This week’s episode of MLW Fusion featured the finals of the Opera Cup tournament as it came down to Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Brian Pillman Jr. from the Melrose Ballroom set of tapings.
The show began with a historical look at the Opera Cup with stock photos from the era and explaining how Davey Boy Smith Jr. inherited the physical trophy after its last winner, Stu Hart, passed away in 2003. This was followed by highlights of the tournament with Smith defeating Low Ki and Alex Hammerstone and Pillman beating TJP and Timothy Thatcher to get to the final.
MYRON REED VS EL LINDAMAN FOR THE MLW MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE
This was Reed’s first defense since winning the title and was accompanied by Jordan Oliver and Kotta Brazil of Injustice to the ring. Reed cut a promo prior to the match addressing comparisons made to Cassius Clay but said unlike Clay who wanted peace, he wants war and won’t be controlled by anyone.
Lindaman executed dives onto the three including a tope con giro on Reed. Lindaman focused on Reed’s lower back and hit a Kuma-goroshi for a two-count. Oliver leaped from the stage into a cutter inside the ring and finished Lindaman with a 450 splash IN 7:06.
Lindaman was a good opponent for Reed and the match was okay.
Alicia Atout interviewed Pillman Jr., who has a shoulder injury after being attacked by Injustice. He turned down surgery to be in the Opera Cup and spoke about facing his mentor tonight. He said it’s not about the Hart Foundation anymore.
They promoted next week’s No Rope Barbed Wire match between Jimmy Havoc and Mance Warner.
King Mo was asked to predict the outcome of the main event and doesn’t care. He wants to face the winner and insulted MLW heavyweight champion Jacob Fatu. Mo came off well with a lot of charisma displayed.
There was a recap of Gino Medina turning down Konnan’s offer to join him in favor of The Dynasty followed by an attack on Konnan. The Dynasty was in a separate segment making fun of Konnan when Medina mentioned he was once the ‘Hulk Hogan of Mexico’ and mocked his lack of a tan.
GINO MEDINA VS SAVIO VEGA IN A NYC STREET FIGHT
It wasn’t much of a match with the reliance on weapons for the whole match. Vega, 55, started with a kendo stick and they brought in chairs, trash cans, lids, and stops signs. Vega left his feet for a spinning heel kick that was the most impressive part of the match. The Dynasty came out to distract, Medina used a low blow and spinning roundhouse kick to win in 8:34.
MJF and Hammerstone started doing the Macarena from 1995 to make fun of Vega.
Atout interviewed Davey Boy Smitj Jr., who cut the most serious promo you can envision. He said his grandfather Stu won the Opera Cup 71 years ago and Pillman Jr’s father was trained in the dungeon. He was surprised Pillman made it to the finals and he’s a hard worker, part of the family but tonight is business.
They added that the Opera Cup will be an annual tournament.
DAVEY BOY SMITH JR. VS BRIAN PILLMAN JR. IN THE OPERA CUP FINAL
Smith came out to the Pride FC theme.
It started with mutual respect and a scientific style of match. On the floor, Smith delivered a snap suplex and had control. The audience was really subdued with the announcers comparing it to Japan.
Pillman hit a springboard clothesline but they noted he hit it with the wrist as opposed to the injured shoulder. This followed a series of covers by each and then Smith did a Chris Benoit sequence with the swan dive from the top and applied the crossface. Pillman rolled him over for a cover but Smith reversed back to the crossface for the tap in 17:16.
The audience never got into the main event in a big way but it told a great story from Pillman’s injured shoulder playing into the ineffective springboard clothesline and being susceptible to the crossface because of the injury.
Smith celebrated with the Opera Cup to end the show.
It was a simple show this week, all built around the tournament final and the match was good. I wouldn’t say it got into the territory of great because of the audience but the story was very strong through the explanation of Pillman’s shoulder injury. They got the concept of the Opera Cup across to the viewers at home and played up the history as well as they could for something several generations back.
Gino Medina is the next big project for MLW to push to the moon and that was evident in this episode.
El Lindman looked great in the opening match and was a solid opponent for Myron Reed to look good with.
Next week’s show will have a completely different feel to this week as the main event is a No Rope Barbed Wire match.