Major League Wrestling

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Major League Wrestling, LLC
Major League Wrestling
Holding[1]
Industry
FoundedJune 12, 2002 (2002-06-12) (original); July 2017 (2017-07) (revival)
FoundersCourt Bauer
DefunctMarch 2004 (2004-03) (original)
Headquarters
Key people
Products
  • Publishing
  • Television
  • Merchandise
  • Pay-per-view
  • Live events
ServicesLicensing
OwnerCourt Bauer
Divisions
  • MLW Radio Network
Websitemlw.com

Major League Wrestling, LLC. (MLW)[4][5] is an American professional wrestling promotion based in New Rochelle, New York. It was founded in 2002 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by former WWE writer Court Bauer before the promotion moved their bases to New York City and later to Orlando, Florida.[6][7] The promotion ran several live events and tapings for a television show named Underground TV which aired on 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 closed 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. Around the same time, MLW started a working relationship with Mexican promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. In April 2019, MLW moved its operations into a corporate office building in New Rochelle, New York.

History[edit]

Foundation (2002–2004)[edit]

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, Major League Wrestling (MLW) was founded on June 16, 2002; shortly after, the promotion took three months of hiatus to move their headquarters from Philadelphia to New York.[8] MLW styled itself as an alternative to sports entertainment, with founder Court Bauer describing MLW's product as "the most violent, hard-hitting action mixed with cutting edge storylines", following in the tradition of ECW.[9]

In 2003, MLW moved their base of operations to Florida and negotiated a deal with the Sunshine Network to air their television series Underground TV, which ran between April 7, 2003 and February 14, 2004.[8] These shows were hosted by Joey Styles and consisted of pre-taped matches from prior events. During this time, MLW promoted many former ECW wrestlers such as Sabu, Terry Funk, Shane Douglas, and Steve Corino, leading some fans to criticize the promotion as a mere imitation of ECW and that company's other prominent successor Ring of Honor.[8][10] MLW ceased operations in March 2004.[10]

Revival and MLW Fusion (2017–2018)[edit]

In 2017, MLW announced it would once again be promoting wrestling events, the first one was named One-Shot with tickets going on sale July 21, 2017.[11] In the same year, MLW announced it would run more shows in Orlando in 2018.[12] 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.[13] Their first episode featured Pentagon Jr. against Fenix as the main event.[14]

In July 2018, MLW continued its expansion by presenting their first two-hour special on beIN Sports, Battle Riot. Their first Battle Riot was won by Tom Lawlor, who would go to cash it in to win the MLW World Heavyweight Championship.[15] Additionally, Major League Wrestling began introducing contracts as part of their growth strategy.[16] In August, MLW started a working agreement with Mexican-based promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA).[17][better source needed] On September 19, it was announced that MLW signed another deal with beIN Sports to air MLW Fusion in Spanish.[18]

On October 13, MLW announced their second two-hour special on beIN Sports, Halloween Special.[19] On October 18, it was announced the signings of PCO and Richard Holliday as full-time members of the promotion.[20] 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.[20] Also announced was a project between MLW and Spiff TV.[20]

Live programming (2018–present)[edit]

On November 8, MLW held a Fusion television taping, named 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.[21][22] 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 Hour's events.[23][24][25]

MLW held live specials on BeIN Sports for their first two events of 2019, SuperFight in February and Intimidation Games in March.[26] The company brought former manager Jim Cornette on as a color commentator starting March 2, 2019.[27] He continued to work for the company for Rise of the Renegades, Battle Riot II, and Fury Road 2019.[27] He also worked unofficially in an agent-like role for the company. This includes coaching younger talent on their television presentation and promos.[28]

In the beginning of 2019, their first four events, SuperFight, Intimidation Games, Rise of the Renegades and Battle Riot II were all revealed to have sold out. In April 2019, they moved their operations into a corporate office building in New Rochelle, New York.[29] On April 18, 2019, MLW announced the creation of a new title: the MLW National Openweight Championship, with the inaugural champion to be crowned during the promotion's Fury Road 2019 show in Waukesha, Wisconsin.[30] Tony Schiavone returned to commentary in July 2019.[31] On July 5, it was announced that MLW would hold its first pay-per-view event named Saturday Night SuperFight, which would be held on November 2.[32][33] On July 26, MLW announced a working agreement with Japanese-based promotion Pro Wrestling Noah, which would include a talent-exchange agreement and content collaboration between the two promotions.[34][35] On August 8, MLW announced that they had reached a deal with FITE TV to produce content for the their streaming network, with the first MLW event produced for FITE TV being Saturday Night SuperFight on November 2.[36] Four days later, MLW announced a working relationship with Mexican-based promotion The Crash Lucha Libre termed as a "strategic alliance".[37] On August 23, MLW and The Crash announced they would co-promote their first event on October 5 at the Auditorio Fausto Gutierrez in Tijuana, Mexico.[38]

