MLW Battle Riot II
April 5 2019
We’re in New York at the Melrose Ballroom. MLW got hugely overlooked Mania weekend because they didn’t stream live and instead taped stuff for their YouTube channel but they had a wealth of talent of the shows. Plus the live experience featured a mass of dark matches including Lucha Bros vs. Rey Horus & Air Wolf! Commentary comes from Rich Bocchini and Jim Cornette. This was actually on TV for BeIN Sports, which I had completely forgotten. It aired at the same time as NXT.
MLW Middleweight Championship
Teddy Hart (c) vs. Ace Austin
Teddy hasn’t brought his fucking cat with him so that’s an improvement over some of his other antics this weekend. Teddy has trouble focusing and ends up arguing with MJF at ringside. Ace Austin is a tremendous talent. He was one of the few people to come out of the Impact show with a memorable performance. Teddy doesn’t take any shit from him and finishes with a pair of Canadian Destroyers. This was fine but the rambling start hurt it.
Final Rating: **3/4
Post Match: Teddy goes to argue with MJF and friends again and MJF smashes a bottle over his head.
Myron Reed vs. Minoru Tanaka
This is another wild Mania weekend thing. Minoru Tanaka was in the country and only appeared for MLW. Even Muta showed up at New Japan as a surprise.
Cornette has some decent Japan background here but doesn’t seem to realise that Minoru is a veteran is well into his forties. I am continually upset that he’s four years older than me and in the condition he is. The match barely has time to get going when Minoru pulls a pin out of his ass and Myron is toast. Huh. That was…brisk.
Final Rating: **1/2
Backstage Sami Callihan gets mad at Salina de la Renta about her owing him money. While they’re arguing Mance Warner walks in and steals one of the numbers.
New York City Street Fight
MLW World Championship
Tom Lawlor (c) vs. Jimmy Havoc
This was taped the day before and shown on the screen during Battle Riot. While it was happening Lawlor wrestled Avalanche for a TV taping.
It’s weird hearing Jim Cornette put over Havoc, somebody he’s openly disparaged on Twitter, but he’s a professional. He knows how to get people over. I know people were thinking he was a bad signing for MLW but when it comes to commentary he will always try and get the product over. This match is all about new champion Lawlor showing how tough he is against a hardcore icon in Havoc. Poor Jimmy looks a little clumsy here and just commits to bumps despite not being in position for them. Havoc builds a stupid little fort with four chairs and a board so Lawlor powerbombs him through it. That should probably be the finish.
Havoc comes after Lawlor with a staple gun and Lawlor taps an artery on the bladejob. Cornette starts getting mad at how stupid the match is getting. Havoc wipes out the referee and then gets badly hurt by being dropped on some chairs. The injury put him out of future bookings.
Lawlor ends Havoc with a pair of knees to the face and the ring is a fucking mess.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Battle Riot II
#1 is MJF. If this was WWE that would mean he was in line for a big push.
#2 is Dan “The Beast” Severn. #3 is El Hijo de LA Park. The entrants are very quick. #4 is Air Wolf. #5 is Minoru Tanaka. This is a wild collection of talent already. Seeing Severn and Tanaka go toe to toe is pretty odd. #6 is Jordan Oliver. “Painfully thin but very fast”. Cornette really can’t help himself here but he’s not wrong. #7 is Rey Fenix. He’s wearing a hoodie for some reason. #8 is Pentagon Jr. I wonder if they had to get in and out fast to get to another booking? #9 is Avalanche. He’s paid off by MJF. #10 is Ace Romero.
As predicted both of the Lucha Bros go out quickly. Fenix probably going straight to the car to get it warmed up. They also wrestled for Blackcraft and the Penis Party the same night. I lose track of the entrants at this point because they’re so frequent but who cares right? The focus is on Avalanche going toe to toe with Acey Baby and I am here for that. Two big dudes charging at each other. We get through a lot of lesser guys, mostly MLW talent, before the arrival of Rey Horus spices things up again. Myron Reed makes a dramatic entrance; flying over the top rope into a Cutter. MJF is having a great match. He’s looking to pick the bones of everyone else’s high spots. He’s also a clear cut ironman. Everyone else from the start is long gone.
Big Barrington Hughes gets in there and he’s pals with Acey so you’ve got two huge guys teaming up. Barrington is 470lbs. It takes five guys to throw him out. He’ll probably go to Five Guys afterwards.
Acey Baby is still alive and murdering cruiserweights. Avalanche goes out while Yuta makes his entrance. He had a good showing. Hopefully the match with Lawlor gets him more exposure stateside. I’m glad he got the shot here ahead of other wXw guys. He’s put the time in. Jacob Fatu’s arrival completely changes the match. His buddies arrive through that crowd (Samiel and Gotch) and they destroy everyone. It makes Fatu look like a total badass. Security takes them out of the match before they can set fire to Brazil, Yuta and Horus. Yes, “set fire”; they brought a can of petrol with them. MJF jumps in there and pins everyone. I am chuckling.
The only survivors of this rampage are MJF and Romero. Brian Pillman Jr is next in and superkicks MJF out of the match. He lasted almost the entire match. Davey Boy Smith Jr is in next but LAX turn up and we have a tag team war! There’s a horrible bit where DBS is supposed to throw them both out and it’s just a mess. Ortiz ends up standing there looking confused. Next in is Low Ki and we’re getting into the business end. He’s followed by the chairman LA Park.
Another wXw guy is out here in Emil Sitoci. Called “Sitoochi” by Bocchini. Daga follows him and goes after Ki. There’s so many guys in this. I lost track of the entries pretty early but there’s so many. Blue Meanie shows up. I’m glad WrestlePro wasn’t the highlight of his weekend. Sami Callihan shows up with a baseball bat. He swings it like HHH swings his hammer. He murders Meanie and apparently WrestlePro was Meanie’s highlight of the weekend. Daga throws Ki out and somehow that’s barely touched on. The production has had issues here and missed some key stuff.
Richard Holliday is the last man in. His mate Alexander Hammerstone is still in there. A quick survey of the ring tells me LA Park, Sami Callihan, Lance Anoa’I, Davey Boy Smith Jr, Mance Warner and Ricky Martinez are still in there at the death. Not exactly the most star-studded of conclusions. You’d think MJF should have made it to the end. Or Low-Ki. The excess gets removed in short order with Hammerstone putting pay to DBS Jr.
FINAL FOUR: Sami Callihan, LA Park, Mance Warner and Alexander Hammerstone. It comes down to Sami vs. Park.
Park punches Sami out and we’re done. This was underwhelming. I love a delayed entry battle royal (or Royal Rumble if you’d rather) but this one was rote and uninspired. They managed a few interesting sequences but it resulted in them abandoning the entry times during the Contra angle. I honestly think it peaked with Avalanche and Acey smashing into each other and if everyone else had brought that same energy level this would have been better. Oh well, here’s a picture of Salina de la Renta.
Final Rating: ***1/4
I keep thinking that MLW is on the verge of being really special and it is, in flashes, but they keep shitting the bed on these big shows. They can’t deliver the big home run matches when they need to. This isn’t the disaster that Superfight was back in February but it’s far from ideal to have such low level big main event on Mania weekend. Credit to Tom Lawlor and Jimmy Havoc for killing each other and making that match feel like a big deal but the battle royal was patchy at best.