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MLW Road To The World Championship 2/8/2018

The eight man tournament to crown a new MLW Heavyweight Champion begins. Austin Aries battles ACH in singles action. Chelsea Green (formerly Laurel Van Ness in Impact Wrestling) takes on Priscilla Kelly. Darby Allin goes to war against Sami Callihan in a hardcore match.

Major League Wrestling presents Road To The World Championship
Date: 2/8/2018
From: Orlando, FL

A video of the wrestlers involved in the title tournament is shown. They all want to win the MLW World Championship and they consider it a big deal.

Opening Contest: Lacey Layne vs. Santana Garrett: This is Lacey’s debut in MLW. Lane showcases her lucha ability with a springboard armdrag out of the corner. Garrett does an armdrag as well. Garrett elbows Lacey in the corner and connects with a clothesline a few times. Garrett hits a handspring elbow in the corner managing to get a near fall. Garrett has a bridging neck vice and it looked like Layne was submitting but she fights out of the hold. Layne delivers a knee strike in the corner followed by a running kick for a two count. Garrett drops Lacey with a superkick and hits the Shining Star Press for the win. (*1/2. A quick match and they kept a good pace. Simple and inoffensive match to start the show.)

Second Contest: Destino Negro vs. MEGA Danger: I’d be lying if I said I knew who either one of these guys are. Neither man gets a clear advantage in the opening moments of the match. They both attempt running head scissors but can’t hit it and then have a standoff after they both attempted a dropkick. The first move to connect is a handspring cutter by Negro. Danger has a double underhook and drives Negro face first down to the mat. Negro kicks Danger on the floor from the ring and Dancer tosses a chair at Negro as Destino attempted a dive to the outside. Danger pulls Negro up on a pin attempt. Danger sends Negro face first into a chair in the corner. Negro comes off the ropes with a head scissors and slides to the apron. Negro takes Danger out with a springboard back splash to the outside.

Negro goes for the cover but Danger kicks out at two. Negro and Danger trade running kicks in the corner. Negro hits a Samoan Drop but Danger comes back with a Canadian Driver and they collide with stereo clotheslines, which stops them both. They trade strikes on the apron until they both deliver boots knocking each other to the floor. Negro whacks Danger over the head with a steel chair. Negro takes Danger out with a suicide dive. Danger spikes Negro with a piledriver but can’t get a three count. Negro kicks Danger from the apron and hits a middle rope Canadian Destroyer for the victory. (***. A solid match as they did many highspots and kept the interest of the fans. Some of the stuff they did really didn’t make a lot of sense, but visually it was entertaining if you ignore the lack of storytelling.)

Third Contest: TBD (Jason Cade & Jimmy Yuta) vs. Seth Petruzelli & Simon Grimm: Cade and Petruzelli kick off the tag match with Cade trying to get a rollup early on. Cade takes Petruzelli over with a head scissors before tagging in Yuta who hits a slingshot senton for a two count. Grimm tags in but Yuta chops away on him backing Grimm into a corner. Grimm shoves him away and is met with an armdrag. Yuta dropkicks Grimm a few times for a near fall. Petruzelli sneaks a tag and kicks Yuta before Grimm hits a half nelson suplex for a near fall. Seth delivers a running knee strike in the corner followed by another kick for a two count. Petruzelli drops Yuta face first to the mat but still can’t put him away. Grimm has a choke on Yuta but has to let go of the hold quickly. Seth and Grimm drop Yuta with a couple of kicks for a two count. Yuta continues to be worked over in the wrong corner. Grimm tosses Yuta with an overhead suplex for a two count. Cade gets the hot tag and he cleans house with right hands. The Dirty Blondes are coming out with Col. Robert Parker from WCW fame. Cade nails Grimm with a kick coming off the ropes and Cade gets distracted. Cade gets decked by the Blondes and that leads to Seth delivering a kick and Grimm hitting a piledriver for the win. (**. A decent enough tag match as I enjoyed what Seth and Grimm did in there. The apparent main story of the segment is the debut of Col. Robert Parker with the Dirty Blondes, which appears to fit those characters very well. I really don’t mind the WCW characters coming into MLW. Cade and Yuta are an enjoyable young team who just need some more seasoning.)

Backstage, Matt Riddle and Jeff Cobb are interviewed and they assuring us there isn’t a rift between them despite having to fight tonight. Riddle notes that he’s beaten Cobb several times. Cobb reminds Riddle he’s beaten him, too. They are going to steal the show and after the show still be bros. They wish each other the best of luck.

