By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
MLW Fusion Episode 15 – “Battle Riot”
July 27, 2018 – Melrose Ballroom – Queens, NY
The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.
Welcome back to our coverage-slash-presentation of MLW Fusion! We hope you’re liking the new format! This week is the highly anticipated Battle Riot, so we’re not wasting time here.
As always, if you’re here for play-by-play, star ratings, or discussions about booking or finishes, you’re in the wrong house. Our tagline here at The Gorilla Position is, “Telling the stories of pro wrestling’s storytellers.” That is how the matches will be recapped – not move-for-move, but the story being told in the ring. Also, this is a live event, not Game of Thrones. There are spoilers here insofar as results.
And now, as Tony Schiavone would say, “Let’s go to the ring!”
Show opens with a video package hyping this evening’s main event. Tony Schiavone and
Rich Bocchini Matt Striker (!) welcome us to tonight’s episode:
KOTTO BRAZIL vs. MYRON REED
This may normally be a battle of two high-flyers at first with Brazil and Reed matching each other with athletic strikes. Brazil changes gears, expanding his game in light of his recent wins and takes Reed to the ground to wear him out. Reed is able to overcome and the game is at a dead heat when both men collide with dueling cross-body blocks. Reed forces Brazil to take the skies back and takes him out of his original strategy by outmatching him in athleticism when he dropkicks him out of a third suicide dive. Brazil is confident enough to go back to the ground after a series of impact moves (including a German suplex). The turning point comes when Reed goes for a 450 and hits Brazil’s knees, showing why Brazil wants to veer away from the aerial game. Reed looks to make the adjustment but Brazil’s variety is too much to overcome.
Finish comes when Brazil lands the Running Sliced Bread on Reed for the 3-count pinfall victory. The story of Brazil’s rise continues with Reed making a damn fine debut in MLW.
IN the back, MJF tells the interviewer he’s ready to become a champion (and it’s about time, too).
Konnan says this is the time to come out of retirement to how he’s the best against 39 other guys. One of those guys is not
La Parka LA Park – but he will be back in MLW soon!
Joey Ryan is bringing sleazy back by dropping 5 pounds of baby oil and lollipops for tonight’s Middleweight Title match against MJF – setting the stage fir what’s to come in more ways than one.
“Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Simon Gotch and Fred Yehi draw their numbers for tonight’s main event.
MJF vs. JOEY RYAN – MLW WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Joey Ryan is coming into this to sleaze his way to a championship, while MJF has a game plan and scads of determination. Therein should be the difference maker.
MJF immediately circumvents Ryan’s antics by wearing Ryan down on the mat. Ryan shows he’s more than a wannabe porn star with a dropkick but MJF’s machinations are seen when he hits divorce court en route to targeting Ryan’s arm. Ryan survives the attack on the arm to utilize high impact moves such as the spinebuster to knock the wind out of MJF long enough to gain the win. MJF puts a halt to that by going back to the arm but Ryan is more determined than MJF realizes. Ryan is also a master at using…sleaze as a weapon and does so with MJF. After looking to disgust MJF into submission, Ryan comes awful close but MJF is too determined to be a champion.
Finish comes when MJF gouges Ryan’s eyes and earns the 3-count pinfall – and the MLW World Middleweight Championship – off of the package shoulder breaker. I’ll freely admit it – I’m not a big Joey Ryan fan. I don’t hate him or anything – just that what he does isn’t my cup of tea. That said, I am a fan of MJF and seeing him win a major title here was a treat.
Post-match, MJF runs down legends, basement-dwellers (heh), you name in proclaiming himself a “supernova” rather than a star now that he has the title.
Sami Callihan, Sawyer Fulton & Leon Scott draw their numbers for tonight’s main event. As does Swoggle. No, you read that right.
A video package airs encapsulating Shane Strickland’s MLW World Championship run and its end at the hands of Low Ki last week. “The Professional” says he will fight anyone for that championship because he runs this place now. And in a moment that brings me tears of joy, Low Ki declares he’s fulfilled Gary Hart’s – and Black Friday Management’s – prophecy from the original run of MLW by wining the title. I’ve said it before and have no problem saying again – I’m loving some Low Ki on this show right now.
MLW 2018 BATTLE RIOT
The rules here are that competitors enter at 60-second intervals. Eliminations happen by pinfall, submission, or going over the top rope. No disqualifications, anything goes. The winner gets an MLW World Championship shot whenever he wants it.
Brothers – and MLW World Tag Team Champions – Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix start us off. As brothers, they have all the respect in the world for each other but we see how important this is off the bat as the two waste no time kicking the crap out of each other. Brody King enters and takes advantage of both of them being down. Pentagon and Fenix stand up for each other against King as well as our next guest, Ken Doane. Yep. King and Doane square off against Pentagon and Fenix to somewhat of a stalemate.
“Filthy” Tom Lawlor is next in and becomes the pacesetter, submitting Brody King for the first elimination. Lance Anoa’i and Rey Horus even out the field before Kevin Sullivan (!) brings a Golden Spike to the party and brutalizes the rest of the field. Lawlor is a match for Sullivan’s insanity and, with last week’s loss to Jimmy Havoc fresh in mind, makes an example of Sullivan for the second elimination.
