Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Matches from MLW Road to the World Championship 2/8/18

MLW Road to the World Championship

ER: I saw there were several intriguing match-ups on a free MLW show (and Tony Schiavone? Has Schiavone always done commentary for MLW?!) so why not dive into the ones that interest me!

Destino Negro vs. MEGA Danger

ER: I had skipped this match but Phil bullied me into going back and watching it, even though he didn't want to watch it himself. "I think you should check out the lucha match too." "Why am I the one who has to check it out?" "You did the rest of the show. Figure we should keep it consistent." He had also asked me to watch it the day before. If I pushed it further he would bring up that I made him watch a couple New Japan matches, which is truth. BUT FOR CONSISTENCY'S SAKE here we are.   Tony Schiavone brings up Salina de la Renta a lot, who is not someone I was familiar with before this match, but every time he starts talking about her I keep hoping he's talking about Selena. Especially the first time he brings her up, as he says "You know whenever these lucha stars are around that Selena...." and he hits a long-ish pause, and I genuinely think he's talking about tejano legend Selena because his tone sounds somewhat somber, and I fully expect him to finish the sentence by saying "You know whenever these lucha stars are around that looking down on them from the heavens, their hearts filled with the love that her music bestowed to their generation." But instead he just keeps talking about Salina de la Renta being in attendance or something.

And the match was fine. I'm unfamiliar with them, but this was clearly a match they'd worked before, definitely a touring match. It had a few flipping piledrivers, because modern luchadors like shitting all over old luchadors, and yes many of these flipping piledrivers were then used to just transition into the guy taking the piledriver getting up and doing something else. You know the drill. I like some of the stuff, like Danger throwing a chair at Negro to block a dive, and especially Negro doing a crazy springboard Coffin Drop to the floor that almost saw him fly over and past Danger (and if I was Darby Allin I would have been pissed watching this, thinking "goddamn I already do tons of stupid stuff and then one of these assholes goes and does my finisher just as crazy as me? Guess I gotta do another one with my hands tied behind my back."), and they work smoothly together, the way guys familiar with each other will work. This felt kind of like when Mike Modest and Christopher Daniels got a tryout match on Nitro, and just condensed all of their matches into 7 minutes.

Seth Petruzelli/Simon Grimm vs. Jason Cade/Jimmy Yuta

ER: I like Petruzelli and Grimm as a team, both are kind of sloppy but both can hit hard, making for a fun combination. Grimm looks better here than at any time during his main roster WWE run (or really any time I've seen him over a decade plus run) and I really dug he and Petruzelli beating down Yuta. Yuta entered with a nice slingshot senton and was soon eating a pretty mean beating, including getting tossed by a vicious half nelson suplex (Grimm tossing something like that out 25 minutes into a big show feels about right), and they both hit Yuta with stiff spinkicks. I'm used to seeing Petruzelli bigger (I think he wrestled heavy and light heavy in MMA), but here he comes off like a smaller and less experienced Chris Dickinson, which is a good thing. Cade had a nice hot tag and throws a nice right hand, but Simon & Seth ain't having it. Their finisher is awesome, with Grimm holding a piledriver, Petruzelli launching a soccer kick at Cade's hanging head, and the Grimm planting him with the piledriver. I'm in. Add in Robert Fuller coming back in full Col. Robert Parker get-up managing the Dirty Blondes, and that is a tag match I will 100% want to see.

Low Ki vs. Kotto Brazil

ER: Very quick match, about 3 minutes, with Ki jumping Brazil on the entrance steps and Brazil never really finding his way into the match. I'm sure Brazil wrestles without a mask as somebody else (his tights had MM on the back), but he was fun as a big bumping Kool Jay type, with Ki beating him around ringside and around the ring, and Ki is a guy you like to see beating a guy around a ring. He hits a mule kick out of the corner that sends Brazil flying across the ring, they do some fun springboard ropes dodging with Ki eventually finishing it with a precisely aimed kick off the ropes, and Ki ends it with a nasty necktie camel clutch, really wrenching back on Brazil in a gross way. I'll always want more time in a Low Ki match, but Free Ki is good Ki, so I'm good.

PAS: Such a weird use of Ki. He is a fly in, I assume (I don't think he moved to Florida) and a pretty big name, so he can't be cheap. Why bring in Ki and have him work a quick squash match. It was a cool squash match, Ki will always bring the ass kicking and that finishing move where he uses his own leg to grapevine Brazil's leg was totally awesome, but MLW could have run the first Ki vs. Cobb match or the first Ki vs. Riddle match which would have been big deals, instead they run the 50th Riddle v. Cobb match and waste Ki this way.