Touring and TV tapings[edit]

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.[39]

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.[40][41][42][43] On September 18, MLW announced their debut in Chicago.[44] On October 19, MLW announced that they would return to Florida to make their Miami debut.[45]

MLW Radio Network[edit]

MLW returned with a changed business model in 2011, initially focusing exclusively on producing broadcast and digital content within the professional wrestling category.[46] MLW Radio Network has grown to consistently have 5-6 podcasts in the top iTunes 100 in the sports category on the average day.[6] Many prominent professional wrestling figures have appeared on the network, including former WWE and WCW wrestlers Kevin Sullivan, Jim Duggan and MVP, current WWE executive Bruce Prichard, former WCW commentator Tony Schiavone and former WCW President / current WWE executive Eric Bischoff.

Contracts[edit]

In 2018, after the promotion was revived, MLW signed some talent to exclusive contracts.[47] It also gave MLW power over the performers' dates. Their wrestlers are allowed to perform for other promotions but have to prioritize MLW events.[47] As a result, MLW's roster mainly consists of independent contractors who also appear in other promotions (Namely All Elite Wrestling and Impact Wrestling), as well as talent from lucha libre promotions through working relationships.

Championships[edit]

Current[edit]

Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days held Location Notes
MLW World Heavyweight Championship Jacob Fatu 1 July 6, 2019 153+ Cicero, Illinois Defeated Tom Lawlor at Kings of Colosseum.
MLW National Openweight Championship Alexander Hammerstone 1 June 1, 2019 188+ Waukesha, Wisconsin Defeated Brian Pillman Jr in a four-man single elimination tournament at Fury Road to become the inaugural champion.
MLW World Tag Team Championship The Von Erichs
(Marshall Von Erich and Ross Von Erich)
1 November 2, 2019 34+ Cicero, Illinois Defeated Maxwell J. Friedman and Richard Holliday, at MLW Saturday Night SuperFight.
MLW World Middleweight Championship Myron Reed 1 November 9, 2019 27+ Orlando, Florida Defeated Teddy Hart at Blood and Thunder.

Former[edit]

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.

Other accomplishments[edit]

Accomplishment Latest winner(s) Date won Location Notes
Battle Riot LA Park April 5, 2019 Queens, New York Last eliminated Sami Callihan to win.
Opera Cup TBD December 5, 2019

