Date: March 2, 2019
Venue: Cicero Stadium (Cicero, IL)
Commentators: Jim Cornette (?!?) & Rich Bocchini
Last Friday MLW broadcast a one-hour Intimidation Games special on beIN Sports, featuring a steel cage rematch between MLW World Champion ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor and the man he choked out for the title Low-Ki. Thankfully MLW takes pity on those of us without that in our cable package and have posted the show online, so here I am with a recap! Let’s do this.
- MLW World Heavyweight Champion: ‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor
- MLW World Middleweight Champion: Teddy Hart
- MLW World Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Teddy Hart & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
- The Lucha Bros vs. Team AAA (***)
- Steel Cage Match: Tom Lawlor [c] vs. Low-Ki for the MLW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (**3/4)
–Rich Bocchini welcomes the home audience, and is joined alongside by…JIM CORNETTE?!? Whoa. For some reason I thought they had a falling out. Cornette’s racket has a beIN Sports cover, nice. Cicero Stadium is looking pretty good on camera, wouldn’t be surprised to see Impact run the venue at some point.
The Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix) vs. Team AAA (Taurus & Laredo Kid)
Pentagon and Taurus stare each other down, Fenix SUPERKICKS Taurus in the back of the head and we’re off to the races. Kid clears Pentagon with a missile dropkick and follows up with a springboard moonsault after being sent to the apron by Fenix. Inside the ring Taurus ducks a clothesline and hits both Pentagon and Kid with a corkscrew plancha through the ropes! Fenix doesn’t feel like being outshone though and flattens out Team AAA with a moonsault from the top. Fenix brings Taurus back in and flies right into a European uppercut. Taurus drops Pentagon next, Kid peppers him with a superkick. Team AAA double-team Fenix, Taurus slamming Kid on top but Pentagon breaks the count with a punt. Taurus plants Pentagon but he kicks out of the pinfall attempt despite Kid adding his weight to the cover. Taurus misses a corner splash, Fenix with a goddamn MORTAL KOMBAT KICK to him, Lucha Bros with a double superkick to Kid. Pentagon wheelbarrow bombs Fenix into Taurus for the 1…2…not yet! Man this is A LOT but in a good way. Taurus sends Fenix to the floor but his plancha is countered with a kick to the skull. Pentagon and Kid trade chops as we go to break.
Back live Pentagon goes for a cover on Kid, Taurus breaks it up. Taurus with a European uppercut in the corner and an overshot corkscrew splash from the buckles. Taurus GORES Pentagon and covers but Pentagon kicks out and all of a sudden Fenix comes in with a flying legdrop. I think he was supposed to break it up. Fenix dodges Taurus in the ropes then hits a ropewalk double stomp. Taurus rolls out, in comes Kid. Kid hits rapid chops in the corner, Fenix responds with open-hand slaps of his own. Kid with a cutter from the middle rope for the 1…2…Fenix gets his shoulder up. Kid to the top, Pentagon greets him with a kick. Taurus hits Pentagon and power bombs him right into Fenix. Taurus holds them down for a 450 Splash from Kid. Team AAA both make the cover, but both Pentagon and Fenix manage to kick out. Lucha Bros with a whole lot of kicks for both folks, tandem cannonball in the corner. They connect with a double stomp Package Piledriver combo, Fenix then launches himself right into Taurus on the floor and ends up IN THE CROWD on the lap of a few fans as Pentagon covers Kid for the 1…2…3.
The Lucha Brothers defeated Team AAA when Pentagon Jr. pinned Laredo Kid following a Package Piledriver (10:58 shown)
- An entertaining match that I could barely keep up with. Unfortunately with that speed also came a lot of ‘glancing blows’ and some overshot spots, but from my (VERY LIMITED) understanding of lucha libre that’s just sorta par for the course. The overall package was fun as hell though and goddang Jim Cornette is killing it on commentary so far. (***)
Fans THROW MONEY into the ring to reward the four for having a great match. Apparently this is a custom in lucha libre. I need to watch more lucha libre. Fenix gets on the mic and thanks Chicago (Cicero) for being amazing and says wrestling is HIS LIFE. Pentagon continues talking but there’s no time to listen as Cornette and Bocchini hype the main event which is next.
-UK psychopath Jimmy Havoc is returning to MLW at…some point.
–H2 TV: The Hart Foundation announce that they will be using the ‘Freebird’ rule in defending the World Tag Team Championship. Hart says the Six-Man Tag Team Titles are coming soon and they’ll also be around the Hart Foundation’s waists as well. Brian Pillman Jr. says something about diarrhea? These segments, man.
-Cut to Matt Striker who hypes up April’s big Battle Riot II event scheduled during WrestleMania weekend. It’s essentially a Royal Rumble where pinfalls and submissions are also allowed; the winner gets a contract for a World Heavyweight Championship match whenever they choose. That sounds like a gigantic mess. Can’t wait. Some of the participants announced are Pentagon Jr., Davey Boy Smith Jr., and Minoru Tanaka from Pro Wrestling NOAH.
-Cut to MJF and Richard Holliday backstage. MJF “begs” for a Tag Team Championship shot against The Hart Foundation and calls he and Holliday the “true” role models that MLW deserves.
