COMMENTATORS: Rich Bocchini & AJ Kirsch
The Opera Cup rages on this week’s Fusion as Davey Boy Smith Jr. takes on Low-Ki and Dynasty members Alexander Hammerstone and MJF collide.
- MLW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: Jacob Fatu
- MLW NATIONAL OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION: Alexander Hammerstone
- MLW WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION: Myron Reed
- MLW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Von Erich Brothers (Ross & Marshall Von Erich)
- PRINCE OF DARKNESS MATCH: Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Havoc (*1/2)
- 2019 OPERA CUP – OPENING ROUND: Alexander Hammerstone vs. MJF (***1/2)
- 2019 OPERA CUP – OPENING ROUND: Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Low-Ki (***1/4)
-Unseen interviewer ambushes The Dynasty backstage to ask about the MJF/Hammerstone match. Richard Holliday is confident his father/lawyer will get them out of it but if not they’ve got a Plan B.
PRINCE OF DARKNESS MATCH
Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Havoc
Warner and Havoc were supposed to fight two weeks ago but bloodlust got in the way and never happened (Havoc blinded Warner with a glass-covered fist). Somebody throws black streamers during Havoc’s entrance and he is befuddled. A Prince of Darkness match is a fancy way to call it a blindfold match.
After some stalling both men get their hoods on and the wrestling version of Marco Polo begins. Warner uses the crowd to find Havoc, but Havoc duck walks out of the way. Warner grabs the ref thinking it’s Havoc, Havoc charges but hits nothing but buckles. Havoc pulls the hood up and pummels Warner with a series of forearms, ref makes him put it back on but he already knows where his opponent is. Havoc grabs the back of the hood and pulls back to choke Warner and stomps the face. Havoc goes to the top but Warner gets out of the way in plenty of time and the blinded Havoc misses the hell out of an elbowdrop. Warner finds Havoc and belts him with a series of jabs and a Bionic Elbow. Havoc removes the hood and throws the ref into Warner. Warner almost DDTs him, Havoc decks him. Ref gets in Havoc’s face and out comes Priscilla Kelly for a low-blow on Ol’ Mancer. Havoc follows up with an Acid Rainmaker and that’s the match.
Jimmy Havoc defeated Mance Warner via pinfall (3:38)
- A match like this can easily wear out its welcome for most people, so they were smart to keep this short. Havoc constantly breaking the rules by removing his mask should have gotten him DQed but that’s me being a stickler for rules that don’t exist. This definitely isn’t the end of their feud and I can’t wait to see what insane stipulation finally puts an end to this rivalry. I’m hoping barbed wire ropes personally. (*1/2)
Havoc and Kelly celebrate the win, more black streamers. I guess they’ve got history with one another.
-Cameras catch up with “Filthy” Tom Lawlor outside of the arena. Lawlor says his Filthy Dojo is open for business, then runs into Ross Von Erich who goes on the attack. Lawlor rams Von Erich into some cardboard boxes and runs off.
–MLW Zero Hour coming to Dallas (NORTH RICHLAND HILLS) next month…including a Barbed Wire match so I guess I’m getting what I was hoping for sorta.
–Alicia Atout is standing by with Alexander Hammerstone. She asks if there are any issues in The Dynasty, but Hammerstone denies them. Camera pans over to MJF and Richard Holliday. MJF corroborates that there are no Dynasty problems and make fun of Atout’s Canadian accent.
–Mance Warner has some words for what happened earlier but is attacked by Jimmy Havoc and Priscilla Kelly, the former digging scissors into his forehead. DAMN. Cameraman asks Warner if he’s okay. He’s bleeding so…no.
-Another MLW Zero Hour advertisement. Did they announce this Barbed Wire match last week and I wasn’t paying attention?
-Cameraman tries to ask Gino Medina where his loyalties lie; Medina says no comment and is then pulled into a room by Salina de la Renta.
-MJF catches up with Hammerstone backstage and asks him to take a dive so he can win the Opera Cup, since Hammerstone already has the most beautiful belt in the company. Richard Holliday threatens to fire his father-lawyer on his GIANT Air Pods if the match goes on.
