The world of MLW never sleeps. Let’s go back to all the news from last week.
Episode 4 of Fusion: ALPHA was full of juicy nuggets. The in-ring action saw Calvin Tankman v Lee Moriarty in power versus speed, Delmi Exo versus Brittany Blake in the women’s featherweight division, and the main event was a chess match between Tom Lawlor and Davey Richards in the opening of the Opera Cup tournament.
Also, there was a tease for Enzo Amore doing business with MLW, War Chamber was announced with teams filling up, Alicia Trump did some research on Cesar Duran (aka Dario Cueto) relationships, Richard Holliday a Paid the price for Trump’s tabloid news, Will Ospreay’s debut became clearer, and there was some grainy footage that I thought appeared to be Catrina from Lucha Underground.
During Fightland’s recap of Alexander Hammerstone and Tajiri’s winning titles, Rich Bocchini and Joe Dombrowksi mentioned in the comments rumors that Cesar Duran contacted Enzo Amore about future activities.
Calvin Tankman defeated Lee Moriarty. Heavyweight Hustle was a powerful blocking force in Moriarty’s Taiga style. Moriarty tried to stick and move, but Tankman crushed him with a heavy shoulder block. Moriarty would gain momentum with bursts of strikes, then Tankman would subject him to furious moves such as a pop-up powerbomb. In the end, Moriarty took to the air. Tankman was ready and waiting to trigger a rear elbow kick to the jaw. Moriarty showed his heart to pull himself together, however, it was only a matter of time before Tankman dropped him off with a Tankman driver.
Subsequently, Tankman showed respect for Moriarty’s efforts. On stage, King Mo and Alex Kane chatted with Alicia Trump about recruiting Tankman to the American Top Team. They were impressed with Tankman’s skills, but he needs a team to motivate his killer instinct. Mo issued an invitation to join his crew. Tankman said he would think about it.
Josef Samael addressed Hammerstone by winning the MLW World Title from Jacob Fatu. How does it feel to have two belts but one leg? The ankle injury was part of Contra’s plan. Fightland is not the end of this feud. The final battle is in sight for WAR CHAMBER!
Duran was on the phone threatening consequences. Duran dropped a reference to his Lucha Underground red phone. Enter Hammerstone to voluntarily relinquish the National Open Weight Belt. He felt it was the right thing to do to allow others to rise through the ranks. Duran appreciated Hammer’s reflection on the opportunities. When it comes to War Chamber, Hammer was there. Duran offered to provide a team, however, Hammer preferred to find his own group. Duran sweet has been talking about Muscle Mountain all the time. As soon as Hammerstone came out, Duran made a throat-cutting motion.
Alicia Trump broadcast a talk about Duran’s past. She obtained exclusive footage of Duran fleeing his office in Boyle Heights. Cut to images of Duran making moves in Rio de Janeiro and incognito wearing a silly wig in Mexico City. The final piece of investigative journalism showed a grainy video of what appeared to be Catrina from Lucha Underground moving around Duran’s abandoned office.
Tom Lawlor was confident heading into the Opera Cup opener against Davey Richards. The American wolf will be hunted and the trophy will return to the dirt for the second year in a row.
War Chamber has been announced for the live event on November 6 in Philadelphia (tickets). The graphic showed Hammerstone with Richard Holliday and two mystery partners against Fatu, Samael, Ikuro Kwon and Mads Krugger from Contra.
Delmi Exo defeated Brittany Blake. Ashley Vox had a front row seat to support her sister Sea Stars. Blake worked as the villain preparing for babyface’s comeback. Blake had gained momentum after an enziguri and a DDT tornado. Blake fled, but Exo dodged a flying double stomp. Exo leapt for a Pedigree to win.
In the previous match, the commentary mentioned that Duran was not happy after seeing Trump’s presentation.
Willow Nightingale was full of positivity for MLW’s featherweight division. Nothing prevents it from feeding the division.
Will Ospreay is set to make his MLW debut for the December show in New York City.
In the middle of Hammerstone answering a reporter’s questions, Kwon leapt from the top of the screen. EJ Nduka came out of nowhere to intercept with a catch and smashed Kwon into the wall. Hammerstone smiles with joy. Nduka was tired of Contra’s nonsense. This led Hammer to ask Nduka for his War Chamber team. EJ was on board, then stomped on Kwon for good measure.