Mike Parrow/Barrington Hughes vs. Al Sabah/Vandal Ortagun

ER: Okay, this only goes like a minute, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD ME ABOUT CARAMEL COLOSSUS BARRINGTON HUGHES!?!? Everybody has seriously let me down. He's billed as 469 lb. and it feels like an accurate classification. He's huge, and super duper ROUND. It's the best. Sabah/Ortagun jump Parrow before Hughes is even out, and that's all they get. Parrow hits a big sit out powerbomb on Sabah and Hughes flattens him with a splash. We're gonna need an investigation into Hughes.

Tom Lawlor vs. MVP

ER: This was a ton of fun, easily would have landed on the list with a better finish. MVP is not working a shame-filled post WWE career, and he and Lawlor are a surprisingly good match. MVP gives Lawlor a lot of the match, and Lawlor makes the most of it. Lawlor and crew are a cool stable, he and Petruzelli/Grimm in their cool tights with Onibaba demon mask on them, plus two young boys in track suits (one who gets on all fours and acts as Lawlor's bench while the other vaselines up Lawlor's brow). I'm pretty much going to need to see them against Catch Point NOW. But this match rules. MVP has no problem leaning into sharp elbows, and Lawlor dumps him with a great German. I really liked Lawlor taking apart MVP's legs on the mat, really working a nasty heel hook while grapevining a leg, and all the standing was good. Lawlor throws big chops, a nice elbowdrop, and we even get a nice chop/jab combo from him in the corner, as well as top notch dickhead moves like ripping MVP's omnipresent breathe right strip off his nose. And MVP without his breathe right strip is weird, like when your dad shaved his mustache he had your entire life and your dog was like "who the fuck is this stranger in my house". MVP throws Germans of his own, and Lawlor takes the ballin' elbowdrop like it caved in his chest. But I loved how it was used within the match, as it was kind of out of place considering the toughness that had been happening, and while MVP got to do the signature move, Lawlor was able to go back on offense with a keen reversal once MVP got him to his feet. Lawlor throws another German and then in an awesome spot fakes throwing a German so MVP's body goes slack, then drags him down for a rear naked choke. That's a great spot (it's also very possible that MVP blew up and fell over, and Lawlor covered for him, kind of tough to tell watching on my phone). Ending has interference from Stokely and Low-Ki (setting up a Ki/MVP match), but what we got in the match was tasty meat gravy.

PAS: I really didn't like this. I thought MVP was pretty much a load, the German's he were throwing in his creepy Benoit tribute, barely got Lawlor off his feet, and all of MVP's offense looked labored. Lawlor is a guy I have enjoyed, but he isn't experienced enough to carry a gassed washed guy to anything worth watching. I did like Lawlor ripping of MVP's breathe strip, Lawlor has a fun dick head charisma and is always going to add something to a match, I also did really did his keylock submission. That german suplex spot Eric mentioned clearly was a nicely covered botch, Lawlor didn't fake a german, MVP was too blown up to go up for it, and Lawlor was able to adjust into the rear naked choke, props to him for not falling apart when things didn't work, but it wasn't some clever planned bit of wrestling.

Jeff Cobb vs. Matt Riddle

ER: Wanna see a match with one guy throwing another guy around a bunch, and that other guy fighting back with a bunch of flying knees? Of course you want to see that, and they really bring home the groceries. We get cool amateur scrambling to start, and Riddle gets cocky on a go behind, lifts Cobb and unceremoniously drops him stomach first. This gives Cobb full license to spend the next several minutes spinning and rotating and throwing Riddle as far across the ring as he can, like the world's most violent street corner sign spinner. Riddle is a big guy, and Cobb just hoists him up, shifts his weight around, gets him thinking he's getting tossed one way, then throws him the other way. Many times. Every time Riddle is launched he makes these great stunned faces. Riddle comes back with a cool choke, as he's seated and Cobb comes roaring in with a low diving uppercut, but Riddle shifts hips and tries to lock in a rear naked, and eventually comes back with some brutal knees to the chin, including an awesome Bro2Sleep/German suplex combo. We get a great moment where Riddle hits a glancing Pele kick (which Cobb sells with a perfect zombie stagger), and as Riddle is still seated when Cobb hoists him up and over with a killer low angle German. These guys both took a beating, and the finish was suitably nasty: Riddle hits a mean powerbomb and rolls Cobb's legs over his head, and right when Cobb is rotating into a kneeling position it's too late to see Riddle running at his face with a knee. Awesome match.

PAS: These two have matched up a bunch of times and this was the best of the bunch. Man was Cobb impressive in this, just huge inhuman throws. I love strength based wrestling spots, I was the original driver of the Mark Henry bandwagon, and it is my favorite thing about Lensar and Cena matches, and this was one of the coolest strength based spot matches I can remember seeing. Riddle is a legit 240 probably and he gets slung around like he is Weird Body or Spike Dudley. There are also some pretty cool suplexes by Riddle, and I liked how he decided that his solution to getting tossed was to try to drive his knee threw Cobb's skull. By the end of the match Cobb was bleeding from his nose and he probably took five more hard knees to the honker after he already was leaking. Great stuff, I still think these guys have an all time great match in them, this wasn't it, but they are getting closer.

Darby Allin vs. Sami Callihan

PAS: Allin continues his awesome 2018 by having a nutty no DQ match with Callihan. Allin is really great at elusive springboards and cool roll ups along with insane bumps, he is a mix of 1994 Rey Jr. and 1994 Sabu who are pretty much two of the coolest wrestlers ever. There is a moment in the match which epitomizes how cool Allin is, he does this crazy flipping stunner and then goes for a springboard off the rope and Callihan shoves him off and he flies insanely ribs first into the side of the balcony, one of the coolest and craziest bumps I can remember seeing. Callihan hits really hard in this and rips off his cool low bridge tope, but this was an Allin show. I didn't loved the finish which is going to keep this out of a top 10, but Allin is running away with wrestler of the year in the first part of the year.

ER: Predictably crazy and awesome stuff from these two. Callihan is typically the guy in a match to crash through obstacles, but when you're opposite Allin it's best to just hang back and let him crash through everything in site. And lo, Allin does not disappoint. Allin crashes into Callihan's arm, chairs, walls, balconies, the violence that gets inflicted on him is just shocking. At one point the announcers are expressing honest shock that Allin isn't literally broken in half, and it doesn't actually sound like hyperbole. The first time skin makes contact with skin, it's Callihan hitting a full follow through lariat on Allin, and Allin has this way of taking a lariat not like he's prepping to take a flip bump from it, but more like he's Wile E Coyote running into a steel beam and flipping around it by his chin. Callihan pastes him through all of the chairs with a tope and gets up to celebrate, only to have Allin quickly run into the ring and hit him with his own tope, although before long Callihan is bouncing thrown chairs of Allin's back and legs. Allin's speed spots work great and he always takes a licking and keeps on ticking, always coming off as someone who cares about winning far more than he cares about his own well being. The flipping stunner was really awesome, never seen that one done before, as it doesn't start out like a Diamond Dust, but more just Allin jumping over Callihan's shoulder like he was getting himself into position to be powerslammed, but then rolling through it and completing the stunner. And then we get into THAT balcony spot (which might not even be the most painful bump in the match, considering Allin took a Falcon Arrow through a seated chair), which was such a trippy visual, seeing Allin leaping to the top rope and getting his footing, only to get shoved right into this ornate balcony and drop to his doom. I always loved how Finlay used various parts of the ring and surrounding area as a weapon (in fact I've always wondered if he came back to working full time because he thought of that cool "trap a guy in the ring skirt" spot and wanted to be the first to use it) and Allin is that way with the terrain of a venue. He's grabbed onto balconies, gotten thrown into balconies, leapt from a stage, gotten tossed from a stage into a ringpost; he just finds cool new ways to make the venue a part of his pain. Allin has cool offense (loved that fast twisting springboard splash he hit) but it's the pain he endures that makes him so damn great. And wouldn't you know that Callihan finds some duct tape and tapes Allin's hands behind his back. I can't believe this guy takes bumps without arms, it just seems like a guaranteed way to snap a wrist or something. We do get some silly run ins from Jimmy Havoc and Priscilla Kelly, but the Coffin Drop off the top rope (with hands tied behind the back!!) is a crazy finish, just wish we could have gotten there in a more interesting way than interference. Still, this whole thing delivered the goods, and I'd love to see what they could do in a rematch.

ER: So I skipped around on the show, but really really liked everything that I opted to watch. I never thought I would be seeking out MLW as a fed to watch in 2018, but MLW is clearly going to be a super fun fed to watch in 2018. We added Cobb/Riddle and Callihan/Allin to our 2018 Ongoing MOTY List, which shouldn't be too shocking.

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