Major League Wrestling
|Major League Wrestling|
|Founded||June 12, 2002Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniain|
|Court Bauer (CEO)|
|Products||Television, pay-per-view, merchandise, Radio|
|Divisions||MLW Radio Network|
MLW LLC, d/b/a Major League Wrestling (MLW) is an American professional wrestling promotion based in Orlando, Florida founded in 2002 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by former WWE writer Court Bauer and the promotion moved their bases to New York and later to Florida. The promotion ran several live events and tapings for a television show named Underground TV in the Sunshine Network. Founder Court Bauer described MLW's product as "the most violent, hard-hitting action mixed with cutting edge storylines", also described as "Hybrid Wrestling" a mixed of wrestling styles. However, MLW would close its doors in 2004 due to shortage of money after a few sponsorship exits.
Bauer resumed promoting events in July 2017, with a new weekly television show named MLW Fusion premiering on BeIN Sports in April 2018. Since then they have grown their roster to include Pentagon Jr. Low Ki, Sami Callihan, L.A. Park, Tom Lawlor, Rey Fenix, Joey Ryan, Teddy Hart, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Jimmy Havoc, Tommy Dreamer, and Rich Swann among many others.
Following the closures and acquisitions of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now known as the WWE) in 2001, the promotion was founded on June 16, 2002, shortly after, the promotion took three months of hiatus to move their bases from Philadelphia to New York. MLW styled itself as being an alternative to sports entertainment. Founder Court Bauer described MLW's product as "the most violent, hard-hitting action mixed with cutting edge storylines", which was favorite for fans of ECW.
In 2003, the promotion moved their bases permanently to Florida and got a deal with the Sunshine Network for their television series named Underground TV, which ran between April 7, 2003 and February 14, 2004. These shows were hosted by Joey Styles and consisted of pre-taped matches from prior events. At the time, many fans speculated that the promotion was going to end, due to MLW's booking style and quickly adhered to the reputation of being imitation of ECW and later Ring of Honor due to holding shows after ROH and also using a large part of their roster. The promotion also promoted many former ECW wrestlers such as Sabu, Terry Funk, Shane Douglas and Steve Corino. The promotion ceased operations in March 2004.
Revival and MLW Fusion (2017-present)
In 2017, MLW announced it would once again be promoting wrestling events, the first one was named "MLW One-Shot" with tickets going on sale July 21, 2017. In the same year, MLW announced it would run more shows in Orlando in 2018. Given the success of their independent outings, MLW was able to secure a television deal with beIN Sports for a new program, MLW Fusion, which debuted on April 20, 2018. Their first episode featured Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix as the main event.
In July 2018, MLW continued its expansion by presenting their first two-hour special on beIN Sports, Battle Riot. Additionally, Major League Wrestling began introducing contracts as part of their growth strategy, with former MLW World Heavyweight Champion Shane Strickland the first talent confirmed to have signed a long term deal with the promotion. In August, MLW started a working agreement with Mexican based promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. On September 19, it was announced that MLW signed another deal with beIN Sports to air MLW Fusion in Spanish.
On October 13, MLW announced their second two-hour special on beIN Sports, Halloween Special. On October 18, it was announced announced the signings of PCO and Richard Holliday as full-time members of the promotion. It was also reported that Court Bauer and several MLW executives would travel to Monaco for Sportel, with intensions of making a big push internationally. Also announced was a project between MLW and Spiff TV.
On November 8, MLW held a Fusion television taping, Fightland, in Chicago at Cicero Stadium. Owner Court Bauer claimed that this was the highest attendance in MLW history, shattering the previous attendance record of 1,536 people for the June 20, 2003 event Hybrid Hell in Florida. No official number was released, but the venue can hold up to 6,000 people. On November 29, Bauer announced that Fusion would be broadcast live on beIN Sports on December 14, an announcement which had previously been teased on November 22. This coincided with their two-day television tapings in Miami: Never Say Never and Zero Hour. The live episode was an hour of Zero Hours events.
Touring and TV tapings
In the beginning, MLW would hold one show a month, originally from the Viking Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By the end of 2002, MLW began running two shows a month and, in 2003, multiple shows in a weekend were held in New York. The first time MLW left New York was December 20, 2002, for King Of Kings from the War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The promotion primarily held events in Florida prior to closing its doors in 2004.
Since their return in 2017, MLW was running shows back in Florida, but also returned to New York in 2018 as a result of their successful deal with BeIN Sports. MLW's touring pattern changed drastically. Instead of running regular shows in cities where the company had a following, MLW began focusing more on cities that carry its television show. On September 18, MLW announced their debut in Chicago. On October 19, MLW announced that they would return to Florida to make their Miami debut.
MLW Radio Network
MLW returned with a changed business model in 2011, initially focusing exclusively on producing broadcast and digital content within the professional wrestling category." MLW Radio Network has grown to consistently have 5-6 podcasts in the top iTunes 100 in the sports category on the average day. Many prominent professional wrestling figures currently appear on the MLW Radio Network, including former WWE and WCW wrestlers Kevin Sullivan, Jim Duggan and MVP, former WWE executive Bruce Prichard, former WCW commentator Tony Schiavone and former WCW President Eric Bischoff.
In 2018, after the promotion was revived, MLW signed some talent to exclusive contracts. It also gave MLW power over the performers' dates. Their wrestlers are allowed to perform for other promotions but have to prioritize MLW events. These contracts give MLW as much power over their roster as a WWE contract.
Most of the talent in MLW are independent contractors and appear in other companies such as Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre.
|Championship||Current champion(s)||Reign||Date won||Days held||Location||Notes|
|MLW World Heavyweight Championship||Tom Lawlor||1||February 2, 2019||18||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Defeated Low Ki at MLW SuperFight.|
|MLW World Tag Team Championship||The Hart Foundation
(Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
|1||February 2, 2019||18||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Defeated Lucha Brothers|
(Pentagón Jr. and Rey Fénix) at MLW SuperFight.
|MLW World Middleweight Championship||Teddy Hart||1||December 14, 2018||68||Miami, Florida||Defeated El Hijo de L.A. Park, Dezmond Xavier, Gringo Loco and Kotto Brazil at MLW Fusion.|
|Championship||Date of entry||First champion(s)||Date retired||Final champion(s)||Days active||Notes|
|MLW World Junior Heavyweight Championship||September 19, 2003||Sonjay Dutt||February 13, 2004||Sonjay Dutt||144||Dutt defeated Christopher Daniels to win the title in a tournament final. The title was no longer listed as active after the company stopped hosting events.|
|Accomplishment||Latest winner(s)||Date won||Location||Notes|
|Battle Riot||Tom Lawlor||June 7, 2018||Queens, New York||Last eliminated Jake Hager to win.|
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