This week's edition of MLW Fusion featured the finals of the 2021 Opera Cup between Davey Richards and TJP.
Rich Bocchini and Joe Dombrowski called the action from Philadelphia.
KC Navarro defeated Warhorse
Last week, these two clashed backstage which led to this match. Warhorse had his plaque he was presented with last week celebrating him as the "Most Important Wrestler from Parts Unknown."
This started very quick with Navarro hitting a dive to the outside and a missile dropkick within the first minute. Warhorse retaliated, catching Navarro coming off the top with a powerslam.
Warhorse kicked out of a tornado DDT before Navarro pointed to the corner, calling an end to the match. Warhorse moved and Navarro rolled through a frog splash and landed a superkick, but ate a big lariat from Warhorse for a near fall of his own.
Warhorse missed a double foot stomp from the top which allowed Navarro to hit a sunset bomb and the Jesus Piece (running sliced bread) to pick up his first win in MLW.
-- During the match, the PWI Top 10 rankings scrolled across the screen. From 1 through 10: Jacob Fatu, Davey Richards, King Muertes, TJP, Tajiri, Alex Kane, Mads Krugger, Calvin Tankman, EJ Nduka and Richard Holliday.
-- Emilio Sparks caught up with Myron Reed and asked if he got involved with his friend Calvin Tankman and his feud with Alex Kane to try and get an advantage in the Openweight title ladder match last week. Reed was having any of it and brushed off the question.
-- We saw footage from Emilio Sparks' phone as he tried to get a word with Cesar Duran, but all we saw was Duran walking away with a fist full of cash. Later in the night, we saw Duran and his masked assailant with Matanza's (Jeff Cobb) mask as the commentators questioned what was going on. Later on, Sparks was still following Duran as he walked down a corridor. Duran removed a key from around his neck and used it to unlock a door before saying "My brother, it is time to release you again" before entering with the Matanza mask.
Sea Stars (Ashley Vox & Delmi Exo) defeated Top Dogs (Davienne & Skylar)
Willow Nightingale joined the commentary team and during the match, she officially challenged Holidead as they have been feuding as of late. At the end of the match, Holidead came out to confront Nightingale and they brawled to the back.
The Sea Stars hit stereo dives after being jumped by the Top Dogs. Davienne hit a nice German suplex as the Top Dogs took control of the match. Vox got the hot tag and hit a double dropkick. She then had Skylar in a fishhook before hitting a spinning lariat for a near fall.
The Top Dogs hit Vox with a double-team death valley driver into a sit-out powerbomb, but Exo came in to save her partner and suplex her opponents. Vox then picked up the win after the Sea Stars hit their Tidal Wave finisher from the top (an assisted senton) on to Skylar.
-- In a press conference, new National Openweight champion Alex Kane announced his new Boombayah Fight Club after it was announced earlier in the week that he had left American Top Team.
-- We heard from the next Tag Team title challengers as 5150 cut a promo promising to beat Los Parks and take the titles.
Davey Richards defeated TJP to win the 2021 Opera Cup tournament
The story built up through the night was that TJP cheated in each of his Opera Cup matches and was predicting an easy win against the man he thought was broken down and injured.
Their inset promos during the entrances were a contrast. TJP was cocky and arrogant, spitting out his water when asked about Richards' chances while Richards was calm, focused and determined.
Like Richards' demeanor, this started slow and deliberate with both working on their ground game looking for a solid advantage. As they worked for leverage by reversing and escaping holds the commentary team talked about their opposing personalities but similar top quality wrestling ability.
Richards had a clever counter for TJP trying to escape a head scissors with a headstand as he just popped and bumped his hips off the mat, jamming TJP with a mini-piledriver. They exchanged boot scrapes in the corner before TJP dropkicked Richards in the knee to get the firm advantage.
On the outside, TJP continued to have a bullseye on Richards' knee. Richards had a few flurries of offense, but TJP kept going low and stopping any momentum Richards was building.
Richards reversed a figure four, but couldn't capitalize on the pressure he reversed. TJP hit a slingshot senton before a forearm exchange woke both men up and ended with Richards laying TJP out with a clothesline.
Both removed their wrist tape and began another forearm exchange. Richards then got some knee damage revenge as he hit a dragon screw over the ropes while standing on the apron. Richards locked in his Trailer Hitch submission and TJP hit a Detonation Kick as we hurtled towards the closing moments of the match with both men not giving an inch.
TJP elbowed his way out of an exploder suplex on the apron and instead hit a brainbuster on the apron himself. A frog splash from the top got a 2.95 count as Richards got his shoulder up at the last moment.
TJP hit a running boot scrape, but Richards fired up out of the corner with a pop-up kick to the chest. Richards then hit two double foot stomps (one on the apron, one in the ring) but TJP kicked out somehow. Richards didn't stop and hit a brainbuster, but again, TJP kicked out. Richards then locked in an ankle lock, but TJP escaped.
His relentlessness didn't stop as he locked in an ankle lock again with a grapevine which gave TJP no option but to tap out. Richards wins the match and the 2021 Opera Cup tournament.
Duran presented Richards with the Opera Cup before Richards cut a passionate promo in front of the Philadelphia crowd. He said they have always been there with him throughout his career and dedicated his win to them.
- MLW Tag Team Champions Los Parks vs 5150 in a Philadelphia street fight title match
- MLW World Champion Alex Hammerstone in action
- nZo vs. Matt Cross
- MLW Middleweight champion Tajiri vs. All Japan Pro Wrestling's Atsuki Aoyagi in a title match