TJ Crawford vs Ichiban
After the usual high-octane intro for MLW Fusion, we go straight into our opening match up for episode 182; TJ Crawford facing off against Ichiban, who got an upset win over Tracy Williams last week. This was presented by the announcers as a competitive preliminary bout between two rising stars within the company. This again adds to the sports-like feel of the MLW product.
This particular match was faster paced than a lot of what we’ll see later, and the competitors did a great job starting the episode off in an exciting way. TJ Crawford wrestled a very physical, “smash mouth” style which was a great contrast to the acrobatic style employed by Ichiban.
There is a sense of urgency that permeates the MLW program; all the matches including the preliminary bouts feel like they have meaningful consequences for the winners and losers.
Ichiban gets his second back to back win a row after a very good opening match, and the announcers made a point of saying that he is on the rise in MLW. After he walks out, a mysterious hooded figure appears on the stage and whispers something in TJ Crawford’s ear as he walks backstage, which seemed to pique his interest. MLW do a great job of giving every talent on the show a direction to go in.
The Prelude to the Main Event
We then cut backstage to Microman, Main Event and Mance Warner, who are running through some training exercises for Micro’s upcoming match. This was a humorous segment that effectively utilized Microman’s small stature to elicit affection from the audience.
We cut to a preview of “coming attractions”, showcasing some of MLW’s important upcoming matches. This was effective in conveying the sense that MLW is a vibrant and active combat sports promotion.
Sam Adonis, Microman’s opponent later on, cuts a very obnoxious promo about how he plans to teach Microman a lesson, oozing with false sincerity. Adonis has a great grasp on his character and how to maximize his time on camera.
Tiana James vs Becca
Love Doug, who appears to be a manager or an enhancement talent comes out to commentary. He is continuing his ongoing and non-reciprocal courtship of Becca, who is competing in the next match.
Tiana James vs Becca is up next. Becca ignores Love Doug during her entrance. Both these ladies are stars in the making this was a great little match which successfully showcased Becca as a main event women’s star in MLW. Love Doug is obsessed with her but she doesn’t care and continues to ignore him after the match.
Don King, former manager of Mike Tyson; will be on Fusion next week.
There is backstage interview with Selina de La Renta, she continues to hype her talent acquisition ambitions in MLW.
Jacob Fatu then cut a promo backstage discussing his upcoming bout with Minoru Suzuki and how he is not afraid of Suzuki. This was an intense and engaging promo that built interest in that match effectively.
Sam Adonis vs Microman
The main event of the night. Microman is super over and beloved in MLW, its really enjoyable to see a little person wrestler successfully be showcased in a manner that does not demean or insult them.
Sam Adonis is great at being an obnoxious, annoying narcissistic heel. Mr Saint Laurent joined on commentary and his ongoing monologue ranting about his problems and gripes was humorous and entertaining without distracting from the match in the ring.
Watching Microman is so much fun. He is a very talented performer. Sam Adonis giving Microman a knife edge chop was darkly comical and also looked painful- simple but very effective use of the basics. Sam Adonis brings a chair in and tries to unmask Microman who cuts him off by slamming his face into the seat of the chair.
Snitsky then interferes to save Adonis from losing and sets up the field goal on Microman same as last week, but is unsuccessful after the save is made by Mance Warner and company. Microman then covers Sam Adonis for the win before he and his friends celebrate with beers in the ring. A nice feel good segment for the episode.
We then cut backstage to a press conference being held by MLW champion BOMBAYE Alex Kane. Alex cut a very intense aggressive promo about his intention to continue forging a legacy as MLW champion, at which point MSL comes in and confronts him. The two of them have a tense verbal exchange before suddenly cutting away.
We cut to a camera frantically running backstage to capture a brawl that has broken out backstage between everyone involved in the main event match. This was done in a plausible and realistic way- it makes sense that these hostile parties would run into each other backstage and that a camera would not be set and prepared to capture the resulting brawl. Really effective sense of realism for the backstage brawl which ended the episode on a nice cliff-hanger.
This was a very compelling episode of MLW Fusion Final Episode Rating: