Major League Wrestling

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MLW, LLC
Major League Wrestling
Private
IndustryProfessional wrestling
Digital media
FoundedJune 12, 2002; 16 years ago (2002-06-12) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
FounderCourt Bauer
HeadquartersOrlando, Florida,
Key people
Court Bauer (CEO)[1]
ProductsTelevision, pay-per-view, merchandise, Radio
DivisionsMLW Radio Network
Websitemlw.com

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.[2][3] 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.

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, 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.[4] 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.[5]

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.[4] 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.[4] The promotion also promoted many former ECW wrestlers such as Sabu, Terry Funk, Shane Douglas and Steve Corino.[6] The promotion ceased operations in March 2004.[6]

Revival and MLW Fusion (2017-present)[edit]

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.[7] In the same year, MLW announced it would run more shows in Orlando in 2018.[8] 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.[9] Their first episode featured Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix as the main event.[10]

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.[11] In August, MLW started a working agreement with Mexican based promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.[12] On September 19, it was announced that MLW signed another deal with beIN Sports to air MLW Fusion in Spanish.[13]

On October 13, MLW announced their second two-hour special on beIN Sports, Halloween Special.[14] On October 18, it was announced announced the signings of PCO and Richard Holliday as full-time members of the promotion.[15] 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.[15] Also announced was a project between MLW and Spiff TV.[15]

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.[16][17] 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.[18][19][20]

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.[21]

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.[22][23][24][25] On September 18, MLW announced their debut in Chicago.[26] On October 19, MLW announced that they would return to Florida to make their Miami debut.[27]

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."[28] MLW Radio Network has grown to consistently have 5-6 podcasts in the top iTunes 100 in the sports category on the average day.[2] 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.

Contracts[edit]

In 2018, after the promotion was revived, MLW signed some talent to exclusive contracts.[29] It also gave MLW power over the performers' dates. Their wrestlers are allowed to perform for other promotions but have to prioritize MLW events.[29] These contracts give MLW as much power over their roster as a WWE contract.[29]

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.[29]

Championships[edit]

Current[edit]

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.

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 Tom Lawlor June 7, 2018 Queens, New York Last eliminated Jake Hager to win.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Court Bauer (@courtbauer) - Twitter". twitter.com.
  2. ^ a b "ABOUT MLW". 17 April 2017.
  3. ^ https://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/article216946070.html http://archive.is/1QeRq
  4. ^ a b c "MLW history 2". Cagematch. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "MLW Underground announces new deal". SLAM! Sports. April 23, 2003. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "MLW history2". Cagematch. September 17, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  7. ^ "EVENTS". 17 April 2017.
  8. ^ Reddick, Jay. "Major League Wrestling announces more Orlando shows in 2018".
  9. ^ "How to watch MLW Fusion on beIN SPORTS starting this Friday". 18 April 2018.
  10. ^ https://www.cagematch.net/?id=1&nr=197666
  11. ^ "MLW Signs Shane Strickland to Long-Term Contract, Moving to Sign Other Talents - 411MANIA". 411mania.com.
  12. ^ "AAA TripleMania XXVI Results & Review". The Chairshot. August 25, 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "MLW TO AIR FIRST-EVER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 'FRIGHT NIGHT' NEXT WEEK ON BEIN SPORTS". PWInsider.com. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ https://www.fightful.com/wrestling/report-mlw-fightland-breaks-promotional-records-attendance-and-gate
  17. ^ https://www.pwinsider.com/article/121710/lots-of-mlw-news-notes-coming-out-of-fightland-in-chicago.html?p=1
  18. ^ "BAUER TEASING 'BLOCKBUSTER' DEAL FOR MLW". Pro Wrestling Insider. November 22, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  19. ^ "MLW TO AIR FIRST LIVE SPECIAL ON BEIN SPORTS". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  20. ^ "MLW Fusion to Be Broadcast Live on beIN Sports for the First Time". Sports Illustrated. November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  21. ^ "Major League Wrestling (MLW)". Cagematch.net. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Namako, Jason (April 26, 2018). "Matches set for 5/3 MLW Fusion TV Taping in Orlando". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Johnson, Mike (May 31, 2018). "MAIN EVENT ANNOUNCED FOR MLW NYC DEBUT NEXT MONTH". Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  25. ^ Johnson, Mike (August 2, 2018). "BIG MLW TAG TITLE BOUT SET FOR NYC RETURN". PWInsider. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  26. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 18, 2018). "MLW TO DEBUT IN CHICAGO". PWInsider. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-02-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ a b c d Johnson, Mike (March 26, 2018). "MLW TO DEBUT IN CHICAGO". PWInsider. Retrieved March 26, 2018.

References[edit]

External links[edit]