The world of MLW never sleeps. Let’s catch up on all the news from the past week.
Episode 4 of Fusion: ALPHA was full of juicy nuggets. The ring action saw Calvin Tankman versus Lee Moriarty in power versus speed, Delmi Exo versus Brittany Blake in the women’s featherweight division, and the main event was a chess match between Tom Lawlor and Davey Richards in the Opera Cup tournament opener.
In addition, there was a tease for Enzo Amore doing business with MLW, War Chamber was announced with teams filling out, Alicia Atout did some digging on the dealings of Cesar Duran (alias Dario Cueto), Richard Holliday paid the price for Atout’s tabloid news, Will Ospreay’s debut became clearer, and there was grainy footage that, in my opinion, appeared to be Lucha Underground’s Catrina.
During the Fightland recap of Alexander Hammerstone and Tajiri winning titles, Rich Bocchini and Joe Dombrowksi on commentary mentioned rumors of Cesar Duran getting in touch with Enzo Amore about future activity.
Calvin Tankman defeated Lee Moriarty. Heavyweight Hustle was a powerful force blocking Moriarty’s Taiga style. Moriarty tried to stick and move, but Tankman smashed him with a hefty shoulder block. Moriarty would pick up steam with flurries of strikes, then Tankman would put him down on furious moves such as a pop-up powerbomb. In the end, Moriarty took to the air. Tankman was ready and waiting to unleash a back elbow counter to the jaw. Moriarty showed heart to regroup, however, it was only a matter of time before Tankman put him down with a Tankman driver.
.@CalvinTankman hits the Tankman Driver on @theleemoriarty!#MLWFusion— MLW (@MLW) October 13, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/hpOLsVz5b0 pic.twitter.com/d9SAf5EbBe
Afterward, Tankman showed respect for Moriarty’s effort. On stage, King Mo and Alex Kane spoke with Alicia Atout about recruiting Tankman to American Top Team. They were impressed with Tankman’s skills, but he needs a team to motivate his killer instinct. Mo extended an invitation to join his crew. Tankman said he would think about it.
Josef Samael addressed Hammerstone winning the MLW world title from Jacob Fatu. How does it feel to have two belts but only one leg? The ankle injury was part of Contra’s plan. Fightland isn’t the end of this feud. The final battle is in sight for WAR CHAMBER!
"The final battle is in sight"@JosefSamael with a message from @alexhammerstone.— MLW (@MLW) October 17, 2021
#MLWFusion @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/dh8KXOa49N
Duran was on the phone threatening consequences. Duran dropped a reference to his red phone from Lucha Underground. Enter Hammerstone to voluntarily relinquish the national openweight belt. He viewed it was the right thing to do to allow others the opportunity to climb the ladder. Duran appreciated Hammer’s thinking of opportunities. In regard to War Chamber, Hammer was in. Duran offered to supply a team, however, Hammer preferred to find his own group. Duran sweet talked Muscle Mountain the entire time. As soon as Hammerstone exited, Duran made a throat slash motion.
Alicia Atout aired an exposé on Duran’s past. She obtained exclusive footage of Duran fleeing his office in Boyle Heights. Cut to footage of Duran making moves in Rio de Janeiro and incognito wearing a silly wig in Mexico City. The final piece of investigative journalism showed grainy video of what appeared to be Lucha Underground’s Catrina shuffling through Duran’s abandoned office.
What big scoop does @AliciaAtout have regarding @RealCesarDuran in her Expose?#MLWFusion— MLW (@MLW) October 13, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/hpOLsVz5b0 pic.twitter.com/klxcFaUEzt
Tom Lawlor was confident heading into the Opera Cup opener against Davey Richards. The American Wolf will be hunted, and the trophy will return to filth for the second year in a row.
War Chamber was announced for the November 6 live event in Philadelphia (tickets). The graphic showed Hammerstone with Richard Holliday and two mystery partners against Fatu, Samael, Ikuro Kwon, and Mads Krugger of Contra.
Delmi Exo defeated Brittany Blake. Ashley Vox was ringside to support her Sea Stars sister. Blake worked as the baddie setting up for the babyface comeback. Blake had momentum after an enziguri and a tornado DDT. Blake took to flight, but Exo dodged a flying double stomp. Exo pounced for a Pedigree to win.
.@DelmiExo plants @brittanyblake_ with a Pedigree!#MLWFusion— MLW (@MLW) October 13, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/hpOLsVz5b0 pic.twitter.com/ocnkVZ3LMS
During the previous match, commentary mentioned that Duran was not pleased after viewing Atout’s exposé.
Willow Nightingale was full of positivity for MLW’s featherweight division. There is no stopping her from powering through the division.
Will Ospreay is scheduled to debut in MLW for the December show in NYC.
In the middle of Hammerstone answering questions from a reporter, Kwon leaped from the top of the screen. EJ Nduka came out of nowhere to intercept with a catch and smashed Kwon into the wall. Hammerstone smiled with glee. Nduka was tired of Contra’s nonsense. That led to Hammer requesting Nduka for his War Chamber team. EJ was on board, then he stomped Kwon for good measure.
