Segunda Caida

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

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Long Road Report to Hell 4/4/19, Show #3: MLW Rise of the Renegades

TKG: Bloodsport ends and we head into town for MLW. Originally this was scheduled to be LA Park v Rush and the thing I was most excited for. That wasn't happening. This was a long TV taping and had the real rhythm of a TV taping (angle followed by long showcase match, angle followed by long showcase match, angle followed by long showcase match ) and that rhythm eventually kills you. 

PAS: Hindsight is 20/20, but we probably should have just gotten a good dinner somewhere, rather then two long, expensive Uber rides into the city for this show. When we got these tickets we thought we were out of luck for Bloodsport and didn't want to fly to NYC for two shows, once we got Bloodsport tickets this became a mistake

ER: This show sounded like an excellent idea at the time. We had a gigantic gap in our schedule due to Bloodsport selling out sooner than we anticipated, and wanted to fill it with wrestling. WWN tickets at the same time were like $80, MLW tickets were $20. Easy choice was easy. In hindsight though we should have just had dinner and then rolled the dice on whatever was playing at White Eagle. Getting to Queens and back was a nightmare, and MLW didn't really book any interesting on paper match-ups. MLW has a several guys I really like, and they were all matched up against guys I don't care about. So we drive into the city and it's weird because in California the uber drivers never shut up. You go to the airport and you know you're going to be talking about the new elimination diet your food-allergic driver is starting for the duration of the fare. In NY they're nearly completely silent, so this driver had to listen to us talk about the tremendous hit our music collection will take if we were to cancel 60s rockers the way we easily cancel guys like Ryan Adams today when we find out what scummy dudes they are. Wrestling too. Tom talks about how many different musicians beat up Tammi Terrell. And soon, the talk turned to Ferriday, Louisiana and Jerry Lee Lewis. Phil talks about how Jerry Lee essentially killed two wives, with a "Ferriday's Most Famous Son" police report saying the women died from falling down and hitting their head too many times. Then Tom tells an incredible story about early 90s Jerry Lee tax troubles, and how he had a 900 number grift that Tom actually called, and to milk the time of the call Jerry Lee had *known stutterer* Mel Tillis doing the call intros!! Our driver sat in silence as Tom went into an extended "Now if-a you'd like to he-he-he-hea-hear Jerry Lee tell a story about E-e-e-el-ell-elvis then press 1, and uh if-a you'd..." I was in stitches. Phil tipped the driver handsomely.

Brian Pillman Jr. vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman

TKG: Maxwell Jacob Friedman? Not Maxwell Jacob Goldstein? It was MJF and not MJG? We must have watched 30 matches of his and no one corrected me all the times I yelled “Don’t want drama, don’t want none” and “Hey 8ball says your mouth says no but your body says stick me”?

PAS: We came in during this match and headed to the bathroom and got situated, so weren't fully settled and focused on this. Both guys are fine, but this was mostly a set up for the six man later in the show. Pillman does look exactly like his father and I am happy to have a Pillman back in my life.

ER: We got there a little late and missed an Ariel Dominguez match which is a drag. He's a fun tiny babyface underdog in a gi. And like Dominguez, Pillman is a guy I like, who I haven't actually seen in a match I really like. This seemed to have a nice pace but as Phil said, we showed up as it was starting, used the restroom, found a place to stand (and I went over and pet Mr. Velvet in between peeing and finding a spot), so I only caught glances until the finish.

Jacob Fatu vs. Barrington Hughes

TKG: Fatu, Samuel, and Simon Grimm are working some kind of paper bag passing international brown solidarity heel team gimmick. MLW likes to use vintage managers and semi disappointed that Armand Hussein isn’t out explaining this. Is Armand Hussein still alive? 2019 Arman Hussein would be awesome ridiculous move. Fatu squashes the huge Barrington Hughes and the heel team bury him under either a balaclava or their team flag. Hughes is super obese guy from Florida so him getting knocked down is always scary.

PAS: Fatu is really explosive and fun to watch. No idea why they would fly in Hughes from Florida just to get squashed a couple of times, that guy is two airplane seats minimum, you might need to buy him a whole row. They are really burning through that venture capital cash in dumb ways.

