COMMENTATORS: Rich Bocchini & AJ Kirsch
The 2019 Opera Cup semi-finals conclude this week (in 2020) as Brian Pillman Jr. takes on Timothy Thatcher in the main event…unless Injustice has anything to say about it. Also on the show Konnan makes his return, Gino Medina makes his choice, and The Von Erich Brothers take on The Spirit Squad.
- MLW WORLD CHAMPION: Jacob Fatu
- MLW WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION: Myron Reed
- MLW NATIONAL OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION: Alexander Hammerstone
- MLW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Von Erich Brothers (Ross & Marshall Von Erich)
- The Von Erich Brothers vs. The Filthy Squad (NR)
- 2019 Opera Cup – Semi-Finals: Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Timothy Thatcher (**3/4)
–Alicia Atout is outside the Melrose Ballroom. She takes it to “fan cam” footage of Injustice (Myron Reed, Kotto Brazil, & Jordan Oliver) attacking Brian Pillman Jr. earlier in the day. The fan cam footage is shot professionally and also features the MOST ANNOYING SOUTHERN ACCENTED MAN I HAVE EVER HEARD.
-LAST WEEK: Tom Lawlor beat Rip Von Erich, The Spirit Squad attacked the real Von Erichs when they confronted the Filthy One.
–“Filthy” Tom Lawlor joins Bocchini and Kirsch on commentary, sporting a Von Erichs shirt for jerk purposes. The Spirit Squad make their entrance in karate Gis and are announced as The Filthy Squad. A video from last week fills us in on Lawlor welcoming the Squad to Team Filthy.
The Von Erich Brothers (Ross & Marshall Von Erich) defeated The Spirit Filthy Squad (Mike Mondo & Kenny Doane) via pinfall (2:21)
Marshall’s knee is taped up from a mysterious attack by a pipe, something Lawlor continues to deny doing despite it obviously being him, and the Squad put their focus on the limb. It’s not enough though and after a string of offense from Ross, the Von Erichs pick up the win with the Claw/Belly-to-Back Suplex combo. Poor Spirit Squad.
- RATING: NR
After the match Rip Von Erich tries to attack his “cousins” but gets easily dispatched as well.
-Alicia Atout tries to get some words backstage with The Von Erichs but they are immediately attacked with a pipe by Tom Lawlor.
-After a replay of the assault on Brian Pillman Jr. is replayed we go to Injustice in a black & white video. Nobody going to get them on no bullsh*t charges, they want in on the Opera Cup since they are the alternates and Pillman is probably too injured to continue.
-A video recaps the feud between Mance Warner and Jimmy Havoc. They meet in a Barbed Wire match at MLW Zero Hour.
-FIGHTLAND CONTROL CENTER: MLW returns to the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on February 1st. Announcements include Fatu/CIMA for the World Title, the debut of Killer Kross, and the return of LA Park for the first time since coming up short at Saturday Night SuperFight. Odd to be promoting a totally different show when Zero Hour hasn’t even happened yet, but time is of the essence I guess. I wonder if there’ll be any random ECW folks showing up since they’re in those hallowed halls.
-VIGNETTE: Erick Stevens is coming to MLW. I was initially interested but then Stevens had to go and be a gatekeeping elitest about English commentary on Japanese wrestling shows so I’m over it.
-Alicia Atout is standing by outside of the MLW Training Room. Brian Pillman Jr. bursts out, ice and tape on his left shoulder. Pillman says he’s still in the tournament and will kick Thatcher’s ass, and also vows to get revenge on Injustice once the tournament is over.
-Quick CONTRA Unit vignette declaring war on everyone.
Konnan makes his return to MLW and announces that MLW and AAA will be doing business in 2020, then calls out “El Intocable” Gino Medina to the ring. Konnan talks about his past with Medina’s father in Los Gringos Locos (which also included Art Barr and Eddie Guerrero, RIP to both) and wants to help him, unlike Salina de la Renta. Naturally this brings Salina out to refute and vie for Medina’s services.
But they’re not the only ones because out come The Dynasty (MJF, Alexander Hammerstone, & Richard Holliday) who also want to recruit Medina into their group. Medina thinks for a moment then shakes Konnan’s hand…AND ATTACKS HIM. The Dynasty joins in and it’s official: El Intocable is their newest acquisition. Nice. I actually didn’t see that coming. On the way out MJF plucks a woman from the crowd and presents her to Medina, which is…gross, but she’s probably a plant so I won’t be too whiny about it.
2019 OPERA CUP: SEMI-FINALS
Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Timothy Thatcher via pinfall (8:13)
I don’t know why I’ve never noticed before but Pillman’s music is about as 90s WCW as you can get, and I LOVE IT. Thatcher is all smiles during his entrance, sensing blood in the water given the state of his opponents left shoulder. Pillman goes on the attack early, wanting to get the win before any damage can be done, but Thatcher is a cagey wrestler and soon enough takes control, working the shoulder over and bending it back in all sorts of awkward positions. Pillman has heart though and fights through it all, managing to fight back with superkicks and chops. Thatcher shows off his wrestling prowess, turning every failed pinfall attempt into an immediate submission attempt, transitioning with barely a sweat broken. In the end Thatcher’s attempt as a cross armbreaker is thwarted as Pillman shifts his weight and rolls him up for the victory. A good match that did a great job showcasing Pillman’s heart and determination, and setting up an interesting final match as Hart Foundation members, and second-generation stars, collide for the Opera Cup next week.
- RATING: **3/4
Pillman celebrates his win, and we get a video of Davey Boy Smith Jr.’s path to the finals to conclude the show. I wonder if Injustice will have something to say/do during the match next week…
FINAL THOUGHTS: Very light on the actual pro wrestling this week, but some good story development as Gino Medina finally made allegiances known and Injustice trying to get themselves into the Opera Cup but failing. I’m sure that’ll lead to something next week, maybe they lay out both guys and end the Opera Cup in a draw. That would suck but the story would make sense. Good episode overall but don’t expect a lot of in-ring…and also expect VERY LOUD CROWD MURMURING through the whole show. Drove me nuts.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Timothy Thatcher
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Gino Medina joins The Dynasty