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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: MLW Slaughterhouse

There is an absolute abundance of wrestling available at our very fingertips. Whilst that is a dream scenario, it also means that there is plenty of wrestling that unfortunately goes by unnoticed. I only have so many hours of the day I can dedicate to wrestling, I watch and review the big mainstream events for the larger companies whilst also trying to attend some of my local wrestling shows to. Support your local wrestling! My point is that it's impossible to watch everything. I'm hot on WWE, AEW & New Japan, with a side eye on ROH and Impact also. Occasionally though, I will try to venture out of my common schedule into the world of the unknown. Today/Tonight, I'm going to watch my first MLW show. I've heard a lot of buzz about them for the past few years and I've decided to check them out tonight because they caught my intrigue. More on that later.


In case you're unaware, a brief history lesson. Major League Wrestling originally started in 2002 almost as a spiritual successor to ECW. They wanted to be an alternative to WWE and implemented a hybrid style of wrestling. The ran some live shows and got some tapings, but received criticism for being ECW-lite for hiring plenty of old ECW personnel for their shows, in comparison to ROH who was rising as an alternative with their own personality. In 2004 MLW shut it's doors but they company rebooted in 2011 but not as a wrestling promotion. They were an online podcasting network covering any and all things wrestling with a whole host of wrestling alumni featuring on their shows. In 2017, MLW announced their revival and intent to be a wrestling promotion once again. Their live shows were a big hit and has lead to their TV and streaming deals and their continuous growth to the platform they are today. The biggest news recently is the announcement of a huge partnership dubbed the 'landmark strategic alliance', a working agreement between MLW,. New Japan & CMLL.


So why have I decided to watch this show? Well, because MLW have decided to resurrect one of the most infamously awful match types of wrestling past. it's a WCW classic; the Chamber of Horrors match. Initially, I thought this was a joke, but it's not. It's happening. The second ever Chamber of Horrors match. This could be genius, This could be stupidity. The only way to find out is to watch it! I was torn on rating this show properly or not because they're an indie show, but if they're a big enough company to secure relationships with New Japan & CMLL then you're big enough to be critically reviewed. Let's strap ourselves into the chair for a shocking night of wrestling. Let's review.


14th October 2023: MLW Slaughterhouse


-Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker on commentary. It's worth noting Striker is dressed as Mario.


The Second Gear Crew (Mance Warner & Matthew Justice) vs The Calling (Cannonball & Talon), Chamber of Horrors

I still can't believe we're getting a Chamber of Horrors match in 2023. The Calling & the SGC have been in an ongoing rivalry for some time, leading to Warner to call them out for a CoH match. We'll see if the rules and format remains the same as WCW did. The Calling look like gimps, but rather intimidating. The Second Gear Crew are cheered quite loudly.


Talon is chokeslammed onto a gurney as the rules are explained. It's WCW rules, no DQ and you win by electrocuting your opponent. A steel-cage wrapped ring with spikes at the top and weapons and pumpkins within. Cannonball still stands whilst eating weapon shots. Talon charges but is dropped through a wooden board. Cannonball endures a plethora of shots with wooden sticks before turning the tide. Papercuts between the fingers always makes me feel sick. Staple gun to the crotch. Matt Striker questions why the Chamber of Horros match has been clowned on for 30 years. Umm, because it was objectively bad? Warner is mutilate by staples. Talon is suplexed by his own partner through Warner, through the wood. Justice with chair shots to help Warner out. A piledriver on a pumpkin. Chair shot to the pumpkin-headed Cannonball. I guess that protects from CTE. Justice with a HUGE diving senton from the top of the cage through a wooden board, through Cannonball. A pretty cool spot to be fair. Talon is strapped into the chair and the lever is pulled. The fucking metal hat isn't even on his head whilst the "shock" is going off. Fucking dumb!


So I came into this sceptical, rightfully so because the Chamber of Horrors was a terrible match 30 years ago. I will admit, this match was FAR superior to that match and exceeded my expectations. However, the Chamber of Horrors is still a ridiculously stupid gimmick. It doesn't help that the finish was botched, the hat not even being on his head whilst Talon is shaking, selling being electrocuted. This had a glass ceiling, but I'll admit that they managed to reach the top of it. A good effort by all involved, it was usual hardcore violence but a botched finish taints this for me. Also why does Cagematch & Wikipedia say Matt Cardona was a part of this match?


The Second Gear Crew win via...electrocution

**1/4


-A promo from Selina de la Renta talks about being in Rocky's corner, she also apparently has a surprise for us tonight.


-1 Called Manders spins the wheel, it lands on Falls Count Anywhere. Exciting. Manders says he's gonna put Rickey Shane Page in the dirt tonight.


