across the rungs. A drop kick to the knee from Shelly to ACH then he climbs but Kane cuts him off with a back suplex. ACH stops Kane on the ladder then tosses it into his face. A flurry of offense from ACH including a tornado DDT to drop Kane. ACH sets the ladder up again and climbs, but here comes Reed to stop him but ACH tosses Reed into the ladder. ACH climbs again, but Reed takes him out with a springboard Cutter. Zenshi tries to bring a ladder in but Reed stomps it onto his fingers and climbs but Shelly pulls him off and hits a Flatliner into the ladder. Shelley climbs the ladder but Kake is here and catches both him and Reed, he wants a double chokeslam but both men fight free then Reed tries the springboard Cutter but Zenshi shoves the ladder under his landing so he crashes onto the hard steel, impressive spot. Zenshi then hits a twisting hilo onto Reed on the ladder and looks to climb the upright ladder. Shelley stops Zenshi and drop toe holds him into the upright ladder, then sets Zenshi between the ladder halves and stomps on him a few times. Shelley tosses the now ruined ladder out of the ring and sets up another one but he and Zenshi start fighting over it. Zenshi and ACH wind up on a ladder ramp and ACH hits a German suplex off of it. Kane in and hits an exploder suplex to ACH onto the ladder. Reed up top, but misses the flying nothing, then flips out of a German suplex and low bridges a charging Kane. Kane heads back into the ring but eats a leg drop from Reed while doing so, then reed Dives onto Kane and Mr. Thomas on the outside. Reed sets up the ladder, ACH sets up one next to it and we get all four men climbing at the same time. Everyone battles at the top of the ladders, eventually Zenshi and Reed are just left, Zenshi hits a crazy head scissors to take down Reed to the mat. Shelley climbs, Kane cuts him off with a Tazmission, then climbs and retrieves the belt.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Alex Kane became the NEW MWL National Openweight Champion in 10:58

Rating: 3 stars

A short ladder match, but Zenshi worked in a few genuinely interesting spots that I hadn’t seen before so kudos to him. Kane winning is the right call, it’s easy to see why MLW is pushing him at the moment and this particular title could be a good platform for him to build from.

Post match here comes Tankman again, but he’s halted in his charge by refs and security on the entrance ramp. Kane and Mr. Thomas just mock him as he’s dragged to the back. Kane and Thomas celebrate as the episode ends.

The final score: review Good
The 411
Pretty solid episode this week, while Tankman and TJP didn't exactly have a barn burner they did well enough for what was asked of them. The main event is the real selling point here, and while ladder matches have almost become passe with how over used they are this one managed to toss in a few interesting spots to liven things up. The set up for future episodes was decent, Tankman and Kane could have a fun little feud given their styles.

article topics :

MLW Fusion Alpha, Robert Winfree