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MLW Underground recap: NZO dumpster match

NZO wrote another check his mouth couldn’t cash, and he was taken out in the trash. MLW did NZO dirty by booking him in a dumpster match on the latest episode of MLW Underground (Apr. 11, 2023).


The deck was stacked against NZO for the opener. He was going up against Mance Warner, Matthew Justice, and Microman in MLW’s first-ever dumpster match. This bout was technically a four-way contest, but the other three had no intention of fighting each other. The full focus was targeted on Real1.

The rules were shove a man in the dumpster and close the lid. The first wrestler to do that would be declared the winner. There were two trash bins on opposite sides of the ring. Ring the bell!

NZO eyed Microman as everyone waited for someone to make the first move. Real1 took charge for a dropkick to the mini wonder. Warner and Justice immediately went to work on softening up NZO. The man with the gift of gab also had the gift of jab. He worked his fists on the outside with low blows. NZO grabbed a trashcan lid to go toward Microman. The luchador was ready and waiting to execute a drop toehold. NZO crashed down to the mat hitting his head on the trashcan lid.

Warner held NZO’s legs open, Justice lifted Microman high in the air, then Microman was dropped onto NZO’s crotch.

Back on the outside, NZO took care of the Second Gear Crew with a pair of running crucifixes into the ring post. NZO reentered the ring to taunt Microman. Warner made the save. NZO sidestepped, and Ole Mancer crashed into a wooden board in the corner.

Justice was there to serve a chairshot to the back. Microman rolled NZO on top of the dumpster lids. Justice set up a ladder in the ring and took flight for an elbow drop crashing onto NZO into the dumpster.

I guess Justice was the winner? I’m not entirely sure. We never found out, because Raven interrupted with The Calling. Rickey Shane Page and other goons ran out to brawl with Warner. The fisticuffs ventured backstage, and Alexander Hammerstone joined the fracas. They were cracking skulls all show long to promote next week’s televised War Chamber match between Hammerstone & Second Gear Crew against The Calling.

The Calling’s Akira wrestled Calvin Tankman in the main event of MLW Underground. Raven was ringside with a message that he wants to turn MLW into his own personal paradise of darkness, hatred, and nihilism, like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Tankman was a power player early. Akira focused on damaging the knee to take out the big man’s base. Tankman still had enough strength to execute a pop-up spinning elbow strike. Tankman and Akira were on the turnbuckles when Raven influenced the result. Raven hit Tankman with a lead pipe. That allowed Akira to apply a choke hold. Tankman faded from consciousness, and both men tumbled down to the mat. Akira maintained control for a bulldog choke to win as Tankman was out cold.

Afterward, Justice and 1 Called Manders rushed in to brawl with The Calling. The camera went back and forth between Warner and Hammerstone fighting goons in the parking lot and Justice and Manders roughhousing in the ring.

The show closed with RSP lighting a table on fire in the parking lot. I presume that is foreshadowing of what’s to come in the War Chamber.

The middle serving of action on MLW Underground was Davey Boy Smith Jr. versus Alex Kane in a no-ropes catch wrestling contest. Commentary explained that the lack of ropes prevented the use of leverage and legal separations with the idea to focus on grappling in the center of the ring. Smith relied on catch submissions, while Kane’s strength was suplexes. Both men had skill in the other’s expertise, so it was a closely contested affair.

Kane won the suplex battle five to three.

In the closing sequence, Kane grabbed a grapevine ankle lock. Smith grit through the pain to counter into a sharpshooter. Mr. Thomas reached in to help Kane escape, so Smith booted him into oblivion. Kane used that distraction to squirt Bomaye juice. Smith fell for that trick once before. Not this time. The Bulldog was well-prepared in the scouting department. He ducked the blinding liquid then choked out Kane with a body triangle rear naked choke. Kane was put to sleep. Smith held on the choke after the bell to send a message of dominance.

On the promo tip, Lio Rush flaunted the stolen MLW World Middleweight Championship. The Bad Child accused Lince Dorado of ducking him, so he took matters into his own hands. If Dorado wants his title back, then catch Rush if he can.

Solid evening of fights on MLW Underground. All three matches told good stories in the ring. It felt like movement with purpose for action and reaction to develop strategy. The dumpster match was amusing entertainment. They have built up NZO well as a big-mouthed blowhard always worthy of comeuppance. This contest was all about delivering on that goal. The finish was pretty cool with Justice’s flying elbow drop off the ladder. Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Alex Kane had a rugged chess match in the ring. Suplexes and submissions are always a fun time in my book. The way this win played out should close the chapter on their personal feud. There is still room to revisit this rivalry if MLW desires. Akira and Calvin Tankman had an interesting bout. Akira impressed me with his performance. He was physical but also cerebral in his attack.

The production for this episode had some issues. The show started slow with eight minutes of entrances for the dumpster match participants. Even though I applaud the creativity of The Calling commandeering the live feed for a smoky strobe light effect, it completely interfered with savoring Justice’s cool dumpster dive. The impact into the dumpster was the money shot, and the cameras went with a far angle. Granted, it was a neat stylistic choice, however, it wasn’t fully satisfying. Another issue was the rules of the dumpster match. While the action was enjoyable, the execution to determine a winner was off. Justice went into the dumpster with NZO, and nobody closed the lid. We were left to assume Justice was the victor. One minor item was the ring announcer calling the catch wrestling bout the opening contest on the card. It probably was the event opener during the taping, but it was aired in the middle of the show. That little detail is not that important, but it did stick out.

Share your reactions to the latest episode of MLW Underground.

MLW Underground airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET on REELZ.

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