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MLW Fusion: Austin Aries is a magician, takes shots at cosplaying pro wrestlers

MLW Fusion finished out its set from the Waukesha County Expo Center in the greater Milwaukee area. Episode 64 featured the debut of Austin Aries, a set-up for the Tom Lawlor vs Jacob Fatu title fight in Chicago, and discussion over whether Hulk Hogan’s tan was better in 1987 or 1991.

On to a recap and review of the show...

A promo from the Contra Unit was first up. Tom Lawlor will have Josef Samael this week then Jacob Fatu next week. Samael threatened that Lawlor can’t defend his heavyweight title if he can’t see (fireball) or if he can’t breath (Fatu moonsault). Samael finished, “Flags all around the nation are going to be at half-mast.” Fatu chimed in with, “And the black flag of Contra will rise. Lawlor, your time is up.”

Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette conducted an interview with the Von Erich brothers. They were happy to back up Tom Lawlor last week. (If you haven’t seen that wild six-man unsanctioned tornado tag, do so promptly.) They gave Lawlor their word to help with Contra and will honor it.

Adam Brooks vs Austin Aries

This was a very interesting bout that is better seen than read about. They began with lots of nifty mat work.

Highlights include forearm ground and pound by Austin Aries, a Macho-esque flying elbow by Aries to the back of a sitting Adam Brooks, a rope-assisted neckbreaker by Aries, a slingshot DDT by Brooks, a bridging triangle arm choke by Aries, a Death Valley Driver by Aries onto the apron ledge, and a cross-legged over-the-knee neckbreaker by Brooks.

For the finish, Aries got his knees up on a flying senton by Brooks. Aries took off his elbow pad and clocked Brooks with a discus elbow. Aries followed with a dropkick in the corner and a brainbuster to win.

Kaci Lennox entered the ring to interview the hometown Aries. Aries sat on the middle rope so Lennox could enter. The crowd chanted vociferously for Aries. Lennox began while they were still chanting Aries’ name. Aries snatched the mic from Lennox. ”Don’t interrupt these people. They weren’t done yet. Continue, continue.” Aries halted Lennox’s attempt to leave so he could sit on the middle rope again to help her exit. Aus-tin A-ries!

Aries said there is a war going on in professional wrestling. He fired verbal shots by referring to sports entertainment and cosplay pro wrestling. They have the costumes but can’t really do the magic. “You’re looking at the last real magician of professional wrestling, because I make you all believe.”

Aries praised MLW for abiding by weight limits. He’s been heavyweight champ before, but he hasn’t been a heavyweight one day in his life. “You don’t need to be a heavyweight to be the absolute best.” Right now, Aries is a middleweight and that is bad news for one man, Teddy Hart. Aries is aiming for Hart’s middleweight belt. “People think you’re a real asshole. Not compared to this one.”

Hogan tan ‘87 or ‘91?

The Dynasty and Aria Blake were lounging at Richard Holliday’s father’s estate in Martha’s Vineyard. Holliday’s father bought the place using settlement money from closing an orphanage. MJF said in disgust that the orphans expect everything to be handed to them.

Alexander Hammerstone interrupted to ask if he was catching those sun rays right off the reflection of the openweight championship belt. Hammer was trying to go for a sweet Hogan tan. Holliday inquired ‘87 or ‘91. Both Hammerstone and MJF immediately shot back, “Bro, ‘91.” MJF reassured Hammer. “You look good. Nice and brown.”

Holliday’s father taught him that possession is 9/10 of the law, so they are technically tag team champs after stealing one strap last week from Teddy Hart. MJF noticed Aria’s nail needed fixing back in the room. Wink, wink. Holliday asked Hammer why Aria needs MJF’s help fixing a nail. “Rich, are you serious?” Hammerstone left after Holliday not catching on.

A storm is brewing

Josef Samael cut another promo about Tom Lawlor. Contra has taken his pride and hair. This week, Samael is out for blood. Next week, Fatu will take Lawlor’s title.

Jacob Fatu vs Ariel Dominguez & Sam Black

Jacob Fatu attacked before the bell rang. He demolished the two-on-one challenge. Fatu is amazing. He executed a handspring into the ropes into a backflip splash.

Fatu super popped-up the lightweight Dominguez for a Samoan drop.

Fatu won via moonsault onto the duo.

Simon Gotch and Josef Samael ran in to add insult to injury as they put the boots to the unfortunate opponents.

Kaci Lennox with Salina de la Renta

In an interview, Kaci Lennox asked if Salina de la Renta went too far by making Sami Callihan vs Mance Warner a loser leaves MLW match. “Too far? Haha. What the? Uh, no. Well, the ratings went far.” That tells you that she gave the audience what they wanted. “Why are we standing here talking about a goat f-cker (Warner)?” Yes, she said that uncensored on the YouTube version. To any beIN SPORTS viewers, did they bleep her in that broadcast?

