Dallas was once again the home for MLW Fusion as episode 77 ran wild. The Bunkhouse Brawl between Mance Warner and Jimmy Havoc was full of hijinx, the tag team contest between Injustice and Gringo Loco & Air Wolf had the high-flying, and Timothy Thatcher versus Douglas James was a unique clash of skills.
On to a recap and review of the show...
Kotto Brazil & Myron Reed vs Gringo Loco & Air Wolf
Injustice had a video promo during their entrance. Kotto Brazil started by questioning why the referees didn’t check Salina de la Renta when she pepper sprayed him during a match in the past. Myron Reed used twisted heel logic to question the refs about checking Gringo Loco for brass knuckles last time they shared a ring. (The truth was that those were Reed’s knucks and he lost them during the bout.) Reed’s chest protector appeared to have a metal sheet on the inside. Jordan Oliver chimed in that the cops killed 2Pac. Reed continued that if 2Pac would have worn his vest out of the house, he would still be alive. Oliver said they won’t be unprepared anymore. They will get their justice.
Prior to the opening bell, referee Frank Gastineau patted down Brazil and confiscated a thick metal chain and brass knuckles from his possession.
This bout had plenty of tumbling. The strategy by Injustice was interference by Oliver to isolate Gringo. Highlights include a standing moonsault by Gringo, a belly-to-belly overhead suplex by Gringo to send Brazil into the turnbuckles, Air Wolf slapping Reed’s sternum to no effect due to the chest protector, a slingshot leg drop by Reed, and a powerbomb out of the corner by Brazil to Gringo.
For the finish, Air Wolf was waiting for the hot tag, but Brazil clobbered him down off the apron. Gringo still fought tough in the corner. That led to a double electric chair from Gringo to both Reed and Brazil.
Brazil was the top of the totem pole and knocked out old upon impact. Gringo got the tag to his partner. Air Wolf covered Brazil for the victory. The only problem was that Brazil was not the legal man even though the ref counted three. The match was over, and this time Injustice actually had a case for injustice. Afterward, Injustice pummeled Gastineau. Gringo and Air Wolf saw what was happening and left anyway without helping.
Mance Warner cut a promo outdoors with Uncle Moon Man standing in the background. Moon Man was sipping a clear liquid (moonshine?) from a Mason jar every five seconds. Warner brought his uncle down to see him beat the shit out of Jimmy Havoc. There’s going to be blood. Ole Mancer is going to put Havoc down. They walked away to reveal Moon Man was barefoot.
Teddy Hart had to be driven back to Calgary due to the injuries suffered at the hands of Austin Aries. Rich Bocchini tossed it over to Brian Pillman Jr. for live thoughts from Cincinnati. Pillman found out in a phone call from Bret Hart that Teddy is permanently injured. When Pillman became a part of the Hart Foundation, he signed his soul to that family. Pillman is going to do what he has to do against Aries next week.
A cameraman approached Salina de la Renta in the parking lot to ask about Jimmy Havoc’s strategy against Mance Warner in the Bunkhouse Brawl. She chided him by not revealing any information. She will tell everybody when she wants. Salina called him a bitch while leaving.
The Von Erichs were exiting a children’s hospital when MJF and Richard Holiday strolled up. They were in the process of buying the building to turn it into a hotel or casino. Kevin asked about the kids, to which the Dynasty chuckled heartily with laughter. Holliday broke down the economics of casino vs children’s hospital. Kevin reacted by smacking the coffee cup out of Holliday’s hand.
Holliday hyperventilated as MJF escorted him away to a Starbucks.
Douglas James vs Timothy Thatcher
Douglas James was making his MLW debut. He has a kickboxing and MMA background. James’ gold entrance garment looked like a matador’s jacket. Interesting statistic alert. James’ kicks are equivalent to the force from a 10 pound sledgehammer at 15 mph.
Timothy Thatcher controlled this bout for the most part with his methodical grappling style. Not to mention that Thatcher had a 7 inch and 50 pound size advantage. James still showed tremendous spirit. There were some cool moves, but the highlights were more about the exchanges, such as Thatcher escaping an armbar to deliver two gutwrench suplexes and James with a flurry of knees and strikes only to be goozled by Thatcher for a powerful paintbrush swat.
For the closing sequence, Thatcher escaped a guillotine choke. James rolled into the corner. Thatcher charged and ate a jumping knee to the mush. James attempted a rotating frog splash, but Thatcher got his knees up. Thatcher pounced with an armbar to win.
