MLW World Tag Team Champions Rickey Shane Page def. Jacob Fatu in a Weapons of Mass Destruction Match to Win the MLW National Openweight Championship
This is definitely a "me" problem because I consume so much damn wrestling, but man, hardcore matches are done to death across all over the major companies and especially the independent scene, to the point where a lot of them blend together for me and not a lot feels special. That said, this was a hell of a brawl to kick off the show. The stipulation fit the styles of Page and Fatu and there were some wild spots. I know outside interference was legal, but AKIRA getting involved still made for a lame finish. And just like that, The Calling has (almost) all the gold. Page is talented, but The Calling sucks and I wouldn't have taken the title off Fatu so soon.
Salina de la Renta Returned
This was part of a new talk show segment hosted by Microman's old manager. A notable return was rumored coming into this event, and for longtime MLW fans, this should be considered a notable return. She hasn't been in the MLW for as long as I've been following the product, but I've heard nothing but great things about her work and she should be an asset to MLW going forward. Didn't WWE have interest in her at one point a while ago? If so, what happened? Nonetheless, this was a nice segment to reintroduce her and establish her motivations for being back.
B3CCA def. Maki Itoh
It was the battle of the wannabe singers. Oh joy. B3CCA's singing is obviously awful on purpose, but I've never been a fan of Itoh's shtick, either. She's a fan favorite, so I'm simply in the minority on this one. Their match actually exceeded my expectations. It was logical for B3CCA to go over considering she's the regular in MLW, especially as she continues to work her way toward MLW World Women's Featherweight Championship contention. To give her credit, B3CCA's finisher looked quite cool.
Matt Cardona def. Mance Warner in a Kiss My Foot Match
This marked Cardona's MLW debut. He's appeared practically everywhere since leaving WWE three years ago, but him being in MLW feels fresh. Warner was a suitable first opponent for him as he's established and over with the MLW audience and can adapt to anything. I'm not a big fan of Kiss My Foot matches, but this was booked like a brawl similar to the opener and the crowd enjoyed it. Cardona winning made sense, but Warner didn't honor the stipulation and ended up stalling tall afterward, so the feud seems to be just beginning.
Ichiban def. "Hot Sauce" Tracy Williams
Ichiban is one of MLW's newest acquisitions. Personally, I haven't seen much of his work, but I thought he had a solid showing here and had a well-wrestled match with Williams. Then again, that should come as no surprise since Williams could work well with a broomstick. Williams loses nothing from this loss (I'm still not sure what his status is with MLW and whether he's only around temporarily or permanently) and Ichiban picks up a credibility-boosting win on a bigger stage.
Kushida def. Tony Deppen
Kushida is another name making the rounds right now with appearances in MLW, IMPACT, NJPW and even AEW earlier this year. We'll see if this was intended to be a one-off, but he's a perfect fit for MLW and there's plenty of fresh opponents for him to work with. Similar to Williams, Deppen consistently delivers in the ring and thus this was a really fun sprint. Deppen flipped off Kushida afterward instead of shaking his hand, so maybe we haven't seen the last of these two against each other.
MLW World Heavyweight Champion Alex Kane def. Willie Mack
Despite a lot of what we've gotten on Fusion since Never Say Never being outdated content, MLW did an excellent job of building up this bout through backstage promos and video packages. I didn't think Mack had a real chance of taking the title, but they had a top-notch main event, nonetheless. They got almost 20 minutes and I still thought they could kicked it up another gear, but Kane needs more time to settle into the world champion role. Post-match, he and Mack showed respect toward one another, so he continues to straddle the line between babyface and heel it seems.
These are basically pay-per-views for MLW even though they're free with a FITE subscription and are only around two hours. I'm not complaining, though, because it's such a refreshing chance of pace compared to the typical wrestling pay-per-view formula. It's a shame this happened on a busy wrestling-filled holiday weekend because the two hours were entertaining and worth watching. The in-ring action delivered, Salina de la Renta returned and it was announced Minoru Suzuki will be on their next live special in October. The weekly product could benefit from being more coherent, but the hype for Fury Road paid off as this was a good time.