The start of the Opera Cup tournament will be underway, and tonight the opening match with Davey Richards and 2020 Opera Cup winner “Filthy” Tom Lawlor sets the stage for what promises to be a well fought match between the two grapplers.  As we get underway in the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, PA, your commentators Rich Bocchini and newly acquired Joe Dobrowski have the call.

We get a recap of last Thursday’s matches from MLW Fightland on Vice, but read here if you were under a rock.

All caught up?  Good.  Now let’s head to your First Match of the night…

Calvin Tankman vs. Lee Moriarty

The Philly fans get behind Moriarty, and Tankman can’t believe his ears.  This match has the makings of a classic speed (Moriarty) versus Heavyweight Hustle, and right from the get-go Moriarty got moves, but can’t stop Tankman.  Moriarty gets some momentum going, but can’t evade a Tankman shoulder tackle.

The move leaves “TaigaStyle”  in a daze that leads to…


(Author’s Drunken Rant:  If Court Bauer is reading this, or someone else; it’s one thing to do the ads *after* a match, but in the middle of the action?  That some nonsense that normally leaves me feeling a bit Raw on a Monday Night, if you will!  End rant.)

We come back to Tankman giving Moriarty a scoop slam.  He trash talks Moriarty, who comes back with forearms but has no effect on the Heavyweight Hustle.  Moriarty head-butt’s Tankman, but he got the worst of that ill-advised move.  But Moriarty starts to wear down Tankman with various kicks to a punt kick, and manages a cover for a two count.

Moriarty tries submission moves with a cross arm but Tankman breaks the hold, but he then switches to get Tankman in a crucifix octopus submission hold but can’t quite clinch it.  Tankman is worn and climbs in-between the ropes, where Moriarty goes for a foot stomp and misses the mark.  Tankman then reverses into a powerslam to Moriarty on the ring apron.  Back in the ring.  Moriarty launches himself to Tankman, and the Heavyweight Hustle nails him in a powerbomb for a two count.  He then tries a spinning back fist that misses, and Moriarty transitions to a twisting European uppercut that stuns Tankman enough for him to cover for another two Count.  Now Moriarty goes up top and leaps, but Tankman catches him with big back elbow, but can’t capitalize.  Now Moriarty goes for a guillotine choke, but it’s too much Tankman, as he reverses him to a Tankman driver for the win.

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Calvin Tankman

After the match, it’s the “Interview Queen” Alicia Atout is with America’s Tope Team members King Mo and Alex Kane.  Mo says Tankman looked like he was struggling in the match, but he offers Tankman the chance to join the Douche Side of the Force (…err, my bad.  I meant “to join Top Team.”  Must be the mescal talking).  Fans chant “no!” at the proposal, and all Tankman says is he will think about it.

We go a recorded message from Josef Samael of Contra Unit and the Inventor of Sports Terrorism addresses the ankle injury by Hammerstone at Fightland.  Yes he won, says Samael, but at what cost?  He’s now a prime target, and says you cut off one head, and two more shall arise, and I wonder what in the name of Hydra got him to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In any case, Hammerstone will be a perfect target come War Chamber in a few weeks. Hail Contra!

Cesar Duran meets with the new MLW Heavyweight champion, Hammerstone.  Your Boy Hammer drops off the MLW Openweight belt because he feels it’s the right thing to do, and feels the opportunity is for someone else.

Well, Duran appreciates the word “opportunity”, and wants to discuss his future, facing Contra Unit in War Chamber.  Hammerstone is ready, but just needs a team. Duran respects the champ, and states that he thinks his reign will be extraordinary.

Now we get an exposé (no, not the 1980s female group) by Alicia Atout on Cesar Duran, and his shadowy background and how he’s now taken over all the day-to-day activities of MLW.

She states she has footage of Duran’s last night in Boyle Heights, CA.  The whole thing is staged like “Lucha Underground” but offers a different take of the last days of the former “Dario Cueto.”  So what’s his goal in MLW?  She’ll be staying close to the action with more exposes like this in the future.

We get a recorded promo by “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, on his upcoming first round match with Dave Richards.  Basically, he won’t sell Richards short, but he is a defending Opera Cup winner from last year, and this year he promises the Cup will be covered in “filth”… two times.

Next up is another match with a couple of femme fatales in the…

MLW Featherweight Division Match:  Delmi Exo (with Ashley Vox) vs. Brittany Blake

Exo is the powerhouse half of the women’s tag team, The Sea Stars, and Blake, who has wrestled in the independents according to my research, is the “Mean Girl” in the division with a wicked arm trap submission dubbed the “Bad Omen.”  As the match gets underway, Blake tries to gets in Delmi’s head, but the Sea Star sees through the shenanigans (say that three times fast), and manages to get Blake with a Northern Lights suplex for a two count.

Delmi is more powerful than Blake, but Blake is more cunning, and evades a Delmi splash in the corner.  Blake then uses the ropes for an assisted backbreaker to Delmi.

From there, Blake puts on a submission clinic to wear her down, but Delmi rolls back Blake in a pinning maneuver so she has to release the hold.  Vox cheers on her Sea Star sister, as the match goes back and forth between the women, and Blake gets Delmi with a lower rope 619.  Blake keeps up attack, but Delmi gets wrist control and nails a succession of short arm clotheslines to fire up, follows with an Ace crusher to cover for a two count.  Blake fights back with a leaping enzugiri, and a DDT to cover, but still gets a two count.  But it’s too much Delmi, and faster than you can say “Triple H”,  she puts away Blake with a Pedigree for the pin, and the win.