Davey Richards thinks he’s made from the same fabric as Lawlor. The key to success in their Opera Cup duel will be the heart. Who can hold on to the thumbs game a little longer?
Duran berated the poorly produced hit-job exposure. He can neither confirm nor deny the reported scandals. What does it matter if he gives us the best damn lucha as the greatest promoter that ever existed?
Opera Cup opening round: Davey Richards defeated Tom Lawlor. Long game of chess on the mat. Lawlor worked the arm, while Richards worked the knee. The first close fall came when Richards countered for a blasting suplex, then hooked up on a double flying stomp. The two made the transition using various submissions. Richards reasoned for a leg lock. Lawlor got considerably closer to the ropes, but he still had a way to go. Filthy Tom defiantly reached out with a double middle finger before passing out in pain. The referee awarded the victory to Richards.
Subsequently, Lawlor was assisted at the rear by Kevin Ku. Going on stage, he came to his senses as he passed the Opera Cup trophy. Lawlor frantically extended his hand in desperation for the cup, but Ku stopped him from stealing the prize.
In Duran’s office, Richard Holliday was punished for Trump’s tabloid journalism. Holliday denied romantic interests with Trump, but that didn’t matter. Duran used his matchmaker power to book Holliday in a Caribbean Championship game. The opponent turned out to be King Muertes. Holliday warned his lawyer / father would be in touch.
5150 Injustice ambushed. They drove into a car to beat Myron Reed and Jordan Oliver to close the show.
It was the firecracker of an episode. The fight was engaging and the stories added a spark to make it my favorite episode of Fusion in recent memory. There were so many juicy pieces to digest.
The War Chamber news is a perfect next chapter for the feud between Alexander Hammerstone and Contra. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Josef Samael perfectly sold the idea. EJ Nduka stepped into the mix was awesome. Team Hammer’s fourth partner has time to sneak in for fans to dream. I’m leaning towards Low Ki as a guess. We’ll find out soon enough when the game is taped on November 6 from Philadelphia.
Everything about Cesar Duran was a hoot. There were a ton of little references that pay homage to Lucha Underground Believers. I love to see relationships develop between Duran and the MLW list. So far, no one has seemed to win Duran’s fancy. He talks a lot about the snake in the grass. Hammerstone shouldn’t trust Duran as much as he can throw him. I imagine Hammer could throw Duran quite far, but that’s not the point. Duran speaking on camera for the Renegades is an interesting twist. It makes viewers feel like one of the characters with Duran trying to gain our trust for his matchmaking abilities. And then there were the shocking images of the mysterious lady raiding Duran’s old office. My money is on Catrina which would be crazy.
Right off the bat, MLW dropped a tease for Enzo Amore. As a performer, the man definitely has charisma to attract viewers. The idea of ââEnzo talking trash with Konnan would be fun. If Enzo slips further to the manager’s side, he has the tools to replace Salina de la Renta’s void.
Match-wise, Calvin Tankman vs. Lee Moriarty was a nice play on the big man vs. the little man. Tankman recovered as a powerful player ahead of the Opera Cup tournament. Delmi Exo vs. Brittany Blake did good for good versus bad. Both are new to the MLW scene, but they made it easier to choose sides with their in-ring demeanor. Blake was rude with his demeanor, and it made Exo shine as a babyface.
The opening of the Opera Cup was an exciting affair between Davey Richards and Tom Lawlor. The Richards promo provided an element of foreshadowing with the reference to a thumb game. In the end, Lawlor was inches from the ropes before succumbing to the pain. I’m a little shocked that Lawlor was sent off in the first round. Richards must now be the big favorite. In my opinion, defeating Lawlor will be the most impressive victory of the tournament, so Richards absolutely needs to capitalize on that momentum. Also of note, I enjoy Richards’ wolf howl as a way to pump fans.
Well done for Joe Dombrowski’s debut at the MLW commentary table. He has a good flow of words. Alicia Trump thrives as a jack of all trades as an interviewer, host and now investigative journalist. She is natural in all roles.
Episode 5 of Merger: ALPHA has a range of interference. Richard Holliday will defend the Caribbean Championship against King Muertes, Calvin Tankman will face Matt Cross in an Opera Cup match, and the women’s division continues to grow with Nicole Savoy against Holidead.
Share your reaction to Episode 4 of Merger: ALPHA. Which match stole the show? Who do you think the mysterious lady in Duran’s office was? Who do you hope to be Hammerstone’s last teammate?