clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

MLW Underground recap: Hammerstone & Fatu deliver a great superfight

Let’s get ready to rumble! Alexander Hammerstone and Jacob Fatu went toe-to-toe in a hoss superfight for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship, and they delivered on action.

MLW Underground

Hammertone versus Fatu started the MLW Underground broadcast Tuesday night on REELZ (Mar. 21, 2023). Fatu charged in to smash Hammerstone as soon as the opening bell rang. Fatu continued his attack on the outside. Fatu rolled Hammer into the ring. When Fatu reentered, Hammerstone clotheslined him over the ropes and followed with a slingshot plancha. It was Hammer’s turn to kick some ass.

Hammerstone had the edge on suplexes with an exploder into the corner, a belly-to-belly across the ring, and a bridging northern lights. Fatu had the edge in footwork. He superkicked Hammer out of the ring then added a suicide dive and a moonsault down to the floor.

Hammerstone roared back with a Death Valley Driver on the apron, a flying dropkick, and a fireman’s carry cutter. Fatu rallied with a superkick sending Hammer into the ropes. On the bounce back, Fatu executed a pop-up Samoan drop. That set the stage for Fatu’s double springboard moonsault finisher. 1, 2, Hammerstone kicked out!

Fatu brought a chair into the ring. Swing and a miss. Hammerstone nailed a pump kick. When Hammer grabbed the chair, he was conflicted about using it. That moment of hesitation allowed Fatu to connect on a big kick. Fatu went back to his moonsault finisher. This time, Hammer got his knees up in defense. Hammerstone pounced for his Nightmare Pendulum finisher. 1, 2, kick out by Fatu! That was the first time anyone has kicked out of the Nightmare Pendulum in MLW.

Hammerstone pulled out a ring board to place in the corner. The behemoths battled for position, and Hammer was able to launch Fatu on a release German suplex through the wood. Hammerstone went for his second Nightmare Pendulum. 1, 2, 3, success! Hammerstone retained the heavyweight title.

Afterward, respect was exchanged between the two rivals. Fatu exited to give Hammerstone the spotlight to celebrate. Lights out, and Raven’s group attacked the champ.

Raven explained his actions as the show closed. He was the lone voice 20 years ago. What he described then is the world now. Since the world has come around to his way of thinking, it is only fitting to come back to MLW to make it pay for 20 years ago. Raven’s piece is after Taya’s promo in this clip.

The main event for MLW Underground was a women’s title fight. Taya Valkyrie defended the MLW World Women’s Featherweight Championship against Billie Starkz. There was a minor subplot before the bout. Cesar Duran (alias Dario Cueto) was kidnapped last week, and nobody has any information on his whereabouts. Taya tried to use that as an excuse to get out of the match, but MLW management threatened her with breach of contract if she didn’t head to the ring.

Taya was flanked by John Morrison and Sam Adonis, who had a missing poster sign for Duran with a reward of one trillion pesos. Commentary pointed out that the hotline on the poster was a 900 number that charges a fee to callers, so Lucha Azteca would profit on any tips to find Duran.

Starkz had a quick start. Taya exited the ring to regroup. Starkz kept on the pressure with a suicide dive. Johnny stood in the path to block the second suicide dive, so Starkz mowed him down too. Starkz hit a third suicide dive on Taya for good measure.

As Starkz climbed the corner to fly inside the ring, Johnny shoved her off the turnbuckles. Taya took over for a bit, then Starkz rallied with kicks and a bridging German suplex. On a Gory bomb, Johnny was on the apron as a distraction. Starkz took the bait, but she sensed Taya’s trickery and moved out of the way. Taya stopped shot of running into her husband and gave him a kiss instead.

Starkz booted Johnny. Taya scored a roll-up, and Starkz kicked out. Taya transitioned to a crushing knee strike. The champ continued with a curb stomp, but that couldn’t keep the challenger down. Taya went to finish with Road to Valhalla, however, Starkz escaped low to counter for a roll-up. Taya kicked out. Starkz popped her with a spinning high kick. On a clothesline attempt, Taya countered into the Road to Valhalla for victory.

Taya celebrated her win by dedicating the match to Duran.

On the promo tip, Mance Warner brought in the Second Gear Crew looking for a fight. 1 Called Manders is a highwayman who enjoys beating people up. Matthew Justice wants to bring a new level of violence to MLW.

Mr. Saint Laurent issued a challenge on behalf of Microman. The mini wonder was tired of NZO’s bullying, so a singles match was made for next week.

Hot damn, what a fight from Alexander Hammerstone and Jacob Fatu. That match lived up to expectations. I try to do my best to stay away from spoilers, but sometimes the news cycle disrupts that. Going in to this show, I was fairly certain Hammerstone would retain. As the match carried on, that notion in the back of my mind completely disappeared. The point is that they took me on a roller coaster ride living in the moment of the match.

Hammer and Fatu hooked me with the action and kept my attention with the drama. The kick-outs from Fatu’s moonsault and Hammerstone’s Nightmare Pendulum had me on the edge of my seat. Fatu bringing in a chair didn’t make much sense in risking a disqualification, but I guess it set up a way to justify Hammer’s table spot. Even though the finish was emphatic, I want them to run it back for round three. That is a sign of a great fight.

With War Chamber coming soon on the calendar for April 6, I was wondering what feud MLW would choose. It now seems clearer with Raven’s attack on Hammerstone. The Second Gear Crew makes sense as Hammer’s backup due to the current storylines. The Calling versus Hammerstone & SGC will be up to the task of bringing violence worthy of War Chamber.

Taya Valkyrie and Billie Starkz had a tough act to follow, and they did well. Starkz came across like a star taking Taya to the limit. Even though Taya relied on cheating, I appreciate that it was her veteran savvy that was the difference maker in the end. It shows that there are levels to this game. As good as Starkz may be at 18 years old, it doesn’t compare to the wrestling knowledge of a veteran champion. Taya had just the right trick for the right moment to win. Chalk this up as a learning experience for Starkz. Her development will add a level of intrigue in the case that she climbs back for a rematch with Taya.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable chapter of MLW Underground. Both title fights hit the mark, and the evolving stories gave enough of a carrot to build anticipation.

Share your reactions to the latest episode of MLW Underground.

MLW Underground airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET on REELZ.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats