Vampiro took on Raven in a falls count anywhere main event on this week's MLW Underground from 2004 while a fresh-faced Rocky Romero made an appearance in the GHC Carnival tag tournament.
This week's show opened with the aftermath of the no ropes, barbed wire match between World Champion Steve Corino and Terry Funk. A victorious Corino celebrated and posed for photos with the Extreme Horsemen while officials tried to free a bloodied Funk from the wire.
Gary Hart came out and badmouthed Funk as he tried to scratch and claw his way to his feet. After a barrage of insults, Funk gave a last show of defiance by hurtling a chair in Hart's direction, merely grazing the legendary manager. Hart then dropped the same chair across Funk's back before leaving with his heavy who made sure to get some cheap shots in on Funk in the process.
The Havana Pitbulls (Rocky Romero & Ricky Reyes) defeated Los Maximos (Joel & Jose Maximo)
The Pitbulls booked their place in the GTC Carnival final with an upset win over the popular Maximos. Jose and Joel kept the high flying to a minimum as Reyes and Romero kept them grounded. Romero brought out some strong style chops and kicks before Joel picked up the pace as we hurtled towards the finish.
Romero blocked a double Spanish fly from the top rope and from the fallout, the Pitbulls hit the Cuban Execution: a top rope knee drop onto a backbreaker combination for the win. They join the Stampede Bulldogs (Harry Smith and T.J. Wilson) in the canine-themed team name GTC Carnival final.
-- We were told that Homicide was suspended and Gary Hart fined for attacking Jerry Lynn and Court Bauer last week.
Michael Modest defeated Jerry Lynn
This was enjoyable and pretty good to see Modest in action -- a man who I have not seen much of in my 25+ years of watching wrestling. He looked a little bigger from his Beyond The Mat appearance filmed five years before this match took place and we were told he has moved to the heavyweight division. Still, he certainly seemed to have his preferred style down to a T as he ground Lynn down with powerful strikes and suplexes.
Modest was announced as from Pro Wrestling NOAH and cut a heel promo on the Florida crowd. He didn't have ring music and he said that was because he was a wrestler, not like all these other “flippity-floppers."
Lynn was a good adversary for Modest as he was able to fly, sell and fire up on his bigger opponent. After reversing each other's finishers, Homicide came to ringside and hung up Lynn on the top rope which led to Modest rolling him up with a handful of tights to pick up the second upset win of the episode.
-- We had a few promos for matches that never took place as this episode was taken from MLW's second last show of the era. PJ Friedman cut a promo on Norman Smiley and said he was going to break Smiley's neck as a message to Smiley's friend Vampiro.
-- Throughout the night, we heard that Corino had been calling out Shane Douglas and we even had JJ Dillion (via the phone) issuing the challenge to MLW's first-ever World champ. That match was later confirmed, but never took place.
Vampiro defeated Raven in a falls count anywhere match
Raven took the mic before the match and announced this was now a falls count anywhere match and they immediately went brawling through the crowd and to the stage where Raven failed to put Vampiro through a table. They brawled up to a seated area where Raven took a back bump onto a vintage settee.
Back in the ring, Vampiro missed a corkscrew senton and Raven fired up, but a misplaced chair throw caught referee Mickie Jay in the face and knocked him out. After trying to revive him, Raven turned around and got hit with a spinning Vampiro heel kick which also knocked the same chair back into Raven's face. Vampiro then laid on top of Raven just as Jay came to life long enough to count the pinfall.
As we head towards the end of the 2000s run of MLW, we can see the vision Court Bauer had at the time: making new stars. Rocky Romero, Ricky Reyes and Michael Modest all picking up wins over then-MLW regulars was a real shot in the arm at trying to push some fresh faces into the product.
Last week, we saw the Stampede Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith Jr and Tyson Kidd), Teddy Hart, Jack Evans, and in later episodes, we will hopefully see Chris Hero and Bryan Danielson who also wrestled on this set of tapings. It's such a shame that this version of MLW did not last as this new crop of talent could have really made an impact in a similar way to the formation and first shows of Ring of Honor.