What’s that? Timothy Thatcher’s back on tape? It’d be rude not to see what he’s been up to…

Since he took a break from wXw over 16 Carat Gold weekend, Timothy Thatcher’s name hasn’t exactly been all over the place. There’s a match against Daniel Makabe at 3-2-1 Battle! that is on our “to watch” list, and scant few others.

Anyway, this MLW Fusion taping comes from the Melrose Ballroom in New York – the day after Thatcher’s slugfest with Chris Dickinson for Beyond. Commentary comes from Rich Bocchini & Tony Schiavone.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
There’s a faint buzz of the Lonely Boatsman in the background as Thatcher got a few streamers. I swear he’s gotten more cut in his time away from Germany…

There’s something that counts for a handshake at the off as we open… with grappling! I know, right? They go to ground, with Smith getting just a one-count before he was forced to kip up out of some headscissors on the mat. The search for a crucifix on the mat’s stuffed as Thatcher jockeyed for position, but quickly ended up having to defend a hammerlock as Smith kept him grounded.

Thatcher escaped and managed to roll Smith into a single-leg crab, but despite getting kicked away, Thatcher just goes in for a toe hold as Thatcher looked to dominate. Smith manages to roll free into the ropes, as we reset… and resume with Smith trying to kick at the legs. That did not impress Thatcher. A single-leg takedown sees Smith go back on the mat as Thatcher goes back to the toe hold, tweaking the ankle as he kept Smith in the middle of the ring in a heel hook. Smith tries to do the same, but Thatcher kicks the leg away as Smith was forced to use palm strikes and headbutts to get himself free.

After getting back to his feet, Smith rolls Thatcher to the mat in a cross armbreaker… but Thatcher gets out and goes back to the heel hook as he was like a proverbial dog with a bone here. Smith found a counter, rolling Thatcher into a Sharpshooter… but it’s quickly broken as Thatcher scurried to the ropes.

The match descends into a strike battle as the pair clobber each other with European uppercuts until Smith was forced to block a backslide… and ended up reversing it as Smith began to reel off a series of pinning attempts. Thatcher’s got some in him too, but he almost got caught in the SummerSlam 92 finish as they reverse sunset flips. A Euro clutch almost does it too, but Thatcher kicked out in the nick of time!

More palm strikes built up Smith for a German suplex… only to get a receipt as Thatcher tried to make sure he didn’t fall behind. Smith manages to build momentum as he fought to pin Thatchers arms behind his back as a Tiger suplex was in his future… but somehow Smith only got a near-fall! The look on Thatcher’s face when he realised what was coming was a delight!

That Tiger suplex looked to take it out of Thatcher, but he’s able to roll back up with another cross armbreaker on Smith, punching Smith in the midsection in a bid to release the grip, only for Smith to roll around and eventually powerbomb his way free. A crossface quickly follows, and that’s the quick tap for Thatcher. If you’re into the mat-based stuff, you’ll find this an absolute delight – and it eventually won over the New York crowd too, so you’ve got to put that over as a win. ***¾

MLW’s biggest strength can also be it’s biggest downfall. While we don’t review Fusion much, it is on our “to watch” slate every week, as we’ve seen a myriad of wrestlers pass through the promotion’s doors… and that can be a problem. Wrestlers disappearing because of intra-promotion politics, contracts and the like can make it frustration to watch, but in recent weeks MLW has started to get more consistent with storylines – and especially since it’s on regular TV in the UK and Ireland, it’s well worth an hour of your time every week.