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Major League Wrestling is undergoing a resurgence and it has been building to their biggest show to date in New York City. The event took place on July 19, aired July 27 on beIN Sports, and came to their official YouTube channel the following day. The Battle Riot match is MLW’s version of the Royal Rumble and will feature 40 wrestlers entering at 60-second intervals. Eliminations can occur via pinfall, submission, or being thrown over the top rope. To up the chaos of it all, weapons are 100% legal. The winner receives a shot at the MLW Heavyweight Title anywhere, anytime (I assume this will work similarly to a Money In the Bank cash-in). So, let’s get on with it – it’s time for MLW Battle Riot!
Myron Reed vs Kotto Brazil
I’ve never seen Reed before and he delivers a pre-match in-the-box interview talking about bringing fire to MLW but he sounds like he’s about to fall asleep at any time. At this point, I’m not buying him as an exciting guy. I’ve seen Kotto in MLW exclusively and have enjoyed his work so far. Brazil catches Reed with a series of suicide dives to drive him into the steel railing but Reed responds with a ridiculous dive to the outside that flattens Brazil. Looked a little scary as he came down on Kotto’s head driving him into the (what appears to be) unprotected floor. Brazil leaps from the top rope for a splash and Reed gets his knees up, but Brazil stops himself short to catch the legs and lock on a modified Sharpshooter. Interesting counter that I don’t think I’ve seen before, or at least not very often. Reed attempts a 450 splash minutes later to which Brazil responds with knees of his own – Reed is unable to stop himself and feels the full force in his midsection. After being stopped in his tracks with a version of Mark Andrews’ Stun Dog Millionaire by Reed, Brazil rebounds off of the ropes to connect with Sliced Bread #2 for the victory. A fun match to kick off the show!
After the match we get words from Maxwell J Friedman and Joey Ryan as they prepare to face off to crown the first MLW Middleweight Champion followed by Konnan explaining why he has come out of retirement to enter Battle Riot and Team Filthy drawing their entrant numbers for the main event. Before heading back to in-ring action we get a short video promo for the MLW return of LA PARK.
MLW Middleweight Title Match: Maxwell J Friedman vs Joey Ryan
Before the match Joey Ryan hands his lollipop off to a ringside fan who is beside himself to receive what is probably the most coveted prize of the evening. MJF outwrestles Ryan early on in this match before the King of Sleaze is able to escape his wrist lock to wind up in a standoff. Ryan wants MJF to touch his dick (duh) but MJF will only do it if Ryan shakes his hand first. Ryan refuses and ducks a wild punch from Friedman before taking him down with a dropkick. MJF catches Ryan with a Flatliner from the outside in before resuming control with his mat-wrestling skills. After taking too long to jaw with the fans MJF is caught with a suplex before continuing the attack with a clothesline, shoulder block, and spinebuster. Ryan is favoring his left arm and having trouble retaining the advantage as MJF continues to target the limb. The two collide against the ropes causing Ryan to hit the mat back-first and MJF, after some wobbling, to fall head-first into Ryan’s junk. As things go, this revives Ryan whose bionic dong also does damage to MJF’s knee after an attempted inverted atomic drop. Ryan reaches into his trunks and retrieves his secret second lollipop which he crams into the mouth of Friedman. Friedman pulls the referee in front of himself to prevent Ryan’s superkick and follows up with a poke to the eyes and package shoulder breaker to score the pinfall. MJF becomes the first-ever MLW Middleweight Champion!
MJF runs down the crowd and the in-ring interviewer as he celebrates his victory. Friedman takes a shot at veterans of the sport who have helped him along the way by insinuating that he is already a star and has surpassed them. He ends by telling everybody that “it’s talent over tenure” before leaving the ring with the MLW Middleweight Championship. Tony Schiavone seemed wholly uncomfortable with Joey Ryan’s entire dick-based offense gimmick in an endearing way while Striker went heavy on the innuendos.
