Welcome back to MLW and the first round of the Opera Cup™. Tonight, we’ll see the final matches of the first round as some true technical veterans and the master of TAIGASTYLE prepare to go to war for the historical tournament. We’d see Bobby Fish take on Lee Moriarty and TJP battle Alex Shelley. Alongside that, we’d see the monsters come out to play as the Heavyweight Hustle, Calvin Tankman tried to avoid American Top Team and Mads Krügger gets to murder a person or two as Cesar Duran has his eye on the Black Hand of CONTRA. Plus, we’ll have all the news, moments, and more as the episode rolls on, let’s get into the action.

MLW Opera Cup Round One: Bobby Fish defeated Lee Moriarty via Fish Hook

Up first tonight, we were getting treated to some TAIGASTYLE as Lee Moriarty took on one of the deadliest veterans in the game, Bobby Fish. We were in for a true technical masterpiece here as Fish has the most educated feet and Moriarty is a true technical innovator. They opened with cagey kicks and started a technical on the mat.  Fish got annoyed so he started throwing out strikes and kicks, getting cut off by multiple arm-drags and an armbar attempt. Fish tried to fight back so Moriarty took him for a ride with the Yahoo arm-drag. They slugged it out over the ropes and onto the apron where again, Moriarty got the better of Fish but couldn’t follow up as the ref cut him off. Fish took full advantage of the distraction and kicked out Moriarty’s legs, leading him to faceplant the apron. Fish now had his target and kept breaking Moriarty’s leg, slamming him into the railing for good measure. They kept striking it out in-ring, Moriarty finding some leeway and working his way back into the fight after being on the defensive. He swept Fish into the basement dropkick and Fish ran him into the buckles for more leg-work and a Dragon Screw. They both caught each other with unique clotheslines and Fish tried to lock on a Sleeper but kept getting run into the buckles. He landed a double stomp to Fish’s arm but it seemed to have little effect as Fish launched him into the ropes with an Exploder. The pair went back to the other’s injured limbs until Fish scored big with a Roundhouse kick and Saito. Fish got cocky and almost paid for it with a pin-trap but he was able to escape and fought off a Mousetrap Pin to trap Moriarty out with the Fish Hook. This had been a slow-burn, intense contest with Fish trying to show he’s still got it. It’s safe to say he succeeded at Moriarty’s expense.

Mads Krügger defeated Dr. Dax (w/Holidead) via Full-Nelson Facebuster

Cesar Duran was trying to dig into another fighter now as he planted seeds of doubt and avarice into the mind of Mads Krügger. The Black Hand of CONTRA had been the focal point in trying to keep Hammerstone down and that mission remained unchanged. However, Duran wanted to twist that into Krügger trying to win the gold for himself since Fatu was no longer champion. The monster made his way to the ring for a match with Holidead’s pet monster, Dr. Dax. This lasted 30 seconds as Krügger booted Dax, nailed him with a clothesline and corner splash, then sealed the deal with his devastating Facebuster. It was quick, efficient, and showed Krügger’s lethality off in mere seconds.

Mads Krügger defeated Budd Heavy via Full Nelson Facebuster

He wasn’t done there though. He delivered a chilling message to Hammerstone and spoke of there being no challenge for him. Budd Heavy, the local favourite interrupted proceedings, tired of hearing “Hail CONTRA” chants and brought a chair with him. He annoyed Krugger with that, ran into a boot, and got killed off with the Facebuster too. Krügger is unstoppable at the moment. But what does Cesar Duran want with him?

Between the matches:

  • Cesar Duran opened the show by setting an Openweight title ladder match for Fusion on Thanksgiving and was held to uphold a bargain by the new Caribbean Champion King Muertes. Duran wasn’t happy about it and demanded a sacrifice but Muertes was adamant. Duran presented him with a box and Muertes seemed in awe of it.
  • EJ Nduka was interviewed about why he was working with the Dynasty. Nduka opened up about training with and respecting Hammerstone and hinted at wanting a title match in return for his help.
  • Tankman was interviewed ahead of his match with Gino Medina about Mo and Kane. He claimed he needed no help and rejected the offer. Kane and Mo took offence and attacked, incapacitating Tankman and injuring his eye. The match was cancelled as Tankman was too injured to compete.
  • Los Parks took over the broadcast and gave the public some handy trick-or-treating tips since Halloween was right around the corner. They were talking about the joys of full-size candy bars and Halloween being for the kids when an adult in a Konnan Mask interrupted, earning himself a beating.

  • WARHORSE was announced for the company. The headbanging warrior of heavy metal is coming soon.
  • Willow Nightingale was interviewed about the Holidead attack. She had been left injured and called Duran there and then to get a match set up with Holidead.
  • 5150 want a shot at Los Parks and the MLW Tag Team Titles. They’d killed of Injustice and now they wanted the playmaker to make them a title match or he’d be the one sacrificed.
  • Josef Samael had added another man to the War Chamber. It would now be Samael, Jacob Fatu, Ikuro Kwon, Mads Krügger, and one of the Sentai Death Squad. Hammerstone would now need to find 2 more fighters for his team. Hammerstone was interviewed after the announcement and seemed unphased by the numbers. He and Holliday were challenging CONTRA to a tag match, though Holliday was having a hard time getting his words out as he was cosplaying the Invisible Man.
  • NZo was confirmed to be coming to MLW to beat the hell out of some people, sending a video from his office as he tape-studied.

MLW Opera Cup Round One: TJP defeated Alex Shelley via Leverage Pin

Last but not least, the main event. TJP has been outspoken about his skills and attitudes towards challengers. Now he was being challenged with one of the top-tier guys on the wrestling scene, Alex Shelley. This was going to be a match that could end in a heartbeat. Both guys know their stuff and weren’t going to hold back. It started with chain wrestling exchanges and Shelley stretched TJP out early, trying to get him to quit. He kept working limbs and TJP finally escaped to do the same to Shelley. TJP got cocky in the corner so Shelley got mean and trapped his hand for some arm-breaking elbows. Shelley kept trying to break the arm and TJP caught himself in the ropes to dive onto Shelley. TJP kept bullying Shelley in-ring and managed to keep him locked up and grounded. Shelley chopped back and lit TJP up with more hard strikes but once again, the ropes were TJP’s friend and he hit a Sunset Flip into a Muta Lock. He snapped Shelley’s arms and legs, then picked up the pace for a counter chain that saw Shelley drive him face-first into the buckles with a Flatliner. Shelley crushed him with a running knee and spiked him with a DDT. He followed up with a Frog Splash but only got two. They traded again and TJP cut off Shelley’s momentum with a dropkick to the already damaged knee. The slugs kept coming and TJP tried to shake off elbows to massacre Shelley’s legs with kicks but Shelley remained steadfast and knocked TJP loopy with a superkick. TJP countered Sliced Bread into a head kick and mauled Shelley with corner boots and scrapes. Shelley dodged the Mamba Splash and tried to wrap him in the Border City Stretch. TJP battled it and a Cross-Armbreaker off and Shelley fought off a Deathlock and STF to finally tie in the Border City Stretch. TJP rolled over and grabbed the ropes to take the win with a leverage pin. He had just stolen a win over one of the biggest stars in the Cup. Everyone was pissed, especially Shelley. The match was an enjoyable watch with both guys applying their brand of limb targeting for maximum effect and continually keeping everyone on the edge of their seat. Hopefully, we’ll see Calvin Tankman beat the hell out of him in his semi-final fight. If he can shake off that Kane and Mo assault.

All images courtesy of MLW, Video courtesy of MLW YouTube

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