Yoooooo. Yo! Drop what you are doing and watch MLW’s Battle Riot III episode. The show kicks off with an introduction then 10+ minutes of Cesar Duran (alias Dario Cueto) in promo mode. The rest of the show is MLW’s version of the Royal Rumble. Nothing more needs to be said to sell you. Watch Battle Riot, available for free on YouTube. Do it, now.
Dario Cueto, Injustice, and the return of Konnan with a new LAX
The show kicked off with Cesar Duran walking down the aisle. MLW scored the man known as Dario Cueto to play the same character from Lucha Underground. Duran cut a promo in front of the rowdy crowd. He has been told that the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA is historic. He has been told that the people in this city understand lucha libre. He has been told that this would be a good place to build a new Temple. However, Duran thinks that is all cow shit. He viewed the fans in attendance as a bunch of imposters. Duran worked the crowd to a fever pitch chanting, “Lucha! Lucha! Lucha!” El Jefe finally felt at home and shouted a welcome back to his Believers.
Duran’s reputation is for super luchas with violence second to none. He revealed that MLW reached a deal for him to be their matchmaker. Just as Duran was getting an idea, he was interrupted.
Myron Reed and Jordan Oliver of Injustice came to the ring. They flapped their gums insulting Duran, who stood tall in the face of Injustice’s intimidation tactics. Duran asked Reed, “Who the fuck are you?” Injustice requested a tag title shot against Los Parks. Business was interrupted one more time.
Konnan came out with the newest iteration of LAX. He was flanked by Rivera (Danny Limelight), Slice Boogie, and Dr. Julius Smokes. Konnan got in Duran’s face to demand a tag title match. Duran declared that he is open for business. Oliver wasn’t having it with newcomers jumping the line, so fisticuffs broke out. LAX had the upper hand until Reed launched for a swanton plancha to bodies on the floor. Referees separated the squads.
Wow! That opening segment was so awesome. Not only did MLW deliver Dario Cueto, but he is exactly the same character we all love. The little touches were spot on, such as Duran grinning as violence broke out around him. Add in the hot crowd with pops for Duran, Injustice, and the newly reformed LAX unit. The energy was amazing. That is one of my favorite segments in all of wrestling this year. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time.
The newest lineup of LAX looks good. Rivera has been rocking the ring as Danny Limelight on AEW’s Elevation and Dark programs. It was a smart call to pair them against Injustice, because Rivera is on Reed’s level to make magic in the ring. Slice Boogie is another solid choice. He has been plying his craft with the NWA recently. With the Forbidden Door in full effect, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this version of LAX hop from promotion to promotion.
The broadcast went over to correspondent Alicia Atout with a gold tumbler for wrestlers to pick their number. We were treated to a humorous interaction between rookie EJ Nduka and veteran Tom Lawlor. Filthy wanted to know what Nduka was the Judge of, since it was his nickname. Lawlor countered that his name has law in it.
Contra Unit interrupted the feed to welcome fans into MLW’s new era. Josef Samael warned us to be prepared to see our heroes enter a new season of terror.
MLW also announced a new miniseries called Fusion Alpha. It is set to debut in August 2021. I’m not clear on what to expect, but the teaser trailer looks intriguing.
MLW Micro Brawler toys will be on sale starting Monday, July 26. Series 1 includes LA Park, Richard Holliday, and Alexander Hammerstone. Head over to MLWshop.com for the goods.
Battle Riot III
The namesake contest of the event was ready to explode. 40 men with 1 winner to earn a shot for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship any time, any place. Rules were no DQ, weapons permitted, new man every 60 seconds, and eliminations by pinfall, submission, and over the top with two feet touching the floor.
This match was close to one hour in duration, so let’s get into the peak moments. Surprise entrants were Kim Chee, Blue Meanie, and Kwang the Ninja. Chee used his baton in the ring, Meanie danced, and Kwang worked the nunchucks.
Savio Vega was in the ring earlier using his kendo stick with delight. He was conveniently eliminated before Kwang’s number was called. In case you aren’t picking up what I’m putting down, Vega wrestled as Kwang in WWE. Kwang spit mist in Meanie’s face. Unfortunately for Meanie, King Muertes took advantage for a Flatliner elimination.
