This is the most anticipated match in MLW history. Battle Riot was thought up by MLW Owner Court Bauer over a decade ago. While being a writer for WWE Court even pitched it to Vince McMahon. Finally this match comes to fruition. It’s Royal Rumble meets Extreme Rules meets Money In The Bank. Forty participants battle with the only way to win is by pinfall, submission or throwing someone over the top rope until there is only one person left.
This show also has a card before the actual match. It’s the longest show MLW has put on in the BeIn Sports era. Let’s get this show going shall we?
Tony Schiavone welcomes us and runs down what Battle Riot is, some match competitors and then welcomes his new commentator Matt Striker. No word on what happened to Rich Bocchini. Typical MLW fashion though, they didn’t tell Rich when he was getting replaced on the MLW Flagship Podcast or tell us why Larry Dallas was taken off the show. One of the few things I dislike about how MLW runs their company.
Byron Reed vs. Kotto Brazil
Interesting that the show is starting off with a match that has one MLW roster member and one “prospect”. Striker says Reed is the hottest prospect in the industry right now. The match is pretty basic with some light applause by the crowd but nothing that really screams “opening match in 2018”. The opening match should get the crowd rocking and setting the tone for the night. I think a lot has to do with one of the combatants not being known by the crowd.
Brazil does back to back tope suicidas that wakes the crowd up a bit. That leads to a “dive off” between the two. A nice little spot where Kotto jumps off the top rope and Reed gets his legs up but Brazil grabs the legs and turns it into an Edgecution submission.
The men are giving it their all with some flips and cutters and 450’s that lead to nearfalls and counters which really brings the crowd into the match. It’s a beautiful thing to watch two wrestlers win a crowd over with their match. Kotto won the match with a variation of the Sliced Bread.
MJF is interviewed about his upcoming Middleweight Championship match against Joey Ryan. MJF kind of blows off the question to talk about why New York is the greatest city in the world, because he was born there.
Konnan is interviewed about coming out of retirement for the Battle Riot match. It’s fun to see some legends coming to MLW for this match, we know they won’t do much but it still feels special.
Speaking of feeling special L.A. Park is coming back to MLW!!!
Joey Ryan had to cut weight for this match so he lost about a pound of baby oil and cut out lollipops because of the sugar content. Joey said he is rich too but not from a trust fund, he got it by wrestling. That means he is very good at what he does and he will be the first MLW Middleweight Champion.
We get to see Team Filthy pick their numbers out of a tumbler to see where they are in the Battle Riot.
MLW Middleweight Championship
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Joey Ryan
As the entrances are made, I can’t help but realize that MLW needs to work on entrance music. Nothing really screams out to me as memorable, all the songs are pretty damn generic. It doesn’t hurt the wrestlers, but it doesn’t help them either.
Joey comes out with a lollipop. That makes sense because it’s after weigh-ins. He is a fan favorite though so of course he is giving that lolly away.
We get the classic baby oil pour on Joey as well. The man knows how to maximize his minutes and bring the entertainment. Huge “Touch His Dick” chant by the crowd and Schiavone has no idea how to respond!
MJF isn’t a slouch at crowd participation either, he knows how to play off of Joey’s character and scream at the fans. Constant “Touch It” chants by the crowd. MJF said “I’ll touch it, if he shakes my hand” and Joey says that he has seen this before and he will get punched in the face. MJF goes for the punch and Joey is able to counter into a dropkick to officially kick off the match.
MJF instantly goes for Joey’s arm and is relentless on his attack to the limb. It’s easier for me to understand what they are going for in this match because the commentary team explains the story very well. There isn’t any awkward silences and the match is almost broken down academically. It’s nice.
MJF loses his advantage when he yells to the crowd “Joey sucks.. JUST LIKE YOU” to the crowd and that bit of distraction gave Joey the opportunity to turn the match in his favor. It’s hard for Joey to keep the momentum because his arm has already been damaged so much that Ryan is favoring the arm before, during and after every move.
Joey was bringing the punches to MJF, but Joey gets spit on by the Burberry Brawler. Then an eye poke by MJF led to Joey running into Maxwell and colliding heads. Then colliding heads again..
As we now know, Joey’s head is as strong as a Samoan’s head in wrestling cannon.
Joey then pulled a sour apple sucker out of his trunks, put the sucker in MJF’s mouth. Joey went for Sweet Tooth Music as Matt Striker made comments like “I think there is a hair on it.” and “You think it tastes salty?” MJF hit a shoulderbreaker out of no where for the win. The first thing he said is “I told you losers I wouldn’t touch it” then he cuts a heel promo to a chorus of boo’s. Congratulations to the new Middleweight Champion Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Good stuff.
Sami Callihan and his Death Machine pick their numbers without saying anything.
Recap of last week’s show followed by Swoggle picking his number. Swoggle looked and said “Old Bushwhacker Luke”. Back into last weeks recap. So the production is great but it seems like jumps around a bit, which kind of throws you out of the show.
