MLW’s Opera Cup is underway from the Melrose Ballroom in New York City. Time to tackle two episodes of Fusion that were balls to the wall action.
Episode 88 featured the surprise appearance of ACH, a superb gift train from the Dynasty, and Timothy Thatcher vs Richard Holliday along with TJP vs Brian Pillman Jr. in the Opera Cup opening round.
Episode 89 featured a reunion of the Unholy Alliance, MJF spitting in Alexander Hammerstone’s face, Tom Lawlor brawling with Ross Von Erich on the streets of Queens, and MJF vs Hammerstone along with Low Ki vs Davey Both Smith Jr. in the other half of Opera Cup opening round matches.
On to a recap and review of both shows...
We’ll start with episode 88 (video here).
The show opened with Injustice making a public scene in the ring. King Mo was scheduled for a match, but Injustice took over to complain about not being in the Opera Cup tournament. They are, however, alternates. Injustice refused to leave the ring.
Hit King Mo’s music. King Mo put in his mouthpiece ready to fight.
ACH stood by King Mo’s side to stare down Injustice. A tag team match was announced.
King Mo & ACH vs Kotto Brazil & Jordan Oliver
American Top Team founder Dan Lambert was on commentary to put over King Mo. This contest was pretty long for an impromptu affair. King Mo and ACH had momentum early until a distraction by Myron Reed. Injustice worked the ring with quick tags. The tide turned when King Mo got the hot tag. Injustice still fought hard, but the finish came after a gutwrench powerbomb and a leg lock submission by King Mo to Kotto Brazil.
Cut to a sneaky camera scene of Gino Medina speaking with Konnan in the stairwell.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Dynastic
What does The Dynasty ( @MostMarketable @alexhammerstone @The_MJF ) have in store for each other this Holiday season? Find out in this weeks ”Lifestyles of The Rich and Dynastic“ #MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA https://t.co/jFijKb5imW— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 15, 2019
Richard Holliday was using Grogan to clean out some orphanages. Chugga, chugga, chugga, gift train! MJF rolled up for a do-si-do hoedown. MJF presented Holliday with the biggest gift of his life. Giant EarPods. Group hug as Holliday cried tears of joy. Holliday’s gift for MJF turned out to be Max mini. MJF thought the present of a smaller look-a-like was dog shit. Holliday kicked out Max mini and took his scarf too.
Opera Cup: Timothy Thatcher vs Richard Holliday
Richard Holliday went solo without Dynasty backup. It appeared that Thatcher underestimated Holliday’s craftiness. Holliday was able to sneak out of positions and use reversals for a few big slams. For the finish, Holliday countered a superplex into a super 2008 twisting slam. Holliday wasted time trash-talking, so Thatcher snatched his arm for a Fujiwara armbar and victory. Thatcher will advance to the Opera Cup semifinal.
Alicia Atout had Salina de la Renta ready for an interview. Before Atout could finish her first question, Salina skipped out to court Gino Medina as a potential client of Promociones Dorado.
Mance Warner filled us in about that Taipei Deathmatch that was supposed to go down the week prior. Warner poked Jimmy Havoc in the eye backstage, Havoc couldn’t see to compete, and the bout was called off. Warner is a fair man. An eye for an eye, so Warner proposed both men wearing hoods to fight blind. Ole Mancer doesn’t need eyeballs to lay Jimbo out cold. Uncle Moonman was behind Warner drinking some shine during this whole promo.
The Von Erich boys were in Hawaii with their father, Kevin. They were trying to understand Tom Lawlor’s motives for his treachery. Kevin chalked it up to money. It always boils down to money. Kevin reminded his sons to keep that good part of their character, but don’t leave the ring until they are finished with Lawlor.
Hail, Contra. Josef Samael dispatched Ikuro Kwon on a special mission in Japan. The Contra crusade is getting stronger. Soldiers continue to rise up in all corners of the world. Be ready. Stay vigilant. The fire rises. Hail, Contra.
CIMA, El Lindaman, and Shigehiro Irie of the Stronghearts are coming to destroy Contra in Japanese style.
Opera Cup: TJP vs Brian Pillman Jr.
The bout began heavy on mat work. TJP had a super nifty escape.
