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MLW Fusion results: The Opera Cup begins

Big takeaways -- 

  • Brian Pillman Jr. and Timothy Thatcher advanced in the Opera Cup tournament as they defeated TJP and Richard Holliday respectively. 
  • The Von Erichs plotted their revenge on “Filthy” Tom Lawlor.
  • CONTRA Unit and Strong Hearts had words for each other.
  • ACH returned to MLW to help King Mo defeat Injustice's Kotto Brazil & Jordan Oliver in an impromptu tag team match.
  • Gino Medina was in high demand as both Konnan and Salina de la Renta tried to recruit him.

The full episode is available to watch below:

Full recap --

We opened with Injustice (Kotto Brazil, Jordan Oliver, and MLW Middleweight Champion Myron Reed) holding the ring hostage and attempting to hijack the show as they complained that they were not in this year's Opera Cup. King Mo interrupted them and made his way to ringside for his scheduled match.

Injustice got in Mo's face and it looked like it was going to break down into a three-on-one fight, but ACH then interrupted proceedings and made his return to MLW to side with King Mo. 

King Mo & ACH defeated Jordan Oliver & Kotto Brazil (w/ Myron Reed) (10:37)

Dan Lambert, King Mo's cornerman, joined AJ Kirsch and Rich Bocchini on commentary as Oliver and Brazil jumped ACH and Mo before the bell. ACH quickly fought back and got the better of Injustice with chops and dropkicks. Mo then came in and tried to lock a kneebar in on Brazil, but he was too close to the ropes. 

Injustice used the numbers advantage to distract the referee and get ACH outside and began beating him down. ACH fired up a few times with stiff chops and slaps to the face, but Brazil and Oliver kept the quick tags flowing and held control of ACH with a series of elbow drops and a Sharpshooter. 

King Mo got the hot tag and ran wild on Brazil with a spinebuster, an atomic drop, and a standing flapjack. Brazil reversed a gutwrench powerbomb with a hurricanrana, but Mo took both Brazil and Oliver out with a double spear moments later. 

It was then ACH's turn to run wild. He took them both out with kicks and hit Brazil with a foot sweep and a basement dropkick. Mo and ACH then combined with a corner splash and kick to Brazil in the corner before Mo hit him with a gutwrench powerbomb and locked in a kneebar to pick up the submission victory.

- The MLW cameras caught Gino Medina talking with a producer backstage and we were told he had just met with Konnan, but both had refused an interview.

- Lifestyles of the Rich and Dynastic was next. The Dynasty were in a bar, and MJF had his gift train for Hanukkah SLASH Christmas. He gave Holliday a pair of his beloved giant AirPods. Holliday got MJF a junior version of him called “Max Mini,” but MJF was severely disappointed. Max Mini was kicked out and we quickly moved on. 

- Before the opening match in the tournament, we had a nice video package showing the history of the Opera Cup. This included the history of the cup being in the Hart family since the last winner, Stu, and Davey Boy Smith Jr. donating it to MLW to revive its legacy. 

Timothy Thatcher defeated Richard Holliday in an Opera Cup tournament opening round match (10:11)

A “Thatchers gonna kill you” chant started as they circled each other before the bell. Holliday disrespected Thatcher almost immediately and ate a kick to the head and a suplex for his arrogance. Holliday tried his best to get some offense in but ducked his head for a back drop and Thatcher just tripped him and locked in an ankle lock. 

Holliday got back up and hit a dropkick to regain some sort of control. He stayed in control, keeping Thatcher grounded until a missed elbow drop opened the door for Thatcher to come back into the match. 

Uppercuts and hammer fists to the chest followed, but surprisingly Holliday regained control again. Holliday was very impressive here. He stood toe-to-toe with Thatcher and came out on top in most of the exchanges. A big spinebuster gave him a close two count.

The crowd started to get behind Thatcher, and he responded with a straight slap to the face and a double underhook suplex. Dueling chants then began for both as the match started taking its toll on both competitors. They fought to the corner. Thatcher was going for a superplex off the middle rope, but Holliday reversed it mid-air and spun, planting Thatcher in the middle of the ring, but only getting another two count for all his effort.

Holliday started shouting that Thatcher was not that tough, but Thatcher snapped on a Fujiwara armbar and Holliday immediately tapped out. 

- MLW's newest member of the broadcast team Alicia Atout was backstage with Salina de la Renta. Atout explained that she tried to get this interview last week but was so happy to speak to her this week, but de la Renta snapped back by saying she really didn't want to talk to her last week, or this, so get on with the questions. But just as Atout started to speak, Gino Medina walked by and de la Renta dropped everything and walked off arm-in-arm to negotiate.

- Mance Warner had a recorded message for Jimmy Havoc ahead of their barbed wire match. He said the Taipei Death Match didn't happen because Havoc was “a big old bitch." He seemed to then challenge Havoc to a blindfold match. This feud will continue until all gimmick matches have been ticked off the list. 

- We then caught up with Marshall, Ross, and Kevin from the Von Erich family. They were talking about “Filthy” Tom Lawlor and Kevin said everything always boils down to money, and when they find him in the ring, the brothers should do what feels right.

- CONTRA Unit had a video message. They explained that they had dropped Ikuro Kwon in Japan on a very special mission. Josef Samael said soldiers are coming from all corners of the world. 

- Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman, and Shigehiro Irie) also had a recorded message for CONTRA Unit ahead of their six-man tag in the next few weeks. CIMA said they will destroy them in Japanese style, not hybrid style. 

Brian Pillman defeated TJP in an Opera Cup tournament opening round match (13:21)

TJP grounded Pillman early with a headscissors and kept it locked in while Pillman tried to escape. He then went after the arm, and after a cartwheel and a kick to the face after feigning a nip-up, Pillman escaped and we were back to level terms. TJP had a nice escape from a headlock takeover by walking back on his shoulders. Pillman tried one of his own moments later -- but with no luck.

TJP then used a headstand to escape and the pace quickened. Both went for kicks, and both ducked and avoided and popped back to their feet for another stalemate that got a nice ovation from the crowd. 

TJP sent Pillman to the outside with another headscissors, then clocked him with a running springboard dropkick -- landing on the apron in the process. Back inside, TJP took control and locked in a Sharpshooter, but Pillman briefly escaped before he was locked into a hammerlock and a chinlock.

The pace briefly quickened again, but TJP then locked in an Octopus submission. Pillman turned that into a Brock Lock/stretch muffler, but TJP reversed that into a small package for a two count. A lot of back-and-forth action, reversals, and escapes. 

TJP missed a senton bomb and rolled through, but Pillman hit him with a powerslam for a two count. TJP then fought out of Pillman's DDT finisher and hit a spinning DDT of his own. Pillman went up top, but TJP ran up the ropes and hit him with a superplex, then kept a hold of it to hit a brainbuster for a close two count. 

Pillman got a shoulder up again after a kick to the head but rolled straight into the TJP Clutch, and just as he was reaching the ropes, TJP wrapped his arm back in an STO. Pillman fought and fought and just made it to the ropes. 

They fought to their feet and had a forearm exchange. TJP hit a flurry of kicks and hit the ropes, but he ran straight into a superkick to the jaw. Both then reversed and escaped each other's finishers, with Pillman finishing the exchange with a knee to the head, then at the third time of asking, hit TJP with his spinning neckbreaker finisher and picked up the pin.

Next week --

  • More action from the opening round of the Opera Cup.