MLW Fusion Results – 4/20/18 (Debut show on beIN Sports with Austin Aries, Pentagon Jr)

MLW Fusion Results (Episode #1)
April 20, 2018
beIN Sports Network
Results by: Andrew Carrig

This is the second incarnation of Major League Wrestling. The first one was known for the Extreme Horsemen, bringing Kojima to America and being a place of hybrid style wrestling with gimmicks and also great matches.

For those wondering I am watching on their website via the DirecTV app. If you need to know if you have the channel in your home or area, I’d suggest going to MLW’s website but if you have DirecTV, the channel is 620. This is a little different from a play by play review as these were musings I wrote down as the show was happening. If you listen to Jim Cornette on his podcasts, you’ll understand how this works.

The show opens with Rich and Tony. Tony, when he’s not just shilling can be tremendous. He immediately gives this a feeling of legitimacy. Rich is one of those guys you immediately recognize the face but cannot remember who he was elsewhere. I know him from WWE but can’t remember what his role was in WWE so I have no preconceived notion on whether he has any talent or not.

Austin Aries def. ACH

ACH vs. Austin Aries is our opening contest. Can’t pick a better guy to open your first national TV show with than Austin Aries.

The building looks small but reminds me of old studio TV tapings with some more LED lighting surrounding the ring. The crowd is really packed in but it doesn’t look like a ton of people there. Maybe 150 max attendance but they are packed in all the way to the ring apron.

Good opening match, a little long though but I think a good physical opening match defines the promotion pretty clearly. Too many big spots but I guess in an hour long show you have to go all out start to finish. Match goes a little over 20 minutes with a commercial break.

ACH though needs more than one facial expression for pain, confusion, exhaustion, and just everything. He just looks like he’s staring and waiting for the next thing to happen no matter what. I don’t know if the producer of the show or camera man felt the need but they were constantly zooming on ACH’s face after all the big moves and no matter if he was on the giving or receiving end, his expression was that glazed “out of it” look. I thought it was his “thing” but even when Austin strikes him, he has this look and it isn’t good because selling strikes with this emotion just is no selling strikes in my opinion.

Another note from me which might turn heads, unlike JR who seems to wing NJPW, Tony has put a lot of effort into learning names, backgrounds, move names, etc. This isn’t just Tony from 1999 talking about random events and catchphrases. He follows the in ring action nicely and even when he seems to not know what a move is (as I’ll mention later) Rich flawlessly jumps in.

Austin Aries wins with brainbuster. Again good match but one thing Cornette says that I agree with, a lot of these guys look instead of portraying emotion, they are too worried about trying to be super smooth and it shows in their psychology. They are either waiting or thinking about the next move and that does hurt a match when the camera is constantly zooming in on trying to pick up there supposed pained or emotional expressions.

Really like the promo from….well they don’t give us his name. At least none that I saw. I know the face but I can’t remember his name off hand. British emo guy. It was a strong promo but they need to tell us who everyone is. I know this is as if the promotion has always been around and these guys are all “well known” but technically this is the first show (or episode one to be technical) so in big bright letters, every person should have a badge when there face is shown in a non wrestling manner.

Barrington Hughes def. Chico Adams

Barrington Hughes…HOLY….I love him! Dude calls himself “caramel colossus.” It would be like if Yokozuna did a sexual chocolate spoof. I cannot describe his look but it is insane.

He beats Chico Adams in 10 seconds with a rock bottom. Barrington reminds me of “Bad Bad” Leroy Brown in Mid-Altantic 1982(which can be seen on the WWE Network) he’s a big man who talks about how pretty and bad he is, looking for someone to give him a challenge. Same style of promo and mannerisms but dialed up times 1000.

