Preview by Drew Sexton
It is said that the world of Major League Wrestling never stops; while that is a self-proclamation, there is some real weight to those words. There are partnerships that have yet to materialize, a pending lawsuit with World Wrestling Entertainment, and talent comes and goes like a revolving door. Promises made have not always been kept. MLW’s “fake it till you make it” attitude has produced some of the best and the worst of professional wrestling clickbait; and from that standpoint, sometimes they can be an easy target to make fun of.
MLW aims to produce the type of “sports-based” product often promised by other companies. The various divisions are named after traditional combat sports weight classes (although that’s not always adhered to), they feature a show called “Fightland,” and there is frequent use of the adage “styles make fights.” Nevertheless, despite all of those attempts to promote themselves as the place where traditional fights happen, we often are treated to standard new age wrestling tropes made famous by Vince Russo-era WCW. With all of their potential, MLW continues to very often shoot itself in the foot.
I know this is probably not the best way to start a preview intended to talk people in the door of a promotion I have followed weekly over the past four years, so let’s discuss some of the positives around this weekend’s show. MLW has put together an incredible lineup for this Sunday’s (in my home state of Georgia) “Super Series,” featuring talents from Japan’s Dragongate and Mexico’s AAA, which will feature matches taped for the upcoming season of MLW Fusion. “Super Series” is not a new concept to MLW fans. The gimmick was last run in 2020 (pre-pandemic), billed as MLW vs. AAA, with MLW claiming a 5-3 win over AAA in the series. This time around, the series will feature the added bonus of Dragongate standouts SB KENTo and Shun Skywalker.
Let’s take a look at the card.
Former National Openweight champion (and Georgia native) Alex Kane has laid out an open challenge he’s calling “Peach State Prize Fight.” Kane has improved since arriving in MLW in 2021. He’s gone from a guy with the proverbial a deer in headlights look when asked to perform in a featured match to being able to hold his own. His efforts in the training room on the mat and the weight room are noticeable. I would love to see fellow Georgia native AC Mack accept the open challenge. Mack has earned another major promotion opportunity, having not appeared on television since his NXT bout against Dominik Dijakovic back in 2018. I expect whomever it is to work to Kane’s style of match.
A four-way number one contender match sees AAA luchadoras Lady Shani and La Hiedra, along with freelancers Lady Flammer and Reina Dorada, fight for their opportunity to take on Featherweight champ (and fellow AAA mainstay) Taya Valkyrie. Expect fast-paced lucha action.
The meat of the card features a bout for the MLW National Openweight title, with champion Davey Richards taking on Dragongate’s SB KENTo. Davey is no stranger to Dragongate style opponents, having spent time in Dragongate’s United States offshoot DGUSA back in 2009. This weekend, he faces a young upstart that started his training and broke in while Richards was on his hiatus from wrestling. The 22-year-old SB KENTo is going to impress many people who have never seen him before. He is everything one looks for in a young star, good-looking, charismatic, and a sound technician. Expect Richards and KENTo to kick like they hate each other and exchange wacky holds you’ve never seen before.
“Super Series” will also feature a guy Dragongate fans have been raving about for a few years now, Shun Skywalker. Skywalker challenges for the Middleweight title against Myron Reed. The three-time champion looks to retain his title against the most formidable opponent he’s faced during any of his reigns. These two young wrestlers will look to put on a show that could either be an amazing spectacle or possibly turn into a train wreck. Expect to see a back-and-forth series of dives.
Speaking of dives, the trios match, Laredo Kid, Komander & Microman vs. Gino Medina, Black Taurus, & Mini Abismo Negro, will be packed with action from guard rail to guard rail in a bout with no title implications. Many of these names have passed through the MLW ropes since the relaunch, with Microman and Gino competing through the most recent season of Fusion. Lucha fans will enjoy this one.
Willie Mack will make his MLW television debut against Jacob Fatu; that sentence alone should sell the fight. These two big men, at a combined weight of 560 pounds, are heavy, agile, and tougher than a Waffle House steak at 2 am. This match feels like it would be a Mid-South barnburner in 1981. Expect a slugfest with some moonsaults mixed in, just because they can.
The scheduled main event is a Heavyweight championship match, with champion Alexander Hammerstone vs. challenger Bandido. When MLW says styles make fights, this is what I imagine they are referring to. This match should not work on paper and could get sloppy, but these two men will give it a hell of a shot. Bandido recently competed in a four-way for the Middleweight championship, so this will not be his first time contending for an MLW title. Bandido feels like he is a perfect aesthetic and stylistic fit for Court Bauer’s image of an MLW roster member; I hope he sticks around.
I mentioned earlier that, at its worst, MLW tends to deviate into bad Russo-era WCW style segments, but one thing MLW does well is understand formatting and layout of shows. They tend to get the cruiserweights and squashes out early to get the crowd hot, before moving through the story driven matches and angles, before finishing up with the big men and title bouts. Based on the look of this card, expect the same structure here.