[TV Recap] ‘MLW Fusion #44’ – An Extreme Reunion, The Lucha Bros Make a Decision

Venue: The 2300 Arena (Philadelphia, PA)
Commentators: Matt Striker & Rich Bocchini

This week on MLW Fusion Tommy Dreamer and a mystery partner take on Brian Pillman Jr. and HIS mystery partner in the main event. Also on the show The Lucha Bros make their decision on their MLW future, Gringo Loco takes on Puma King, and much more! I’m going into this one cold but I’ve heard a lot of good about MLW so I’m excited to give this a shot.

Champion Roll-Call

  • MLW World Heavyweight Champion: ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor
  • MLW World Middleweight Champion: Teddy Hart
  • MLW World Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Teddy Hart & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)

The Lineup

  • DJZ vs. Myron Reed (**)
  • Gringo Loco vs. Puma King (**1/4)
  • Tommy Dreamer & ??? vs. Brian Pillman Jr. & ??? (**)


The opening video covers last week’s live MLW Superfight event which led to the crowning of new Tag Team Champions (The Hart Foundation) and a new World Heavyweight Champion (Tom Lawlor). The rest of the event was not televised and is being parsed out for MLW Fusion episodes, starting this week.

DJZ vs. Myron Reed

Middleweight action to open the show. DJZ embracing his almost full-on Daft Punk at this point, and I approve. I’m glad this dude is still around, I liked his work as Zema Ion in TNA.

Reed shoves DJZ from behind and hides in the ropes to avoid repercussion. DJZ flips over Reed and connects with a dropkick followed by a jawbreaker and springboard back elbow. Reed bails to the floor, DJZ launches THROUGH the top and middle buckles to splash him. Nice. Back in the ring Reed counters a springboard moonsault with a pair of knees and follows it up with a plancha out to the floor. I like the pads MLW put under the ring posts to prevent the ring from sliding around on the 2300 floor. That wasn’t necessary to bring up but whatever, it happened. DJZ kicks out of a pinfall attempt, Reed goes into wear-down mode with a rear chinlock. DJZ flips out of a suplex attempt and connects with a shoulderblock off a criss cross. DJZ connects with a stun gun followed by a neckbreaker. Reed catches a charging DJZ with a kick and counters a suplex with a cutter followed by a springboard cutter for the 1…2…DJZ kicks out. Both men find themselves on the buckles, Reed kicks him off and goes for a springboard senton but DJZ counters him on the way down with a sit-out power bomb for the 1…2…NOPE. Reed counters the ZDT, DJZ with an O’Connor Roll but Reed reverses it and grabs the tights for the 1…2…3!

Myron Reed defeated DJZ via pinfall with an O’Connor Roll (6:26)

  • Solid opening match. DJZ has barely lost a step despite his injuries, and Reed made a good first impression on me. Nothing too showy here, just some good wrestling with a few highspots thrown in for flavor. (**)

-A taped ‘H2’ segment plays where Teddy Hart and Brian Pillman Jr. answer random questions from Twitter. It’s entertaining enough, I guess.

Gringo Loco vs. Puma King

Lots o’ back and forth lucha libre-style moves to start, ending in a stalemate. King kicks the hamstring, sending Loco to the mat, then does a little flossing because that’s what the kids are into these days. In my day we did cocaine, but whatever. Loco does a couple of flips and gets confused but gets his bearings together long enough for a rana to the floor. King responds with one of his own, followed by a springboard plancha to the floor. Loco tries a rolling whatever and gets kicked in the hamstring and King follows up with a superkick that sends the gum in Loco’s mouth flying. Or his tooth. Either or. King dodges a clothesline and rolls to the floor, Loco flattens him with a split-second flying senton. Nice. Loco with a standing moonsault followed by a corkscrew elbow for the 1…2…King kicks out. King hits a flying codebreaker into a roll-up for the 1…2…Loco isn’t out of this one yet. King tries something from the buckles but slips off so they appear to improvise and Loco hits a springboard cutter for the 1…2…nah. King with a sunset bomb but Loco kicks out once more, frustrating the man cat. Loco crotches King on the top buckle and puts him in a tree of woe. King escapes and brings Loco to the mat with a headscissors. Both men jockey for position on the buckles, Loco hits a Spanish Fly for the 1…2…3.

Gringo Loco defeated Puma King via pinfall with the Spanish Fly (7:37)

  • Had its hiccups but an entertaining lucha-style match regardless. Some fun spots, and Puma King is a big hit with the girlfriend so that’s a good sign since she usually doesn’t care what’s happening on the screen. (**1/4)

-Video hypes MLW’s next live TV event, Intimidation Games, coming March 2nd from Chicago.

Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) cuts a backstage promo on Teddy Hart, saying he doesn’t understand why anyone cares about his redemption arc since he’s the one who put himself down in the hole in the first place (good point). MJF gives us a moment to “thank him” for being the good role model Teddy Hart could never be, then vows to win back his Middleweight Championship next week. Sounds good to me. I saw this guy for the first time at All In and was instantly won over. Dude is a natural heel.

-Cut to a video from earlier today featuring Tommy Dreamer. Dreamer says Brian Pillman Jr. is everything he hates about people today, with the social media and whatnot. PLEASE DON’T SAY MILLENNIAL. Dreamer says tonight will be Christmas for everyone when he reveals his partner tonight.

-Hype video for the MLW return of Jimmy Havoc, England’s Most Dangerous Man.

Brian Pillman Jr. makes his way out for the main event along with his Rookie of the Year trophy. Pillman throws shade at the former ECW Arena, saying he won’t be teaming with some former ‘ECW junkie’. Pillman screams and laughs a bunch, then introduces his partner: Davey Boy Smith Jr., his Hart Foundation stablemate. Oh, alright.

Tommy Dreamer is out next. His mystery partner is revealed to be…ECW legend THE SANDMAN. Sandman is full-on crazy grandpa and I love it. He’s even got the ‘Enter Sandman’ theme. Sorta. I think it’s an instrumental, but the crowd knows the words because it’s goddamn Philly so it doesn’t matter. Crowd LOVES this and honestly, I do too. I’ll always be excited to see The Sandman do his entrance. Teddy Hart and his cat Mr. Velvet are at ringside for this one, and even he’s a Sandman mark despite being part of The Hart Foundation. Sandman feeds the folks beer and spits it at other crowd members, including a lady who looks REAL MAD about it. Oh damn Smith’s chest is still BRIGHT RED from his earlier match against The Lucha Bros that aired live on Superfight last week.

No Holds Barred
Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman vs. Brian Pillman Jr. & Davey Boy Smith Jr.

Sandman spits beer in Smith’s eyes and there’s no bell but whatever IT’S ON. Action immediately moves to the floor and Dreamer gives the Hart Foundation a double noggin knocker. Dreamer rolls Pillman in and he and Sandman hit a double back elbow followed by a double elbowdrop. Sandman chops Pillman and sells it more than the one taking the hit. Dreamer tags in and Smith kicks him from behind to turn the tide for the Hart Foundation. This brawl became a normal tag team match real quick. Pillman connects with a Side Russsian Legsweep then tags in Smith who slaps on a chinlock. Dreamer escapes, Smith kicks him and connects with a delayed vertical suplex. Like father, like son. Pillman continues the attack as Sandman tries to motivate his partner by calling him a fat piece of sh*t. In an endearing way though, don’t worry. Dreamer counters a backdrop attempt from Smith into a DDT. Sandman gets the hot tag and hits the now-legal Pillman with a White Russian Legsweep, which hurts Sandman a little more than even he thought it would. He covers, Smith breaks the count, Dreamer catches Smith in the ring with an RKO(?!?). Sandman grabs a Singapore Cane and stalks Pillman on the floor, Dreamer joining in as well. Pillman throws all manner of plunder from under the ring to try and slow Sandman down, while Dreamer sets up a pair of chairs insde the ring. Pillman then pulls out a guy from under the ring, revealed to be THE BLUE MEANIE of all people. Meanie belts Pillman with a right, Sandman cracks him in the back with the Singapore Cane. WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Dreamer goes for a Spicolli Driver on Smith, Pillman hits him with the Singapore Cane and the Foundation put him through the two chairs with a power bomb for the 1…2…3.

Brian Pillman Jr. & Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman (8:02)

  • Honestly I expected a much crazier match than this, given all the factors involved (the Dreamer/Pillman blood feud, being in the ECW Arena, The Sandman being there, etc) but honestly it was just a simple tag team match with a couple of weapons thrown in for good measure. I’m a little disappointed, but that’s mostly on me and having expectations that were probably unrealistic. Despite that though I enjoyed this whole thing for what it was, from Sandman’s FULL entrance to The Blue Meanie showing up because hey why the hell not. It hit the right nostalgia points without it being overbearing. I just wish the match itself was a little better. (**)

The Hart Foundation leave, allowing Dreamer and Sandman to get a standing ovation from the 2300 Arena crowd.

-Teddy Hart/MJF for the Middleweight Title is made official for next week.

The Lucha Bros and Konnan are here via satellite. Fenix says they are here to take on the world because they are the best tag team on the planet. Pentagon Jr. speaks his part in Spanish but it’s subtitled: they will be in Chicago for Intimidation Games for an open challenge. Looks like they are staying.

-We catch up with new World Champ ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor leaving a strip club at 8 in the morning. Ew, dude. Lawlor says he and his belt have had an all-nighter because the work is never done when you’re Filthy Tom. Alright then.


Overall Thoughts: A brisk episode of Fusion this week with some good in-ring action and a healthy dose of ECW nostalgia just in case the past 15 years of it weren’t enough. Eh who am I kidding, I was all about that Sandman appearance. I’m interested enough to see this through though for the time being, and I’ll be adding it to the rotation on this site going forward. MLW is doing some interesting things, which feels like a breath of fresh air when you consider WWE has very much not lately.

  • Match of the Night: Gringo Loco vs. Puma King
  • Moment of the Night: The Sandman makes his full entrance, to (an instrumental version of) ‘Enter Sandman’ and everything. Bonus points because of that super mad lady he spit beer on.



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