BeIN Sports will televise Major League Wrestling’s first two-hour network special.
The program will air on Friday, July 27, at 8 p.m. ET.
MLW CEO Court Bauer confirmed that there was interest from carriers to broadcast on pay per view, but he instead decided to show off the league's talent and production value at no charge. The decision will also help reintroduce viewers to the commentary of Tony Schiavone, the longtime voice of World Championship Wrestling.
“I heavily considered pay per view, but I want to give the fans something special and do it for free,” Bauer said. “Some promoters put a price tag on everything and I could see the temptation here, but I want to reward fans that have been supporting us. Disruption is key for MLW, and a free two-hour special is the ultimate disruption. BeIN is a great partner and I’m glad they agree.”
Cut from the same cloth as WWE’s Saturday Night’s Main Event and WCW’s Clash of the Champions, which were pay per view quality specials broadcast for free on cable, the special will feature MLW’s 40-man “Battle Riot” special attraction match that Bauer was originally set to run 12 years ago for WWE while he was a member of Vince McMahon’s creative team.
The “Battle Riot” combines a battle royal, Royal Rumble and street fight. Eliminations occur by pinfall, submission, or throwing an opponent over the top rope. New participants will enter the match every 60 seconds, and the winner will receive an instant title shot—similar to the Money in the Bank contract—upon request.
MLW will film the show eight days in advance on July 19 in the Melrose Ballroom in Queens, N.Y. The match is designed to allow returning legends, like “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan and Konnan, to shine, while still giving its star-studded roster, including former WWE cruiserweight champion Rich Swann and Jake “Jack Swagger” Hager, a chance to showcase their talents.
Former Royal Rumble standout John Morrison, Pentagon, and Teddy Hart will also be part of the match, as well as Davey Boy Smith Jr., former Quebecer Pierre Carl Ouellet, the UFC’s “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, and Hornswoggle. Bauer indicated that more surprises could be in store, with Grammy-nominated musician Wale atop his wishlist.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.