This week's MLW's Anthology featured the first-ever MLW heavyweight champion and Japanese wrestling legend Satoshi Kojima.
Matches features the first-ever championship match between he and Jerry Lynn from 2002, a great 2003 title defense against Johnny Smith from All Japan Pro Wrestling, and some highlights from a 2002 title defense against Vampiro.
The end of the show's Pulp Fiction also featured the announcement of the newest member of Injustice.
Satoshi Kojima defeated Jerry Lynn to become the inaugural MLW World heavyweight champion (13:14)
New York City's Manhattan Center | September 2002
Then-lead commentator Joey Styles subtly, but expertly, made us aware of both competitors' signatures maneuvers to watch for as the referee presented the title belt to the crowd. Kojima has the Koji-Cutter, the Koji-max submission and, of course, the lariat taught to him by Stan Hansen. Conversely, Lynn used a tornado DDT to set up his cradle piledriver finisher.
There was a slow but intense exchange of holds to open up with neither man gaining an advantage. Lynn tried an early cross armbreaker to deactivate some of Kojima's lariat power, but they were both too close to the ropes. Kojima took control and brought out some Ric Flair chops in the corner, along with a trademark "Whooo" of his own. Lynn returned the favor, but succumbed to Kojima's power with a side slam moments later.
Kojima hit a series of elbow drops throughout the match as the title seemed to be slipping away from the former ECW champion Lynn. Kojima pretended he couldn't understand the referee who was instructing him to get Lynn out the corner and out of the ropes.
But the tide turned shortly after that when Kojima missed an elbow drop from the middle rope and Lynn fired up with right hands, chops, and a trifecta of lariats, but it was a reverse DDT that finally took him off his feet. Kojima came back with a pair of running lariats in the corner followed by a big elbow drop from the top rope that got a two count.
Kojima removed his elbow pad, but Lynn ducked a lariat to hit a German suplex for a two count of his own. Lynn hit his tornado DDT moments later, but Kojima again kicked out at two. Styles thought the cradle piledriver was coming but instead, Lynn went for a suplex that Kojima reversed. Lynn slipped out the back of the attempt, but ended up taking a sit-down spinebuster seconds later.
Lynn finally went for his piledriver, but Kojima reversed it with a backdrop. Kojima then hit a Michinoku driver for a two count but he didn't stop there. He got up and signaled for the lariat and connected with it, knocking Lynn down and out for the pin to become the first MLW World champion.
We saw clips from Kojima's defenses in Japan in AJPW and Zero-1 before we moved into our next match as Kojima was defending the title against Vampiro.
MLW World Champion Satoshi Kojima defeated Vampiro
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida's War Memorial Auditorium | December 2002
The match was already underway as we caught up with the action on the outside of the ring. Kojima was whipped into the guardrail and knocked a poor fan in the front row off his seat. Kojima suplexed Vampiro on the concrete floor and chopped him over the barrier into the crowd. They brawled to the stage where Vampiro climbed a camera rig and then hit a flying clothesline.
We cut back to some in-ring action where Vampiro missed a corkscrew senton and had his hurricanrana attempt reversed into a sit-down powerbomb. Kojima then hit a neckbreaker for a two count and took the challewnger down with a dragon screw leg whip.
Kojima then targeted the knee with a pair of dropkicks and another dragon screw before locking in an STF. Vampiro dragged himself to the ropes, but Kojima hit an ace crusher and a big lariat to pick up the win in another successful title defense.
MLW World Champion Satoshi Kojima defeated Johnny Smith (6:51)
Tokyo's Korakuen Hall | March 2003 | AJPW and MLW co-branded show
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 streamers from the audience and polite receptions. Those paying close attention would have noticed Kojima's entrance music is the same used in MLW's opening video sequence.
After an early commercial break, we came back with Kojima in control of Smith. He came off the top rope with an elbow drop, but Smith kicked out. A neckbreaker also got a two count as Smith was somehow hanging in there. Smith ducked a lariat and hit Kojima with one of his own out of nowhere for a brief hope spot. Moments later, Kojima hit the Koji-cutter but 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. He couldn't make an immediate cover due to the damage he had taken. Smith then hit a sitout powerbomb and a German suplex, but couldn't keep Kojima's shoulders down. Smith looked for another german suplex, 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 that Kojima just kicked out of. On his 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 to retain the belt.
As they have done in the past, this week's show closed with a montage of video updates from the current day MLW roster called Pulp Fusion.
Zenshi was doing some backflips in his garden and climbing a tree upside down; Gino Medina was not worrying about CONTRA, but was worrying about the manacitas; the Von Erichs were wrestling each other on a beach; Mance Warner was about to start on his triple cage idea but then he started drinking; Tom Lawlor shaved his hair off and was ready to protect himself; Hammerstone played the Star Spangled Banner on electric guitar and advertised his shirts on MLW's website; Alicia Atout interviewed Col. Robert Parker who was still flirting with Aria Blake; Richard Holliday shaved his moustache off to keep the Caribbean women off him; Jordan Oliver had Injustice's newest member's identity in a brown envelope and Myron Reed promised it would be revealed later tonight saying it was an injustice he wasn't signed two years ago; and El Hijo de LA Park and LA Park Jr had fighting words for CONTRA after they attacked their dad LA Park last week.
Saieve al Sabah was then introduced as the newest member of Injustice. He told us he would weaponize our mind, bodies, and souls because the revolution has arrived.
Next week's MLW Anthology will feature current AEW stars Rey Fenix and Pentagon Jr.