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MLW Underground recap: John Morrison swerves heel turn

John Morrison returned to MLW, and he did a fake-out to swerve heel. What a scoundrel.

Morrison arrived under the name John Hennigan when making his presence felt on the latest episode of MLW Underground (Feb. 21, 2021). This story had a few moving pieces with an end result as a title shot for the Mayor of Slamtown.

It began with Cesar Duran offering an open challenge against Sam Adonis. If successful in defeating the Azteca Lucha fighter, then Duran would reward that man a briefcase containing one million Mexican pesos.

Calvin Tankman had the cojones to take the test. It was a competitive fight. Adonis executed a nifty rope-walking flipping neckbreaker.

Tankman’s top highlight was a pop-up spinning back elbow. In the end, Adonis bent the rules by landing a mule kick to the groin. Adonis made sure that the referee was not in position to see, and that’s what made it such a wily cheat. Adonis finished with a 450 splash.

Upon victory, Adonis called out Davey Richards for a title shot at the MLW National Openweight Championship. Richards is never one to back down, so he answered the call. It was all a trap. Adonis and the Azteca Lucha goons stomped Richards down.

This is where Morrison came into play. The Johnny Caballero music hit (from AAA), and Hennigan arrived with a chair in hand. The rudos cleared the ring. Boom! Hennigan hit Richards with the chair for a heel swerve in part two of the trap on Richards. Hennigan, Adonis, and Duran stood tall in the ring representing the new era of Azteca Lucha.

Richards had a response at the ready backstage. He is a fighting champion. Stack them up, and the American Wolf will break them down. Johnny Fusion will get his title shot next week on MLW Underground.

For the main event, Alexander Hammerstone defended the MLW World Heavyweight Championship against Yamato in a interpromotional ‘dream match’ with DragonGate. Yamato is a five-time world champ in his own right for DragonGate. Ring the bell!

Hammerstone’s power was too much to overcome in the end for Yamato. Whenever Yamato went on a run, Hammer blasted a heavy hit to change the momentum. Strikes were exchanged in the center of the ring down the stretch with Hammer gaining control for a German suplex and a powerbomb. When Yamato was back on his feet, he aimed for a lariat. Hammerstone ducked and flattened the challenger with a lariat of his own. That paved the way for the Nightmare Pendulum. Hammerman retained the MLW world title.

The aftermath also had a couple of moving pieces for stories. A video for the AO mystery attacker aired earlier in the broadcast. After Hammerstone’s win, a person in a gas mask delivered a box to the champion. Hammer opened it to find an octopus. Hmm, go figure.

The second story was the hype for Hammerstone to defend the belt against Jacob Fatu at SuperFight. Both men had promos addressing the issue earlier in the show. It pretty much boiled down to both being ready for the super fight rematch. After Hammerstone’s win against Yamato, Fatu rolled out on stage talking trash to hype the crowd. Hammer had enough, and a brawl broke out to close the episode.

In other action, the Billington Bulldogs (Thomas Billington & Mark Billington) defeated the Full Blooded Italians (Little Guido & Ray Jaz). Mark caught Jaz to execute a teamwork Hart Attack variation with a flying dropkick from Thomas.

The show opened with a bang when Mance Warner drove his truck to run over NZO. It was payback for Real1 clocking Warner with brass knuckles in the street fight last week.

Overall, this was an enjoyable episode of MLW Underground. There was a nice mix of action and hijinks. Sam Adonis and the Billington Bulldogs earned showcase victories to strut their fancy moves. The main event between Alexander Hammerstone and Yamato was pretty good, although, it was on the short side. I would have preferred a longer bout for a match of that magnitude. MLW edited it short, and the bout was roughly six minutes in TV time. MLW needs to do a lot better when they deliver Hammerstone versus Jacob Fatu. It would be a major letdown if that match was only six minutes on TV too. Well, unless it is a car crash sprint of action. A mad dash of insane hoss fighting could satiate the desire.

The heel swerve for John Morrison was pretty slick for extra excitement. Personally, I was totally expecting Johnny to arrive as a rudo, since he’s been working that way elsewhere and Taya Valkyrie is already on board with Cesar Duran in Lucha Azteca. MLW could have done the obvious by introducing Johnny with Duran right away. Instead, they added an element of fun for Morrison’s tricks. It was clever for Sam Adonis to call out Davey Richards as an excuse to justify the storyline. The scene was simple enough to grab my attention and not feel convoluted. It was also a smart way to get the live fans to boo Morrison for his match against Richards. Without any context, Morrison would likely have received babyface support.

Share your reactions to the latest episode of MLW Underground on REELZ.

MLW Underground airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET on REELZ.

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