Kaci Lennox interviewed Thatcher after the contest. Thatcher praised James and even invited him to train at his gym. Thatcher then challenged Tom Lawlor. Competing against Lawlor is the main reason Thatcher came to MLW.
Mance Warner is coming
Cut to the back as Jimmy Havoc showed a whiteboard with the message, “I am coming.” Bloody scarecrows were hanging there as well. Havoc wasn’t scared. He lives for this stuff. Havoc licked the bloody pitchfork and threatened Ole Mancer.
The next scene was Kaci Lennox with Mance Warner at a whiteboard in a classroom. Warner revealed the goodies he was bringing to the Bunkhouse Brawl while Kaci drew pictures. Her drawings were so bad that she could barely hold in her laughter when Warner criticized her art. It was the type of scene that is much more entertaining to watch for yourself rather than reading a description.
Bunkhouse Brawl: Jimmy Havoc vs Mance Warner
The ring was decorated with bales of hay, a shovel and bucket, a cowbell, a hoe and wooden barrel, and a pumpkin. Mance Warner entered waving the American flag. Jimmy Havoc jumped Warner from behind on the apron then choked Warner with the flag.
This main event was a crazy brawl. Silly moments include eye pokes, the fans chanting, “More cowbell,” when Warner attacked with the cowbell, Havoc raking Warner’s forehead with a rake, a rake handle to Havoc’s nuts, and Warner throwing a pumpkin onto the crowd by accident.
The standout sequence began with Havoc stapling Warner in the balls. Havoc then stapled Warner’s tongue to a pumpkin top. Warner responded with a DDT to plant Havoc’s head inside a pumpkin.
Knee pad up, knee pad down. Running knee by Mancer. Kick out at two by Havoc.
The craziness continued with a German suplex by Havoc into hail bales and a Death Valley driver by Havoc through a wooden board in the corner. Warner kicked out at two. Havoc stapled Warner’s tongue to a different wooden board held up by chairs. Havoc placed the pumpkin on Warner’s head then climbed the turnbuckles. Warner ripped his tongue off the wood and threw the pumpkin at Havoc. Warner got Havoc with a superplex through the wood.
Once both men rose to their feet, Warner finished the job with a big lariat to win.
After the brawl, Havoc assaulted Warner with barbwire. Warner was cut open. Havoc wrapped the barbwire around Warner’s head and mouth. The officials tried to pull Havoc off, but they may have done more harm than good. The angle they were pulling Havoc created more pressure against Warner’s face. The closing shot was Warner bleeding a mess of red.
Episode 77 of MLW Fusion was a delicious smorgasbord of wrestling styles. The opener was flippy and floppy. The middle bout was a showcase in grappling. The main event was a hootenanny of a brawl. The Bunkhouse Brawl was a buffoonish clown show, and I enjoyed every second of it. The fight was full of goofiness, and the finish had emphatic action.
Jimmy Havoc wearing the pumpkin was fantastic, but my moment of the show was Richard Holliday’s reaction to Kevin Von Erich slapping the coffee cup out of his hand. Holliday had a conniption. I also like how papa Kevin recognized the Dynasty are good wrestlers even though they are jerks. The Von Erich brothers should be ready once they get their tag team title shot and not underestimate the skills of MJF and Holliday.
Timothy Thatcher and Douglas James was an intriguing performance. It was the type of bout that is more enjoyable upon each rewatch. It can feel a little slow, but that is because sometimes I’m not knowledgeable of the technical prowess I’m witnessing. After the cool transitions, it all comes together.
What a dick move by Gringo Loco and Air Wolf by not helping referee Frank Gastineau when they clearly saw him getting pummeled. Gastineau should join Injustice after that slight from Gringo and Air Wolf.
Episode 77 of MLW Fusion felt like a set-up for matches on the November 2 PPV, Saturday Night SuperFight. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get Timothy Thatcher versus Tom Lawlor, a blow-off trios bout between Injustice and Gringo Loco, Zenshi, & Air Wolf, and a bloody death match starring Mance Warner and Jimmy Havoc. If that is the direction, then I’ll sit back and enjoy the party.
What was your favorite moment of episode 77? Which match was your stole the show? Did the Bunkhouse Brawl give you any ideas for Halloween?
MLW Fusion airs on beIN SPORTS and PlayStation Vue Saturday nights at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT. New episodes are posted on YouTube Mondays at 7 pm ET. Fusion is also broadcast in the UK, Ireland, Israel, and Africa.