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MLW Underground recap: Jacob Fatu ruins the return of Lio Rush

Lio Rush had major league plans for his return to MLW. The Bad Child was looking for a big fight to make a statement, and it was a big fight he received. MLW booked Rush against Jacob Fatu. One problem though. It was poor timing for the Man of the Hour.

Rush just so happened to walk in when Fatu was gearing up for a world title fight against Alexander Hammerstone. That spelled bad news. Rush did his best to rain on the world title parade, but the result was Fatu ruining Lio’s grand return on Tuesday night’s MLW Underground (Mar. 7, 2023).

MLW Underground

Rush surprised Fatu by hitting a suicide dive and a springboard moonsault before the opening bell.

Rush used a stick and move strategy, but it was only a matter of time before Fatu put hands on him. Rush delayed the inevitable by escaping a fireman’s carry to slap Fatu across the face. Bold move! Fatu blocked a hurricanrana to counter with a swinging uranage.

The Samoan Werewolf bulldozed his prey with running corner attacks. Rush changed course to low kicks targeting the knee. Fatu’s movement was stifled, and that’s when Rush landed a flying crossbody.

Despite the size difference, Rush never backed down. He showed heart kicking out of Fatu’s handspring moonsault. Fatu aimed to finish with the Alley Uce pop-up Samoan drop, but Rush countered for a poison rana. Rush’s hopes were crushed when he ran into a Samoan drop. Fatu finished with a double springboard moonsault for victory.

After the match, Fatu called out Hammerstone, who had been observing on commentary. One thing led to another, and fisticuffs exploded for a pull apart brawl.

The evening wasn’t over for Hammerstone and Fatu. The champ was in action against Fatu’s Samoan Swat Team teammate Lance Anoa’i with the title on the line. The challenger was flanked by Fatu and Juicy Finau. Hammerstone clotheslined Anoa’i over the ropes in the early-going. Fatu caught Hammer’s eye on the outside, and it was round two for another brawl.

On the other side of the ring, Calvin Tankman and EJ Nduka were scouting for their tag title defense next week against Anoa’i and Finau. Those four ended up rumbling as well. The main event was thrown out, and the show ended in chaos.

Hammerstone versus Fatu for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship is scheduled to air on the March 21 edition of MLW Underground on REELZ. Hammerstone believes he still has ways to go as champion. He wants to be the man synonymous with MLW. Hammer embraces the pressure of big fights as motivation to step up his game.

In other action, the Billington Bulldogs defeated Myron Reed & Mr. Thomas of the Bomaye Fight Club. Alex Kane tried to trifle in the action, but Davey Boy Smith Jr. arrived to neutralize that threat. The Bulldogs rallied to win on a dropkick Hart Attack to Thomas for victory. Per the agreement, that win means Davey Boy gets a singles match against Kane.

On the promo tip, Sam Adonis and Cesar Duran gloated with John Hennigan and Taya Valkyrie over their championship gold. Hennigan feigned illness only to throw off his jacket, flex muscles, and quip with wordplay, “These pythons are pretty sick.”

EJ Nduka was angry about the perceived disrespect from Fatu in the world title scene. Calvin Tankman got the Judge back in line to focus as a team on defending the tag team titles next week against the Samoan Swat Team.

NZO was in a wheelchair after Mance Warner ran him over with his truck. Real1 is planning to sue everybody, and he will be serving Warner next week.

Speaking of Warner, he had a different fight on his mind. It did not sit well with him that the mystery attackers targeted Microman last week. Ole Mancer has Microman’s back and challenged the intruders to a fight. Send anyone they want from their group.

The very next scene was a bombshell reveal. The identities of the mystery men were Raven, Rickey Shane Page, and Akira. Raven is the martyr for the people left behind. Trust in Raven.


Lio Rush versus Jacob Fatu was a very good match. They really sold the size difference for a David versus Goliath style. Rush was crafty and strategic, but Fatu was too much of a beast. I loved the way both men worked in this bout. Rush impressed with his heart and guts to earn respect, while Fatu used him as a speed bump onto bigger things. The efforts from both men left me wanting more.

The main event was what it was with the greater purpose being to focus on Alexander Hammerstone versus Fatu. Yeah, we didn’t get a match, but I’m okay with it in this specific scenario. MLW didn’t do much to build up a title shot for Lance Anoa’i, so it’s not like they wasted any heat for something viewers were excited for. The lack of a finish also saved Anoa’i from eating a loss one week before the Samoan Swat Team challenges for the tag titles. It keeps the SST momentum alive. Plus, we were treated to two pummel fests between Hammer and Fatu. Hoss fight! Hoss fight!

And how about that bombshell. The sight of Raven completely blew my mind. That was unexpected, but he does have a relationship with MLW from the old school days. No doubt Raven will usher in violence with Rickey Shane Page and Akira by his side.

Share your reactions to the latest episode of MLW Underground.

MLW Underground airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET on REELZ.

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