It’s MLW time once again. This week was the next semi-final of the Opera Cup meaning we’d get to see the ultimate clash of styles as “Flying” Brian Pillman Jr took on Catch King Timothy Thatcher. Alongside that we would see the continuing courtship of Gino Medina as Promociones Dorado and Konnan were looking to scout him and the continuing blood feud between The Von Erichs and Filthy Tom Lawlor. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Starting with an Attack

The show opened with footage of Injustice attacking Brian Pillman Jr as he made his way to a VIP meet & greet. The video in question had been taken by a fan who had tried to accost Pillman for a selfie. Instead he witnessed a three on one attack that left Pillman clutching his arm. Alicia Atout commented on the situation stating at the that time, Pillman had suffered a shoulder separation.

The Von Erichs (Ross & Marshal Von Erich) defeated the Filthy Squad (Kenn Doan & Mickey Mondo) via Iron Claw Back Drop

The first match of the show was the tag team challenge between Team Filthy and the Von Erichs. The re-branded Spirit Squad would be representing Von Erich enemy number one and trying to rub further salt in the wounds of the betrayed Von Erichs. The match started quick with the Von Erichs getting the upper hand until Mondo interfered by grabbing Marshal’s leg. This slowed the match and gave the Filthy Squad the chance to work over the damaged knee of Marshall. He got the tag in to Ross, who made quick work of the Filthy Squad by setting up an assisted Iron Claw Backdrop Suplex with Marshall for a three count. It was a quick match clearly aimed to showcase the failings of the Filthy Dojo and its choice of candidates. It wasn’t anything special but it’s always funny seeing the Spirit Squad get beaten up. We even saw “Rip” Von Erich get involved after the match to share in the beatdown. It was a riot to watch. Lawlor would get revenge by attacking the Von Erichs with a pipe during an interview later in the show.

After that, the camera cut to a video from Injustice. They were backstage under a black and white filter mocking Court Bauer and the rules of the company. They reasoned that now Pillman was out of the tournament, one of them would have to be entered in since they were the alternates.

Gino Medina Negotiations got Ugly

Konna plus a live mic equalled some truth bombs. He wanted to court Medina and decided that hard truth might just be the way to do it. Konnan warmed up the crowd then once Medina was in the ring, he reminisced about the past and how Medina reminded him of Los Gringos Locos. Medina accepted the compliment but it made no change to his decision. Sensing this, Konnan attacked Salina De La Renta. Upon hearing her name and insults about her reputation, she made her way to the ring. She instantly went on the attack but Konnan kept his mic hot, calling her a bitch and stating he was still atop boss. As the pair argued, The Dynasty made their entrance to get a piece of this potential business pie. They too came to make him an offer to join them. MJF opened proceedings by stating why the Dynasty are the top guys and how he could be like them. Gino stalled in thinking and originally shook Konnan’s hand, making it look as though he had signed with him. Instead he, and the Dynasty laid the boots in on Konnan. Salina bailed and Gino Medina joined the Dynasty. Enjoy that rarefied air, Gino.

Brian Pillman Jr defeated Timothy Thatcher via Roll Up

Injury be damned, Brian Pillman Jr was going to fight Timothy Thatcher. He had earned his semi-final spot and he was not going to let Injustice cost him it. His New Hart Family member was already in the final, now he would have to beat one of the best catch wrestlers on the planet to fight Davey Boy Smith Jr there. Obviously, Timothy Thatcher also wanted to get to the finals so that injured shoulder was going to be a target. Pillman started fast, launching a cavalcade of strikes on Thatcher as the bell rung. It started well but once Thatcher got the chance, that arm and shoulder were put through the ringer as it received stomps and a targeted elbow drop. Thatcher latched on a Hoverboard Lock then peppered Pillman with open palm chops. Pillman tried to fight back but his kicks were turned into a Single Leg Crab. The submissions continued as Thatcher moved into a bow and arrow then a chin lock and hammerlock combo. Pillman tried to rise up but was taken back down to the mat by Thatcher with an Armbreaker. He continued to work over Pillman with more holds, strikes and a Vertical Suplex. Pillman turned the tables with a Crossbody off another Suplex attempt. Pillman continued his streak with a series of kicks and a flying forearm. He managed to reverse a big boot into a Powerslam and almost got a three count. He had Thatcher rocked. That lasted until Thatcher backed Pillman into the corner and started clubbing down on him. Pillman tried to go for the Dire Promise and ended up eating a Double Underhook Suplex. Pillman came back with a Belly to Back Suplex and followed that with a Kamigoye. Thatcher caught him into another Arm Bar but got rolled up and couldn’t break it. Pillman sneakily won the match and goes on to fight Davey Boy Smith Jr in the finals. He’s broken and battered; how will he cope with Smith? I enjoyed seeing this but it’s a shame Thatcher lost. He was on fire in this match, smoothly picking apart Pillman with catch wrestling and cruel holds.

So, there you have it, another episode of MLW Fusion reviewed for your reading pleasure. It was a bit content light this week as there were only two matches but it was fun enough. The first match was mostly a throwaway but I can’t deny the kick I get from the Spirit Squad getting beaten up. The main event was the real joy though as once again, Thatcher proves you can make catch wrestling exciting. He went out in an unfortunate way but we now have an interesting dynamic for the coming final next week. That final will also be joined by a pissed off Savio Vega beating up Gino Medina in a New York Street Fight. I cannot wait to see that.

All images courtesy of MLW, Videos courtesy of MLW YouTube