MLW Fusion Recap Episode 17: John Hennigan vs. Teddy Hart

Previously on MLW Fusion: Jimmy Havoc withstood a beating at the hands of Brody King long enough to gain a victory, Jake Hager quickly disposed of Simon Gotch and Sami Callihan was able to defeat former World Champion Shane Strickland.

Cold Open

There isn’t one! We start right off with a match. Shane Strickland, Kotto Brazil and Barrington Hughes have a backstage promo during Leon Scott’s entrance and challenges Sami Callihan and the Death Machines to a War Games match. Most participants have yet to be named.

Leon Scott vs. Barrington Hughes

The match starts without the ref in the ring. After some punches the ref slides in to ring the bell. The story of the match is established quickly. Barrington Hughes has won every match in less than 10 seconds and hasn’t been knocked off his feet.

This match lasts about 45 seconds with Barrington never leaving his feet, going for the win and Sami Callihan attacks Hughes. Hughes then gets taken down after a baseball bat to the dome by Callihan.

Kotto comes out to the ring and demands another ref come to the ring. Calls Sami a ‘boy’ and challenges Callihan to a one-on-one match RIGHT NOW! “Kotto can and Kotto will WHIP YOUR ASS”

Kotto Brazil vs. Sami Callihan

The match starts after some brawling that Sami gets the upperhand in. Once Sami is in control he tells the ref to ring the bell.

This starts off like a fight and Sami clearly dominating. Kotto showing some heart but gets caught in a flatliner and Sami demands a standing 10 count. That’s something new and has never really been an established rule in MLW. It’s nice to know that someone can win by countout. All we need is some time-limit announcements before the match starts so we can also get that rule up and going again. I feel like the loss of time-limit draws in wrestling was unnecessary.

The crowd is fully behind Kotto and Sami is doing a great job at building sympathy for his opponent. Sami stays in control except for the little moments where he takes too long to perform a move and Brazil is able to hit a big move to even the field.

That move to me seems so simple, yet so dangerous. It’s on Kotto to have the athleticism to jump backwards and land correctly. It’s also on the timing of Sami on when to know the correct time to run forward. Easily this move could result in an injury to the neck of Callihan, yet when being performed in the middle of a match you really pay no mind to the dangers of it. Its moves like this that keep Kotto in the match though.

Sami yells at the crowd to move and they part like the Red Sea did to Moses. Sami sets up a chair upside down on another chair with legs up first. Tony and Rich can’t believe what Callihan is attempting and Sami goes to crucifix powerbomb Kotto onto the chairs.

Kotto escapes with superkicks to Sami followed by a code red for a near fall. Sami is able to quickly gain the advantage with a powerbomb off the top rope into a shoulderbreaker for the finish. What a great match! It was impormptu, it had a story built in, as well as telling a story DURING the match. Love it.

The New Hart Foundation are sitting outside their house when MLW cameras show up. Teddy is upset because his family always are the stars of these expose’s and he ain’t having it. Teddy says “You call Brian Pillman the ‘Loose Cannon’ for a reason, I feel like pulling  out something and pissing all over you”.  The New Hart Foundation says they don’t like “these jabroni websites and jabroni journalism” and he chases off the camera. Ends with Schiavone saying that Brian Pillman Jr. seems out of place with Teddy and Davey Boy Smith Jr.

Konnan is interviewed backstage about his involvement with Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix. He says he is just looking out for them. Low-Ki shows up and says that he and Konnan go way back, tells Konnan that “it might be in your best interest to mind your own business.” 

MLW Middleweight Championship

Joey Janela vs. MJF (c)

This match is a Falls Count Anywhere match and Joey brings the ref to MJF’s dressing room to start the match. That is such a creative way to start the match! Whoever came up with that should get a bunch of money.

MJF and Janela fight through the crowd and Joey jumps off of a bar, but gets caught by MJF. MJF doesn’t stay in control for long because he played to the crowd. Janela started getting creative with the chairs and slamming MJF’s hand on the back of a folding chair. They are finally fighting to the ring but aren’t going in it.

Commentary puts over how Janela is from Jersey and MJF is from The Hamptons. How MJF made fun of people like Joey all throughout school. Janela is able to get on the offensive but then MJF grabs Janela’s girlfriend, Aria Blake. That is enough of a distraction for MJF to slow things down and get the match in the ring.

