Major League Wrestling
MLW LLC, d/b/a Major League Wrestling (MLW) is an American professional wrestling promotion based in 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. 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.
|Major League Wrestling|
|Founded||June 12, 2002Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniain|
|Headquarters||New Rochelle, New York,|
|Court Bauer (CEO)|
|Products||Television, pay-per-view, merchandise, Radio|
|Divisions||MLW Radio Network|
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, they started a working relationship with Mexican promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide. In November, MLW would break their attendence record with their show Fightland in Chicago at Cicero Stadium. In March 2019, Jim Cornette joined the promotion as a color commentator and worked unofficially in an agent-like role. In April 2019, they moved their operations into a corporate office building in New Rochelle, New York. The roster of performers includes Pentagón Jr., Low Ki, Sami Callihan, L.A. Park, Tom Lawlor, Rey Fenix, 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)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. 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. Their first Battle Riot was won by Tom Lawlor, who would go to cash it in to win the MLW World Heavyweight Championship. Additionally, Major League Wrestling began introducing contracts as part of their growth strategy. In August, MLW started a working agreement with Mexican based promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA).[better source needed] 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, 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. 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.
MLW held live specials on BeIN Sports for their first two events of 2019, SuperFight in February and Intimidation Games in March. The company brought former manager Jim Cornette on as a color commentator starting March 2, 2019. He will return to the company for their April 2019 events, Rise of the Renegades and Battle Riot II. He also works unofficially in an agent-like role for the company. This includes coaching younger talent on their television presentation and promos.
To start 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. 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.
Touring and TV tapingsEdit
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 NetworkEdit
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||110+||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Defeated Low Ki at MLW SuperFight.|
|MLW National Openweight Championship||TBD||1||June 1, 2019||Waukesha, Wisconsin|
|MLW World Tag Team Championship||The Hart Foundation
(Brian Pillman Jr., Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Teddy Hart)
|1||February 2, 2019||110+||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Defeated Lucha Brothers|
(Pentagón Jr. and Rey Fénix) at MLW SuperFight.
|MLW World Middleweight Championship||Teddy Hart||1||December 14, 2018||160+||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||LA Park||April 5, 2019||Queens, New York||Last eliminated Sami Callihan to win.|
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