After the match Sami Callihan and his goon army draw numbers for Battle Riot before Swoggle does the same. We get a video recap of Salina de la Renta’s bounty on Shane Strickland which lead to Low Ki becoming the MLW Heavyweight Champion. We follow-up with a backstage interview with Salina and Low Ki, who I can’t believe is the Heavyweight Champion in a company in 2018. Salina does nothing for me as a manager – she doesn’t have a solid grasp on the microphone and she’s basically non-existent at ringside during matches where she just kind of watches everything silently instead of doing, you know, manager-y things at and around ringside. The interview here somewhat teases an uneasy relationship between Ki and Salina as we head into the Battle Riot match.
We’re off to the races and ready to find out who drew numbers one and two! One half of the MLW Tag Team Champions, Pentagon Jr, is out at number one. At number two? The other half of the MLW Tag Team Champions and Pentagon’s brother, Ray Fenix! These two waste no time getting into it and trading holds, pins, and kicks. They each go for high head kicks at the same time and take each other down with seconds left before the sixty seconds expires.
Out at number three is Brody King who quickly finds himself on the wrong end of a Lucha Bros double-team. Kenny Doane is out in Spirit Squad-inspired gear for a surprise at number four and things suddenly slow down as the numbers are even. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor is out at number five to raucous response from the New York City crowd. He avoids King’s swings and immediately locks him in a choke which causes the bounty hunter to pass out for the first Battle Riot elimination.
Lance Anoa’i is out at number six. Anoa’i is the son of Samu and grandson of Afa and finds himself, as most have, on the receiving end of Lucha Bros kicks as he enters this match. Rey Horus enters at number seven and finds success as he takes down Penta, Fenix, and Doane with kicks before being caught with a step-up enziguiri from Pentagon to stop him in his tracks. Doane and Fenix almost find themselves eliminated before Kevin Sullivan somehow, for some reason, finds his way to the ring at number eight. He attacks everybody in the ring with the golden spike before Lawlor chokes Sullivan out forcing a tap out before the next entrant can even make their way to the ring.
Fallah Bahh is out next at number nine and is by far the largest man in the match so far. Size be damned, Bahh shows his quickness and a bit of agility as he takes Horus down with a cross-body block. Swoggle is out next at number ten and is by far the smallest man in the match so far. Wisely he targets Bahh with a bite on the ass before delivering German suplexes to Doane, Fenix, Penta, and Horus. Anoa’i stops the momentum with a superkick to the side of the head.
Number eleven brings Headshrinker Samu to the ring. He stops short before headbutting his son and the two turn their attention to Bahh with a double headbutt. As Samu celebrates on the second rope Anoa’i pushes his father over the top rope and to the floor!
Fresh off of a solid performance in the Best of the Super Juniors is ACH at number twelve. He finds himself locking horns with Swoggle until Penta drops the smaller man with a thrust kick to the chest. Konnan is next at number thirteen as the ring is quickly beginning to fill up with bodies. He stands nose-to-nose with Horus in the center of the ring before taking the younger man down with a double-leg and tying him up ala SANADA. Lawlor sees an opening and launches an attack on Konnan but finds himself in the Tequila Sunrise for his efforts. ACH stops the hold which could turn out to be a mistake for him as the match goes on.
Barrington Hughes is out at number fourteen and is now the largest man in the ring. He goes belly-to-belly with Bahh as everybody else stops to watch the spectacle. Swoggle steps up to tangle with the two behemoths but finds himself choked out by Lawlor who nets himself a third elimination via tap out. Hughes and Bahh turn their attention to the other opponents in the match at this point.
Jimmy Yuta is out at number fifteen and targets the Lucha Bros who recently upended Yuta and Jason Cade to become the MLW Tag Team Champions. While Yuta begins his attack on the champions, Barrington Hughes pins both Lance Anoa’i and Kenny Doane for a pair of eliminations. The Lucha Bros turn their attention to Bahh and all three men find themselves toppling over the top rope to the floor for a trio of eliminations. Konnan has spent the last several minutes just watching everything and is caught by Hughes who pins him for his third elimination.
Number sixteen is Kotto Brazil making his second appearance of the night. Hughes continues to use his size to dominate as he splashes Horus in the corner before dropping Brazil with a single slap. Richard Holliday is out at number seventeen and I have literally never heard of this person in my entire life. He wisely avoids Hughes and lays into Yuta before the Caramel Colossus attacks him from behind.
