Paul Walter Hauser Coming to MLW for Battle Riot VI

Hauser discusses his decision to join MLW, his love for professional wrestling, and his newest role in the Chris Farley biopic
Paul Walter Hauser is coming to MLW
Paul Walter Hauser is coming to MLW / Roland Lugo’s Week in Wrestling is published every week and provides beneath the surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling.

Paul Walter Hauser joining Battle Riot VI on June 1

Paul Walter Hauser is coming to MLW.

The Emmy Award-winning actor has wrestled in four different matches since last November, and he will add to that next month. Hauser is officially part of MLW’s 40-person Battle Riot match on June 1, Sports Illustrated has learned, where the winner receives a shot at the world title.

“Professional wrestling is one of the greatest loves in my life, and I’m going to put my heart and body on the line,” said Hauser. “If you’re not already a fan of MLW, you will be.”

Hauser has acted in a slew of popular projects, including Black BirdCobra Kai, and Richard Jewell, winning a Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie for his role as Larry Hall in Black Bird. He puts his heart and soul into his work, which is a trademark of Hauser’s performances.

“I care a lot about what I do,” said Hauser. “I try to put as much of myself in the role as I can. That goes back to earlier in my career, when sometimes I’d only get five-to-ten lines of dialogue. The onus is on you to make it special–not to steal a scene and intercept a moment, but to honor that moment. Even if I’m playing the delivery guy for 90 seconds in a sitcom, I’m going to be the best delivery guy they’ll have all season. Being part of the team and giving it your all is super important to me. So when people give me a Black Bird or a Richard Jewell and I’m the lead, I’m going to murder it.”

A month ago, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Hauser will play the lead role in a Chris Farley biopic. That is the type of role with career-altering potential, and Hauser is preparing to deliver the depth, range, and comedic timing that laid the foundation for Farley’s enduring legacy.

“The Chris Farley project, I have such a heart for Chris,” said Hauser. “I couldn’t screw this up even if I wanted to. Whether someone likes the movie, that’s subjective. But the actual job itself, that’s in my heart. That’s in my DNA. I’m going to work very hard.”

Paul Walter Hauser drilling Matt Cardona with a steel chair
Paul Walter Hauser drilling Matt Cardona with a steel chair / Roland Lugo

The commitment to his craft is also visible while wrestling. Hauser’s Philadelphia Street Fight against Sami Callihan last month at the former ECW Arena was violent and gory, with Hauser embracing the carnage.

Callihan will also be part of the signature match at Battle Riot VI, which MLW is streaming for free on YouTube.

“This came about as a result of me wrestling Sami at the 2300 Arena on WrestleCon weekend,” said Hauser. “Sami and I really went at it, and the visuals made the rounds on the Internet. I’ve had people from Hollywood checking in on me and asking me what I was doing. Sami took a pizza cutter to my head, and he diced me open pretty good. I think I gained some people’s attention that I didn’t try to abbreviate the match.

“In the end, with some help from Sandman, I got over on Sami. As I was leaving, Sami came back out and shook my hand. I think I earned his respect in whatever way Sami Callihan allows himself to respect another wrestler. That ended up being my in to an invite to the Battle Riot.”

While he is only signed for Battle Riot, the plan is for Hauser to have a presence at future MLW events. He enters a Battle Riot match with a loaded field, featuring Místico, Matt Riddle, Timothy Thatcher, and AJ Francis.

“I know I’m going to get clocked by somebody,” said Hauser. “I know I’ll be very vulnerable in that situation, but I’m also very excited. I don’t think people know the extent of my striking ability. I’m really excited to mix it up. I’ll play it smart and stick to my strengths.”

Paul Walter Hauser
Paul Walter Hauser / Roland Lugo

Hauser is a smart investment for MLW, as he brings a new spotlight to the company. And Hauser fits in perfectly to the professional wrestling scene. Naturally, he is already talking about winning the Battle

Riot match–and challenging Satoshi Kojima for the MLW title.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could win,” said Hauser. “Wrestling Kojima, it would be an honor. He’s done so much, including being a two-time MLW champion. And now a tag team champion with [Shigeo] Okumura, too. I’m coming for him, but I’m coming for him with love.”

Hauser’s passion for pro wrestling is authentic. He continues to embrace new opportunities because of a genuine appreciation and affinity for what unfolds in the ring, and he will add a uniquely distinct touch to MLW’s biggest show of the year.

“I’ve been a fan of MLW,” said Hauser. “Everybody from Dusty Rhodes to CM Punk to Darby Allin has been a part of it. And I’ve already been told some of the participants. There are going to be some surprises.

“This is the best event of the MLW yearly calendar. I can’t wait to get in the ring.”

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Time to crown LA Knight

LA Knight didn’t get his moment at WrestleMania. But perhaps it will come at King of the Ring.

Knight defeated AJ Styles at WrestleMania 40, but lost the rematch shortly after the event. It is emblematic of his start-and-stop booking. When it looks like Knight is finally breaking through, the powers-that-be in WWE don’t fully commit to him.

That can change with the King of the Ring tournament. Knight is currently in the quarterfinals, and matches up with Tama Tonga this Friday on SmackDown. While it is too soon to definitively beat Tonga, Knight can get a quick roll-up or a DQ victory to advance. Then he would meet the winner of Randy Orton-Carmelo Hayes, before seeing the winner of Gunther-Jey Uso in the finals.

Knight could benefit tremendously from the win. The real prize is the promo he could cut after getting the crown. He would need to deliver the promo of his life, which could open up a whole new program with Cody Rhodes.

Does WWE believe in Knight as a main event talent? We’re about to find out.

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The Sami Zayn-Johnny Knoxville feud lives on.

Justin Barrasso


Justin Barrasso has been writing for Sports Illustrated since 2014. While his primary focus is pro wrestling and MMA, he has also covered MLB, NBA, and the NFL. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.