MLW World Middleweight Champion Rocky Romero def. Ichiban in a 2-Out-of-3 Falls Match
Ichiban has been owed this opportunity for months, and he lost. That was somewhat surprising because I assumed they'd want to put the belt on the new signee on the rise, but perhaps he'll stay in chase mode for a little longer and get another opportunity at some point. Regardless, this was a fun opener and they made nice use of the stipulation. I'm glad there were no shenanigans from Romero's crew.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. def. MLW World Tag Team Champion 1 Called Manders by Referee Stoppage
Smith missed some time from the ring due to having emergency surgery a few months ago, but I'm glad he's back and he's still a member of The WTF. This bout had no build to my knowledge, but it was a solid, hard-hitting hoss fight and I liked how Smith won by referee stoppage to make him look more vicious, compete with Manders getting busted open. Will he end up getting the MW World Championship shot he was supposed to get back at Slaughterhouse?
Jacob Fatu def. Yuji Nagata
Nagata is coming off a great match with Bryan Danielson on last week's AEW Collision. As for Fatu, it was just reported on Friday that he's officially a free agent. I didn't think that was true when this started because it appeared to be business as usual, but then Fatu was laid out afterward by Mads Krugger and the returning CONTRA Unit. It was a pretty significant beatdown, and it was announced later on that they'll on one-on-one Fatu vs. Nagata was good, by the way.
Sami Callihan def. AKIRA in a Death Machine Rules Match
I feel like I see a Street Fight-esque match on every MLW show at this point, so this didn't feel special to me whatsoever. It was certainly hardcore, but at least the crowd enjoyed it more than I did. Post-match, The Calling was about to attack AKIRA before Raven, who was the head of The Calling (up until now, anyway), made the save for AKIRA. Uhm, okay. I assume they'll explain that, but it was definitely random.
Mistico def. Averno
Averno was backed by Salina de la Renta and the returning Cesar Duran introduced Mistico. It basically a battle of the promoters with their clients representing them. Neither Averno nor Mistico are MLW regulars, but I'd have no issue with either of them sticking around after this outing. In fact, it was announced immediately afterward that Mistico will challenge Romero for the MLW World Middleweight Championship at their February 29th event. This was a hell of a sprint and the crowd was into all of the action.
Satoshi Kojiama def. Alex Kane to Win the MLW World Heavyweight Championship
Kane has beaten a slew of high-profile opponents since becoming champion, so Kojima being the one to dethrone him was quite the shocker. People like Kojiama and the guy's a legend, but I'm not sure if that was the right call. If nothing else, he makes history as the first two-time MLW World Heavyweight Champion ever. This was a solid main event albeit unspectacular. The finish was abrupt and they didn't get much time, but the crowd was happy with the title change.
I legitimately MLW had an event tonight until after it was already over. That's probably because Fusion isn't airing at the moment and I'm not reminded of these things ahead of time like I normally would be. That aside, this was another thumbs-up live special from MLW. The title change in the main event came out of nowhere, but it was newsworthy, along with Duran and Krugger returning. The in-ring action was entertaining on the whole and they announced multiple matches for their upcoming events.