MLW World Heavyweight Champion Low Ki has an interview along with Salina Del Renta. Salina does a great job.
We come back from break with the crowd chanting “BATTLE RIOT”. This is a first time match and my first time reviewing something like this. So let’s see how it goes. I hope it isn’t too chaotic. In bold will be the entrants. The eliminations will be mentioned if caught.
Pentagon Jr. is the first man in the match. Huge ovation and the spot in the match doesn’t seem to bother Pentagon because he has zero fear.
Fenix draws number two. Fenix is brothers with Pentagon as well as MLW Tag Team Champions with the man he is across the ring from to start Battle Riot.
The match starts with a handshake and is followed by a back kick from Pentagon. These two start going hard and their are already pin attempts 30 seconds into the match. Both men connect with kicks to the head that knocked them down as the 3rd man in the match makes his entrance.
Brody King comes out to a nice reaction. He is making his name on the super indie scene. The man is large and in a punk rock band. He is also attacked instantly by the Lucha Bros. and before he can get anything in Kenny Doane comes out and gets “Spirit Squad” chants. Kenny has been doing a Squad World Order gimmick in Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore as of late.
The Lucha Bro’s are separated and the brawling starts up when Tom Lawlor comes out at #5. Tom puts a choke on Brody as soon as Lawlor enters the ring and Brody is eliminated. Lance Anao’i makes his way to the ring. Outside of his family lineage I can’t say I know much about Lance. Anao’i gets beaten up by Fenix right when he enters the match and Kenny tries to eliminate Pentagon over the top rope. Rey Horus comes out next and is another unfamiliar wrestler to me.
What I get nervous about for this match is that a majority of the wrestlers aren’t well known or have a connection with the crowd so it’s hard to stay invested. Just as I say that Kevin Sullivan makes his way to the ring. HE HAS THE GOLD SPIKE!!!
But just as fast as he is in the ring he has to tap out to a rear naked choke by Lawlor. Striker says that is huge for Lawlor because Sullivan has never tapped out ever. Fallah Bahh comes out and the crowd is loving it. Swoggle comes out and goes right for Bahh’s butt. The King of Small Style hits Austrian suplexes on almost all the men in the match. It’s like a German suplex but a little smaller.
Samu former Headshrinker comes to the ring and starts headbutting everyone except Lance. The Samoans team up and head butt Fallah. Samu is then thrown over the top rope by Lance who Tony says is his son.
ACH comes out next and this match is non-stop. Commentary is keeping it together nicely but we have settled in to the nice routine of every minute one or two guys get a spot in and then a new guy. It’s interesting no weapons have been used yet. Konnan comes out to a huge pop! The man still draws some emotion from the crowd and he is able to still sorta get some moves in, even after hip surgery. THE TEQUILLA SUNRISE on Tom but Konnan is knocked down as Barrington Hughes comes to the ring and directly belly bumps Fallah Bahh. Swoggle tries to get in on the fun but is choked out by Lawlor. I’m pretty sure Tom has every elimination but one.
Jimmy Yuta makes his entrance. Outside of MLW Jimmy has been on DOJO Pro. Barrington pins Ken Doan, Lance Anoa’i and Konnan. Then Fenix, Fallah and Pentagon are all eliminated. Kotto Brazil is back for a second time in the night who is followed by Richard Holliday who comes out to little reaction. We are almost in the halfway point and have hit a little lull.
Fred Yehi makes his way to the ring and almost kills Kotto!
Brazil is eliminated shortly after. Jason Cade comes out to the ring and he and Jimmy Yuta go right for each other due to their past history of being a tag team that has recently broken up.
Hughes just eliminated a few people but all the participants except Tom Lawlor went to throw Barrington over the top rope and he brought everyone with him. So when Teddy Hart comes to the ring it is back to a one-on-one match. At most for the next minute.
Teddy doesn’t enter the match and just backflips from the top rope to the outside. The referee who I believe is Bryce Remsburg tells Teddy he is eliminated! Wow. Teddy didn’t go over the top rope though, so I’m not sure what that was.
Vandal Ortagun from Turkey comes out and throws punches at Tom Lawlor until Lawlor taps Vandal out with an armbar. Mikey Mondo from Spirit Squad is the next man out and he is blowing a whistle and swimming on the top rope. He does an entrance that ends with him twerking and getting caught with a choke by Tom Lawlor. Mikey blows a whistle the whole time.
PCO is out next and how Lawlor has any chance to choke out someone who isn’t human is beyond me. PCO is able to fight out of a Tom Lawlor submission and finally lasts longer than 60 seconds. There was a small trend for a while. LA SMOOTH is out next Matt Striker doesn’t know LA Smooth, Striker knows him as Lloyd. Lloyd is eliminated off of a clothesline by PCO.
Simon Gotch is out next and PCO is in trouble with Team Filthy being two of the three wrestlers in the ring. That lasts for as long as it could until Homicide runs to the ring. Except Homicide goes right to PCO so Team Filthy just sit and watch those two fight. Davey Boy Smith Jr. makes his way out and goes right for Team Filthy. Davey is a catch wrestling champion and Lawlor is a UFC fighter, so their styles match up very well and make them natural rivals in wrestling.
