This week’s episode of MLW Fusion was the live Battle Riot II event from the Melrose Ballroom in New York City. It featured two championship bouts and a 40 man Royal Rumble style main event. There were legends, surprises, and chaos.
If you’ve never seen MLW before, I would recommend this episode as a good spot to jump in. It will give you a well rounded flavor of what to expect from MLW broadcasts.
Rise of the Renegades last night defines @MLW. New era wrestlers, crazy misfits, wild wrestling that's as real as it gets. MLW isn't for everyone; it's for renegades. Hope you had a good time and thank you for continuing our streak of sellouts in 2019. Tonight we RIOT live on TV.— Court Bauer (@courtbauer) April 5, 2019
Plus, the Battle Riot match was badass.
On to a recap and review of the show...
The stage setup looked really nice. There was a video screen and an elevated entrance ramp. It turned out to be functional for the Battle Riot match, since viewers could see who was next while still being able to focus on the action in the ring.
Middleweight Championship: Teddy Hart vs Ace Austin
Teddy Hart defended against Ace Austin. Hart’s pesky rib injury appeared to be healed. Hart offered a handshake to Austin, but Austin turned his back to decline. That was a bad move. Austin never really recovered from that decision.
Hart dominated the majority of the match. Austin seemed outclassed by Hart. That story makes sense, since Austin is inexperienced. Side note: Writing the names of Hart and Austin together feels weird when not referring to the classic Bret and Steve rivalry.
Highlights include a suplex by Hart onto the concrete floor, a leg-bouncing springboard moonsult by Hart to the outside, and a flying leg drop by Austin. For the finish, Hart hit Austin with a leaping Canadian Destroyer then a standing Canadian Destroyer for the win.
There was a side story of the Dynasty sitting ringside sipping champagne.
During the match, Hart snatched a glass of champagne, took a swig, then threw it in the security guard’s face. How rude.
After the match, Kaci Lennox interviewed Hart in front of the Dynasty. He spun a limerick about Alexander Hammerstone seeing red when he sees Ted because he knows MJF is as good as dead. Hart said Richard Holliday was the only one in their group with balls. Holliday’s positive shrug reaction was priceless. Hart offered a handshake to Holliday, but he refused. Hart grabbed Holliday’s shirt, so MJF smashed the champagne bottle on Hart’s head.
Cornette said the attack was unprovoked, but I’m going to disagree. Hart was the instigator. A champagne bottle to the head was a tad harsh, but Hart was asking for something bad to happen. It was later mentioned that Hart went to the hospital with a concussion.
Myron Reed vs Minoru Tanaka
Minoru Tanaka was making his MLW debut. Myron Reed was accompanied by Rich Swann. Both entered wearing tape over their mouths. Written on the tape was the word justice. Swann had to remove the tape whenever he offered advice to Reed.
It was a back and forth match with a little assistance from Swann. The top highlight was a suplex dance culminating in a stunner by Reed as the last step. For the finish, Tanaka used an armbreaker to roll into a pin for the win.
Promociones Dorado picking their numbers for Battle Riot
Kaci Lennox was joined by Salina de la Renta, Low Ki, LA Park, Hijo de LA Park, and Ricky Martinez. Lennox rolled the gold tumbler. De la Renta was impatient and pushed her out of the way to pick gold balls. LA Park kept switching his ball with the others. They all seemed pleased with their positioning.
Enter Sami Callihan. He yelled at de la Renta about lack of payment for past work. Callihan wisely realized he was outnumbered. As everyone exited off screen, Mance Warner walked up to the tumbler. He picked up one of the balls from Promociones Dorado and left. Salina’s crew returned and looked confused about the missing number.
“Nice to chest you”
Kaci Lennox was interviewing Brian Pillman Jr. about his number. Salina de la Renta proposed to buy his number with cash or an exchange of goods and services. Pillman hilariously put his foot in his mouth with numerous boob references.
“Nice to chest you,” “Nice to meet your chest,” “Can’t condone of any boobery,” and, “Sorry to get your boobs up.” That scene confirms Pillman’s character as an intentionally unintentional goofball who has trouble finding the right words at times. I wasn’t sure that was supposed to be the case, but there is no disputing it now.
Heavyweight Championship: Tom Lawlor vs Jimmy Havoc
Tom Lawlor defended his heavyweight title against Jimmy Havoc in a New York City street fight. It was a physical bout. Chairs, wooden boards, water bottles, and an air horn were used. The top spot was a super powerbomb by Lawlor to Havoc onto open chairs atop a makeshift table.
Nothing was over the top until Havoc stapled Lawlor’s head numerous times. Lawlor went partially under the ring out of view. When Lawlor came out, his head was a red mess, either from blading or fake blood.