Backstage, Col. Robert Parker is interviewed with his new Stud Stable guys in the Dirty Blondes. Parker reminds everyone that he was the man who made Steve Austin, Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat a lot of money. He is proud of his boys.

Fourth Contest: Low Ki vs. Kotto Brazil: Ki attacks Brazil during his entrance from behind. Ki destroys Brazil on the floor with several chops. They get in the ring and Ki continues his dominance. Ki nails Brazil with a springboard kick and dropkicks Kotto into the corner. Ki removes Brazil’s mask and gets submission wins with a chokehold on the mat. (NR. This went exactly how it should have gone. Ki is usually a hit or miss guy for me, but this was a fun exhibition for Ki.) After the match, Stokley Hathaway cuts a promo saying that they must think they are stupid. He wants to know if MLW knows what Black Friday is and who they are. Tonight, they will find out. Ki delivers another kick to Brazil.

Fifth Contest: Chelsea Green vs. Priscilla Kelly: Kelly attacks before the bell but Green gets up and is continued to be worked over in the corner. Kelly comes out of the corner with a running kick to keep Green on the mat. They begin to trade forearm shots with Green getting the advantage but Kelly cuts her off. Green drops Kelly with a boot to the chest and Kelly rolls to the apron. Green connects with a bulldog and gets a two count on Kelly. Green delivers a swinging neckbreaker with her knee on the back of Kelly’s head. Green goes to the top but flips off and sells her knee as if she hurt it. Kelly rakes Green’s eyes and they leads to a disqualification, which the fans weren’t a fan of. After the match, Santana Garrett comes out but Kelly just leaves the ring laughing. (NR. It was going fine and then they did the DQ finish. Green was getting the crowd behind her, even with her basic tactic of just yelling “come on” over and over. It was odd that Garrett didn’t attack Kelly considering Kelly literally filmed her sleeping in her own home.)

Backstage, Shane Strickland is interviewed regarding his upcoming match against Brody King in the title tournament. Strickland puts over King for being a guy who has been dominating since he’s been in MLW. Brody comes into the scene and brawls with Strickland until officials keep them apart.

Sixth Contest: ACH vs. Austin Aries: They shake hands to show some respect for each other. They trade holds on the mat with neither man getting control for a long period of time. Aries gets a few near falls with a couple of rollups. ACH reaches the ropes to avoid the Last Chancery. ACH gets up and armdrags Aries before playing to the crowd and gets the crowd behind him when laying over the top rope, similar to Aries. Aries takes ACH over with armdrags but ACH gets a head scissors on until Aries delivers a handstand dropkick. Aries kicks ACH on the back to maintain control of the contest. ACH kicks Aries followed by a dropkick for a one count. ACH tries to pin Aries but can’t keep him down for a three count. ACH works over Aries with a chop in the corner for a one count. ACH springboard dropkicks Aries off the apron to the floor. ACH goes for a kick on the apron but Aries blocks it and drops ACH face first on the apron. Aries knee strike ACH and delivers a slingshot strike to the left arm of ACH. Aries hits a slingshot senton into the ring for a near fall. Aries comes off the middle rope with a forearm strike to the back for a near fall. ACH reaches the ropes to break a front facelock. Aries gets a creative pin fall attempt on ACH managing to get a near fall. Aries sends ACH chest first into the corner and strikes ACH from the apron. Aries drops ACH with a neckbreaker over the middle rope.

Aries heads to the top rope but misses a missile dropkick as ACH sidesteps the attack. ACH double stomps Aries on the back and a dropkick to a kneeling Aries. ACH clotheslines Aries in the corner and heads to the top rope missing a frog splash. Aries tries for a running dropkick but ACH delivers a kick and a slingshot cutter into the ring for a near fall.

ACH attempts a suplex but Aries is able to block it and delivers a knee breaker followed by a clothesline and elbow drop for a near fall. ACH blocks a brainbuster and kicks Aries to the floor. ACH delivers a kick from the apron and brings Aries back into the ring. ACH hits a frog splash but Aries pops his shoulder up at two. ACH has Aries on his shoulders but Aries breaks free and delivers a clap strike. ACH decks Aries with a lariat but still can’t put Aries away. ACH has Aries on the apron but Aries is able to drop ACH with a Death Valley Driver onto the apron! Aries charges the corner but ACH takes him down and goes to the top rope. ACH attempts the 450 splash but Aries gets his knees up and nearly wins. Aries gets the Last Chancery locked in but ACH reaches the bottom rope. ACH hits a slingshot flatliner from the apron into the ring but Aries hits a discus forearm and a running dropkick. Aries plants ACH with a brainbuster for the three count. (***1/2. A really solid showing by both men and probably the best Aries match I’ve seen on the independents since his WWE release. They were both motivated and they delivered a hell of a match for the MLW crowd. This was better than I thought it was going to be.) After the match, Aries cuts a promo saying that he’s going around the country collecting belts. Aries thinks his invitation got lost in the mail to be in the MLW Heavyweight Title Tournament. Aries notes that MLW will be introducing the MLW Middleweight Championship and he wants to put his name in for that.

Seventh Contest: Saieve Al Sabah & Vandal Ortagun vs. Barrington Hughes & Mike Parrow: I know there is an angle going on between these guys, but this just feels like a filler before the tournament matches. Parrow gets attacked before the actual start to the match. Parrow’s partner is the enormous Barrington Hughes, which gets a good reaction. Hughes gets the win on Ortagun with a splash. I was going to skip this, but that’s all that happened.

Backstage, Brody King is interviewed regarding his match with Shane Strickland. King says he gave Strickland a warning shot. King promises to destroy everyone in the brackets. Of course, he gets attacked by Strickland and they brawl.

Eighth Contest: MJF vs. Jimmy Havoc in a MLW World Title Tournament Match: MJF gives Havoc some money and suggests he just go to the backstage area. Havoc proceeds to give MJF a paper cut on his hand. Havoc pummels MJF in the corner with stomps and a series of strikes. MJF eye rakes Havoc and tosses Havoc with an overhead suplex. Havoc rolls to the floor to regroup. Havoc wants MJF to come to the floor but MJF says he’s not dumb. Havoc grabs a chair and tries to bring it into the ring while MJF is backing off. MJF drops Havoc’s left arm over the top rope and knocks Havoc to the floor. MJF plays to the crowd and goes to the floor to keep control on Havoc. MJF slams Havoc for a two count. MJF stomps on Havoc’s hand and chops him on the mat followed by a knee drop. MJF slams Havoc to the mat and argues with the referee on the near fall. MJF struts in the middle of the ring but Havoc comes out of the corner with a dropkick and forearm strike followed by a kick. Havoc heads to the middle rope hitting a double stomp for a two count. Havoc decks MJF with a forearm strike and attempts a clothesline but settles with a forearm. MJF hits a half nelson suplex and elbows Havoc in the corner followed by a double stomp to Havoc’s arm. MJF nearly wins with a pumphandle driver.

MJF continues to beat on Havoc, but Havoc asks for more. MJF begs off but pokes Havoc in the eyes only to be met with a superkick. Havoc forearms MJF and they both fall to the canvas. MJF gets an arm breaker on Havoc but can’t get a submission and Havoc reaches the ropes. MJF spikes Havoc with a package piledriver for a near fall. MJF goes to the floor and yells at a fan before grabbing a chair. MJF wants Havoc to hit him with the chair so he’ll win the match. Havoc decides not to use it and MJF spits at him. Havoc low blows MJF and nearly wins with an inside cradle. MJF tries for a tombstone but Havoc counters with one of his own. Havoc wins with the Acid Rainmaker. (**1/2. A fine opening round match for the tournament and it appears that Havoc is going to be a major force in MLW. Even in defeat, MJF was still presented strong and I thought MJF did a good job in his heel role.)

Ninth Contest: Shane Strickland vs. Brody King in a MLW World Title Tournament Match: Strickland kicks King a couple of times but King stops Strickland with a big boot. Strickland elbows out of a Death Valley Driver and chops King several times. King sends Strickland into the ropes but Shane comes back with a Flatliner. Strickland works over King in the corner with several strikes in the corner. Strickland knee lifts King and delivers a running uppercut. King powerslams Strickland into the corner, rather dangerously.

The referee quickly calls for medical but King doesn’t care and grabs Strickland to continue the match with forearms. Strickland is holding his neck as King tosses Strickland across the ring and connects with a cannonball splash in the corner for a two count. King clotheslines Strickland from behind and Strickland crashes to the floor. King grabs Strickland from the apron but Strickland fights back with strikes. King connects with an impressive double springboard somersault attack for a near fall.

