Major League Wrestling
Last night, I attended the Major League Wrestling (MLW) event in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so I had the bright idea that my blog post this time around would be my thoughts on the event and MLW in general. For some, it may be an introduction to MLW. For others, it may be interesting to hear my opinions on a product they are already familiar with. Then again, for some folks, it may be a reason to skip reading this one altogether.
I'll preface this article with a disclaimer that, while I was involved in professional wresting in one form or another for 25+ years, I have no knowledge of the inner workings of MLW, and these are strictly my opinions as a fan.
I should also mention that I do not care for the current pro wrestling landscape, as a whole. As I have stated previously in this blog, I prefer old school southern wrestling (70's-mid 90's), but MLW allows me to have a current product to follow.
Being in the wrestling business, I was always aware of MLW, but never saw much of their product, until Jim Cornette had a short stint as MLW color commentator. It was then that I sought the Fusion TV show out on YouTube. I liked much of what I saw and watched regularly from then on. What appealed to me most was that it was a one-hour program. I no longer have the appetite to consume 7-10 hours of wrestling each week and it made the show easy for me to digest.
Fightland in Philly was the second MLW event I have attended; the first one being back in February in Charlotte, North Carolina at the historic Grady Cole Center. The audiences in Philadelphia and Charlotte could not be more different. I think I can sum up the main difference by saying that the Charlotte fans wanted to be entertained by the wrestling and the Philly crowd wanted to entertain themselves by making comments about the wrestling. To each their own, but it does affect how I was able to enjoy the product.
MLW has a very deep, diverse, constantly changing talent roster. I will touch on some of the key players, but to cover the entire roster would take up more time than you or I have.
At the very top of the MLW mountain is MLW World Heavyweight Champion, Alexander Hammerstone. If you haven't seen him before, imagine a combination of HHH (as a wrestler, not an executive) and Hulk Hogan. Hoss. Stud. Beast. These are labels that would apply to Your Boy Hammer. Every time I see Hammerstone in action, I become more impressed by him. Judging by the reaction he gets, the MLW faithful are impressed as well.
Equally popular to Hammerstone is former World Champion- "the Samoan Werewolf" Jacob Fatu. The son of the Tonga Kid/Tama, Fatu is a member of the famed Anoa'i family. Despite weighing in the neighborhood of 280 pounds, Fatu possesses remarkable agility and his springboard moonsault is a sight to behold.
It's fitting that MLW's top guns appear to be on a collision course to a colossal rematch for the World Championship. Imagine that. The two top wrestlers fighting for the top prize. What a novel concept.
While no date was officially announced, it sounds like this match will take place in Philadelphia at SuperFight. Depending on when exactly that is, I will be tempted to attend.
Lince Dorado, the newly crowned MLW World Middleweight Champion, looks like a comic book superhero come to life. I believe the WWE missed the boat on him, as they have been kown to do. from time to time. He could be a great foundation for the Middleweight division and a feud with Lio Rush could be just the spark the division needs.
While not my cup of tea personally, one of the most popular wrestlers in MLW is Microman, a 3-foot tall, masked luchador, who the MLW fans have become completely enamored with. Microman T-shirts were a hot item in both Charlotte and Philadelphia. Again, though he's not what I prefer to watch, I can understand his value to MLW.
Recently returning to MLW is Mance Warner, "The Southern Psychopath". I like this guy. His persona and interview delivery are fantastic. While I have never met him, I would bet Ol' Mancer is very close to this guy's real self.
Davey Boy Smith, Jr. returned to MLW at the Philadelphia Fightland event, bringing his cousins, Thomas and Mark Billington (nephews of the Dynamite Kid), with him to form the next generation of British Bulldogs. The Billingtons are young, but already show glimpses of their uncle's revolutionary talent. Once they fill out physically, I can see them doing very well. It certainly gives MLW a very marketable trio with Davey Boy Smith, Jr., who is pure gold, in my opinion.
As much as I hate to do a cattle call list, I would remiss if I didn't, at least, mention the talents of "The Judge" EJ Nduka, Calvin Tankman, Willie Mack (this man won me over in Philly), the new Samoan SWAT Team (Lance Anoa'i & Juicy Finau), and Taya Valkyrie.
Richard Holliday, Alicia Atout, Mads Krugger, Davey Richards, Marshall and Ross Von Erich are also members of the roster that I enjoy very much but were oddly not on the recent Philadelphia card. Hopefully, all will return at the next MLW event.
Joe Dombrowski and Matt Striker were at the commentary desk for this round of tapings and hopefully will be the regular team moving forward as they are both excellent in terms of their knowledge of wrestling and ability to verbally frame what happens in the ring for the viewers at home.
You might ask, where can I watch MLW? They used to stream Fusion on YouTube and air it on BEiN Sports. Don't quote me, but I don't think new episodes of Fusion will be on YouTube as Pro Wrestling TV/PWTV appears to be their new streaming home. I am not familiar with the platform and am looking into it as I believe new shows start airing this Thursday, November 3. Saty tuned to www.mlw.com for details.
Not having a consistent, continual weekly outlet that a majority of fans can easily access is going to hinder growth for the promotion. They had a one-time special on Vice TV that I thought would be a natural fit for both MLW and Vice as companion programming to Vice's popular "Dark Side of the Ring" and "Tales from the Territories" series. However, it did not pan out for whatever reason.
One thing that I believe MLW needs to clean up is the profanity. In North Carolina, I sat among some families with young children and the parents expressed their concerns about the few audible curse words being thrown around. In Philadelphia, it was constant barrage and I know Philly fans are known for being "extreme", but eventually they weren't even responding to the F-Bombs being dropped. Post-production is going to be busy with the bleep machine, cleaning that footage up for airing. I cannot imagine that is the kind of thing that endears a program to TV networks.
While no live events are listed on their upcoming schedule, I would think announcements are forthcoming. In the past, they have promoted events in New York City, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami, Waukesha, WI, as well as the aforementioned Philadelphia and Charlotte. In my opinion, wrestling is always more enjoyable live. Maybe, that is the old promoter in me talking.
If MLW sounds like something you might enjoy, I hope you give them a shot.
Thanks for reading and I'll talk to you soon.