MLW BATTLE RIOT REVIEW
MLW has long been an interesting "entity".
The once funded up Indy run by Court Bauer took a mysterious closure to what many people say was somewhat a burn out, either of funds or of the undeniable load that Bauer himself as well as some other members of team MLW took on to make the promotion successful.
The promotion however seemed to perfectly blend new and old school in a way no other indie darling could do in the early 00's. CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Low Ki, Teddy Hart, Rocky Romero and others were right alongside veterans like Dusty, Terry Funk, Jerry Lawler and more, in fact, MLW also used a novel idea, managers in the form of no less, Bauer mentor ... Gary Hart.
MLW disappeared quickly and rose from the ashes to give birth to one of the best podcast formats after Cabana, the MLW show featuring Bauer himself and MSL, soon to be joined by Konnan.
Fast forward to 2018 and an assortment of one - shots, MLW Wale Mania party's on Wrestlemania weekend and a stint working for WWE, AAA and a few other masters, Bauer realised it was time to start up again. MLW Battle Riot was the first big offering for the company after successfully building a roster, commentary team and following that were devoted to the product.
A novel idea, the 40 man battle royal that included pinfall and submission eliminations gave MLW a platform to showcase their talent, booking (by Bauer himself, helped by the likes of former WWE stalwart Bruce Prichard and others) and production value.
Let's dig in! The first match was Kotto Brazil vs Myron Reed.
A good opening match with a lot of action with both Brazil and Reed show casing a plethora of not your average wrestler sequences, outside spots and close pins. In the end, Brazil got the pinfall.
After the match we get treated to a few promos and one .... vignette ! LA Park is coming to MLW and with vignettes building anticipation this is one of the reasons MLW is starting to become can't miss viewing, they tell a story and that's a welcome change in Wrestling.
MLW Middleweight belt is up for grabs next with MJF (recently booked for All In) against the PG version of Joey Ryan.
A good match with both wrestlers trading offence and at times slowing the tempo of the match right down trading insults and doing some usual Ryan routines in between the grappling. MJF went over pinning Ryan clean to become the first MLW middleweight champ, now the question is will he wear the belt at All In ? (If he keeps it that long...)
Cue the Battle Riot, the rules are simple, elimination occurs via top rope elimination, pinfall or submission. The last wrestler standing gets a title at the MLW World Champ .... ready ?
Pentagon and Phoenix (MLW tag champs) are 1 and 2, they go at it just like Ax and Smash of Demolition did years earlier. They are joined shortly by Brody King and then this authors current favourite, Spirit Squad Kenny. Entrant 5 is MMA's Filthy Tom Lawlor. Rey Horus joins and Lance Anoi'a (part of the famous Samoan wrestling family and son of Headshrinker Samu) enters and then we are treated to wrestling legend, Kevin Sullivan. So far the only elimination has come at the hands of Tom Lawlor who submits King.... hold on, Lawlor just got rid of Sullivan as well, that didn't last long.
The very very large Fallah Bahh is next in, followed by Headshrinker Samu !! He climbs the top turnbuckle to play to the crowd and is eliminated by his son, Lance.
ACH, Swoggle and Konnan all enter respectively before we see Barrington Hughes (I love this guy !)
Fallah Bahh and Pentagon were both eliminated by Hughes, which says a lot for how much the brass at MLW see in him, before the whole ring teamed up to eliminate Hughes, in the process of this colossal giant going over the top rope and to the floor, most of the wrestlers pushing him out went with him. We now have a single figure in the ring, Tom Lawlor, next entrant ... Teddy Hart.
Hart comes to the ring, sizes up Lawlor, channels AJ Styles for a of the rope into the ring spin, only to direct his body out of the ring, eliminating himself and landing on the recently eliminated roster of bodies... its 2018 and we are talking about Teddy Hart.
Vandal Ortagun, the Turkish star went one on one with Lawlor, Ortagun should be on the radar of every keen fan's eye, he's good, he's also gone ... tapped out by Lawlor.
Spirit Squad Mikey is next, again, the squad can do no wrong in this writers eye's, he gives us the usual whistle schtick before being choked out and unconscious by Lawlor - Mikey kept blowing the whistle until the end though, again, ATM these guys are ripping it up on the indies.
Next we have former Quebecer Pierre, now christened PCO fresh of his chop beating by indie sensation Walter (look it up!)
PCO takes it to Lawlor and this is good, two brawlers going at it, but the dye tonight is cast, Lawlor has been channeling Stone Cold's Rumble performance from a decade (or two) earlier, its his night and one would think that PCO doesn't have a chance.
The two are joined by son of Afa, Samoan LA SMOOTH (Bauer credits the whole Samoan dynasty in helping him get into wrestling, his links to this group are strong and it's good to see many of them making an appearance).
Simon Gotch, Homocide, Davey Boy Smith Jr and ... The Blue Meanie all enter. MLW has done a great job of faction building, with Smith Jr, Pullman Jr and Teddy Hart the newly formed Hart Foundation, Gotch being a member of Lawlors stable and Homocide bringing the ongoing LAX story line along with Konnan over from Impact Wrestling.
Michael Patrick, Sawyer Fulton and Sami Calihan all entered next, and were soon joined by Shane Strickland, Leon Scott and Drago.
Leo Bryan entered joining his Dirty Blondes tag partner Michael Patrick.
Joey Ryan and MJF soon followed seperately into the ring and the action from the nights earlier match continued, The Fuller's Stud Stable had Jack Swa.... um, Hager soon followed by John Morrison.
From here the match picked up in pace, wrestlers seemed to pair off, trade back and forth and the eliminations flowed freely but not rushed, great work by all.
We are left with two, Hager who had earlier eliminated crowd favourite Morrison and of course, Stone Cold - strike that, Filthy Tom Lawlor.
A good wrestling match broke out, leaving many fans with the possibility of what could happen if these two were given 30 - 60 minutes. Some rope work led to both wrestlers being in a precarious position, but in the end, Lawlor was able to get Hager out and win the inaugural MLW Battle Riot.
A shot at the championship is now his, but when ... and how?