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MLW Fury Road recap: Willie Mack earns respect from the world champ

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MLW came hard for Fury Road (Sep. 3, 2023) with a double main event in Philadelphia.

Alex Kane and Willie Mack closed the show in the main event with a knock-down drag-out fight for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. Kane was disrespectful to start the match by pie-facing Mack. Chocolate Thunder cracked back with a slap that put Kane flat on his back.

Mack was shocked at the champ’s glass jaw. He wasted precious seconds before going for the cover. Kane kicked out, and the match continued for roughly twenty minutes.

The action progressed in a battle of suplexes. Kane tried to grind Mack to test his endurance, but Mack had plenty of gas in the tank. Mack surprised Kane with a stunner. Kane was able to fall out of the ring upon impact to prevent a pinfall situation. Mack followed for a slingshot plancha.

Upon reentry, Kane kicked the ropes into Mack’s groin. Kane added more suplexes and a spear. Mack answered with the Sky High sitout spinebuster. Kane retaliated with more suplexes to live up to the Suplex Assassin moniker. Kane worked for a choke. Mack was inches from the ropes, but he couldn’t reach out. Kane choked Mack into unconsciousness. The referee called for the bell, and Kane is still the champ.

After the match, Kane put over Mack on the mic. The story heading into the match was Kane thinking Mack was unworthy due to poor training methods. Now that the fight was over, Kane admitted that Mack earned his respect. They aren’t friends, but they did share a moment of sportsmanship with Mack shouting, “Bomaye!”

The other main event opened the show. The MLW National Openweight Championship was on the line when Jacob Fatu defended gold against Rickey Shane Page in a Weapons of Mass Destruction hardcore match. Page was prepared with strategic tactics, such as dismantling the top rope to prevent high-flying offense. Fatu was in control after shoving Page’s face into toxic waste. Page had another trick in his pocket as a backup plan. Akira ran in to interfere, and Fatu handled him with a pop-up Samoan drop. The trick worked though, because Page planted Fatu for a DDT onto a chair to win. New champion! (Full details here.)

B3CCA defeated Maki Itoh in a battle of pop princesses to earn a women’s title shot. B3CCA challenged Itoh to a sing-off then attacked from behind. Itoh got payback with a kendo stick. The match progressed with B3CCA singing on the mic during holds. Itoh snatched it away telling B3CCA to kiss her ass.

Itoh’s hard coconut missed the mark on a flying headbutt. B3CCA capitalized with a rolling Death Valley Driver and a 450 splash to win.

Matt Cardona was victorious in his debut prevailing in a Kiss My Foot match against Mance Warner. Ole Mancer had momentum for a pin, but Mister Saint Laurent placed Cardona’s foot on the ropes to prevent the count. As MSL was ejected from ringside, Cardona took advantage of the distraction for the Radio Silence leg lariat to beat Warner. When it came time to pay up, Warner bit MSL’s foot. (Full details here.)

Tracy Williams and Ichiban battled in a clash of styles. Williams executed technical mat work, while Ichiban relied on speedy flurries of offense. When Williams thought he had the edge, Ichiban exploded for a surprise jumping flatliner to win.

Kushida walked through the Forbidden Door from NJPW to wrestle Tony Deppen. The contest was competitive, but Deppen couldn’t solve the puzzle of the Time Splitter. Deppen was smart with a variety of roll-up counters to prevent the Hoverboard Lock, so Kushida changed tactics to win on a small package driver.

In a bit of spicy news, Salina de la Renta has returned to MLW. She was the surprise guest for the Sessions by Saint Laurent talk show. Salina will be bringing the top luchadores to MLW in her quest for gold and revenge. (Full details here.)

Final note, Minoru Suzuki is coming to MLW. The NJPW partnership is sending the veteran to compete at Slaughterhouse on October 14.

Fury Road was a solid two hours of entertainment. The styles ran the gamut from hardcore chicanery to classic wrestling to comedy to a heavyweight hoss fight. MLW prides itself on a fusion of wrestling styles, and this show delivered on that idea. It also featured the teases of Salina de la Renta and Minuro Suzuki to build anticipation for the next event in Slaughterhouse.

Alex Kane and Willie Mack put on a dandy of a fight. This was Kane’s first title defense. After MLW put so much effort into strapping the Suplex Assassin with gold, it felt like Mack would be a speed bump. The match played out in a way to forget that idea, and it had me believing Mack could pull off the upset. The opening slap was the start to make me get lost in the moment and enjoy the ride.

Kane is developing nicely as the heavyweight champ. He can bring the action in the ring with a variety of suplexes, and he’s a strong character on the mic. The rowdiness of the Bomaye Fight Club during his entrance gives the energy of a big-fight feel. MLW is hitting the right steps to present Kane as an attraction.

Kushida versus Tony Deppen and Tracy Williams versus Ichiban were satisfying chess matches. There was a good mix of technique and flash. I’m confident in saying that most viewers will enjoy those two bouts and the main event as quality professional wrestling.

The rating for the rest of the card depends on personal taste with two violent matches and a comedy duel. I enjoyed them for what they were. The matches weren’t spectacular, but they did put a smile on my face.

Rickey Shane Page had his face burned off by Jacob Fatu and still managed to win, thanks to timely assistance from Akira. It was a hard-hitting fight living up to the stipulation. Suspension of disbelief will be needed having the referee in a hazard suit, while the toxic waste was next to fans in street clothes. The result surprised me. Fatu is a beast and one of MLW’s top draws. I wasn’t expecting RSP to walk out as new champ. The Calling is now a serious threat with so much gold. I wonder if Raven has a superstar to recruit to chase the heavyweight title as the final piece in the men’s division.

Matt Cardona plied his trade as he does. He took a beating, dished out shots of his own, and earned the win in a sneaky manner. Mance Warner had the last laugh biting the foot of Mister Saint Laurent.

Maki Itoh’s star presence shined bright. Despite defeat, her charisma overshadowed pop star B3CCA. Laughs were aplenty in the creative use of dueling singers.

The Fury Road replay is available for live streaming through the Fite+ package on Fite TV.

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