For the finish, Havoc clotheslined the referee when he protested about using the stapler again. Lawlor utilized a drop toehold to slam Havoc’s head into a chair. After a Death Valley Driver into wood, Lawlor covered but the referee was still unconscious. Lawlor used an Acid Rainmaker onto a chair for his second cover, but, again, the ref was still out. Jim Cornette speculated that all the refs were drunk in the back.
A backup referee finally arrived. Lawlor twice kneed a chair into Havoc’s jaw. That was the end as Lawlor retained.
If you were curious, Jim Cornette stayed true to himself when Havoc started using the stapler. “That idiot with a staple gun has possibly stapled an artery. ... It’s not professional wrestling, and it’s ridiculous, and I didn’t sign up to call car wrecks and mayhem and carnage like this. It’s not an athletic contest.”
“Would you like to give me your number?”
Ken Kerbis was approached backstage by Salina de la Renta. When Kerbis wasn’t interested in giving de la Renta his Battle Riot number, Salina snapped her fingers for the Parks to rough him up. Ricky Martinez stole Kerbis’ number as the Parks put the boots to him.
Battle Riot II
Ring announcer Tim Barr used his magnificent vocal enunciation to ask, “Are you ready to riot?” The rules are forty entrants at sixty second intervals. Eliminations are over the top rope, pinfall, or submission. The winner earns a heavyweight title shot anytime, anywhere.
Since there was constant action in a match of this magnitude, I’m just going to hit the memorable moments. Farther down will be the order of entry and elimination.
- MJF entered first. He cut a sassy promo about not shaking in his boots. The second man out was Dan “The Beast” Severn. MJF became visibly worried. What a perfect use for Severn. His entrance may have been the loudest pop of the evening from the fans.
- ”Avalanche” Robert Dreissker entered ninth. He was cleaning house then looked at MJF. MJF pulled money out of his trunks to purchase the services of Avalanche as a bodyguard. Offer accepted. Brilliant strategy by MJF.
- Fenix was the first person eliminated. There were nine competitors in the ring at that point. Fenix was on the top turnbuckle when MJF bounced against the ropes. Fenix’s balls hit the ropes. MJF pushed him out of the ring.
- You know what Battle Riot needs? More cowbell. Good thing Leo Brien of the Dirty Blondes was there. He brought a cowbell to the ring to ring some heads.
- Jacob Fatu entered at number 22, but he wasn’t alone. His Contra Unit cohorts attacked the ring while he was on the entrance ramp. They created a three man stack for Fatu to moonsault then senton. Simon Gotch carried a gasoline canister, and Josef Samael had the fire stick. Gotch doused Rey Horus, Jimmy Yuta, ad Kotto Brazil. Thankfully, MLW security broke it up before the liquid was set aflame. The Contra Unit was escorted away from the ring and later arrested, supposedly.
- Prior to Fatu’s entrance, MJF was beaten up by Jimmy Yuta and rolled out the ring. When the Contra Unit left, MJF came back and pinned Horus, Yuta, and Brazil in rapid succession. MJF tried to make it four with Ace Romero, but Acey Baby kicked out. That calamity cleared the bout down to only those two left.
- The next man out was Brian Pillman Jr. He superkicked MJF out of the ring. MJF entered first and was eliminated twenty-first.
- LAX and Konnan were surprise entrants. They fought with Pillman and Davey Boy Smith Jr., but didn’t last long in the match.
- Blue Meanie was another surprise entrant. He may have gotten the second loudest pop behind Dan Severn. After some eye pokes and dancing, Meanie was on the receiving end of a T-bone suplex by Smith.
- Sami Callihan brought a baseball bat, and Mance Warner brought a Tennessee toothpick (2x4 wood plank). Richard Holliday entered last at number 39. I guess the missing slot would have been Teddy Hart’s if not for a concussion from a champagne bottle.
- The final four were Alexander Hammerstone, LA Park, Mance Warner, and Sami Callihan. Warner and Hammerstone were fighting on the apron. Eye poke! Warner knocked Hammerstone down for an elimination. Callihan promptly crashed into Warner for his elimination. Park hit Callihan with a backbreaker and spear before tossing him over the top rope onto the entrance ramp. That didn’t count as an elimination, so LA Park had to chop Callihan down to the floor for victory.
- LA Park received the golden ticket as the winner of Battle Riot II.
Tom Lawlor press conference
A freshly showered Tom Lawlor sat at a table to answer questions. He wants challengers from across the globe. LA Park will find out that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. When answering a question about the Contra Unit, Lawlor was ambushed by said trio. They were supposed to be arrested, but they obviously broke free. The Contra Unit stomped a mud hole in Lawlor as the show went off the air.
Battle Riot II was a great show. The energy was rocking. Live production was nearly flawless, aside from a few missed eliminations. The first two bouts were a nice warm up for the street fight heavyweight championship match. Tom Lawlor and Jimmy Havoc delivered action without being too crazy, which is a plus in my book.