Salina said they should be talking about her, the empresaria of Promociones Dorado, the first-ever Latina executive producer in the history of professional wrestling. When you look at her, it must be so hard to see a 22-year-old in control.

Drinking and Thinking with Ole Mancer

“Ole Mancer, baby.” Mance Warner was sitting next to a chain-link fence drinking light beers. Salina de la Renta spent her money getting every badass she could find to try to run Mancer around like a punk bitch. That’s not going to happen. He ran Sami Callihan out and now he’s going to headhunt Promociones Dorado. When he drags them in the ring, there will be fireworks and blood. When Ole Mancer puts his light beer down and turns his hat around, you know he means business. He’s going to bust fists on them. They’re going to fight. When he’s done with that, he’ll mow the yard, cook hot dogs, and have some light beers.

Josef Samael vs Tom Lawlor

Salina de la Renta and Ricky Martinez were shown watching in the picture-in-picture corner box as a tease that LA Park may cash in his Battle Riot golden ticket.

This was a knock-down, drag-out fight. There was brawling, eye-raking, and choking. Highlights include Josef Samael trying to kick the middle rope into Tom Lawlor’s balls but Lawlor catching the rope before impact and a hammerlock clothesline by Samael.

Lawlor had a nice suplex to get Samael back in the ring.

At that point, we were shown video of Contra and the Von Erichs engaging in fisticuffs backstage.

Samael reached into his boot to pull out a railroad spike. He lunged for Lawlor but stabbed the turnbuckle instead. Lawlor attacked with a spinning heel kick. He went over to remove the spike from the turnbuckle. Referee Frank Gastineau tried to take the spike away, but Lawlor pushed him down to the mat. Gastineau called for the bell. It went down as a disqualification win for Samael, but nobody cared.

Lawlor tossed the spike to the floor, and the two continued brawling. The others were still backstage brawling. Everyone was brawling as the show went off the air.

Episode 64 of MLW Fusion did its thing. There was one mighty fine match, one super showcase squash, one filthy brawl, and funny promos with serious messages.

Austin Aries was the star of this episode. His match with Adam Brooks had a unique flavor than what we usually see in wrestling. Aries’ promo was money too. MLW rarely does in-ring speeches, so that goes to show how great Aries is on the mic. I was wondering why he wasn’t introduced using any of his various nicknames. Now, it is clear that it was to set up a new nickname, The Magician. His points were true too in that he did make me believe and other sports entertainers, well, don’t. That’s not to say I think MLW doesn’t have non-magicians, if you will. There are some wrestlers on the roster that do moves which make me go, “Huh?”

A feud with Teddy Hart is going to be so damn good. Those bouts have true potential to be ones that we remember for years to come. I’m usually not a fan of super long matches, but, in this case, I hope Hart and Aries get time to go 20+ minutes.

The main event and the Fatu squash set the table nicely for what may come at Kings of Colosseum. Jacob Fatu showed amazing agility and supreme strength to decimate two men. As a fan, the message was clearly received that Tom Lawlor will be in for a dirty dogfight when they collide for the Heavyweight Championship. It was also a nice touch by teasing a reminder that LA Park could cash in his golden ticket at any time. I can’t wait. Yeeeahhh!

All of the promos were gold this go around. Salina de la Renta’s facial expressions slayed me with a case of the chuckles. I was thrilled for more ‘Drinking and Thinking with Ole Mancer’ as he mixed in his style of humor with threats for violence. Best of all was the Dynasty discussing, rather one-sidedly, the bronzeness of Hulk Hogan’s tans by year.

What did you think of Austin Aries’ debut and his new nickname? Do you agree with his criticisms toward WWE? How hyped are you for Tom Lawlor vs Jacob Fatu? What is your take on the best year for vintage Hulk Hogan tan?

If you have been interested in MLW merchandise, then now is as good a time as any to purchase. Pro Wrestling Tees, which houses the MLW shop, has a 20% off sale from July 1 to July 8. Use the code AMERICA.

MLW Fusion airs on beIN SPORTS 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, and Israel.

Author’s note: A previous version of the headline read, “MLW Fusion: Austin Aries is a magician, takes shots at WWE cosplaying as pro wrestlers.” But after discussing with the cSs community and researching Aries’ promo, I may have misunderstood a possible reference to AEW and the Elite. I don’t follow AEW that much, so the cosplaying reference flew over my head. With that new information, it does not seem like WWE is the target of the cosplayer joke. Listen for yourself and let us know in the comments what you think. Aries promo starts around the 18:45 mark of episode 64.

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