–Kaci Lennox is outside Low-Ki‘s locker room. Salina de la Renta angrily yells at her about a media blackout but also says Ki will get her the venganza (revenge) she so desperately craves.
STEEL CAGE MATCH
MLW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor [c] vs. Low-Ki [Presented by Salina de la Renta]
Lawlor asked for the rematch to be inside a steel cage, as he’s a former UFC fighter and he loves being surrounded by steel. Fair enough. The MLW cage isn’t baby blue, but it’s got the same separation as the WWF’s steel cage from the 80s/90s. No fence here, my friends. Tim Barr kills it with the in-ring introductions, giving it that BIG FIGHT FEEEEEL.
Ki immediately attacks Lawlor before the cage can even be locked. Ki charges, Lawlor floats him right into the buckles. Ki ducks a punch and wraps Lawlor’s head in a cravate, the champ breaks it by ramming him into the cage. Lawlor wraps Ki’s arm around his ankle and bends the other back, dropping back for extra torque. Lawlor belts Ki with rapid forearms followed by an inside out fallaway suplex. Lawlor goes for the Rear-Naked Choke, Ki sends him head-first into the cage before he can lock it in. Salina hands Ki a high-heeled shoe and Ki rams it right into the midsection of Lawlor. HIGH-HEELED SHOES ARE THE ULTIMATE WEAPON. Ki with a series of kicks to the sternum, but Lawlor’s got FIGHTING SPIRIT and wants some more. Lawlor catches another kick but it doesn’t matter as once again he’s sent skull-first into the cage. Apparently Ki is using similar strategies as the UFC fighters who faced Lawlor did to defeat him. I’ll take their word for it, I don’t watch MMA really. Ki applies a modified abdominal stretch, Lawlor fights out with jabs. Ki counters a backdrop with a kick to the mush, Lawlor catches him with a snap suplex but is in too much pain to go for the cover. Ki goes for the door, the outside ref has to unlock it though and Lawlor recovers before that can happen. Lawlor goes for a power bomb, Ki counters with elbows and a DOUBLE STOMP for a two-count.
Ki escapes a slam but misses a springboard crossbody and Lawlor takes advantage with a spinning facebuster for the 1…2…Ki kicks out and Lawlor immediately goes for the Rear-Naked Choke once again. Lawlor transitions into an Ankle Lock, Ki uses the ropes to get to his feet and kicks him off. Ki has a roll of coins, Lawlor steals it and punches him with it. Lawlor spills the coins over Ki and goes for the door, but Salina slams it shut. Lawlor decides to climb instead, Ki climbs behind and applies a Dragon Sleeper against the corner of the cage. NICE. Ki sits on top and drops elbows on Lawlor, who falls into a tree of woe. Ki wants to go for a flying double stomp but LAWLOR SHAKES THE CAGE and he gets crotched right on the steel. Ouch. Lawlor and Ki both straddle the top, trading blows. Lawlor climbs over, Ki dazes the champ with a right hand and starts climbing down as well. Lawlor’s foot gets caught in the cage, Ki STEPS ON IT trying to head down. Lawlor hooks his arms around Ki’s legs, Ki escapes and rams his head into the steel. Lawlor violently chops Ki and connects with a series of kicks. They get even CLOSER TO THE FLOOR and continue trading blows. SOMEBODY JUST JUMP OFF. Lawlor with a series of kicks to the kidneys instead of DROPPING TO THE FLOOR AND WINNING. Ki rams Lawlor’s head into the cage and BOTH FALL TO THE FLOOR BUT LAWLOR HITS FIRST I GUESS.
Tom Lawlor [c] defeated Low-Ki to retain the MLW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (15:03)
- A hard-hitting brawl that I honestly would have enjoyed more if they had shaved a few minutes off of the ending ‘WHO WILL DROP FIRST’ sequence. While I understand it was supposed to be a struggle between the two, and admittedly it’s not something I see a lot or at all in cage matches, it felt more like they were dragging the thing out just to do it. But hey Lawlor makes his first successful defense and Low-Ki gets an out while coming up short in his rematch. (**3/4)
Lawlor’s victory celebration is cut short by Simon Gotch, Jacob Fatu, and Josef Samael. They bring him inside the cage, Fatu HITS A SUPERFLY SPLASH FROM THE TOP OF THE CAAAAAAAAAGE! YESSSSSSSS! They cover Lawlor in a ‘Contra’ flag of some sort and celebrate their attack. SIMON GOTCH SHAVED THE HIPSTER MUSTACHE, WHOA. Gotch places something on Lawlor’s forehead but we’re out of time!
Overall Thoughts: Mostly a good show, I think. Lucha Bros/Team AAA predictably had themselves a dizzying tag team match and the main event was hard-hitting and intense but both also suffered from either being too fast or too slow for my tastes which took away a bit from it. Ending the show with Lawlor’s next feud was a good move though, and honestly I would be into a Simon Gotch main event so I’m down to see where it goes.
- Match of the Night: Lucha Bros vs. Team AAA
- Moment of the Night: Jacob Fatu’s Superfly Splash from the top of the cage. Dude is lucky he didn’t hit the ceiling on the way down.