Today’s episode marked the return of a tournament that was last seen 71 years ago, The Opera Cup. A tournament held in opera houses that often led to big things for those who won it. Now it was back, being hosted by MLW and featuring some of the companies best. Eight competitors would attempt to take the cup and today we see the first 2 opening matches, as well as King Mo taking part in in-ring action once again. Let’s get into it, shall we?

King Mo & ACH defeated Injustice (Kotto Brazil & Jordan Oliver) via Heel Hook

MLW Fusion was supposed to start with a King Mo singles match but, instead, the camera cut to Injustice in the ring holding MLW hostage. They refused to let anything happen since they had no Opera Cup matches or opportunities. King Mo came out and looked set to fight them all for having the audacity to hold him up when a familiar star made his return to the company, ACH! He teamed with Mo to kick Injustice’s ass. Well, he would have had Myron Reed not interfered giving Kotto Brazil and Jordan Oliver the chance to cut his momentum and work him over. He had destroyed the pair until they used him as a personal kicking bag. He eventually made the hot tag to King Mo and the pair returned to destroying the Injustice duo. Mo demolished further and ended the match with his Gutwrench Bomb/Heel Hook combo. It was a fun opener and it was great to see ACH back in a ring, even if we know it’s probably temporary.

Keeping up with The Dynasty

Next, we cut to a bar where Alexander Hammerstone and Richard Holliday are enjoying some time together. They have coffees, much to Hammerstone’s dismay and discuss Grogan bullying orphans when MJF appears to bring about the Hanukkah/Christmas gift train. He surprised Richard Holliday with a giant pair of airpods, custom made and not even on the market. This brought Holliday to tears and he regretfully presented his gift, Max mini… an understudy in a Burberry scarf. MJF hated the gift and he was quickly shooed away.

Timothy Thatcher defeated Richard Holliday via Fujiwara Armbar

Okay, hats off to both men here. I gained a newfound respect for Richard Holliday for stepping up here. No airpods, no backup, he just tried to fight. He actually gave Thatcher one hell of a fight here. Holliday picked his moments and his reversals well, oftentimes meaning he gained an advantage over Thatcher. The pair spent most of the match trading but Thatcher was caught out twice by the 2008, one of which was from the second rope. There were multiple moments I believed Holliday had bested Thatcher be it through power, strikes or roll-ups. Thatcher was Thatcher, methodical, powerful and scientific. He locked Holliday up in a whole series of submissions and holds that nearly gave him the edge on multiple occasions. The pair put on a surprisingly strong masterclass of technical wrestling with Holliday eventually tapping to a Fujiwara Armbar from Thatcher. I think, despite his loss here, the Airpod god actually proved something. He can wrestle and wrestle well. There was a degree of heart on show and, honestly, he put up a way better fight than I was expecting.

The camera cut backstage to Alicia Atout trying to have a word with Salina de la Renta. The manager of Promociones Dorado wanted nothing to do with her and at the first excuse decided to go try to court Gino Medina instead. To continue the trend of action away from the ring, it cut to the Von Erichs talking with their Dad, Kevin Von Erich about Tom Lawlor’s betrayal. We also learnt CONTRA is recruiting and Ikuro Kwon has been sent to Japan on a recruiting mission.

Brian Pillman Jr defeated TJP via Dire Promises

Our next tournament match and episode main-event is a battle between a returning TJP and the Mighty Mullet of the new Hart Foundation, Brian Pillman Jr. It was innovator vs wildcard in a match to secure a beatdown by Thatcher in the second round. Once again, it was an excellent match with TJP reminding me he wasn’t always a dull competitor. He had a whole arsenal of holds, submissions and powerful combinations to use on Pillman. He had Pillman on the ropes multiple times and in fact reaching for the ropes several times. It was a match of technical excellence and Pillman having to be smart to deal with the problems TJP was producing. It became even harder for Pillman when TJP took out one of his arms. However, this did not stop him rocking TJP and managing to kick out or escape the awful things TJP was doing to him. In particular, he was able to kick out of a Superplex/Brainbuster combo and escape the TJP Clutch. He worked his way back into the match and finished TJP with the Dire Promises, a cross-armed Swinging Neckbreaker and won his way to the second round. I’m proud of you, Pillman.

So, there you have it, another episode of MLW Fusion reviewed for your reading pleasure. It was a strong episode with 3 cool matches and a nice balance on story. We’re getting another Havoc/Warner match soon where neither man can see, Salina de la Renta and Konnan are after Gino Medina, and the Von Erichs are looking to settle their score with Tom Lawlor and CONTRA Unit. Next week, we’ll get more tournament action too. Oh, and did I mention that the #StrongHearts are coming for CONTRA Unit? Well CIMA, El Lindaman and Shigehiro Irie are coming to MLW with CONTRA in their sights.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdGwrdpLHaI]

Images courtesy of MLW Twitter, Alicia Atout Twitter, mlw.com  Video courtesy of MLW YouTube