War is the theme of this week’s episode of MLW Fusion. The war between the Filthy Dojo and anyone doubting them, the war between Savio Vega and the Dynasty, and the war between CONTRA Unit and The New Hart Foundation. Everything in this episode was based on factions fighting for supremacy and some very personal betrayals or attacks being dealt with. Not only was Brian Pillman Jr there to capitalize on a title shot but also to avenge a fireball that blinded Teddy Hart. Savio Vega is trying to get at Gino Medina through The Dynasty. Let’s see who came out on top.

Dominic Garrini defeated Zenshi via Mighty Mouse

Lawlor was sure to get the fans in the right mood by taking to the mic to disrespect the Von Erichs and even defiled one of their T-shirts. The first match would be a proving ground for the effectiveness of the Filthy Dojo. Dominic Garrini is the first member of it and he would be prepared to destroy Zenshi to prove a point. Zenshi being a high-flying superstar, Garrini already didn’t like him so you could tell he was going to try to make him suffer. These two couldn’t have more different styles and that came into play as soon as the pair locked up. Garrini went for takedowns but Zenshi was fast enough to avoid or flip out of them. Garrini won a test of strength and started to lock Zenshi up, targeting the arms and back. Zenshi tried to escape with an arm drag but Garrini kept hold and barred the arm further then picked a leg. Zenshi escaped with a roll-up and flipped out of a German Suplex attempt. He knocked Garrini into the ropes and tried for a roll-up but only got two. The pair kept trading as Garrini would try to lock Zenshi up but Zenshi would end up escaping and flipping Garrini. Zenshi was able to knockdown Garrini and kicked him in the face with a dropkick. Zenshi kept punishing but tried for a standing Shooting Star Press that was caught into a triangle hold. Zenshi fought out but Garrini kept on attacking, throwing him into the ropes and stomping the arm and shoulder. The pair continued to trade with Zenshi sending Garrini over the ropes and following up with a very unique tope. Back in-ring, Garrini caught Zenshi out of a springboard and further stomped the arm. Medics were brought in to tend to Zenshi but Garrini was having none of it, hitting the Mighty Mouse German Suplex into an arm breaker and held on long after Zenshi tapped. After the match, he was interviewed about going too far, Lawlor spoke for him and said they did nothing wrong. From now on Team Filthy will show no mercy. We got a messy, sometimes stilted match but the intensity was there and Garrini looks like he has the makings of a monster villain in him.

Richard Holliday defeated Savio Vega via 2008

This match was preceded by a very amped up MJF giving an interview after drinking coffee for the first time. He and Hammerstone had all the scoops on Richard Holliday and his lawyer/father. They announced that there will be a Dynasty produced episode of Fusion next week. Gino Medina will be fighting Septimo Dragon. Holliday and MJF will fight The Von Erichs for the tag titles and Hammerstone will be facing Aerostar.

Caribbean champion Savio Vega was fighting the Airpod God because he wanted to get back at the Dynasty for attacking Konnan some weeks back. MJF was on commentary and excessively hyper. Holliday started strong but kept taunting Vega whenever he had the man down, Vega was not impressed. Holliday kept on the attack but Vega rebounded out of the corner and started throwing lariats. He knocked Holliday outside and started battering him around the ring. Holliday attacked Vega as he got back into the ring with a series of back elbows but Vega wouldn’t stay down and soon put Holliday back on his arse. Vega kept going with some shots in the corner and brutal kicks. Holliday retorted with a big boot and hit a surprise 2008 to win the match. It was over just like that. Unfortunately, this was a fairly plain match bolstered by MJF taking the piss on commentary. It was funny to see Richard Holliday claim the Caribbean Heavyweight Championship as his own after the match though. He’s getting his lawyer/father on the case.

MLW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Jacob Fatu (w/Josef Samael) defeated Brian Pillman Jr via Moonsault duo

Brian Pillman Jr has some bad luck before big matches don’t he? He was attacked by Injustice before his semi-final Opera Cup match and before his match tonight he was attacked by CONTRA’s death squad. Lucky for him, Davey Boy Smith Jr was there to prevent him from getting wiped out. Now he would have to face the real death machine of CONTRA if he wanted to hold the MLW Heavyweight title. He also had the Von Erichs and DBS out to protect him. Fatu instantly went on the attack after some jaw jacking with Pillman, avalanching him in the corner. He smacked Pillman around and tossed him around the ring like a ragdoll. Pillman attempted a sunset flip but Fatu held on for a seated senton. This missed and Pillman started laying kicks into the downed Fatu. He peppered Fatu with strikes and chops but was levelled by a receipt from the big Samoan. Fatu kept upping the ante with more and more strikes and a vicious revolving slam. He locked in a nerve hold on Pillman but Pillman escaped with a jawbreaker and hit a massive superkick. He tried to get Fatu off his feet and eventually succeeded with a flying crossbody. We got a picture in picture to see that the death squad was attacking DBS and the Von Erichs backstage. Pillman dropped Fatu with a springboard clothesline but couldn’t follow up from the top as Injustice members Kotto Brazil and Jordan Oliver got involved. Pillman dived on them as Samael distracted the ref. Myron Reed took advantage of the chaos and smashed Pillman in the face with his chest protector. Fatu went for a standing Moonsault but Pillman kicked out. Fatu connected with his top rope Moonsault but Samael demanded he hit another so he did, ensuring Pillman was dead. CONTRA retains because of Injustice, who’d have thought it? This match was a tad short but it delivered what it needed too. It seems Injustice is determined to be Davey Boy Smith Jr fodder after costing Pillman and CONTRA still have their secretive death squad to reveal. I doubt these tensions are over.

So, there you have it, MLW Fusion episode 96 reviewed for your reading pleasure. I wasn’t as high on this episode as I have been with others in the past. It felt stretched out with adverts for future shows and the matches themselves were pretty short. I’m glad Garrini gets the chance to show off more as a member of the Filthy Dojo. I love seeing Fatu in action and the Injustice interference has added another level of intrigue to CONTRA’s war with the Hart Foundation. Next week will be the Dynasty produced episode of Fusion, so I’m prepared for anything. It’s going to be a very rarefied episode.

All images courtesy of Basil Mahmud & Alex Hammerstone Twitter