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About MLW". 9 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Court Bauer (@courtbauer) - Twitter". twitter.com.
  3. ^ Varsallone, Jim. "Interviews with Major League Wrestling talent in Miami". miamiherald.
  4. ^ https://trademarks.justia.com/877/68/major-league-87768431.html
  5. ^ "ABOUT MLW". MLW: Major League Wrestling®. 17 April 2017.
  6. ^ a b "ABOUT MLW". 17 April 2017.
  7. ^ https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/article216946070.html http://archive.is/1QeRq
  8. ^ a b c "MLW history 2". Cagematch. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  9. ^ "MLW Underground announces new deal". SLAM! Sports. April 23, 2003. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "MLW history2". Cagematch. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "EVENTS". 17 April 2017.
  12. ^ Reddick, Jay. "Major League Wrestling announces more Orlando shows in 2018".
  13. ^ "How to watch MLW Fusion on beIN SPORTS starting this Friday". 18 April 2018.
  14. ^ "MLW Fusion #1 - Worlds Collide « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
  15. ^ "MLW Battle Riot results: Tom Lawlor stands tall in 40-man match". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. 29 July 2018.
  16. ^ "MLW Signs Shane Strickland to Long-Term Contract, Moving to Sign Other Talents - 411MANIA". 411mania.com.
  17. ^ "AAA TripleMania XXVI Results & Review". The Chairshot. August 25, 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  18. ^ "MLW SIGNS DEAL TO LAUNCH SPANISH LANGUAGE VERSION OF FUSION, NEW SIGNINGS, CHANGES TO SCHEDULE, PILLMAN AND MORE NEWS". Pro Wrestling Insider. September 19, 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-19.
  19. ^ "MLW TO AIR FIRST-EVER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 'FRIGHT NIGHT' NEXT WEEK ON BEIN SPORTS". PWInsider.com. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  20. ^ a b c "TWO NEW MLW SIGNINGS CONFIRMED, HATHAWAY IS BACK, MLW TV PREVIEWS, INTERNATIONAL PUSH AND MORE MLW NEWS AND NOTES". PWInsider.com. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  21. ^ https://www.fightful.com/wrestling/report-mlw-fightland-breaks-promotional-records-attendance-and-gate
  22. ^ "LOTS OF MLW NEWS & NOTES COMING OUT OF FIGHTLAND IN CHICAGO - PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com.
  23. ^ "BAUER TEASING 'BLOCKBUSTER' DEAL FOR MLW". Pro Wrestling Insider. November 22, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  24. ^ "MLW TO AIR FIRST LIVE SPECIAL ON BEIN SPORTS". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  25. ^ "MLW Fusion to Be Broadcast Live on beIN Sports for the First Time". Sports Illustrated. November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  26. ^ "MLW announces Intimidation Games live special, SuperFight II". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. 4 February 2019.
  27. ^ a b "JIM CORNETTE JOINS MLW - PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com.
  28. ^ "Episode 274: Jim Returns To Commentary from Jim Cornette Experience". www.stitcher.com.
  29. ^ "411MANIA". MLW News: New Headquarters, Possible Pay-Per-View, European Tour, More.
  30. ^ MLW.com (18 April 2019). "MLW launches National Openweight Championship; Milwaukee to host finals on June 1". MLW: Major League Wrestling®.
  31. ^ https://mlw.com/2019/06/19/tony-schiavone-returns-to-the-broadcast-booth-this-summer/
  32. ^ "MLW HOLDING FIRST PAY-PER-VIEW THIS NOVEMBER". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. 5 July 2019.
  33. ^ "MLW IS COMING TO PPV NOVEMBER 2 WITH SATURDAY NIGHT SUPERFIGHT". 9 July 2019.
  34. ^ "MLW FORMS WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH PRO WRESTLING NOAH". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. 26 July 2019.
  35. ^ "Major League Wrestling Partners With Pro Wrestling NOAH". Sports Illustrated. 26 July 2019.
  36. ^ MLW.com (8 August 2019). "MLW and FITE TV announce new PPV distribution partnership to stream MLW PPVs worldwide". MLW: Major League Wrestling®.
  37. ^ MLW.com (12 August 2019). "MLW and The Crash Lucha Libre form strategic alliance". MLW: Major League Wrestling®.
  38. ^ "MLW, THE CRASH TO CO-PROMOTE OCTOBER 5TH SHOW IN MEXICO". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. August 23, 2019.
  39. ^ "Major League Wrestling (MLW)". Cagematch.net. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  40. ^ Namako, Jason (April 26, 2018). "Matches set for 5/3 MLW Fusion TV Taping in Orlando". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  41. ^ Johnson, Mike (April 28, 2018). "SIX MAN TAG ADDED TO STACKED MLW MAY 3RD MLW BEIN SPORTS TV TAPING IN ORLANDO". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  42. ^ Johnson, Mike (May 31, 2018). "MAIN EVENT ANNOUNCED FOR MLW NYC DEBUT NEXT MONTH". Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  43. ^ Johnson, Mike (August 2, 2018). "BIG MLW TAG TITLE BOUT SET FOR NYC RETURN". PWInsider. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  44. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 18, 2018). "MLW TO DEBUT IN CHICAGO". PWInsider. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  45. ^ Johnson, Mike (October 19, 2018). "TICKETS ON SALE THIS MORNING FOR MLW DEBUT IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, COMPLETE LIST OF TALENTS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR". PWInsider. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  46. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-02-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  47. ^ a b Johnson, Mike (March 26, 2018). "MLW TO DEBUT IN CHICAGO". PWInsider. Retrieved March 26, 2018.

External links[edit]