This week's MLW Fusion: Alpha saw the IWA Caribbean Championship on the line as Richard Holliday defended against King Muertes, an Opera Cup first round match between Matt Cross and Calvin Tankman, and Holidead taking on Nicole Savoy in women's featherweight action.
The show was supposed to open with the Caribbean title match but when Holliday did not appear as his music played, we saw Ikuro Kwan and Mads Krugger attacking him backstage, only to be saved by MLW Champion Alex Hammerstone.
Nicole Savoy defeated Holidead (w/ Dr. Dax)
In her inset promo about Holidead, Savoy said the bigger they are, the harder they fall. However, both were evenly matched here. Holidead had Dax in a dog collar and chained to the ring post.
Savoy's ground game was on display as she grounded Holidead in the early going, but she did hit two hurricanrana and a dive to the floor to show she has different levels to her game. After a commercial break, Savoy was still in control with a Saito suplex but minutes later, she was locked in a surfboard submission.
After both women were down after a double headbutt, Savoy fired up with a double underhook suplex, a German suplex and a running elbow for a near fall. Holidead had her own near fall after a backbreaker and a swinging uranage into a Celtic cross. Savoy came back with a dragon suplex moments later.
Holidead deadlifted Savoy while stuck in a triangle choke, but Savoy didn't break the hold and transitioned into a triangle choke to pick up the submission win.
After the match, the doctors checked on Savoy as it looked like she got hurt toward the end of the match. It could have been on the dragon suplex as there was a camera cut and a few seconds cut between the move and the pinfall attempt that followed.
Willow Nightingale, who was on commentary, was attacked by Holidead as she left the ringside area, laid out with a DDT on the ramp.
-- Backstage, Alicia Atout asked Holliday if he was still in shape to fight, but Holliday said when you are breathing "Rarefied Air," you defend your championship.
Calvin Tankman defeated Matt Cross to advance to the semifinals of the 2021 Opera Cup
Tankman continued to impress with his explosive offense and this was Cross' best performance to date in the show's best match. There was also a bit of storyline added in post-match with Cross complaining of an alleged eye poke that only he supposedly felt.
Cross was coming off a recent loss to then-World Champion Jacob Fatu.
King Mo was on commentary scouting Tankman and talking him up which continues the storyline from last week with Alex Kane and Mo trying to recruit him.
Cross immediately hit a pump kick, took Tankman down with a headscissors and double stomped him in the thigh. Cross was on fire in the opening minutes as he hit a dive to the floor and cartwheeled back into the ring, but turned straight into a big shoulder barge from Tankman that sent him halfway across the ring.
After a break, Tankman was in control of a forearm battle. He floored Cross with a suplex and a slam, flattening him with a big splash.
Cross fought back by getting his feet up on a charging Tankman. A pair of pump kicks and a springboard crossbody followed, but after a step-up kick, a double stomp from the top rope and another pump kick, he was caught in mid-air after a pescado to the floor and then power bombed on the apron.
A strike battle had both the Philadelphia crowd cheering and the sweat flying with a springboard cutter from Cross dropping Tankman headfirst on the mat. Cross then landed on his feet coming off the top rope with a shooting star press but he walked straight into a pop-up back elbow.
Minutes later after one final strike battle, Tankman floored Cross with a clothesline and a back fist to the base of the neck to pick up the win and advance in the tournament.
After the match, Alicia Atout interviewed a salty Cross and asked him what happened about the alleged eye poke. He said that Tankman shouldn't have to stoop to those levels and everyone saw that it was b.s.
-- Atout then interviewed Budd Heavy backstage, but before they could get much more past beer and partying in Philadelphia, Atout got led away by Cesar Duran's masked man.
-- Emilio Sparks had an exclusive look backstage where we saw Jacob Fatu and Josef Samael enraged after his title loss to Hammerstone. Samael said it was a fluke because Fatu is better than Hammerstone in all attributes and got the War Chamber idea in Fatu's head.
-- We then cut to another cinematic style production in Cesar Duran's office with Atout. Duran said her investigative journalism "impressed" him, but her expose last week on him was vicious. Atout said it was true and accurate, but Duran called it "dirt sheet standards." Duran then invited Atout for a front row seat to tonight's main event where he promised violence. This was a tie-in to last week where he confronted Holliday about his storyline relationship with Atout.
-- After a break, we were back in Duran's office as he had an invitation for Krugger and put question marks around his loyalty to CONTRA Unit.
King Muertes defeated Richard Holliday to win the IWA Caribbean Championship
This was a slow storyline-based brawl, but it got great crowd reactions from those who were firmly in the favor of Muertes. Duran and Atout were both sitting in the front row watching. Booking Holliday against Muertes was a clear message to Atout and the rest of the locker room not to mess with Duran.
Storyline-wise, Holliday was the face and Muertes the heel, but the Philadelphia crowd wanted it the other way. The two seemed to work the opening moments with those dispositions, too. Muertes looked the tougher of the two and always got the best of the exchanges, getting cheers when he crashed into Holliday with a spear.
The Sentai Death Squad came out to stand on the ramp while we cut backstage to see EJ Nduka and Krugger brawling.
Holliday tried to make a comeback, but couldn't lift the bigger Muertes. He ended up clotheslined out of the ring and crashed into the railing where Duran poured a glass of champagne over his head.
After blocking a top rope suplex attempt, Holliday came off the top with a big forearm which changed the expressions of both Atout and Holliday. Muertes stopped the comeback with a scoop powerslam but couldn't put him away.
Holliday fired up again as Hammerstone joined the backstage CONTRA brawl. In the ring, Holliday had Muertes in a torture rack and dropped him with a neckbreaker but Muertes kicked out.
The Sentai Death Squad came to ringside to distract Holliday which allowed Kwan to hit Holliday with a kick to the back of the head (it connected with his shoulder) and Muertes to drop him face-first onto the concrete floor. Muertes then rolled him into the ring for the pin and the Caribbean championship.
The commentary team played up Duran's master plan of hiring CONTRA to make sure Muertes won the title tonight, a tie-in to last season when he unsuccessfully won the Openweight title from Hammerstone.
- TJP vs. Alex Shelley in an Opera Cup first round match
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