Akira (c) vs Rocky Romero (c) w/Selina de la Renta for the MLW World Middleweight Championship & the NWA World Historic Welterweight Championship

I don't know much about a story here. Akira is representing the Calling and has held his MLW title for 191 days, whilst Rocky has held his NWA title for 267 days. It's a weird title name, the World Historic Welterweight title. It sounds like when you create your own title on WWE 2K. Jesus Rodriguez (FKA known as Ricardo Rodriguez) comes out to deliver Rocky's introduction. Commentary claim the NWA W-H-W title has the longest title lineage dating back to the 1930's. He's confusing it with the Middleweight title but even then he's technically incorrect, because the Historic title is a new lineage under the CMLL dating back to 2010.


A brief back and forth before Akira dominates. They duel chops on the apron, a suplex on the edge of the apron by Rocky. Ouch. The fight outside, Rocky hits him with a double stomp. Back and forth chops, Rocky goes to the eyes to regain control. Octopus stretch by Rocky, shout out Inoki. Striker compares the stance to an STF but he's wrong. Running corner lariats by Rocky but Akira reverses into an armbar whilst working the fingers. They transition holds, Rocky hits an arm snap into an armbar but Akira breaks it with a pin position. Rocky puts Akira down again with a clothesline, he's been dominating a lot. Back and forth strikes, Akira reverses with a suplex. He follows with a pele kick. "I think he was trying to throw him out the ring" no he's attempting a german suplex Matt... A nice high angle German for a near fall. Akira locks in an ankle lock, transitioning into an STF. Rocky holds on and makes the ropes. Selina distracts Akira and takes a kendo stick to the Calling on the outside. Suicide dive by Rocky, a Sliced Rocky for a 1-2-No! Great near fall. Palm strikes and kicks then a second Sliced Rocky gets another near fall. Commentary do well to sell Akira's will to survive. Akira fights back, exploder suplex into the corner. Dombrowski does a great job selling the effects of crowd support, for Striker to turn around and say "its a placebo effect its not real." Oh my god Matt it hasn't been an hour yet and I'm sick of you. A super Sliced Rocky from the top gets a 1-2-NO! Another kick out. Damn this guy is resilient. Akira fights back with lariat and double foot stomp to the head. A rear naked choke to Rocky, transitions into his Death Penalty but a reversal by Rocky. Low blow behind the referee's back and a back-to-belly piledriver gets the win.


This was slow getting started but once they get into the thick of the match it was very good. Romero was on the offensive for the most of it, which is intriguing because I have heard a lot of praise about Akira as a worker even though he has transitioned more into a deathmatch wrestler. They told a good story of Rocky being a superior wrestler but Akira being too tough to put down. A cheap win protects Akira a little whilst getting more heat on Rocky. I assume that the surprise Selina was talking about was Rodriguez? Unless we see more from her later.


Rocky Romero wins & retains via pinfall

***1/2


Rickey Shane Page (c) vs 1 Called Manders, Falls Count Anywhere for the MLW National Openweight Championship

This is part of the feud between the SGC and the Calling, Page repping the Calling. The 'Spin the Wheel' format is one I am more than happy to se. It's such a cool concept, whether they decide to fix the result or not. Page defeated Fatu for the title at Fury Road, holding the title for 41 days. From what I've gathered RSP is a standard deathmatfh wrestler. Mathers gives me a throwback, old-school Stan Hansen vibe.


RSP attacks Manders during his entrance. Inside the ring Manders fights back with huge stiff strikes. Manders whips him with his shirt, kinda like you would do in PE with the boys? It's funny. Back outside now, Manders uses a chair to wear RSP down. Back in the ring, Page bites him and throws Manders into a chair, then drops him with a back suplex. A chair thrown into Manders' face. Manders reverses a chokeslam and spinebusters RSP on the chairs. A pinfall is broken by the followers of the calling. Manders fights them off and takes Page up to the entranceway. He chokes him with a bull rope. They walk backstage and we don't see any action they've just left!


I assume they're going to return later on so let's put a pin in this and return to it later on...


TBC


Delmi Exo (c) vs 'The Phantom Challenger' for the MLW World Women's Featherweight Championship

So the build for this match has actually been around a different wrestler, called B3cca. She has been targeting and attacking Exo for weeks on her quest to get a title shot. She defeated Maki Itoh at Fury Road to become the number 1 contender. Unfortunately, B3cca has had to pull out due to other commitments, so tonight we have a mysterious phantom challenger. Let's find out who it'll be. Exo's reign has been going for 191 days so far and only the second ever champion ever after defeating Taya Valkyrie. A quick update, we see Manders & Page fighting backstage for a few seconds before the camera cuts out during Exo's entrance.