Well that's one way to escape a hold.@MegaTJP @FlyinBrianJr #OperaCup#MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/X5ICg63Aou— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 15, 2019
That was awesome. Pillman’s reaction of confusion makes it even better.
The pace picked up in the second half. TJP hit a superplex then a brainbuster.
.@MegaTJP Connects with a superplex, Brainbuster combo on Pillman Jr!#OperaCup#MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/8oF86nb2w6— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 15, 2019
Pillman kicked out. TJP almost had Pillman defeated with his clutch submission, but Pillman barely made it to the ropes for the break. The two went back and forth a while longer until Pillman blasted TJP with a knee to the head. The Dire Promise swinging neckbreaker finished the match.
.@FlyinBrianJr with the Dire Promise to TJP!#OperaCup#MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/Y5coz0g0SJ— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 15, 2019
Pillman will advance to the Opera Cup semifinal.
Next up is episode 89 (video here).
An MLW cameraman ambushed the Dynasty entering the arena. MJF and Alexander Hammerstone are scheduled to wrestle each other in the Opera Cup. Richard Holliday’s lawyer/father is working on a remedy. If that doesn’t work, the Dynasty always has a plan B.
Prince of Darkness Match: Jimmy Havoc vs Mance Warner
This was a blindfold match with hoods. Jimmy Havoc and Mance Warner argued about who would put the hood on first. Once the match was underway, Warner used the crowd to help him locate Havoc. It was a comedy match with moments like Havoc hitting a flying elbow drop to the mat on no one.
The finish had ball-kicking interference. The referee was admonishing Havoc for not having his hood on. Priscilla Kelly ran in the ring to boot Mancer’s giblets.
WAIT, What's @priscillakelly_ business out here with @JimmyHavoc?#MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/K0wYXDpbx1— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 22, 2019
Havoc won with an Acid Rainmaker. This was a reunion of the Unholy Alliance between Havoc and Kelly.
Tom Lawlor was interviewed while walking up to the building. Team Filthy Dojo is back open for business. Lawlor was distracted and did not notice Ross Von Erich standing in the doorway until it was too late. They fisticuffed in the alley. Lawlor smashed Ross into boxes then ran away down the street.
Alicia Atout was with Alexander Hammerstone. Everything is okay with the Dynasty. They love each other like brothers. MJF and Richard Holliday entered while talking the virtues of orange juice’s vitamin C. MJF handed the bottle to Hammer, who replied, “You guys know I love being on the juice.” MJF and Holliday mocked Atout’s Canadian accent.
Mance Warner was speaking on his loss when Priscilla Kelly attacked him like a succubus. Havoc pounded Warner with a chain then dug scissors in his forehead. Warner was a bloody mess.
Gino Medina was asked questions about his future and potential managers. He doesn’t have time to talk to them. Salina de la Renta opened the door to drag Medina in a room by his jacket as if they were going to get it on.
Hammerstone was taking a call in the hallway. MJF strolled by to exchange pleasantries about loving Hammer. He tried to reason with Hammer about taking a dive. Hammer already has the beautiful National Openweight Championship. Why does he need the Opera Cup? Hammer wasn’t keen on the idea of losing. Holliday came in shouting on his phone about firing his lawyer/father if he doesn’t get them out of the match.
The Stronghearts met with the press and spoke in Japanese. Contra attacked them.
Opera Cup: Alexander Hammerstone vs MJF
Hugs before the bell. They did a double finger poke of doom, but neither man fell. MJF tried to explain the concept for Alexander Hammerstone to take the fall. Another round of pokes, no one fell. MJF walked away then pie-faced Hammer. Hammer responded with a standing dropkick, Fosbury Flop, and a missile dropkick. MJF pleaded to slow down then suckered Hammer into the corner to take control.
The story was Hammer’s power against MJF’s mischievousness, such as a thumb to the eye and a low blow. MJF actually spit a disgusting wad of saliva in Hammer’s face when things weren’t going his way.
Hammer prevailed in the end with a big knee then a sitdown powerbomb. Hammerstone will advance to the Opera Cup semifinal.