The newly-minted member of Team Filthy, Fred Yehi, is out at number eighteen. He pancakes Brazil before hitting a back-to-belly sitdown piledriver followed by a shoulder breaker from Lawlor for a three count and elimination. Former partner of Jimmy Yuta, Jason Cade, is out at number nineteen and the two square off immediately. Cade seeks solace as he grabs onto the leg of Barrington Hughes who then becomes the target of everybody in the match. Horus charges at Hughes in an elimination attempt but is backdropped over the top rope and to the floor. The remaining men in the match rush toward Hughes and power him over the top rope – but he takes with him Yuta, Cade, Yehi, and Holliday to leave Tom Lawlor alone in the ring!
We hit the halfway point with Teddy Hart entering at number twenty. Teddy enters the ring and then steps onto the apron where he hits a springboard moonsault onto everybody on the floor eliminating himself from the match. Vandal Ortagun enters at twenty-one and does not immediately eliminate himself. Lawlor takes care of the problem by tapping Ortagun with the cross arm breaker seconds after entering the ring.
Lawlor stands awaiting number twenty-two who turns out to be Mikey Mondo reprising his Spirit Squad role. Mikey gets a single kick into Lawlor’s stomach as he blows a whistle the entire time. Lawlor catches him in a choke to tap him out and Mikey rolls out of the ring bowing his whistle the entire time.
And now shit gets real. Twenty-three is PCO who has had an absolutely insane career resurgence over the last several months. Lawlor’s expression changes, and rightfully so, as he sees PCO make his way to the ring. Lawlor can’t keep a submission on PCO and begins to ground and pound him as LA Smooth enters at twenty-four. The nephew of Sika lasts less than sixty seconds falling to a clothesline and pin via PCO.
Twenty-five is Simon Gotch who boosts the odds for Team Filthy to 2-to-1 against PCO. The Notorious 187 Homicide is out at twenty-six and launches straight into PCO as Team Filthy sit back and watches things unfold.
Davey Boy Smith Jr is out at twenty-seven and heads straight for Team Filthy who quickly overpower him. I haven’t seen him in a while but he looks a lot more trim than I remember him being. The crowd erupts at number twenty-eight as The Blue Meanie makes a surprise appearance. I can’t believe he, or anyone, still has access to bWo t-shirts. He tries to get Homicide to dance with him but finds himself thrown over the top rope and to the floor instead. On the other side of the ring Team Filthy eliminate PCO.
Michael Patrick of Colonel Robert Parker’s Dirty Blondes is out at number twenty-nine. He surveys the competition in the center of the ring before heading toward Davey Boy. Sami Callihan is out at number thirty and immediately hurls Homicide over the top rope for an elimination.
We kick off the final chunk of entrants as Sawyer Fulton enters at thirty-one to set both factions in the ring at 2 members a piece. He and Callihan try unsuccessfully to eliminate Davey Boy from the match as Shane Strickland enters at thirty-two. He takes Callihan down immediately and pummels him on the mat. Fulton catches Swerve from behind and holds him for Callihan to recover and kick him low. As the duo lay a beating on Strickland we countdown to number thirty-three – the final Death Machine Leon Scott. They’re now at full force as we enter the final stretch of the Riot and use their numbers to send Davey Boy Smith over the top rope and to the floor.
I’m now realizing that despite this being promoted as a no DQ, “weapons are allowed” match there have been zero weapons used.
Drago is out at number thirty-four and targets Callihan in the corner right away as he lays in a series of stomps before trying to eat Sami’s foot. Like, literally. Not a euphemism. Chewing on the toe of his boot. The other half of the Dirty Blondes, Leo Bryan, is out at thirty-five. They attempt to power Gotch out of the ring but he slithers his way back through the ropes and to safety. After coming up short for the MLW Middleweight Title earlier in the night, Joey Ryan enters the fray at thirty-six.
Ryan and Callihan clash right away and Ryan comes closer than anybody has so far to eliminating Callihan. Callihan lands on the elevated entrance ramp to save himself in a loophole as the ramp is not the arena floor. Ryan’s foe from earlier in the evening and the new MLW Middleweight Champion, MJF, enters at thirty-seven and reignites the fight with Ryan. Team Filthy set their sights on both men and send them crashing over the to rope and to the floor with a pair of clotheslines for another pair of eliminations.
