MLW Fusion returned from Cicero Stadium in Chicago for Episode 33. It featured voodoo, a $10,000 challenge, a veteran trying to teach respect, and the MLW World Tag Team Championship being defended by Fenix and Pentagon against LA Park and Hijo de LA Park.
On to a recap and review of the show...
Salina de la Renta voodoo
The show opened with a scene of Salina de la Renta making a special potion or casting a spell. She was speaking a language that I am not familiar with. The final words were LA Park. De la Renta was grinding rocks and it ended with blood on her hands.
Well, um, yeah. The voodoo element certainly adds another layer to de la Renta’s character that I was unaware of before. I like it.
Simon Gotch’s $10,000 fight challenge
Simon Gotch came to the ring with a bag of cash. $10,000 to be exact. His tights resembled grandpa underwear. A challenger had five minutes to survive. 125 pound Ariel Dominguez answered the call. He is a top ranked amateur wrestler but quite short. Dominguez entered wearing a red prizefighting robe.
Gotch made quick work. He pinned Dominguez after a powerbomb into the corner then a piledriver.
There's a victory over Ariel Dominguez in the Simon Gotch Prize Fight Challenge. @deviousjourney will keep his $10K easily vs. an overmatched opponent.— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 1, 2018
But you know @FilthyTomLawlor is looking for his former friend and teammate somewhere down the road! pic.twitter.com/S2Bays2zmU
Once the victory was official, Gotch stuffed cash into Dominguez’s mouth and delivered a second piledriver. In true heel fashion, Gotch took his money back.
Kaci Lennox interviewed MJF. She wanted to get his thoughts on the upcoming ladder match at Never Say Never. “No.” MJF said the match won’t be happening. He told the MLW offices that a ladder match is beneath him. He addressed the theory that he could be afraid of heights. “... Which is absolutely ridiculous, because I am not afraid of heights. I am not a coward. That is dumb. I don’t agree with that. Ridiculous. Ludicrous. Insane. I simply am not going to do this match because it is not worth my time.”
Tommy Dreamer talked outside, with a barking dog off-screen, about his match with Brian Pillman Jr. Skinny jean millennials lack respect, so Dreamer is going to have to teach it. “I’m going to teach you something that you should have been taught a long time ago. I’m going to teach you respect for people who paved the way for you to be in this business. Brian Pillman, I look forward to hurting you.”
Lennox was back with Stokely Hathaway. What are his plans? “Domination. Being successful. I plan to take MLW to new heights. And, I’m here to manage. And whoever I manage, I promise you they will be here to right the wrongs of MLW. They will be successful just like me. They will want all the money just like me. They will be great just like me.” Sounds like a tie-in to Shane Strickland’s story.
Brian Pillman Jr. vs Tommy Dreamer
This is my first time seeing Brian Pillman Jr. Nice mullet and even nicer horse-head cane. Pillman tucked the cane under the top of the ring apron.
The match began with Pillman dissing Tommy Dreamer’s handshake offer. The pace was slower than luchador top speed. Between classic wrestling maneuvers, funny moments were Dreamer taking a big swig of beer and spitting it in Pillman’s face and Pillman superkicking Dreamer in the caboose.
The finish involved the horse cane. Pillman retrieved it, but the referee took it away. Pillman stood over Dreamer’s head to shout his own name. Dreamer chopped Pillman’s upper thighs and rolled him up to win.
After the match, Dreamer had words for Pillman. They couldn’t be heard, but it was probably something about respect. Pillman shook Dreamer’s hand then kicked him in the gut to set up a swinging neckbreaker. Pillman used the cane to beat Dreamer down.
Teddy Hart came out to corral Pillman. He was telling Pillman that it was enough. Hart raised Pillman’s hand in victory, even though he lost. One more swinging neckbreaker for good measure. Hart didn’t seem to condone it, but he didn’t admonish Pillman either.