-EARLIER TODAY: Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman, & Shigehiro Irie) at a media scrum. CIMA introduces his teammates and are attacked out of nowhere by Jacob Fatu and Josef Samael. HAIL CONTRA.
-ZERO HOUR CONTROL CENTER: Mance Warner takes on Jimmy Havoc in a Barbed Wire match.
2019 OPERA CUP: OPENING ROUND
Alexander Hammerstone vs. MJF [w/ Richard Holliday]
Apparently The Hart Dynasty decided the tournament brackets for the Opera Cup since they donated the physical trophy, so forcing two Dynasty members to face off against one another makes a whole lot more sense now.
Hammerstone and MJF poke one another in the chest (ALMOST A FINGERPOKE OF DOOM), MJF tells Hammerstone he’s going to lay down so he can pin him. MJF tries a Fingerpoke of Doom again, Hammerstone doesn’t fall. Hammerstone pokes him back, MJF shoves him then gets dropkicked for his troubles. MJF bails to the floor, Hammerstone connects with a backflip splash, using the top rope to send himself flying. I LOVE IT. Hammerstone rolls MJF in and belts him with a missile dropkick, MJF yelling “OH SH*T” as he sees the muscle of The Dynasty coming at him. MJF bails in the corner, Holliday distracts Hammerstone and MJF takes advantage, sending him into the corner. MJF sends Hammerstone chest-first into the buckles and poses for the “adoring” crowd. MJF traps Hammerstone in a bodyscissors, yelling that no one cares about Hammerstone. Naturally the crowd chants the Openweight Champ’s name. Hammerstone escapes and runs into a knee to the midsection, MJF with a lateral press for a two-count. Abdominal stretch, rope-assisted of course because heel. Ref stares right at it but has to pretend he didn’t which is pretty funny. Finally the ref catches him and kicks his arm off, allowing Hammerstone to counter with a hip toss. Hammerstone charges, MJF catches him with an elbow but flies right into a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Hammerstone follows up with a delayed double underhook slam for the 1…2…MJF kicks out. Hammerstone signals for the end, Holliday pleads saying MJF is his best friend. MJF f*cks that plan though by spitting in his face. Hammerstone catches a kick, MJF flips out and pokes him in the eye…then runs into a pair of a pump kicks. MJF brings Hammerstone to one knee and connects with a superkick, Hammerstone responds with a lariat and both men are down. Holliday prevents the ref counting both of them out, wanting him to call off the match. MJF takes advantage and connects with a low-blow and inside cradle for the 1…2…HAMMERSTONE KICKS OUT AND MJF CAN’T BELIEVE IT. MJF goes for the Cross Rhodes, Hammerstone escapes and hits a pump knee and sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…3!
Alexander Hammerstone defeated MJF via pinfall (8:13)
- I loved the Fingerpoke of Doom stuff at the beginning, both men expecting the other to take the fall. Rest of the match rocked too, with Hammerstone proving that he’s got a babyface in him somewhere and MJF’s cheap tactics not working on his “best friend” and the muscle of his group. I dug this a lot. This Opera Cup thing rules. (***1/2)
Hammerstone wants to attack MJF some more for his cheap shots, but Holliday intervenes to stop it. Holliday picks MJF up and asks them to make peace. MJF offers a handshake, Hammerstone shakes it, and MJF Flair Flops to the mat. Hammerstone leaves alone, the victor of the match.
–Injustice (Myron Reed, Kotto Brazil, & Jordan Oliver) are not happy about being merely Opera Cup alternates. Oliver says they don’t give a f*ck about the Opera Cup (although they just said they did) and would piss in the suitcase of Stu Hart if he was still alive. Injustice make a thinly-veiled threat that SOMEONE isn’t making it to the Opera Cup. Brazil says Kotto Claus is coming to town and he’s bringing JUSTICE.
-Ross Von Erich and Tom Lawlor continue to brawl on the streets of New York City. Queens Boulevard to be exact. Where’s Vinny Chase? Lawlor pokes Ross in the eye at a gas station and runs off, Ross in hot pursuit.
