Major League Wrestling is returning this fall, beginning with a set of television tapings in October.
MLW CEO Court Bauer confirmed that his company will begin airing fresh content in early November, with filming set to take place at an undisclosed East Coast venue.
“The hibernation is over,” said Bauer. “We’ll air in November on a weeknight in primetime on Fubo Sports Network, and our content will also be available on DAZN, which includes exclusive content, and Saturday nights on beIN. As for the filming, we’re not going to publicly announce our location. If fans were to show up, it would just cause a wave of complications with the COVID protocol, but we are very excited to return for our fans.”
The timing is right for MLW to return, Bauer explained, because he and his team have solidified their plans to safely run tapings amid the pandemic.
“We hired a COVID Compliance Officer, Mike Kitlas, and there will be frequent testing,” said Bauer. “We’re going to test before everyone gets on a plane, when they land, and then again during the tapings. We’ll be cleaning the trucks and the set every day. We have a protocol to follow, and we will ensure that guidelines will be met to keep everyone safe. That will include scheduling, transportation, locker room social distancing, and wearing masks, which will apply for talent, staff, and production.”
A potential change for MLW is the name of its weekly broadcast. This will either start the third season of MLW: Fusion or mark a return to a familiar name for longtime MLW fans with MLW Underground.
“We’ve had a lot of fans let us know they prefer Underground,” said Bauer. “That’s something we’re going to pin down in the weeks ahead.”
MLW’s empty arena setting will be presented uniquely, with Bauer eager to showcase a gritty, MMA type of environment for viewers.
“We’re going to have more of a Raging Bull setting,” said Bauer, who is also in charge of MLW creative. “We’ve had the luxury to see what works in this era. Our competitors have been forced due to contractual obligations to put programming on the air every night of the week. For us, from a creative perspective, we have been able to recharge, assess and determine the best way to move forward. That is really going to enhance our viewing experience.”
The tapings will feature familiar faces in MLW World Champion Jacob Fatu, Tom Lawlor, Alex Hammerstone, Myron Reed, Salina de la Renta, Richard Holliday, Brian Pillman Jr. and rising star Calvin Tankman, who has potential to soon be the face of the promotion. Bauer also confirmed there is potential for additions from AAA and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
“We’ll have top talent from MLW and beyond,” said Bauer, whose promotion partnered with AAA before going on hiatus in March, as well as worked out an agreement with New Japan Pro Wrestling for Lawlor to appear on NJPW Strong this summer. “We learned during this break who had our back, and I think people will be very surprised by what opportunities have been borne from that.”
Even in a vastly crowded field with competitors like WWE and AEW, the MLW product resonates due to its wildly talented roster. Bauer believes his collection of stars will help create a distinctly different presentation of pro wrestling in the empty arena era.
“We spent the whole summer building our business to emerge from the pandemic ready to run on a larger scale,” said Bauer. “It’s now the right time for us to safely get back to work, and our talent is going to put on a great show in our return.”