ER: I got excited for Fatu's music as he's a Bay Area guy who had big early impact and clearly looked like a guy who would get national opportunities. He also had a great match against Boyce Legrande which was arguably my favorite match for Phoenix Pro Wrestling, the local group Tim Livingston and I do commentary for. And then the Caramel Colossus comes out and I'm stoked for a BIG big boy battle. But since it's a Hughes match, it only goes 1 minute. Hughes has really only worked 1 minute matches for MLW (other than their bad WarGames match) so I knew it would be too flukey that I would be there live for his first actual match. Jesus, give me 4 minutes of this dude working a tubby match and I'll get it on our list. Little did I know that we'd be seeing like 7 segments of Hughes getting jumped by Fatu's stable throughout the night. Phil and I were dying the next day talking about MLW buying 3 airplane tickets to fly Hughes up to just get jumped by Fatu's gang. I mean Hughes is gigantic, gigantic enough that you not only have to buy him 3 tickets, but they have to be tickets in an extra leg room seat, which can cost considerably more than other tickets. Just a wild use of $$ there. We saw so many obese dudes get jumped by Fatu's gang by the end of our time at MLW. It got absurd. I would have cried laughing if Hughes had shown up at the late night AIW show just to get jumped and rolled over slowly with kicks. Would have made me even more of a fan.

Rey Horus vs. Ace Austin

TKG: This was a long long showcase match. I think Ace Austin is working a “close up magic” gimmick and does lots of stuff built out of headstands. First juniors exchanges were fine and felt like they could have had a fun lightning match but then they try to a strike exchange section, and a throws section and a mask removal section and a finisher exchange section. This felt like had way more sections than needed and no one had any idea of how to move from one to the next.

PAS: This was a long singles match from two guys who clearly can't put together a long singles match. Maybe if either guy was with a veteran who could control the match and work around their spots it might have been OK, but we didn't have that guy and it suffered.

ER: This match felt so long. Starting from the time we walked to breakfast, we'd already been up and about for 9+ hours, and this thing was long enough that I assumed they were going to Mordor. Horus is good with a base like Steve Pain or flying in for trios spots, but god I did not need to see 20 minutes of him working on material. Austin is a guy I haven't seen much of, and then oddly saw the next day on the subway taking up a seat while women were standing, and he had some fun material and some unique body movement, but his shtick didn't work in an epic singles. The match already felt long when Phil managed to have enough time to get in four different and spaced out "How long IS this match?" riffs. The best was "How is Rey Horus vs. Ace Austin going to be the longest match we see this weekend!?"

Low Ki/Ricky Martinez vs. Mr Grim/Hollywood ?

TKG: I think this was Ki and Martinez v Grim and maybe Hollywood Shuffle. Guy had Hollywood on his pants and he was beaten into realizing that there is always work at the post office. I was pretty sure his name was Hollywood Shuffle but also thought MJF was MJG. Of the squashes on the show this was best as Ki squashes are always going to be nasty. They do a post match angle with the Fatu, Samuel Simon team burying Ki under cloth.

PAS: I think this might have been Ki turning face, as he was arguing with Salena De La Renta coming down the aisle and it looked like Ricky Martinez abandoned him before the Contra beatdown. Hard to turn someone face after this brutal of a beatdown. Ki ko's Grim with the first blow and ends up opening up Hollywood's jaw so he could break it with a punch. It seems like Ki's MLW run is based around his unprofessional rep, and he KO's Grim like he was Mace Mendoza or Elax. This was fun, but man what a waste of Ki, I kept hoping they would announce a cool Ki match, and when they didn't I was hoping for a surprise Ki match, and instead we just got a fun squash.

ER: Love Tom going for a "There's always work at the post office" joke. He didn't do that while we were watching the show. He sat on that one so as not to risk either of us stealing his Hollywood Shuffle joke even though Phil and I are going to be the two people who would have laughed at a Hollywood Shuffle joke. And I knew they were going to screw us like this. Segunda Caida might be the collective biggest Low-Ki fans in the world. We've probably brought more attention to the Low-Ki/Rey Mysterio match than JAPW brought to the Low-Ki/Rey Mysterio match. But the whole time leading up to the event, matches with everyone else kept being announced, and Low-Ki kept being announced as merely "appearing". We all knew that meant we'd get a 3 minute Low-Ki squash and not a Low-Ki match for our list. We can't have nice things from MLW. Luckily Low-Ki is a great guy to beat up a couple no names in a squash, you know he's not going to finish the match without at least a couple noteworthy moments. Here his double stomp landed so hard my stomach hurt (although my stomach also had two IPAs and a heavy mac and cheese still hanging out in it so...). Bummed we only got like 2 minutes of Salina De La Renta, too. She's my favorite manager in wrestling today, and I was excited to see how she works the crowd live when the cameras aren't on her. Sadly I saw barely any of her.

Myron Reed/Rich Swann vs. Jimmy Yuta/Lance Anoa'i

TKG: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Reed before but really liked him as cocky guy who wants to hit his stuff on opponents and runs away from getting hit.

PAS: This was pretty good. Reed and Swann seem to be work a heel Black Lives Matter gimmick which is problematic, but they were a fun heel team, cutting off both faces and feeding their comebacks well. Anoa'i seems kind of superfluous in a fed pushing Jacob Fatu so hard if they aren't going to be teaming or feuding.

ER: I've really liked all of the Reed matches that have been on MLW. He brings a lot to job work, getting the best matches in MLW out of guys like DJZ and Kotto Brazil. Swann kind of has a natural smugness to him, can't really put my finger on it, but always felt he would work much better as a heel (and he does), so this is a heel team with a ton of potential. Here he's an overlooked heel who now uses what had been used as flashy babyface comeback offense (like all of his awesome cutter variations that he would hit as a dramatic "3 point tying shot") as awesome sneak attack cheap shot flashy offense. He literally ran in at one point with a match turning cutter from the entrance ramp, and it looked even more spectacular as we were standing in the corner to the side of the ramp, so we couldn't see his starting point. We just saw Reed suddenly bursting into frame with a great cutter. I agree with Phil that it's weird having Anoa'i as a semi featured role while Fatu is getting a major heel role. It's like they purposely wanted to avoid teaming up the Samoan guys but really Anoa'i would be more effective as a monster Samoan in that angle than teaming with a dud like Yuta.

Minoru Tanaka vs. Daga

TKG: This was my favorite match on the show. These are two guys who know how to put together a complete singles lucharesu match, know how to put the lucha in the puroresu, know how to put the puroresu in the lucha, understood lucha in a real traditional sense, and understood the puroresu style before all of the Choshu and ”shoot” Inokiism was stripped from it. Really felt like a complete match where transitions between the mat work, strikes, and dives and back all made sense, didn’t feel like they were just done to check off boxes. And everything done on high, high level. Felt like it needed some type of stakes instead of just being two guys thrown together to give it some sort of added meaning. Like a championship, or if this was part of the MSG G1 show (people would have praised this highly if it were on MSG show). Best match on show but still thought it was weird match to throw money at….I don’t know. Also possibility that overrating it as response to Rey v Austin match.

PAS: I thought this was good, although I think I liked it less then Tom. Daga is a guy who is inspired by people inspired by Minoru Tanaka so there was nice synergy in the match up. Tanaka is pretty low on the list of BattlArts alumni I would be excited to see live, but he still can throw out some tricked out counters and submission attempts. This was also pretty stiff, although with added leg slaps. I agree it felt a little exhibition-y, but its shining competence was really needed at this point of the show. 

ER: Tom's enthusiasm helped me get into this one more. I think he was so insulted by the Avengers length Austin/Horus match, really Daga is a not as good Minoru Tanaka, and on the car ride back to White Eagle we talked about BattlArts alumni we'd want to see live less than Tanaka. Came up with, probably Mohammed Yone, consider Viktor Krueger but decide it would be cool to say you saw Viktor Krueger live, and maybe Tsubo Genjin. But Tanaka was a major part of my 2000-2001 wrestling fandom, a guy I actively sought out and remember being super excited for his first CMLL tour as Heat (which was disappointing and in retrospect the beginning of me drifting away from him as a worker), and that still means something to me. He was a real pro here and it was cool to see how hard even the lesser BattlArts guys hit in a live setting. You see guys like Rey Horus or MJF and then you see Tanaka throw a sidekick to Daga's chest and you're like "oh right, the BattlArts." This was a really fun match and felt like it was at a good spot on the taping, which I can't say for a lot of other things. Daga hit a great dive at one point and Tanaka really hurled himself into the railing off it, probably the best dive we saw at this show. Some of this really isn't my style of choice anymore, but it was a nicely done version of that match.

Dynasty (Alexander Hammerstone/Maxwell Jacob Friedman/Richard Holliday) vs. The Hart Foundation (Brian Pillman Jr./Davey Boy Smith Jr./Teddy Hart)

TKG: Is this the first time I’ve seen Teddy Hart live? This can’t be the first time I’ve seen Teddy Hart live? He comes across as a giant fucking bigger than life character in person wearing insane sparkles carrying his Persian aloft. A star from a different universe than our world cotidiano. Pre-match me and Phil bet on how many moonsaults he will do and when in match he would fake a knee injury. He only did two moonsaults but both done in the thrown out way only he does them, and he tweaks his arm near the end and angrily works at restoring feeling in hand, popping arm back into place. Anyways, superstar. Pillman had an injury angle early in the show and so match started 2 on 3 with Pillman eventually running in to make injured guy comeback save. This was at its best when Hart Foundation were kind of working as walking tall babyfaces in a tables match. Hammerstone I thought was amusing as heel powerhouse who just isn't as strong as face powerhouse. Him being challenged into dueling delayed vertical suplexes with Davey Boy Smith really got that whole thing over.

PAS: This was my favorite match of the show. Hart and Davey Boy work the first part of the match like Teddy Hart vs. Homicide with Teddy in the role of Homicide. They bumped all three heels around the ring with super stiff shots and for a while it looked like a fun squash match. The Dynasty got some big comebacks and Teddy took some big bumps. The spot where Hart hit a Doomsday Destroyer while leaping off the back of Hammerstone was maybe the craziest spot we saw all day, and we saw some crazy shit. Enjoyed this thoroughly, and Teddy is pretty much a must see guy at this point, really wish he worked Bloodsport.

ER: This was definitely my favorite match of the show. We were all pretty much in awe of Teddy Hart. The guy is a total megastar. He looks like if Colin Farrell had a hip hop producer role in Spring Breakers, coming out in a spectacular turquoise and purple glittery sequined jogging suit with matching tank, leaving him and the ring covered in glitter (which has been a theme of our day that Bloodsport sadly didn't honor). He was carrying Mr. Velvet - which is weird to see live and comes off borderline cruel - but we did get to see him placed on the turnbuckle and I'm sorry but that's cute. This was a really action packed garbage brawl with Teddy throwing the best punches in wrestling today, fans making fun of Hammerstone for looking like Jericho (although at least looking better than current Jericho), Davey Boy looked like a great powerhouse opposite him, we got a cool Pillman triumphant run-in, MJF did an actual funny spot when Holliday called for a tandem suplex and MJF had a great facial reaction that said "Man I'd rather not, my neck is still dead from an earlier bump" and the delay caused him to get suplexed. The ringside brawling was really intense, and Teddy did a bunch of great "popping my arm back into the socket" material right in front of us, into the barricade. The match was a tables match that didn't waste a bunch of time on table set up and didn't waste time teasing a bunch of table spots. They set up one table, and had a cool finish through it. Excited to see how this plays on TV.

Josef Samael vs. Ace Romero

TKG: I looked it up and sadly Armand Hussein has passed. I kind of liked Allen Martin as a manager. Is Allen Martin still alive? 2019 Allen Martin managed Contra would be an awesome ridiculous move. Samuel has heel Persian boots with exaggerated hooks on toe making him kicking an obese man low seem like he might get under the pannus to do some real damage.

PAS: Barrington ambled out to make the save and got beaten down for a second time, and this Contra war on the obese continued, really felt like they should have booked Simon Grimm vs. Fallah Bah or Big Slam Vader for continuities sake.

ER: We were trying to come up with more obese guys they can bring in, which highlighted the dearth of big fat guys on the indies right now. I like Romero a lot but this was more fat guys getting rolled over slowly with group kicks. I did enjoy my conversation with Tom about how a kick to Romero's groin would have no effect due to how his belly hung low enough to cover his genitals. Tom - without missing a beat - explained the physics of Samael's effective hooked boots ball kicking.

Gringo Loco vs. Puma King

TKG: This was true lucha and I will always take lucha over lucharesu. But this was lightning match lucha…and I could’ve watched it go on for another ten minutes happily. Gringo Loco’s hair was the most spectacular hair on a weekend of spectacular hair.

PAS: This had a couple of moments of real transcendence,  Loco is a elite level Lucha base, and they had some really great fast exchanges. When it got away from that into more extended runs of offense for either guy it got less special, still it had those moments. Loco is a long time favorite of mine and I was excited to see him live.

ER: Glad I finally got to see Gringo live. He's a favorite of the blog and a real artist, reminds me of watching Skayde matches for the first time. He'll throw in some World of Sport style handsprings but break out one of a few different headscissor variations, a cool cross ring cutter, can do great dives and catch dives great, and yes Tom is correct that his Mania week hair was spectacular. Crowd was a little tired so Puma's shtick didn't work as well as it typically does, but I thought this match was a nice pace and should also play well on TV.

Mance Warner vs. Sami Callihan 

TKG: These two work a two disgusting guys brawling indifferent to ref who DQs them early. Lots of spitting and snot rockets early. Kind of like imagine a Joel Goodhart booked Henry O Godwin v. Bastion Booger brawl. Holy fuck how awesome would Mark Cantebury v. Mike Shaw for Goodhart have been? Aww fuck. Back to actual match in front of us. Warner and Callihan beat each other around ring. Pretty early in the match they do the wearing chairs like necklace spots that I thought dragged down the Jay v Parnell match. After bitching about those spots earlier, those spots worked surprisingly well for me here, some of that is when in match they were used and some of it is these guys are playing such cartoonish caricatures that them obliviously not taking chairs off their necks works. Would Bastion Booger or Henry O Godwin prioritize taking a chair off their neck? No, of course not. Why would they? Two guys who wanted to beat each other up.

PAS: This was a day in which we watched a lot of brawling, this was solid violent stuff, but was overshadowed in my mind by the violence proceeding it, and the horrific stuff still to come. Callihan and Warner both bring a bunch of energy to what they do, and the execution was fun. Finish with the Hijo de La Park and Martinez run in, and crazy guy team up, served its purpose, but the whole match felt a little like they were working towards a run in.

ER: This was the kind of match that played great live and up close. They guys spent most of the match on the floor and when these two are on the floor somebody is going to get hit hard. They brawled over near us a bunch and the shots look so much meaner 7 feet away that through a TV screen. Seeing hard chops to the throat live is just cooler, and we got the added bonus of them trying to wrap beer cans around each other's head. The spitting stuff is gross, but damn hitting a guy in the side of the head with the EDGE of a beer can looks like it would instantly bust someone open. These guys really hit heard and Mancer is a cool MLW addition. The stuff around a chair was really nasty, and we get a ridiculous moment of a tombstone piledriver through a chair that had been set up. It got a 2 count, and this marks the first - but not last - time of the day we would see a piledriver through a chair get only a 2 count. Still, match was a fine asskicking.

TKG: Airwolf v Rey Fenix starts and we decide that we don't want to miss the AIW opener, so we pour one out for Jan Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine and leave.

ER: I make a "manager as Alex Cord with an eyepatch" joke but it gets minimal reaction. I silently assure myself that nobody heard it and that's why it got no reaction.

PAS: This show ran really long which was kind of a bummer, we came to see LA Park, and didn't get that chance, but I didn't want to miss any of the AIW show and we really made the right choice.

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