The crowd is split with chants of “Bad Boy/Trust Boy”. MLW cuts to commercial and when we come back Janela is getting a nearfall after a chair shot to MJF. Freidman kicks out and someone in the crowd says “goddamn Maxwell”

Janela yells at the crowd that he will send MJF “straight to Hell”. They fight up to the entrance ramp as Janela tells MJF, “It’s time to pass away”. MJF hits a low blow but Janela backdrops MJF. Joey asks Aria for a kiss, Blake walks up to Joey and breaks a bottle over the Bad Boy’s head. MJF gets the pin for the win and Aria tends to MJF and heals him with a kiss. Tony says Aria traded up but Rich says Aria is a gold digger. Back to back great matches. This show is on fire right now.

Callihan hijacks a camera to talk about War Games. He tells Shane Strickland that he found a teammate. He opens the door to show Jimmy Havoc. Callihan asks Havoc to join his team, Jimmy brings up Mexico. Sami says “we agreed to never bring up Mexico”. Sami pitches how dangerous War Games is and how Jimmy can cause pain and destruction to 5 men inside the double ring double cage. Sami says he is gonna buy Jimmy Havoc some Stella to drink and Jimmy says he will participate in the match.

Team Filthy is out back and are confronted by Stud Stable. Tom told the Stud Stable can fight Team Filthy at Tom’s Dojo.

Konnan convinces Pentagon and Fenix to tear up their contracts with Salina De La Renta.

Kevin Sullivan is caught backstage telling Brian Pillman Jr. to not hang out with Teddy Hart. Brian calls Kevin “Big Brother”, he tells Kevin that he respects Hart and Smith Jr. because they experienced the same life experiences as himself. Kevin turns around and tells the camera to leave.

Teddy Hart vs. John Hennigan

I don’t know how to feel about Teddy Hart. He seems so expressionless, which makes me uncomfortable because I’m not used to wrestlers having the facial expressions Teddy has. His matches are also a bit different, but the crowd loves him. Hart is a recovering addict that seems to have his life back on track and really making a go at wrestling, maybe for the first time ever.

Hennigan is announced from Slam Town, which I believe is located near Parts Unknown, Dudleyville and Suplex City.

Commentary says if Hennigan wins he will be able to enter the MLW Top Ten rankings. Both men are able to go hold for hold with each other as the crowd again is split. “Let’s Go Johnny/Teddy Hart”. Teddy shows a rare smile.

Teddy and Hennigan are showing that they are athletic equals in a great little sequence.

Ok, Teddy is a gif machine…

That is a Teddy Hart match in a nutshell. Crazy moves, sometimes sloppily performed, no expression and little story. It’s just so enthralling to watch because there is really nothing like it in wrestling. Hennigan is a great opponent because he himself has some innovative offense and plays a great foil to Teddy Hart and Teddy’s wrestling style.

Like, you’re just gonna have to watch this whole damn match if you want to catch some of this crazy shit. I can’t GIF it all, but Johnny is hitting rolling Samoan drops from the top rope. Teddy walks on Johnny’s back and turns that into a code red. There is just so much craziness packed into a little more than 10 minutes.

The crowd is starting to turn on John and Hennigan returns the favor by making a remark to a fan about the fan’s mother and John ends the insult with “fat boy”. Hart is able to jump off the top rope to a standing Hennigan and hit a Canadian destroyer. Both men are getting nearfalls and complaining to the referee for a slow count.

Teddy hits a moonsault to the outside and takes John out as well as a couple fans. Teddy is selling his hip, which might be a legit injury because of all the batshit stuff that’s happened. As Hennigan tries to enter the ring Teddy hits a slingshot piledriver. Hart starts grabbing at his own leg after that move.. I don’t even know what’s going on anymore.

We get a yay/boo spot, which leads to a shining wizard by Hennigan. These two are back fighting on the top rope and Hennigan is back to yelling at the crowd. A Spanish fly from the top rope for a two count! Imagine every move being gifable without context and this is that match. I’m legit skipping over stuff because there is SO MUCH.

Teddy hits a cradle DDT, a powerbomb backcracker, back to back top rope Asai moonsaults and THAT ISN’T ENOUGH to put away Hennigan. Teddy is selling his ribs a bit, which is on top of his hips and leg. Hennigan is able to counter a sunset flip by Teddy by hooking Hart’s legs for the pin. What a way to end that crazy f’n battle. Please for your own sake, click play on that video and if you won’t watch the whole show, watch that damn match.

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