King twists Strickland’s neck to keep control on the mat. King brings Strickland to the apron but Strickland drives Brody face first into the corner and connects with a German suplex. King no sells it and gets to his feet to deliver a lariat. King spikes Strickland with a piledriver for a near fall. They are on the apron but King just kicks Strickland back into the ring. King puts Strickland in a tree of woe but Strickland is able to catch King with a cutter. Strickland chops away on King several times. Strickland delivers a running kick and another cutter for a two count. King nearly wins with a German suplex and goes to the top rope. King gets crotched on the top rope and Strickland hammers away on King. Strickland attempts a superplex and connects with it. Strickland goes to the top rope and delivers a double stomp for the win. (***. An enjoyable match, but there is a trend going on with a heel dominating and then losing the last two minutes or so. King is a guy to watch for in 2018 as he’s really talented and a believable talent.)

Backstage, Tom Lawlor is offended when asked if he has anything to do with Black Friday Management. Lawlor doesn’t need any help and he’s going to take care of business tonight.

Tenth Contest: Tom Lawlor vs. MVP in a MLW World Title Tournament Match: Early on, they both try to take each other down to the mat but aren’t able to do so. Lawlor tosses MVP with a German suplex and taunts the crowd. MVP comes back with a series of German suplexs and takes Lawlor down to the mat looking for a Crossface but Lawlor is able to avoid it. Lawlor decks MVP with a cheap forearm followed by an elbow drop to the back of MVP’s head. Lawlor scoop slams MVP and delivers a rolling neck snap for a two count. Lawlor keeps MVP on the mat but that doesn’t lat very long and takes MVP down with a side Russian leg sweep. Lawlor keeps MVP on the mat with an ankle lock. Lawlor has control of MVP’s arm but is stomped. They trade go-behind attempts and MVP attempts a Sharpshooter but Lawlor takes MVP down to the mat and has an ankle lock on again. They begin to trade slaps on the mat and MVP gets the better of the exchange. Lawlor still gets a heel hook on MVP until a rope break ends that. Lawlor drops MVP with a short arm clothesline for a near fall. Lawlor strikes MVP in the corner but misses a splash in the corner. MVP nails Lawlor with a running big boot and an overhead suplex. MVP slams Lawlor to the mat and connects with the Ballin’ Elbow. Lawlor counters a suplex and grabs control of MVP’s left arm before hitting a German suplex. Lawlor switches into a chokehold but MVP is able to fight out of the hold. MVP takes Lawlor down to the mat and locks in the Crossface. Stokley Hathaway gets on the apron to distract the referee as Low Ki enters to kick MVP. Lawlor gets the cover and wins the match. (**. There was some good mat wrestling between these two, but I wasn’t overly entertained or anything. Is MVP incapable of putting someone over cleanly? The right guy won but it should have been a clean win. MVP shouldn’t be in MLW as he doesn’t fit in with the style they are trying to present.)

Eleventh Contest: Jeff Cobb vs. Matt Riddle in a MLW World Title Tournament Match: They start off with mat wrestling, as expected. Neither man gets the advantage and we get a standoff. Riddle takes Cobb down to the mat and they roll around a little bit. Riddle backs Cobb into a corner but backs away and taunts his partner. There continues to be standoffs after brief mat wrestling interaction. Riddle lifts Cobb up and just drops him down to the mat. Cobb tosses Riddle across the ring and Riddle is shocked to have been tossed like a rag doll. Riddle works over Cobb with several strikes in the corner and kicks to the chest followed by a couple of running forearms. Riddle attempts a splash but Cobb catches Riddle and tosses him across the ring with another overhead suplex. Cobb works over Riddle with chops and clotheslines. Cobb takes Riddle over with a snap suplex for a one count. Cobb tosses Riddle with another overhead suplex. They begin to trade strikes in the middle of the ring. Riddle attempts a gut wrench suplex but Cobb counters with several twirls and then tosses Riddle across the ring again. Cobb continues with a German suplex but Riddle no sells it. Cobb clotheslines Riddle to stop his momentum. Riddle avoids a running uppercut and locks in a chokehold. Riddle drops Cobb with a German suplex and hits the Bro To Sleep followed by a German suplex for a two count. Riddle comes off the ropes to kick Cobb followed by a stand senton. Riddle hits a gut wrench suplex but Cobb powers out at two.

