From the Scottish Rite Temple in Miami, Florida, MLW presents its first live special on beIN Sports tonight.
MLW Fusion Live will feature the crowning of a new Middleweight Champion. After MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman) wasn't cleared to return from a fractured elbow in time, Dezmond Xavier, Andrew Everett, Kotto Brazil, and Hijo de LA Park will face off in a four-way ladder match for the vacant title.
The ladder match has been plagued by injuries, with Hijo de LA Park replacing Jason Cade due to Cade suffering a broken ankle. Marko Stunt was also originally scheduled to be part of the match before breaking his leg.
Los Ingobernables' Rush will be in action tonight as he takes on Rich Swann. Plus, Dragon Lee faces DJZ. Low Ki, Konnan, Pentagon Jr., and Tom Lawlor will also be featured. Tony Schiavone and Rich Bocchini are calling the show.
Our live coverage begins when the hour-long special starts at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Kicking off the show, it's announced that a wildcard entry has been added to the ladder match, which I guess was El Gringo Loco. There are some issues with the graphics not matching what the announcers are saying but nothing that would really take away from your enjoyment of the match. It appeared that Loco was replacing Adam Everett, who's not there, but Teddy Hart comes out right before the bell and takes out Desmond Xavier, seemingly entering the match.
Ladder Match for the vacant MLW World Middleweight Champion - El Gringo Loco vs Kotto Brazil vs Hijo de LA Park vs Desmond Xavier vs Teddy Hart
Park kills Brazil with chair shots outside the ring to start and then enters the ring to square off with Loco, who also has a chair. Eventually Xavier comes back to life and his some flying moves on both of them. Park powerbombos Xavier onto the floor from the apron and then it's he and Teddy Hart in the ring together. Crowd behind Hart with TEDDY chants, even though he's a heel. Hart misses a spinning Asai moonsault but misses. Hart does a sunset flip and then a cover but it's a ladder match so that doesn't work and the crowd boos that.
Gringo and Xavier are back and hit a double superkick on Hart, who's being held by Park and it's basically a Canadian Destroyer and Hart's out as they do an abrupt commercial cut while the announcers are still going.
Hart is fine when they come back from the break and takes out Loco and Park with an Asai moonsault to the floor. He fitsbumps Schiavone at ringside before grabbing a ladder for the first time in the match. Hart sets up the ladder and starts climbing but tLoco and Xavier come back to the ring. Loco climbs the ladder and exchange punches with Hart before jumping off and doing a springboard cutter onto Xavier. Hart climbs again but Park comes back in the ring and shoves him off.
Loco gets another ladder while Xavier is climbing the first one. Loco climbs it as well and Xavier shoves him off and he falls right to the outside. Xavier gets to the belt but can't unbuckle it. Park sets up the second ladder as a bridge between the first and ropes and hits a splash onto Xavier that takes them both out.
Kotto Brazil is back out with a chair and goes to town on Park. Brazil climbs the ladder but he's not even close to the ladder and Hart takes him out with a chair shot to the back. He then hits a lungblower and climbs the ladder to retrieve the belt
Winner and New MLW World Middleweight Champion - Teddy Hart
Kaci Lennox is backstage at the Team Filthy locker room. Filthy says it's not the time for talking, it's time for action, as he mutters the name of Selina to himself. Selina is the manager of MLW World champion Low Ki. She also manages LA Park and they cut to an announcement that Rush will face LA Park on the Mania Weekend show on April 4th in NYC. A 40 man Battle Riot match is announced for April 5th as well.
Dragon Lee vs DJZ
Dragon Lee is announced at 75 kilos but the graphic says he's 80. It's more or less hinted that the winner of this match could get a shot at the belt that Hart just won. Lee does the Tranquilo post early after each of them miss several moves during a criss-cross. DJZ hits a Tope Con Hilo onto Dragon Lee before rolling him back into the ring and hitting a couple of springboard splashes for a near fall.
