Welcome back to MLW. This week’s Anthology shows us the first international champion in MLW. Satoshi Kojima came into the company in 2002, became instantly popular, and took the MLW Heavyweight Title around the world. This episode focused on Kojima winning the first-ever title match and then defending it against a massive foe from AJPW. We’ll also get an update from Pulp Fusion and The MLW Roll Call that has massive repercussions for the company.
MLW Heavyweight Title Fight: Satoshi Kojima defeated Jerry Lynn via Lariato
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) June 7, 2020
The first match in the anthology was the match that would see Satoshi Kojima be crowned the first-ever MLW World Heavyweight Champion. It was no easy feat though as he had to beat the Whole F’N Show Jerry Lynn to do so. The pair started with a fast exchange of technical holds that finally ended when Lynn was able to lock in a cross arm breaker on Kojima. The pair went for another exchange, running the ropes and trying to hit grounded leg or elbow drops. Lynn failed to connect so Kojima rolled over him with a Senton. Kojima kept up the pressure with a chin lock and STF, keeping Lynn grounded. Lynn was given no time to breathe as Kojima rained down stomps and chopped him half to death in the corner. Kojima took too much time to play to the crowd and quickly found himself being chopped in the corner by Lynn. It didn’t seem to have any effect though as Lynn was quickly slammed into the mat with a side slam and hit with multiple elbow drops. Lynn refused to stay down so he got hit with more chops and punches followed by a Vertical Suplex. He got a chance to escape by dodging Kojima’s second rope elbow drop and used the chance to attack with a series of strikes, chops, and clotheslines. However, he couldn’t knock Kojima down with lariats so he took him down with an Inverted DDT instead. He tried to whip Kojima into the corner but that was reversed and Kojima made him pay with a corner lariat. He threw him into the other corner and clubbed him with a forearm then threw him to the mat for a Bakayaro elbow drop. Lynn ducked a lariat and dropped Kojima on his head with a German Suplex. When Kojima kicked out, Lynn threw him into the corner for a Tornado DDT. Lynn tried for the Cradle Piledriver but Kojima sent him running into the ropes and caught him with a Spinebuster. Lynn was able to get back to his feet and nearly KO’ed Kojima with a TKO. Kojima reversed the Piledriver into a Back-Body Drop and spiked Lynn with a Michinoku Driver. He called for the Lariat and nearly took a stunned Lynn’s head off with it. Kojima beat Lynn and became the first MLW World Heavyweight Champion in front of a rabid New York crowd. It was by no means the flashiest match ever but it had a ton of impact and drama. It felt like a title fight and really showcased how popular both men were.
MLW Heavyweight Title Fight: Satoshi Kojima defeated Johnny Smith via Lariato
— Major League Wrestling (@MLW) June 7, 2020
The second full match of the show would be what some would consider Kojima’s toughest title defence. He took his title back to Japan and ended up facing the British Bruiser Johnny Smith in All Japan Pro Wrestling. After a punishing fight with Vampiro (that we got highlights of) that became more of a brawl than a wrestling match, Kojima knew that Smith would be his next challenger. The pair met in the ring and neither man had an advantage with the crowd as both were cheered. The pair locked up with a collar and elbow tie-up then it cut to an ad break. When we came back both men were on the floor and the camera following as Kojima struggled to his feet. Kojima slammed Smith into the turnbuckle and hit him with a barrage of chops and a running forearm. He followed up with a Bakayaro elbow drop to Smith’s midsection and continued the assault with a Russian leg sweep. Smith ducked a lariat attempt from Kojima and floored him with a lariat of his own. Smith stalked Kojima to his feet and tried for another lariat but Kojima caught it into the Koji Cutter. Smith wouldn’t stay down so Kojima hit him with a Michinoku Driver but Smith gave a roar of defiance and instantly got back up. This took Kojima by surprise and left him open to being hit by a Death Valley Driver. He continued with a sit-out powerbomb but it still wasn’t enough to keep Kojima down. A bridging German Suplex later and Kojima was still kicking out at 2. Smith tried for a second but Kojima broke free and hit Smith with a clothesline. Smith was able to rebound and countered Kojima into British Falls, his finisher, but it still wasn’t enough. Smith tried for a second but Kojima reversed it into a Northern Lights Suplex. Kojima removed his elbow pad and ran for a lariat but Smith caught him into a backslide. Smith also tried for a lariat but Kojima blocked it and nearly beheaded Smith with a receipt for the three-count. It was a snap finish that saw Kojima use his toughest and quickest finisher to put away a more than game opponent. Once again Kojima’s strong style paired with Smith’s grappling made for an excellent bout.
Pulp Fusion/Roll Call Update
The last part of the episode was the roll call/Pulp Fusion segment. This week we got to finally learn the identity of Injustice’s new member, the Child of the 8th Day, Saieve Al Sabah. Al Sabah made waves in the company in 2017 and is now back to aid Injustice in their quest for revenge against CONTRA Unit and to once again make waves in one of the most competitive companies in the world. Things just got a hell of a lot hotter for Injustice and whatever division Al Sabah decides to stake a claim in. Alongside that we got Gino Medina trying to maintain distance and look after himself, The Von Erichs training for war with Team Filthy, Mance Warner trying to work on his triple tier cage of doom, Tom Lawlor outlining a conspiracy against him by the Von Erichs, Richard Holliday explaining why he shaved off his moustache due to excessive female interest, Los Parks issuing a warning against CONTRA for attacking their father and Alex Hammerstone revealing a new limited-time shirt after playing a rendition of the National Anthem on his guitar. Things are heating up for the CONTRA resistance so I cannot wait to see what happens during next week’s Anthology on the Lucha Bros.
All images courtesy of MLW Twitter. Videos courtesy of MLW Youtube