Riddle staggers Cobb with a knee strike on the chin and attempts a slam but Cobb breaks free. Cobb absorbs a kick and knee strike before hitting a quick German suplex. Cobb hits a twisting side suplex and a running uppercut in the corner. Cobb puts Riddle on the top turnbuckle and delivers a dropkick. Cobb connects with a delayed vertical suplex off the middle rope to the canvas. Cobb goes for the cover but Riddle kicks out at two. Riddle pops to his feet having gotten a second wind. Riddle knee strikes the injured right arm of Cobb. Riddle wants to work over the arm but stops doing so. Riddle knee strikes Cobb and plants Cobb with a powerbomb followed by a knee strike to the face for the win. (***. A good match and I liked the subtle storytelling of Riddle not wanting to work over the injured arm of his partner and instead winning the match in a manner that he didn’t have to hurt his friend more. If you like chops, strikes and suplexs then this is a match you’re really going to enjoy.) After the match, they embrace.

A video promoting the main event between Sami Callihan and Darby Allin is shown.

Main Event: Darby Allin vs. Sami Callihan in a hardcore match: Darby spits in Sami’s face and Sami licks it off his face. That’s gross. Allin armdrags Sami but is met with a quick clothesline moments later and rolls to the floor. Callihan springboards off the middle rope to clothesline Allin to the floor off the apron. Sami takes Allin out with a suicide dive underneath the middle rope. Allin proceeds to come back with a suicide dive of his own and plays to the crowd after punching Sami several times. Sami tosses several chairs onto Allin on the floor. Sami takes sometime to kiss the camera lens. They brawl in the crowd as Allin walks the bar but is caught and Sami tosses Allin with an overhead suplex. Sami gouges Allin’s eyes with a banana on the floor and taunts Darby saying, “you wanted this”. Sami sends Darby back first into a wall in the crowd. Sami brings Allin back into the ring and continue the match legally. Allin sends Sami face first into a chair in the corner followed by a stunner. Sami counters a springboard off the top rope by tossing Allin off and into the balcony!

Callihan follows to the floor after playing to the crowd. Sami spits on his hand and chops Allin, which was another gross moment. Callihan sets a chair up in the ring as Allin struggles to his feet. Allin elbows Sami to break free a few times. Sami nails Allin with a big boot on the chin. Sami goes for a German suplex but Allin counters and manages to hit a springboard twisting splash. Sami slams Allin back first onto the chair for a near fall. Sami puts a chair on Darby’s legs and smashes a second chair onto the ankles of Darby. Allin dropkicks Sami to drop him throat first over the second rope. Allin chokes Sami for a moment and hits a Code Red for a two count. Callihan gets a Stretch Muffler on Allin but Darby counters with a rollup. Sami decks Allin with a lariat to turn Allin inside out. Sami pulls Allin up to his feet and grabs a chair just to toss it at Allin. Allin grabs a chair and we’re getting dueling chairs.

Allin tosses his chair away and is going to let Sami hit him, but avoids the chair shot and kicks Sami. Allin goes for the cover but Sami kicks out at two. Allin goes under the ring and grabs a table bringing it into the ring. Allin works over Sami with several chair shots to the midsection. Allin puts a chair over Sami’s head and goes to the top rope. Sami tosses a chair at Allin to stop him on the top turnbuckle. Sami brings the table over to the corner. Sami puts Allin through the table with a middle rope piledriver for a near fall.

Sami goes to the floor and grabs a roll of duct tape. Callihan tapes Allin’s hands behind his back. Priscilla Kelly gets on the apron but Jimmy Havoc comes in to hit an Acid Rainmaker. Callihan kicks out at two and Allin hits the Coffin Drop for the win. (***1/2. An enjoyable brawl, but the interference finish is annoying. I could tell that the fans didn’t like that finish, either. Allin comes across as the star of the match for the bumps he took while Sami got reactions for doing the actions on a smaller Allin. A really good and fun match to close the show. Entertaining largely because of Allin’s stunts.) After the match, Joey Janela breaks a beer bottle over Allin’s head. Janela puts his glasses on and lights up a cigarette because he’s a bad boy.

Final Thoughts:
I thought it was a good show as there were several quality matches and the tournament is shaping up nicely. The main event between Allin/Callihan was fun and it’s making me want to see more of Allin’s work. I’ll recommend this show.

Thanks for reading.

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