MLW Rise of the Renegades (TV Tapings)
Thursday, April 4
7:00 p.m.
Melrose Ballroom
New York City, New York, USA


MLW Rise of the Renegades is in a weird position as it happens before MLW’s big show of the week—Battle Riot II—which is scheduled for the next day (Friday, April 5). However, the episodes recorded here will air after Battle Riot II, creating a similar kind of continuity issue we used to see back in the early 90s with WWE and WCW.

MLW Fusion tends to be solid TV wrestling and rarely tends to be either great or outright bad. Here they have assembled one of the better cards of the entire week and we’ll see whether they can deliver.

Tables Match – Hart Foundation (Brian Pillman Jr., Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Teddy Hart) vs. Dinasty (MJF, Alex Hammerstone & Richard Holliday)

The Hart Foundation has been one of the staples of the promotion and currently they hold both the MLW Tag and Middleweight titles. They originally started out as heels but turned face when they started feuding with MJF’s Dinasty stable. While the Harts character work has been great their in-ring has been more of a mixed bag.

The match with the Lucha Bros where they won the tag titles was kind of a mess and was held together by Teddy Hart of all people. If you know anything about Teddy Hart you know how weird of a statement that is. Meanwhile, Brian Pillman Jr., who pulled himself up by his bootstraps by calling two major names in wrestling to start off his career, is still incredibly green. While he does have some potential he is still very rough around the edges.

On the other side of the ring, Dinastay is a faction that is 100% carried by MJF. Even as a regular MLW viewer there is very little I can tell you about his stablemates other than that they certainly exist and are professional wrestlers.

Now with Teddy Hart involved this match has some car crash potential. MJF is also one of the key pieces of AEW so his MLW tenure might be coming to an end soon. Prediction: Hart Foundation

Ace Romero vs. Josef Samael

The recent angle MLW shot with their new Contra Force faction garnered a massive amount of heat. They caused a near riot after a tremendous squash match and showed off Jacob Fatu’s impressive athleticism. So far there is only one announced match involving a Contra Force member Josef Samael fka former NWA Worlds  Heavyweight Champion The Almighty Sheik vs. Ace Romero. If MLW can repeat the amount of heat Contra Force had at the last taping here they might have something on their hands. Prediction: Josef Samael

Hijo de LA Park vs. Gringo Loco

Gringo Loco has been a regular of the midwest indie scene for years and mainly worked in GALLI and AIW. While he went winless in MLW last year. He has been unbeaten so far this year with wins over Puma King and Myron Reed. Hijo de LA Park is here because his dad is booked on the card as well. With that said he has shown some improvement recently, but with his dad being who he is he will always be measured on a higher curve than others. I expect Gringo’s win streak to continue here. Prediction: Gringo Loco

Minoru Tanaka vs. Daga

This match has the potential to be the best of the entire taping. While Minoru Tanaka hasn’t been getting much mainstream exposure since leaving New Japan in 2008 and even then New Japan didn’t have close to the visibility it has now, he has quietly been one of the best workers on the Japanese indie circuit. Now 46 he has slowed down a little bit, but is still capable of having a great match with the right opponent. Daga meanwhile might be just that opponent. He tends to work more of a Kings Road style, which sometimes has made him a bit of weird fit in Mexico.

Now the quality of this match is subject to the levels of motivation of the workers involved and that tends to be a bit of a problem with MLW in general. Nevertheless, the potential is there for this to be a great match and a the very least it is going to be solid. Prediction: Daga

Sami Callihan vs. Mance Warner

Sami Callihan was one of the cornerstones of MLW early in its return but hasn’t been seen in the promotion since losing to LA Park late last year. Mance meanwhile is the man that is currently feuding with LA Park, a feud that seems to be continuing judging by the last MLW episode, which went off the air with Mance assaulting Park.

These two men work a very similar style. So expect a lot of crowd brawling in this one. As Callihan seems to be somewhat done with MLW and given that Mance is involved in a high profile feud expect Callihan to pass the brawler torch to Mance here. Prediction: Mance Warner

MJF vs. Brian Pillman Jr.

Both men are involved in a taxing Table match earlier in the show. As mentioned before Brian Pillman Jr. is still green and MJF’s in-ring is nowhere near as good as his character work. Don’t go into this expecting much. The set up for this is Brian Pillman Jr. promising revenge against MJF after Teddy Hart got arrested by an invisible cop. Given that MJF is likely wrapping up here I expect BPJ to get it here as well. Prediction: Brian Pillman Jr.

Street Fight – MLW World Championship – Tom Lawlor (c) vs. Jimmy Havoc

Tom Lawlor has ascended to the top of the promotion and is now unequivocally the ace of the promotion. He has been unbeaten since winning the first Battle Riot last year, but just before that win, there was one man that managed to beat him. Jimmy Havoc beat him in a grueling death match that saw Havoc’s arm get sliced up badly.

Now with Havoc on his way to AEW he makes one last stop in MLW to finally settle things with Lawlor. While the outcome of the match is very much not in doubt it is still a neat little story with Havoc being the last guy to beat Lawlor in MLW. Given that this a No-DQ stipulation involving Jimmy Havoc expect a lot of weapon usage and blood. Prediction: Tom Lawlor

LA Park vs Pentagon Jr.

Now on paper, this match sounds absolutely awesome. However, there is somewhat of a cap on the level of match you tend to get in MLW. Further, the motivation levels of both guys are tightly linked to the level of performance we get from both men. MLW isn’t that high on list the list for either of them. The ceiling of this match is insanely high but its very unlikely that they will get there. Nevertheless, at the very least this match is going to be solid. LA Park is a strongly pushed commodity in MLW and Pentagon dropped the tag title and is involved with AEW as well. Thus the winner of this match shouldn’t be in doubt. I also see LA Park as a favorite to win Battle Riot so there is no reason for him to drop a fall here.
Prediction: LA Park

If you are attending the MLW TV tapings you are going to be in for a couple of hours of solid mindless wrestling fun. If you will be watching the episodes taped here on YouTube you will be in for some very solid, straight forward TV wrestling with logical booking, which right now is all you can ask for in American wrestling.