-Alicia Atout is standing by with Davey Boy Smith Jr. and his HUGE gold chain. Smith calls Low-Ki the most dangerous fighter in the Opera Cup, but Smith’s pride is what will make him victorious. He is more than ready for the One World Warrior.
2019 OPERA CUP: OPENING ROUND
Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Low-Ki
Smith is the one who donated the Opera Cup, so this tournament is ostensibly his to lose. He gets a real dramatic entrance too, music and all which sounds like it’s from Final Fantasy or something.
Smith and Ki shake hands and we’re off to the races. Ki kicks at Smith, Smith backs him in the corner and breaks clean. Smith grabs a wristlock, twisting the arm for extra torque. Ki rolls through and kicks Smith off, both men reset. Ki attempts a full mount, Smith keeps his knees up to prevent it and once more they reset. Smith brings Ki to the mat with a side headlock takeover, wrapping his arm up as well to add a top wristlock to the submission. They get to a vertical base, Smith backs Ki in the corner and Ki applies a tarantula armbar to escape. Ki goes after the left arm, Smith powers Ki to the apron and belts him with a hard forearm that sends him crumple to the floor. DANG. Smith works the back, ramming Ki into the apron and driving a knee to the spine. Smith locks in a rear-chinlock, Ki forces a break. Smith applies a standing side bear hug, Ki escapes with an elbow to the bridge of the nose and follows up with a series of kicks. Smith catches the last one and drives an elbow right to the patella tendon. Ki with a knee to the gut followed by a Warrior’s Wrath to the back as Smith hangs across the middle rope. Smith fights through the pain and blocks a slam.
Smith and Ki trade strikes, Ki dazes Smith with a kick to the face. Smith rolls to the floor, Ki belts him with a baseball slide. Ki caves Smith’s chest in a couple of chops, Smith fights through the pain and rams him back-first into the guardrail. Smith breaks the count, even though it’s a 20-count. Old habits and whatnot. Smith places Ki in the ring, Ki catches him on the apron with a somersault kick. Ki heads to the top and rolls through the double stomp attempt, but runs right into a powerslam and Smith covers for the 1…2…not yet. Smith connects with a power bomb but almost falls due to the speed and he covers for the 1…2…Ki kicks out. Ki manages to slam Smith, but hurts his back in the process. Nice show of power, but you gotta think it cost him a little bit physically. Ki heads to the top, Smith buries headbutts to the midsection and goes for the Running Powerslam but Ki knees out and applies a backpack choke, the same move he beat Pillman with at Saturday Night SuperFight. Smith falls to one knee and almost fades but gets enough of his bearings to turn it into a pinning combo for the 1…2…3! OH SNAP!
Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Low-Ki via pinfall (12:10)
- This slower style of match is hit or miss with me, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t executed well. Smith has all the size and strength in the world but I appreciate him wanting to work a more grounded and MMA style, gives him versatility. Everything worked here but my attention span is for sh*t so I could feel every minute of it. For folks who love this style though they’ll get a better kick out of it than me. (***1/4)
Ref raises the hand of a surprised Smith as the streamers come flying. Smith/Hammerstone will meet in the semi-finals in a Saturday Night SuperFight rematch. Noice. Ki and Smith shake hands, the former raising the latter’s hand. A true fighter with honor.
-We cut back to the Ross Von Erich/Tom Lawlor NYC brawl which has reached the 11th Street Station. Camera goes out for a moment, then comes back on and Lawlor flips Ross off as he escapes via train. LOVE IT.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Great episode as the Opera Cup continues to deliver. Hammerstone/MJF was tremendous both from an action and storyline perspective as the National Openweight Champion inches closer to becoming a babyface by proxy. The main event was hard-hitting and well-done even if my personal taste doesn’t match with what they were doing, and Smith pulling out the surprise victory AND BEING SURPRISED BY IT was cool too. I also appreciated the throughline of the Von Erich/Lawlor brawl throughout NYC, ending in Lawlor escaping like a movie villain. Fusion has been great these past few weeks, and I’m on board with MLW in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been before. I hope they keep this up.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Alexander Hammerstone vs. MJF
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Hammerstone and MJF try to Fingerpoke of Doom each other.