In mockery of another masked man, Tom Lawlor pulled double duty. He was eliminated by Davey Richards. Later, LA Park was announced as an entrant, except Park looked suspiciously skinnier. Marshal Von Erich used the claw to remove Park’s mask and reveal Lawlor in disguise. Filthy Park was promptly clotheslined out of the ring for elimination.
There were two standout performances above everyone else, in my opinion. Zenshi and EJ Nduka shined bright. Zenshi was the slickster avoiding elimination with fancy recoveries. He came in popping off double handspring Pele kicks.
Zenshi also had a dope coast to coast dropkick between diagonal corners and a 630 senton. Nduka is a huge man who mauled several wrestlers for a multitude of eliminations. He looks like a million bucks with chiseled muscle. Nduka is one that makes me eager to see his next match. Nduka and Calvin Tankman had a double elimination on each other. That is a fight I definitely want in the near future. Other notable newbies were Alex Kane living up to the Suplex Assassin nickname with seven straight suplexes and Beastman being a beast, man. Just look at this magnificent specimen. Beastman is made for hoss fights.
On top of the most badass moments list is Reed with a leaping cutter over the ropes into the arms of Injustice mate Oliver to prevent elimination.
Slice Boogie had the power move of the night. He caught Reed for a spinebuster onto Oliver through a wooden board in the corner.
The flow of the match was a full ring throughout. 19 men entered before the first elimination. The nitty-gritty came down to the Contra Unit against Alexander Hammerstone and the Von Erich brothers.
Hammerstone clotheslined one Sentai Death Squad solider out of the ring. Marshall low-bridged the ropes for the exit of the other Sentai Death Squad solider, while Hammer dumped Josef Samael. Marshall eliminated Ikuro Kwon with force via claw slam on the apron. Mads Krugger siphoned the babyface momentum with a double clothesline knocking the Von Erichs out of the contest. Hammerstone quickly answered with a double clothesline of his own to eliminate Simon Gotch and Diavari.
.@MadsKrugger eliminates the Von Erichs while @alexhammerstone eliminates the remaining members of #CONTRAUnit. We're now down to the final two men.#BATTLERIOT— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) July 25, 2021
That left the Battle Riot down to two, Hammerstone versus Krugger. They bashed each other good and plenty. Krugger began picking up momentum with a chokeslam. Hammer’s energy pumped with fuel from the Hammermaniacs cheering him on, but his rally was stifled by a big boot from Krugger. The Contra strongman grabbed a railroad spike with bad intentions. Hammerstone ducked and knocked the spike free. Muscle Mountain picked up the foreign object and jammed it into Krugger’s foot. Hammer picked up steam for a back body drop and clotheslined Krugger out of the ring.
Alexander Hammerstone etched his name in the history books by winning Battle Riot III. Jacob Fatu came out looking for a fight. Samael had to hold MLW’s top champion back. The show closed with Hammerstone greasing up for a posedown.
Battle Riot was loads of fun. Young talent got a chance to shine, potential feuds brewed, and the ending tied in to months of storytelling. Hammerstone versus Fatu is the money fight MLW fans desire, so it makes sense to finally deliver.
The full 40 participants were Davey Richards, Tom Lawlor, TJP, Lee Moriarty, Kit Osbourne, King Mo, Calvin Tankman, Arez, Gringo Loco, Zenshi, Aramis, Alex Kane, Myron Reed, Savio Vega, Jordan Oliver, The Beastman, Slice Boogie, Rivera, Matt Cross, Bu Ku Dao, Marshall Von Erich, EJ Nduka, Kim Chee, Zicky Dice, Kevin Ku, KC Navarro, Lance Anoa’i, LA Park (Lawlor), Simon Gotch, Daivari, Blue Meanie, Ikuro Kwon, Ross Von Erich, Josef Samael, Alexander Hammerstone, Sentai Death Squad #1, Sentai Death Squad #2, Kwang the Ninja, King Muertes, Gino Medina, and Mads Krugger.
Share your thoughts about MLW’s Battle Riot III. What was your reaction to seeing Dario Cueto back in professional wrestling? Did the Battle Riot match deliver on expectations? Who were the standouts to your eye?