Mandy Leon def. Clara Carreras
Leon was a regular in Ring of Honor for many years up until the promotion closed its doors in late 2021 and she wasn't picked for the women's division when the brand was relaunched last year. I can't say I'm surprised because she's not very good. Now, she's a member of The Calling. Oh, joy. This served as a showcase for Leon, but it always looks like she's wrestling underwater. Please don't tell me she'll be the one to beat Delmi Exo the MLW World Women's Featherweight Championship.
Sam Adonis def. Mance Warner in a Leather Strap Match
I'm not the biggest fan of Strap matches, not to mention I feel like we've seen so many of them (or at least a variation of them) in various companies in recent years, but this was fun and well executed. Adonis and Warner had a nice dynamic together and they kept it interesting throughout. Adonis winning in fluky fashion keeps the feud alive, and as we found out from Warner later on in the show, their next encounter will be a "country whipping" match. I don't know if that's the official stipulation or just how he described it, but either way, I'm intrigued.
Taya Valkyrie Attacked MLW World Women's Featherweight Champion Delmi Exo
I thought we saw the last of Valkyrie in MLW when she lost the title to Exo two weeks ago, but apparently not. I'm convinced at this point she's not actually leaving the promotion. Hey, MLW would certainly benefit from having her around, but I'm also not opposed to Valkyrie doing the honors again for Exo if Valkyrie is indeed on her way out. This was a simple segment to establish that Valkyrie wants the belt back and to put heat on her. If a rematch is where we're headed, then it makes Exo's Winner Take All match with wXw Women's Champion Ava Everett at Never Say Never feel like a bit of an afterthought.
Alex Kane def. Shigehiro Irie
This was billed as The Big Apple Grapple II, which was basically an open challenge from Kane and it was accepted by Irie. I know nothing about Irie, but his Wikipedia page told me he's competed in DDT Pro-Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, so he's not a nobody. They had a well-worked match and the intent was to give Kane another win before he challenges Alexander Hammerstone for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship at Never Say Never next weekend. Speaking of Hammerstone, he emerged afterward for the first time in a while and the two briefly went back and forth on the mic, so that was good hype for their upcoming clash.
While not as newsworthy as the last few weeks of Fusion due to the lack of title changes, I still thought this was a solid show on the whole that did an effective job of building toward next weekend's Never Say Never event. We knew the top matches announced, but it looks like they've confirmed the full card and it has potential on paper. As for this episode, we got a new addition to the women's division, build for a Featherweight title rematch, hype for Hammerstone vs. Kane, and an enjoyable Strap match. Fusion finding its footing again has been encouraging to see as it's made these shows more worthwhile.