Major League Wrestling. The name alone sounds very legitimate. The brand that Court Bauer has rebuilt and tuned into a fine, oiled machine at this stage is a fine one on paper, but many feel that this promotion offers more than just your average wrestling promotion’s bells and whistles. With classic influences worn very hard on their sleeve, MLW give us a new era of wrestling defined by the greatest highs and the biggest moments of our shared memories with great storylines and intricate, long-form dramas being written throughout. Rather than have a continuation of the previous events and give you a general rundown of the show, I’m going to treat this as the name of the show implies – that this is a restart, a new fully fledged, completely enveloped legacy being started from here on out. So, no deep dives on any titles reigns or feuds; tonight is a night to look forward on, not back. A little of the past will be explained for what context is needed. Without further to do, let’s get started on #TheRestart of MLW.
We start in with a rundown of the biggest moments of the past few years. Joey Styles of ECW fame giving us a rundown of all the different styles covered in MLW. Tom Lawlor is holding the belt in his hands, then diving off a cage to defeat Low-Ki in a photo finish, but then Contra attacks. Contra Unit, so far, have terrorized MLW from the top down. They are the heeliest of heels and they are bad dudes. Jacob Fatu, their leader, is the current MLW World Heavyweight champion. Hail Contra. The Von Erichs get a flash. Alexander Hammerstone winning the MLW National Openweight champion. Davey Boy Smith Jr. winning the Opera Cup. Cima being put in a body bag by Contra. Contra being compromised by a gang of MLW regulars.
THE_RESTART.exe has been executed.
Welcome back to MLW Fusion. Rich Bocchini and Jared St. Laurent are on commentary. As the rundown for the show occurs, a rework of Queens of the Stone Age’s “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like a Millionaire” plays – a supremely nice touch I respect endlessly. Also we are told that the 2020 Opera Cup bracket will be revealed tonight, which is extremely exciting considering the 2019 Cup was a fantastic run of matches.
Alexander Hammerstone vs. Jason Dugan (½ star)
It takes twenty seconds, one lariat and one Nightmare Pendulum. 1-2-3. This was exactly what I hoped for. Hammerstone dominates in the first few moments of the Restart and we are off after Hammer grabs the mic.
“How long are we gonna do this, huh? How long has your boy Hammer have to be #1 in the rankings ‘til I get what’s coming my way?” the reigning National Openweight champion proclaims. He goes on to mention he’s been at the top of the list for Jacob Fatu and his MLW World Heavyweight Championship. He mentions he’s waiting on Fatu for the match everyone wants.
We get a quick clip of the events between Brian Pillman Jr. and MLW World Middleweight champion Myron Reed. We even get a tale of the tape, where it mentions that FLYIN BRIAN PILLMAN JR. is a technical wrestler, although compared to Reed, he definitely is the more technical of the two high-flyers. Obviously having a little fun, here, but it is worth noting these two obviously have kept things very NOT civil and their match is destined to be a good one.
MLW World Middleweight Championship – Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Myron Reed (c) (3 ¾ stars)
Brian Pillman takes a while, but he finally comes out (a quick Contra pop on the screen) and he looks distracted according to commentary. They also question if Pillman is ready. Myron Reed comes out looking ready to the instrumental of “Guilty Conscience” by Dr. Dre. Pillman comes out swinging, they exit on the outside immediately. They have an exchange and Pillman attempts to chop through Reed’s chest protector, but it doesn’t work, landing a huge tope suicida.
For a start, this is a great piece of work. Following this, Pillman lands a lot of good moves, pushing his technical strength over Reed and landing strikes and stretching him out for a bit. When Reed finally ditches the chest protector after the five minute mark, it feels like these two release what little weights were on this match, completely letting loose.
After trading blows back and forth, they both land in the middle of the ring body splashing each other like a horrible looking car wreck. Reed fires up and lands a series of blows, landing a slingshot leg drop at the end of his run. Pillman gets a great series in following, too, finishing with a big lifting spinebuster and getting a close 2. Reed eventually lands a massive springboard cutter and lands while keeping his arm under Pillman’s neck and then slides over to get a huge inverted suplex on him. Pillman gets back in things with a close fall after a big suplex maneuver. After this, Pillman lines up Reed for a big move in the corner, but misses and Reed lands his Captain Crunch finisher, 1-2-3. Reed retains.
Don’t sleep on Myron Reed. He mentions Lio Rush is here and he wants to prove himself and calls him out for the next shot. La Parks, who helped MLW regain control of the show over Contra, thank everyone for their aid in helping them helping us, so it’s a good ‘ol happy fun time. When we come back, we will know the 2020 Opera Cup brack— Oh, hey Josef Samael of Contra. He mentions he’s not with MLW and his remote location won’t stop him helping to operate Contra. And Jacob Fatu attempts to bury Davey Boy before their match tonight for the main belt. And, uh, Hail Contra. Yeah.
Salina de la Renta has her hands in the Contra affairs, as it is explained by commentary that Selina helped Contra gain access again to the MLW broadcast and Konnan is out to stop her. Salina will be back next week to continue this whole story.
The Opera Cup’s prestigious history is sold and we get a recap of last year’s win by Davey Boy Smith Jr. Here are the opening matches of the 2020 Opera Cup
Tom Lawlor vs. Rocky Romero*
Laredo Kid vs. ACH
Low Ki vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Richard Holliday vs. TJP*
(Gino Medina, Jordan Oliver, Hijo de LA Park, King Mo, and Dominic Garrini, and Daga are named as alternates.)
* – matches are next week on Fusion
Davey Boy is finally getting his title shot tonight against Fatu and Interview Queen Alicia Atout is with Smith to ask him how he’s been training and readying for Fatu. He mentions this has been tough and he’s been training with Josh Barnett and some Japanese legends to get to the moment he admits is his biggest match of his career. He plays up the fact he’s been in MLW for a long while and spent all the blood, sweat, and tears necessary for this moment. He points at the camera a lot. It’s a fantastic promo for Davey and this match.
MLW World Heavyweight Championship – Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Jacob Fatu (c) (3 ½ stars)
A match nearly a full year in the making. Davey and Fatu have been battling for months and Fatu has been champion since July ‘19. As both men get in the ring, this feels like a definite main event for a main belt match. Neither have faced each other. All new territory for a brand new era.
Intensity is something long forgotten in wrestling and worked to a perfection early on in this match. These two barrelling at each other, pushing one another to their physical brink immediately, feels right. The size of these men would probably make Vince McMahon quake in his boots that MLW is making this big meat slap at this level. Davey gets the early licks in and gets a near-fall within five minutes, but Fatu isn’t going anywhere this fast after this long of a reign. Fatu immediately goes to Davey’s injured back, straining the only weakness Fatu knows of and can capitalize on.
Fatu keeps things going for a bit, nailing a few big strikes, but Davey Boy gets back in it with a series of big moves to get a couple of near falls. Fatu takes advantage after Davey Boy’s back starts giving out on him and nails a massive Samoan Drop into his oh-so-beautiful Moonsault finisher. In just over ten minutes, Fatu has defended his belt once again, getting the pin on Davey Boy when he couldn’t push any further.
Fatu is not scared and he also isn’t going to wait. He immediately grabs a mic and is disappointed in MLW, saying “this is the best you got?” about Davey Boy. He calls out Hammerstone and Hammer even comes down, but then the Black Hand of Contra shows up and chair shots Hammer to the back and chokeslams him on the apron. Fatu and the Hand link up. A single frame of the Contra screen jump shows the name Mads Krugger for what one can only assume is the Black Hand’s name. We cut to black with Fatu and the Hand standing tall over Hammerstone.