Major League Wrestling (MLW) is bringing back a tournament that has been defunct for over 70 years, that being the Opera Cup. The Opera Cup was a multi-day tournament that was annually held for over 50 years, as wrestlers put it all on the line in Opera Houses spanning from New York to Boston. This coming Thursday, MLW is bringing the tradition back in the Melrose Ballroom. This event is a Fusion Taping and will air on MLW: Fusion in the coming weeks.
Opera Cup Quarter Finals: Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Shinjiro Otani
At MLW Superfight, Davey Boy Smith Jr. came up just short when trying to capture the MLW National Openweight Championship from Alexander Hammerstone. Davey Boy is looking to regain momentum in the Opera Cup, and he is one of the odds on favorites to win the entire tournament. That will be no easy task though, as Davey Boy is facing Japanese sensation Shinjiro Otani in the opening round of the tournament. Otani primarily wrestles in ZERO1 in Japan, where he is a former World Heavyweight and Junior Heavyweight Champion. This year during WrestleMania weekend, Otani came to the US where he wrestled a few matches for GCW. Now, Otani is returning to America and is looking to shock the world and take down Davey Boy Smith Jr. in the first round of the Opera Cup.
Opera Cup Quarter Finals: Alex Hammerstone vs. MJF
While MJF is making his name known on TNT, he is still an active member of the MLW roster. MJF is a former Middleweight Champion, and recently lost the MLW World Tag Team Championships on MLW Superfight to The Von Erichs. Hammerstone is currently the MLW National Openweight Champion, and that title will not be on the line throughout this tournament. The biggest story of this match though is the fact that both MJF and Hammerstone are members of The Dynasty. How will that affect both wrestlers’ performance in this match? Will MJF try to make Hammerstone lay down for him? Will Richard Holliday pick a side to help either man win? There are so many variables coming into this match, making it the sleeper match of the first round.
Opera Cup Quarter Finals: Timothy Thatcher vs. Richard Holliday
Richard Holliday is not known for his singles work in MLW, as he has primarily been paired with either member of The Dynasty. Luckily for Holliday, he’s facing Timothy Thatcher, who has only been victorious in one of his four MLW bouts. Thatcher has been stepping up, taking on the most challenging opponents possible. While sitting at a win-loss record of 1-3, Thatcher’s losses come against high caliber opponents including Davey Boy Smith Jr., Tom Lawlor, and Low Ki. Both men are hungry for some wins in singles competition, but this is Thatcher’s tournament to win and prove he has what it takes to succeed in MLW.
Opera Cup Quarter Finals: Brian Pillman Jr. vs. TJP
TJP is making his return to MLW after a 15-year hiatus. He had a short stint with the company back in 2004, but now is returning with his eyes on the Opera Cup. TJP is tasked at facing one of the rising stars in not only MLW, but the entire world, that being Brian Pillman Jr. While his win/loss record may not be the most satisfying, Pillman Jr. is still finding himself, and this is the perfect opportunity for Pillman to have a few breakout performances. Pillman recently lost to Low Ki on PPV, and before that fell short in capturing the National Openweight Championship, along with losing to Austin Aries. At 35 years of age, TJP should have the experience to take down Pillman, or will he come in too cocky and underestimate what Brian Pillman Jr. is capable of?
Prince of Darkness Match: Mance Warner vs. Jimmy Havoc
Mance Warner and Jimmy Havoc are having every gimmick match possible to settle their rivalry, but nothing seems to do the job. These two were in a Bunkhouse match, Stairway to Hell, Falls Count Anywhere, this Prince of Darkness match, and on January 11th at Zero Hour, they will end this blood feud in a No Ropes Barbed Wire match. Now, what exactly is a Prince of Darkness match? MLW describes the match as both men being “cloaked in thick black hoods in a spectacular and bizarre match where danger lurks in every corner”. It almost sounds like a blindfold match where each corner of the ring has a weapon, but you never know what to expect with these two in the ring together. At the end of the day, it’s guaranteed to be a bloody match with tons of weapon usage.
Contra Unit vs. Strong Hearts (CIMA, El Lindaman & Shigehiro Irie)
One of the headlining matches at the Opera Cup is this six-man tag, where Strong Hearts will be making their MLW debut. Strong Hearts consists of CIMA, El Lindaman, and Shigehiro Irie. This trio will be taking on the most dominant faction in MLW history, Contra Unit. Led by MLW World Heavyweight Champion, Jacob Fatu, Contra will be looking to make a statement and ruin the welcoming party for Strong Hearts. This seems to be one of those matches where Strong Hearts has everything to gain but nothing to lose, as we are unsure when they could appear in MLW again, but a victory over the current MLW World Champion would be huge, likely setting up a future title match. Will the experience of Strong Hearts be enough to lead them to victory, or will Fatu continue his domination of MLW and keep Contra on the top of the ladder?
While only a few matches have been announced, MLW has confirmed that King Mo will be in action, along with former MLW Champion “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, The Von Erichs, Injustice members Myron Reed and Jordan Oliver, Gino Medina, and more! This show will see the entirety of the Opera Cup, so the winner of Davey Boy/Otani will take on the winner of Hammerstone/MJF, and the winner of Thatcher/Holliday will face the winner of Pillman/TJP. The winners of those two matches will then battle it to crown the winner of the Opera Cup!
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Tickets are still available for the Opera Cup on Eventbrite.