CONTRA has a new adversary in @EjTheJudge! Nduka will team up with Hammerstone & Holiday against the infidels in the War Chamber!— MLW (@MLW) October 14, 2021
DETAILS: https://t.co/2vbIYZ2SDw pic.twitter.com/MYKGuNbwPU
Davey Richards believes he is cut from the same cloth as Lawlor. The key to success in their Opera Cup duel will be heart. Who can hang on a little bit longer in the game of inches?
Duran chastised the poorly produced hit-job exposé. He can neither confirm nor deny any reported scandals. What does it matter if he gives us the best damn lucha as the greatest promoter who ever existed?
Opera Cup opening round: Davey Richards defeated Tom Lawlor. Lengthy chess match on the mat. Lawlor worked the arm, while Richards worked the knee. The first close pinfall came when Richards countered for an exploder suplex and then connected on a flying double stomp. The two men transitioned back and forth using various submissions. Richards grapevined for a leg lock. Lawlor dramatically inched toward the ropes, but he still had ways to go. Filthy Tom reached out defiantly with double middle fingers before passing out to the pain. The referee awarded the win to Richards.
.@FilthyTomLawlor with one last message as @RichardsWesley makes him pass out to advance to the next round of the #OperaCup .#MLWFusion— MLW (@MLW) October 14, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/hpOLsVz5b0 pic.twitter.com/nc7PdJs6Od
Afterward, Lawlor was assisted to the back by Kevin Ku. On the way up stage, he regained his wits while passing the Opera Cup trophy. Lawlor reached out frantically in desperation for the cup, but Ku prevented him from pilfering the prize.
Better luck next year @FilthyTomLawlor #MLWFusion— MLW (@MLW) October 14, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/hpOLsVz5b0 pic.twitter.com/P18tBINprT
In Duran’s office, Richard Holliday was punished for Atout’s tabloid journalism. Holliday denied romantic interests with Atout, but it didn’t matter. Duran flexed his matchmaker muscle to book Holliday into a Caribbean Championship match. The opponent was revealed to be King Muertes. Holliday warned that his lawyer/father will be in touch.
5150 ambushed Injustice. They rolled up in a car for a beatdown to Myron Reed and Jordan Oliver to close the show.
5150 with a brutal attack on #Injustice!#MLWFusion— MLW (@MLW) October 14, 2021
▶️ https://t.co/hpOLsVz5b0 pic.twitter.com/oJRpFFpJsr
That was a firecracker of an episode. The wrestling was engaging, and the stories added spark to make it my favorite episode of Fusion in recent memory. There were so many juicy morsels to digest.
The War Chamber news is a perfect next chapter for the feud between Alexander Hammerstone and Contra. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Josef Samael sold the idea excellently. EJ Nduka inserting himself into the mix was awesome. The fourth partner for Team Hammer has time to percolate for fans to dream. I’m leaning toward Low Ki as a guess. We’ll find out soon enough when the match is taped on November 6 from Philadelphia.
Everything involving Cesar Duran was a hoot. There were a ton of little references that pay respect to Lucha Underground Believers. I’m enjoying seeing relationships build between Duran and the MLW roster. So far, nobody has seemed to win Duran’s fancy. He’s doing a lot of snake in the grass sweet talking. Hammerstone shouldn’t trust Duran as far as he can throw him. I imagine Hammer could throw Duran pretty far, but that’s beside the point. Duran speaking into the camera at the Renegades is an interesting twist. It makes viewers feel like one of the characters with Duran trying to earn our trust for his matchmaking abilities. And then there was the shocking footage of the mystery lady raiding Duran’s old office. My money is on it being Catrina, which would be wild.
Right out of the gate, MLW dropped a tease for Enzo Amore. As a performer, the man definitely has charisma to draw in viewers. The idea of Enzo talking trash with Konnan would be fun. If Enzo slides more on the manager side, he has the tools to replace Salina de la Renta’s void.
As for the matches, Calvin Tankman versus Lee Moriarty was a nice play on big man versus little man. Tankman re-established himself as a power player heading into the Opera Cup tournament. Delmi Exo versus Brittany Blake did well for good versus bad. Both are fresh to the MLW scene, but they made it easy to pick sides with their behavior in the ring. Blake was rude with attitude, and that allowed Exo’s to shine as a babyface.
The Opera Cup opener was a rousing affair between Davey Richards and Tom Lawlor. Richards’ promo provided an element of foreshadowing with the reference to a game of inches. In the end, Lawlor was inches away from reaching the ropes before succumbing to pain. I am a little shocked that Lawlor was sent packing in round one. Richards now has to be the heavy favorite. In my view, defeating Lawlor will be the most impressive win of the tournament, so Richards definitely needs to capitalize on that momentum. Also to note, I enjoy Richards’ wolf howl as a way to pump up fans.
Thumbs up for Joe Dombrowski’s debut at MLW’s commentary table. He has a nice flow of words. Alicia Atout is blossoming as the jack-of-all-trades journalist as an interviewer, host, and now investigative reporter. She comes across natural in all roles.
Episode 5 of Fusion: ALPHA has a jamming lineup. Richard Holliday will defend the Caribbean Championship against King Muertes, Calvin Tankman battles Matt Cross in an Opera Cup matchup, and the women’s division continues to grow with Nicole Savoy versus Holidead.
Share your reaction to episode 4 of Fusion: ALPHA. Which match stole the show? Who do you think was the mystery lady in Duran’s office? Who are you hoping to see be Hammerstone’s final teammate?