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Winfree’s MLW Underground (Ep. 19) Review

November 15, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree
MLW Underground 19
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Winfree’s MLW Underground (Ep. 19) Review  

Hey everyone, Winfree here again to talk you through another re-aired episode of MLW Underground. Let’s see what we’ve got this time.

We first get a Punk promo. He says the feud between him and Raven isn’t just about Straight Edge vs. debauchery, it’s about disappointment and fallen heroes. It’s about the death of a person who motivated him to join wrestling. He used Raven as motivation, mentions the cost of being in the business, just so he could get face to face with Raven. He’s been hungry for a long time, and plans to end his suffering with the demise of Raven. It bears repeating, even this young in his career Punk has a natural knack for this kind of set up.

Joey Styles no welcomes us to the broadcast, Styles pimps some upcoming events and the associated matches. Next he sends us to the ring for our first match, which will be a tag team affair as Punk teams with Michael Shane to take on Raven and Norman Smiley. Punk gets a mic, he says no wrestling show is complete without him talking to the crowd. He makes fun of Disney, Orlando, and the fans. He mocks the fans for not even being able to get a chant going. The crowd chants some stuff at Francine, Punk tells the crowd they’ll find out why he’s better than them.

Match #1 – Tag Team Match: CM Punk and Michael Shane w/ Francine vs. Raven and Norman Smiley w/ GI Ho

Raven and Punk start, but Punk quickly tags out to Shane. Raven tags Smiley in as well. They tie up, Shane tackles Smiley down and then starts laying in punches. Smiley with kicks and clotheslines, then a scoop slam to send us to break.

We come back to Raven in the ring while Punk slowly makes his way in. Raven with kicks and punches, he lays into Punk in the corner. Shane in, just to take a clothesline from Raven as Punk takes a bulldog. Smiley in to take Punk out of the ring with a clothesline. Punk and Shane try to regroup on the outside, Raven tags Smiley. Shane in the ring now, they spend time jaw jacking. Kicks and punches from Shane now. Smiley catches a diving Shane and plants him on the mat. Double underhook slam from Smiley. Francine gets involved, Punk kicks Smiley and Shane takes over in the ring. They isolate Smiley in the corner and lay into him. Punk hits a suplex then cheap shots Raven. A double suplex now to Smiley as Shane is the legal man but they only get a near fall. They spend a lot of time with Smiley in a rear chin lock, and that sends us to another break.

We come back to a similar position. Smiley fights free but runs into a knee to the gut from Shane. Punk tagged in, he hits a back breaker for a near fall. Smiley is trying to make a tag, and does but it’s behind the refs back. Punk with a double underhook back breaker then tags in Shane. Shane hits a second rope elbow drop and Raven has to save the match. Shane tags Punk, he holds Smiley for a diving headscissors but Smiley moves and then Punk and Shane botch the spot. Raven finally gets the hot tag and runs wild for a bit. Some stage hand gives Raven a chair, he drop toe holds Shane into the chair, then does the same to Punk. Smiley takes out Shane, Punk tries the DDT but Raven hits it. Francine breaks up the pin, GI Ho is in to take her out of the equation. Shane super kicks Ho, Smiley checks on his fallen paramour but Shane gets a chair and lays into Smiley with it. Raven tries the DDT on Shane, but Punk with hand full of powder to blind him. Punk hits the DDT and we’re finally done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: CM Punk and Michael Shane defeated Raven and Norman Smiley at about 12 minutes shown

Rating: 1.5 stars

MLW at the time might have been trying to sell their lack of identity as a good thing, a place where all styles are welcome, but this felt like a WWE audition. It had the distractions, the rest holds, the valets getting involved, it just felt like a paint by numbers sports entertainment affair. The kind of thing you saw on RAW all the time in the 2000’s.

The EXTREME Horsemen on video next, Corino wants a strategy meeting. He claims they’re coming in hot for the upcoming run of shows. Anderson says he’s been watching tape (clearly not promos) and wants a big tag team match where he and Diamond can defend their titles. They’re interrupted by a ref, who they mock for being fat. He drops off a note to Corino, who reads it and it’s a note of suspension. He’s in disbelief, claiming the champion can’t be suspended and he heads off. Anderson says there’s a conspiracy against the Horsemen. Diamond wants to know who in the promotion has the authority to suspend the world champion. How does he not know who he works for? They head out to find the answer to that question.