Tom Lawlor promo
Cameras caught up with Tom Lawlor in Las Vegas. Lawlor had harsh words for Simon Gotch. Fake, fraud, phony, liar. Lawlor is going to break every one of Gotch’s fingers, so Gotch can’t use that money.
MLW World Tag Team Championship: Lucha Bros vs The Parks
The entrance graphic listed weight in kilograms for the luchadores. It was in pounds for Americans. That is one of those little touches that is silly yet makes sense.
The bout between Fenix and Pentagon against LA Park and Hijo de LA Park was contested under Mexican rules. “No tags. All four men are inside the ring at the same time.”
The flow of the match began as the Parks brawling with tables and chairs, then the Lucha Bros using handy dandy teamwork maneuvers, then extended one-on-one between Pentagon and LA Park, then one-on-one with Fenix and Hijo de LA Park, and finally the finale.
The match was full of highlights such as topes, drivers, powerbombs, fancy feet, Spanish Flies, and a monkey flip bowling ball. I especially enjoyed one sequence of tecnico teamwork. Pentagon Irish-whipped Fenix into the corner for a forearm strike on Hijo. Pentagon followed with a running clothesline. Double superkick to the knees. 619 from Fenix to Hijo’s back. That led to a crazy hip rolling splash. Pentagon ran the ropes to put his legs around Fenix’s waist. Fenix used the momentum kind of like a destroyer motion into a splash. That is the best I can describe it.
Another cool moment was LA Park playing the guitar chair to raucous cheers.
There was also Tony Schiavone saying the table weighed 500 pounds. That absurdity made me laugh.
For the finish, Pentagon pointed to Salina de la Renta to trick the referee as he low blow kicked LA Park. Pentagon blocked a low blow kick from Hijo and folded him into a package piledriver position. Fenix jumped from the top to stomp Hijo’s butt for extra oomph on the move. Fenix then did a tope to LA Park on the outside and bounced off him into the crowd. Pentagon covered Hijo to win and retain the tag team championships.
Fenix’s jamming Latin guitar tune played as Fusion went off the air.
Episode 33 of MLW Fusion was thumbs up. The first two matches weren’t all that exciting, but it was more about the story being told. The main event could have knocked my socks off if I was wearing any.
One of the little details I enjoyed was the ring announcer’s voice and cadence to hype up the main event to a big fight feel. I think his name is Tim Barr, but MLW also lists Stephen DeAngelis as a second ring announcer.
Another positive were the closing lines of all the pre-taped promos. MJF talked about the ladder match not being worth his time, then told sweetheart Kaci Lennox that she wasn’t either. Tommy Dreamer finished with, “I look forward to hurting you.” Stokely Hathaway just said, “Bye.” Tom Lawlor cheesed it up with, “Gotcha,” in a promo about Simon Gotch. Those lines all added a bit of emphasis to make the promos more memorable.
Simon Gotch is a good heel. I’ve only seen him twice in MLW and I already want to see him get his butt kicked. His mannerisms are funny, but not in the sense that I want to root for him. A match against Tom Lawlor is going to be great comeuppance, hopefully.
That was my first time watching Brian Pillman Jr. I reserve judgement. There wasn’t much to wow me, since it was a story building bout. It looks like he has the character work down well.
This was also my first time watching Lucha Bros as a tag team. I was curious to see their chemistry, and they did not disappoint. They executed moves that I had never seen before.
I love LA Park’s suicide dive. It is right up there with Hijo del Fantasma (aka King Cuerno) and Maximo. There is no debating that Fantasma’s is the prettiest. However, I think I would rank them in terms of personal enjoyment as Maximo, LA Park, then Fantasma. The way Maximo pulls his arms back to look like a bomb is beautiful. The heft behind LA Park’s makes it look the most impactful. Fantasma flies like a ghost.
What did you think of the main event? Where do you rate Simon Gotch on the heel scale? Who has your favorite suicide dive in all of wrestling?