My favorite parts were the backstage scenes with Salina de la Renta. I’m still laughing about Brian Pillman Jr’s chesty miscommunication. I love how those clips were random but not really because it all still made sense. For example, Mance Warner, noted nemesis of LA Park, slipped in to steal one of Promociones Dorado’s numbers. That is the kind of stuff that makes a wrestling show fun to watch.
The Battle Riot was non-stop excitement. Yes, it is hard to mess up a Royal Rumble, but it is not impossible. Aztec Warfare 4 in Lucha Underground was underwhelming with the sixty second entrance time between participants. I was a little concerned how that might affect Battle Riot, but MLW pulled it off with no issues. Nothing felt rushed.
LA Park as the winner is a good choice. That is one opponent I have been eager to see challenge Tom Lawlor. Whenever they decide to fight, it will be a slobber-knocker. That is if Lawlor can triumph over the Contra Unit. Those guys continue to run roughshod over MLW. I can’t wait to see when they meet their equals.
Here is the order of entry for Battle Riot II.
2. Dan Severn
3. Hijo de LA Park
4. Air Wolf
5. Minoru Tanaka
6. Jordan Oliver
9. “Avalanche” Robert Dreissker
10. Ace Romero
11. Ken Kerbis
12. Leo Brien
13. Michael Patrick
14. Gringo Loco
15. Kotto Brazil
16. Rey Horus
17. Rich Swann
18. Myron Reed
19. Barrington Hughes
20. Ace Austin
21. Jimmy Yuta
22. Jacob Fatu
23. Brian Pillman Jr.
24. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
25, 26, 27. LAX and Konnan
28. Low Ki
29. LA Park
30. Emil Sitoci
32. Blue Meanie
33. Alexander Hammerstone
34. Sami Callihan
35. Ariel Dominguez
36. Ricky Martinez
37. Lance Anoa’i
38. Mance Warner
39. Richard Holliday
Here is the order of elimination for Battle Riot II.
1. Fenix (eliminated by MJF)
2. Air Wolf (I don’t know what happened to him, but I think he was out at number two)
3. Jordan Oliver (eliminated by Ace Romero)
4. Pentagon (eliminated by Hijo de LA Park)
5. Dan Severn (eliminated by Minoru Tanaka)
6. Leo Brien (eliminated by Minoru Tanaka)
7. Hijo de LA Park (eliminated by MJF)
8. Michael Patrick (submitted by Minoru Tanaka)
9. Ken Kerbis (eliminated by Ace Romero)
10. Minoru Tanaka (eliminated by Rich Swann and Myron Reed)
11. Gringo Loco (eliminated by Avalanche)
12. Myron Reed (eliminated by Ace Romero and Barrington Hughes)
13. Barrington Hughes (eliminated by MJF, Avalanche, Rey Horus, and Ace Austin)
14. Rich Swann (pinned by Ace Romero)
15. Avalanche (eliminated by Ace Romero)
16. Ace Austin (eliminated by Jimmy Yuta)
17. Jacob Fatu (escorted out by security)
18. Rey Horus (pinned by MJF)
19. Jimmy Yuta (pinned by MJF)
20. Kotto Brazil (pinned by MJF)
21. MJF (eliminated by Brian Pillman Jr.)
22. Ace Romero (eliminated by Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
23. Santana (eliminated by Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
24. Ortiz (eliminated by Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
25. Konnan (rolled out of the ring on his own accord)
26. Brian Pillman Jr. (eliminated by Alexander Hammerstone)
27. Blue Meanie (pinned by Sami Callihan)
28. Low Ki (eliminated by Daga)
29. Emil Sitoci (eliminated by Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
30. Ariel Dominguez (eliminated by Alexander Hammerstone)
31. Daga (eliminated by LA Park)
32. Ricky Martinez (eliminated by Mance Warner)
33. Lance Anoa’i (pinned by Richard Holliday)
34. Richard Holliday (eliminated by Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
35. Davey Boy Smith Jr. (eliminated by Alexander Hammerstone)
36. Alexander Hammerstone (eliminated by Mance Warner)
37. Mance Warner (eliminated by Sami Callihan)
38. Sami Callihan (eliminated by LA Park)
Winner: LA Park
Let’s hand out some awards. The show-stealer has to be the Contra Unit. They caused quite a memorable ruckus, as they always do.
I’m going to give breakout star to Minoru Tanaka. I’d never seen him before and was indifferent after his earlier match against Myron Reed. Tanaka in the Battle Riot was a different story. He had some nice eliminations and the match’s only submission. Tanaka got me revved up for his bout against Daga. One future match I’d like to see in MLW is Tanaka against Dan Severn.
Most impressive is probably MJF. He weaseled his way to six eliminations. MJF’s smarminess is one of the main reasons why Dan Severn’s entrance was so memorable. The same for when it was Brian Pillman Jr.’s turn. I have to give MJF credit for that heel heat.
What did you think of Battle Riot II overall? How about the main event match itself? Which was your favorite moment? Who was the show-stealer, breakout star, and most impressive?