The former Jack Swagger, Jake Hager, is out at thirty-eight to bring the Stud Stable numbers up to three briefly – Hager almost immediately eliminates Leon Scott before Fulton and Callihan work to try and eliminate Hager from the match. He survives as number thirty-nine, John Hennigan, enters the match. He speeds down the ramp and flies over the top rope straight into the chest of Sami Callihan. Trying to count the bodies in the ring there are about nine or ten until Hennigan tosses Michael Patrick over the top rope.
The final entrant into the match is Jimmy Havoc who comes to the ring with his arm wrapped up thanks to Tom Lawlor slicing him up with a pizza cutter last week on MLW Fusion. Somewhere in the madness Simon Gotch is eliminated off-camera by, I think, Hager before Havoc seconds Drago to the floor for his first elimination. Eight men now remain in the ring.
Shane Strickland gets to his feet and tosses Leo Bryan over the top rope and to the floor then follows up with an attack on Callihan in the center of the ring. Death Machine is now the only group in the match with multiple representatives, Hager and Lawlor now alone with their partners having been eliminated. The duo attempts to eliminate Hennigan from the ring but he’s able to tie Fulton up with a small package for a three count. Fulton lays Hennigan out with a clothesline before leaving the ring.
Everyone goes into panic mode attempting pins here, unsuccessfully, before Havoc charges Swerve leaning against the ropes. Strickland is able to sidestep and send Havoc over the top and to the floor to the displeasure of the crowd. Definitely seems like Havoc could have been utilized for longer here. Callihan tries to toss Strickland over the top and thinks he’s done it, but Shane is able to hang onto the top rope and pull himself onto the apron. He drags Callihan out with him and the two begin to battle on the narrow ring apron. Callihan punches Strickland on the dick before piledriving him on the apron for the elimination.
As Callihan rises to his feet on the apron, Lawlor surprises him from behind with the rear naked choke! Lawlor quickly puts Sami to sleep and lets his lifeless body drop to the arena floor to take him out of the match.
On the other side of the ring Hager pushes Hennigan over the top rope as he attempted a springboard off of the second rope. This leaves Hennigan and Lawlor as the final two!
Lawlor has been in since number five while Hager is much fresher having entered at number thirty-eight. Lawlor tries to choke Hager out with his legs over the top rope but is dragged back in and powerbombed for a two count. Hager lifts Lawlor up and looks to be ready to toss him over the top rope but Lawlor slides over his back and lifts Hager up for an attempt of his own. Both men find their way back into the ring before Lawlor connects with a release German suplex. After a series of strikes Lawlor brings Hager to his knees and lays in a set of kicks to the chest. Hager collapses to the mat and, as he begins to rise, Lawlor connects with a running kick for a two count.
Lawlor is able to slap on the rear naked choke that has awarded him so many eliminations tonight and Hager struggles to stay alive and break out of the hold. He drops to a knee in the center of the ring before rolling into an escape and an ankle lock on Lawlor. Lawlor flails around the ring looking for an escape of his own but Hager is persistent. Lawlor finds his way to the ropes a couple of times but, with no rope breaks in the match, they don’t stop the hold. Lawlor drags himself over the top rope as Hager holds onto the ankle and uses his leg strength to pull Hager over the top and to the floor! Hager hits hard on his chest as the bell sounds to crown Tom Lawlor the winner of the first-ever Battle Riot!
Matt Striker heads down to the ring to get a word with Lawlor on his victory who says he hopes to take the L in MLW and make it stand for Lawlor. He now has an open-ended shot at Low Ki and the MLW World Heavyweight Title at any time.
If you haven’t checked MLW out before, definitely give it a look. They put each episode of their weekly MLW Fusion show up on YouTube and it’s always a fun watch. Having abandoned all hope of finding joy in watching main roster WWE programming, MLW Fusion fills a nice pocket of time with an hour-long show each week that is at least good and sometimes great featuring names like Pentagon, Fenix, Sammy Guevara, Tom Lawlor, Jimmy Havoc, and MJF week to week. You can catch the entire Battle Riot show below but check out their YouTube channel for the entire series!