At MLW Fightland it finally happened. Alexander Hammerstone put his MLW National Openweight Championship on the line against Jacob Fatu's MLW Heavyweight Championship, and won. We've been waiting two years for this moment, and if this was a movie this would be the end. Wrestling keeps going though, and now we need a new challenger.
Keep in mind this is about who should be next to challenge, not who should be the next champion. I think Hammerstone should have a decent length title run, but he needs some matches first. MLW has a fantastic roster of established names and new faces, so I've taken a few components into mind. First, people who faced Fatu. They would clearly want another shot at the title, and Hammerstone doesn't seem like one to back down from a fight. Next, all time greats that would create wonderful super fights. Finally, some new faces for the belt.
Oliver put up a great fight against Fatu, and the entire story behind it was that Oliver is a heavyweight. He put so much into that and the story deserves to continue. It's also an exciting proposition because Oliver has never faced Hammerstone. First time match ups are also fun, and seeing Oliver slam Hammerstone would be a huge pop. I don't think Oliver will win, but Hammerstone needs to establish his reign, and Oliver would be a great name on that list.
For our second former challenger, I feel like this one doesn't need much explaining. Tankman vs Hammerstone sells itself as two strong men suplex each other around the entire ring. Throw in some impressive high spots and you've got yourself a match. Tankman got a great push when he first arrived in MLW, and I want to see that carried forward. With all the new names brought in lately, Tankman could be lost in the shuffle, but a big match with Hammerstone will keep his name in people's minds. It could easily main event any show, including the upcoming Intimidation games, but I think it's more likely that show will be headlined by,
While I think that Ospreay vs Middleweight Champion Tajiri is the more exciting match, it's hard to deny the appeal of Ospreay vs Hammerstone. Bringing in such a big name means that MLW will want to capitalize on that. Just imagine Hammerstone catching Ospreay in midflight only to slam him down with the force of the nightmare pendulum. As much as I'd love to see Oliver or Tankman challenge next, if they want to follow up the biggest fight in MLW history with something just as big, this is the way to go.
From the moment Richards was signed it became clear he would have a World Title match. While I originally thought that would be with Fatu, Hammerstone is possibly even more appealing. The Fatu match would have been great, but Fatu had plot armor. There was no way Fatu would drop the belt before the Hammerstone match, absolutely 0% chance. So while the match would have rocked, the outcome would have been obvious. I don't have the foggiest idea where MLW is going now, so truly anyone could win, and that makes Hammerstone vs Richards even better. Richards has been a world champion before, and still could.
As much as I don't know where MLW is going with Hammerstone, I have even less idea what's happening with Contra Unit. Fatu losing the belt feels like a major turning point, but given all the history between Hammerstone and Krugger, it seems obvious that this match will happen. I'm pretty sure Hammerstone will win, but Krugger has been the biggest thorn in his side for months, and it feels like it needs a World Heavyweight Title match to truly end things.
So this may not be the next match for the belt, but you have to believe this match is coming. MLW has a great middleweight division, but its bread and butter is big muscle men beating the absolute crap out of each other, and EJ Nduka is one of the biggest muscle men you're going to see. Putting in a big fight where Hammerstone barely wins would help showcase his ability, and depending on how they're structuring the belts now, he could win the National belt then lose the World match. That strategy has worked wonders for Christian Cage, and I could see Nduka having a phenomenal run with the Openweight Championship.
Anyone in Azteca Underground
So I said I'd be looking at next challengers as opposed to who will win the belt, but I have to speculate. I've been saying since January we're heading towards Lucha Underground 2.0, and everything so far points to that. With Contra out of power and Cesar Duran as the new match maker, of course someone in Azteca Underground will get a title shot. In fact, whenever Hammerstone's reign ends, I think the belt will go to someone in the stable. Whether that's Arez, Aramis, LA Park, or King Muertes, it seems certain that this looming group is coming for more gold.
MLW has a very wide roster of different styles right now, and it really just depends on where they want the company to go, but any of these matches would be great to see. Only time will tell though, so make sure to keep watching MLW. Fusion Alpha airs Wednesdays at 7 EST on Youtube.