Jimmy Havoc is the name of the British emo guy. They showed a package of next weeks main event which is Shane Strickland vs. Jimmy Havoc for the World Heavyweight Championship. Calling it as such is nice but if the title is important, again, in episode one, there should be a video package or promo or something to let everyone know “THIS IS OUR GUY, HE’S THE WORLD CHAMPION AND BEST IN THE WORLD.” Instead this is the first and only time he’s mentioned outside of hype lines from Tony during the main event.

Pentagon Jr. def. Ray Fenix

Main event should be really good. Ray Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. who is easily one of my favorites today. Winner will face Strickland for the World Title at the May tapings. Either this gave away the main event finish of next week or they didn’t bother to include the “whomever the World Champion is pending next week’s match” line.

Petnagon Jr is with a woman. Selena De La Renta (sp?) Tony puts over how she was on Telemundo as the top agent of lucha stars and telenovela stars in Mexico. I love hyperbole stuff like that. Makes her seem legit despite the fact I never saw her but gives her instant credibility with a reason that I wouldn’t have immediate knowledge of.

Pentagon Jr was announced as Penta El Zero but the announcing was probably done more recently and he’s made up with Lucha Underground and back to his original name in commentary.

Rich, the other announcer guy gives us the “this is a main event anywhere in the world” line and I popped as I totally thought that would be Tony.

This match is way too fast to call but I had no idea these two were brothers. That is the theme Rich and Tony are talking about. I like that.

Fenix wants to do a lot of outside stuff, there just isn’t any room for that. He screamed move about 10 times to the camera man who legit had nowhere to move. There is at most 2 inches between apron to front row of fans for the camera man to move.

Pentagon Jr. finally does a spot with this going back to the outside. He does a baseball slide but realized so little room he sits into a fans lap and takes a drink of fans Bud Light.

The acoustics of wherever this is needs to be stated as excellent. Crowd is loud, ring has a great sound and chops are great. Pentagon Jr missed a chop (while wearing a fans hat) and you could hear the bone to ring post echo.

It makes more sense why the first match was a long false finish technical match. This is a straight up brawl with most of the match taking place among the fans. Both sides of the coin for a fast and furious hour.

Not sure if the commercial break in this match was planned or not (it seemed to be based on the in ring spot) as there was no lead in or a “be right back” from the announcers. Top rope spot, 2-count, right to commercial.

Also I have to mention again the announcing. Rich and Tony compliment each other perfectly. There is no announcer/color commentator dynamic. It’s straight up announcer and announcer feeding off each other like a legitimate sport. Any move Tony isn’t sure, Rich is able to fluidly pick up and run and vice versa. Tony was unsure what to call a sling blade and just before it became really notable, Rich just without missing a beat jumps in. Could be good editing in post production but still, worth nothing. Tony is definitely the lead but it isn’t a face/heel or announcer/journalist dynamic. Both are holding their own just talking about the match and the story about the match. It doesn’t come across as forced or attempting to take away from the in ring. It is simply an explanation of what is going on and why and it is just fluid as easy to listen to.

Pentagon Jr. defeats Fenix is another good but long match. Rich was playing up the fact Penta is known for breaking arms but could he do it to his brother. I kinda wish they either teased it a couple times or worked the arm a little before it. Just went from spot to spot to arm breaking to finish. The announcing psychology didn’t match with the in ring psychology so it felt kinda wasted.

My main complaint is probably true for all indy wrestling. Too many false finishes, too much trying to shock the crowd with big moves and finishes, and going long just to go long so the match seems like a classic. Both matches could have been just as good without 40 false finishes each and going 20-25 each.

Pentagon Jr and Fenix hug afterwards and again Tony mentions Pentagon Jr is now the number one contender for the May taping. He signs off and there is a video package for said taping.

I had no idea the Stud Stable was back! They ended the show with a hype video for the next TV taping in May. One of the last people mentioned was Col. Robert Parker and the Stud Stable.

I thought it was a great first show. No doubt it had its share of flaws but it felt major league. It felt like I was watching a national big time promotion with big time fighters and a hybrid of styles and action. I will be back next week for sure to see if they can gain the momentum!