The surprise challenger is revealed to be Janai Kai, a taekwondo black belt with superior martial-arts skills who has been making waves in various women's promotions as well as companies like GCW. She is accompanied by Selina, this must be her surprise then. A feeling out process early, a headscissors attempt was botched but they manage to recover quickly. Exo drops her with a Russian leg sweep. She goes up top for a move but Selina distracts her, leading to a stiff kick. Striker sells a broken rib as one of the most painful injuries that prevents your breathing. This is actually just bullshit. Plenty of kicks and knee lifts by Janai, wearing down Exo. Kicks delivered to the chest but Exo keeps sitting up, a fourth keeps her down for a near fall. A kick is caught reversed into a German suplex. Exo fires up with running attacks in the corner. A dropkick to Janai on the outside. A nice spinebuster by Exo. Striker advises Exo look to the crowd for a moral boost, you know, what he just called a placebo earlier? Janai brutalises her with kicks. That's pretty much all she does. A dragon suplex is kinda locked in and Janai Kai wins.


Oof. I always hate doing this, but this was rough to watch. I don't know if the early botch threw things off course but after it happened things never looked too good. Janai threw mostly kicks which is okay but her moveset appeared pretty limited. I guess it fits her gimmick, but it wasn't too fun to watch. Delmi Exo though, I'm really sorry but how did you defeat Taya Valkyrie? A lot of her offence was weak, dare I say even half-arsed. Not all was bad, some nice moves here and there but this lacked any flow and just felt like a completely random indie match. I guess that's what happens when you book a surprise challenger. Sorry ladies but this was weak.


Janai Kai wins via submission

*1/4


-A camera is backstage as Page & Manders continue to fight backstage, for literally 5 seconds before cutting away again. The crowd boo. I would too. Not even showing the falls count anywhere part of the stipulation. This is akin to Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper in that 55 minute long Chicago Street Fight which got a mixed reaction.


Minoru Suzuki vs Jacob Fatu

There isn't much of a story here, just a mini dream match between two tremendous talents. Fatu is part of the legendary Anoa'i family, he has been one of MLW's best workers since signing in 2019. This should be a great, hard-hitting match. The fans are very hot for Suzuki, I just wish I didn't have to listen to Matt 'Markin' Out Bro' Striker. "KAZE NI NARE!!!"


Early feeling out process, Suzuki throwing leg kicks. Fatu throws a big chop which Suzuki enjoys. Fatu plants him with a shoulder tackle and a slam. A rope-assisted arm bar by Suzuki. Striker has talked about Karl Gotch already far too much in the span of 5 minutes. WE GET IT YOU KNOW WHO WRESTLERS ARE. They fight on the outside, huge cracks from the slaps to the face of Suzuki, he ain't fazed. Back inside Suzuki locks in a heel hook. A charge by Suzuki but a Samoan drop. Handspring moonsault, impressive for a thicc boy like Fatu. Hip attack for a near fall. More big slaps by Fatu. Suzuki drops him and hits a PK with a cocky cover. A strike exchange begins again. Fatu seems to have won, Suzuki laughs and drops him with a stiff ass uppercut. The strikes continue to rain down, Fatu takes control with a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Suzuki has a rear naked, goes for the Gotch piledriver and spikes him. Striker spoils it being the finish before the 3 count.


A very good war between two stiff strikers. It was very back and forth and they absolutely leathered each other for our enjoyment. A typical Suzuki match, but it's typical fun.


Minoru Suzuki wins via pinfall

***1/2


-Back with falls count anywhere match, brief clip of them fighting in a truck before it cuts off again. More boos, deservingly so I must say. A few minutes later we see them remerge on the entrance.


Rickey Shane Page (c) vs 1 Called Manders, Falls Count Anywhere for the MLW National Openweight Championship (continued)

Manders is in control using the set to attack RSP. Page fights back with a crossbody, then a diving splash for a near fall. Commentary mention how ironic it would be for the match to finish in the ring, it would suck I'll tell you that. Manders with a dive and a suplex on the outside. A wooden board is set up but they walk away towards the entrance. The tombstone used over and over on RSP's skull. Striker starts talking about forklifts lifting forks like a fucking moron. Manders slams Page threw the wooden board. Akira comes out, Page pushes him into Manders' clothesline. Manders eats a DDT on the floor. Akira & Page argue, Page pushes him over and walks away.


