Air Wolf: Anatomy of a Major League Upset

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Photo: MLW

This week on Major League Wrestling (MLW) Fusion 57 the 19-year-old star prospect Air Wolf collected the biggest win of his young career against Lucha Brother and one half of the former MLW Tag Team Champions Rey Fenix. The Melrose Ballroom in New York City would host this match and the crowd was decidedly partisan towards Fenix. A stare down in the center of the ring led to a handshake and sportsmanship from the outset. The young Luchador from Minneapolis looked nervous early and had a difficult time keeping Fenix down frustrating Air Wolf repeatedly reversing out of his offense. It didn’t look good early and listening to the MLW commentary he had no chance.

Air Wolf’s career moved fast and despite his young age is no stranger to big matches. He got started in his home state of Minnesota with Pro Wrestling Battleground (PWB) and Independent Wrestling International (IWI) in 2016 out of the Twin Cities. He challenged Scott Story in his first Title Match at the end of 2016 coming up short for the PWB Battleground Title. This was the beginning of a feud that saw these two have face off throughout the Midwest trading multiple Titles back and forth. After other attempts at winning his first Belt Air Wolf hit the mark taking down Lore to win the PWB Battleground Title in Minneapolis in August 2017. A month later he would win his first Tag Title with Angel Dorado (As Lucha Extreme) with the IWI Gold in St. Paul. He slowly began to branch out of Minnesota into Iowa with Black Label Pro (BLP), and Indiana with IPW. People were noticing…

Back in Manhattan after the early struggles, Air Wolf got his confidence delivering vicious chops back and forth with Fenix. Wolf’s chest would suffer the consequences, but his size 5-10 195 helped him withstand the power of the Mexican star. Rey tossed him out of the ring and looked well on his way to an easy victory, but quickly the tide turned and the Minnesotan was back delivering a perfect arm drag off the top rope. Fenix looked stunned at the agility and the match took a different turn. With his confidence restored he varied his attack. He connected on an over the top rope cross body, and an impressive power displays executing two German suplexes. What made the feat more impressive was he did it from different standing positions. Then to the shock of the crowd and the commentators he connected on a Flatliner that nearly ended it. You could feel the crowd sensing something…

In March, 2018 he won the Glory Pro Resurgence Title and the Gateway to Glory Tournament in Swansea, Illinois when he beat Cole Radrik in the Final. He defeated tough Pat Monix in Round One and Edvin Kudic to earn the Title berth. He also made his debut that month with CHIKARA in the Young Lions Cup in Philadelphia. Although he was eliminated in Round 1 the Luchadors star was getting brighter and brighter. That summer the student would beat the teacher when he took the F1rst Wrestling Wrestlepalooza Title from Arik Cannon in Minneapolis. He would become Champ-Champ on July 29th winning the HOW Undisputed Title from Ken Anderson with Earl Hebner as guest referee. No reports of a Sharpshooter used in the match. Wolf continued to improve and so did his competition. After winning CHIKARA’s Rey De Voladores in Easton, Pennsylvania he began a vicious Best of Five Series with the aforementioned Scott Tory in Mid-America Wrestling in Wisconsin. Air Wolf would win the first two matches of the series going into 2019…In January he defeated WWE’s DJZ and Shane Strickland in a Triple Threat for the F1RST Title in one of his biggest wins at the Time. Story would win Match #3 of their MAW series January 11th in a desperate victory to stay alive, but Wolf would take back the PWB Battleground Title the next night again in St. Paul. Air Wolf would share a ring in 2018 with Matt Sydal, Matt Cross, Austin Aries, Ethan Page, and soon after losing Match #4 to Story early in the year he made his MLW debut in Chicago against the deplorable Ricky Martinez. It was a tough match, but he turned a lot of heads despite the loss.

Now he lay flat on his face in Gotham after a perfect dropkick from Fenix that nearly took his head off. Air Wolf had learned from his debut loss and had momentum until this. The Teenager found himself against the ropes when Fenix vaulted to the top and walked the top rope into a Face Punt. Air Wolf kicked out at 2 9/10. Fenix sensed victory and after a failed Muscle Buster minutes earlier he had the position for a second, but the youngster had it well-scouted. He reversed into a pinning combination, got a deep hook of the legs, the 3-Count, and a stunning upset. The crowd cheered wildly reversing form and Fenix was a sport and shook the Victors hand. Great Match – Great Win (the match kicks off the episode of MLW Fusion in the video below).

A shot at the MLW Middleweight Title could be next up, but with the depth of the division, there are plenty of enticing matches for him regardless. Guys like Gringo Loco, Rich Swann, Myron Reed, Puma King, and Ace Austin would be sensational contests. An upset initially looks like a one-time thing, but Air Wolf was ready for this. Yes, it was the biggest stage, but he’s faced the best wrestlers on the Indie scene in a very short-time proving he ducks no one. By shaking off the early jitters looked like a seasoned veteran wrestling a patient, methodical match to get his hand raised. At Press Time, we do not know who Air Wolf’s Fury Road opponent is, but whoever he faces in Milwaukee he’ll be ready to Howl at the Moon.

 

 

 

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I have the most supportive woman on Earth, and I live with her in Las Vegas. Sports have been a part of my life since I was a child. My wrestling life began with the AWA in the early eighties, and I was hooked immediately. I love a high energy, physical pro wrestling match whether it's in a stadium or a high school. I love great stories and characters, but the great match is what gets me every time. Writing has taken me from the school newspaper to blogs about leadership, leukemia, hockey, and wrestling. I've realized that for me everything comes back to writing. There is nothing else I would rather do.

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