The Big Takeaways:
"Filthy" Tom Lawlor and Richard Holliday advanced to the semifinals of the 2020 Opera Cup while Calvin Tankman had an impressive debut.
Opera Cup Quarterfinal: Richard Holliday defeated TJP (w/ Bu Ku Dao) (10:25)
Both men were in last year's Opera Cup as well. TJP debuted in MLW back in 2004, so it was good to see him back in an MLW ring after that very brief return last year.
Before the match, they played up their size difference but it didn't play too much into the match. The story was more TJP reversing most of Holliday's advances, but going to the sky once too often.
During Holliday's entrance, we saw footage from earlier in the day when he ran into Gino Medina outside the building. They argued over whether Holliday fired Gino from The Dynasty or Gino quit, so it looks like they will be clashing sooner rather than later. Medina said/strongly hinted that it would be a shame if Holliday got hurt and someone had to take his place in the Opera Cup. (Medina is an alternate.)
Before lockdown, Holliday stole Savio Vega’s Caribbean title and declared himself the IWA Caribbean champion. During the Pulp Fusion episodes in lockdown, he even bought Vega’s childhood family home just to get one over the Puerto Rican legend. Vega retaliated by challenging Holliday to a match in Puerto Rico in the famous Estadio Roberto Clemente Walker. However, the Dynasty member politely declined due to “cleanliness” reasons in PR. So with a match with Vega seemingly on the horizon, Holliday tuned up with an impressive win over an equally impressive TJP.
TJP hit three front chancery suplexes in a row, Three Amigos style, before missing and rolling through a senton bomb. But, he ate a spinebuster before falling victim to the Market Crash as the night belonged to the Air Pods wearing, Dynastic coffee drinking Holliday.
There was no sign of Medina or Vega, so Holliday's immediate focus seems to be his journey through the Opera Cup. He will meet the winner of Davey Boy Smith Jr vs. Low Ki.
-- The Von Erich family, all 17 of them, sent us a Happy Thanksgiving message while dropping in a small dig at Tom Lawlor so that eventual tag match is still in the works.
-- After last week's successful middleweight title defense, champion Myron Reed called out new signee Lio Rush as we learned that Rush will debut at the MLW Kings of Colosseum show on December 23rd. He gave a response to Reed, saying that since MLW is busting out the big boy checks for “The man of the hour," why not have his debut match be a huge title match against Reed?
-- King Mo and Dan Lambert were both furious at Ki's inclusion in this year's Cup as Mo beat Ki earlier in the year (albeit via outside interference from the rest of Team Filthy.) Look for Low Ki to be on the hunt for revenge once his Opera Cup run is over.
-- Salina de la Renta interrupted Rich Bocchini and Jared St. Laurent in the commentary booth to warn us all that if anyone tries to stop her contractually obligated executive producer episode of Fusion on January 6th, she will drop a bomb on all of us. She had a warning for Konnan as well, but a strategically placed CONTRA interruption blocked the detail of the warning.
Calvin Tankman defeated Robert Martyr (1:14)
Martyr did a little better than Jason Dugan from last week, but only slightly. This was a great showcase for Tankman to show what he can do. The 355 pound agile monster leapfrogged, dropkicked, backbreaker'd and clotheslined Martyr before finishing him off with the Tankman Driver (Michinoku Driver). Afterward, “Heavyweight Hustle” dedicated his first MLW win to his baby at home. He said he will beat everyone in his way before he meets the champ.
-- After his attack last week from a very Logan Creed looking masked member of CONTRA, Josef Samael interrupted Alex Hammerstone's phone interview with Rich Bocchini where we were told Hammerstone suffered a rib contusion, hyperflexion of the neck, and transverse myelitis (swelling of the spinal cord) as a result of the attack. Hammer said he was feeling like he was cheated, but him at 80% is better than anyone in CONTRA at 100%.
Opera Cup Quarterfinal: "Filthy" Tom Lawlor defeated Rocky Romero (17:43)
While taking a break from his ongoing feud with the Von Erich family, F4W's own Lawlor (complete with his small, tight jean shorts and a Team Filthy banner yielding Dominic Garrini) made his Opera Cup debut in a bid to add that accolade to his already long list of MLW achievements. He is currently the only MLW star to have won the annual Battle Riot and also held the MLW World title.
Across the ring was an equally as impressive mat wrestling Romero, a former NJPW Junior Heavyweight Champion and eight-time Junior Tag Team Champion who is currently appearing with Lawlor on New Japan Strong.
Lawlor and Garrini will no doubt be challenging Marshall and Ross Von Erich for the MLW Tag Team Titles soon enough, but here, Lawlor's focus was fully on Romero as the early chain wrestling broke down into a shoulderblock challenge where Lawlor came out on top.
Romero soon picked his spot to speed things up as he knocked Lawlor to the outside and then hit him with a running knee off the apron. He later locked in an octopus stretch, but Lawlor was able to transition into a surfboard submission of his own.
One half of the Chop N' Roll Express threw his first chop of the contest and moments later had his first near fall of the match, so no coincidence there.
At the ten minute mark, they exchanged in another battle, but unfortunately for Romero, it was a chop battle. Lawlor locked in a heel hook, Romero fired back up and locked in a guillotine choke, but Lawlor powered out with an overhead suplex.
A kick exchange turned into a palm strike exchange. Lawlor reversed an O'Connor roll into a rear naked choke, but as Romero was frantically trying to escape his clutch, Lawlor locked his feet under Romero's arms, rolled to his side and trapped him in a pinfall to pick up the win. He will face the winner of ACH vs. Laredo Kid in the semifinals.
Lawlor took the mic and said that Hackenschmidt and Stu Hart will be joined by "Filthy" Tom Lawlor as an Opera Cup champion.
Next Week: Low Ki vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr, and the returning ACH vs. Laredo Kid in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Opera Cup.