Your Winner via Pinfall:  Delmi Exo

Alicia Atout is with Willow Nightingale backstage.  She’s very excited for the women’s Featherweight Division, and was happy when she faced her friend and idol, Ashley Vox.  Willow mentions that her win over Vox last week makes her he a Babe with the Power and she’s promises that she will power through the division.

Also, Bocchini and Dobrowski hype up the arrival of Will Osprey to MLW in December this year.  This is a fantastic get, and it opens all possibilities of how the Aerial Assassin will make his mark in MLW.

Meanwhile, Hammerstone wanders backstage and almost gets jumped by a Contra Unit member, but EJ Nduka stops him.  Hammerstone is sick of Contra, and so is EJ.  Hey, waitasec, thinks Your Boy Hammer aloud, as he asks EJ if he’d want to join his team for War Chamber, and The Judge is down for that.  Like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of Combat, I tells ya!

We get another recorded promo from Davey Richards on tonight’s match. Richards acknowledges that he and Lawlor are both cut from same cloth.  They know all the holds, and how to counter them, but Richards is here to prove himself the best in competition on his way to the Opera Cup

Now for a rebuttal on the exposé is Cesar Duran.  He goes on camera to neither confirm nor deny the rumors.  But what does it matter when he offers violence to the people. Tonight, he’ll prove it in the Opera Cup match, as we head to the Tale of the Tape:

It’s now time for the Main Event for the…

MLW Opera Cup Opening Round: “Filthy” Tom Lawlor (with Kevin Ku) vs. “The American Wolf” Davey Richards

Richards comes to the ring in a “Cobra Kai” inspired robe/gi, which is a nice counter from Lawlor’s active wear Daisy Dukes.  The bell rings, and already the “Filthy One” starts getting in Richards head having the fans cheer for him, but Richards gets the fans to howl for “The American Wolf.”  Both men start to grapple, but neither has a clear advantage.  Lawlor focused on Richards arm to dismantle him, but Richards is able to counter with a surfboard stretch.  Lawlor escapes and goes back with the wrist control, but Richards uses the ropes to stretch out his arm.  The ref delivers a five count, and Richards ring savvy releases before five, and he gives a swift kick to the “ring cables”, according to Dobrowski, to further damage Lawlor’s arm.

Lawlor shakes feeling in his arm as Richard gives chase, but Lawlor has him thrown to the guardrails as it leads to…

Ads (Author’s Drunken Rant:  Urge to thrown glass at screen:  rising!  *Drinks another gulp of mescal* fading…fading…)

We come back to see Lawlor in control, using the ring as weapons to rock Richards.  Richards tries to kick, but Lawlor is able to get the better of Richards.  Back in the ring, Lawlor gets control of Richards’ wrist, and gets a short arm DDT to cover Richards for a two count.  Now smelling blood, Lawlor cranks in an arm lock, but Richard unleashes devastating kicks to break the hold.  Lawlor sends Richards to the corner.  He goes for a big boot, but Richards ducks out of the ring, and grabs Lawlor’s leg for a rope assisted dragon screw legwhip.  Now it’s Lawlor who’s the hunted, as Richards gets him in a seated cloverleaf that becomes into a calf crusher submission, but Lawlor manages to reach the ropes, but the damage is done.  Lawlor goes for a guillotine choke, and Richards is able to grab Lawlor’s leg to get a heel hook.  Lawlor has no choice but to break the hold, and Richards transitions it to an ankle lock, but Lawlor has the leg strength to dump him outside the ring.

Richards goes back on the hunt, and Lawlor tries a sleeper hold, but Richard reverses it into a belly to back suplex.  Richard goes up top, and nails the double foot stomp to cover.

Lawlor kicks out at two, but Richards has control of the leg to transition to an ankle lock.  Lawlor, ever the MMA fighter, has a few tricks up his sleeve as he reverses to get Richards in triangle choke, then to an arm trap submission.  Richards is able to power out, and goes back to the ankle lock, and then sits down to a heel hook, with kicks thrown as Lawlor’s back.  Lawlor screams in pain, and scrambles to get to the ropes, but his fingers (the middle ones) go full bird as he passes out from the pain.

Your Winner via Submission, and advancing in the Opera Cup:  Davey Richards

As Richards heads back, one step closer to the cup, Kevin Ku carries Lawlor back to the locker room, and Lawlor finally comes to and realizes he lost.  Ku then drags Lawlor back as Lawlor reaches out to the Cup that now out of his grasp.

We then go to Duran’s back office, as Richard Holliday meets with El Jefe.  Holliday states he is The Most Marketable, has a thriving coffee business, and is the reigning IWA Caribbean champ. Duran is not impressed, and he is very upset by his girlfriend, “Alicia A-tout” doing that expose (Holliday:  “I don’t have girlfriend.”).

Duran notes to Holiday that his group, Azteca Underground, acquired a few promotions, like the IWA, and he sets up the match next week where Holliday will defend is Caribbean title against King Muertes.  Holliday is so upset that he threatens Duran to have his lawyer/ *slash*/his father sue him.  But, we get a match next week that will send the Most Marketablle to face The Man of a Thousand Deaths.

We get word of a recorded promo earlier this evening by #Injustice.  Jordan Oliver and Myron Reed are tired of the run ins by 5150.

No sooner do they say that, Danny Rivera and Slice Boogie come rolling up and #Injustice get jumped as the show fades to black.


Final Thoughts:

The matches, as always deliver on the promise of violence.  The cinematic scenes, on the other hand, can be hit and miss.  Simply put, the show should just have ended on Richards’ win in the Opera Cup first round, but then going to Holliday/Duran and the #Injustice/5150 beat would have been better placed earlier in the show, which is beginning to feel top heavy with filler material between the matches.

Here’s hoping as the weeks roll, they’ll find a balance.  Until then, see ya in seven!