By Michael Melchor, Executive Editor
MLW Fusion Episode 05: “Double Jeopardy”
May 25, 2018 – Gilt Nightclub – Orlando, FL
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.
Ye Olde Standard Disclaimer: 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.
With that out of the way, as Tony Schiavone would say, “Let’s go to the ring!”
Show opens with MLW World Champion Shane Strickland arriving with Barrington Hughes. Pentagon’s manager Salina De La Renta tells Strickland he’s on borrowed time. Hughes calls her a bad name in Spainsh – “Witch. You know, broomsticks and all that.”
Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini welcome us to a night of firsts:
CHELSEA GREEN vs. SANTANA GARRETT
The two best friends start out treating each other with kid gloves while trading moves and jockeying for advantage. Green is the first to go to strikes as her personality degenerates into something a little more familiar. Santana rallies back knowing she has to get more aggressive with her “friend,” and does so. Green is more treacherous but Santana is more resilient.
Finish comes when Santana spikes Green with a wicked DDT for the 3-count pinfall. Post-match, Green is all hugs and smiles like nothing happened. Yeah, we’ve seen this movie too. But the shot to the head that seemed to end the freak-out is a nice touch, at least.
Rich Bocchini reminds of us of Team Filthy’s attack on Jimmy Havoc from 2 weeks ago. Tom Lawlor “apologizes” to Havoc – for him not being able to take a beating. He tells Havoc he got what he deserved.
SIMON GOTCH PRIZE FIGHT CHALLENGE
Team Filthy accompanies Gotch to the ring as Gotch lays out the rules of the Simon Gotch Inagural Prize Fight:
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There’s not much of a match here. The story is pretty simple: Simon kills Danny Santiago, a victim well-versed in Capoeira who accepts the challenge but doesn’t go the distance. Finish comes when Gotch nails Santiago with – appropriately enough – the Gotch Piledriver. The “large sum cash prize,” by the way? Was a whopping $250.
Kacei Lennox is waiting outside Maxwell J Friedman’s dressing room. Joey Janela and Aria Blake, instead, come out proclaimimg innocence. Sure, I buy it.
Back from break and – wouldn’t you know who won the pony – MJF finds his dressing room desecrated with domestic beer, cigarettes and a prophylactic. Because Joey Janela’s a bad, bad boy.
A video package of what led to this World Title Match leads us to:
PENTAGON JR. (with Salina De La Renta) vs. SHANE STRICKLAND – MLW World Heavyweight Championship Match
Salina De La Renta has a full Mariachi band and singer toplay the Mexico National Anthem. Between that and the introducitons, they went out of their way for the “big fight feel” for the first televised title defense and they nailed it pretty good.
The pace starts out slow; both men are known for speed but neither one wants to make the first error in judgment. That doesn’t last long as Strickland is thinking about what Pentagon did to him and he wants some payback to go with keeping his title. Strickland is taken to unfamiliar territory outside the ring but is able to brawl his way to the upperhand before going back to his comfort zone in the skies. Strickland is more concerned dishing out punishment than anything – and it’s he that makes the first critical mistake because of it. Pentagon takes the champ back outside to finish the job he started earlier of softening up Strickland and works him like a rack of ribs as we go to break.
Back from commercial and Pentagon is in control in the ring. So far, the strategy of throwing Strickland off his game by angering him going into the match seems to be working like a charm. Strickland has a bad wheel but it doesn’t prevent him from making a comeback and throw all the strikes at Pentagon. Strickland switches to using his agility and affirms the control until he gets overconfident going to the air. Pentagon is an expert striker and can hit from anywhere. That ability allows him to regain control of the match.
The game of human chess gives way to a contest of who can break who’s arm first. Neither man wins that game, but Pentagon uses it to attempt a knock out of Strickland as we go to our second break during the title match. Dude.
Back from commercial, the momentum and combatants are in completely different places. Pentagon is in trouble on the outside as Strickland stands tall. Strickland is still angry as he takes Pentagon to the apron but Pentagon takes his territory back and hits Strickland with a Canadian Destroyer on the apron! Pentagon hopes that a similar move to the one that spelled the beginning of the end for his brother Fenix last week will bear the same fate for Strickland. Strickland barely kicks out, as did Fenix last week. Last week Pentagon hit the package piledriver to end the match. Here, he keeps kicking Strickland down like he knows it will take less for Strickland to survive than it did Fenix. Pentagon underestimates Strickland as Strickland guts out of the Fear Factor and Pentagon grabs a chair to use as a landing pad for Strickland, but has to instead counter an attack from Strickland. Pentagon gets his package piledriver but Strickland lives to fight on. It is the impresaria of Promociones Dorado that becomes the deciding factor, but not in the way either she or Pentagon hoped.
Finish comes when De La Renta distracts Strickland from the apron as Pentagon gears up for another misting – the same that blinded Strickland. Pentagon fires as Strickland ducks and De La Renta takes the direct hit (and is apparently offended more than blinded). Strickland is able to take advantage of the confusion and Swerve Stomp Pentagon for the 3-count pinfall victory. Well now we know why De La Renta has a bounty on Strickland.
Normally I’d feel cheated on a show that had 2 matches that were more storyline advancement than match (although the women’s match was decent in playing that out, to be fair). But with the focus on the World Title match it’s understandable. It also helps that the title defense was a damn solid match and overshadowed what came before on the show.
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