ANNOUNCE TEAM: Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker
Salina De La Renta is in charge for tonight’s episode. She plans to show us a CMLL Match from Arena Del Mexico between Rocky Romero takes on Volador Jr. for the CMLL World Historic Welterweight Title.
In addition, she has a huge announcement regarding Fiteland on FITE TV. Plus, she says, MLW Champion Alex Kane has been invited to attend Fusion and speak his mind/ Immediately I like the different feel of this episode compared to the usual.
Good amount of effort has been put into making this really feel like SDLR is actually in charge. I am reminded of a time in 2012 when Brock Lesnar kayfabe took WWE hostage leveraging his contract to make unilateral changes to Raw.
WWE instead of going all out and covering the show head to toe with Brock Lesnar- chose to phone it in and simply splice some extra shots of Brock into the usual Raw intro.
MLW, although smaller in scale than WWE; did a GREAT job here of making it really feel like she is in charge.
Jesus Rodriguez introduces SDLR and she comes out tofurther discuss her grandiose plans for the evening. Good work here, it makes sense that SDLR would try to use this opportunity to further her future plans after tonight.
Ichiban comes out and wants a match against Rocky Romero, but is of course, denied. Instead, she makes a match between Ichiban and Jesus Rodriguez. Decent little piece of heel work here.
MATCH #1- Ichiban vs Jesus Rodriguez
This match was a similar template to Ichiban’s recent matches on Fusion the last few weeks- it was fast, it was snappy, everything that they did was smoothly executed; however, it wasn’t really given enough time for them to do anything special. It feels very clear that Ichiban is a project for MLW and someone they really like.
After the match, Romero Junai Kai and Rodriguez attack Ichiban and Rodriguez suplexes him onto a steel chair. It feels like that just undid the work they just finished building Ichiban up as a potential challenger to Rocky’s title after the post-match attack. Will have to wait and see where they go from here with it.
Then we get a quick recap of Romero’s title win from CMLL. A lot of CMLL on the episode. SDLR tries discussing further CMLL matches that will be taking place in MLW only to be interrupted by Bombaye Fight Club, who do their BOMBAYE chant to undermine her promo.
MATCH #2- CMLL World Historic Welterweight Title, Rocky Romero vs Volador Jnr.
We get extended highlights of this title match which took place in June of 2023. It looked like a really good match but we didn’t see the whole thing making it hard to get into and it again feels like filler for Fusion.
We get a quick recap of the events of Slaughterhouse.
SDLR is holding court ordering the crew around before showing us highlights of Janai Kai. She finally makes her Fiteland announcement and it’s for an upcoming tag team match happening in Mexico in another promotion, so it was pretty underwhelming.
Then we cut to a fairly paint by numbers segment between SDLR and Mister Saint Lauren – they exchange blackmail folders and cut a deal with each other regarding future promotion for fights.
Not a bad segment, but why would MLW allow these two to blatantly undermine their company by running their own promotions within the larger MLW organization?
We then get another drinking segment from the Second Gear Crew. They talk about their issues with The Calling but it feels like more of the same at this point.
Then SDLR brings Alex Kane, the MLW champion out to the stage. He trashes her instead of putting himself over and generally undermines the idea that SDLR is in charge. This felt pointless because it wasn’t all that entertaining and did nothing for anyone involved.
To end the episode, we are shown a video from The Calling, Ricky Shane Page is still planning on destroying the Second Gear Crew. He mentions in passing that Raven is no longer the leader of the group, which immediately removes the gravitas from the group.
This was a very poor episode overall, carried by Selina De La Renta, who did her best to put herself and her crew over, but the episode being mostly highlights and segments simply didn’t work.
FINAL THOUGHTS & RATING:
MLW really need to tape more live matches in the arena for each episode of Fusion, and at this point there is no escaping that fact.
The promotion is very good at using their tape library and their post-production to enhance and seemingly sometime even carry stories and feuds- but without the framework of an actual wrestling card buttressing the segments and promos, it ends up feeling like a highlight show, not a weekly wrestling program.