14th Oct2018

‘MLW: Fusion’ Wrestling Review (Oct 12th 2018)

by Nathan Favel


Welcome to this week’s Major League Wrestling: Fusion review, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and Brian Pillman Jr. makes his singles debut on this card, while we have an exciting main event between two men who are no strangers to controversy. On a night that is dominated by the new Hart Foundation, I’d say it’s a good time to jump right in to the action.

Match #1: Jimmy Yuta defeated El Hijo de LA Park

The following is courtesy of MLW.com:

One week after LA Park defeated Pentagon Jr. in a Mexican Massacre Match, de la Renta and Promociones Dorado presented the son of LA Park — Hijo de LA Park, in a middleweight matchup with Jimmy Yuta. While Yuta and former Team TBD mate Jason Cade still haven’t solved their issues, Yuta and Hijo de LA Park both viewed this matchup as an opportunity to continue to impress League officials and hopefully move up the Middleweight rankings. It was obvious that both men knew the implications of the match, as there was great back-and-forth action throughout the contest. When Hijo de LA Park hit a suicide dive to the outside, it seemed to put him firmly in control. A modified codebreaker with Yuta on the turnbuckles looked like it might secure the victory for Hijo, but he only managed a two-count. Yuta then got the opening he needed. Hijo de LA Park tried to follow that near fall with a moonsault, but didn’t find the mark. Yuta quickly followed up with a variation of a side suplex to pick up a huge victory in the middleweight division.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This was a simple bout that was built on two talented wrestlers trying to ascend the middleweight rankings with an impressive performance. I liked Hijo here, as he seems to compete with enough of a difference from LA Park while knowing when to incorporate the best of the latter’s best skills in his work. As I watched this match, the thought dawned on me that, between Lucha Underground, Impact and Major League Wrestling, the lucha libre wrestling style has been given one hell of a shot in the arm. The last I heard, AAA and CMLL were contractually bound to Univision only, when it comes to America, which makes it impossible for either league to appear on any television channel other than one that is owned by Univision. I may very well be wrong about that detail, but if that is true, than this luchador invasion is the closet we will get to lucha libre becoming popular in America. What about Hijo, who is certainly a part of that luchador invasion? How will Hijo attempt to stand out from his high-flying brethren, who all seem to fight so similarly to each other, mostly due to the limitations of the style? My concern for Hijo is that if he is looking to go beyond just being the latest luchador to wrestle in the American circuit, then he will need to do more to show his character, because the name was the only thing that really told you who he was. The earnest appeal of lucha libre, apart from the rudos, can make luchadors look too similar and when you look at Hijo here, he just came across as another guy who wasn’t Rey Mysterio. Look at Samuray Del Sol, or Kalisto as he’s called in the WWE, who is almost a spitting image of Rey Mysterio in his current gimmick and still can’t get over. If Hijo wants to take the next step in the Western World (I hate that phrase…but still had to use it), then he needs to be able to find a way to show people who he is, beyond just the standard moves that his peers in South America all gorge themselves on. Boy, did this get away from me. As for Yuta, he was good here and has lots of potential. Yuta still has some work to do if he wants to be booked as the middleweight champion at some point, but he stands a good chance if he can keep performing like he did here.

Match #2: Brian Pillman Jr. defeated Vandal Ortagun

The following is courtesy of MLW.com:

Flanked by Hart Foundation members Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Teddy Hart, Brian Pillman Jr. picked up a victory in his singles debut on MLW: FUSION. Pillman showed great versatility, delivering an array of strikes, traditional wrestling holds and high-flying ability. But Turkey’s Favorite Wrestler had his moments. Pillman dominated the early going, but Ortagun took advantage of a jawbreaker and followed up with a Turkish Twist – a modified version of a lungblower — to score a near fall. But Pillman recovered and scored the victory with a devastating neckbreaker maneuver he calls Dire Promise. Following the match, Pillman pointed to the heart on his tights, signifying his membership in the Hart Foundation. “Past, present … and I’m the future,” Pillman said with a maniacal laugh as he headed toward the locker room. It looks as though Pillman’s future in MLW could indeed be bright.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – This was a good way to give Pillman a victory that can make his arrival definitive. Pillman was certainly the star here, although Ortagun was not that far behind. This all looked a bit rough, which I have to assume was the goal, since matches don’t usually work when they look like ballet. If you wanted an example of how the descendant of a famous wrestler can differentiate themselves from their parent, then look to Pillman is this match as that example. If Hijo was struggling to declare what makes him special, then Pillman was bragging about how easy it has become for him. The charisma with the son of the “Loose Cannon” is already on course to rival his legendary father and if he harness it like he did in this bout, then Brian Pillman Jr. may be on his way to making as much money as his beloved father… especially if he can get WWE, WCW and ECW to each give him a check at the same time, just like his dad did.