Fallah Bahh is in next and Rey Horus makes the mistake of engaging the big man. His speed serves him for a second before Bahh catches and flattens the smaller man. Another smaller man enters and gains an advantage as Swoggle uses a combination of dirty tactics and unexpected power. Samu then enters as father and son (Lance) team up on Bahh. Once again, the opportunity here is too great to pass up as Lance tosses his own father over the top rope to eliminate him.
ACH enters and decides to pick on Swoggle some as Konnan is in to submit a fellow Luchador in Horus. Barrington Hughes is then in and it looks like the DREAM MATCH between Hughes and Bahh may happen! Swoggle gets involved but Lawlor takes advantage of the chaos and serves up another elimination. Lawlor is the man to beat right now but Hughes evens the score by pinning Anoa’i, Doane and Konnan all in succession. The field is narrowed even further as Bahh, Fenix and Pentagon are sent over the top rope, leaving only one big man. Jimmy Yuta and Kotto Brazil enter as Brazil looks to be on his way to an impressive showing before Fred Yehi joins forces with Filthy teammate Lawlor to eliminate Brazil.
It dawns on the others that there’s a colossus in the ring with them. Everyone gangs up on Hughes save for Jason Cade, who immediately targets former tag team partner Jimmy Yuta. As they fight it out, Hughes hulks away the others, eliminating Horus in the process. The rest continue the group onslaught to the outside (but not over the top rope). Teddy Hart arrives and decides to be a showman rather than a champion, eliminating himself when he moonsaults onto the gang on the floor.
Vandal Ortagun and Mike Mondo arrive and Lawlor dispatches them in quick order, taking the lead in eliminations and reestablishing his dominance. That dominance is challenged when PCO enters and takes the battle directly to Lawlor. LA Smooth interrupts only to be put back on the shelf by PCO as he and Lawlor continue the fight. Simon Gotch is ion and Team Filthy is at full strength against PCO, but all three smartly back away to let the entering Homicide battle it out with PCO. Team Filthy’s next target is the entering Davey Boy Smith Jr. Meanwhile, the Blue Meanie is in and right back out thanks to Homicide. PCO is out, Michael Patrick of the Dirty Blondes and Sami Callihan are in, Homicide is out and we’re back to anyone’s ballgame.
Sawyer Fulton is out to aid fellow Death Machine Callihan but former champion SHane Strickland is out and immediately targets Callihan over the loss of his title thanks to Callihan’s attack. The third Death Machine Leon Scott joins his compadres in assaulting Strickland while eliminating Smith Jr. Drago is in, followed by Leo Brien of the Dirty Blondes. The Blondes go after enemies Team Filthy and almost show Gotch the door.
Joey Ryan and MJF, fresh off their Middleweight Title match, are in next and pick up where they left off. Jake Hager is in and helps the Blondes in the fight against – the Death Machines, deciding the enemy of their enemy is still their enemy. The Stud Stable tosses Death Machine Leon Scott as John Hennigan enters and eliminates Dirty Blonde Leo Brien. Jimmy Havoc is the last entrant and eliminates Drago. Hager then goes after his arch-nemesis Lawlor as Hennigan gets rid of the other Death Machine, Sawyer Fulton. Havoc is out as Strickland and Sami carry their fight to the apron. Callihan is out to not just eliminate Strickland from the Battle Riot, but from wrestling period as he hits a piledriver to Strickland on the apron of the ring! The elimination is academic as Callihan rolls the former champion back in the ring.
The Final Four are Tom Lawlor, Jake Hager, Sami Clalihan and John Hennigan. We’re quickly down to two as Lawlor and Hager look to continue the Team Filthy / Stud Stable war but first have to get Callihan (choked out and submitted by Lawlor) and Hennigan (thrown over the top by Hager) out of the way. The strategy here isn’t necessarily beating the other man, but simply getting rid of him. Hager attempts doing so using his superior size and strength while Lawlor is more tneacious in wearing Hager down to truy and get him out. Both men know submisison and pinfall are as easy as an emim,ination – maybe easier at this late stage in the game? Each man goes for it but each is able to escape. Lawlor, having been in much longer than Hager, looks to end this as soon as he can – and pure tenacity is what rules the day, as it has throughout the Battle Riot.
Finish comes when Lawlor pulls Hager to the outside from the apron and slips, eliminating Jake Hager and winning the 2018 MLW Battle Riot. AFter the match, Matt Striker interviews the winner. Lawlor declares himself the top combat sports athlete and vows to change MLW to “Major Lawlor Wrestling” once he’s cashed in and won the World Championship.
Some pretty good action and fun moments from MLW’s first 2-hour special and the Battle Riot match proper. The need for a Middleweight title can be debated all day and half the night, but a character like MJF needs a reason to show he’s better than others. In the long run, the title can come to mean so much more, so I’m all for it. The Battle riot itself had some fun moments and, with some refinement, this can definitely be a signature event for MLW on the annual calendar.
BUT DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT…
Saturday nights at 6:05pm EST, MLW releases the latest episode of FUSION for free in full with NO commercials on the MLW YouTube channel! Don’t miss a single episode… but if you do it’s posted each week! Binge on every episode of FUSION and watch 60 minutes of high octane wrestling. Watch MLW on the go!
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