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MLW Fusion Alpha #2 Review: Hammerstone Vs Filthy Tom

Major League Wrestling’s storylines continued building toward the Fightland tapings in Philadelphia this weekend, with in-ring tensions rising across the promotion. MLW Fusion Alpha has helped the company redirect its focus after a lengthy layoff for the second week in a row.

The show opened with a fun lucha-style match between Aramis and Arez. MLW’s connections to Konnan and AAA/The Crash have benefited the Fusion program since 2018. In story, matchmaker Cesar Duran programed the match to showcase this talent before the US audience. There’s still no hint about what Azteca Underground will become or if it’s still part of the promotion’s future after the canceled tapings last month. Aramis and Arez are two performers who haven’t seen much time in major US promotions but made an outstanding showing. Though Aramis won the match, Arez’s unique offense stole the match.

MLW World Heavyweight Champion Jacob Fatu cut an intense promo building his title-for-title match against National Openweight Champion Alexander Hammerstone at Fightland. The well-edited package showcased Fatu’s agility and power. What followed was a hype package for the Hammerstone/Filthy Tom Lawlor main event. MLW should update their talent pictures, as Hammerstone looks significantly different today than two years ago.

A slick-looking graphic announced the arrival of TAJIRI. If fans expect the TAJIRI of twenty years ago, they may be disappointed with the current All Japan star. Matt Cross and Duran met, and El Jefe granted Cross a match with Fatu next week. Since Duran is essentially playing the same character as Dario Cueto, it’s hard not to compare these backstage segments to the big-budget Lucha Underground presentation.

With King Mo in his corner, Alex Kane made quick work of Budd Heavy in a squash. With a plethora of explosive suplexes, Kane has a ’97 Taz vibe going for him. As a big, thick grappler, it’ll be fun to see Kane against higher-level competitors. Alicia Atout interviewed EJ Nduka backstage. Nduka didn’t say much but showed some charisma. With his look and comfortability in front of the camera, it’s shocking that WWE let him go. If he develops between the ropes, Nduka could be a star in this promotion in short time.

5150, the LAX reboot team of Daniel Rivera (Danny Limelight) and Slice Boogey, along with Konnan and Julius Smokes, challenged Myron Reed and Jordan Oliver. On paper, 5150 looks like a good team. However, the sound mix between the echoes and the music made the actual content of the interview a little challenging to understand. Smartly, the promotion decided to insert Arez and Aramis into the Middleweight title match between Reed and TAJIRI at Fightland.

Filthy Tom Lawlor and Alex Hammerstone are two well-protected, legitimate main eventers in this promotion. Hammerstone is a throwback performer with his thick, muscled build and power move set. While Lawlor is a former UFC competitor whose seamless transition to pro wrestling should be used as the model for athletes looking to jump from MMA. They had a fun match with good chemistry. Unfortunately, with the promotion building toward the Fightland event, the end result wasn’t in doubt. The work was solid and entertaining. Hammerstone won with the always impressive Nightmare Pendulum. During a post-match interview with Alicia Atout, CONTRA attacked Hammerstone as the show closed.

For the second straight week, MLW provided a jam-packed sixty-minute show that was successful in building toward the Fightland event.

However, during the main event, CONTRA briefly interrupted the feed. One of the more annoying features on this show was color commentator MSL barely selling the interruption, asking, “What the hell was that?”

If CONTRA video interrupts were new, his reaction would work. These video breaks have been a primary focus of the promotion for more than two years. We know that CONTRA is targeting Hammerstone ahead of Fightland. They’ve told us so on many occasions. Does MSL not watch the product? Why lie to the audience? During the pandemic era empty arena shows, MSL would constantly reference the supposed high rollers watching from unseen suites above the ring. Everyone watching understood the state of the world. In the year 2021, there is no need to so egregiously lie to your audience. This isn’t 1991 Superstars of Wrestling. The people watching Fusion are adults. There’s no need to play dumb.

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