Match #3: (Main Event) Teddy Hart defeated Rich Swann

The following is courtesy of MLW.com:

The issues between the Hart Foundation and the combination of Rich Swann and ACH have been lingering throughout the summer and into the fall. Since the Hart Foundation, Swann and ACH first ran into one another in MLW, Teddy Hart in particular seemed to think there was some disrespect from Swann and ACH. Things reached a new level when Swann suffered a concussion at the hands of Teddy and the Hart Foundation earlier this year in a tag team matchup. With Swann fully recovered from the injury, he was looking to get his hands on Hart one-on-one and League officials obliged.

It was Hart who had the momentum early. A trio of lungblowers put Swann on his knees. A huge moonsault looked like it put Swann away, but Hart actually pulled Swann’s shoulders off the mat after a two-count. As he went for another moonsault, Swann turned and lifted his feet which caught Hart in the throat. Swann may have been down and out early, but he rebounded quickly. A huge cutter gave him a two-count, while a high-flying frog splash also accounted for a near fall.

Swann maintained control of the match until he was distracted by Davey Boy Smith Jr., allowing Hart time to recover and get in a sucker punch. Hart followed that up with a snap suplex on the floor. A body slam onto a steel barrier that Hart turned on its side, followed by a split-legged moonsault while Swann was prone on the barrier continued to do damage to Swann’s back. However, Swann battled back once again. A cutter on the apron, followed by a pair of 450 splashes off the middle turnbuckle led to near falls. Swann followed up with a Sharpshooter. With Hart’s face racked in pain, he managed to make the rope and force a break of the submission maneuver made famous by his uncle Bret Hart.

In the end, it was the numbers advantage of Brian Pillman Jr. and Davey Boy Smith Jr. at ringside and Hart’s willingness to bend the rules that made the difference. As Swann was looking for a top rope hurricanrana, Smith grabbed his leg. While the official admonished Smith, Hart hit Swann with a low blow. With Swann slowed by the crotch shot, Hart was able to hit the Canadian Destroyer off the top, followed by an electric chair lungblower to pick up the pinfall victory.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – This was really good match that had lots of excellent wrestling from two of the most talented athletes in the sport today. Swann worked hard here as the man in peril, while Hart has embraced his history and become a better villain, which you will get a full dose of here. By the way, if you’ve never seen a lung-blower before, then get your ass ready for a thousand of the damn things because they got them on discount from the Dollar Tree. By the way, if you go to the Dollar Tree, it’s all a dollar… except for when it’s two dollars. The Hart Foundation was booked to interfere a bit too much for my taste, but it did set up the trio as a force to be reckoned with, so there was a purpose, at least. Hopefully, the Hart Foundation doesn’t become a replica of every other faction that just screws other wrestlers out of winning, because it gets old quick. As for the action itself, I’d say it was the most controlled kind of chaos you can find in wrestling, which has always been a Teddy Hart specialty. There is plenty of drama and suspense here as well, so you don’t have to dread just watching a stunt show, either. Over-all, I’d call this a damn good main event.

News Of The Night:

  1. Stokely Hathaway will be returning soon.
  2. Sami Callihan will fight Jimmy Havoc in the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal stipulation picker, thingamadoo, at MLW Fright Night.
  3. LA Park will fight PCO at MLW Fright Night.
  4. The Lucha Bros. (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix) will defend the World Tag Titles against Los Parkas (LA Park and Hijo de LA Park) at MLW Fightland.
  5. Ace Romero will debut at MLW Fightland.
  6. Rush will debut at MLW Fightland.
  7. Low Ki will defend the MLW World Heavyweight Title against Shane Strickland at MLW Fightland.
  8. Tom Lawlor will fight Shane Strickland, next week.

Final Verdict: 3/5

This was a solid card that peaked with the main event. The matches themselves didn’t build towards the future as directly as some leagues might try to do, but MLW does a great job of reporting on what matches have been booked for the future with on-screen graphics, which really works well with the sports presentation of Major League Wrestling. MLW has some exciting cards on the horizon and it should put Vince to shame that this small, awkward copy of 2004 Ring of Honor and 1986 AWA is beating him to the punch on booking better cards.


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