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MLW Roundup: Opera Cup final, WARHORSE, Jeff Cobb & ACH as surprises, more!

The world of MLW never sleeps, and it won’t start anytime soon. Fusion: ALPHA is coming in hot with the Opera Cup final on Wednesday night.

Davey Richards and TJP are set to collide in the main event. Richards’ tournament path included tough wins over Tom Lawlor and Bobby Fish. TJP cheated his way to triumph over Alex Shelley and Calvin Tankman.

Richards was victorious against TJP earlier this year. Normally, I would pick TJP to win the rematch since their talent levels are so close. However, I have to side to with Richards. I can’t imagine MLW would want TJP’s nefarious tactics to sully the sterling reputation of the Opera Cup trophy.

Also on the card is women’s tag team action between the Sea Stars (Ashley Vox & Delmi Exo) and the Top Dogs (Davienne & Skylar) as well as Warhorse clashing with KC Navarro. That singles bout was set up last week when Warhorse was presented with the Parts Unknown award for Most Interesting Person 2021. Unfortunately, his name was spelled wrong. It should be all capitals. WARHORSE! Alicia Atout started screaming WARHORSE to honor the winner. Navarro interrupted and fisticuffs broke out.

Fusion: ALPHA will be available for viewing at 7 pm ET on Wednesday night through MLW’s YouTube channel.

Let’s catch up on the past two weeks of MLW programming with War Chamber and the National Openweight Championship ladder match. Both bouts included surprise competitors in the form of Jeff Cobb and ACH.

MLW War Chamber

The War Chamber special (here) was the final battle between MLW and the Contra Unit. Captain Alexander Hammerstone was joined by Richard Holliday, EJ Nduka, Savio Vega, and a mystery partner chosen by Cesar Duran (alias Dario Cueto). Contra’s squad included Jacob Fatu, Mads Krugger, Ikuro Kwon, and two members of the Sentai Death Squad.

The show kicked off with a live promo from Duran. MLW’s matchmaker shares the same vision as CEO Court Bauer for aggressive expansion, so Duran will be taking MLW to Mexico to battle the best luchadores.

The 5150 family is back together with Homicide. Konnan’s crew taunted Los Parks with unsavory threats.

Fatu was first out for the War Chamber. Duran’s choice was revealed to be Matanza Duran. Once Matanza removed his mask and overalls, the man was acknowledged as Jeff Cobb. Fatu and Cobb roughhoused for five minutes until the next entrant. The remaining order of entrants went Sentai #1, Vega, Kwon, Holliday, Sentai #2, Nduka, Krugger, and Hammerstone as the ultimate.

Hammerstone won the match after a break down in communication between Contra. Fatu hooked an ankle lock targeting Hammer’s injury. Holliday broke it up and shoved Fatu into Krugger. Later, Fatu went high-risk for a flying attack and unintentionally collided with Krugger. With both big men down, that opened the window of opportunity for Hammerstone to put Kwon in the torture rack for victory.

Contra imploded in the aftermath. Krugger blamed Fatu. Kwon tried to keep the peace, but a donnybrook broke out with Fatu smashing Contra members.

The show closed with mysterious plans from Duran and Karlee Perez (aka Catrina). They toasted to leave the past behind and paint the future in red. Duran showed his blueprint for a cathedral of violence. I’m not sure what the picture is plotting. It could be for the show in Mexico.

MLW Thanksgiving special

MLW celebrated Thanksgiving with a ladder match (here). The show opened with the Opera Cup semifinal bout between TJP and Calvin Tankman. TJP used a variety of tricks to score the victory. He spit water in Tankman’s eyes and received physical assistance from Alex Kane on the outside. The final blow came when TJP ripped off the turnbuckle pad and distracted the referee. Kane rammed Tankman into the exposed steel. TJP finished with a mamba splash to advance.

Backstage, Emilio Sparks needled Tankman about comment on Kane’s meddling. People get hurt when they mess with Tankman’s money. Myron Reed stepped in to prevent Tankman from pummeling the antagonistic interviewer.

The Von Erichs are coming back to MLW for the Dallas show in January. Since Duran likes big matches, they proposed a shot at the tag titles. It would be the first time in 40 years that the Von Erich family had a championship contest in Dallas.

Gnarls Garvin made his MLW debut by squashing Budd Heavy. A back drop driver earned the W.

The Dynasty were pumped after winning War Chamber. They received a Rolex gift from Duran’s messenger, but Hammerstone declined.

Sparks spoke with Kane about his new associate. Mr. Thomas was an addition to Kane’s Boom-aye-yea fight club. (I don’t know how to spell the team name.) Tankman rumbled in making a ruckus as he was held back by security. Kane calmly remained on the couch to discuss his ladder match game plan.

Duran spoke with Emilio Sparks and Alicia Atout about their reporting duties in MLW. Perez convinced Duran to keep both on board, so he demanded they deliver major scoops. The masked messenger returned the Dynasty’s watches. Duran realized that means they chose plomo (lead) over plata (silver).

The vacant National Openweight Championship was put up for grabs in the main event ladder match. Alex Shelley, Alex Kane, Zenshi, Myron Reed, and ACH in a surprise return were competing for the prize. The coolest spot came when ACH ran across the ladder for a German suplex to Zenshi.

Down the stretch, Kane was down. The other four climbed a pair of ladders to duke it out inches away from the title belt. Shelley was the last one standing to tease victory, but Kane pulled him down and choked him out for an easy strut to the top. Kane became the new champ. Afterward, Tankman ran out looking for revenge, but he was held back by security.

Reaction: Both those episodes were a good time. The War Chamber concept sells itself, and the story heading in was appropriate for such a match. The explosion of Contra should give Fatu new life. He did all he could do with that group as world champ. Now, Fatu will have opportunities to branch out as a potential fan favorite. The crowd was rowdy with cheers for the Samoan Werewolf. That doesn’t mean Fatu will be a clean-cut babyface. I think the support is more about his badass aura and supreme ass-kicking abilities. Colliding with Krugger is a good first step to give the people what the want.

I like the new directions MLW is heading with their new stars. The revamped 5150 are lunatics. Tankman, Kane, and Nduka are all proving to be great signings. Even the little I’ve seen of Mr. Thomas is promising. I assume that man was one of the Sentai Death Squad as a different character. MLW has also ratcheted up the curse words, and it feels right within the context of these hotheaded situations. The show truly is a unique product in the wrestling landscape right now. With all the Lucha Underground tie-ins on top of that, MLW has a very enjoyable show lately.