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THE RANT: MLW Fusion TV Episode 1 Review

Posted By James Walsh on 04/21/18

Ah, MLW. Major League Wrestling. The company has some history. Not aware of it? Here it is in a nut shell.

MLW started in 202 with a myriad of other companies all chasing the same markets that were left wide open by the closure of World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, WCW and ECW respectively, within months of each other in 2001. ECW clones such as Pro Pain Pro Wrestling, better known as 3PW, owned by porns tar Jasmin St. Claire as well as Main Event Championship Wrestling, MECW, were the 2 other companies other than MLW that tried to capture the magic of the original Extreme brand. MECW didn't last long but 3PW made it all the way until 2004. MLW was in that mix but had a more polished approach.

MLW called itself "hybrid" wrestling. No, it wasn't a car that runs on battery power . It was a hybrid of various styles of wrestling. They call it "Fusion" now. In reality, it borrowed a lot... A WHOLE lot, from ECW. From the production quality, the commercials, to even the talent. Joey Styles called it. Frankly, what appealed to me to watch it was that it had Francine and Steve Corino on it. Both were big parts of why I kept watching ECW in its later days.

MLW didn't last long though and eventually their owner ended up writing for WWE.

MLW came back last year with some live events and here we are with them having TV yet again. This time, as I said, instead of it being "Underground TV" or "Hybrid Wrestling", they call it Fusion! It might be semantics but this time, it seems to hold more meaning.

And now, our Fusion review!

Fusion began with a video package. Then, we met our hosts, one of which being former WWE and, more famously, WCW announcing great Tony Schiavone! Tony is a bit older and his voice seems a tad more raspy than I recall. But, he still is Tony! And, he's great! Wait, that was another Tony... And a former WCW announcer did that voice... But, I'm way off topic.

Impact Champion Austin Aries defeated former ROH star ACH in a solid but seemingly too long of a match. I did enjoy ACH playing off Aries' known moves such as the Eddie Guerrero inspired lounging on the top turnbuckle.

Barrington Hughes defeated Chico Adams in a squash. Hughes is huge! I question how far he can go at his current weight as he really is a big boy. But, I enjoyed the persona and the squash match for what it was.

The main event was a solid match between Lucha Underground stars Pentagon Junior and Fenix. There were some problems with the match such as a general "who gives a thing" when it came to hyping the outside female who was described as being the business manager of both men. The match was great but what do you expect from these two incredibly gifted brothers?

The production of the show was OK. The ring mat is white and the ropes are white too. That made it a bit cosmetically painful to look at. Also, the hard cam was at the side of the ring. One thing Ring of Honor has learned is to make the hard cam opposite the entrance with the video screens and LED boards so you can't see the size of the arena as much. Plus, it adds an element of color. WWE doesn't have to worry about this because they are playing to thousands every show and Impact has a sound stage set up so it looks how it looks. But, our local Championship Wrestling from Arizona show tries to focus more on the enrance area than the audience and it makes it seem bigger than the venue is. Just my opinion.

Overall, the show was solid. It was a good wrestling show and showed that the company is back and no longer an ECW clone. It has its own identity. What audience it appeals to and tries to draw in remains to be seen. A whopping 3 of the 6 stars featured on the first episode are in Impact Wrestling's Redemption PPV main event this weekend! So, you would imagine the Impact audience would be interested in the MLW product.

Barrington Hughes