Overall, I didn't like this too much. I feel like having them show little snippets of action backstage was an absolute cop out and also a huge rip off for those in attendance. I found RSP's work uninspired, but I enjoyed Mathers' stuff. They should have just booked a violent hardcore match, I felt short-changed watching this. The leaving for a while and returning decision can work, but you have to give enough before and after for it to be worthwhile. This match failed to do so.


Rickey Shane Page retains via pinfall

*1/2


Alex Kane (c) w/Mr Thomas vs Tom Lawlor for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship

Another match unfortunately changed recently, this was supposed to see Davey Boy Smith Jr challenging for the title but he is injured by a returning Tom Lawlor takes his place, making his first MLW appearance in over 2 years. Kane has held the title for 98 days after taking the title from Alex Hammerstone at the Never say Never PPV. Lawlor is a former Heavyweight champion himself, recently he's been putting on good matches across the globe, from RevPro in England to New Japan.


"Bomaye!" Alex Kane has a hype as FUCK entrance. Early battle for control. The crowd seem pretty split on supporting both men. Lawlor uses his strikes but Kane with a takedown. Back and forth on the ground but they separate. A nice suplex by Kane. A top rope clothesline too. A splash on the apron, Kane is in control. Kane wastes time speaking to fans allowing Lawlor to fight back with a kick. He removes his shorts to reveal his smaller shorts. He uses his shorts to choke Kane. Lawlor does a lap around the ring into a PK. Lawlor targets Kane's taped up shoulder. Chops in the corner by Filthy Tom. A corner splash dodged, but he gets a flying Kimura. Kane suplexes him into the corner. Shoulder tackles, then a belly-to-belly. Lawlor fights back with shoulder offence, a corner assisted kimura. A forearm exchange on the top. A big to rope T-bone suplex by Kane. A pair of enziguiri's with a bicycle knee by Lawlor. He drops him with a stalling uranage. More arm and shoulder work by Lawlor. A huge roundhouse, a running knee is dodged and Kane locks in a single-leg crab. Lawlor transitions into a triangle choke, Kane powers out with a powerbomb. A strike exchange in the middle of the ring, leaving everything they have. Rapid elbows by Lawlor, then beefy ones by Kane. A rear naked attempt by Kane, Lawlor rolls out with a kick, a nasty knee for a near fall. Rear naked choke by Lawlor, Kane switches but Lawlor switches back, Kane hits the corner and rolls over for a pinfall whilst still in the hold to win.


Another really good match. I liked how competitive it was. This is my first time seeing Alex Kane and I was very impressed. A very good match.


Alex Kane retains via pinfall

***1/2


-Matt Cardona interrupts a post-match promo from Kane and says he deserves to be a champion in Philly because he is an ECW original (hilarious). They tease a match, Lawlor attacks Kane and we get ourselves a brawl to close. Cardona's mic skills are next level.


Overall- 51.7%

This show had some good stuff on it. The double title match, the Suzuki vs Fatu match and the main event were all strong matches that I really enjoyed watching. Surprisingly, the Chamber of Horrors wasn't awful. It was okay, a usual hardcore match with a botched finish. If you do another one MLW, make sure there is a chinstrap for the helmet to stay on the head. The women's match was the weakest on the show, unfortunately quite sloppy. The Falls Count Anywhere match was fine but disappointing, not so much to the fault of the performer but the booking. Robbing your viewers and attendees of the most fun parts of the match (ie, the fighting around the arena part) is a terrible decision. The good narrowly outweighs the bad here tonight though.


Unfortunately, I doubt I'll watch MLW again anytime soon unless they really peak my interest. Like I mentioned earlier, there is so much wrestling now it's impossible to watch it all. However, my main reason is one that might be apparent throughout this one. My absolute disdain for Matt Striker on commentary. Now, this is not a dig at the man Matt Striker, from all accounts I'm sure he's a good dude, he's clearly very passionate and knowledgeable. I just cannot stand listening to his commentary it's so bad in my opinion. He talks a lot without really adding any substance. He irrationally over-embellishes things to the point that they're inconceivable or just factually incorrect. He contradicts himself. He calls things incorrectly. He talks about random shit. It's painfully distracting. I'm sorry Matt, I can tell you're a huge fan of wrestling but that sometimes doesn't translate well. Just because you love and know so much about something, doesn't mean you'll be good talking about it. I know that I would be a shit commentator. For someone to be as well travelled and experienced as you, you should be far better than this. So yeah, unless MLW decide to change up their commentary I can't watch the product.


Thank you for reading my MLW Slaughterhouse review, if you like what you see then check out my socials down below and stay updated with the blog. Tune in every Friday for WCW content for the next few weeks. I think the next show on my list upcoming is Impact's Bound for Glory. Should be fun. Until next time, see ya!











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