Blue Meanie comes out to maybe the loudest pop of the night. Meanie gets Homicide to dance a bit but then Homicide throws Blue out faster than I thought he’d get thrown out. PCO is thrown out as well. Michael Patrick from Dirty Blondes fame makes his way to the ring as Matt Striker calls him a “modern day Dick Murdoch” which is a tall order to live up to.
The match breaks into a brawl a bit when Sami Callihan comes into the ring and instantly eliminates Homicide. Still no weapons in this Battle Riot match, I feel like there should be by now. Sawyer is out next and now we have two from Team Filthy as well as two from Death Machine. It’s nice that there is a good amount of factions in MLW so it makes Battle Riot a bit more interesting.
Shane Strickland enters his house and goes right for Sami Callihan. Sawyer is involved quickly to help Sami take Shane out. As Callihan uses the ropes to choke Shane, another Death Machine member Leon Scott enters the fray. Davey Boy is eliminated by Death Machine as the commentary puts over Tom Lawlor’s stamina.
Drago has his shoulder wrapped up when he enters the ring. On the MLW Flagship Podcast Konnan said that Drago was injured but said he was well enough to wrestle. It’s apparent we don’t have an 100% Drago because he doesn’t have the same snap as he usually does. Drago does bite the boot of Sami though, so that was fun. Leo Bryan makes his entrance. He would have to be the Dusty Rhodes to Michael Patrick’s Dick Murdoch.
Joey Ryan comes out and Matt Striker mentions that he would love to look through Joey’s phone. Matt Striker has never been one to keep his horniness in the shadows. MJF is #37 and both he and Ryan are eliminated within 30 seconds of the Middleweight Champions entrance. Jake Hager formerly known as Jack Swagger comes out. The match is so chaotic that the crowd doesn’t even do a 10 count for every entrance. I’m sure some men have been eliminate that I haven’t caught. Striker says Hager is now the favorite now that Davey Boy Smith Jr. is out. He says Lawlor is a close number two, even though he has been in the ring the longest.
John Hennigan runs to the ring and takes out Sami as the final entrant Jimmy Havoc enter the Battle Riot. No weapons in this match yet. Now that all 40 men are in the ring. Tony chooses Jake Hager to win and Striker chooses Lawlor.
Leo Bryan is tossed out by Shane Strickland. There are 7 competitors left from what I can see. Swerve, Sawyer, Jimmy Havoc, Jake Hager, John Hennigan, Tom Lawlor and Sami Callihan.
Hennigan gets a small package on Sawyer to drop the number to six. Sawyer doesn’t go away quietly as he clotheslines the hell out of Hennigan. The referee in the ring has his work cut out for him as there are multiple pin attempts. Strickland throws Havoc out and Sami tries to do the same to Shane but Swerve hangs on long enough to pull Sami over the top to the apron as well. Sami hits an apron piledriver to eliminate Strickland. As Sami is taunting Lawlor chokes out Sami and drops Callihand to the floor.
Hager quickly eliminates Hennigan to make it down to two men. Jake Hager and Tom Lawlor. Tony’s pick vs. Matt’s pick. Team Filthy vs. The Stud Stable. Bellator vs. UFC. Jake is able to get a near fall on Tom Lawlor. Lawlor is putting up a hell of a fight after wrestling for over an hour.
When Lawlor entered the ring he was boo’d. Now at the end of this match, the crowd in New York are chanting “Filthy Tom, Filthy Tom”. The persistence, the heart and never say die attitude has won this crowd over. The whole time Jake has the match in hand the commentary team can not stop putting Tom over. The crowd, the presentation and the commentary team are making this Tom’s match. This is Lawlor’s star making moment. Lawlor is landing kick after kick to Hager’s chest and the crowd is along for everything Tom does.
Hager gets caught in a rear naked choke and is unable to break the choke. Jake goes for a rope break but Battle Riot is No DQ. Jake is able to drop to the ground and put Tom in the Ankle Lock as the crowd screams “Please Don’t Tap” to their new hero Tom Lawlor.
Tom attempts to kick the face and hands of Hager but to no avail. Lawlor attempts to climb the ropes with his hands to ease the pain but Jake pulls Tom back into the middle of the ring as Striker says “Tom is willing to risk a broken ankle for a shot at the MLW World Heavyweight Championship.” Tom and Tony talk about how the match is basically over and mention that Tom is biting his own hand to transfer the pain. Lawlor crawls on the top rope and hangs on the outside. He grabs the ropes for leverage and is able to use his legs to pull Jake Hager over the top rope to win the match to the delight of the crowd.
Striker runs to the ring to interview Lawlor after the tremendous victory. Lawlor gets a standing ovation. This match went by so much faster than I thought it would and was a hell of a ride. I am excited for whatever MLW has in store for us next. Especially with War Games on the horizon.