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MLW Fusion recap: New champions win titles from Taya Valkyrie and Lince Dorado

The winds of change blew into MLW for episode 169 of Fusion. Taya Valkyrie and Lince Dorado both lost their championships.

Taya was set to defend the MLW Women’s World Featherweight Championship against Delmi Exo. The challenger was clearly the underdog, but her confidence never wavered in the pre-match hype package.

Taya was backed by John Hennigan for the main event. Of course, La Wera Loca’s husband had sticky fingers causing interference. He also distracted the referee during a key roll-up that could have earned Exo the victory. Exo had the last laugh when Taya accidentally clobbered Johnny on the apron. Taya turned around, and Exo struck with a kick to the gut to set up a package piledriver for victory. Exo becomes the second titleholder in MLW’s featherweight championship history.

This match was taped on April 6, even though, Taya already signed with AEW at that point. Since it is already clear that Taya is on her way out, MLW played into that with a tease of her frustration. Earlier in the evening before the bout, Taya tried to cut a promo but persistent production malfunctions caused her to threaten leaving MLW.

The other title change came in the middleweight division. Lince Dorado entered as champion for the opener, but it was Lio Rush wearing the MLW World Middleweight Championship around his waist after a case of theft. Akira was the third man in the party for a three-way. He attacked Dorado before the bell with a suplex on the floor. That pain kept Dorado off-balance for much of the match. Dorado did have a rally strutting his lucha cool.

Down the stretch, Dorado trapped Akira in an armbar. Rush came crashing down from above on a frog splash to break the submission. The Bad Child hit a suicide dive to take out Akira, but he missed the mark on a flying attack to Dorado inside the ring. Dorado kicked Rush out of the ring. The luchador turned around into the arms of Akira for an inverted facelock side slam. A new champ was crowned bringing gold to Raven and The Calling.

The Calling also revealed a new member of the group. A creepy vignette showed the resurrection of Mandy Leon.

Sam Adonis versus Willie Mack was the middle bout of this championship sandwich. Adonis insulted the ugly kids and fat women of New York, and Mack threatened to put boots up the asses of his adversaries. Hennigan was ringside and played a role in the finish. Johnny hooked Mack’s foot, then Adonis pounced for an Air Raid Crash and a 450 splash to win.

Afterward, Mance Warner was interviewed on stage. Adonis interrupted, so Mancer spit beer in his face. Adonis and Hennigan outnumbered Warner and choked him with a giant strap, the kind used for strap matches.

In other news, Jacob Fatu is cleared for action, and he will be challenging Hennigan next week for the MLW National Openweight Championship.

The Never Say Never control center announced a live performance from pop start B3CCA at the show on July 8. The main event will be Alexander Hammerstone versus Alex Kane for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. Kane is angling for more money in his contract. In the meantime, the Bomaye financial backer is putting up cash for a Big Apple Grapple. Anyone that can pin or submit Kane will earn the prize.

MLW brought the big news for this episode of Fusion with two title changes. Akira winning gold caught me off-guard as a surprise, but the Delmi Exo win was pretty obvious considering Taya Valkyrie’s AEW endeavors. It feels like a new era is rising with new champions. That idea will be cemented if Alex Kane manages to end Alexander Hammerstone’s reign as heavyweight champ at Never Say Never on July 8.

The contests were solid across the board with lots of energy. The women’s match was about Taya’s massive ego paying the price to the plucky underdog. The middleweight opener had some slick moves. It will be interesting to see how Akira can elevate the title. Lio Rush has grown into being a personal favorite. He’s so quick in the ring and has swagger to match. Sam Adonis and Willie Mack played to the crowd. Adonis needed that win to establish himself as an upper-level talent in the MLW hierarchy. One critique is that all three finishes were pretty much the same. The loser had some side action then turned around into the winner’s closing sequence.

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