Dragon Lee recovers and hits a shoulder breaker and a Shining Wizard for 2. They trade hart shots to the head before Dragon Lee hits a snap dragon suplex but DJZ hits a spinning DDT and both guys are down. Dragon Lee ties up DJZ in a tree of woe on the outside and hits a double stomp from the top rope. Lee favouring a knee after that move as he landed kind of funny. Lee goes for a pildriver but DZJ reverses into a Canadian Destroyer for 2.
Dragon Lee hits a Dragon Driver for 2 and Tony points out it wasn't a full cover. Lee hits a second one to get the win.
WINNER - Dragon Lee
Outside the building, Serena is with Low Ki and various cronies, ranting and raving about how they are about to go partying. Filthy Tom Lawlor shows up out of nowhere and takes out the cronies but Serena and Low Ki escape in a limo.
After a commercial, a really cool commercial for the Feb 2nd Super Fight show airs, which features a title match 7 months in the making between Low Ki, who they push as undefeated in 2004 vs the number one contender and winner of the first Battle Riot, Filthy Tom Lawlor.
A skit from the hotel featuring the Hart Foundation airs. Pillman Jr is working out and berating hotel staff. Then they cut to him being named Rookie of the Year in MLW and claims he's going to win the award again in 2019 before mockingly crying on the shoulder of Teddy Hart.
Update on the parking lot situation with Filthy Tom Lawlor. It's claimed that they are currently battling in the streets of Miami but no footage is shown. They announce a no-ropes no-holds barred match for next week between Lawlor and former partner Simon Grimm. A taped promo from Grimm airs pumping up the match.
Rich Swann vs Rush
Rush announced at 97 kilos and the graphic says 95. Doesn't seem like that would be that hard to co-ordinate between the graphics and the ring announcer. They announce an all-day marathon of MLW on Bein Sports starting at 6 am on December 31st.
Crowd chanting TRANQUILO before the match so they're clearly behind Rush. Rush takes it to Swann to start before taking off his Los Ingobernobles jersey. Rush goes to the outside and brings in a trash can, nailing Swann with it. Tony reminds us there is a 20 count in MLW but the official isn't even counting, which Rich points out. Rush slams Swann into the announcer's table before rolling him back into the ring.
Rush hits a front kick on Swann, who's slumped in the corner, before doing the Tranquilo pose to the delight of the fans. Rush laying the boots to Swann and taunting him and that's the cue for Swann to fight back for the first time in the match. Rush threatens the ref and the fans are egging him on but he lets him go unscathed before going back to Swann. Swann turns around the momentum with a Springboard cutter. It's a bit of a negative on this show that they push is as "Fusion" with all kinds of different styles, but so many guys are using the same moves.
Back to the match and Swann takes over so Rush rolls out of the ring but Swann hits a couple of running dives onto Rush on the outside. Swann rols him back in and hits a frog splash but only gets a two. Tony calls it a "Five Star Swann Splash", which I've never heard before. Rush turns it around by tossing Swann into the corner with a rolling belly to belly suplex.
Swann with a crescent kick and a rolling DDT for 2 after Rush was arguing with the ref again. Swann climbs to the top but Rush hits him with a couple of hard chops and then a superplex for 2. Rush tosses him into the corner and nails him with punches before going for a running corner dropkick but misses. Swann to the second rope and tries a 450 splash but Rush gets his knees up and then hits a Rush Driver for the win.
WINNER - RUSH
LA Park comes out to confront Rush after the match and they brawl at ringside before security and referees are there to break it up while the crowd chants LET THEM FIGHT. Low Ki emerges from the crowd and grabs a mic to address the crowd.
Low Ki taunts Filthy Tom, saying that they are always one stop ahead of him. Filthy comes in from behind and he and Low Ki brawl in the ring before taking it to cageside. Filthy all over him with punches and elbows and even CHOPS. Lawlor with a Rock Bottom type move onto the apron but Low Ki recovers and takes it to him. Great hard-hitting brawl to close the show and it goes off-air in the middle of the brawl.
Overall this was a fun show. There were some obvious production issues that need to be worked on but the action was fast-paced, the storylines were easy to follow and they left you wanting more at the end, which is the exact opposite of how most people feel watching RAW every week. They also used the opportunity to push several big upcoming shows, which is another plus.