Never Say Never 2021 3/31/2021


MLW presented their second special event in the COVID era with Never Say Never, headlined by Jacob Fatu looking to extend his defending his two-year reign as MLW World Champion against the undefeated Calvin Tankman.


“Ride On Our Enemies” by Monteasy and a custom video package highlighting tonight's matches welcomed us to this special event.


Jordan Oliver defeated Simon Gotch (9:14)

***1/4

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This has been brewing since lockdown when Jordan Oliver started calling out CONTRA and Simon Gotch in particular. A few weeks before Fusion started back up again, Gotch jumped Oliver and choked him out as he was cutting another anti-Gotch promo. From there, it has been attack after attack from both sides as both Injustice and CONTRA try to gain the upper hand on each other.

Gotch already had a win over Oliver under his belt when he choked him out earlier this year, so Oliver was eager to even things up at 1-1.

Gotch took it to the mat from the jump. Oliver tried to speed things up by taking it to the sky but with every flurry, Gotch brought him back down to earth with some stiff, direct strikes.

Oliver countered a Gotch driver with a DDT as the tide turned. Oliver shook off more strikes and nearly got the win with a roll up, but moments later, he hit his middle rope springboard cutter to pick up the win and inflict the first loss of the night on CONTRA.


-- The MLW partnership with Dragon Gate Pro Wrestling was reintroduced, saying the gate has been opened to the Americas.


Myron Reed defeated Daivari (8:05)

***1/4

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Daivari and CONTRA kicked started this feud when they attacked Reed and Oliver backstage after Reed had lost the Middleweight title to Lio Rush. Since then, it has been a game of oneupmanship between the two feuding factions. Tonight Reed set out to show why he calls himself the “The Young GOAT."

Reed took out Daivari with a crossbody on the outside, but missed another when springboarding into the ring. Daivari saw that Reed tweaked his knee and locked in a figure four, but Reed was quick to recover and hit a guillotine legdrop with Daivari draped across the ropes, followed quickly by an inside out legdrop from the apron.

Daivari put on Reed's chest protector, but took too long in doing so and missed a top rope frog splash. Reed rallied with a springboard cutter and a springboard 450 splash to hand out the second CONTRA loss of the night.


- Alex Hammerstone talked up his upcoming National Openweight title defense against Mil Muertes, saying that he is stopping Muertes' five step plan at step two and will instead beat his ass again, again and again.


-- The ongoing war of words between former Dynastic team members Gino Medina and Richard Holliday spilled into a three-way interview with Alicia Atout. Holliday called Medina “un-dynastic” which ignited a petty back-and-forth that featured cologne, air pods, and Ken dolls. The key takeaway was Atout announcing a match between the two in two weeks.


MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu defeated Calvin Tankman to retain the title (10:44)

***

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Tankman has got the better of Fatu for the past two weeks, saving Injustice from a CONTRA Unit beatdown and then coming out on top when Oliver and Reed returned the favor the last week.

Tankman called himself different and dangerous in his pre-match promo and showed it early on as he shoulderblocked Fatu through the ropes to the floor. The 350-pounder showed his agility by coming off the middle rope with an armdrag and knocking Fatu down with a dropkick. But the champion showed he can fly as well as he hit an Air Pillman-style springboard clothesline.

They had a striking battle that ended in Tankman hitting his big pounce that he has hit Fatu with for the past two weeks. His impressive attacks continued as he hit Fatu with a suicide dive on the outside followed by a standing Spanish fly inside the ring.

They traded close near falls as Fatu blocked a cutter and hit his handspring moonsault before Tankman hit a pop-up spinning back elbow, a backbreaker and a big clothesline for another close two count.

Daivari threw Fatu the CONTRA flag and distracted the referee. Tankman took Daivari out with a headbutt, but as the ref was pushing him out of the ring, Fatu hit Tankman with the flag and then his triple jump top rope moonsault to pick up the win to retain the belt.


Final Thoughts:

It's clear that MLW are saving some big matches until they can get crowds back (Hammerstone vs. Fatu, Tom Lawlor vs. the Von Erichs), but tonight's main event really had a big fight feel. Fatu is incredible and will no doubt inspire a bidding war once his MLW contract is up for renewal. Tankman was really showcased here and showed he has what it takes to mix it up in the main event scene.


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