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MLW Underground results & video: The road to Hybrid Hell

The Big Takeaway:

One week before Mike Awesome gets his shot at the gold, MLW invaded All Japan Pro Wrestling on this week's retro Underground episode. MLW World Champion Satoshi Kojima continued running wild with Kojimania as he successfully defended the title against Johnny Smith.

Show Review:

Joey Styles opened the show by hyping up Hybrid Hell: MLW's next set of TV tapings featuring Sabu vs. La Parka III and the aforementioned Awesome vs. Kojima title match. He later mentioned that Francine is now managing Michael Shane and has led him to a recent victory over Norman Smiley.

He caught us up with the emerging storyline between Raven and CM Punk. Punk has picked a fight with the former ECW champion and wants another shot at him after coming so close to beating him the first time. They will clash at Hybrid Hell. We then heard from Raven who said he liked Punk because he has a point of view that he stands up for and believes in. He said he enjoyed giving him the Evenflow DDT and will enjoy it again. If Punk wants to keep coming, he will keep giving him the Raven Effect.

Styles then hyped up Simon Diamond and CW Anderson, telling us that the Extreme Horsemen will receive the MLW Tag Team Titles at the next tapings. He recaps their attack on PJ Friedman which injured him and took him out of action.

Styles then brought in Los Maximos to talk about their rematch with the Samoan Island Tribe at Hybrid Hell. They switched between Spanish and English and mockingly said the Samoans have beautiful hygiene and hope they have a fast, athletic matchup.

Kenzo Suzuki and Simply Luscious will be making their debuts at Hybrid Hell and Luscious said that any questions we have will have to wait until this Friday at Hybrid Hell where she will decide if she will answer them.

Styles hyped up Paul London after his recent win over Jerry Lynn and gave another match for Hybrid Hell: London vs. Lynn in a two out of three falls match. He called it the MLW young lion system where any rookie can challenge any veteran in the locker room to try and earn a spot on the roster.

The heavyweight title rankings were back this week. Jerry Lynn remained in no. 10, while no. 9 was a new entry: Michael Shane, replacing Christopher Daniels who dropped out of the top 10. Paul London remained no. 8, Masato Tanaka remained no. 7, no. 6 was Sabu dropping down from no. 4 last week. No. 5 was Raven (no change), no. 4 was La Parka who swapped places with Sabu after defeating him last week while no. 3,, no. 2, and no. 1 all stayed the same: Steve Corino, Terry Funk and Mike Awesome. We then heard from Awesome who said he was gunning for Kojima and will be the new champion.

Styles hyped up the barbed wire match between Corino and Funk at Hybrid Hell saying Funk has lots of experience wrestling Sabu and Cactus Jack in this type of match while this will be Corino's first go-round. He said everyone should see a barbed wire match live in their lives at least once and that it will be something you will always remember...which may not be a good thing.

We then cut to Funk backstage where he was asked about the difference between the original Horsemen and the Extreme Horsemen. He couldn't find a difference and called the first group of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Lex Luger a bunch of a**holes. He called this version of Horsemen a bunch of gimmicks and if you want to be a Horsemen, you need to able to ride, and "all these guys do is ride each other." He called himself a tough old son of a bitch and will get in the barbed wire ring with the “chicken sh*t” Corino.

MLW World Champion Satoshi Kojima defeated Johnny Smith to retain (6:45)

The famous Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan, was the venue for this AJPW and MLW collaboration event and World title match. The bout went through a few TV commercial breaks but was worth the wait as these two battered each other and took each other to the limit.

Styles clued us into Smith being a cousin of both Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid. An English voiceover introduced the title fight before the Japanese ring announcer introduced both competitors who got the traditional streamer welcome and polite reception from the fans.

We had an early commercial break and came back with Kojima in control. Kojima came off the top rope with an elbow drop and pin attempt, but Smith kicked out. A neckbreaker also got a two count as Smith was somehow hanging in. Smith ducked a lariat and hit Kojima with one of his own out of nowhere for a brief hope spot, but moments later, Kojima hit the Koji-cutter and again, Smith somehow kicked out.

Kojima hit a Michinoku driver but Smith no sold it and popped up, roaring into hitting a death valley driver, but he couldn't make an immediate cover due to the damage he had taken. Smith then hit a sit-out powerbomb and a german suplex but couldn't keep Kojima's shoulders down. Smith looked for another german, but Kojima fought out and hit a running lariat.

Styles told us it was anyone's match to win and he was right. Smith hit a reverse DDT and pin attempt that Kojima barely kicked out of and on a second attempt, Kojima reversed with a northern lights release suplex. Smith blocked another lariat with a backslide for another close two count. Kojima then blocked a lariat and connected with his own to finally keep Smith down for the three count and barely leave with the gold.

We closed this week's Underground episode with a music video montage of unseen matches from the then-recent tapings, plus highlights hyping up Hybrid Hell.