This was the first pay per view outing for Major League Wrestling (MLW), one of the smaller wrestling companies out there making it’s way alongside Impact, Ring of Honor, and the restarted NWA. I started watching MLW a few months ago and found it to be mostly just fine with a few really interesting people. I ordered the pay per view off the strength of the War Chamber match that took place a few weeks ago and the price, $20. Would it prove to be worth my while or should I have just watched Star Wars again? Let’s find out!
MLW World Tag Team Title Match: The Dynasty vs The Von Erichs
This was under Texas Tornado rules. The Von Erichs are in line to be the franchise players of the company soon (they just re-signed this year) but they’re still a bit green right now. The match was laid out in a way to not expose them in that the Dynasty (Richard Holladay and MJF) jumped them at the opening bell and dominated for several minutes. Decent opener but nothing special here. The Von Erichs winning the titles capped off weeks of the Dynasty doing everything they could to avoid facing them in a title match, and finally having to face the music.
Injustice vs Septimo Dragon, Gringo Loco, and Puma King
This was a your standard trios spotfest – fun and entertaining but nothing brand new. I was thinking to myself that hey, they didn’t get too loose with it and that’s good when they proceeded to get too loose with it. One guy took a nasty looking piledriver and kicked out late in the match, then there some of those slowly developing spots where the guy taking it sits still entirely too long. Other than that the match was fine.
MLW World Middleweight Title Match: Teddy Hart vs Austin Aries
It’s easy to forget how good Aries is because he’s always had a bit of a personality deficiency but he really got to do his thing here. Hart is very good in his own right but boy does he have some issues as you may be hearing about now. (I’m being super generous to both guys here. Aries inability to get along anywhere in the long run speaks for itself and Hart has a ton of problems away from ring, enough to warrant being excommunicated from the business entirely.) Hart is also a fake cruiser/middlewieght and looks way heavier than whatever the weight limit is here. It was the best match of the night at this point and was really good in my opinion until the last couple of minutes. There it devolved into another one of those ‘how many devastating moves can we do without ending the match’ affairs that I am not a fan of. As much as I hate that stuff it didn’t ruin the whole match for me. At least there were no finisher kickouts.
Brian Pillman, Jr vs Low Ki
Pillman came out wearing his father’s Hollywood Blonds jacket and tights. This was one of those ‘respect’ matches, and a pretty good one at that. Pillman started off with a bunch of chops and slaps before Low Ki turned it around. The first three minutes or so were a strikefest before things settled down a bit. An important note from commentary was that Low Ki had won all of his matches by knockout in three minutes or less, which mattered as things went on. There were a few slams and holds but it was mostly a striking match, which is fine because it was well executed. The match went about eight minutes before Low Ki won by knockout with a sweet somersault heel kick.
Tom Lawlor vs Timothy Thatcher
Thatcher is one the best technical wrestlers out there on the indies now, and this was a real showcase for what Lawlor is able to do. This was the best technical match on the show, and you honestly don’t see this kind of thing much on an American wrestling show in 2019. No highspots, nothing extreme as far as bumps, just good technical wrestling. The crowd seemed like they weren’t quite sure how to take it in some spots but eventually went with it. I’m not sure where Thatcher goes from here; Lawlor is a former MLW World Champion so maybe he goes after that again or he goes on the challenge Hammerstone for the Openweight Title.
Mance Warner vs Jimmy Havoc vs Bestia 666
This was a Stairway to Hell Match, meaning that there was a loop of barbed wire suspended about the ring and a ladder to climb up and get it. The three guys involved have been feuding for a while doing various kinds of no DQ style matches with barbed wire, staple guns, and other stuff. And you know what? In 2019 I’m not here for that kind of thing so I skipped it. Warner is a pretty entertaining guy and has some personality. I don’t get the allure of Jimmy Havoc at all. Warner won, yay.
Openweight Title Match: Hammerstone (c) vs Davey Boy Smith Jr
Smith Jr was half of the Killer Elite Squad in New Japan with Lance Archer, who is the US champion over there now. Hammerstone is one of the people to really watch in MLW. He has size and carries himself like he’s a big deal, and while he has a good arsenal of moves those other two things are more important. Smith doesn’t really offer much in the way of character or personality to be honest but he’s a very good in ring worker. All that being said I was a little let down by this one. They were in a tough spot, following the Stairway to Hell match and before the main event, but even though I thought a little better of it on a second watch I still felt it was just pretty good when these two could have had a great one. It also felt to me like they got cut for time. Hammerstone won with the help of his Dynasty buddies and while that in itself was fine a budding big star like himself should have hit his finisher to win and not just a rope assisted rollup. Whoever laid this out did no favors to one of the people who should be out in the forefront in his first big pay per view match.
Main Event – MLW World Title Match: Jacob Fatu (c) vs LA Park
Fatu is a member of the stable Contra, managed by Joseph Samael, and Park is the wrestler formerly know as La Parka who you may remember from WCW Nitro 20 years ago. Fatu is also part of the famous Anoai family that the Rock, Roman Reigns, and the Usos come from (which means he’ll probably be plying his trade on a Monday or Friday night eventually). Park’s style is listed as luchador but he’s really more the 50-plus year old, 50 pounds heavier than he used to be big brawler now. He’ll pull out a dive or cannonball here or there but he won’t be filling in for any members of the Lucha House Party anytime in the future. Park is managed by Salina de la Renta and is the main member of Promociones Derado, and won a battle royal (called the Battle Riot) to get what is the equivalent of the Money in the Bank briefcase.
Unlike the previous match I did not have high expectations going into this one. Park is pretty limited physically at this point and he mails it in a lot. But to his credit he had his working boots on this night. He stayed in his lane as far as offense, and the match went in such a way that he didn’t expend too much energy too fast. Fatu is very talented and in his prime so putting those two things together we got a good old school brawl kind of match here. And making it no DQ was the right move so Park could use chairs and anything else he needed to fill in the holes in his moveset. What I found a little weird was that while Samael interfered a good bit throughout De la Renta did not until the end, which is a departure from how she usually handles things. Commentary kept bringing up that she’s been distracted with things away from the business so maybe some seeds are being planted that we’ll have to tune in for later.
The match itself was entertaining and worthy of it’s spot on a big show like this one. Fatu carried the action in doing so showed just how good he really is in there. The finish saw Samael bring back the old fireball to break up a three count and a table bump by de la Renta to set up the fall. Fatu retained the title so the question is what happens with Park now. He’s an attraction that you can’t count on long term because of his age but a title win followed by even a brief reign would get some more attention on the place. If not then I guess he can stick to beating guys up and tagging with his son.
All in all, a pretty good show in my book. MLW does not set outsize expectations for themselves but they don’t go the ROH route of doing everything on the cheap, either. I’d say they met them here. And the price of $20 was just right for pay per view in 2019. In a world where the WWE Network is available for $10 a month and New Japan World is around the same charging $50 for PPV is not the wave. But I’ll gladly give them my $20 next time based on how much I liked this one.