MLW Intimidation Games
Saturday, March 2nd, 2019
*Pentagon Jr. and Fenix over Taurus and Laredo Kid
*Tom Lawlor over Low Ki in a steel cage match to retain the MLW title
–They announced the show was sold out at the start of the show.
–The biggest news coming out of the show was the addition of Jim Cornette to the MLW commentary booth and joined Rich Bocchini for the live special. Cornette was very strong on the show, inserted historical notes about Chicago’s history, adapted to the different style presented in the tag match and did a solid job promoting the main event and Tom Lawlor’s mixed martial arts background. Cornette is a great addition, knows his strengths and when it’s a match like a tag match that is heavy on moves, he didn’t try to react to all of it but explained the larger story being played out. If you saw his work at the NWA’s anniversary card last October, it wouldn’t be a surprise that he adapted his taste and approach to the product in front of him and making it feel like the most important show going on.
-The opening tag was a hot match with Pentagon and Fenix defeating Taurus and Laredo Kid after Fenix landed a double foot stomp into a package piledriver by Pentagon onto Laredo Kid. Fenix proceeded to land a somersault dive through the ropes and landed in the crowd. There was a double submission as Fenix applied a Rings of Saturn and Pentagon applied a Lion Tamer with all four interlocked. There was one noticeable flub when Fenix was late coming off the top for a save forcing Pentagon to kick out and Fenix dived off anyway seconds after the kick out. The audience was hot for the match and threw money into the ring after it was over. Taurus and Laredo Kid got over strong in their MLW debut.
-This had to be the first time Pentagon and Fenix were involved in a match where Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt were brought up on commentary as Cornette referenced their Wrigley Field match from 1911 in the same city.
-Fenix either forgot he was on live television or didn’t care when he landed a springboard moonsault and looked at the camera proclaiming themselves “the best team on the fucking planet”. Oops.
-Teddy Hart and Brian Pillman Jr. announced they were invoking the Freebird rule, so any two members of the Hart Foundation can defend the MLW tag titles, including Davey Boy Smith, Jr.
-MJF cut a promo with Richard Holliday and are calling themselves “The Dynasty”. MJF is among the best deliveries in the industry. In a climate where strong promos are few and far between, he is already among the best.
-During the promotional of Battle Riot II for Friday, April 5th, they announced Davey Boy Smith Jr., Pentagon Jr., and Minoru Tanaka for the 40-man battle royal match.
-The main event was a rematch with Tom Lawlor defeating Low Ki in a steel cage match to retain the MLW title. The match was building well, and I felt the call of the match added a lot of drama and importance. Lawlor was placed into the tree of woe and Low Ki teased a foot stomp from the top, but Lawlor shook the cage to knock him off balance. The match climaxed with both hanging from the side of the cage with the first one to touch the floor winning. I felt this portion went too long and there was no explanation why either guy didn’t just jump for the floor to win the title, instead, they hung on and absorbed strikes from each other even when they were caught in the cage. The match was a good main event but did not hit the level of the tag match.
-The big angle at the end of the show featured Simon Gotch and the debuting Jacob Fatu and Josef Samael crashing the show and attacking Lawlor after the match. They beat him down inside the ring and Fatu hit a splash off the top of the cage. Bocchini and Cornette didn’t know the identities of Fatu and Samael. They placed a flag on top of Lawlor that read “Contra” and appears to be the name of the group. This was so clever because throughout the night, they had quick shots of a Contra logo that appeared on the screen for a few seconds and disappeared and you got the explanation and payoff at the end of the show, it was really well-done when you reward your viewers for picking up on little things and there’s a larger reason for it.
-The crowd seemed great and energetic for the full hour as Chicago seems to be the promotion’s hottest market. It was a fast-moving special, although they will expand and do a two-hour special on April 5th from New York. The angle at the end of the show was executed effectively.