Back to Styles, who runs down what Corino did to get suspended like that. Apparently he tried to hang Terry Funk, and Corino is banned from the building for their upcoming shows. If Corino shows up he’ll be fined and stripped of the title. Styles reminds us that Terry Funk vs. Jerry Lawler is coming up, Lawler having accepted a possible bounty from the EXTREME Horsemen to take out Funk. A recounting of what led to Dr. Death and Sandman taking on Anderson and Diamond sends us to a Doc and Sandman thing back stage.

Doc is doing Hindu squats while Sandamn drinks a beer. Williams wants to know where his beer is, they argue about beer, Sandman has one ready for him. Back to squats for Williams while Sandman wants more camera time. Sandman says they don’t even have to train, just look at their opponents. He runs down Diamond and Anderson, then they toast their inevitable success. That certainly took air time.

Back to Styles, he sends us to Ekmo in the back. Ekmo is looking for Samu, he gets directed to Da Hit Squad who attack him. Ekmo fights back but the numbers catch up to him. Mack hits Ekmo with his own luggage. They leave Ekmo lying.

James Mitchell now, he’s trying to talk but Mikey Whipwreck is singing again. He asks Mikey to be quiet. He addresses Sabu, saying he can’t be intimidated. Mitchell puts over the history of Sabu and his family, mentioning that Sabu’s uncle should have warned him that playing with fire will get you burnt.

Fonzie is blowing. . . his whistle and talking to Whipwreck and Mitchell next. He says Sabu is coming for retribution tonight.

Back to Styles, still schilling their upcoming event. He runs down that entire card then sends us to Da Hit Squad.

Mack says Florida has no idea what’s coming when they get to take on the Samoan Island Tribe in a falls count anywhere. Mafia says the time for talk is over, then talks for quite some time. He promises they’ll take out the Samoans. He’s not living for tomorrow or planning for the future, they’ve made a living living only for today. They promise the Samoans wont ever be the same again. Those two badly need someone to help edit their thoughts, the jist is there but they get lost along the way.

Styles again to talk upcoming matches. About the fifth time he’s given time to Funk vs. Lawler, though it wouldn’t shock me if Lawler mandated that contractually when he agreed to the match. Styles sends us to the ring for our main event.

Match #2: Mikey Whipwreck w/ James Mitchell vs. Sabu w/ Bill Alphonso

Sabu starts fast with rights and takes Mikey down with strikes. Jumping leg lariat and Sabu locks in the camel clutch. Mitchell attacks Fonzie on the outside when Fonzie tried to get a chair in the ring. That lets Mikey take over landing a kick to the face. Mikey with shoulder thrusts into the corner, then sends Sabu out of the ring. Sabu attacks Mikey as Mikey was loading hardware into the ring. Sabu is set on a table but Mikey takes too long to attack him and Sabu drops him on the apron. That lets Sabu toss a chair into the face of Mikey, then position him on the table and head up top. Mitchell intercepts Sabu and shoves him into the ring. Mikey up top now and hits a diving clothesline for a loose near fall. That sends us to a break.

Back and there’s a table in the ring. Mikey crotches Sabu on the table and boots him in the face. Sabu drops Mikey with a DDT, because selling just isn’t a thing in this match. The table is set up again, Mikey set on it, but as Alphonso tries to hold him still Mikey pulls Fonzie onto the table and Sabu leg drops Fonzie through the table. That lets Mikey hit the Stunner (Whippersnapper) for another near fall. Sabu talks too much, instructing the ref to get Fonzie out of the ring. Sabu gets the camel clutch onto Mikey again but Mitchell gets on the apron to motivate Mikey. Mitchell with a fireball to Sabu, Mikey gets a chair and brains Sabu with it. More chair related abuse, Mikey targeting the arm of Sabu. That abuse culminates in a pinfall win for Mikey.

OFFICIAL RESULT: Mikey Whipwreck defeated Sabu via pinfall at about 5:30 shown

Rating: 1.5 stars

Typical ECW lite/retread of a match. If you’ve got a taste for that this was probably passable.

Post match Mikey resumes attacking Sabu’s arm with the chair before heading out of the ring. Styles runs down the upcoming event one final time as the episode ends.

The final score: review Poor
The 411
Personal mileage will vary a lot in this one, but this didn't do much for me. The tag team match was a very WWE style of match, the vignettes all just kind of existed (exception for Punk's opening bit), and the main event was what has sadly become a typical ECW nostalgia/retread match. None of this really worked for me.

article topics :

MLW Underground, Robert Winfree