MLW Underground recap: John Morrison cheats to win championship



John Morrison and Taya Valkyrie are a power couple once again. The husband and wife duo both hold championship gold after Morrison defeated Davey Richards for the MLW National Openweight Championship. And of course, Johnny received help from Taya when it mattered most.


Morrison wrestled under the John Hennigan name against Richards in the main event of MLW Underground on REELZ (Feb. 28, 2023). Richards unleashed an aggressive attack early and never let up. The American Wolf pretty much kicked Hennigan’s ass for much of the match. He worked Johnny’s leg often with kicks and submissions. Even when Hennigan put a few moves together, it didn’t take long for Richards to regain control.

It paid for Johnny to have friends ringside. Cesar Duran and Taya were front and center with support. When Johnny was trapped in a trailer hitch leg submission, Duran pushed the ropes closer so Johnny could reach out for the break. When Richards booted Hennigan in the face three times in a row, Taya grabbed Richards’ foot on a suplex so Johnny landed on top for a pin attempt.

Richards dominated during the closing sequence. He connected on the flying double stomp. Kick out by Hennigan. Richards hit a brainbuster. Kick out again by Hennigan, but Richards immediately transitioned to the ankle lock. That’s when Duran hopped onto the apron to distract the referee. Taya entered the ring to wallop Richards with the title belt. Hennigan picked up the easy pin to win. Slamtown Manor now has two champions in the house with Hennigan and Taya.

This was an impressive effort from Richards. The same can’t be said about Hennigan as a nefarious cheater. Frankly, he was steamrolled by the American Wolf. Richards controlled the flow throughout and was on fire with intensity. Hennigan had a few nifty moves, but he missed the target on several occasions, such as Starship Pain when Richards evaded. The way the finish played out doesn’t fill me with excitement. The cheating was so blatant that it brings into question how often these sneaky scenarios will occur in Hennigan’s title defenses.

For the opener, Microman saved the day for victory. The mighty micro teamed with Lince Dorado against Delirious and Mini Abismo Negro. Don’t let Microman’s diminutive size fool you. He can get feisty when needed. For example, Microman bit Delirious’ foot then headbutt his cojones. In the end, Micro used his short stature to stymie his opponents into making blunders while chasing him. Abismo collided into Delirious to knock him through the ropes. Dorado landed a flying crossbody on Delirious outside the ring. That cleared the way for Microman to execute a headscissors into a victory roll to win.

The Microman vibe is always fun. Mileage will vary on your enjoyment of the luchador depending on how many grains of salt you give to accept the illusion.

Business picked up after the match when the mysterious AO goon squad laid a beatdown of Microman, Dorado, and Mister Saint Laurent.

That was the first time of the AO group being seen on camera. The similarities to the Contra Unit story are strong. I’m not the only one who thinks that. Alexander Hammerstone assessed the clues to point toward Jacob Fatu as the culprit.

I assume this drama is a red herring in regard to Fatu, since a reveal of the Samoan Werewolf as the AO leader would be too obvious. I believe that MLW will have something else up their sleeve as this story progresses. MLW needs to be careful not to present AO as a Contra knockoff, otherwise, they will be dead on arrival viewed as poser dorks.

In other action, Billie Starkz won her MLW debut over Kayla Kassidy. Fellow newcomer Kassidy had an axe to grind over the 18-year-old Starkz receiving all the attention. Starkz rallied with an electric chair schoolboy driver for victory.

That was a very cool finisher from Starkz. The impact was emphatic. Enough so to believe very few will ever kick out of that move. I’ve only seen Starkz lose matches in AEW, so this maneuver caught me off-guard with the cool factor.

After the match, Taya dismissed Starkz as a potential challenger for the MLW World Women’s Featherweight Championship. Taya suggested that Starkz go back to studying tape before she dare step into the ring with La Wera Loca.

A night with MLW is often a wild time. This episode was no exception. The show started with Alex Kane stating his desire to burn the British Bulldogs family legacy. Davey Boy Smith Jr. and the Billington Bulldogs ran out to fight the Bomaye team on stage. Smith smashed a heavy elbow knocking Kane out cold into the arms of Mr. Thomas. Myron Reed reacted with googly eyes.

Later, Kane proposed a challenge. If the Billington Bulldogs can beat Reed and Thomas next week in tag team action, then he will wrestle Davey Boy in a prize fight.

EJ Nduka carried a chair with bad intentions looking for Fatu backstage. Juicy Finau charged into the Judge to brawl.

The craziness in MLW isn’t even contained to the venue. Mance Warner was bailed out of jail after ramming his truck into NZO last week. A couple of pals paid the fee and brought cold lite beers for Ole Mancer. The camera revealed Matthew Justice and Manders as the men behind the good deed. Warner invited his Second Gear Crew buddies over to MLW to do some fighting.

Last bit is exciting news. MLW announced that Alexander Hammerstone versus Jacob Fatu for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship will air on REELZ for March 21.

Share your reactions to the latest episode of MLW Underground.

MLW Underground airs Tuesdays at 10 pm ET on REELZ.

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