After the match, Richard Holliday had to play peacemaker and stop Hammerstone from more pounding to MJF. MJF offered a handshake. Handshake accepted. MJF then fell to the mat out of pain from the beating. Hammerstone left the ring. Holliday had to deal with MJF’s unconscious body.
Promos, part 2
Injustice fake complained about not being in the Opera Cup. Who gives a F about the Opera Cup. Jordan Oliver would piss in the suitcase of the Opera Cup owner. They threatened that somebody isn’t making it to the Opera Cup. Kotto Claus is coming to town to bring justice.
Tom Lawlor and Ross Von Erich brawled down Queens Boulevard as random bystanders looked confused at the fighting. Lawlor hid behind a gas station pump to thumb Ross in the eye. Lawlor took off running again.
Ross Von Erich (@RAMVonErich) and @FilthyTomLawlor continue to fight it out but now through Queens Boulevard at a local gas station!#MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/TxfmIHyiJO— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 22, 2019
Alicia Atout chatted with Davey Boy Smith Jr. The pride of his uncle Stu Hart that runs through his veins will carry him to win the Opera Cup. First step was winning the tag titles. Next up is the Opera Cup. The third step will be winning the Heavyweight Championship.
Opera Cup: Low Ki vs Davey Boy Smith Jr.
This was a technical grappling bout. Low Ki had to be creative to overcome Davey Boy Smith Jr.’s size and power. For the finish, Low Ki surged for a big slam to Smith. That may have been too much weight for Low Ki’s body. He wearily climbed the turnbuckles. Smith sprang up to snatch Low Ki off the top. Low Ki transitioned into a rear naked choke using his leg for pressure on a standing Smith. Smith was close to passing out, but he rolled forward to trap Low Ki in a pin to win. Smith will advance to the Opera Cup semifinal.
The cameras caught up to Tom Lawlor and Ross Von Erich as they ran up to a subway station. Lawlor made it into the subway car. Ross got there as the doors were already closed. Lawlor flipped him the bird as the subway pulled away.
Ross Von Erich (@RAMVonErich) and @FilthyTomLawlor have made it all the way towards the 111 Street station! But Lawlor lives to fight another day as he takes the 7 train back into the city.#MLWFusion on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/d0ThK2w4C5— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) December 22, 2019
Episodes 88 and 89 of Fusion were great. MLW has a knack for keeping chaos high but having it all gel together well.
The Opera Cup has put on some unique fights so far. Each of the eight competitors upped their game for something special. All four bouts were enjoyable. I don’t think any one stood above the rest. That’s how solid all the contests were.
It was fitting that Richard Holliday’s hubris did him in against Timothy Thatcher. In a possible sign of maturity, Brian Pillman Jr. was more methodical against TJP than I’ve ever seen him before. MJF pulled out all his tricks in a losing effort to Dynasty bro Alexander Hammerstone that might tear their squad apart. Davey Boy Smith Jr. was surprisingly close to defeat at the hands of Low Ki before regaining his wits to win.
ACH’s appearance was a neat surprise. Too bad it is over before getting started, as ACH has quit pro wrestling. Oh, well. At least there was a cool moment to remember if that is indeed ACH’s final time in a ring.
The Prince of Darkness Match worked well, since they didn’t try to pass it off as a legit fight. Mance Warner and Jimmy Havoc channeled their comedy chops to make it amusing rather than confusing. Priscilla Kelly was underwhelming in her debut as the Spider Lady, but she has hit a home run in every segment since then. Kelly’s feral attack on Warner backstage makes me want to turn around and walk the other way if I ever see her in person. She’s scary.
My favorite moments were the Dynasty interactions backstage and the running brawl between Tom Lawlor and Ross Von Erich. The gift train segment was magnificent with the giant EarPods and Max mini. Kudos to whoever thought up that silliness. MLW always connects on those roaming segments that play out through the show. I’d like to see an outtakes interview with the random people on the street that witnessed Lawlor and Von Erich throwing punches.
What was your favorite moment from episode 88 and episode 89 of MLW Fusion? Did the Opera Cup matches please your palate?
MLW Fusion airs on beIN SPORTS and PlayStation Vue Saturday nights at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT. New episodes are posted on YouTube Saturdays at 10 pm ET. Fusion is also broadcast in the UK, Ireland, Israel, and Africa.