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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.[2][3] 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.

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

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.

Contents

HistoryEdit

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. Their first Battle Riot was won by Tom Lawlor, who would go to cash it in to win the MLW World Heavyweight Championship.[11] Additionally, Major League Wrestling began introducing contracts as part of their growth strategy.[12] In August, MLW started a working agreement with Mexican based promotion Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide (AAA).[13][better source needed] On September 19, it was announced that MLW signed another deal with beIN Sports to air MLW Fusion in Spanish.[14]

On October 13, MLW announced their second two-hour special on beIN Sports, Halloween Special.[15] On October 18, it was announced announced the signings of PCO and Richard Holliday as full-time members of the promotion.[16] 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.[16] Also announced was a project between MLW and Spiff TV.[16]

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.[17][18] 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.[19][20][21]

MLW held live specials on BeIN Sports for their first two events of 2019, SuperFight in February and Intimidation Games in March.[22] The company brought former manager Jim Cornette on as a color commentator starting March 2, 2019.[23] He will return to the company for their April 2019 events, Rise of the Renegades and Battle Riot II.[24] He also works unofficially in an agent-like role for the company. This includes coaching younger talent on their television presentation and promos.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29][30][31][32] On September 18, MLW announced their debut in Chicago.[33] On October 19, MLW announced that they would return to Florida to make their Miami debut.[34]

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."[35] 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.

ContractsEdit

In 2018, after the promotion was revived, MLW signed some talent to exclusive contracts.[36] It also gave MLW power over the performers' dates. Their wrestlers are allowed to perform for other promotions but have to prioritize MLW events.[36] These contracts give MLW as much power over their roster as a WWE contract.[36]

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.[36]

ChampionshipsEdit

CurrentEdit

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.

FormerEdit

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 accomplishmentsEdit

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

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  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. ^ https://www.f4wonline.com/indies/mlw-battle-riot-results-tom-lawlor-stands-tall-40-man-match-262686
  12. ^ "MLW Signs Shane Strickland to Long-Term Contract, Moving to Sign Other Talents - 411MANIA". 411mania.com.
  13. ^ "AAA TripleMania XXVI Results & Review". The Chairshot. August 25, 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-25.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "MLW TO AIR FIRST-EVER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL 'FRIGHT NIGHT' NEXT WEEK ON BEIN SPORTS". PWInsider.com. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ https://www.fightful.com/wrestling/report-mlw-fightland-breaks-promotional-records-attendance-and-gate
  18. ^ https://www.pwinsider.com/article/121710/lots-of-mlw-news-notes-coming-out-of-fightland-in-chicago.html?p=1
  19. ^ "BAUER TEASING 'BLOCKBUSTER' DEAL FOR MLW". Pro Wrestling Insider. November 22, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  20. ^ "MLW TO AIR FIRST LIVE SPECIAL ON BEIN SPORTS". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  21. ^ "MLW Fusion to Be Broadcast Live on beIN Sports for the First Time". Sports Illustrated. November 29, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  22. ^ https://www.f4wonline.com/other-wrestling/mlw-announces-intimidation-games-live-special-superfight-ii-276156
  23. ^ https://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.php?id=124569
  24. ^ https://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.php?id=124569
  25. ^ https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mlw-radio/jim-cornette-experience/e/59272389
  26. ^ https://411mania.com/wrestling/mlw-news-new-headquarters-possible-pay-per-view-european-tour-more/
  27. ^ https://mlw.com/2019/04/18/mlw-launches-national-openweight-championship-milwaukee-to-host-finals-on-june-1/
  28. ^ "Major League Wrestling (MLW)". Cagematch.net. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  29. ^ Namako, Jason (April 26, 2018). "Matches set for 5/3 MLW Fusion TV Taping in Orlando". Retrieved September 16, 2018.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Johnson, Mike (May 31, 2018). "MAIN EVENT ANNOUNCED FOR MLW NYC DEBUT NEXT MONTH". Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  32. ^ Johnson, Mike (August 2, 2018). "BIG MLW TAG TITLE BOUT SET FOR NYC RETURN". PWInsider. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  33. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 18, 2018). "MLW TO DEBUT IN CHICAGO". PWInsider. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2015-02-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  36. ^ a b c d Johnson, Mike (March 26, 2018). "MLW TO DEBUT IN CHICAGO". PWInsider. Retrieved March 26, 2018.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit